About the Text
This book, Umdat ‘l-Bayaan Fi ‘l-`Uluum Allati Wajib `Ala ‘l-`Ayaan (The Supporting Explanation of the Sciences Which Are Obligatory Upon Every Individual) is the first of a series of four “umdat” titled books by the Shehu. The word umdat is the Arabic word for “support, buttress, reliance or pillar”. The Shehu authored four in a series of books called Umdat or support in order to establish four solid pillars upon which humanity could rely upon in the sciences of the deen.
This book, Umdat ‘l-Bayaan , covers every science which the servants will be questioned about on the Day of Judgement. It is an elaboration upon the Prophetic tradition concerning the reality of iman, islam and ihsan. It is what some scholars call the ‘basic research’ upon which all other sciences are based. Therefore the book is indispensable for the man and woman who is seeking a sound basis for the knowledge of the deen.
It will prove beneficial to the new Muslim as a source book for his or her worship and knowledge. It will be of benefit also to those who have taken upon themselves the duty of calling creation to the door Allah through clear teachings and admonitions. This book can be used as a basic text for Muslims in prison, educational institutions and learning circles to initiate the non-Muslim and beginner into the fundamentals of the sciences of the deen.
After this book we would suggest a study of the Shehu’s second book called Umdat ‘l-Muta`abideen Wa ‘l-Muhtarifeen (the Support of the Dedicated and Sincere Servants) This next book in a series of the ‘support’ themes discusses the same issues in the Umdat ‘l-Bayaan except that now the Shehu gives the Qur’anic and Prophetic proofs for each of the three realms of knowledge. This book will allow the student to move from the level of blind imitation (taqleed) to the level of evidence (daleel) in those issues which are individual obligations.
The third book in this series is the Umdat ‘l-Ubaad (the Support of the Pious Worshippers). Here in this small work the Shehu takes the student into the realm of the superogatory acts of worship by which he can draw near to Allah and earn His love. This work deals with the superogatory prayers, recitation of the Qur’an, supplication, dhikr, charity and superogatory fasting which are firmly established in the practices of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and his early community. This work delineates the safe and high road of extra acts of worship in order that the beginner will be saved from the pitfalls created by the people of heretical innovation. The fourth ‘pillar’ or ‘support’ in this series is the famous and renown Umdat ‘l-Ulama (the Support of the Scholars) .
This book is one of the excellent works by which the Shehu was declared the mujaddid of the 12th century. It gives every Qur’anic and Prophetic proof for every individual obligation and for the collective obligations as well. He called it ‘the Support of the Scholars’ because it comprised the Book and the sunna which are the grounds for the scholars reliance in their legal decisions and deductions. These are the ‘Four Pillars’ of Shehu Uthman and they cover a complete understanding of the deen which our Prophet Muhammad may Allah bless him and grant him peace, conveyed to humanity. We hope that the reader will benefit from this present work, Umdat ‘l-Bayaan in understanding those sciences which are obligatory upon every individual to know.