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  • In Form three we learnt about the Sunni and the Shia collections of Hadith.
  • We also mentioned the titles of the collections and listed down their compilers.
  • In this topic, we are going to look at two more collections of Hadith; ‘Al-Muwatta’ of Imam Malik and ‘The Forty Hadith’ by Imam An-Nawawi.

The ‘Al-muwwatta’ of Imam Malik.

  • We had earlier, in Form three, learnt about Imam Malik bin Anas’s contribution to Islamic jurisprudence.
  • As a great Muslim scholar he founded the Malik School of law and authored several works on Islamic Sharia.
  • Among these works include the Al-Muwatta which we shall discuss in this subtopic.
  • The term Al-Muwatta means “path made plain” or “the well-trodden path” or “to pave way”, or “to prepare” or “to make easy.”
  • Its name also means a book that is "many times agreed upon".
  • It is the name given to the famous book or collection of Hadith written by the Madina scholar, Imam Malik bin Anas.
  • The contents and its authenticity were unanimously agreed upon by the people of Madina.
  • It was also agreed upon by all imams, various scholars of Hadith and people of every school of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence).
  • This standard book was compiled during the early Abbasid period and is regarded by many scholars as one of the most authentic books on Hadith.
  • During the time of Caliph Mansur, there was an increase in juristic differences in the Islamic empire.
  • This was as a result of the expansion of the Muslim empire and the growth and development of the science of Hadith.
  • Caliph Mansur requested Imam Malik to produce a standard book that could be used as law in the entire region.
  • The Imam initially refused but when the Caliph insisted and explained to him the need for a comprehensive book that would serve as a reference to all Islamic matters, he agreed.
  • Imam Malik then started compiling the Al Muwatta.
  • It took him over a period of forty years to complete his compilation.
  • Al-Muwatta is undoubtedly considered to be from the earliest existing collections of Hadith that form the basis of fiqh alongside the Holy Qur’an.
  • This book covers customs, rituals, traditions, rites, norms and laws of the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
  • Out of the 10,000 narrations originally collected, Imam Malik selected and compiled with great care about 2000 traditions for inclusion into the Al-Muwatta.
  • The Imam intentionally selected the Hadiths that were connected to juristic matters and allowed various scholars to scrutinize them.
  • He compiled these Prophet (PBUH’s) traditions and divided his book into sections refered to as Kitab.
  • He then sub divided the sections (Kitab) into chapters with each chapter having several sub-topics.
  • Each of the sub-topics contains 3 to 10 Hadiths.
  • Imam Malik won a lot of praise from various renowned Muslim scholars and his work (Al-Muwatta) was given great recognition.
  • Among the prominent personalities who regarded this book as unique, indisputable, incomparable and an authentic guide on the Shariah were Imam Shafi, Imam Al Bukhari, Ibn Mahdi, Ibnu Mueed, Al Awzai among others.
  • Al Muwatta is a comprehensive collection of Hadith containing several themes.

Themes contained in Al Muwatta

A summary of the main doctrines of Islam.

  • It presents the acts of worship as the basic principles of Islam.
  • For example the devotional acts like Swalat, Zakat, Swaum and Hajj and other wajib (obligatory) acts such as tahara (cleanliness), manners of Wudhu (ablution), heidh, and ghusl (ritual bath) among others.

Guide lines on the Islamic commercial ethics.

  • The book has traditions on business transactions including sales, agreements and purchases of items of various kinds.

Matters on human relations at family level.

  • Here, Al-Muwatta contains Hadiths on marriage proposal, dowry, prohibited degrees of marriage, talaq (divorce), suckling, aqiqa and foster relationships.
  • Others deal with the general issues such as moral values, Islamic etiquettes and permissible and prohibited acts. Under this, the book explains the Muslim mode of dressing, modesty, good character, greetings and among others.

Prescription on the punishment for crimes and the judicial rulings.

  • These Hadith focus on all matters related to punishments for committed offences such as slander, intoxication, adultery, theft and apostasy.

