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Please note that these translations are not 'finished' translations as such, and are provided for your interest. Any comments, corrections or suggestions you might have are very welcome:
This extract from the work in progress consists of all the entries for the letter Alif. I am following the Penrice Dictionary and Glossary of the Qur'an, revising it against Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon, and other sources. The file here is in a PDF form, and you will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to read it.
This is Imam as-Suyuti's own introduction to his book on the Rijal or narrators of Imam Malik's Muwatta (the narration of Yahya ibn Yahya al-Laythi). See also Rijal: the narrators of the Muwatta Imam Muhammad by Ta-Ha Publishing Ltd.
"The Sciences of Tafsir" is translated from Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi's Kitab at-Tashil li 'Ulum at-Tanzil".
"The author was born in 693 AH. His name was Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad, called al-Qasim, ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi, i.e. from the Arab tribe of Kalb, may Allah be pleased with him and make him contented, and make the Garden his shelter. He was al-Gharnati (from Granada in Andalusia, Spain) and thus European. Ibn Juzayy wrote widely on all the sciences of his day: hadith, fiqh, Qur'anic recitations and tafsir. He died fighting as a shaheed in the Battle of Tareef in the year 741 AH."
(from the introduction to "The Sciences of Tafsir")
The book includes his outline of all of the sciences of commentary on the Qur'an, and his commentary on the isti'adhah, the basmalah, the Fatihah, the last ten surahs of Qur'an from Surat al-Fil to the end, and the first ayat of Surat al-Baqarah.
The following files are PDF - Portable Document Format - files which can be read by the Adobe Acrobat Reader. This is given away by Adobe on many CDs on the covers of computer magazines, but otherwise is available from Adobe themselves. If you have the Acrobat Plugin, you can read these documents on screen with your browser. If you do not, it should save it on to your hard disk so that you can read it later. I have used this format since it allows me to publish a document with a mix of English and Arabic in it. The book was written and the layout done with Nisus Writer on a Macintosh, but PDF is readable on almost any computer.
The Commentary on the Fatihah from the Sciences of Tafsir (84Kb). The Sciences of Tafsir (661Kb). This latter contains almost the entire first introduction on the sciences necessary for tafsir, the commentary on the seeking refuge, the basmalah, the last ten surahs, the Fatihah and on the first ayat of Surat al-Baqarah, with a considerable amount of explanatory notes and footnotes.
This excerpt is an incomplete translation of the section which Ibn Khaldun devotes to the subject of the Mahdi, and comprises in full his study of the ahadith on him.
If we examine first the 'aqidahs which are acknowledged, such as those of at-Tahawi, an-Nasafi, or Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (in his Risalah and the Kitab al-Jami') we find that none of them mention the Mahdi as a fundamental part of the 'aqidah of Islam, whereas all do indeed mention the return of 'Isa, peace be upon him, and the descent of the Dajjal, except in the Risalah, whose 'aqidah is brief.
When we turn to the works of ahadith, we find that Malik in Muwatta, and al-Bukhari mention nothing of the Mahdi at all, although Muslim does mention a hadith that in later times there will be an unnamed noble and generous khalifah. It is inconceivable for these great Imams to have neglected something which is a fundamental pillar of the 'aqidah.
The significance of this section is not to deny that there may be at some point in the future of Islam a great rightly-guided Khalifah, but that it is not a fundamental part of the 'aqidah and that it is a deviation of Islam to 'wait for the Mahdi' in order to establish Islam, wage jihad or restore the Khalifate.
In the later part of this section Ibn Khaldun devotes some space to Sufi writings on the Mahdi, and on some of the historical personages particularly in North Africa who rose in revolt proclaiming themselves to be Mahdis. Ibn Khaldun writes that if there is to be a Mahdi he will have to appear according to the dynamics of political power outlined in the Muqaddimah, and not as in the apocalyptic fantasies of some sources.
This section is by no means the last word on this matter, and Ibn Khaldun's chapter has met with criticism from other hadith scholars throughout the ages, but that is also of the nature of these sciences, since there are few scholars who have escaped criticism for some position they have taken. Some of the criticisms made of him are utterly baseless, such as that he was not a scholar of hadith. This is blatantly untrue since he was educated thoroughly in hadith and indeed later in Cairo taught both fiqh and hadith, and numbered among his pupils the great Ibn Hajar (not necessarily in the science of hadith) who is unquestionably one of the greatest authorities on the subject.
However, this chapter has particular interest for us because of the huge significance that the prophetic ahadith on the Mahdi are given in the time in which we live, and as a corrective to the transformation of the Mahdi into "al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar" (the Awaited Mahdi) whom one of our acquaintance wittily renamed "al-Mahdi al-Muntadhir" (the Waiting Mahdi).
This is Shaykh al-Alawi's introduction to his commentary on the Hikam of Abu Madyan al-Ghawth, may Allah be pleased with both of them. [50Kb]
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