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Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani
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Ibn Abi Zayd Al-Qayrawani
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Almost unique among the works of Muslim scholars, this book, which for Malikis is THE Risalah, was written for children when the author was 17 years old. The sheer pedagogical audacity of introducing children to what is in effect a complete overview of life and human society escapes most people and most Muslims today. The author commences with usul ad-deen – the roots of the deen – a survey of the vital Muslim worldview, proceeding then through purification and the acts of ‘ibadah, the ordinary transactions such as marriage, divorce, buying and selling and so forth, and concluding with chapters of a general and miscellaneous nature.

The book is here matched by the outstanding lucidity of the translation which reveals a book written in a narrative descriptive style rather than in a didactic scholarly tone, making it breathtakingly accessible. So significant was the book’s authorship and so quickly was it recognised that its author became known as the “Young Malik” and his work became a foundational pillar of the madhhab of the School of Madinah and has endured for a millennium, in use both to teach absolute beginners as intended and as a resource for scholars.

Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (310 AH/922 CE – 386 AH/996 CE) was born in Qayrawan in Tunisia, arguably one of the most important Muslim cities after Makkah and Madinah, which was always famous for learning and in particular for its staunch adherence to the school of the people of Madinah as transmitted by Imam Malik. His life was overshadowed by the Fatimid dynasty, during which he and the other teachers of Qayrawan calmly kept alive the teaching of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah. Among his other well-known works are the massive multi-volume an-Nawadir wa’z-Ziyadat and a mukhtasar-abridgement of the Mudawwanah of which only the Kitab al-Jami‘, a comprehensive work containing a wide variety of topics, is extant.

Aisha Bewley is the translator of a large number of classical works of Islam and Sufism, often in collaboration with Abdalhaqq Bewley, notably The Noble Qur’an – a New Rendering of Its Meanings in English; Muhammad, Messenger of Allah – the translation of Qadi ‘Iyad’s ash-Shifa’; the Muwatta’ of Imam Malik ibn Anas; and Imam an-Nawawi’s Riyad as-Salihin.

Transliteration of Arabic

Ibn Abī Zayd’s Prologue

1. Creeds

2. What Necessitates Wuḍū’ and Ghusl

3. Purity of Water, Clothing and the Place of Prayer and what can be worn when performing the prayer

4. On How to Perform Wuḍū’ and what is farḍ and sunnah in it – how to clean yourself after going to the lavatory with water (istinjā’) or with stones and other things (istijmār)

5. Ghusl

6. Tayammum and Its Description

7. Wiping Over Leather Socks

8. The times of the prayers and their names

9. The Adhān and the Iqāmah

10. How to Perform the Prayers, the farḍ and the sunnah and nāfilah prayers connected to them

11. On Leading the Prayer and rulings concerning the imam and those who pray behind an imam

12. On Various Aspects of the Prayer

13. On the Sajdahs of the Qur’an

14. Travelling prayers

15. The Jumu‘ah Prayer

16. The Fear Prayer

17. The two ‘Īd prayers and the takbīrs on the days of Minā

18. The eclipse prayer

19. The rain prayer

20. On What to Do When Someone is at the Point of Death and on washing the dead, shrouding them, embalming them, carrying them and burying them

21. The Funeral Prayer and the supplication for the dead

22. The Supplication for a Dead Child, how the funeral prayer is done for children and how they are washed

23. Fasting

24. I‘tikāf

25. The Zakāt of Money, Crops, Livestock and What Comes out of Mines; jizyah and what should be taken from dhimmī merchants and merchants who come from the Dār al-Ḥarb

26. Zakāt Due on Livestock

27. Zakāt al-fiṭr

28. Ḥajj and ‘Umrah

29. Sacrifices, Slaughter of Animals, animals sacrificed for the birth of a child, hunting, circumcision and forbidden food and drinks

30. Jihād

31. Oaths and Vows

32. Marriage and Divorce, remarriage, ẓihār-repudiation, vows of celibacy within marriage, mutual cursing (li‘ān), khul‘-separation, and suckling

33. ‘Iddah, Istibrā’ and Maintenance

34. Sales and other Business Transactions

35. Bequests and Freeing Slaves

36. Property Rights

37. Judgements on Homicide and Ḥadd-Punishments

38. Judgements and Testimony

39. Shares of Inheritance

40. A General Chapter on the Legal Status of Various Practices

41. The Natural Form (Fiṭrah) – Circumcision, Shaving the Hair, Dress, Covering the Private parts and the Like

42. Rulings Concerning Speech, Greetings, Asking Permission to Enter, Conversation, Recitation, Supplication, Dhikru’llah, and Travel

43. Medical treatment, charms, omens, stars, castration, branding, dogs, and compassion to slaves

44. Dreams, Yawning, Sneezing, Playing Backgammon and other games, Racing Horses, Shooting and the like

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