The Forty Hadith of Imam Nawawi

  • Imam Al Nawawi’s full name is Abu Zakariyaeahya bin Sharafuddin An Nawawi.
  • He was born in 1233 CE in the village of Nawa in Syria and died in1278 CE.
  • His famous title, An- Nawawi, is derived from Nawa, his birth place.
  • He studied medicine as a profession but left it for Islamic theology.
  • Imam Al –Nawawi read widely and acquired vast knowledge in Hadith, Islamic Ethics and Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence).
  • He also studied etymology and syntax.
  • He acquired his Ilmu (knowledge) from various renowned Muslim scholars including Isa Al-Muradi, Abu Ibrahim Ishaq bin Ahmad Al- Maghribi, Radiyuddin Abu Ishaq among others.
  • Imam An Nawawi was intelligent, hardworking and devoted most of his time reading.
  • He used to write commentaries on every work he came across.
  • Imam Nawawi wrote several works on fiqh and Hadith.
  • Among these works include Riyadh As Salihin (Gardens of the Virtuous), Life of the Messenger, Al Maqasid (manual of Islam) etiquette with the Quran among others.
  • The most famous of his works was the collection of Arbain An Nawawi (forty Hadith).
  • Imam An Nawawi was motivated to write Arbain An Nawawi by the following Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) which says:
    Ali bin abuTalib Abdillahi bin Masoud, Muadh bin Jabal, Abu Darda, Ibn Umar, Ibn Abass, Anas bin Malik, Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Whoever preserved for my nation forty Hadith related to its religion, Allah will then resurrect him in the company of the savants and the scholars.”
  • Even though this Hadith has numerous narrators, the scholars of Hadith agree that it is weak.
  • He was also motivated by other scholars who had earlier compiled forty Hadith on the basis of rules of conduct, subsidiary matters or on jihad.
  • This collection of Hadith covers various themes.

Themes in Imam An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith

Devotional acts

  • These are acts of ibada like swalat, zakat and Hajj.
  • The following Hadith from Imam An Nawawi’s book is an example of Hadith guiding Muslims on the acts of Ibada:
    Muadh bin Jabal (RA) said: I said:“O messenger of Allah, tell me of a deed which will take me into paradise and will keep me away from hellfire.” He said: “You have asked me about a greater matter, yet it is, indeed, an easy matter for him to whom Allah Almighty makes it easy. (It is ) that you worship Allah without associating anything with Him, that you perform prayers, that you pay
    the zakat, that you fast during Ramadhan and that you make pilgrimage to the house…”
  • In another Hadith, Abu Abdullah Jabir bin Abdullah al Ansari (RA) reported that a man questioned the messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, “Do you see, if I pray the prescribed prayers, fast during Ramadhan, treat the lawful as permissible and treat the forbidden as prohibited but do nothing more than that, shall I enter paradise?” He (the Prophet (PBUH) answered, “Yes.”

Taqwa (fear of Allah (SWT))

  • Taqwa is fear of Allah (SWT).
  • Abu Najih al Irbad bin Sariyah (RA) said that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) delivered an admonition that made our hearts fearful and our hearts tearful.
  • We said, “O Messenger of Allah it is as if this were a farewell sermon, so advise us.” He said, “I enjoin you to have taqwa of Allah and that you listen and obey even if a slave is made a ruler over you. He among you who lives long enough will see many differences, so for you is to observe my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly principled and the rightly guided successors. Holding on to them with your molar teeth. Beware of newly introduced matters for every innovation (bida’) is an error.

Hadith on moral values

  • Islam encourages good behaviour as one of the important obligations prescribed by Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (PBUH).
  • Muslims should be keepers of each other without prejudice or any form of segregation.
  • They should refrain from envy, hatred, malice, corruption among other anti-social behaviours.
  • They should advice each other on the consequences of evil and encourage and motivate one another to do maarufat (good deeds).
  • Abu Huraira (RA) reported that the messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Do not be envious of one another, do not artificially inflate prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not shun one another; and do not undercut one another in business transaction; and be as fellow brothers and servants of Allah. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates nor looks down upon him. Piety is here-and he pointed to his chest three times. It is evil enough for a Muslim to hold his brother Muslim in contemp. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property and hi honour.” (Muslim)
  • In another Hadith on the authority of Abu Sa’id al Khudri (RA) who said that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “When anyone of you sees anything that is disapproved (of by Allah), let him change it with his hand. If he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his tongue. And if he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his heart, though that is the weakest (kind) of faith.” (Muslim)

Hadith on Iman (faith)

  • Abu DharJundub bin Junaida (RA) and Abu AbdulrahmanMuadh bin Jabal (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Fear Allah wherever you may be; follow up an evil deed with a good one which will wipe (the former) out, and behave good naturedly towards people. (At- Tirmidhy)

Hadith on the permissible and the prohibited acts in Islam.

