March 28, 2008
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I saw this on Yusuf Smith’s site. It’s a great article from Five Chinese Crackers.
Fury over children being taught together and learning about one another
In one respect, our mid-market tabloids are as reliable as the finest Swiss watches. If anyone anywhere suggests anything about Muslims that doesn’t involve screaming hatred and fear, the tabloids will inject it.
The NUT has suggested that single faith schools undermine community relations, given that they separate children into different groups and keep them apart. A solution the Union has offered involves stopping the spread of faith schools and having children taught about religions by representatives from those religions.
A quote from the NUT General Secretary about the subject (from this Press Association article):
“I believe that there will be real benefits to all our communities and youngsters if we could find space for pupils who are Roman Catholics, Anglican, Methodist, Jewish, Sikh and Muslim to have more religious instruction in schools.
“You could have imams coming in, you could have the local rabbi coming in and the local Roman Catholic priest. If there were opportunities where they all talked together to the youngsters, what a fantastic example that would be.”
You can probably guess the Express headline. Ready?
‘FURY OVER PLAN TO TEACH KORAN IN SCHOOLS’. Marvellous!
The website also has a special ‘Have Your Say’ question: ‘Should Imams teach our children?’ It’s actually quite a balanced and thoughtful open question that offers both sides of what could be a contentious issue for Express readers. Ha! Gotcha! Course it’s not!
Hmmm…I wonder what answer the paper wants us to give.
The fine and front page apology to the McCanns has obviously worked in getting the paper to change its ways and start reporting things properly.
The Mail, which is supposed to be more measured and serious than its thick mid-market rival goes with the headline ‘Fury over plan to let imams teach the Koran in state schools’. To be fair, the article is slighty more balanced than the Express’s, but it involves a worrying statistic:
The call comes as new research today shows the numbers attending mosques in England and Wales will outstrip Roman Catholic churchgoers by 2020.
Christian Research expects Catholic worshippers at Sunday Mass to fall to 679,000 but Muslims at Friday prayer to increase to 683,000. The figures also suggest the number of Muslims at mosques will overtake Church of England members at Sunday services.
Which is bizarre, since according to the Mail, Britain is a Catholic country because of immigrants. In December the paper went with the article ‘Tony Blair converts to Catholicism – as immigration means Britain is now a Catholic country’. Don’t these new researchers read the Mail? Or is it that the paper cherrypicks information to scare its readers with that suggests that there will soon be more of THEM than there are of US? (Insert this week’s baddies into the ‘THEM’ section as appropriate).
What the Mail and Express coverage of the NUT paper ‘In Good Faith’ (not available online yet) shows is how far the tabloids have come in being able to demonise particular ‘out groups’. A few years ago, they managed to turn the term ‘asylum seeker’ into an insult. They’ve now managed to do the same with ‘Muslim’ and ‘Imam’. An Imam is not now the man who leads Muslim prayer – the obvious choice for someone to teach children about Islam – an Imam is someone who tries to brainwash kids into becoming terrorists, someone who is best illustrated by a picture of Abu Hamza lit from the bottom, like a horror film monster.
The Mail appears to have done the same with ‘multiculturalism’. Multiculturalism is, to the Mail, a doctrine that forces people to live separately in ghettoes and never interact with one another, ever. The NUT’s proposal, which is about stopping people from alienating themselves from one another by mixing in schools and being taught about each others’ religions, is greeted by this nonsense from an idiot Tory MP:
“In case the NUT hasn’t heard, multi-culturalism is generally regarded as a failure and even central government is abandoning it.”
Eh? I wish I knew exactly what this numpty means by multiculturalism, but I suspect it means ‘anything at all to do with other cultures and religions that I don’t like’. So, in this case, it’s putting everyone together and teaching them equally about one another. In another case, it could mean making everybody separate and not have to learn anything about one another.
It’s got to the point of being a tired cliche now – but imagine how these articles would look if the same NUT paper were published and the papers decided to go with outraged headlines about Rabbis being able to teach the Talmud, with scary pictures of them lit from the bottom to maximise their scariness potential. It would be a little distasteful, wouldn’t it?
