The great scholars and godly people of the past can be excellent examples for the living. Their behavior and actions can have a tremendous effect on hearts.
Imam Al Nawawi, also known as Imam Nawawi or Imam An Nawawi, had a very short life of 45 years, but during this short period he had written a large number of books on different topics and each of his books has been recognized as a precious treasure. of Islamic knowledge.
His birth and his family:
Imam an-Nawawi was born the holy month of Muharram 631H (1233 AD) in the village of Nawa, near the capital, Damascus, Syria. Al Nawawi does not come from a known family. There is very little mention of his father and other relatives. This implies that they were a modest family. Nor were they known to have produced great scholars. However, his father had the reputation of being very pious and God fearing.
His full name is Abu Zakaria Mohi-ud-din Yahya, son of Sharaf An-Nawawi, son of Murry, son of Hassan, son of Hussain, son of Muhammad, son of Juma, son of Hazam. He is given the descriptive name Al Nawawi because of his hometown.
Islam in the seventh century of the Hegira (seventh century):
The 7th century of Islam was a very turbulent period when the Mongols invaded Muslim lands (Middle East). However, during the last decade of the century, the Mongols were defeated and removed from these Muslim lands. By the grace and mercy of Allah, these troubled times did not mean the end of Islamic studies for the inhabitants of this region. In fact, Noor AlDeen Zanki opened the first Dar-ul-Hadith in Damascus during this century. There is no shortage of scholars and learning even during this turbulent century of Islamic history.
Since his youth, Al-Nawawi was not attracted to sports or play. In fact, the other children reprimanded him for it. From an early age, he focused on his studies. He hated any activity that would prevent him from memorizing the Qur’an. On one occasion, the children forced him to play with them and he cried because of the time he was losing. It is not surprising that he memorized the Quran at an early age. His teacher in Nawa passed on this incident to the father of the Imam, a virtuous and pious man. Keeping in mind his son’s quest for learning, he decided to dedicate his son’s life to serving and promoting the cause of the Islamic faith. In a short time, An-Nawawi learned to read the Quran and by that time, he had almost reached puberty.
His pursuit of knowledge:
Imam An-Nawawi lived in Nawa until the age of 18. In 649 he went to Damascus, which at that time was considered the center of learning, as there were more than three hundred institutes, colleges and universities in Damascus. He studied the hadiths, Islamic jurisprudence and the principles of many other great Islamic scholars such as Isshaaq ibn Ahmad al Maghrabi Al-Maqdisi, Abdul Rahmaan Al-Anbari and Abdul Azeez Al-Ansaari. He studied Sahih Muslim in Abu lshaaq Ibraahem Al-Waasiti. Imam Nawawi studied at Madrasah Saaramiya School, Madrasah Rawahiyah (affiliated with Ummvi University) and Daar-ul-Hadits. He began teaching at Ashrafiyah School at the age of 24. His reputation and excellence as a scholar began to be recognized by scholars and residents of Damascus. During this period, he made the pilgrimage pilgrimage in 1253 AD.
His quest for knowledge dominated his whole life. He would devote all his time to studying, learning and teaching. It is even said that he would not sleep except when sleep would exceed him. He would rest on his book and sleep a little, then he would be surprised on waking and would continue to study. He once said of himself,
“I spent two years without falling asleep on the side”
Al-Qutb Al-Yauneeni said of him,
“He would not lose any time of day or night, but he would devote himself to acquiring knowledge, and even when he walks in the streets, he will be busy reviewing what he has learned and reviewing his notes. continued to acquire knowledge in this way for a period of six years “.
He led a very austere, simple and modest life, although he could have lived differently, given his teaching position and his influence. Some narrations indicate that all his clothes were a turban and a long dress. He did not desire any of the pleasures of this world. At one point he ate only cakes and olives his father occasionally sent him from Nawa. One of the reasons was that it was certain that these foods came from authorized sources.
He did not accept an allowance for his teaching. Books were the only material possession of this world by Nawawi: his little room looked like a book warehouse and his goal was not just to have a large library. His books were not for decoration or display. Instead, he has benefited greatly from these works, and since his lectures and writings, many have benefited.
Al-Nawawi never married:
Al Nawawi never married and the reasons were his austerity and lack of desire for the pleasures of this world. His life was filled with the desire to learn, to teach, and to perform acts of worship. Al-Diqr writes:
“It is possible that he did not get married because he feared he would not be able to exercise his wife’s rights because of his learning desires.”
