Sunan an-Nabi is not a biography or a story. It is a beautifully compiled collection of narrations from the Shia sources, organized by topic, all relating the words, behavior, characteristics, and practices of the Prophet of Islam. It can be read one hadith at a time, in a few pages per sitting, fill hours in deep reflection, or as a reference when studying particular topics. What better way to mark the happy occasion of Milad un-Nabi, the birth anniversary of our beloved Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny), than trying to really know the great man and be more like him?
I recently read a very good work in the English language for discovering the true character, actions, and ethics of the Prophet. Sunan an-Nabi: A Collection of Narrations On the Conduct and Customs of the Noble Prophet was originally written by Allama Tabatabai. It has been translated by Tahir Ridha Jaffer and published in a quality edition by the Islamic Publishing House in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
Sunan an-Nabi is not a biography or a story. It is a beautifully compiled collection of narrations from the Shia sources, organized by topic, all relating the words, behavior, characteristics, and practices of the Prophet of Islam. It can be read one hadith at a time, in a few pages per sitting, fill hours in deep reflection, or as a reference when studying particular topics. However it is read, it has the potential to become one of the most important books on your shelf.
In the section on the character and moral traits of the Prophet is this saying: “Verily, for every act of worship, there is eagerness in the beginning, then it becomes languid. So the one whose eagerly performed worship is in accordance to my sunnah has found guidance, and the one who acts against my sunnah has strayed and his deeds are in ruin. As for me, I pray and I sleep, I fast and I open my fast, I laugh and I cry. So the one who forsakes my ways and my sunnah is not from me.” Therefore, we are clearly invited to delve into the sunnah so that we can emulate it, find guidance, and be counted of those from the Prophet.
We can learn all kinds of things in fewer than 300 pages. For example,
- It is sunnah to make jokes as long as they don’t involve lying or hurting people.
- The Prophet used to give kind and honorable nicknames to men, women, and children and always called them by these names to make them feel good.
- The Prophet mended his own clothes and shoes – neither discarding them nor giving them to someone else to mend.
- He disliked black clothing, except for the turban, shoes and cloak.
- He kept a rooster and approved of its use for waking the people for prayer.
- If the Prophet had a disturbing dream, as soon as he woke he would say, “He is Allah, the one who has no partner.”
- About temporary marriage, the Prophet said, “I would not like for a person that he should leave this world while not having performed an action that was performed by the Holy Prophet.”
- He ate with his hands and licked his fingers after he finished.
- When giving condolence to someone who suffered a loss in his family, he would say, “May Allah recompense you and have mercy on you.”
- To treat fever, he mixed the weight of ten dirhams in sugar with cold water and drank on an empty stomach.
- When performing Wudhu, the Prophet moved his rings three times to assure coverage.
- He taught his companions and their children to recite the Tasbih of Fatima (peace be upon her), saying that the one who recites it will never become miserable.
This book presents an opportunity to move beyond distant admiration of the Prophet and towards a more intimate and beneficial relationship. If we can know the sunnah better and apply that knowledge, then we can get closer to the best of people and closer to our Creator as well.
It is available for less than twenty dollars from many sellers. See http://www.al-mubin.org to order.