Light in the Heavens

Light in the Heavens

Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad

192 Pages

November 2019

ISBN: 9781479864485




Al-Qāḍī al-Quḍāʿī (d. 454/1062) was a Sunni jurist, a scholar of hadiths and history, and a senior government official of the Fatimid dynasty in Cairo.

Tahera Qutbuddin is Abdulaziz Saud AlBabtain Laudian Professor at the University of Oxford. She is the author of Arabic Oration: Art and Function.

Bishop Paul Hinder from Switzerland is the Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, responsible for all the Catholics in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Yemen, resident in Abu Dhabi since 2004.

Humanitarian lessons and practical insights from the prophet of Islam

The words of Muhammad, messenger of God and prophet of Islam, have a special place in the hearts of his followers. Wielding an authority second only to the Qur'an, they are cited by scholars in a vast array of disciplines—including law, theology, metaphysics, poetry, grammar, history, and medicine—and are quoted by Muslims to one another in their daily lives.

Light in the Heavens by al-Qadi al-Quda'i, a Sunni judge in the Fatimid court in Egypt, is an outstanding example of a compilation of these sayings, known as hadiths, that circulated orally and were later assembled and written down. From North Africa to India, generations have used Light in the Heavens as a teaching text for children as well as adults, and many of its 1,200 sayings are familiar to individuals of diverse denominations and ethnicities. For Muslims—who consider Muhammad’s teachings the fount of wisdom and the beacon of guidance in all things, mundane and sublime—these sayings provide a direct window into the inspired vision of one of the most influential humans to have walked the Earth.

An English-only edition.


  • "Easily readable and accessible. Highly recommended and beneficial for the expert, the scholar, and the student of Islamic Studies, while equally expedient for general readers."

    Reading Religion

  • "This distinctly ethical and pragmatic collection . . . offers humanitarian lessons and practical insights with a universal appeal."

    Islamic Horizons

  • "A splendid addition to the new Library of Arabic Literature series . . . [and a] wonderful translation . . . This book will help adjust the 'Western' understanding of Islam from the benighted view acquired from media, government propaganda, and religious bigotry toward the wise, demanding, and impressive way of being human, both at the level of the individual and at the level of society, that it is for a quarter of the human race."


  • "Beautifully edited and translated by Tahera Qutbuddin . . . The book is a welcome addition to the literature on . . . hadith scholarship, and will be of interest to scholars, students, and non-specialist readers interested in classical and medieval Islam, Islamic history, and Islamic studies, particularly Islamic theology and hadith studies."

    Digest of Middle East Studies

  • "Al-Quḍāʽīs book is one of those works not characterized by originality, but by skillful selection of sayings from a huge body of literature, and it was very popular in the Islamic Middle Ages… Overall, I find the translation impressive. [Qutbuddin] deliberately frees herself to use idiomatic English rather than producing a clumsy literal rendering of the Arabic, and in the vast majority of cases, she hits squarely on the core meanings of the Arabic sayings… an excellent edition and translation of an important text."

    Orientalistische Literaturzeitung