  • Abu Huraira (RA) reported: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying: “Avoid that which I forbid you to do and do that which I command you to do to the best of your capacity. Verily the people before you were destroyed only because of their excessive questioning and their disagreement with their prophets.”

Study of Some Selected Hadith

  • In order for a Muslim to perform Ibada (acts of worship) well, he or she must fear Allah (SWT).
  • Apart from fearing Allah (SWT), one should control his emotions that may affect his Ibada.
  • These emotions may include happiness, anger, and fear among others.
  • The Prophet (PBUH) by way of his Hadith, taught Muslims on how to worship Allah (SWT).
  • In this subtopic, we shall study some selected Hadith that mould the character of a Muslim in his life.

Work as a form of Ibada

  • The prophet (PBUH) encouraged every Muslim to work hard and earn from legal sources.
  • Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) said that the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said, “Seeking for lawful earning is an obligatory act next to the obligatory worship.” Any form of work done by a Muslim based on the Islamic principles earns a Muslim rewards and is classified as an act of ibada.
  • The Prophet discouraged people from begging but one should strive to earn his own living. In a Hadith narrated by Abdullah bin ‘Umar (RA) that the prophet (PBUH) said, “When a man is always begging from people the result will be that he will come on the Day of Resurrection with no flesh on his face.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
  • In a narration by Anas bin Malik (RA); he said that a man of the Ansar came to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and begged from him, the Prophet (PBUH) asked him whether he had anything in his house. When he said that he had a piece of cloth, which he used for wearing as well as for spreading on the ground, and a wooden bowl from which he drank water, he told him to bring them to him, and when he did so he took them in his hand and asked, "Who will buy these?" When a man offered a dirham he asked twice or thrice. "Who will offer more than a dirham?" and he gave them to a man who offered two dirhams. He then took the two dirhams and giving them to the Ansari he said, "Buy food with one of them and hand it to your family, and buy an axe with the other and bring it to me." When he bought it, Allah's Prophetic Messenger fixed a handle on it with his own hand and said, "Go gather firewood and sell it, and don't let me see you for a fortnight." The man went away and gathered firewood and sold it. When he had earned ten dirhams he came to him and bought a garment with some of them and food with others. Then the Prophet (PBUH) said, "This is better for you than that begging should come as a spot on your face on the day of resurrection. Begging is right for only three people: one who is in grinding poverty, one who is seriously in debt, or one who is responsible for blood-wit he finds it difficult to pay.” (Abu Dawud)
  • Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to assist his wives in the daily chores. Aisha (RA), the mother of the believers, narrates: “Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) would mend his shoes, stitch his clothes and do household work like any ordinary person. He was a man among men and he would milk his goat and do all his personal work himself.”(At-Tirmidhi)


  • In life, people interact with each other in different places.
  • During such interactions, they may disagree or come into conflict with each other.
  • In such a case, they may be carried away by emotions and end up doing harm to one another.
  • A Muslim should always control himself during such trying times by exercising patience and self restraint.
  • He or she should not allow himself or herself to be driven by anger in his decisions or actions.
  • It is reported in a Hadith on the authority of Abu Huraira (RA) that the messenger of Allah ((PBUH) said: “The man is not a good wrestler; the strong man is in fact the person who controls himself at the time of anger.”(Bukhari)
  • In another narration, Abu Huraira (RA) reported that a man said to the Prophet (PBUH): “Advise me!” The Prophet said, “Do not become angry and furious.” The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet said in each case, “Do not become angry and furious.” (Bukhari)
  • Narrated by Abu Dharr: The Apostle of Allah (PBUH) said to us: “When one of you becomes angry while standing, he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise he should lie down.” (Abu Dawud)


Read Qur’an [Q 113:5][Q 4:54]

