Book Review: At-Tadhkirah

Discussion in 'Bibliophile's Corner' started by abu Hasan, May 19, 2006.

Draft saved Draft deleted
  1. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    excerpts: [this article was still in progress when a recent altercation prompted me to hasten. here i am parking 'post-space']
  2. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    Bismillāhi’r Raĥmāni’r Raĥīm

    At-Tadhkirah fī Aĥwāli’l Mawtā wa Umūri’l Ākhirah
    by Imām Abū Ábdullāh Muĥammad ibn Aĥmed ibn Abū Bakr ibn Far’ĥ al-Anşārī al-Khazrajī al-Qurtubī. 605 Pages.

    ‘Every soul shall taste death’ is the Divine Promise. Every muslim should believe in death and the afterlife; it is an article of faith. ‘Death is a sufficient preacher’ is the advice of RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam.

    But yet, most of us are heedless or blissfully ignorant of this most important topic. It is not surprising therefore that we cannot find many books on this subject. Even though all knowledge and actions are meant to be a provision for death and the hereafter. Also, not many books are solely dedicated to this subject.

    Of those that are written, a few are simply outstanding. Imām Ghazāli’s chapter on death and the afterlife in his magnum opus Iĥyā’a Ulūmi ad-Dīn is one, but yet it cannot be classified as a separate book. Imām Ibn Rajab's Ahwal al-Qubur, Imām Qurţubi’s At-Tadhkirah and Imām Suyūţi’s Sharĥu’s Şudūr are the easily available ones.

    Imām Ghazāli’s chapter in his Iĥyā’a is a beautiful sermon with interspersed narrations and Suyūţi’s work is a comprehensive collection of narrations. Qurţubi’s treatise is a magnificient amalgam of both approaches in it that it is an eloquent sermon and a vast collection of narrations punctuated by moving poetry. [At-Tadhkirah predates Suyūţi; infact, Suyūţi’s work is based and expanded on At-Tadhkirah as mentioned in its preface.]

    The book is in about 600 pages and covers a variety of topics arranged in what appears to be a chronological fashion. Sample chapters:

    - on wishing for death
    - remembering death and preparing for it
    - on that which reminds one of death and helps abstain from worldly pleasures
    - on visiting the dead and weeping for them
    - the onset of death and the agony of the dying
    - on helping [talqin] the dying to say the kalimah
    - on having good faith in Allāh while dying
    - on the matter that all actions are dependent on the end
    - on what has been reported about an ugly end [we seek Allāh’s refuge]
    - on the matter of the soul and where it goes after removed from the body
    - on what has been reported about the angel of death
    - on funerals and that they should be hastened
    - on reciting qur’an for the benefit of the dead during burial and thereafter
    - on the terrors of the grave
    - on choosing a place for burial in the proximity of pious folk
    - on burials
    - on the punishment in the grave
    - on seeking refuge from torment in the grave
    - on the matter that the dead hear when they are called
    - the souls of martyrs are in paradise
    - the bodies of the prophets and martyrs is not harmed by the earth [are preserved forever] and that they are alive [in their graves]
    - on the seemingly problematic ĥadīth of ‘hand’ and ‘fingers’
    - barzakh: the veil [transition between this world and the hereafter]
    - ĥashr: the assemblage [on the day of judgement]
    - shafāáh: intercession
    - ĥisāb: the accounting on the day of judgement
    - ĥawđ: the pond of RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam
    - mīzān: the scales [when the actions are weighed]
    - şirāţ: the crossing [the path on hell which everyone must cross]
    - mention of jehanna [hell] and its dwellers
    - on various levels of hell and those who may dwell therein
    - on paradise and its dwellers and what has been reported of the various comforts prepared therein
    - on the streams of paradise
    - on the wine that is in paradise
    - on the trees of paradise
    - on the clothes in paradise
    - on the levels of paradise and those who attain them
    - on the houses and palaces in paradise
    - on various campings and markets in paradise
    - nobody in paradise will be unmarried
    - the first ones to enter paradise will be the poor
    - on the matter of houris [beautiful women and wives in paradise]
    - on the birds of paradise
    - on the matter that Allāh will be pleased with the dwellers of paradise
    - on seeing Allāh in paradise
    - on the tribulations of final days and those preceding judgement day
    - on signs that have come to pass
    - on the portents of judgement day
    - judgement day; agony and anguish on that day

    Imām Abū Ábdullāh al-Qurţubi was born in Cordoba [now, in Spain] around 600AH [1200AD] His father was a farmer and was martyred by crusaders in Cordoba in the year 637AH. He was a Māliki jurist, Qur’anic exegete and a great hermit [zahid.] He studied under various scholars among them Abū Jáfar known as Ibn Abī Ĥujjah, the lexicologist and Abū’l Ábbās Ahmed ibn Úmar al-Qurţubi, a great Māliki jurist in Cordoba. He later traveled to Egypt and settled there until he passed away in 671AH. His tomb is constructed in Al-Minya, east of the Nile.

    He has written many useful books among which the following are famous:
    - Al Jāmiý li Aĥkāmi’l Qur’ān, an exegesis of Quran.

    - At-Tidhkār fī Afđali’l Adhkār, on the merits and etiquette of reading and reciting the Qur’ān.

    - At-Tadhkirah fī Aĥwāli’l Mawtā wa Umūri’l ākhirah, on the matter of death, the dead and the hereafter.

    - Al-Asnā fī Sharĥi Asmāyillāhi’l Husnā, an explanation of the beautiful names of Allāh
    Last edited: May 19, 2006

Share This Page