*UPDATE* Both Express stories have been taken down from the website. More on that in ‘Fury over paper printing nonsense front page headlines’.
Fury over paper printing nonsense front page headlines
I was going to do a quick follow up post to Tuesday’s ‘Fury over children being taught together and learning about one another’, focusing on how the coverage on the Daily Express website managed to get comments that used the same actual quotes from the NUT (which didn’t appear in the paper’s coverage) to prove that the article was inaccurate and accurate at the same time – but both Express articles have been disappeared. They are unstories now, whisked away by the Express secret police.
The likelihood is that these stories, like the ‘MIGRANTS TAKE ALL NEW JOBS IN BRITAIN’ fiasco of last November, have been taken down because they’re being investigated for being misleading.*
So, less than a week after having to pay a large fine and print embarrasing apologies on its front page for producing misleading stories with no evidence to back them up, the paper has to remove another of its front page stories from its website for being potentially misleading.
Were this any other paper, its editor would surely be handing in his resignation right now to avoid being fired by the owner. Whether than happens here remains to be seen.
One thing that’s for sure though – if the paper has a new policy of removing articles from the website whenever they’re complained about for being misleading, it could have a very empty site indeed.
If you do have a complaint about anything that appears in the Express or any other paper, see the Press Complaints Commission. Probably nothing will happen and you’ll be told your complaint isn’t being upheld months and months after you’ve made it, but at least the Express seems to be removing stories that receive complaints from its website, so it might not be entirely futile.
*I’m waiting for confirmation that this is why the stories have gone. If by some chance there’s a different reason, I’ll clarify here.
March 26, 2008
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I was actually out of the country when the whole “Sharia law” debate started by Archbishop Rowan Williams a month or two back. For those who have forgotten, here is a reminder:
What did the Archbishop really say?
Clearly, some parts of the media picked up on what it wanted to and turned it into the standard trash we see every day about Johnny Foreigner taking over and other such absurdities.
I just wanted to focus on what was reported not too long after of Lord Carey of Clifton’s response to the article, which was carried on all the tabloid front pages i.e. that “Sharia would be disastrous” in what was termed as an “attack on his predecessor”.
Lord Carey’s Response in the News of the World
This led to some negative press for Lord Carey from the Muslim community which in the pursuit of justice I’d like to briefly address.
Firstly, a reminder to myself and all others: despite there being a few honest attempts in the media to portray people accurately (the BBC for example being one of those that get it right slightly more than they get it wrong), the tabloid press have a clear agenda to sensationalise and twist words for maximum emotional, and often xenophobic, impact. This should of course be clear to all people by now living in the 21st Century.
Secondly, Muslims have a divine responsibility to try their very best not to hold people to account on the basis of third party reports. Clarification from the sources is obligated in Surat’l-Hujurat, and thinking the best opinion of others and their statements is a divine principle of Islam, accorded to all people regardless of religion. Clearly, this is difficult in our age where we are more detached from the sources than ever before and the need for immediate information and even more immediate response and action has become a priority for all those working in da’wah and local/national/international religious, social and political relations. We are often forced to act upon what we read and some media sources we put our trust in, which might be acceptable as long as we correct ourselves and show justice if/when the truth becomes apparent to the contrary.
Thirdly, as a minority in the UK, the Muslim community must bear with and express patience as the only country we know as home struggles and experiments on how to best deal with the very real different challenges it faces due to mass immigration, highly visible religiously practising minorities (and in some places, “majorities” even?) and the difficult issues brought about through international politics and the like. This is not easy for either the government, the Christian and atheist/agnostic majorities and for British Muslims either – every word, definition, attempt, experiment and policy is under the most incredible scrutiny and the pressure to be politically correct in a subject which is redefining politics itself is actually quite galling.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stand up and respond to that which is blatantly wrong or unjust; but it does mean that patience and allowing the dialogue to develop through rough and sticky patches is a must if we are to ensure the best solution for the long-term future of “multi-cultural” Britain.
