Imam Ibn Rajab, may Allah have mercy on him, achieves in this book two major triumphs that speak to the modem Muslim intellectual condition. First, The Heirs of the Prophets deeply inspires in the serious reader; like very few books of human origin; the love and desire to gain true knowledge. It enlightens a people as to what realm of knowledge holds firm sovereignty over all the rest and is most vital for a true Islamic renaissance and revival. In recent years, Muslims have come to easily proffer that the beneficial knowledge praised by Allah and His Messenger admits any expertise that people attain to, including commerce, medicine, engineering, economics, and the like (regardless of one's intentions). These sciences are important, and many righteous scholars have commended them. However, they do not compare to that learning which leads men and women to the pleasure of Allah and salvation in the Hereafter. What worldly expertise can possibly compensate for the loss of knowledge concerning divine guidance to and along the straight path? What possible intellectual success can cover up for an ignorance that lures people into darkness and moral morass in this life and Hellfire in the next? The answers to these questions are obvious, but apparently not to everyone. Muslim countries, for example, continue to have universities that harshly tax their societies by placing their brightest students in the physical sciences and by relegating its mediocre students in "lesser fields," like Islamic studies. The shame of this is manifest, and its subtle impact on the minds of young men and women in the Muslim east is not minor. The Heirs of the Prophets is an eloquent and persuasive advocate of restoring our sense of priority when it comes to the acquisition of knowledge and, as a consequence, the conduct of our lives.
As for the second achievement, The Heirs of the Prophets unabashedly strips away any pretension as to what measures as true scholarship within the realm of Islamic learning itself. These pretensions have had uninterrupted breeding seasons over the years, to the point that it is difficult for most people today to distinguish between a preacher and a scholar, between technique and deep comprehension. For obvious reasons, this speaks especially to Muslims raised in English speaking milieus, men and women who are vulnerable to being overly impressionable, on one band, and vulnerable to overstating their own engagement with the Islamic sciences, on the other.
Ibn Rajab, in this very book, has fired a silver bullet that slays the superficiality that stubbornly persists. He says, "The uninformed person... cannot conceptualize the essence of knowledge nor its sublimity.... One who fails to conceptualize something, its significance will never become rooted in the heart." The Heirs of the Prophets is a push-start to conceptualizing the utter importance of gaining beneficial knowledge so that it can be rooted in the heart of the Muslim body.
By translating this work, Imam Zaid Shakir has done, by Allah's grace, an important service to English-speaking Muslims who now have another opportunity to peer into the world of fine Islamic scholarship and be inspired to take the long and difficult path to attaining it.
Travelling for Sacred Knowledge
Paths Leading to Sacred Knowledge
Knowledge of the Tongue and the Heart
Categories of Scholars
The Harm and Enmity of Corrupt Scholars
The Deception of Satan
Examples of Virtuous Scholars
Grazing the Gardens
All of Creation Assisting the Scholar
Scholars and Worshippers
Virtue of Knowledge
The Virtue of Adam over the Angels
The Scholars Truly Fear Allah
Heirs of the Prophets
Abstinence Of The Early Scholars
About Fudayl Ibn Iyad
About Hasan Al-Basri
About Sufyan Al-Thawri
About Imam Ahmad Ibn Al-Hanbal
About Imam Yahya Ibn Abi Kathir
About Imam Muhammad Ibn Aslam Al-Tusi
About Imam Al-Awzai