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The Sayings of Muhammad 

by Sir Abdullah Al-Mamun Al-Suhrawardy


Before we reproduce these selected sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, it would be appropriate to quote  from "The Preservation of the Original Teachings of Islam" from Introduction to Islam by Dr. Hamidullah, to indicate how during the time of the Prophet, p.b.u.h. himself,  his words were written down and compiled with his permission and how such great care was taken to preserve the accuracy. For instance, Hanaf, a Companion of the Prophet, p.b.u.h. used to unroll sheets of documents and say: "these are the sayings of the Prophet, which I have noted and then also read out to him [the holy Prophet] to correct any mistakes."

83. At-Tirmidhi reports: One day an Ansarite (Madinan Muslim) complained to the Prophet that he had a weak memory and that he forgot quickly the Prophet's instructive discourses. The Prophet replied: Take the aid of thy right hand (i.e., write it down).

84. A large number of sources (at-Tirmidhi, Abu-Dawud, etc.) narrate that 'Abdallah ibn 'Amar ibn al-'As, a young Meccan, had the habit of writing all that the Prophet used to say. One day his comrades rebuked him, saying that the Prophet was a human being, he could sometimes be happy and satisfied, at other times annoyed or angry, and that it was not desirable that one should note indiscriminately all that he uttered. 'Abdallah went to the Prophet and asked him if one could note all that he said. He replied, "Yes." To be accurate, 'Abdallah persisted: "Even when thou art happy and satisfied, even when thou art angry?" The Prophet said: "Of course, by God! Nothing that comes out of this mouth is ever a lie." 'Abdallah gave his compilation the name of Sahifa Sadiqah (the book of truth). For several generations it was taught and transmitted as an independent work; it was later incorporated into the larger collections of the Hadith compiled by Ibn Hanbal and others. Ad-Darimi and Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam reported: Once this same Abdallah had his pupils around him and somebody asked: Which of the two cities will be captured by Muslims first, Rome or Constantinople? Abdallah caused an old box to be brought to him, took a book out of it, and after having turned its pages for awhile, read as follows: "One day when we were sitting around the Prophet to write down what he was saying, someone asked him: Which of the two cities will be captured first, Rome or Constantinople? He replied: The city of the descendants of Heraclius." This narration definitely proves that the Companions of the Prophet were interested even during his lifetime in writing down his very words.

85. More important is the case of Anas. Anas was one of the rare Madinans who could read and write when he was only ten years old, was presented, by his devoted parents, to the Prophet as his personal attendant. He did not quit the company of the Prophet till he died. Remaining night and day in his house, Anas had the opportunity of seeing the Prophet and hearing from him that which was not practicable for others. It is Anas who reports the saying of the Prophet: "Capture science by means of writing." In later times, one of the pupils of Anas reports: "If we insisted (another version states 'if we were numerous') Anas would unroll sheets of documents and say: These are the sayings of the Prophet of which I have noted and also read out to him to correct any mistakes." This important statement speaks not only about the compilation during the lifetime of the Prophet, but also of its collation and verification by the Prophet. The case is cited by numerous classical authorities, such as ar-Ramhurmuzi (d. about 360 H.), al-Hakim (d. 405), al-Khatib al-Baghdadi (d. 463), and these great traditionists cite earlier sources.

In the Introduction to The Sayings of Muhammad, Abdullah Al-Suhrawardy, unfortunately does not give individual citations of where and in what collection of Hadiths, he collected the sayings of the Prophet, p.b.u.h. However, in the introduction to the book, he does say "This small selection from the authentic (i.e. Sahih) utterances of the Prophet cannot claim to be a fair sample of the whole. . . " Now, thousands of sayings have been attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, p.b.u.h. Some are accepted as authentic (i.e. Sahih) and some have been traced to the Companions. Whereas others are debatable. The serious Islamic scholar may wish to examine The Qur'an along with other sources for these Sayings (Hadith) and should consult the Sihah Sitta [the six Collections of Sahih Ahadith (Traditions of the Prophet, p.b.u.h.)] for their own satisfaction. The following quotation from one Tradition will explain the position which Prophet Muhammad, p.b.u.h. intended to assign to Ahadith (Prophetic Traditions):
I have left you two things, and you will not go astray as long as you hold them fast. The one is the book of God, and the other the law (Sunnah) of His Prophet."
Consequently, Prophet Muhammad, p.b.u.h. gave very special injunctions respecting the faithful transmission of his sayings. "I. With reference to the character of those who have handed down the tradition:
(1) Hadisu 's-Sahih, a genuine tradition, is one which has been handed down by truly pious persons who have been distinguished for their integrity.
(2) Hadisu 'l-Hasan, a mediocre tradition, is one the narrators of which do not approach in moral excellence to those of the Sahih class.
(3) Hadisu 'z-Za'if, a weak tradition, is one whose narrators are of questionable authority.

