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Al-Nawawī’s Forty Prophetic Reports on the Principles of Religion

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Cambridge Muslim College

14 Saint Paul's Road

Cambridge

CB1 2EZ

United Kingdom

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The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) is described in Arabic as Jawāmi‘al-Kalim, which can be rendered in to English as, ‘one who was given comprehensive, economical speech.’ This idea is sagaciously echoed in the Arabic proverb: ‘khayr al-kalām mā qalla wa dalla': ‘the best form of address is economical, yet meaningful.’ That said, economy in speech can often lead to obscurity in meaning, something which is most obviously not the case with Prophetic address. So what is the deeper idea conveyed by such a description? What does jawāmi’ al-kalim actually mean? And how does this impress upon our understanding of Prophetic speech, the Prophetic mind, and Prophecy in general.

The seminal Ḥadīth collection of the seventh century Damascene polymath Yaḥyā al-Nawawī provides a selection of forty-two axiomatic Prophetic reports, each one representing an important principle of Faith. The selection provides an outstanding example of the depth and expanse of Prophetic teaching. We will come to learn that Prophetic address is only fixed in time by words, its oceanic meaning remaining timeless, taken from another realm altogether.

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Cambridge Muslim College

14 Saint Paul's Road

Cambridge

CB1 2EZ

United Kingdom

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