New Release: The Beginning of Guidance (Bidayat al-Hidaya)

By Abu Hamid al-Ghazali

Complete Arabic Text with Facing English Translation

Translated by Mashhad Al-Allaf, Revised and Edited by Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf

Imam Ghazali’s Bidayat al-Hidaya is a highly motivational manual detailing the fundamentals of acquiring guidance through God-consciousness (taqwa). Imam Ghazali argues that just as there is an end to this noble objective there is also a beginning to it, which must be made firm for one to achieve success. He then goes on to expound the fundamentals of this “beginning.” While being concise and to-the-point the manual is laid out in the form of a detailed daily timetable providing the reader strong inspiration and much heart-rending counsel. The three sections of this book are on obedience, refraining from disobedience, and the etiquette of companionship with the Creator and with creation. One of Imām Ghazālī’s final works, it embodies a lifetime of learning, experience, and spirituality and can be taken as an introduction to his larger works.
This translation published for the first time with facing Arabic text also includes many notes and transliteration for the supplications contained within.

“An excellent translation of an important book on the fundamentals of Muslim piety and etiquette. With an accessible English translation alongside the original Arabic text, this introductory work will be useful for readers interested in
exploring the realities of Islamic piety, students of Arabic and educators alike.”
jonathan ac brown University of Washington

“This welcomed translation provides Ghazali’s manual The Beginning of Guidance (Bidayat al-Hidaya) to serious students, seekers, and scholars and combines contemporary fluency with respect for sacred Islamic tradition.”
Marcia Hermansen Loyola University Chicago

Dr. Mashhad Al-Allaf holds a doctoral degree in Modern Philosophy: Science & Metaphysics (1995). His bachelor’s and master’s degrees concentrated on the Philosophy of Science. He has taught at Washington University, St. Louis University,
and Webster University and is the author of several works, including The Basic Ideas and Institutions of Islam (2008), Locke’s Philosophy of Science and Metaphysics (2007), and The Essential Ideas of Islamic Philosophy (2006). He is the co-author of the forthcoming Islamic Philosophy of Science and Logic (University of Pittsburgh). His current research focuses on integrative studies and multiculturalism, as well as Engineering Ethics, Biomedical Ethics, Love and Romance in Islam, and Islamic Theory of Science

Upcoming Book Release: A Sufi Study of Hadith

[The book has been typeset and is awaiting indexing etc. It is expected to be released this summer, in sha Allah.]

A Sufi Study of Hadith (Originally titled Haqiqa al-Tariqa min as-Sunna al-Aniqa) is a unique work of commentary on a selection of over three hundred authentic hadith. Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi, one of the subcontinent’s greatest spiritual leaders and an author of unequalled prolificacy, translates, interprets, and then comments on each hadith from the perspective of tasawwuf, whether to explain a fine point of theology, or to discourse on morality, etiquette, behaviour, or the customary practices of Sufis. In the pages of this volume, one encounters a side of Islam that is little known and less understood. For all seekers of the truth, and especially those keen to further their understanding of the teachings of the Prophet, upon him be peace on tasawwuf-related subjects, Maulana Thanawi’s work is truly invaluable.

Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo

Comment on A Sufi Study of Hadīth an English Translation by Yusuf DeLorenzo of Haqīqa al-Tarīqa min al-Sunna al-‘Anīqa by Hakim-ul-Ummah Mawlānā Ashraf Alī Thānawī rahmatullahi alayh

(being part of his book  al-Takashshuf an Muhimmāt al-Tasawwuf).

Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanwi rahmatullahi alayh excelled in every branch of Islamic learning and was one of the Islamic world’s most outstanding religious figures of recent times. Perhaps his most significant and enduring legacy is a renewed awareness, understanding and acceptance of authentic tasawwuf among the masses. Indeed, he is still remembered as Hakim-al-Ummah (Physician of the Ummah) due to his expertise in diagnosing spiritual ailments and dispensing the most efficacious cures.

In this book Mawlana Thanwi discusses numerous subtle and complex themes of tasawwuf derived from the ahadith of our beloved Messenger sallallahu alayhi wasallam. His erudite commentary demonstrates time and again how the principles of tasawwuf have their origins in the primary sources of Islam. Mawlana Thanwi’s approach, like that of his illustrious mashai’ikh, stresses the complete harmony between Shariah and tariqah and their interrelatedness.

Alhamdulillah, Mawlana Yusuf DeLorenzo’s translation now gives English speaking Muslims access to this valuable work. Studying this book under the guidance of a qualified shaykh will increase the interested reader’s understanding and appreciation of the treasury of hadith as well as the science of tasawwuf, and prove beneficial for the traveller on the path leading to Allah.

Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullah

This volume revives the tradition of the earliest Sufis, who  related hadiths from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in such core works as Qushayri’s Risala, Makki’s Qut al-Qulub, and Abu Nu‘aym’s Hilya al-Awliya. Imam Junayd has said, “The spiritual path is blocked shut, except to those who seek out the traces of the Chosen Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace); ‘Say, ‘This is my path: I summon to Allah upon entire insight, I and whoever wholeheartedly follows me’ [Qur’an 12:108].” Thanawi’s work is a treasury of valuable hadiths for anyone on the true path, and a guide to many of the traditions (adab) of Sufism in the South Asia of his day. The powerful and vigorous translation of Yusuf DeLorenzo brings to life in English a great many realities of the way of spiritual realities.