I say this as prelude to a meeting I attended yesterday with Lord Carey in which we discussed his response to Archbishop Williams and here are my observations:
- The tabloids did indeed misquote Lord Carey and actually his contention or the “disaster” was not based upon his view of “Sharia” (which even if it was, so what?) but rather the implications and the premises of the suggestions made by Archbishop Williams.
- Lord Carey made three points, two of which I agree with and the last I don’t, and we discussed it. Very briefly, firstly, all citizens need to respect the law of the land. I agree. Secondly, it is incorrect to suggest that English Common Law as it is is based upon rights, rather it is also based upon truths. I wholeheartedly agree and more on that later. Thirdly, the current law is sufficient enough to deal with all British people. I respectfully disagree and my practical evidences and experiences prove that and they were presented.
- Lord Carey re-iterated his respect for the current Archbishop and his right to make those points and lamented the fall-out and the mispresentation post the article. With a bit more foresight, a lot of this could have been avoided.
I end by just wishing to revisit the second point that Lord Carey made, a very interesting and correct one as far as I am concerned. Archbishop Williams argued that as a legal system based upon respecting the rights of others, there might be some possibility of introducing changes that help the rights of others. I applaud this conclusion because as an Imam, it will help me personally prevent greater abuses of Islamic personal law where in the marriages we conduct, the men avoid civil registration to usurp the rights of the woman, or avoid paying up debts, or avoid the involvements of parents and elders in the community etc.
Yes, Muslims should indeed have a higher ethical and moral guide and “fear Allah” with greater taqwah – but just like every other British and human citizen in the world, need the threat of the stick to keep them in place. Whether that stick takes the form of a blade in a Muslim country or a crushing financial penalty here in the UK, the stick will still help those who are trying to maintain social stability and cohesion in their daily struggles with their rapidly developing and diverse communities. One just wishes that the stick doesn’t have to be brought out too often.
So I do indeed appreciate any dialogue that might help Muslim Judges/Imams in their work as Archbishop Williams suggested. Yet he did make a mistake when he suggested that the Law is based upon “rights only” and possibly implying that it is not based upon “truth”, and here we mean by that “divine truth”. It seems that the over-liberalisation of the Church and the pressures of Secularism have impinged upon the definitions used for Common Law and the danger of that is that we forget that Christian Biblical teaching is the real basis of law although not very visible, and interestingly for Muslims, a few orthodox Islamic legal rulings/maxims have found their way into the legal system that tries to ensure universal divine justice for its citizens. Whether these principles are dressed up as English, Christian or Islamic are irrelevant as long as we recognise their divine and “truth” nature and the people benefit from them being implemented.
In conclusion, I wish to celebrate the ongoing discussion in our country with respect to the role of the state and its diverse citizens; I respect and appreciate Archbishop William’s conclusions but I also agree with Lord Carey’s contentions that we must protect the system from over-secularisation, however well-intended. Finally, again, the Muslim community in the West needs to have patience with those sincere attempts to solve the very real challenges that we are only too well aware of every day.
March 25, 2008
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(This is for you Nath and for the other brother who asked, in summary from an earlier posting, and refers to a normal Christian funeral…)
Some of you requested the evidences for the permissibility of attending. In brief:
1. ‘Ali b. Abi Tālib (radhy Allāhu ‘anhu) came to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said, “Your uncle, the misguided one, has died.” “Go and bury him,” replied the Prophet. (al-Nasā’i, 190).
