In creation, man occupies a singular position. Whatever exists between heavens and is for his service. There is no wonder that this noblest being of creation has been lording over the immense domain of the Universe.
His wonderful scientific invasions have contributed greatly to his material prosperity and afforded comforts and amenities of life which may be called the dreams of Paradise. His arts and literatures, his profound stock of knowledge and his witty and ingenious political sagacity have raised him now to a position scarcely reached by his predecessors. Rightly does he stand to-day at the peak of civilization, the pride and glory of the modern world.
Nevertheless the life of this highly civilized man is to-day in almost every part of the globe nothing short of a stupendous tragedy. Lost to peace and happiness, he is now bewildered and disappointed. His home life is seriously at stake and greatly dismembered. True love and affection between man and his wife, father and son, brother and sister are things of the past, and the little that is found now is rapidly disappearing. Treatment towards the menials has assumed the form of Roman overlordship of the bygone days. There pervails therefore the evil result of forced labour in almost every house of a middle class man. In the domain of society, there are forces of disruption everywhere. There are communal riots, labour unrest, unemployment problems and marriage and property troubler. The entire human race have been divided into mutually clashing interests. There is therefore the never ending strife going on between capital and labour, castes and scheduled castes, touchables and untouchables' high-borns and low-borns, landlords and tenants. Turning next to the question of nations and kingdoms, a more horrible spectacle is being witnessed by us every day. Peace has bear given a decent burial under the trumpet calls of huge armaments. Nations teach gospel truths to nations for disarmaments, but at the same time secretly increase their respective equipments for human slaughter. This inordinate love for political supremacy and bureaucratic power have led nations to deadliest bloodshed and indiscriminate massacres of the noblest of creation unprecedented in the animals of yore. All these led them to bear the crushing weight of colossal expenditures and huge loans. Turning our attention next to the domain of religion, man is found not less humane. He sets up superiority of one religion over another, one Prophet over another and even one saint over another. Never has the history witnessed a more horrible picture of satanic regime and brutal tortures than on the genre of religious views.
Inshort, the modem highly Unum man has lost the true music of his life, the modem family member, his domestic love and affection, the modern society, its peace and happiness, the modern nation its equilibrium and the so-called modern religion, its mission of service and love. The modern man is now surrounded with innumerable problems that stagger his soaring ingenuity to find solution. He is now hapless and helpless. It has now dawned upon him that the civilization he has built up through centuries of labour, has utterly failed to bring all that he requires, particularly his peace and happiness. What insiduous force is there in his proud civilization that has robbed him of this bliss and felicity of life, and the world of its peace and harmony? Where is wrong in the affairs of man? It is because the modern man neglects his duty towards God! And his duty towards himself and his fellow beings. It is because of his lack of faith in the Almighty and his disinclination to tread the path of morality and rectitude and to choose the the straight way chalked out by the All Powerful for the guidance of mankind. Go carefully with a mind completely free from prejudice and bias through the pages of the Holy Quran and the 'Al-Hadis', you will, I am perfectly sure, accord with one voice that true Islam (surrender to One God ) is panacea for all the diseases that confront the modern mind and the best guidance is the guidance of the World Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) who was sent as a mercy for the universe. Mark what die Quran says : Whatever the Apostle giveth you, take, and whatsover he forbideth you, avoid - 59 : 7Q.
The Holy Quran has bear translated into many languages but none has hitherto taken the trouble of translating completely the traditional utterances and doings of die World Prophet even in the English language. It is remarkable that the precious gems which fell from the Prophetic lips for the guidance of mankind were long hidden from the English-speaking world and consequently faith in the greatest man of the world has been in the melting pot. Now has come the dawn of a new era, and as a result the teachings of the World Prophet have been found commendable for the solution of the various world problems and the most convenient vehicles for carving us to our highest spiritual ideals. Towards part fulfilment of this object, there have recently been laudable attempts on the part of some enthusiastic Muslim, for broadcasting the glorious sayings and doings of the Holy Prophet throughout the hook and corner of the world, but to our regret the world is still in want of a complete, faithful and and annotated English translation of Al-Hadis. There were even searches by some thirsty European and Indian minds for such a work in the columns of the world famous Islamic Review and other periodicals, but to our disappointment they met with no response. In India where a general awakening of religious consciousness has dawned upon the mind especially of the English educated youths and of those ignorant of Arabic tongue, such a work on Hadis is greatly needed to bring out light through the misty clouds that surround their paths and to supply the spiritual food provided by the Greatest Humanist.
