Partial Translation of Sunan Abu-Dawud

Book 1: Purification

This book includes instruction on toilet etiquette, including where to urinate and defecate and how to wash and cleanse oneself after toileting and participating in sexual intercourse. It includes guidance for women and their husbands on appropriate interaction during menstruation. It also gives information on correct ablution.

Book 2: Prayer

Book 2 gives an overview of the five daily prayers and provides advice on how and where they should be performed. It gives information on what to do when one hears the adhan (call to prayer) and how to proceed if one of the prayers is missed or forgotten. It also tells one how to behave towards the imam and how to dress appropriately for prayer.

Book 3: Details of the Commencing Prayer

This book focuses particularly on the position one should adopt for prayer according to witnesses of the Prophet Muhammad. It also gives advice on facing the qiblah, starting and ending prayer with the takbir and quoting the Qur’an during prayer. It gives information on the importance of the Friday prayers and the immense power of prayer according to the Prophet Muhammad.

Book 4: Detailed Rules of Law about the Prayer during Journey

This book gives advice to travellers on praying whilst on a journey, such as combining two of the daily prayers. It tells how the Prophet Muhammad prayed towards the qiblah whilst sitting on his camel. It also tells how the Apostle of Allah led a prayer even during times of danger, while half of his followers stood opposite the enemy.

Book 5: Prayer at Night

Book 5 gives advice on the importance of praying at night as it is a quiet time when one might better understand the meaning of the Qur’an. Among other things, it tells how people heard the Prophet Muhammad saying, ‚May Allah have mercy on a man or woman who gets up to pray at night.‘

Book 6: Detailed Injunctions about Ramadan

This book gives information on when the Prophet Muhammad was first told of the Qur’an. It debates different days between the 22nd and 27th night of Ramadan and gives word on which nights are most important for prayer, according to witnesses of the Apostle of Allah.

Book 7: Prostration while reciting the Qur’an

Book 7 gives advice on how many prostrations should be performed while reciting any particular verse of the Qur’an.

Book 8: Detailed Injunctions about Witr

This book tells how the Prophet Muhammad was heard to say that the witr is a duty for every Muslim. It is a prayer said between the Isha (night prayer) and daybreak. It advises that if anyone oversleeps and misses the witr, or forgets it, he should pray when he remembers. Book 8 also gives instructions on how one should hold their hands when supplicating to Allah and the importance of asking for pardon for your sins.

Book 9: Zakat

Book 9 gives advice on zakat, the religious tax that is used to help the poorer Muslims. It details how much zakat was paid, what it was paid on and how he who collected too much zakat was said to be as bad as he who refused to pay it. It advises that those with sufficient should not beg.

Book 10: The Rites of Hajj

This book tells how all Muslims must perform hajj at least once during their lifetime if they are physically and financially able. It gives information on imram, talibiyah, and the stoning of the Jamrahs. It tells how any man may perform hajj on behalf of another if he or she is unable to do it for themselves.

Book 11: Marriage

This book gives information on what the Apostle of Allah said about marriage, according to witnesses, including appropriate women to marry and those to avoid. It advises that shighar is forbidden by the Prophet Muhammad and goes on to say how much dower the Prophet thought appropriate.

Book 12: Divorce

Book 12 tells that divorce is the one law that is detestable to Allah. Among other things, it advises that a man should not divorce a woman who is menstruating and that a woman must have a very good reason to divorce her husband. It recommends the appropriate number of wives, according to the word of the Prophet Muhammad, and it gives advice on how to deal with illegitimate children.

Book 13: Fasting

Book 13 gives advice on the word of the Prophet Muhammad on fasting, including how long one should fast and what is and is not permitted during this time.

Book 14: Jihad

This book gives a lot of important information on fighting for Allah. It tells how any man who goes forth in Allah’s path and is killed whilst doing so, is a martyr and will be allowed into Paradise. According to his witnesses, the Prophet Muhammad said that a man’s parents must give him permission to fight and if they do not then he must go home to them.

Book 15: Sacrifice

This book gives advice on the animals the Prophet Muhammad deemed fit for sacrifice. It recommends which animals are appropriate for a particular sacrifice and in what number they should be used. It also gives information on how an animal should be slaughtered.

Book 16:Game

Book 16 gives information on killing and eating game. The Apostle of Allah deemed it safe to eat game that is caught and killed by a dog, even if the dog has eaten some himself. It also advises that game shot by an arrow that has gone out of sight is safe to eat as long as it has no stench and no other mark on it.

Book 17: Wills

This book tells how witnesses of the Prophet Muhammad heard him say that Allah is much happier with a Muslim that gives to charity during his lifetime than after death. It also advises that orphans should be looked after and any inheritance should be shared with them rather than taken from them. It says that Allah recommends emancipating slaves and also giving sadaqah on behalf of a dead person.

Book 18: Shares of Inheritance

This book advises on the allocation of inheritance, according to the Apostle of Allah. It details how much inheritance should be given to family members of the deceased and what to do with the money or property of a person who left no ancestors.

Book 19: Tribute, Spoils and Ruler-ship

Book 19 tells how the Prophet felt that rulers, although necessary, would probably not be allowed into Paradise. It advises on the distribution of spoils, including land conquered, and how the apostle of Allah was heard to say that he would be responsible for any debts and dependants left behind by the deceased.

Book 20: Funerals

This book tells how the Apostle of Allah visited the sick and prayed over them, asking Allah to heal them. It advises on the seven types of death that are considered martyrdoms and gives word on the sort of clothes a person should be buried in, according to the Prophet Muhammad. It also details how a Muslim should bathe and perform ablution after washing or carrying a dead body and how one should pray over the grave.