  • From the verses you have read, you will realise that Allah (SWT) strongly condemns envy.
  • Envy (al Hasad) is a vice that may not be openly observed in a person.
  • It involves a dislike in seeing a person receiving neema (bounty) from Allah (SWT) and wishing that the person loses it.
  • In fact some people would make effort to have the bounty or good things of other people transferred to them.
  • There are many ways in which a person may show envy.
  • Some of these ways include; wishing to take their position, harming them with bad deeds and talk.
  • Islam forbids envy.
  • A righteous Muslim should shun envy and always wish for others what he would wish for himself.
  • When we see our fellow Muslims prospering, we should support them and make dua for them.
  • The prophet warned Muslims against envy and hatred.
  • He said in a Hadith narrated by Az Zubayr (RA) that, “Creeping upon you is the diseases of those people before you: envy and hatred. And hatred is the thing that shapes. I do not say it shapes the hair but it shapes the religion. By the one in whose hand is my soul, you will not enter paradise until you believe. And you will not believe until you love one another. Certainly, let me inform you of that which may establish such things: Spread the greetings and peace among your selves.” (Ahmad and At-Tirmidhy)


  • This is an emotion in the human character.
  • It refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something.
  • It may also mean hating an individual because he or she possesses what one might not have.
  • The Prophet (PBUH) teaches Muslims to avoid jealousy.
  • Abu Hurayra (RA) relates that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Beware of suspicion. Suspicion is the most untrue speech. Do not spy and do not eavesdrop. Do not compete with each other and do not envy each other and do not hate each other and do not shun each other. Be O slaves of Allah, brothers.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
  • Abu Hurayra (RA) narrated that the prophet (PBUH) said, “Avoid jealousy for jealously devours good deeds just as fire devours firewood.”

Care for orphans, disabled and the aged

  • Every society has people with special needs who require special care.
  • These persons may be related to us directly or indirectly or may even not be related to us at all.
  • But since we are Muslims, it is our duty to give special care without considering the relationships we have with them.
  • Among the people with special needs include; the orphans, the disabled (physically or mentally challenged) and the old.
  • In this subtopic, we shall study the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) on the care and treatment of the people with these challenges.

Hadith on care for the orphans

Read [Q 17:34] [Q 2:220]

  • Islam encourages those who have been blessed with wealth and resources by Allah (SWT) to help the destitute in the society.
  • Muslims should give respect to the weak in the society and co-operate with them.
  • We should provide them with food, shelter among other needs.
  • A Muslim is prohibited from illegal acquisition, misuse or squandering of the property left for an orphan or a person with physical or mental challenges.
  • In the case where orphans are under age, those bestowed with their property should honour their trust of giving it back to the rightful owners when they have attained the rightful age to inherit.
  • Allah (SWT) has commanded the believers to treat the orphans with kindness, understanding and offer them help whenever they need it.
  • We should never, at any given time, be harsh to them.
  • Almighty Allah (SWT) says, “Therefore, treat not the orphan with oppression. And repulse not the beggar.”[Q 93:9-10]
  • In another verse, with a similar lesson, Allah (SWT) says: “Have you seen him who denies the Recompense? That is he who repulses the orphan (harshly). And urges not the feeding of Al-Miskin (the poor).” [Q 107:1-3]
  • The Messenger of Allah taught us on the treatment of orphans who are living among us.
  • The following are some of the Prophet (PBUH’s) traditions regarding the treatment of orphans.
    • Sahl bin Sa’d (RA) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “I will be like this in Jannah with the person who takes care of an orphan.” Messenger of Allah (RA) raised his forefinger and middle finger by way of illustration. (Al-Bukhari)
    • Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “He who takes care of an orphan, whether he is his relative or a stranger, will be in Jannah with me like these two.” The narrator, Malik bin Anas raised his forefinger and middle finger for illustration. (Muslim)
    • Abu Shuraih Khuwailid bin ‘Amr Al-Khuza’i (RA) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “O Allah, I declare inviolable the rights of two weak ones: the orphans and women.” (An- Nasa'i)
    • Abu Hurayra (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), said, “The best house among the Muslims is the house in which orphans are well treated. The worst house among the Muslims is the house in which orphans are ill-treated. I and the guardian of the orphan will be in the Garden like that.” Then he indicated his two fingers. (Bukhari)

Hadith on care for the disabled

  • The disabled are among the categories of people who require special care in the society.
  • The teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) are clear about the care for the weak in the society.
  • Abu-Darda (RA) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Seek among your weak ones, for you are given provision and help only because of the weak amongst you.”' (Abu Dawud).

