A Treasury of Hadith and Sunnah

hadithandsunnah

A Treasury of Hadith and Sunnah is an out of print compendium of both sayings uttered by the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (called Hadith in Arabic) and actions/deeds of the Holy Prophet (called Sunnah in Arabic). This collection was put together in 1991 by Dr. Mazhar U. Kazi, a member of King Abdulaziz University's Faculty of Medicine in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Hadith and Sunnah were linked to the Holy Prophet through witnesses and then verified by scholars to determine their authenticity. While Hadith and Sunnah are not on the same authoritative level as the Qur'an, they are expected to represent the will of Allah as manifested in the Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, Hadith and Sunnah represent divine guidelines for many Muslims to help live a holy life.

I am not sure about this book. Since I completed a course in Islam, I have maintained an interest in this great religion and have the utmost respect for its believers. With that being said, I have a concern with something Dr. Kazi said in his forward.

I would like to make it clear that the Ahadith presented here are not the literal translations of the noble words of the Holy Prophet S.A.W. I have tried to present their meaning and message in simple and lucid English. This relieves me from the great responsibility of presenting the exact words of the Holy Prophet S.A.W. Nevertheless, I still pray most humbly and sincerely that if I or any of my associates have made an unintentional error, Allah through His bountless [sic] Mercy and Grace may forgive us. Ameen! (9)

Although Dr. Kazi did try to present the best English meanings he could, I am not sure this relieves him of the responsibility. The thing with Islam is that the Arabic does not always translate well into English. From what I have been educated on, the Qur'an is only the Qur'an when read and understood in Arabic. The Qur'an in another language is only a translation of its meaning. I suspect Hadith and Sunnah are the same way regarding Arabic to English conversions.

When I read A Treasury of Hadith and Sunnah, I had to keep this in mind. There were difficult passages that I found to be objectionable at first reading. Here is one that talks about the Holy Prophet and the People of the Books:

28. Abu Hurairah related that the Holy Prophet S.A.W. said:

By Him in Whose hand is my life, whoever amongst Christians and Jews hears about me but does not believe in what has been given to me shall be amongst the inmates of Hell. Muslim (30)

Here is another one about portraits:

386. Ibn 'Umar related that the Holy Prophet S.A.W. said:

Those who make pictures will be chastised on the Day of Judgment and it will be said to them: Now put life into that which you made. Bukhari, Muslim (102)

What Dr. Kazi did was loosely translate these passages into English and then offer them up with very little commentary. As a person with a high interest in both religion and Islam, I believe there might be better ways to convey the meanings of some of the more shocking passages in the Hadith, such as the ones I displayed here. Without commentary, passages like these may actually breed misunderstanding about Islam. The last thing we need (especially in the United States) is more misunderstanding about Islam.

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