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The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith. By Imam Al-Bayhaqi

Item Code : Darussalam.AE105

Author : Imam Al-Bayhaqi
Publisher : Non, Darussalam
Book Format : 14X20 PB
Pages : 65
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The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith

This is the first English translations of one of the most popular manuals of Islam ever written. It is divided into seventy-seven chapters, each dealing with a major aspect of Islam, giving the relevant Qur'anic verses and authentic Hadiths for each. The book is an essential tool for all English-speaking Muslims and people interested in learning about Islam.

The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith," translated by Abdal Hakim Murad, is not an easy work to acquire nowadays. The cover information is slightly misleading as the book is actually a translation of an abridgement by Imam Qazwini of Imam Bayhaqi's six volume compendium, "The Branches of Faith." Nevertheless, the book's value is succinctly stated by the translator himself who notes at the end of his introduction that:

"The theme of these Branches is life itself. Not a theory, or utopian dreaming, but a matter-of-fact record of the radiant and loving pattern of life demonstrated by the Blessed Prophet of Islam, which in two decades transformed the violent and pagan Arabs into a community of unprecedented selflessness and spirituality. It is his example that we must aspire to emulate, in however inadequate a degree, if we are to regain something of that early state of grace."

Such exacting descriptions of spiritual totems are a common feature throughout the book. Content-wise, a myriad of religious spheres are touched upon including: faith, the five pillars, excellence in character and conduct, learning, asceticism, just to name a few. Interspersed within many of the seventy-seven chapters - one for each aspect of faith - are numerous clips of classical Islamic poetry which, ever so eloquently, buttress the virtues extolled in the branches.

The chapters follow a familiar, formulaic pattern of grounding via Qur'anic verses, Prophetic traditions and the statements of many a scholar. Spanning some sixty-odd pages, the chapters vary in length considerably and may better be characterized as short paragraphs than actual chapters. This structural scheme coupled with the writing style makes the book very reminiscent of others, such as the "Forty Hadith" of Imam Nawawi and "Provisions for the Seekers" by Shaykh al-Bulandshehri, all of whom employed brevity as a means of facilitating memorization for the general readership.

In the end it seems that if we hold true to these contentions we will be seventy-seven branches closer to perfection, in sha' Allah.