To make it easier for the reader to follow the sources of the book, we have used footnotes to identify the sources of information and for marginal notes. In the case of our Shaikh’s sermon, we identified sermons we have quoted by their respective dates. In the case of quoting from books, we mentioned the author’s name, the book’s title, and the page number. We have added to this information the number of the ḥadīth when quoting from a compilation of Prophetic traditions. We have compiled at the back of the book all of our written sources, including the details of every reference that we mentioned in the footnotes.
We have used a special font for writing the Qur’anic verses. We have identified exact quotes by including them inside quotation marks. At times, context requires using short exact quotes inside the body text, but most of the time we have placed exact quotes on separate paragraphs, which are laid out differently. Inexact quotes, which are often narratives from people, have been differentiated by putting them in separate paragraphs but without surrounding them with quotation marks.
We have translated most Arabic technical terms into English equivalents. The remaining small number of terms have been used without translation, as we felt that translating them accurately and succinctly is not possible. For easy reference, translated and untranslated terms have been compiled in a glossary at the end of the book.
The name of our Shaikh was “Muḥammad”, but the Prophet (PBUH) honoured him in 2016 by adding one of his noble titles to his name, as we shall see in §9.1, so he became known as “Muḥammad al-Muḥammad”. For consistency and to avoid confusion, we have used the name “Muḥammad al-Muḥammad” even when narrating the life of our Shaikh before that Prophetic gift.
Many Arabic names are usually abbreviated in the Kurdish language in daily use and unofficial contexts. For instance, “Muḥammad” is called “Ḥama”, “Aḥmad” is “Aḥa”, “Maḥmūd” is “Khula”, and so on. For clarification, we have used the Arabic spellings of the names of the Kurds that are mentioned in the book.
We have Romanised the names of lesser-known people and places as they are pronounced in their original language. Conversely, we have spelled the names of well-known people and places as they are usually written in English. For instance, we have used the established English spellings of “Mecca” and “Medina”, even though they do not represent how they are pronounced in Arabic.
For significant old dates, we have mentioned the Hijrī year followed by the Gregorian, to make it easier to place the event in its historical context in both calendars. For instance, our Shaikh was born in 1357/1938, that is, in the Hijrī year 1357, which corresponds to the Gregorian year 1938. If the day and month of a Hijrī date are unknown, it is not possible to determine which of the two Gregorian years that correspond to that Hijrī year is the one we need. In this case, we choose the earlier year. For instance, Shaikh ʿAbd al-Karīm Shāh al-Kasnazān was born in 1240 H, but we could not determine the day or even the month of the birth. Given that 1/1/1240 H corresponds to 25/8/1824 CE, the birth of Shāh al-Kasnazān may be in 1824 CE, if it occurred in the first four months of 1240 H, or 1825 CE, if he was born in the last eight months of the Hijrī year. When sources mention the Hijrī year but not the month or day, which is a common situation, we converted the Hijrī date to the Gregorian year assuming that the date was the first day of the first month, i.e. 1/Muḥarram, to avoid having to mention two Gregorian years. This means that the actual Gregorian year for any Hijrī date whose month and day are unknown is either the year we mentioned or the one that follows. Accordingly, the birth year of Shāh al-Kasnazān is mentioned as 1240/1824.
We have included in the book around forty photos of our Shaikh. When choosing those from the limited number of photos available to us, we have tried to cover different stages of his life, as well as various places and activities. We added to each photo a brief caption and, when possible, identified the place and date. We have numbered the photos sequentially for easy reference. The photos are of different quality, reflecting the varying quality of the originals. Some of them are very old and, unfortunately, we could not obtain high-quality copies.
We have added two maps showing areas that are mentioned in the book. The first map shows the governorates of Iraq. The second is of the northeast of Iraq and northwest of Iran, where we have marked the areas that were the focus of events mentioned in the book.
Finally, I must stress at the end of this preface that whatever I have succeeded to correctly and accurately present in the book is due to the favour of Allah (mighty and sublime is He), the blessings of my Master Shaikh, Muḥammad al-Muḥammad al-Kasnazān (may Allah sanctify his innermost being), and the help of all those who have generously helped me. I, however, take responsibility for any mistakes and inaccuracies.
“Allāhumma ṣallī ʿalā sayyidinā Muḥammadi `l-waṣfi wal‑waḥyi war‑risālati wal‑ḥikmati waʿalā `ālihi wa-ṣaḥbihi wa-sallim taslīmā (O Allah! Send prayer on our Master, whose quality, revelation, message, and wisdom are most praised (Muḥammad), and on his lineage and companions, and salute him with a perfect salutation)”