Nawawi’s collection of 40 Hadith: Commentaries

These commentaries are by:Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi
Associate Professor
Department of General Studies
International Islamic University Malaysia

If you have any questions or comments on the Forty Hadith, please e-mail them to:

The collection of Forty Hadith by al-Imam al-Nawawi (or Imam Nawawi) has been known, accepted and appreciated by Muslim scholars for the last seven centuries.

Its significance lay in the fact that these selected forty hadiths comprise the main essential and fundamental concepts of Islam which, in turn, construct the minimum level of required revealed knowledge for every single Muslim. Since having good knowledge of the various fundamental aspects of the religion is key to a Muslim’s practice and application of Islam, this web site attempts to provide simple and practical commentaries to the collection of Imam Nawawi’s Forty Hadith.

Various principles are contained in these hadiths, such as belief, Muslim ethics and fiqh. As such, it is very important to have a good understanding of these hadiths based on scholarly interpretations. In addition, these commentaries also try to offer discussions on related contemporary issues pertaining to certain concepts mentioned in these hadiths.

The comments contain some Q’s and answers to the Q’s

5 Responses to “Nawawi’s collection of 40 Hadith: Commentaries”

  1. a sane voice in a mad world Says:

    Q1: what do these forty Hadith deal with (ie what broad classification), and what is the importance of these Hadith.

    Q2: what is Imam Nawawi’s (رحمه الله, this will be described below under reference **1) “first” name? and what is his nickname, or “kunniyyat”, or “urfa”?

    (if i am wrong in using these terms or in transliteration, the arabic speakers may kindly correct me)

    Q3: where and when was Imam Nawawi born?

    Q4: where and when did he die?

    Q5: why is he called Nawawi?

    Q6: what does “arbaeen” mean?

    Q7: name the three most famous/important books he has written, and tell us why they are considered important?

    **1 رحمه الله – rahimahu Allah
    “may Allah have mercy upon him” – this is used after the mention of a deceased scholar or leader

    رحمهم الله – rahimahum Allah
    “may Allah have mercy upon them” – plural form of the above

  2. a sane voice in a mad world Says:

    A1: These 40 AHadeeth (احاديث plural of Hadith حديث) deal with the main and fundamental concepts of Islam which allow a Muslim to practice the deen. The main branches of knowledge they deal with are: belief (aqeedah), morals and ethics, jurisprudence (fiqh)

    A2: Imam Nawawi
    name: Mohiyuddin
    urfiyat (nickname): Nawawi
    kunniyat: abu Zakariyah Yahya (abu = father of)

    {more info:
    bin = son of Sharaf}

    A3: He was born in 631 AH at Nawa (a village near Damascus) where he lived or studied for nearly 20 years.

    A4: He died at Nawa in 676 AH (1278 AD).

    A5: In Arabic, to link someone or something to a place or group, an “i” or “awi” is added after the name you want to link to. For example, a person coming from Baghdad would be called a “Baghdadi”. However if the name (of the place or item to which a link is being made) ends in an “e” or “a” sound, a “wi is added. e.g. one from “Karachi” would be called “Karachwi”, ie: Karachiite. So “Nawawi” means “from Nawa”. The same rule applies in Farsi and Urdu.

    A6: “arbaeen” means 40

    A7: any three of the following:

    i. “Riad-dus-Saliheen” رياض الصالحين – indeed a concise and the most popular book of reliable Hadith, used as a syllabus by the Tableeghi Jamaat outside of the Indo-Pak sub-continent

    ii. “Sharh Sahih Muslim” شرح صحيح مسلم – explanation and notes on Sahih Muslim, a collection of Saheeh Hadeeth by Imam Muslim. This is a standard textbook on Hadith.

    iii. “arbaeen-e-Nawawi” اربعين نووى – its importance has been explained above in answer to Q1.

    iv. “al-Minhaj” المنهج – is used for the study of fiqh (jurisprudence).

    v. “Mukhtasar al Termezei”

  3. fawzia fakier Says:

    Assalamu alaykum -I have been searching for commentaries of the Forty Hadeeth by Imam Nawawi unsuccessfully. Could you please be of help to me-Jazakallah Khairan -Fawzia

  4. a sane voice in a mad world Says:


    I had found two sites with commentaries, one of which is the iiu address given at the beginning of this post, and the other was perhaps, but I cannot get the pages I had found. I will look for them, insha`Allah, and give you the information when I have found these.

  5. lubna Says:

    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu… I wanna know why are the 42 hadiths of an-nawawi called al arbaoon (40) or in other words y r there 42 hadiths in al arbaoon instead of 40.. waitin for your reply.. jazakallahu khair…

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