// Imam An-Nawawi's 40/42 Hadith
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Author Topic: Imam An-Nawawi's 40/42 Hadith  (Read 3696 times)
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« on: Dec 22, 2008 06:09 PM »

As salaam alaikum.

Can anyone explain to me why the 'forty hadith of imam nawawi' has forty-two hadith in it!

Ma'as salaama,
nuh ibn
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« Reply #1 on: Jan 08, 2009 04:04 AM »

As-salaamu 'alaykum wa rahmatullah, Br. Nuh -

Interesting, I had never thought of this before, but as it was explained to me recently (and as in the Intro to most versions of the book), we may not know exactly why Imam An-Nawawi chose 42, but it's based on this general teaching of the Prophet, wAllahu 'Alim:

[Excerpted from the INTRO to Imam An-Nawawi's Forty Ahaadith)...It has been transmitted to us on the authority of Ali bin Abi Talib, Abdullah bin Masud, Muadh bin Jabal, Abu Al-Darda, Ibn Omar, Ibn Abbas, Anas bin Malik, Abu Hurairah and Abu Saeed Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with them all, through many chains of authorities and in various versions, that the messenger of Allah said: "Whosoever memorises and preserves for my people forty hadith relating to their religion, Allah will resurrect him on the Day of Judgment in the company of jurists and religious scholars."
In another version it reads: "Allah will resurrect him as a jurist and religious scholar ". In the version of Abu Al-Darda it reads: "On the Day of Judgment I shall be an intercessor and a witness for him." In the version of Ibn Masud it reads: "It will be said to him: Enter by whichever of the doors of Paradise you wish." In the version of Ibn Omar it reads: " He will be written down in the company of the religious scholars and will be resurrected in the company of the martyrs." Scholars of hadith are agreed that it is a weak hadith despite its many lines of transmission.

The religious scholars, may Allah be pleased with them, have composed innumerable works in this field. The first one I knew of who did so was Abdullah bin Al-Mubarak, followed by Ibn Aslam Al-Tusi, the godly scholar, then Al-Hasan bin Sufiyan Al-Nasai, Abu Bakr Al-Ajurri, Abu-Bakr Mubammad bin Ibrahim Al-Asfihani, Al-Daraqutni, Al-Hakim, Abu Nuaim, Abu Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sulami, Abu Saeed Al-Malini, Abu Uthman Al-Saboni, Abdullah bin Muhammed Al-Ansari, Abu Bakr Al-Baihaqi, and countless others, both ancient and modern.

(While many scholars wrote books of 40 ahaadith on various subjects, Imam An-Nawawi wanted a more comprehensive collection on the basics of this deen. Although I shouldn't guess, my guess is that since 40 was like the minimum, Imam An-Nawawi added more for good measure.)

Allahu 'Alim. 
sofia sis

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« Reply #2 on: Jan 21, 2009 02:25 AM »

Someone told me that it had to do with the way Arabs record numbers- rounding everything off. So 42 would be rounded off to 40.
anyone know?

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« Reply #3 on: Jan 21, 2009 10:06 AM »

as salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

As far as I know, because of the hadith that sis sofia mentioned that commends the one who preserves/teaches forty hadith, many scholars composed forty-hadith collections, to such an extent that it became almost a type of genre of book.  Imam an-Nawawi sought to do that as well so that's probably why it's known as 'the forty hadith collection of Imam an-Nawawi', just as those other books were probably known as 'the forty hadith collection of Ibn alMubarak/alAsfahani/adDarqutni, etc 

but he also mentions in his introduction that while others made their hadith collections centered around a particular topic or issue (adab, zuhud, jihad, etc) he wanted his collection to contain all the foundational hadith of the religion, those hadith that were called by the scholars "1/3 of religion" or "half of Islam", etc. so perhaps he found more than forty that he felt were essential to include.  He also says in his introduction that the text (about the one who preserves forty hadith) is actually a weak text, but many scholars agree that it is permissible to act on a weak text when it comes to fad'ail a'maal.  However he goes on to say that he is actually writing this book based on the more general teachings of the Prophet saw: 'Those of you who are present should convey (this knowledge) to those who are absent', and 'May Allah illuminate the one who hears what I say, understands it and then conveys it to others in the exact manner in which it was said' so that may be another reason why he didn't stay within the exact '40 hadith' framework.

Allahu a'lam.

salaam Smiley
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