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The Lives of Man

The Lives of Man
What happens after Death? Who are "Munkar and Nakir?" What will Heaven and Hell be like? What signs should we expect before the day of Judgement? Who is the Dajjal? When will the Mahdi appear? These and many other questions are answered, on the basis of the Qu'ran and Hadith, in this fascinating book. Imam al-Haddad explains that every human being passes through the "lives:" before conception, life in the world, life in the grave, the Resurrection, and finally, the Garden of the Fire. A complete Muslim must be aware of each of these if he is to be sufficiently prepared for eternal life.

The author, Imam al-Haddad lived in Tarim in the Hadramant Valley between Yemen and Oman, and is widely held to have been the 'renewer' of the Islamic century. He was a noted authority on the Shafi'i school of jurisprudence, and a writer on devotional matters, both in poetry and prose. His works have been translated into many languages.

"...written in appreciation of a classic of Islamic spirituality, the treatise fully entitled the The Way to Remember and Learn from the Lives of Man That Wane and Perish by Imam Abdallah Ibn Alawi Al-Haddad (Rady Allahu 'Anh). After reading the book, the reader may notice a penetrating essence in the work. The reasons for this must be clarified and the best way to describe this phenomena which may be experienced in all of Imam Al-Haddad's works can easily be summed up by a short quote from the famed Sheikh, Al-Suhrawardi: "If words come out from the heart, they will enter the heart, but if they come from the tongue, they will not pass beyond the ears." Indeed, it is the true sincerity and realization that great luminaries like Imam Al-Haddad experienced, which leads to their words changing men's hearts. The present work mentioned, namely The Lives of Man covers an indispensable virtue in the field of Islamic spirituality, namely the remembrance of death. The greatest scholars of Islam have for centuries, written on this topic and as a great scholar it is befitting that Imam Al-Haddad also wrote a treatise on the topic. As a final note to the introduction, we must understand the insurmountable importance and relevance this work has for today's Muslim. The current societal situation is one of frivolousness, and the engagement in irreligious and decadent matters. The true reason for our existence and the consequences of our deeds in this earthly abode are often forgotten or veiled from our thoughts so that we may spiral deeper into our love of the world.

The Lives is a classic example of the thorough yet brief style in which Imam Al-Haddad wrote. The English translation by Mostapha al-Badawi is less than one hundred pages in length including appendices. Imam Al-Haddad knew the nature of man and the time constraints and span of attention the common man faces and the Lives, delivers a concise and moving message to its readers. The book is divided into five main chapters to accommodate the five stages of existence we will all go through. The first stage is the life before conception (1), and deals with the metaphysical state before entering the Dunya (2), which is the second life. This life is particularly addressed because of it's pivotal nature in relation to the proceeding three stages of existence. After the Dunya we will enter the Intermediate Realm (Barzakh) (3) from where it will become apparent to us what awaits on the Judgement Day (4) and ultimately the Fire or the Garden (5)." Omar Butt

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