Book Review: The Unique Qualities of the Prophet and His Community

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Title: The Unique Qualities of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and His Community [Khasa’is al-Nabi wa Ummatihi]
Publisher: Wasila Press 2015
Author: Imam Yusuf al-Nabahani
Translation: Ustadh Rashad Jameer
Biography: Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad

This book is a collection of forty ahadith on the unique qualities of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his community. The forty ahadtih in this collection were compiled by Imam Yusuf Nabahani. The book includes the Arabic script, with their diacritical marks, the translation of the hadith, its source, and footnotes where applicable. There is an appendix at the back of the book in regards to tawassul (Seeking a means to Allah), which is an often misunderstood concept. The back covers sheds more light on the content of the book:

Set in English with vocalised Arabic script, this collection of forty ahadith on the Khasa’is or Unique Qualities of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and His community is compiled by one of the foremost judges, lovers of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and spiritual scholars of the recent-past – Imam Yusuf b. Isma’il al-Nabahani (may Allah be pleased with him).

This selection of the special distinctions exclusively possessed by the Chosen Prophet (Al-Mustafa) is gleaned from Imam al-Suyuti’s Khasa’is al Kubra and the ahadith. Recommended for all lovers of Islam, the purpose of this science is to elucidate the supreme rank and magnificent nature of the best of creation (peace be upon him).

Including an appendix elucidating the oft-misunderstood concept of seeking an intermediary to Allah (tawassul) through the Story of the Bedouin mentioned in classical exegesis, whose poetry is still displayed on the white pillars that surround the Prophet’s noble resting place (wajiha sharifa), and commentaries by Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari and Abd al-Ra’uf al-Munawi on the Hadith of the Blind Man which is a testimony for the permissibility of tawassul, this short book is essential reading for the followers of Sayyiduna Muhammad (peace be upon him).

“A wonderful short treatise that inflames the reader’s heart in the remembrance of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, and brings it back to life. This book also clarifies many issues that confuse the Muslims today, preventing them from truly appreciating and utilizing the miraculous blessing with which God has endowed us by having the Prophet in our lives.” – Shaykh Idris Watts (www.abuzahra.org)

Ustadh Rashad Jameer writes in the Foreword:

Every Muslim has a duty to learn about this distinctive side of the Muhammadan nature (peace be upon him) so as to avoid the blame that Allah gave to the disbelievers: Or do they not recognize their Messenger that they deny him? (Quran 23:69). Therefore, learning about his biography (peace be upon him), his character, his personality, his miracles and his exclusive qualities (khasa’is) is spiritually obligatory for each and every Muslim.

The following are a few excerpts of the book:

Hadith 12

‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), “How did you become the most eloquent of us, yet you did not reside except amongst us.” He (peace be upon him) said, “The language of Isma’il had died out; then Jibril came with it and had me memorize it.” (Abu Nu’aym and others)

Hadith 28

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said that they Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “My community was given something which no other community was given: their saying at the time of calamity ‘Inna lillahi, wa inna ilayhi raji’un‘ (Indeed we belong to Allah and indeed to Him we are returning). (Tabarani)

‘Abd al-Razzaq and Ibn Jarir recorded it in their exegeses (tafsir) that Sa’id ibn Jubayr (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “No one was given the phrase Inna lillahi, wa inna ilayhi raji’un (istirja’) other than this nation. Did you not hear the words of Yaqub (peace be upon him) in the Quran Oh, how great is my sorrow over Yusuf!

Translator’s Note: The Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed Muslims to recite the prayer ‘inna lillahi, wa inna ilayhi raji’un‘, which in Arabic is called istirja, upon hearing the news of a death or at any time of tribulation. This statement often mistranslated as ‘We came from Allah..’ is better rendered ‘We belong to Allah and to Him we are returning’. This sacred formula taught to us by Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him), among several benefits, cures two major traumas people feel when losing a loved one.

Firstly, when people lose a loved one they sometimes ask, ‘Why did this happen?’ or worse, blame God, asking, ‘Why did God do this to me?’ The first part of this Prophetic statement reminds us that we belong to Allah, and the nature of property is that the owner can do with it as he likes. (Ghazali). Hence, this first part reminds us that creation belongs to Allah and thus He has the right to do as He wills with His creation in His Infinite Wisdom.

Secondly, those people whose faith (iman) has not yet fully developed may think next, ‘When will I ever see this person again?’ or ‘Am I ever going to see this person again?’ This is answered by the second part of the formula that ‘We are all returning to Him’, reminding us that people shall reunite with their loved ones on the Day of Judgement after death.

[The verse of the words of Yaqub (peace be upon him) is verse 12:84 in the Holy Qur’an.]

The ahadith in this book leave the reader with a greater awe of the rank and the chosen nature of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). It also imbues you with gratitude and joy that Allah has privileged us to be part his community. It leaves the reader to aspire to be a better representative of Allah’s Beloved Prophet, to walk in his way, and to attain the Prophet’s proximity on the Last Day, (peace be upon him).

Many individuals were a part of publishing this book, such as Shaykh Abdul Aziz Suraqah and Shaykh Idris Watts as editors and Shaykh Zakariyya Patel as proof reader. May Allah bless them and increase their rank. May Allah accept the efforts of everyone who helped in making this book available to us, Ameen.

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