The Heirs of the Prophets
This book achieves two major triumphs that speak to the modern Muslim intellectual condition. First, it deeply inspires in the serious reader - like very few books of human origin - the love and desire to gain true knowledge. It enlightens people as to what realm of knowledge holds firm sovereignity over all the rest and is most vital for a true Islamic renaissance. In the haze of unbounded access to information, it is especially important these days for people to be clear about what is beneficial knowledge as praised by God and His Messenger, peace be upon him. This knowledge refers mainly to that 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 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 measuers as true scholarship within the realm of Islamic learning itself. These pretensions have had uniterrupted breading 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. Imam Ibn Rajab, in the eighth Islamic century, 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."
Author: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali
Introduction and translation by: Zaid Shakir