His writings / books:
Al Nawawi began writing in 663 or 664. That is why, in twelve or thirteen years, he compiled some of the most important works in the history of Islam. His classic work, AlMajmoo, which he did not complete, is published in nine voluminous volumes. Here are some of his works he has completed in such a short time:
1. Riyaadh Al-Saaliheen (“Gardens of the Righteous”)
2. Al Minhaj bi Sharh Sahih Muslim (His comment to Sahih Muslim)
3. Al-Majmoo Sharh Al-Muhadhdhab
4. Minhaaj Al-Taalibeen
5. Tahdhib Al-Asma Wal-Lughat
6. Taqrib Al-Taisir
7. Forty Hadiths
8. Kitab Al-Adhkar
9. Sharh Sunan Abu Dawood
10. Sharh Sahih Al-Bukhari
11. Mukhtasar At-Tirmidhi
12. Tabaqat Ash-Shafiiyah
13. Rawdhat Al-Talibeen
14. Bustan Al-Arifin
In addition to his writings, of course, Al-Nawawi has influenced many students. He has taught for many years and many people have benefited from it. Some of his best-known students include:
1. Ibn Al-Attar
2. Jamaal Al-Deen al-Mizzi
3. Abu Al-Abbaas ibn Faraah
4. Al-Badr Muhammad ibn Jamaah
5. Abu Al-Rabi Al-Haashimi
Al-Nawawi and the ruler:
Al-Sultan al-Dhaahir was the leader of Muslims for most of his life. He was a war hero. He fought the Mongols and inflicted a great defeat on them. However, his status and popularity do not prevent Al-Nawawi from defending him when he is wrong. On more than one occasion, Al-Nawawi either contacted the ruler in the courtroom or sent him letters regarding a particular case of common interest to the people of Damascus. On one occasion, Al-Nawawi sent the sultan a letter on behalf of the Muslim masses. It has also been signed by several other researchers. Basically, this letter was a request from Imam Al-Nawawi to the ruler to reduce the taxes that were levied on the inhabitants of Syria. The intent of Al-Nawawi’s letter was to correct the wrong done by the ruler. He did not bow to the leader simply because he was the leader and simply because he had done some great things in the past. However, he realized that he had to advise the ruler. In his response, the ruler said he had to collect these taxes for jihad.
Through his meetings with the leader through letters and his personal persuasion to urge him for all the right reasons, the leader became angry with Al-Nawawi. He decided to remove him from Damascus. Al-Nawawi said he would listen and obey, perhaps realizing that it would cause less harm and civil unrest than staying in Damascus and opposing the leader. As a result, he left Damascus and went to his hometown of Nawa. Scholars of that time tried to bring Al-Nawawi back to Damascus. However, he refused. He said he would not enter Damascus if Al-Dhaahir was still there. After a few months, Sultan Al-Dhaahir Baibars passed away.
Al-Nawawi can be seen as a defender of the masses, a champion of scholars and a defender of the truth. He would oppose anyone who opposes the Qur’an and the Sunnah. He would not simply oppose the little people and leave the powers that would be alone. Likewise, his life was not just about standing up to the sovereign and forgetting the harm that others had done. Indeed, he must include among his acts aimed at establishing good and eliminating evil the many writings he has against various innovations practiced by the masses of his time.
Back in his hometown of Nawa, Al-Nawawi fell ill and died. He died on 24 Rajab, 676 AH (1277 AD). He died at the age of forty-four. However, by the grace and mercy of Allah, his achievements during his short life were equal to or greater than those of many who lived twice as long as him.
When the news of his death reached Damascus, the people were very saddened. Tears flowed from their eyes. One of the greatest scientists and leaders of the people was dead. Indeed, the one who was loved by almost everyone he had touched in his life was dead.
His burial place:
He is buried in his hometown of Nawa, Syria. Al-Nawawi wanted his tomb to conform to the Sunnah, it had to be level and not prominent. However, some people have decided to build a dome on his grave. However, Allah wanted Nawawi’s wish to be granted. Every time they tried to build something on her grave, she was destroyed. His grave, after many attempts, was finally left flat, slightly marked and according to the sunnah. His grave is still known and recognized today. May Allah reward Imam Al-Nawawi for all his efforts and efforts for the good of Allah.