Book Review: Spiritual Teachings of the Prophet – Hadith with commentaries by Saints & Sages of Islam

by britishmisk


I first took an interest in this book when it was mentioned in Fons Vitae’s February 2013 update, that Shaykh Hamza Yusuf had read a pre-published manuscript copy while he was ill in Medina, and by the time he had finished reading it he was cured. The book is very similar to A Sufi Study of Hadith, which I reviewed back in 2011, both in manner of content and style, in that it presents a number of hadith that support the practices of Sufism, in Arabic with an English translation, and then an explanation.

Much like in the latter work, for those who enjoy reading Islamic spirituality this book comes recommended, there are some insights given by great figures of both the past and present that are a delight to read about and take heed of. At first I was little hesitant in reading the book given that Frithjof Schuon’s commentaries are the most common, but there is hardly much in the way of perennial discourse. Admittedly I did find his explanations harder to understand and comprehend than some of the classical passages that were translated from Arabic, I felt his writing was over complicated and focused too much on trying to find a deep metaphysical reality in the hadiths that were given. Then I thought it may just be my lack of intelligence getting in the way. Another issue I found is that every single hadith quoted is given the grading of sahih or hasan despite the feeling I had that some of them may be different. The discussion of authenticity is only given for the hadith that states “Looking at the face of Ali is an act of worship”.

Aside from that the book acts as a great reference for numerous topics that are considered controversial in certain circles. Such as hadith regarding the abdaal, the Friends of Allah in general, intercession with saints and prophets and so on. If you’re into tasawwuf this is a must to your collection.