Book List: Rabīʿ al-Awwal

There is no shortage of writing devoted to the most praised, the greatest of all mankind: Rasūlallāh ﷺ. Works on sīrah alone number in the thousands. To mark this Rabīʿ al-Awwal, we have compiled a list of books focusing on Prophet Muḥammad’s ﷺ life, teachings and rights upon us.

Whilst Martin Lings and The Sealed Nectar are household names, below are a few titles that examine the life of the Prophet ﷺ from different angles. The authors draw connections to the fields of Islamic law and ethics, and demonstrate how his ﷺ life and legacy are evidence against his critics.

Read previous book recommendations

The Path of Muhammad ﷺ: A Book on Islamic Morals and Ethics

Imam Birgivi

Sixteenth century Ottoman scholar Imam Birgivi was committed to the ideal of an Islamic society, especially how it manifested during the time of the Prophet ﷺ. He believed we must return to this model so that society may be cleansed of immorality and replete with God-consciousness.

Tarīqa Muḥammadiyya is a treatise on purification of the heart, body and soul. Imam Birgivi discusses the many unlawful traits a believer must be wary of, their symptoms and how to find the cure. Taking a deep dive into spirituality, he paints a clear picture of Rasūlallāh ﷺ: how he navigated trials through righteous character, ethics and morals, and curated a society revolving around these values.

Available in English, Turkish and Arabic.

Pages: 370


A furious person who does not have the strength to take revenge
swallows his anger. Then his inner being becomes inflamed with
vengefulness, destroying him. Wrath is a passion produced by the agitation of the blood in the heart at an encounter with danger. It is also a release of anger, which comforts a person after being unjustly hurt. In some cases, it is a necessary feeling, as the world and sacred things may be protected by it. An excess of anger becomes a sickness of the heart called fury. It causes great damage and injury to the one who is furious, perhaps more so than to his adversary. Worse, it is a contagious sickness, infecting in full force whoever is around. Fury renders a person totally mindless and unaware of the consequences of his ravings and violence.

Provisions of the Afterlife | زاد المعاد في هدي خير العباد

Ibn al-Qayyim

Ibn al-Qayyim’s Zād al-Maʿād is at its core a biographical work on the Prophet ﷺ and his life, with elements of fiqh (jurisprudence) and Prophetic wisdom woven into each report and anecdote. It functions as a comprehensive manual that uses the Prophetic example at various points in his life to offer guidance on everything from maintaining the pillars of Islam to the etiquette of asking permission.

It is available in both Arabic and an English translation titled Provisions of the Afterlife.

Pages: 932


From here it is understood the overriding necessity for the slaves to know the Messenger ﷺ and the message which he brought, because there is no path to success except at his hands, nor to know good from evil except through him, so no matter how urgent the need or how great the necessity, the need of the slave for the Messenger ﷺ is far above it. And if happiness is dependent on his ﷺ guidance, then it is incumbent upon every person who loves salvation for himself, to know his ﷺ guidance and his life story (Seerah) and all his affairs in order to avoid the path of the ignorant and the people in this matter vary between those with a little knowledge, those with much knowledge and those who know nothing whatsoever; and Bounty is in Allah’s Hand, He gives it to whom He wills and Allah is the Owner of great Bounty.

Misquoting Muhammad

Jonathan A.C. Brown

There is arguably no man whose words have been manipulated, actions misrepresented, and character maligned more than our beloved Rasūl ﷺ. Jonathan Brown takes up the mammoth task of addressing controversies surrounding the Prophet’s legacy and attempts to make sense of Muḥammad ﷺ in modernity.

Brown assesses the tools of interpretation, differences in explanation and context in which specific events occurred and rulings were issued. He examines hadith scholarship, showing its role (and limitations) in the context of Islamic legal exegesis. The final few chapters address whether we can reconcile the largely agreed upon truths of the past with modern sensitivities, and attempts at new interpretations that defy age-old consensus to assuage modern anxieties.

Pages: 361


Reason could never be totally excluded, however. Biases and sensitivities cannot be shut off. Sunni Hadith critics could not help pausing at reports that seemed to them to be impossible, outrageous or contrary to what they considered the established teachings of the Prophet. But unlike rationalists, the Sunni Hadith critics did not consider examining the meaning of Hadiths to be an independent avenue of criticism. It was only a subsidiary of Isnads. A glaring problem in the meaning of a Hadith was only a symptom of a diseased, flawed chain of transmission.

Ash-Shifāʾ of Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ | الشفاء بتعريف حقوق المصطفى

Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ

As deliberate efforts to malign the Holy Prophet ﷺ abound, Ash-Shifāʾ of Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ is a vital read. He demonstrates why the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ was the greatest man to ever live, acquaints us with the true stature of Rasūlallāh ﷺ, and makes it clear what set him apart from the rest of mankind.

Most importantly, Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ outlines the ways in which we must honour Rasūlallāh ﷺ. We are reminded of his ﷺ rights upon us, and our responsibility as his ummah in defending his name.

It is available in both Arabic and an English translation titled Muhammad: Messenger of Allah

Pages: 613


Abu Ibrahim at-Tujibi said, “It is obligatory for every believer to be humble,
fearful, show respect and be still when they mention the Prophet, may Allah
bless him and grant him peace, or the Prophet is mentioned in their presence.
They should be as respectful as they would have been if they had actually
been in his presence taking on the adab which Allah taught us.” That is the
way our right-acting Salaf and past Imams behaved.

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