A well-known ĥadīth says: ‘Islām began in a strange and forlorn fashion and it shall return to becoming strange just the way it began; so glad tidings [or ţūbā] for the strangers [in that age].’ Another says: ‘Be in this world as a stranger or a wayfarer; and count yourself among the dead’.

Gharīb, means a stranger; Ghurabā its plural. Gharīb is also the state of being forlorn and foreign. Islām, in its early days was viewed as a strange and foreign thing to people who worshipped their desires and respected only wealth and might. The Muslim who abstained from pleasures and strived to be austere and just was viewed as an outlander – as a gharīb. And RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam foretold that Islām shall become foreign once more; true Muslims, Muslims striving to be good and just will be viewed as outlandish – or the ghurabā.

When RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam was asked who the ghurabā were, he said: ‘those folk who remain righteous when corruption spreads among the people’ [alladhīna yuşliĥūna idhā fasada’n nās]

The book Al-Ghurabā talks about such people. It contains ĥadīth, moving stories, verses extolling such folk and encouraging Muslims to be steadfast in trying times. Indeed, this is the very age the Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam foretold about Islām being forlorn – and if not, it is not very far.

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Name of the book: Kitāb Al-Ghurabā mina’l Mu’minīn

Name (English): The book about Forlorn Muslims, the Strangers.

Author: Imām Abū Bakr Muĥammad ibn al-Ĥusayn al-Ājuriy [d. 360 AH]

Pages: 127

Subject: Taşawwuf.