Question Hilyat-ul Awliya Wa Tabaqat al-Asfiya

Discussion in 'Hadith Sciences' started by abdulmuhsee, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. abdulmuhsee

    abdulmuhsee Dunker of Flies

    Assalem Alaikum,

    There is a book I recently purchased called "The Beauty of the Righteous and Ranks of the Elite" which is an english translation by 'Shaykh Muhammad al-Akili' of the book "Hilyat-ul Awliya Wa Tabaqat al-Asfiya" by 'Imam Abu Na'im al-Asfahani,' a 10th century scholar. While thumbing through the book, there appeared to be many beautiful ahadith and much information on different sahabah. However, after reading some ahadith quoted near the beginning, I'm not sure how much I can trust the reports given in the book, though there are several mentioned that are well-known and authentic. These ahadith are as follows:

    "Wahab Ibn Munbih reported that the disciples asked Jeses, son of Mary, upon both of whom be peace: "It is said that God's deputies.... can you tell us about them?" Jesus replied, "They are those who..... what comes to them as lawful, they renounce (even that), and the success that may cross their path they turn down. When their dwellings fall apart, they do not rebuild them....." ----- Whoever Wahab Ibn Munbih was, whether a tabi'een or a tabatabi'een or whatever, he did not live in the time of Jesus and has no standing to quote him even if it's felt that it's a 'good story.' If that's the case, then Paul also had the right to quote Jesus when he said he saw him in visions and such. Furthermore, the things about renouncing even what is lawful because it is part of this dunyah and leaving your dwellings in ruin sound like sufi extremism to me, so I'm very wary about this sort of thing.

    "Imam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal reported that Aisha narrated that God's Mesenger, salallahu alayhe wa sallem, said, 'Do you know who wins sanctuary under God's Throne on the Day of Judgement?..... The spirit of elation comes from their contentment, satisfaction, and constant yearning for their beloved, and their fear of losing their struggle, or even the mere thought of separation from Him, bewilders and distresses them.'" ----- Now here, though he says it was narrated by Ahmed Ib Hanbal via Aisha, it seems strange that the prophet, salallahu alayhe wa sallem, is here said to have referred to Allah as 'constantly yearning for the Beloved." To me, this does not seem to be the kind of language the prophet, salallahu alayhe wa sallem, used, or referred to Allah by, and seems to be the words of sufis, who tiringly use phrases like "Yearning for the Beloved" that they have put into the mouth of the prophet, salallahu alayhe wa sallem. Is this a hadith that Abu Na'im added to, changed, or the translator added to or changed, or something along those lines, or am I being paranoid?

    " Imam Ahmed Ib Hanbal narrated that Abdur-Rahman Ibn 'Awf, said, Abu Bakr said, "..... Surely a day will come when people will adorn themselves with silk and fineries, and they will condemn woolen garments....." ----- What bothers me here, is the reference specifically to woolen garments, especially when the author previously went off on a tangeant about the benefits of wearing woolen garments, and how he said outward devotion is Islam while inward devotion is Sufism. Many of the ahadith in this Abu Bakr section, I've heard before and know them to be true, but was this bit about the woolen garments somehow doctored here to support the whole sufi spin on it?

    So, basically, does anyone have information about the book, its author, or its translator that could solve my dilemma here? Because besides what I've mentioned, it seems to be a beautiful book using ahadith from the prophet, salallahu alayhe wa sallem, and sahabah about asceticism, charity, and even jihad, so any information on this matter would be appreciated.
  2. Abu Treika

    Abu Treika Magoo

    i have the english version of the book aswell, i know the writer was a shaffi but not much else and would also be interested
  3. 'Alaykum as-Salam wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh;

    While the book contains much benefit, it is also filled with weak and fabricated narrations, and this is what drove Ibn al-Jawzi to condense it into 'Sifat as-Safwah.'
  4. Adeel

    Adeel Active Member

    I read it somewhere he wrote this book for the praise sufis or it has sufi leanings.

    Allah know best.
  5. Abdullah11

    Abdullah11 A wannabe neologist

    Where can I buy the english translation?
  6. zaid_ibn_ali

    zaid_ibn_ali Active Member

    I think you misread the quote? Its referring to those people, quote "who win sanctuary under God's Throne on the Day of Judgement" and not Allah. Unless of course I totally read it wrong.

    As for the book, well the title itself indicates it was written in support & praise for the sufi's.
  7. abdulmuhsee

    abdulmuhsee Dunker of Flies

    Yeah, I guess that's about what I figured. It's hard to condemn the book with so many beautiful ahadith therein, but I really can't trust its authenticity when it has no references other than the narrator and it quotes crazy hadith as if some tabi'een or sufi heard words from the mouth of Jesus, alayhe salaam, with obvious sufi 'put on a wool cloak and live in a pile of dung' type of mentality. Insha'Allah I'll definitely check out the more authentic condensation by Ibn al-Jawzi though; thanks for that bit of information. And I'm not sure what you mean about the throne thing, Zaid; I was just focusing on the part of the hadith where such sufi impositions as 'yearning for the beloved' are added or mistranslated, since the hadith seems to be like one I've heard a million times, but with some fairly obvious sufi doctoring.

    Edit: And by the way, Abdul Muntaqim, I'm pretty sure you can just type in the title over at google and get it online somewhere. I bought it from some Deobandi alley shop here in Kenya, so I'm not sure I could direct you to the same place :).
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
  8. Efendi

    Efendi Scourge of *********************

    There are some or actually many weak and fabricated stories in "Hiliyah".
    My version of "Sifatu saffa" printed in Turkey, and there is no chains of narrations in it.
  9. Efendi

    Efendi Scourge of *********************

    Ibn Taymiyah (r) said:
    "Author of "Hiliyah" recorded a lot of fabricated stories about 4 caliphs".
    Source: Dhahabi "Muntaka" 3.1.12, Turkish edition.

  10. hearandobey

    hearandobey الحمدلله

    bro efendi, is it easy to get the classical arabic books in turkey? how are the prices?
  11. Efendi

    Efendi Scourge of *********************

    Brother i am not from Turkey, i am from Azerbaijan. Most of books here are from Turkey. Alhamdulillah, may be the greatest part of islamic legacy already translated in Turkish.
    Almost all famous commentaries, ahadeeth books, fiqh books, history and etc.

    As for Arabic one, as i know there are some publishing houses in Turkey that printing books in arabic.
  12. Abu Khalid8

    Abu Khalid8 New Member

    it's quite beneficial but for those who can tell the authentic from not, .. otherwise it's dangerous as you would be led to believe in so much fabricated hadeeth.
  13. hearandobey

    hearandobey الحمدلله

    ibnul jawzi's sifat as-safwa makes up for it though, right?
  14. Abu Khalid8

    Abu Khalid8 New Member

    ibnuljawzy simply sifted that book and removed all he doesn't accept and kept what's 'acceptable', but still not what's really 'authentic'

    it's a long story, the same goes for abu naiem , he's not the best of scholars and his minhaj is a bit too sufi, even his other book about fitan needs a lot of work ...
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008

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