In the version in the Musannaf, Ibn Abi Shaybah’s narration adds that after ‘Ali did that, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) made a great du‘ā for him and then told him to make ghusl due to the mud and dirt that had accrued. (3/228 )
2. The Companions of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) attended the funeral of the Christian Umm al-Hārith b. Abi Rabī‘ah. (ibid, 3/228 )
3. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was given permission to visit his mother’s grave. (Muslim)
4. Abu Wā’il narrated that he told ‘Umar (radhy Allāhu ‘anhu) that his mother, a Christian, had passed away, who then replied, “Get on your ride and stay in front of her (funeral procession)” (8, Musannaf, 3/228 )
5. Sa‘īd b. Jubayr said that a Christian man died and so his Muslim son handed over his funeral affairs to the Christian community. This was mentioned to ibn ‘Abbās who said, “And what would have happened if he had gone with him, buried him and asked for forgiveness for him whilst he was alive?” (10, Musannaf, 3/229)
It is not permissible for you to partake in the religious service itself as it will be a “full blessing”. You must avoid that part and offer condolences to the family, and you may partake in their procession to the Crematorium (if they are doing so) but you must avoid the cremating itself as this is a prohibited act.
The difficulty is in the actual hall itself where the service is being offered, it being an act of ‘ibadah and thus should be avoided which can clearly cause offence to those attending in their emotional state. Thus, one needs to utilise methods of staying at the back in the reception hall and being subtle in that fashion to avoid listening to their “blessing” yet ensuring that the grieving recognise your honour and respect for the dead.
Finally, this is all in line with the spirit of Shari’ah, a system that respects the dead of all nations and was brought to us by a Prophet who was sent as a mercy to all mankind.
And Allah knows best.
March 18, 2008
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…whilst you’re out in the shopping centre, to relieve yourself and make wudhu privately, and then hear the banging on the door from the guy in the wheelchair telling you to hurry up in there as you meticulously work on washing those elbows properly, do you … erm … quickly finish and then walk out blagging a limp?
Just asking really… as you do.
March 16, 2008
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…then maybe all the Brit-Paks who’ve gone to the Emirates might know something that we don’t.
Anyone who has driven in the Middle East in general (I suppose the “Muslim world” some might even argue) and then the UAE in specific, will know that the Arabs have only one intention once they get on the road: to kill you and to kill themselves. Astaghfirullah, they are the worst and most dangerous drivers possible. Period. Sweeping generalisation intended.
Maybe all those on holiday out there – sorry, Hijrah – will get their dreams of Shahadah. I bet they didn’t expect it in a burning car though…
Horrific accident on Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway near Ghantoot
(go through all 24 pictures and try and understand that something like this happens over there every week)
March 13, 2008
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In a shocking revelation yesterday, Shaykh ‘Abd’l-Muhsin al-Obaikan was caught and filmed dancing at a wedding party in Saudi.
Saudi sheikh in wedding dance row
As an adviser to the Saudi Ministry of Justice and a member of the Shura Council, he’s hit back and has condemned rumours that are being circulated via the internet about the video clip that shows the Sheikh taking part in the traditional Saudi ‘Ardha’ dance at the walimah.
This is not the behaviour expected from our Mashayakh. It’s difficult not to be incredibly disappointed.
I mean for crying out loud, of all the dances he could have chosen to get filmed on, he chose…the Ardha?!
Man, if you’re going to get your groove on, it’s got to be the Dabkah.
Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about bro.
(Disclaimer: I am free from anyone googling/youtubing “dabkah” and the subsequent consequences as a result of their search!)
March 11, 2008
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يعلن مركز البخاري عن
مقرأة لجامع الترمذي
للأيام من فجر الجمعة 21/3/2008م إلى مساء ليلة الثلاثاء 25/3/2008م
بإشراف الشيخ كهلان الجبوري
ولمزيد من المعلومات يرجى الاتصال بنا:
Markaz al-Bukhary, 206 Burton Rd,
West Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2LW
T: 0161 374 6648
March 9, 2008
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A recent revival in what is known as the Maqra’ah in the Arab world and now in the West slowly, bodes well for all those students of Hadīth and lovers of the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam).
A “Maqra’ah” refers to a reading of a text, usually a Hadīth source, in an intense fashion over a number of sittings on usually continuous days or as best possible by the participants. The recital is usually supervised by a scholar who has an ijāzah in that text and is aware of the subtle intricacies of the text and sanad and is able to ensure an authentic transmission during the reading.