Nuh Ha Mim Keller

Editor’s Preface to Turath’s 40 on the Durud

As-Salam Alaykum,

I thought it would be meaningful to share a piece of writing with keen bibliophiles that patiently, or in my case, impatiently wait to relish the fruits of the Tahawi Oasis.  May Allah reward the contributors of this blog and further assist them in posting more wonderful threads that benefit students of knowledge amidst wide-spread confusion and ignorance. (Rabbana Zidna ‘Ilman Wa ‘nfa’na Bihi)

The piece I am sharing here is the Editor’s preface to Turath Publishing’s 40 Hadith collection on the Durud which is part of its 40 Hadith series.

To date, Turath has managed to publish only one collection, namely that attributed to Shah Wali Allah.

Whilst we’re at it I might as well point out that the 40 attributed to Shah Wali Allah with the Ahl al-Bayt isnad is in fact the 40 al-‘Alawiyyah by al-Jayyani.  Al-‘Iraqi occasions with it in his al-Taqyid wa al-Idhaah and his Tarh al-Thathrib.  Although I have not been able to identify exactly when this began, it had become the custom of Hadith scholars, at least by al-‘Iraqi’s time, to transmit this 40 to students.

With this in mind the 40 of Shah Wali Allah should thus imply “the 40 Hadith which Shah Wali Allah brought with him from the Hijaz and circulated in the sub-continent to such a degree that it became part of his legacy and ascribed to him.”  May Allah grant our dear and beloved Shah the choicest of stations in the Hereafter and permit the Ummah to learn from his knowledge.  He was most definitely as one scholar described: Had the Shah been born amongst the early generations he would have risen as one of the their leading jurist-consults.  Sahabas like Ibn ‘Umar would be pleased with him.

Turath’s forthcoming collections from the 40 series include:

– Two by Mulla Ali Qari, one of which is a general selection whilst the other is on the topic of Qur’an.

– As-Suyuti. His is a general selection. (I can confirm this and the two above have gone off to the printers.)

– Ibn Hajar’s Imtaa’. In this collection, Ibn Hajar reports 40 Hadiths from 40 scholars who report through 40 different chains that go all the way back to 40 different Companions. Despite these subtleties that seem to be showcasing a great deal of expertise, the content is in fact very general and suitable for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.  It’s almost perennial I’d like to think. (I’m currently working on this)

– Ibn Asaakir’s Ummahaat. This is a 40 Hadith collection on the wives of the Prophet – Allah bless him and be pleased with his Companions.  (currently being type-set and proof-read)

– Kattani’s Fazaa’il-e-Ahl-e-Bayt (translated but requires editing, proof-reading, type-setting and a critical review.)

– ‘Ajaluni’s 40. This collection records 40 Hadiths which appear as the first hadith in 40 different books (I shall be working on this after I’m done with the Ibn Hajar insha Allah).

– 40 on Durud, and it is for this collection that I wrote the Editor’s note. (It is currently being proof-read and type-set)

This 40 on the Durud is actually an amalgamation of two 40 Hadith collections by two remarkable scholars of the past century, Sheikh Abdullah ibn Muhammed ibn as-Siddiq al-Ghumari (d. 1993) and Hazrat Moulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanvi (d. 1943).  In this preface, I have reviewed in short the structure and nature of both books.  Given the plethora of redactions and subsequent editions of Thanvi’s 40 carrying the same typographical errors, in addition to the wide-spread misconception of assuming Sheikh al-Hadith Moulana Zakariyya to be its author, I felt the need to expand the preface slightly more than usual.  Hopefully and God willing, this preface will clear misunderstandings and set students and scholars in the right direction should they seek further academic enquiry.

There is more than one purpose for posting the preface here.  Apart from advertising the book and introducing it, I thought the preface raises issues, especially in relation to Thanvi’s 40, that deserve a wider audience.

I think this should be enough to whet the appetite of anyone interested on this topic.  I do not intend to repeat myself whilst introducing the preface here. Please do buy the book (!) as this will help fund other worthwhile projects.

Lastly, I would like to thank Turath Publishing, in particular Brother Yahya Batha a.k.a the ‘Amir-e-Karvaan’ for kindly allowing me to circulate this online.  Allahumma Zid Fa Zid!

God bless.



May Allah reward the contributors of this wondeful blog and assist them in posting more wonderful threads that benefit students of knowledge amidst wide-spread ignorance. Ameen.

al-Anwar al-Qudsiyyah fi Ma’rifat Qawa’id al-Sufiyyah by Imam Sha’rani

Assalamu ‘alaykum,

At the request of a friend, here is Imam ‘Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha’rani’s famous book on the principles of tazkiyah and tasawwuf, entitled al-Anwar al-Qudsiyyah fi Ma’rifat Qawa’id al-Sufiyyah.

The book is in Arabic. I was asked if a translation in English exists. I am not aware of any, but if anyone has information on a translation, please share it with us.

al-Anwar al-Qudsiyyah


al-Muqaddamah fi ‘l-Tasawwuf by Shaykh Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami

The author (d. 412AH) is one of the most prolific early authors in Tasawwuf, second only to al-Harith al-Muhasibi according to Ibn al-Jawzi. His works present a very penetrating insight into the developments in Tasawwuf by his time.

Besides one or two works in hadith, he mainly wrote on various aspects of Tasawwuf. His Arba’in on the issues related to Tasawwuf was published by the Da’irat al-Ma’aarif, Hyderabad, Deccan. Hafiz Sakhawi has authored a takhrij of this work that has made it all the more valuable.

He has also authored al-farq bayn ‘ilm ash-shari’a wa ‘ilm al-haqiqah, which proves that by his time, the idea of the difference between shari’a and haqiqah was already in currency. This book is still in manuscript form (in my limited knowledge) somewhere  and I would love to get my hands on it as the title promises it will be a revealing read.

Al-Muqaddama fi al-Tasawwuf