Book Review: Mukhtar al-Hadith


Title: Mukhtar al-Hadith al-Sharif; A Selection of Noble Prophetic Traditions
Author: Al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz
Translation and Notes: Fa’iz b. Amr
Publisher: The Ribat Institute 2011
Chinese Calligraphy by Zainab An Hui – [Translation: May God enlighten one who hears and comprehends my speech and relates it just as he heard it – A Prophetic Hadith]

This is a collection of 59 hadith or sayings of the Prophet ﷺ. The hadiths in this work were drawn from the work Shifa al-Saqim of al-Habib Muhammad al-Haddar (may God be pleased with him), which is based on al-Suyuti’s work titled Fayd al-Qadir. The hadiths are numbered, they are in vowelized Arabic followed by the English translation. All the hadiths in this collection are short and concise and are perfect for memorization, which is one of the purposes of the book. When the hadiths are read in Arabic they exemplify the beauty of the Arabic language and the concise eloquence and cadence of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. The last portion of the book is a series of brief biographies of authors of the major hadith collections.

Habib Umar bin Hafiz traces his lineage back to Ali Zayn al-Abidin b. Husayn al-Sibt b. Ali b. Abu Talib and Fatima al-Zahra, the daughter of the Seal of the Prophets, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. He was born in Tarim, Yemen and memorized Quran at an early age and subsequently continued his seeking of sacred knowledge by traveling to and residing in cities such as Tarim, al-Bayda and two holy cities of Mecca and Medina. He has taught in al-Shihr and Oman before returning to Tarim and establishing Dar al-Mustafa, a traditional seminary which students of the sacred sciences, from all over the world, flock to.

The following are a few of the hadiths quoted in the book:

Hadith Twelve:

The Messenger of God ﷺ said, ‘Keep the company of elders, ask the scholars, and mix with the wise.’ Tabarani.

Hadith Eighteen:

The Messenger of God ﷺ said, ‘The finest of you are those most beautiful in character.’ Bukhari and Muslim.

Hadith Twenty-Seven

The Messenger of God ﷺ said, ‘The All-Merciful, Blessed and Most High, shows mercy to those who are merciful to others. Be merciful to those on earth and He in heaven will be merciful to you.’ Ahmad.

Hadith Thirty-Four

The Messenger of God ﷺ said, ‘The food of two is sufficient for three, and the food for three is sufficient for four. Bukhari and Muslim.

Hadith Thirty-Seven

The Messenger of God ﷺ said, ‘The reward for the gatherings of remembrance is Paradise.’ Ahmad.

Hadith Forty-Seven

The Messenger of God ﷺ said, ‘Whoever prays al-Isha in congregation, it is as if he has stood [praying] half the night, and whoever prays al-Subh in congregation, it is as if he has prayed the entire night.’ Muslim.

Shaykh Mohammed Aslam has a video recording of the Arabic recitation of the hadith, an excellent aid to memorization, which can be accessed here:

May Allah increase Habib Umar and the scholars and students of Tarim. May Allah bless us to understand, reflect, memorize, enact upon and pass on the words of our Beloved Messenger ﷺ. Ameen.

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