THIS SIXTEENTH CENTURY book of Prophetic Traditions and Reports elucidates the states and stages of the intermediary realm (al-barzakh), also known as life in the grave. Its author, Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, was Shaykh al-Islam among his contemporaries, a Hadith Master (Hafiz) and a polymath who authored works in virtually every Islamic science.
In this exceptional work of 185 reports, al-Suyuti takes the believer on a journey through some of the glad-tidings and comforting reassurances given to surviving family members—and all Muslims, young and old alike—of the honour and divine care arranged by Allah for a loved one when they pass on from this life into the next. It covers three fundamental stages of the afterlife, namely, death, the grave and the various resting places for souls. A must-have for lovers of the hereafter.
“Imam al-Suyuti's classical work is full of insights and lessons. I encourage one and all to take benefit from this translation and be inspired.”
- YUSUF BADAT
Mathabah Institute and Islamic Foundation of Toronto
“This is a short but incredibly poignant work that shifts your consciousness into the present, inspiring you to put matters into perspective. Contemplating death is not necessarily meant as a morbid exercise, but rather is an exercise in expanding your awareness about what awaits us beyond this realm. It is a practice, if done regularly and with focus, will help you to assess your direction in life and steers it towards meaning, purpose and vitality. This book is a great means towards that.”
- IDRIS WATTS
Abu Zahra Foundation, England
ABOUT IMAM JALAL AL-DIN 'ABD AL-RAHMAN AL-SUYUTI:
He is Abu al-Faḍl ‘Abd al-Raḥman ibn Abi Bakr ibn Muḥammad Jalal al-Din al-Khuḍayri al-Suyuti was an Egyptian religious scholar, juristic expert and teacher, and one of the most prolific Arab writers of the Middle Ages, whose works deal with Islamic theology. In 1486, he was appointed to a chair in the mosque of Baybars in Cairo. He adhered to the Shafi'i Madhab and is one of the latter-day authorities of the Shafi'i School, considered to be one of the Ashabun-Nadhar (Assessors) whose degree of ijtihad is agreed upon. An alternative spelling of his name is Jalaluddin.
Al-Suyuti was born on 3 October 1445 AD / 1 Rajab 849 AH in Cairo, Egypt. His mother was Circassian and his father was of Persian origin, while Al-Suyuti says that his ancestors came from Al-Khudayriyya in Baghdad. His family moved to Asyut in Mamluk Egypt, hence the nisba "Al-Suyuti". Al-Suyuti's father taught Shafi'i law at the Mosque and Khanqah of Shaykhu in Cairo, but died when Al-Suyuti was 5 or 6 years old. Al-Suyuti studied various subjects, including: Shafi'i and Hanafi jurisprudence, traditions (hadith), exegesis (tafsir), theology, history, rhetoric, philosophy, philology, arithmetic, timekeeping (miqat) and medicine. He started teaching Shafi'i jurisprudence at the age of 18, at the same mosque as his father did. In 1486, Sultan Qaitbay appointed Al-Suyuti shaykh at the Khanqah of Baybars II, a Sufi lodge. Al-Suyuti himself was a Sufi of the Shadhili order.
At one point, Al-Suyuti was named the Mujaddid of the 9th century AH. He also claimed to have become a Mujtahid (someone with the authority to personally interpret sources in order to give legal statements) in jurisprudence, hadith studies, and Arabic language. This caused friction with scholars and ruling officials, and after a quarrel over the finances of the Sufi lodge, he retreated to the island of Rawda in 1501. Al-Suyuti has written about diverse subjects in many works, over 700 according to the Dalil makhtutat al-Suyuti ("Directory of al-Suyuti's manuscripts"), although numbers vary from over 500 to 981 according to a study from 1995. However, some of his works are just short pamphlets, including legal opinions. The first book he wrote was Sharh Al-Isti'aadha wal-Basmalah in 866H, when he was seventeen years old. Ibn Imad writes: "Most of his works become world famous right in his lifetime. His ability to write was phenomenal. His student Dawudi says: "I was with the Shaykh Suyuti once, and he wrote three volumes on that day. He used to dictate annotations on Hadith, and answer my objections at the same time. He was the most knowledgeable scholar in his time of the Hadith and associated sciences, knowledge of the narrators including the uncommon ones, the text of the hadith Matn, its chain of narrators isnad, the derivation of ruling from Hadith. He has himself told me, that he had memorized One Hundred Thousand Hadith."
Al-Suyuti listed 283 of his own works in Ḥusn al-muḥaḍarah. In addition to the topic of religion, al-Suyuti wrote about medicine as well. Like the medicinal works of Abu al-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi, al-Suyuti's book was almost exclusively based on Prophetic medicine rather than a synthesis of both Islamic and Greek medicine like the works of Al-Dhahabi. Al-Suyuti's work focused primarily on diet and natural remedies for both serious ailments such as rabies and smallpox and simple conditions such as headaches and nosebleeds; he also touched on the toic of the cosmology behind the principles of medical ethics.
Some of his more famous works were:
Tafsir al-Jalalayn تفسير الجلالين, "Commentary of the Two Jalals"); a Qur'anic exegesis written by Al-Suyuti and his teacher Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli.
Al-Itqān fi ‘Ulum Al-Qur’an (translated into English as The Perfect Guide to the Sciences of the Qur'an,
Al-Tibb al Nabawi الطب النبوي, "Prophetic medicine")
Al-Jaami' al-Kabir الجامع الكبير
Al-Jaami' al-Saghir الجامع الصغير
Dur al-Manthur درالمنثور in Tafsir
Tadrib al-Rawi تدريب الراوي both in hadith terminology
Tarikh al-khulafa; History of the Caliphs
The Khalifas who took the right way, a partial translation of the History of the Caliphs, covering the first four Rashidun caliphs and Hasan ibn 'Ali
Tabaqat al-huffaz, an appendix to al-Dhahabi's Tadhkirat al-Hufaz,
Nuzhat al-julasāʼ fī ashʻār al-nisāʼ نزهة الجلساء في أشعار النساء
Al-Khasais-ul-Kubra, which discusses the miracles of Islamic prophet Muhammad
Al-Suyuti died on 18 October 1505.