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The Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom is the translation by Abdassamd Clarke of the masterwork of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali. It is a comprehensive collection of sciences and wisdom in commentary of fifty hadith (Including the 'Forty' of Imam An Nawwawi) from the concise comprehensive speech (Jawami' al-Kalim) of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
The author adds another eight hadith to the famous 'Forty' Hadith of Imam an-Nawawi and gives a much more elaborate commentary on their chains of transmission, on the rulings that they entail and on the spiritual dimensions of the hadith, their explanations with respect to the verses of the Qur'an and other hadith, and what the great pious predecessors of Islam have said about them. Every hadith is considered by the 'ulama (scholars) essential for knowledge of the deen. The topics range from the most exacting treatments of the affairs of the shari'ah (Islamic Law) to luminous expositions of the spiritual sciences of Islam.
Best Known as Ibn Rajab, his full name and titles are: al-Imām al-Ḥāfiẓ Abu'l-Faraj Zayn ad-Dīn ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān ibn Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān (known as Rajab) ibn al-Ḥasan ibn Muḥammad ibn Abi'l-Barakāt Masʿūd al-Baghdādī ad-Dimashqī al-Ḥanbalī (736–795 ah). Rajab was the nickname of his grandfather ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān, perhaps because he was born in that month. Born in Baghdad, Ibn Rajab learned much from his father, who himself was a great scholar, then studied in Egypt and Damascus where he settled down until he died. Among his eminent teachers were: Abu'l-Fatḥ Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm al-Maydūmī, Muḥammad ibn Ismāʿīl al-Khabbāz, Ibrāhīm ibn Dāwūd al-ʿAṭṭār, Abu'l-Ḥaram al-Qalānisī, and Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah. He was a colleague of the famous hadith expert al-Ḥāfiẓ Abu'l-Faḍl al-ʿIrāqī. He devoted himself to the subject until he became an expert in all the sciences related to hadith. He then taught hadith, and fiqh according to the Ḥanbalī school in the Jāmiʿ Banī Umayyah and other seats of learning in Damascus. His famous students include scholars like Abu'l-Faḍl Aḥmad ibn Naṣr ibn Aḥmad, the mufti of Egypt (d. 844 ah), Abu'l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad ibn Abī Bakr ibn ʿAli al-Ḥanbalī (d. 844 ah), Dāwūd ibn Sulaymān al-Mawṣilī (d. 844 ah).
He was a leading scholar of the Ḥanbalī school. His work al-Qawāʿid al-kubrā fi al-furūʿ is clear evidence of his expertise in fiqh, demonstrating an extreme, even exhaustive knowledge of the intricacies of detailed fiqh issues.
He was known for piety and righteousness. His sermons were considered most effective, full of blessing and beneficial. People of all schools were unanimous as to his quality, and the hearts of the people were full of love for him. He was not involved in any worldly business, nor did he visit people of material position.
He wrote: a detailed 20-volume scholarly commentary on the Sunan at-Tirmidhī; a commentary on part of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī; a Dhayl (Supplement) to Ṭabaqāt al-ḥanābilah; al-Laṭā'if fi waẓā'if al-ayyām, Bayān faḍl ʿilm as-salaf ʿalā al-khalaf.
Among his best known and most referenced works is Jamiʿ al-ʿulūm wa al-ḥikam, the commentary on al-Arbaʿūn (the forty hadith) of Imam an-Nawawī. He added eight hadith to the original 42 and commented in detail on all of these fifty hadith. This commentary discusses all aspects of the hadith, the chain of narrations, the narrators, and the text.
Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānĪ said of him: "He was a great expert in the sciences of hadith—the historical accounts of narrators, the chains of narration, and meaning of the text." *