Hadith on care for the aged

  • Muslims should honour the elderly people. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “He is not of us who does not have mercy on young children, nor honour the elderly.” (At-Tirmidhy)
  • uslims should not oppress or severe the ties of kinship with these members of the society.
  • The elderly should not be neglected, abandoned or regarded as a bother by their people thus leading to their confinement into homes for the elderly.
  • Abu Bakrah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “There is no sin more fitted to have punishment meted out by Allah to its perpetrator in advance in this world along with what He stores up for him in the next world than oppression and severing ties of relationship.” (Abu Daud)
  • The children should assist their parents during old age. Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Let him be humbled into the dust; let him be humbled into the dust.” It was said to him: ‘Allah’s Messenger, who is he?’ He said: ‘He who sees either of his parents during their old age or he sees both of them, but he does not enter paradise.” (Muslim)
  • Abu Musa al Ansari (RA) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH), “It is out of reverence to Allah to respect the white-headed (aged) Muslims.” (Abu Daud)
  • Muslims should honour, respect the elderly to bridge the generation gap. Anas bin Malik (RA) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “If a young man honours an elderly on account of his age, Allah appoints someone to honour him in his old age.” (At-Tirmidhy).

Care for plants and animals

  • We studied in Form three the rights of other creations.
  • We explained that plants and animals are among the other creatures that have rights over human beings.
  • Man has been created together with other creations so that he may get his needs from them.
  • Plants provide humankind with shelter, food, building materials among other benefits.
  • On the other hand, humankind gets food, clothing from animals and its products.
  • Humankind should therefore take good care of the plants and animals.
  • The Prophet (PBUH) often rebuked his companions who mistreated animals.
  • He addressed them on the need for showing mercy and kindness when handling them.
  • In Islam, it is unlawful to be cruel to an animal, mistreat it in any manner or kill it except for food.
  • Here are several examples of Hadith which instruct Muslims about how to treat animals and take care of plants.
  • Promise of reward for mercy: It is related from Abu Umama that the Messenger of Allah, (PBUH) said, "Whoever is merciful even to a sparrow, Allah will be merciful to him on the Day of Judgment."
    A good deed done to an animal is like a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as cruelty to a human being."
  • It is related from Sahl ibn Al-Handhaliyya (RA) that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) once passed by a camel that was so emaciated that its back had almost reached its stomach. He said, "Fear Allah in these beasts who cannot speak." (Abu Dawud)
  • It is related from AbdulRahman bin Abdullah (RA) that a group of companions were once on a journey with the Prophet (PBUH) and he left them for a while. During his absence, they saw a bird with its two young, and they took the young ones from the nest. The mother bird was circling above in the air, beating its wings in grief, when the Prophet came back. He said, "Who has hurt the feelings of this bird by taking its young? Return them to her." (Muslim)
  • We should not mistreat the animals. It is related from Jabir (RA) that the Prophet (PBUH) once saw a donkey which had been branded on its face and he said: “May Allah curse the one who branded it.” (Muslim)
  • In another Hadith, it is related from Abdullah ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "A woman was once punished after death because of a cat which she had kept confined until it died, and because of this she entered the Fire. She had neither given it food or drink while confining it, nor had she let it free to eat the creatures of the earth." (Muslim)
  • Give rest to beasts of burden: It is related from Abu Hurayra (RA) that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Do not use the backs of your animals as chairs. Allah has made them subject to you, so that by them you can reach places that you would not otherwise be able to reach except with great fatigue.”(Abu Dawud)
  • Anas (RA) reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him.” (Bukhari)
  • The Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said, “Whenever Muslims plant a tree, they will earn the reward of charity because of the food that comes from it; and likewise what is stolen from it, what the wild beasts eat out of it, what the birds eat out of it, and what people take from it is charity for them.” (Muslim)
  • If the Hour (the day of Resurrection) is about to be established and one of you was holding a palm shoot, let him take advantage of even one second before the Hour is established to plant it.” (Al-Albani.)
  • Muadh bin Jabal (RA) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Beware of the three acts that cause you to be cursed: Relieving yourselves in shaded places (that people utilise), in a walkway or in a watering place.” (Al-Albani)
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