Book 21: Oaths and Vows

Book 21 advises that false oaths will be punished and one must only ever swear by Allah when one is telling the truth. It also stresses that no person should vow an act of disobedience.

Book 22: Commercial Transactions

This book tells how the Apostle of Allah renamed brokers as merchants and told them to give alms as part of their daily work, not just focus on business dealings. The Prophet also said that all purchases should be paid for in full, at the time of sale.

Book 23: Wages

Book 23 gives information on the Prophet Muhammad’s views on wages and other financial transactions. It details the things the Apostle of Allah deemed suitable for sale and those, such as prostitutes, that he did not believe appropriate for marketing. It advises that only things that are actually in ones possession should be sold. It also gives information for wives on selling their husband’s property as well as advice on the wages payable to slaves, buyer disputes and other monetary matters.

Book 24: The Office of the Judge

This book gives advice to those who are put in the position of judge. It warns that those who bribe and those who take bribes will be cursed. It also gives information on the types of people who should not be allowed to give testimony.

Book 25: Knowledge

This book tells how the Apostle of Allah regarded the accumulation of knowledge as something incredibly important. It advises that the book of Allah should not be interpreted in light of a man’s opinion. It states that, according to the Prophet, those with knowledge of the words of Allah will enter Paradise before the rich.

Book 26: Drinks

Book 26 gives reasons as to why all intoxicants are forbidden. It is said that one who had been drinking could not approach prayers with such a befogged mind. It also gives information on what sort of drinks the Apostle of Allah said were appropriate, how one should not drink whilst standing and the importance of only taking a drink from animal skin that is treated and tied with string, as opposed to other vessels.

Book 27: Foods

This book tells how one must accept an invitation to another’s house to eat with them and what to do if more than one invitation arrives at the same time. The Apostle of Allah was often invited for meals but he was heard to say that a prophet cannot enter a decorated house. He also said that when eating, one should eat from the bottom of the bowl upwards as the blessing descends from the top. This book gives other advice on the subject of eating, such as what is and is not lawful to eat and what to say before commencing a meal. It also advises that one must never interrupt or postpone prayer for a meal and it gives information on what sort of food the Prophet Muhammad was said to have preferred.

Book 28: Medicine

Book 28 gives information on what kinds of medicine are appropriate, according to the Apostle of Allah.

Book 29: Divination and Omens

This book advises against divinations and omens and stresses that no one brings good things or averts evil except Allah.

Book 30: Dialects and Readings of the Qur’an

This is a very short book discussing how witnesses heard the Apostle reading parts of the Qur’an out loud.

Book 31: Hot Baths

Book 31 advises that men must only enter public baths whilst wearing lower garments and that women should not undress anywhere except in the privacy of her own house.

Book 32: Clothing

Book 32 gives information on the kinds of clothes the Apostle of Allah preferred to wear and which he said were forbidden for a Muslim man to wear. It also advises on the sorts of colours one should avoid wearing. It makes it clear that clothes must not trail behind one. Lower garments must be no more than calf length if possible and ankle length at the most. It also warns that the Prophet believed that any man dressed as a woman, or woman dressed as a man would be cursed.

Book 33: Combing the Hair

This book gives advice on how a person should look after their hair, what sorts of treatments and perfumes are acceptable to use and which hairstyles the Apostle of Allah suggests are appropriate for men and women.

Book 34: Signet Rings


Book 34 gives advice on what kind of metal should be used to make a signet ring and who should wear one.

Book 35: Trials and Fierce Battles

In this book, witnesses tell how the Apostle of Allah foresaw many periods of trial and how he warned his people of them.

Book 36: The Promised Deliverer

This book tells how the Apostle of Allah talked of a man who would be a descendent of the Prophet Muhammad, who would come to Earth on the last day and fill it with justice. He said that this man would have a broad forehead and a prominent nose, would establish Islam on Earth and rule for seven years.

Book 37: Battles

This book tells that the Prophet Muhammad was heard to say that the greatest war, the conquest of Constantinople and the coming of the Dajjal (Antichrist) would all take place within period of seven months. Others said they heard him say it would be seven years. He was also heard to say that the Antichrist would have only one eye. The Apostle of Allah also told people that they who saw wrongdoing but did nothing about it would be punished by Allah.

Book 38: Prescribed Punishments

This book gives advice on the sort of actions that should be punished and appropriate punishment for each. For example, the Prophet Muhammad thought that a man who fornicated after marriage should be stoned, a Muslim that fought with Allah and his Apostle should be crucified or exiled and a murderer should be killed. The book recounts tales of what happened to people who abused the Prophet, including descriptions of guilty women who were killed by male relatives. Book 38 also lists actions that are not to be recorded as crimes, such as those committed by a lunatic, a sleeper or a boy before the age of puberty.

Book 39: Types of Blood-Wit

Book 39 gives examples of blood-wit (money or possessions given as compensation for a death). It details the type and number of particular kinds of possessions that would be appropriate, according to the Prophet Muhammad.

Book 40: Model Behaviour of the Prophet

This book tells how a Muslim should love and hate for the sake of Allah. It also details dreams that were interpreted by the Prophet Muhammad and the names of the ten people he believed would be going to Paradise.

Book 41: General Behaviour

This long book looks at the behaviour of the Prophet Muhammad while he walked the Earth and advises one on how he or she should behave as a Muslim. Some of the things mentioned are that the suppression of anger is a good thing of which Allah approves. It gives ideas on what to do if anger threatens to overtake one and how to ask for help from Allah. It also reminds us that everybody should be treated with courtesy and respect, no matter their social rank. It tells how the Apostle of Allah would salute children and how he told people not to stand for him. He also said that one should avoid quarrelling and lying if he wishes to enter Paradise.