Heavenly Guide to the Beacon of Pure Light
A Commentary on the Names of the Prophet Muḥammad from Imam al-Jazūlī’s Dalāʾil al-Khayrāt
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The Dalāʾil al-Khayrāt has been a source of light for the Muslim community ever since its composition in the late 9th/15th century by Imam al-Jazūlī, and it is probably the most oft-recited compilation of ṣalwāt in the Muslim world; it also contains 201 Names of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), according to the collection of Abū ʿImrān al-Zannātī al-Fāsī. These alongside the Dalāʾil itself are recited in many mosques and zāwiyas (Sufi meeting-places) in Fes, Morocco, where the translator lived for over seven years.
Compilations of the Names of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) have been a tradition of the scholars for centuries: Qāḍī Abū Bakr Ibn al-ʿArabī relates in his commentary on Kitāb al-Shamāʾil, the great Ḥadīth compilation of Imam Tirmidhī, that some Sufis have said that the Prophet has a thousand names. Ibn al-Fāris includes 2020 in his Tafsīr Asmāʾ al-Rasūl, while Abū al-Ḥasan al-Subkī states that they number four thousand. Qasṭallānī relates just over five hundred in his work al-Mawāhib al-ladunniyya. Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ, in al-Shifā, his classic treatise on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), limits himself only to those names ascribed clearly to him; he also says that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) has thirty names which are also among the Names of Allah.
Idris Watts brings together in this work, the introduction of the Dalāʾil al-Khayrāt and the Names as it’s recited in Fes today, directed by the head of the muqaddams, Ḥājj Ismāʿīl al-Filālī, who inherited the role from his father, one in a chain of narrators that goes back through the men of the Jazūlī Order; including the full Arabic text, transliteration and a translation. He also directed an audio-recording of the text in the Fes Style which accompanies the book.
In Part Two of the book he has provided, for the first time in the English Language, a short-commentary on the Names of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) bringing together a wealth of knowledge and benefit from a number of Arabic sources amongst them, Muḥammad al-Mahdī al-Fāsī’s Maṭāliʿ al-masarrāt bi-jalāʾ Dalāʾil al-khayrāt; Muḥammad al-Zarqānī’s Sharḥ al-Zarqānī ʿalā al-Mawāhib al-ladunniyya and Aḥmad al-Khafājī’s Nasīm al-riyāḍ fī sharḥ Shifā’ al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ. This will give the English reader a taste of what the traditional scholars have written about his Names and give greater meaning to the recitals of the Names.