Very sorry for being away. I’ve been blessed to visit the U.K over the last week. Today I was blessed to sit with the great scholar of Hadith and master of the Hanafi school Dr. Muhammad Akram Nadawi. I will try and summarize some of the answers I was able to glean from him.
What are the major books of hadith, for the students of Islamic law, that will assist them, if they have studied the basic texts, in gaining scholarship?
‘It is important to read the books of the early scholars. I recommend the kifayah of Khatib al-Baghdadi and his other works. Secondly, the Tadhib al-Kamal of al-Mizi.’ I mentioned the Kashif of al-Dhahabi and he responded, ‘it is good, but not the same as the works of al-khatib nor siyar ‘alam al-nubal because they give you details and information that is very important. Also, it is important to listen to the scholars read the books of hadith. The scholar of fiqh cannot be free in his need for the science of hadith.’
Thoughts on Tajdid and clinging to outdated ijtihads and opinions:
‘Our state is that of a person who went to buy a cow for its dung ignoring the milk!’
How do we deal with different groups and students of knowledge that diagree with our efforts?
‘Be fruitful and don’t waste your time in such manners. Just work, produce and stay focused.’
Describe Sh. Abu Hassan al-Nadawi
‘He was a person of great piety and scholarship. He never attacked others that he differed with, nor spoke about them in a negative fashion. He differed with Mawdudi’s focus on Islam as a political movement only. However, he respected him, praised him and the formers books are still found in Nadwa.’
Contemporary Hadith Scholars:
‘I’m deeply impressed with the scholarship of Sh. Muhammad al-‘Awwama and Dr. Nur al-Din al-‘Itir. Dr. ‘Awwama is very pious and his talent in Hadith is great.’
Hanafi System of Teaching:
‘It is good to get back to the earlier books as there is fiqh and hadith there. The books of the two companions of Abu Hanifa and Badi’u al-Sana’i are important. The latter works of the school contain many cultural ijtihad’s which are not benefical to the people of this age. If the great Hanafi scholars were alive today, the would not be teaching the books they wrote in the past. They would engage their reality and address it with their fiqh.’
Sh. Akram’s humility is touching. He took us to lunch, made us tea and walked us back to our car. If I lived in England there are two scholars that I would try and move close to so I could study and grow. One, without a doubt, is Sh. Akram al-Nadawi. The other is coming soon.
I would like to thank the people of the U.K for a wonderful visit