On the Passing of Shaykh Amin Saraj – Istanbul, 2021

If I see today, it’s only because I stand on the shoulder of giants.

Today we lay to rest another giant, one of the last remaining links to a great generation of scholars, who all feel but a distant memory in the hearts of the Muslims. The great Hadith scholar Shaykh Muhammad Amin Saraj departed from this world on Friday at the age of 90/91 years old in Istanbul. He was one of the last remaining inheritors who took directly from the rich scholarly tradition of the Ottomans.

Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we all shall return. There is no might nor power except by Allah.

Shaykh Amin Saraj was born in the year 1929/30 in Tokat in central Turkey, a city known for its deep scholarship and knowledge. He began memorizing the Quran from a young age with his father who was prisoned for six-months for teaching the Quran in Arabic.

Journeying Through Darkness to Find Light

Shaykh Amin once said, “In my childhood, it was forbidden for us to read the Quran. My father and my grandfather were imprisoned for this reason. We’ve passed those tests. Now Allah has brought us to light. Now there is a President in our country who reads the Quran.” It was only befitting that when they laid Shaykh Amin to rest today, that same president would recite the Fatiha over him in front of the thousands in attendance.

After committing the Quran to memory, he travelled to Istanbul to study at the feet of some of the most important scholars of his time such as Shaykh Muhammad Khusrou Efendi, Shaykh Ali Haydhar Efendi, and others.

Carrying the Torch of the Great Ottoman Scholars

After his time in Istanbul, Shaykh Amin travelled to Egypt at the age of 20 years old. It is in Egypt that he studied under his main teacher, the erudite scholar Shaykh Mohammed Zahid Al Kawthari and the final Shaykh Al-Islam of the Ottoman empire Mustafa Sabri Efendi. After approximately eight years of intense study, Shaykh Amin returned to Istanbul in 1958.

Upon his return, Shaykh Amin followed in the footsteps of many great scholars that came before him and began to teach at one of the intellectual hearts of the Ottoman empire: The Fatih Mosque. He taught over 2000 students and raised a generation of scholars that have been vital to the revival of the Islamic sciences in modern Turkey.

Great Openings Through Consistency and High Aspirations

His students today are responsible for leading dozens of projects that are reviving the Islamic sciences in Turkey, once again and reestablishing itself as a beacon of Prophetic light for the Muslim around the world.

After nearly 60 years of service at the Fatih Mosque, he stopped teaching in 2018 due to his old age and deteriorating health.

He was known for his vast knowledge, beautiful smile, and the gentle manner in which he received all. Not only did students of knowledge and scholars love him, but individuals from all walks of life and backgrounds had a deep rooted love for the Shaykh.

For years, he sat in the Imam’s room at Fatih Mosque after Jumua prayer smiling and spending time with all those who visited him. Everyone that visited the Shaykh would depart in a state of great happiness and tranquility.

Whenever someone addressed him as hocam (a Turkish word that means my teacher), he would respond saying, “You only address us as hocam because you have not seen the scholars that we saw.”

As the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him has been reported to have said, “Allah does not take away knowledge by removing it from men, but takes it away by taking away the learned.”

Our Final Condolences

We have lost a giant of our tradition. Shaykh Amin Saraj was an ocean of knowledge and wisdom  that stood as firm as a mountain in the face of those that sought to harm Islam. We offer our condolences to Shaykh Saraj’s family, friends, and to all those who studied and benefited from him.

May Allah have mercy on our beloved Shaykh Muhammad Amin Saraj and allow him to be of the neighbors of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him,  in the highest levels of paradise.

Introducing the House of Manuscripts in Istanbul (Dar al Makhtutat)

SeekersGuidance Launches Global Project to Build a Digital Library of 500,000 Islamic Manuscripts 

If our historical manuscripts were a kingdom, without a doubt, Istanbul would be its capital. Between the city’s two most famous historical sites, lies a small building, which will house the Dar al Makhtutat (House of Manuscripts) project.

From its inception, The House of Manuscripts will have seven important projects the two most important being (1) An Encyclopedia of Arabic Manuscripts and (2) The building of a digital library with over half a million manuscripts.

This spectacular effort will be led by manuscript experts Dr Faisal al-Hafian, Dr Idham Hanash and Dr Hasan Osman under the guidance and assistance of Dr Mahmud Masri.

Sultan Ahmet and a Promising Space

In the early 1600s, after a somber defeat, Sultan Ahmet I commissioned the building of the Sultan Ahmet complex in hopes to reassert the power of the Ottomans. Four-hundred years later, as we gaze upon its magnificence, one cannot help but reflect on the sources of strength of the Muslims of the past.

