Abu’l-Fadl Shihab al-Din Ahmad ibn `Ali al-Kannani al `Asqalani, better known by the name of Imam Ibn Hajar, was born in Cairo in 773/1372. He began his
studies at the age of five and completed the memorisation of the Qur’an by the age of nine. A Shafi`i scholar and hadith master, he studied under renowned scholars in Cairo, Yemen, and the Hijaz. Known as Shaykh al-Islam, scholars travelled from far away lands to take knowledge from him. Appointed to the position of chief-judge several times, he authored more than fifty works on hadith, history, biography, Qur’anic exegesis, poetry, and Shafi`i jurisprudence; among the most famous of them is his fourteen-volume commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari called Fath al-Bari. He passed away in Cairo in 852/1449.
When Allah the Almighty, in His infinite wisdom and divine mercy, created the human soul, He intended its eternal abode to be in the Garden of Bliss. However, the journey to this eternal abode is indeed full of many obstacles, be it the splendours of this world, the passions of our lower self (nafs), or the whispers of Satan. It is the successful preparation for this journey that will – with the Mercy of Allah – ultimately lead us to that Garden. This preparation is based on comprehending the Divine Message and internalising its teachings in our lives.
Many a noble and strong willed soul has undertaken this journey, and what lies in the Munabbihat are the valuable pieces of advice that represent the fruits of their experience. A Prophetic tradition states, “Wisdom is the lost property of the believer. If he finds it then he is most deserving of it.” This book is a beautiful compilation of some of the wise sayings of the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), of the Companions, and of the pious predecessors and ascetics. Reflecting on these wise sayings and heeding these counsels will assist in infusing us with the requisite awareness and fervour to prepare for the Day of Judgement. Verily, we are in need of such counsel, for our Day of Judgement begins not when the world ends, but when our life comes to an end – which is indeed imminent – as the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) stated.
The author, Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani – a scholar of immense stature, especially in the field of hadith – adopted a unique approach in compiling these sayings. He ordered these sayings numerically, beginning each chapter with Prophetic traditions followed by sayings of the Companions, then those of the pious predecessors. This arrangement bears testimony to his encyclopaedic knowledge and creativity.
May the immense wisdom contained in this book enlighten our hearts, open our eyes and awaken us from our state of heedlessness to our real task in this dunya – preparing for the Day of Judgement, as Allah the Almighty says, For surely it is not the eyes that are blind, but it is the hearts that are in the chests.
(Foreward by Hasan Al-Banna in the book “Preparing for the Day of Judgement”)
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