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Qaṭf al-Azhār is a very rare type of hadith collection dedicated to an even rarer type of hadith — the mass-transmitted (mutawātir) hadith — in which a piece of information is corroborated by a multitude of eyewitnesses whose relative abundance precludes a conspiracy to lie; it is then transmitted continuously by similar multitudes from the original witnesses to the present. One of the salient qualities of Islam is its concern with certainty in regards to establishing the fundamentals of the religion. The mass-transmitted report is a means of acquiring certainty and as such deserves our profound attention in an age in which the authenticity of the whole hadith corpus has come under attack. The text was abridged by its author, Imam Suyūṭī, specifically to suit the needs of the lay reader and this English translation incorporates the text of all 113 hadiths listed by the Imam, along with helpful explanatory notes and a layout that visually reinforces the authoritativeness of each mass-transmitted report.
‘The mutawātir report is that which reaches you from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ via a transmission containing no doubt, such that it is as if you hear it from an eyewitness. This is due to its great number of narrators whose collusion cannot be countenanced, owing to their uprightness and clearly different locations.’ Imam Bazdawī
Imam Suyūṭī (d. 911/1505), the great 10th century Egyptian polymath, was one of the most prolific writers of the Middle Ages, penning over 500 works on a wide range of subjects, a number of which became world famous during his lifetime. These include Tafsīr al-Jalālayn and Itqān fī ʿUlūm al-Qurʾān (Qur’anic sciences), Tārīkh al-Khulafāʾ (history), Al-Jāmiʿ al-Kabīr and Al-Jāmiʿ aṣ-Ṣaghīr (hadith), Aṭ-Ṭibb an-Nabawī (Prophetic medicine) and Muẓhir fī ʿUlūm al-Lughah (philology). The first and last of these in particular are exemplars of his genius as a compiler and it is precisely his talents of selection and abridgement which make the current work so beneficial and accessible for lay readers both in his time and ours.