Was it a fleeting militaristic or economic might – or a spiritual strength that transcended buildings, borders, and even centuries?

Nestled between two of Istanbul’s jewels, the Sultan Ahmet mosque, and the Aya Sofia, lies a quaint madrasa building. A place that was commissioned to be the Dar al-Hadith. It was shut down in 1924 only to be reopened years later, under the guardianship of the Sultan Ahmet Vakf.

The Birth of the Project: Dar al Makhtutat (House of Manuscripts)

While restoring the beautiful spiritual structure of the madrasa, the leaders of the endowment (waqf) recognized the need to breathe life into it by hosting programs and projects that restore our rich intellectual and spiritual heritage. 

It came as no surprise when the president of the waqf welcomed, with open arms, the idea of hosting SeekersGuidance, Dar al Makhtutat and the Dar al Fuqaha projects at the madrasa. A partnership that transcends borders and the effects of which, we pray will transcend centuries.

SeekersGuidance and Dar al Makhtutat

The manuscript is the main pillar that supports the civilizational existence and cultural identity of a nation.

This ambitious project will work towards spreading the culture of Islamic manuscripts and teach its various sciences related to cataloging, classification, investigation, publishing, restoration, digitization, and aesthetic preservation.

In addition to these important objectives, the House of Manuscripts will also hold monthly seminars and annual conferences and produce a yearly publication in the science of manuscripts. The program will contribute to the revival of Islamic scholarship, by training scholars and academics to properly edit and publicize our great heritage of manuscripts.

A New Year Begins at the Dar Al Fuqaha Seminary

The Dar al Fuqaha Seminary program continues to build on the Specialization in Islamic Law program launched last year at the Fatih Sultan Mehmet University at the Mevlavihane in Istanbul.

A partnership which gave fruit to 660 lessons in various Islamic sciences in 2020.

The program, now housed at the Sultan Ahmet Madrasa connects leading mainstream, traditionally-trained senior scholars with students of Islamic knowledge from around the world, completely free.

The program is meant to revive the classical system of scholarly authorization (ijaza) in a meaningful way: students who complete a text, or level of study, or program with understanding and mastery will receive specific scholarly authorization (ijaza) in what they have completed.

New Beginnings – The Revival

Distinct and harmonious calls to prayer from the Aya Sofia and Sultan Ahmet reverberate through the madrasa building five times a day.

A spiritual energy emanates from the hearts and minds of a dedicated group of people, working together with one goal – to revive the Islamic Sciences. 

We pray this endeavor serves a noble purpose – to connect the creation to its Creator.

Help Preserve the Spread of Beneficial Knowledge and Guidance

Through the efforts of our generous supporters, we have spread beneficial knowledge and guidance to thousands. Join the community of supporters and gift generously to preserve and transmit Islamic Scholarship – donate now by clicking here. 

On the Passing of Shaykh Adnan al-Saqqa

There are men among the believers who honored their pledge to God: some of them have fulfilled it by death, and some are still waiting. (Qur’an 33:23)

Undoubtedly, the eyes weep and the hearts grieve out of sadness in our separation from you, our dear teacher. Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we all shall return. There is no might nor power except by Allah.

We mourn the death of one of the most prominent scholars of Syria, the esteemed knower of Allah, Shaykh Muhammad-Adnan Al-Saqa, who passed away today at the age of 79. He was a man who possessed a compassionate heart, a radiant face, and a graceful smile.

Shaykh Adnan continued the scholarly tradition of the city of Homs. After completing high school, he passed up the opportunity to enter medical school and decided to pursue Islamic Law at the University of Damascus instead, where he graduated in 1966. Later in his life, he obtained a master’s degree in Media Studies from the University of Punjab, Pakistan in 1995.

Shaykh Adnan was a man who served the community greatly through his dawah, teaching, and nurturing of students across many public and religious high schools and Islamic seminaries. This is in addition to the numerous khutbahs and lessons he delivered at masjids across the Muslim world.

Shaykh Adnan had a great impact on his students and all of those who were honored by his company, leaving anyone who heard him speak full of spiritual openings and countless blessings.

His speech was impactful, easy to understand, beneficial, and light-hearted. The great love the Shaykh had for Allah manifested through his copious tears, beautiful smile, and gentle words. Beyond loving Allah, Shaykh Adnan also loved every single Muslim, allowing him to connect to everyone, both young and old.

