Praise be to
In the Book of Allah, may He be exalted,
you will find the truest, most beautiful and most trustworthy of stories,
because it is the word of Allah, may He be exalted, which illuminated the world
with its lessons and rulings. Reading the stories of the Messengers and
Prophets in the verses of the Qur’aan is one of the
greatest ways of bringing benefits and good to the Muslim, let alone the
immense reward that is attained by the one who ponders the Book of Allah, may
He be exalted. Hence we advise you to be keen to pursue this way of goodness,
for the Muslim can never do without the Book of Allah, may He be exalted, no
matter what other books he reads.
With regard to the books of the scholars
about the stories of the Prophets, the best of them – as it appears to us – are
Qasas al-Anbiya’ (Stories of the Prophets) by al-Haafiz
Ibn Katheer (may Allah have
mercy on him) (d. 774 AH). This is perhaps the best of the books of the early
scholars on this topic, as it is distinguished by compiling all of the verses
having to do with the story of each Prophet in one place, and making
connections between them by commenting on them and quoting hadeeths
and reports that have to do with them. It is an encyclopaedic
and well organised book that discusses the lives of
the Prophets, although it quotes rather too many reports that are not proven
and some reports from Jewish sources (Israa’eeliyyaat).
However for the most part he points out the origin of these reports, and he
states that he only quotes for the purpose of studying them and highlighting
their status. So we recommend you to read this book and study it. The one who
wants to study these stories with the best annotation should read the book al-Bidaayah wa’n-Nihaayah (Dar Hajar edn., published under the supervision of Dr. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abd al-Muhsin
at-Turki), because Qasas
al-Anbiya’ is taken from the first chapters of al-Bidaayah wa’n-Nihaayah.
min Akhbaar wa Qasas al-Anbiya’ (The saheeh hadeeths that speak of the
lives and stories of the Prophets) was compiled and their isnaads
evaluated by Ibraaheem Muhammad al-‘Ali (publ. by Dar
al-Qalam in Damascus
and Dar ash-Shaamiyyah in Beirut, 276 pages). It is a very useful book
that is distinguished by the fact that it includes many hadeeths
that speak of the stories of the Messengers and Prophets, and the material is organised with comments in a manner that complements these
stories. The author (may Allah have mercy on him) put a great deal of effort
into selecting saheeh and hasan
hadeeths and reports, and avoiding weak and
fabricated material. This may be the best contemporary book on this topic.
al-Anbiya’ by al-‘Allaamah
‘Abd ar-Rahmaan as-Sa‘di (d. 1376 AH). This is a short book that is
taken from his book Tayseer al-Lateef al-Mannaan fi Khilaasat Tafseer
al-Qur’an, in which he recounts the stories of the Prophets as they were
narrated in the Holy Qur’aan, in sequence, and he
follows each story with a brief discussion of what we learn from it.
And Allah knows best.