Led by these circumstances couple with a grim desire to find myself engaged in ""the ways of Allah"" I have gladly placed my humble self in the service of Rabb(Lord) and undertook the great task of translating the holy traditions in May, 1933. Monumental as the work is and belonging as I do to the Provincial Judicial Civil Service which is known for proverbial hard work with hardly any leisure, I became at times despondent, but Providence instilled new vigour and life in me out of each despondency. In such a state of mind when barely half of the ground work was not finished, I made pilgrimage and visited the holy places of Islam by the early part of 1935. I Placed my half-finished manuscript at the door of the holy Ka'ba and sought Divine blessings. The life and spirit which I found near the Prophet,s tomb at Medina, in a cave in the Mount Uhud and in the heights of Arafat guided me all throughout these arduous years and sustained me in my continued efforts. As a result I could Finish die first book for press in March, 1936. Considering the huge amount of expenditure for printing the work and the short funds at my disposal, I dedicated the whole work and its fixture proceeds to the Islamic Mission , working (England), with the condition of its printing and publishing, The manuscript Lay in the hands of the Mission authorities in India and England for more than a year without being printed for financial stringency. So I had no other alternative but to cancel the dedication and recall the book in April, 1937. Immediately after I received the manuscript, I engaged the Muhammadi and other presses in Calcutta for printing four different pans of the work.
I have selected for translation the Holy Mishkat for several reasons. Firstly, it contains in a nut shell all that is required for an average man for his spiritual, religious, social, political, economic, ethical, martial domestic and other laws and regulations of life, for his Prophet's life, character and conduct and for his knowledge of the event, before and after Resurrection. Secondly, Mishkat is free from the long chain of historical attestation of a Hadis called Isnad while all the other books, on the subject contain long chain of narration which is troublesome to the casual readers. Thirdly, it is not independent work so that Isnad would be necessary but it is a selection from the highly voluminous works of Bukhari, Muslim and other traditionists of repute, and consequently the authenticity of Mishkat is undoubted. Fourthly, it has been enjoying wide popularity in the world of Islam from the year 516 A. H. when it was first compiled. It has been the standard text book in all schools and colleges in Islam up to this time, and its numerous commentaries in Arabic, Persian and Urdu have come out. The most notable in recent times are the commentaries of Maulana Abdul Haq of Delhi, of Muller Ali Qari, and Mazhare Haq of Nawab Qutbuddin. For these reasons, I have been asked by my friends to select Mishkat for translation.
The Special Features of this English Translation are the following. Firstly, an article on each subject invariably in each section dealing with the reasonable, philosophical and scientific exposition has been given at the top of the section with relevant references of the Quran and Hadis. There are approximately 380 articles on 380 different subjects. This has taken my considerable time and attention. Secondly a slight deviation has been made in the matter of classification of the subject matters into chapters and section. This has been done in order to give and to place in the forefront the subjects which reference to the readers, For this reason, if greatly occupy the modern minds, tastes and societies. For this reason, if any Hadis is not found in its proper place as in Mishkat, it must be taken that it occurs elsewhere in its appropriate section, but there is no omission or alteration of any Hadis. Thirdly, Mishkat contains three classifications in each section, while Masabih two. I have retained only two classifications. In the second class, the traditions reported by the authors other than the authors of Sihah Sitta (six authentic collections) have been placed in running numbers (nearly 725) in the whole work, and have been termed less authentic by inserting the word 'w' which means 'weak' All other traditions (nearly 5375) have been placed under the first class in separate running numbers in each chapter. A few traditions have been taken from the Ihya-ol-Ulumuddin of Imam Ghazzali. Short notes in running numbers (nearly 2600) throughout the work have been given to explain the difficult words and contexts. Fourthly, an introduction to thestudy of Hadis coupled with a very short biographical sketches of the principal narrators (about 212 in number ) covering eighty pages has been appended in the beginning. This deals with the origin, collection and history of Hadis literature. The apparent contradictory views of some traditions have been tried to be explained.
The Mazhare Haq of Nawab Qutbuddin has been freely consulted. If there is omission of any authority on any question, the above book must be taken as such authority. For the articles, help from the famous lhasa-ul-Ulum of Imam Ghazzali has been frequently taken. For technicalities, Hidayah has been freely consulted. There are other books for occasional references which have been given separately.
While translating the book, l have tried to render the meaning of traditions as literal as possible, and sometimes even at the expense of the English language. I have purposely refrained from introducing any personal views, sectarian prejudices and narrow ideas. In the articles, I have tried to frame my mind on the broadest basis i.e. to think God as the only object of worship and to think all human beings as children of the same father. Comparisons of Prophets with Prophets and religions with religions have been as far as possible avoided according to the teaching of Islam. At the same time, l have not forgotten to place before the public the views and differences of the principle of four Imams in the footnotes. I have followed the generally accepted interpretations. When the Imams differed with one another on any matter, I have placed the opinion which coincides with reason arid spirit of the teaching. l have spent a little time in explaining grammatical arid philological notes. Sometimes past tenses were used in Arabic for future events, specially for the events before and after the Resurrection. Their English translations have been rendered in present and future tenses. Ornamental languages and cumborous expressions, such as Thou, Ye, have been avoided as far as possible.
I have taken every pains to avoid printing mistakes in the book but due to oversight of the proof-readers and my official engagements there are a few printing mistakes.
I am conscious of many defects which the book might contain. but l crave the indulgence of the readers for the same and shall feel grateful for any defect being pointed out.
O Almighty Allah! we dedicate the work to Thy feet, and to the memory of Thy Messenger and not to any other human being. Forgive our errors and Mistakes that might have crept in the book and delete them by Thy infinite wisdom.
We beseech Thy help in our endeavours. O our Lord! accept our humble dedication. Verily Thou art the Mightly, the Wise.