He was gentle and approachable. The Shaykh would visit people in their homes and attend any wedding or celebration he was invited to. He was humble and did not mind eating on the floor with his companions. An advocate of the poor, the Shaykh extended his hand to numerous humanitarian efforts throughout his life.

Some of his students likened him to the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, while others still felt the presence of angels in his gatherings of knowledge.

He called to Allah with deep insight, illuminated by his beautiful, gentle, and moderate approach. He invited Muslims towards unity, always listening with an attentive ear and an open mind.

O Allah, have mercy on Shaykh Adnan, grant him the highest of stations, and resurrect him with the best of creation Your Noble Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). O Allah, reunite us with our Shaykh in the highest levels of paradise, alongside the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs, and the righteous.

O Allah, illuminate the Shaykh’s resting place, widen the expanse of his grave, and remove any feelings of estrangement or loneliness. O Allah, make his grave a garden from the gardens of paradise, forgive him, have mercy on him, and honor him. O Allah, sustain him with the food and drink of paradise and to our Shaykh his final resting place, near You in the highest domains of paradise.

We mourn today and offer condolences to Shaykh Adnan’s family and the entire Muslim community. O Allah, we ask that You compensate the Muslims for this deep affliction.

He left this world, may Allah shower mercy upon his soul, on January 9th, 2021 in the city of Istanbul.

———-

SeekersGuidance was honored to have Shaykh Adnan al-Saqqa teach through the Dar al Fuqaha Seminary in Istanbul. Register for his course and make it a means of ongoing charity for our dear beloved teacher.

Islamic Spirituality: Ghazali’s Dear Beloved Son with Shaykh Adnan al-Saqqa [Arabic Only]

Registration Open: Term Three 2020 at the Dar al Fuqaha Seminary

Registration Open: Term Three 2020 at the Dar al Fuqaha Seminary

As we inch towards the end of the year, we begin our last semester at the Dar al-Fuqaha Seminary. This term we present you with courses from leading scholars including Shaykh Salih al Ghursi, Dr Mahmud Masri, Shaykh Muhammad Qaylish and more!

As we did last term, we will continue to make the safety of teachers and students a top priority. Term three will be exclusively held online with our faculty teaching from the library of the Mevlavihanesi, or from the comfort of their own homes.

To register for a Dar al Fuqaha course, please fill out the registration form below:

seeke.rs/daralfuqaha

Note: All classes are in Arabic.

What is the Dar al Fuqha Seminary?

The Dar al Fuqaha Seminary is a program launched in partnership with the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Vakif University under the leadership of Dr Mahmud Masri of SeekersGuidance.

The Dar al-Fuqaha Islamic Seminary connects leading mainstream, traditionally-trained senior scholars with students of Islamic knowledge from around the world, completely free—at the beautiful Ottoman Madrasa, the Yenikapi Mevlevihanesi, founded over 420 years ago.

This program is meant to revive the classical system of scholarly authorization (ijaza) in a meaningful way: students who complete a text, or level of study, or program with understanding and mastery will receive specific scholarly authorization (ijaza) in what they have completed.

Term One and Two Courses Now Available

The SeekersGuidance academy team has uploaded Dar al-Fuqaha courses from term one and two to make them available to thousands of students worldwide, completely free. Courses  include subjects such as: Fiqh, Usul al Fiqh, Sciences of Hadith, Tasawwuf, and more.

seekersguidance.org/dar-al-fuqaha-courses/

Another Term Completed at the Dar al Fuqaha Seminary – Courses Coming Soon!

In the midst of all the challenges brought forth by the new realities facing us during this global pandemic, the SeekersGuidance Istanbul Team has been working tirelessly to continue bringing life-changing knowledge to students from around the world.

Last week, The SeekersGuidance Istanbul Team finished the second term of lessons at the Dar al Fuqaha Seminary. With the help of technology, we were able to keep students connected to their lessons and teachers, while maintaining best practices during the pandemic. For the safety of our students, term two was held exclusively held online.  Scholars recorded lessons from an empty lecture hall, as students tuned in from home.

 

 

 

 

 

This term, senior scholars including Shaykh Usama Rifai, Shaykh Ismail Majzoob and Dr Mahmoud Masri taught various Islamic sciences including: Fiqh, Hadith, Aqeeda and more!

Keep an eye on our newsletter and social media feeds as we will be releasing the courses online, completely free, for thousands more to benefit shortly.

Interested in registering for a course now? Take a look at our course catalog for over a hundred beneficial courses: seekersguidance.org/courses

A final word — all this is made possible with the help of generous donors like you. Support The Dar al-Fuqaha Seminary and other important projects brought to you by SeekersGuidance. Click here and Donate Today.

