The Arrangement of the Ihya
The secret of the Ihya ‘s-Sunna is in the manner in which the Shehu divided the text. He divided the Ihya ‘s-Sunna into thirty-three chapters. Each of these chapters were divided into two sections. Allah ta`ala says,
“Glory be to Him who has created paired opposites of everything, from what the earth produces, from themselves and from what they are unawares.”
Thus, the thirty-three chapters were divided into sixty-six sub-chapters. This number is equivalent to the numerical value of the name Allah ta`ala. In the science of abjadiyya: the alif = 1; the first laam = 30; the second laam = 30; and the ha = 5. Thus, the total letters when added equals 66. This integration of the elemental sciences (`ulumm ‘l-awaa’il) was a constant feature of Shehu Uthman throughout his literary career. In his Bayan Wujub ‘l-Hijra, he said,
“I have placed within this book sixty-three chapters like the number of years of the Prophet, upon him be blessings and peace. It is a book which will prove of benefit, Allah willing, to those who rely upon in it in this age.”
We noted earlier that the poem ad-Daaliyya which inaugurated the career of the Shehu was arranged in the same fashion based upon the science of abjadiyya. He said,
“With the help of the Lord of the worlds, I have completed it, And made its number like the years of Muhammad. In the year qaf, shin after nun, jeem – so understand!
From the hijra of the best guide the Prophet Muhammad”.
Thus in the Ihya ‘s-Sunna the Shehu clarified in sixty-six sub-chapters the paired opposites which underline the salvation and destruction of the individual as well as the society. They are the Sunna of Muhammad and Satanic Innovation. Prof. Ismail Balogun demonstrated in his excellent critic of the Ihya ‘s-Sunnathat in every chapter the Shehu starts by explaining that the way to achieve the sunna of Muhammad in the issue of the mentioned chapter is by adhering to what the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace did in that respect.