The reading is of course incredibly fast, only carried out by the most proficient students or scholars, utilising various styles of qirā‘ah, all faster than then well known Qur’ānic hadr speed - it needs to be of course if the expected speed of at least 1000 hadīth per day is to be achieved (with isnād).
This might confuse some people, what with the lack of time to fully reflect upon the wisdoms and secrets of the text, or the lack of time for an explanation of difficult and strange phrases/words. In reality, attendees have to appreciate that a Maqra’ah is not a lesson, or a commentary, or a study or anything else that will cover such queries as above, rather it is used by those attendees to perfect their recitation, to become familiar with the narrators, and most importantly to make “dhabt” or affirm for themselves the exact contents of a particular text or source.
The benefits of such a practice have been well known to the scholars of our nation for many generations yet due to the difficulties of our time and the modern day context, we have seen a drop in this art and beneficial sitting, alongside the other problems experienced such as the free-time of the supervising scholar, the lack of scholars with the correct credentials to lead, the lengths of the texts, the unsuitability of the students etc.
Clearly to revive such a noble practice, we need to remind ourselves what is required from those Tullāb’l-‘Ilm who wish to partake as well as take a glimpse back to our Nubalā’ who practised this from the major Imams of Islam.
For the student, an eloquent and free tongue for reciting is a must, alongside high energy and fitness levels to ensure drowsiness is held at bay. Naturally, before this for all participants, there needs to be a real keenness and desire to learn, immense patience, and of course the most important: a pure intention to progress for the sake of Allah ‘azza wa jall and His Deen alone.
For the supervising scholar, an acquaintance with the text if not an ijāzah is highly recommended, although this is becoming less of a problem with the excellent muhaqqaq and mustakhraj versions of these various texts in our hands due to the diligence and blessing of our Hadīth scholars.
Here now are some examples of those scholars before us who would partake in a regular Maqra’ah of the sacred texts and some of the details of how they did it.
- al-Khatīb al-Baghdādi (d. 463h)
He read the entire Sahīh of Imām al-Bukhāri upon Ismā‘īl b. Ahmed b. ‘Abdillāh al-Dharīr al-Hīrī, according to the riwāyah of one of its most famous narrators, al-Kushmīhanī. He recited it completely in three sessions, two of them starting at Maghrib and finishing at Fajr time, and the last session starting late morning and finishing at Fajr! (Tārīkh’l-Baghdād)
This equates to over 7500 hadīth (!) thus it is no surprise then that al-Khatīb was called the “Hāfidh of the East”, and seen as the master of those Hadīth texts he taught, rahimullāh.
This story about al-Khatīb is well known, about which Imām al-Dhahabi said in al-Siyar, “By Allah, this is a recital of which faster has never ever been heard of.”
He also said in Tārīkh’l-Islām, “This is something that I do not know anyone in our time can do.”
In a wonderful exchange on the same story, al-Sakhāwi asked his illustrious Shaykh, Ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalāni, “Have you ever spent your entire day in such recital (that of al-Khatīb)?” Ibn Hajr replied, “No, rather my recital of the Sahīh was in ten sessions although if they had been continuous, it would have been less than his number of days. But what is the dust compared to the Stars! Most certainly Al-Khatīb’s rahimhullāh recitation was perfect in its accuracy and excellence, as well as benefit and clarity to the listeners!” (al-Jawāhir wa’l-Durar fī Tarjumat’l-Shaykh’l-Islām Ibn Hajr)
- ‘Abdullāh b. Sa‘īd b. Lubbāj al-Umawi (d.436h)
It is narrated in al-Sila that in the year 433h he read the Sahīh of Imām Muslim in the main Masjid of Cordoba over the period of a week, with two sittings a day in the morning and evening.
- Al-Mu’taman al-Sāji (d. 507h)
Imām al-Dhahabi relates in al-Siyar on the authority of Al-Silafi that Al-Mu’taman read the book Al-Muhaddith al-Fāsil of al-Rāmahrmazi in a single session. This is a book which contains over 800 marfū‘, mawqūf and athar narrations from the early generations!
