Is the attribution of Sharh Arba’een Nawawiyya to Ibn Daqiq al-Eid correct?


السلام عليكم

Shaykh, can you comment on the authenticity and attribution of Sharh Arba’een nawawiyya to Ibn Daqiq al-Eid

جزاك الله خيرا


عليكم السلام ورحمة الله

This is a good question. The short reply is that it appears to be a work by the Maliki Ahmad b. Farh al-Ishbili partly based on his own longer commentary on Nawawi’s Forty Hadith also entitled Sharh al-Arba`in al-Nawawiya.

It has been claimed that:
(i) “Ibn Daqiq al-`Id (625-702/1228-1302) was older than Nawawi (631-676/1233-1277) by five years even though he died 26 years after him.”

This is correct but irrelevant to the issue of establishing authenticity of authorship or lack thereof. There are examples of teachers commenting on the work of their students, let alone co-equal contemporaries. It only serves to show the status of the one 40-hadith collection that achieved the greatest acceptance in the Umma starting from the death if not already the lifetime of its author — may Allah have mercy on him and reward him.

(ii) “Ibn Daqiq al-`Id is not known to mention Nawawi in his works, so he couldn’t have authored this text.” However, this is a falsehood as Ibn Daqiq al-`Id mentions al-Nawawi by name several times in Sharh al-al-Ilmam fi Ahadith al-Ahkam and he also cites him verbatim several more times without mentioning him explicitly.

(iii) “The introduction to the Sharh attributed to Ibn Daqiq al-`Id mentions the Bayquniyya by Ibn Futuh al-Bayquni (d. 1080?/1669?) and al-Sa`d, i.e. Sa`d al-Din `Umar Taftazani (d. 722-792/1322-1390) who respectively came centuries and decades later.” This is also false as no such introduction is found in the unique manuscript of the Sharh naming Ibn Daqiq al-`Id as the author (, or its 1947 edition ( Also, Taftazani is not the only famous Sa`d al-Din in Islam.

(iv) It was also claimed that the Sharh attributed to Ibn Daqiq al-`Id “ascribes two false hadiths to the Prophet, upon him peace, and such an expert in hadith would never sink to such depths” ( And this is yet another lie as shown by the following. The first hadith is “Love of this world is the head of every sin” which is not a falsehood but is narrated with a fair mursal chain to al-Hasan al-Basri by al-Bayhaqi in the Shu`ab as stated by Ibn Hajar and confirmed by al-Sakhawi, al-Suyuti, al-Qari and others.

The second hadith is “The one who does with little in this world gives rest to his heart” etc., which would qualify as a forgery as it is found in the narrations of Ibn Wad`an; however, the text in the Sharh nowhere positively attributes it to the Prophet, but it only says “wa-fi hadithin” which means “and in a certain narration.” In addition its meaning is confirmed as true and it comes in sequence with authentic hadiths. In addition, it was narrated as the continuation of the established sahih hadith from Sahl b. Sa`d and Ibn `Umar, “Do without what people possess, and people will love you,” of which it is apparently an interpolated gloss.

(v) Finally, “nowhere is it mentioned in the bibliographies of Ibn Daqiq al-`Id that he has authored a commentary on Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths.” The answer to this objection is that, first, absence of the mention of a work does not form proof of its inexistence; second, affirmation takes precedence over negation, since the one who affirms knows something that the other doesn’t. Apt examples of undocumented authorships here are al-Nawawi’s own book al-Maqasid and his own commentary on his Forty Hadiths, Sharh al-Arba`in al-Nawawiyya, the latter of which has received many editions, among them Dar al-Istiqama in Cairo (1955) and Dar al-Fath in Damascus (1984).

Nevertheless, the unique manuscript that attributes the Sharh to Ibn Daqiq al-`Id (already referenced above) bears a very late date (1306/1889) and is simply not enough to establish a positive attribution. Out of a total of four, two other manuscripts attribute it to Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani and one to Ibn Daqiq al-`Id’s exact contemporary, the Maliki scholar Ahmad b. Farh b. Ahmad al-Lakhmi al-Ishbili (625-699/1227-1300), whose large Sharh al-Arba`in al-Nawawiyya was recently published in Beirut by Dar al-Gharb al-Islami (2011) edited by Yusuf Najm Abbud. (Note that the introduction is excluded from the original text as it includes a reference to the Bayquniyya which was composed later than all of the above.)

Despite the complete absence of any chain of transmission back to the author in the above-mentioned manuscripts, it appears that the text of the Sharh attributed to Ibn Daqiq al-`Id is based on a larger original text on Nawawi’s Arba`in authored by this Ibn Farh al-Maliki. The smaller Sharh attributed to Ibn Daqiq al-`Id thus appears to be a thoroughly abridged reworking of Ibn Farh’s Sharh which includes material from Ibn Daqiq al-`Id, Nawawi’s Sharh Sahih Muslim, Ibn `Abd al-Barr, Qurtubi, Qadi `Iyad, Ibn Battal and others commentaries on Bukhari and Muslim, but mostly from Ibn Farh himself. The material comes off as a Maliki hadith commentary and thus it is indeed likely that the short Sharh is also by Ibn Farh or some later Maliki author. Allah knows best.

Satisfactory research to that effect was published in 2016 here:


Hajj Gibril Haddad

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