The SeekersGuidance Summer 2020 Intensive: Reflections and Testimonials

The SeekersGuidance Summer 2020 Intensive offered three programs of study to serve Muslims with varying needs and concerns. Programs included an Islamic Foundations Program, and Arabic Ijaza Program, as well as a Youth Program.The intensive, originally planned to be held in Istanbul before the pandemic, was adjusted and moved online in order to serve Muslims around the world in this difficult time. With the help of streaming and collaborative technology, we were able to hold daily live lessons with teachers from various countries, while giving students an interactive and immersive learning experience.

Teachers included:

  • Dr. Mahmoud Masri (Turkey)
  • Shaykh Talal Azam (UK)
  • Dr. Abdurrahman Idrissi (Turkey)
  • Shaykh Walead Mosaad (USA)
  • Dr. Faysal Hafian (Egypt)
  • Dr. Nuri Friedlander (USA)
  • Shaykh Yusuf Welch (Canada)
  • and more!

Like all our programs, all this was provided completely free. The response spoke for itself, with over 500 registrations, here’s what some of our students had to say:

“It was a beautiful learning experience. The live sessions allowed for far more interaction with the teachers than expected”

“This is the briefest and probably the most worthwhile experience I have had since Ramadan. It was intensive!”

“I am severely sight impaired and the courses at Seekers Guidance are like light in my life”

“It was insightful to say the least. I enjoyed the program and it taught me many things I didn’t know before”

“Connecting with Scholars from all over the world is in itself a great and life-changing experience”

“Living in Italy, I never had the opportunity or the means to even get a basic Islamic education before, so now I have a much stronger foundation. I also still cannot believe everything is free and state-of-the-art quality. I would urge people to support SeekersGuidance financially, and to make dua for them”

If you missed the summer intensive, don’t worry. Courses will be made available on our website in the coming week!

Meanwhile checkout other great free courses by leading scholars by visiting: seekersguidance.org/course-catalog/

Term One Dar al Fuqaha Courses Now Available

Earlier this year, SeekersGuidance in partnership with the Sultan Mehmet Fatih University launched the Dar al Fuqaha Seminary in Istanbul, an important project to train the next generation of scholars.

Term One classes from the Dar al Fuqaha Seminary, are now available on the SeekersGuidance Course Catalog. Courses are taught by leading scholars including:

  • Shaykh Usama al Rifai
  • Dr Mahmoud Masri
  • Shaykh Khaled al Kharsa
  • Shaykh Ismail Majzoob, and more

To register for course visit: https://seekersguidance.org/course-catalog/

Note: The default courses displayed are English, so you will have to choose the Arabic option on the course catalog.

New Beginnings at The Dar al Fuqaha Seminary – Term Two 2020

As spring brings forth new life at the beautiful Mevlavihanesi in Istanbul, a new term begins at the Dar al Fuqaha Seminary, bringing life-changing knowledge to students from around the world.

Term Two Classes began on June 6, 2020, the Ijaza Program —with leading scholars including Shaykh Usama al-Rifa’i, Shaykh Khalid Kharsa, Shaykh Ismail Majzub, Dr. Mahmoud Masri, and many others.

Given the current trials that we’re faced with globally, the SeekersGuidance Istanbul team has adjusted the course delivery process with the help of technology to keep students connected to their lessons and teachers. Term Two is being exclusively held online, for the safety of our students.  This term, scholars will be teaching from the campus as well as their homes if they are unable to come to the campus.

Dar al Fuqaha Courses On SeekersGuidance

The SeekersGuidance academy team is finalizing the Dar al-Fuqaha courses from term one to make them available to thousands of students worldwide, completely free. Courses will be made available in a week, and will include subjects such as: Fiqh, Usul al Fiqh, Sciences of Hadith, Tasawwuf, and more.

What is the Dar al Fuqha Seminary? 

The Dar al Fuqaha Seminary is a program launched in partnership with the Sultan Mehmet Fafih Waqf University under the leadership of Dr Mahmoud Masri of SeekersGuidance.

The Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary connects leading mainstream, traditionally-trained senior scholars with students of Islamic knowledge from around the world, completely free—at the beautiful Ottoman Madrasa, the Yenikapi Mevlevihanesi, founded over 420 years ago.

This program is meant to revive the classical system of scholarly authorization (ijaza) in a meaningful way: students who complete a text, or level of study, or program with understanding and mastery will receive specific scholarly authorization (ijaza) in what they have completed.

We pray that these young minds blossom and fragrance the globe like the roses that line the beautiful Dar al Fuqaha campus.