The disputed claims of narrators to these three classes have proved a fruitful source of learned discussion, and very numerous are the works written upon the subject.

Out of these three classes of Hadith (Traditions) the first two are generally accepted without any hesitation. As to Hadisuz-Zaif, of the class number 3, it has to be borne in mind that the 'questionable authority' of narrators of such Hadith reflects only such a minor flaw in the character of the narrator that it was still 'sound' and 'authentic' (Sahih) enough to qualify for inclusion in the seven Sahih collections of Traditions (Sihah Sitta). Even the very highly technical and the most severe "rules of audit" used for such classification purposes did not warrant rejection of such "Zaif" Traditions. For this reason, these Tradition are also acceptable and are not rejected outright -- particularly if the compiler of Sahih books expressly states that it is included as a Zaif Tradition. For a detailed discussion of this subject we refer our readers to the great authoritative works of Shah Waliu-Allah, a highly recognized authority in the science of Hadith.

Even Imam Ibn Hanbal (who is known to be a very strict and meticulous, with the care he used to take in sorting the acceptable from the non-acceptable Traditions) on one occasion conceded to a close friend of his (who himself was a learned scholar in Hadith and had lent a certain collection of Hadith compiled by himself in a book form to Imam Ibn Hanbal.) Iman Hanbal kept the book for quite a while for study and critique. When he returned the book back to his friend, Imam Ibn Hanbal remarked that the book contained a number Zaif Ahadith! Whereupon, his friend remarked that the purpose of compiling this book was not to present a collection from a technical grading and classification purpose, but rather with a view to make them available to the general public for their guidance and benefit. Imam Hanbal then expressly stated his opinion to the effect that yes indeed the public can derive a great deal of profit from it. "As a matter of fact, thanks to you, I have myself benefited from it."

Now readers who are interested in further study of the grading and classification with regards to the original relaters of the Hadith and the links in the chain of narrators of the Traditions and other matters of interest and details are referred to an article entitled "Traditions"-- Editor
 
Index to Sayings

Abstinence 
Adultery 
Aged Persons 
Alms-giving 
Animals
Backbiting
Beauty
Begging
Benefits
Charity
Chastity
Christians and Jews
Cleanliness
Compassion
Conscience
Contentment
Control of Self
Courtesy
Crimes
Cultivation of Land
Dead
Death
Debt
Deliberation
Disposition to Good
Disputation
Divorce
Duty of Believers
Eloquence
Envy
Experience
Forgiveness
Gentleness
God
God's Forgiveness
God's Kindness
Good Works
Heart
Heaven and Hell
Hospitality
Humility
Islam
Jihad
Kindness
Koran
Labour
Learning
Man's Growth
Marriage
Meanness
Mishaps
Modesty
Monopolies
Mothers
Muhammad The Prophet
Muhammad The Prophet's Kindness
Muhammad The Prophet's Mission
Muhammad The Prophet's Prayers
Neighbourliness
Omens
Orphans
Parents
Peacemaking
Poetry
Poverty
Prayer
Pride
Progress
Prophecies
Punishment
Purity
Reason
Relatives
Repentance
Reverence
Riches
Seemliness
Self Indulgence
Servants
Sick
Silence
Sin
Truth
Understanding
Usury
Widows
Wives
Women
World

In God's Name, the Merciful, the Compassionate

According to Abu Dawood these four Sayings of The Prophet contain the summary of Islamic law: Abstinence Adultery Aged Persons Alms-giving Animals Backbiting Beauty Begging Benefits Charity Chastity Christians and Jews Cleanliness Compassion Conscience Contentment Control of Self


Courtesy

Crimes Cultivation of Land Dead Death Debt Deliberation Disposition to Good Disputation Divorce Duty of Believers Eloquence Envy Experience Forgiveness Gentleness God God's Forgiveness God's Kindness Good Works Heart Heaven and Hell Hospitality Humility Islam Jihad Kindness The Koran Labour Learning Man's Growth Marriage Meanness Mishaps Modesty Monopolies Mothers Muhammad The Prophet Muhammad The Prophet's Kindness Muhammad The Prophet's Mission Muhammad The Prophet's Prayers Neighbourliness Omens Orphans Parents Peacemaking Poetry Poverty Prayer Pride Progress Prophecies Punishment Purity Reason Relatives Repentance Reverence Riches Seemliness Self Indulgence Servants Sick Silence Sin Truth Understanding Usury Widows Wives Women World


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