- Talhah b. Mudhaffar al-‘Althi al-Hanbali (d. 593h)
It is narrated in both al-Dhayl ‘Alā Tabaqāt’l-Hanābilah and Tabaqāt’l-Mufassirīn that he recited the Sahīh of Imām Muslim in three sessions!
He was an ‘Ālim of many sciences and an ascetic, described by al-Hāfidh al-Mundhiri as having excellent and accurate recitation. When he recited the Jamharah of Ibn Durayd upon ibn al-Qassār, due to his immense speed yet accuracy, ibn al-Qassār asked those attending, “Has he memorised this book?!”
- Al-‘Izz b. ‘Abd’l-Salām (d. 660h)
Known as the Sultān of the ‘Ulemā’, he (rahimhullāh) recited the lengthy Nihāyat’l-Matlab of Imām al-Haramayn al-Juwayni in three days. Ibn Fahd narrated in Lahdh’l-Alhādh, “Our Shaykh al-Hāfidh Burhān’l-Dīn (al-Halabi) said, “I was told that Shaykh ‘Izz’l-Dīn b. ‘Abd’l-Salām would leave for the Masjid on Wednesday with a copy of the Nihāyah of Imām al-Haramayn and stay there all day, through Thursday and into Friday just before the (Jumu‘ah) Prayer, reading this book.””
A few scholars disputed this claim due to the huge size of the Nihāyah to which Shaykh Sirāj’l-Dīn al-Bulqīni explained that this was not impossible simply because Imām ‘Izz’l-Dīn knew the book so well, and had no problems understanding it and thus had no need to stop and ponder over difficult issues.
This is classically what the Maqra’ah focuses on, the reading as opposed to the stopping and reflective pondering, which is to be reserved for times of study and learning the text as opposed to its recital.
- Ibn al-Abbār (d. 658h)
Imām al-Dhahabi mentioned in al-Siyar that ibn al-Abbār recited the Sahīh of Imām Muslim upon the Muhaddith al-Mu‘ammar al-Hajri al-Andalūsi (d. 591h) in six days.
- Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728h)
His reading and periods of isolation are well known; his student Ibn ‘Abd’l-Hādi mentions in Mukhtasar Tabaqāt ‘Ulema’l-Hadīth that Ibn Taymiyyah recited the Ghaylāniyāt in a single session.
This classical book is a large collection of Hadīth authored by Imām Abu Bakr Muhammad b. ‘Abdillāh b. Ibrāhim b. ‘Abdaway al-Baghdādi al-Shāfi‘ī al-Bazzāz (d. 360h), but then narrated and collected by his student Abu Tālib Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Ibrāhīm b. al-Ghaylān. It is called the Ghaylāniyāt because he was the last to narrate this book from his Shaykh with the highest and purest isnād. This book was given much importance by the earlier scholars, both in working upon it such as al-Dāraqutni’s early takhrīj, and then the studying of it by major Imams such as Ibn Hajr and Ibn Kathīr.
The Ghaylāniyāt consists of almost 1100 hadīth with isnād. Thus, let’s revisit again that Ibn Taymiyyah would recite the Ghaylāniyāt in a single sitting!
- al-Hāfidh al-Mizzi (d. 742h)
Al-Hafidh Abu’l-Hajjāj al-Mizzi recited the Mu‘jam’l-Kabīr of al-Tabarāni upon al-Birzāli in sixty sessions.
- Al-Hāfidh al-Dhahabi (d. 748h)
Imām al-Dhahabi (rahimullāh) has narrated to us much of the way of the ‘Ulemā’ and their love of the Maqra’ah to revise texts and partake in the blessings of Hadīth as well as getting closer to the sources and evidences of sacred knowledge. But other types of books were also recited as he himself explains, that he recited the Sīrah of Ibn Hishām upon al-Abarqūhī in only six days, despite its size.
- Sirāj’l-Dīn Ibn al-Mulaqqin (d. 804h)
This great Muhaddith read two volumes of Imām al-Tabari’s Al-Ahkām in a single day as narrated in al-Lahdh’l-Alhādh.
- Hāfidh Zayn’l-Dīn al-‘Irāqi (d. 806h)
The great Muhaddith recited the Sahīh of Imām Muslim is six sessions, as narrated by al-Fāsi in Dhayl’l-Taqyīd and in Lahdh’l-Alhādh, which adds that in the final session, al-Hāfidh al-‘Irāqi read the whole final third of the Sahīh also in the presence of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali with his own copy. This was all read upon the great Ibn al-Khabbāz, the Muhaddith of his time, who had his own isnād direct to Imām Muslim by samā‘ah.
It is also narrated in Dhayl’l-Taqyīd that al-Hāfidh al-‘Irāqi recited the monumental Musnad of Imām Ahmed upon Ibn al-Khabbāz in thirty separate sessions!
- al-Hāfidh Ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalāni (d. 852h)
The Imām of the Muhaddithīn, the one without comparison in this most noble of sciences. Taqi’l-Dīn al-Fāsi and al-Sakhāwi both described Ibn Hajr’s recitation as very fast, yet beautiful, and compared it to that of al-Khatīb al-Baghdādi.
We have mentioned above his reading of al-Jāmi‘ al-Sahīh of Imām al-Bukhāri in ten sessions, which al-Sakhāwi later added were of four hours each in length and thus only 40 hours in total!
Ibn Hajr himself mentions in his biography of his Shaykh, ‘Abdullāh b. ‘Amr b. ‘Alī al-Hindi Abi’l-Ma‘āli (d. 807h) in his book al-Majma‘ al-Mu’assis lil-Mu‘jam’l-Mufahris that he himself recited the entire Musnad of Imām Ahmed upon Abi’l-Ma‘āli in fifty three sessions.
Ibn Hajr again mentions in his al-Majma‘ al-Mu’assis that he recited the Sahīh of Imām Muslim upon his Shaykh Ibn al-Kuwayk (d. 821h) in five sessions. Al-Sakhāwi elaborated further that this amounted to approximately two and a bit days.
Al-Sakhāwi said in al-Jawāhir that Ibn Hajr recited al-Sunan’l-Kubrā of Imām al-Nasā’i in ten sessions, each session lasting approximately four hours, finishing from it in crowd consisting of the noble and the Imams on the Day of ‘Āshūrā’ of 814h. Please note that there are almost 12000 hadīth in this book!
Al-Sakhāwi also said in al-Jawāhir that Ibn Hajr recited al-Sunan of Imām ibn Mājah in four sessions.
Ibn Hajr mentioned in his al-Majma‘ al-Mu’assis during the biography of ‘Umar b. Muhammad b. Ahmed al-Bālisi (al-Sālihi) that he himself recited al-Mu‘jam’l-Saghīr of Imām al-Tabarāni upon the Shaykh in a single session between Dhuhr and ‘Asr – Ibn Hajr’s students considered this was the fastest the Shaykh had ever recited, especially as there are approximately 1500 hadīth therein!
Although there are many more scholars that can be mentioned, from the early generations and the later generations up to our present time now, it is fitting that we end with the Sayyid of them all – Ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalāni (rahimhullāh).
It is heartening to see what a continual recital of all sacred texts, with the Qur’ān at the head of them of course, can do to the mind, the heart, and the tongue. Although this isn’t what most younger students will be needing in their development, it is certainly a tool by which those lovers of knowledge can tune their skills in the appreciation and eventual learning and memorisation of that which is most beloved and beneficial to the Muslim in this life and the Hereafter.
One hopes that this Nation, the East of it and the West of it, continues to revive those practices that will help solidify our heritage, preserve our unique identity and help us achieve the ultimate objective of gaining Allah’s pleasure through that which He has sent down through his beloved Messenger Muhammad (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam).
For further study, please see Majālis’l-Hijāziyyah Li Qirā‘at Kutub’l-Sunnat’l-Nabawiyyah of ‘Abd’l-Rahman al-Faqīh and Qawā‘id’l-Tahdīth of Jamāl’l-Dīn al-Qāsimi.