The Passing of Dr. Fuad Nahdi

To Allah we belong and to him we shall return.  The world lost a senior activist, mentor to many.

It is with great sadness that we receive the news of the passing of our beloved friend Dr Fuad Nahdi (May Allah have mercy on him).

When I went to visit Dr Fuad during his illness in 2008, he said to me something that I will not forget, he said “I am not worried about my illness, I am worried about my adab with Allah during this illness.”

We share our condolences with the family especially his wife Humera, she went through a lot of difficulties… May Allah bless her and our dear children Sidi Nadir and Illyeh.

We beg our Lord to accept him and grant him a safe journey of wellbeing, such a journey that has a beginning but no end…

– His friend and close associate, the respected Shaykh Faid Said

 

Dr. Fuad Nahdi died today. A great man, a great friend, a great mentor, a tireless servant of the Prophetic Way of wisdom, mercy, balance, concern, love, and beauty. Someone who knew him had a dream in which the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk) said, “Sidi Fuad is a door of the dawah in the West…”

May Allah grant Dr. Fuad the very highest of Paradise, in close proximity to the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk), whom he loved deeply and dearly.

The eyes tear, the hearts hurt, but with contentment, and with complete certitude in the Most Merciful and Most Generous.

– Faraz Rabbani

written Saturday, March 21st, 2020

Seeking Allah: Finding the Divine in Your Life – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In the beautiful historical mosque called Molla Zeyrek Camii or Zeyrek Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani delivered a talk entitled, “Seeking Allah: Finding the Divine in Your Life” taking concepts pertaining to Arabic grammar and applying them to the heart in what some call, “The Higher Grammar”.  When explaining the famous grammar text al-Ajrumiyyah, Shaykh Ibn Ajibah (d. 1809 CE/1224 h) discusses the five things that are definite (ma’rifa) and mentions that the definite in knowing Allah is also manifested in five matters. 

These matters are:

  1. The pronouns
  2. Proper nouns (names of people and places)
  3. The Ambiguous (al-Mubham)
  4. Seeking to be known
  5. That which is ascribed to one the aforementioned categories

Watch the video to learn about these pertinent points.

The Trodden Path (Episode 12): Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi

In this series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed of South Africa will take us on a journey through the lives and biographies of some of the most celebrated and well known scholars of the twentieth and twenty – first century. These historical accounts will provide us with refreshing insights and lessons, and motivate us to follow in the footsteps of our pious predecessors.


In this twelfth episode of the The Trodden Path series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed writes on the life of Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi of India.

  Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (1333-1420=1915-1999)

Shaykh Abul Hasan, the great scholar, thinker and author of many books was born on the 5th December 1913 (1333) in a family of scholars and people who had a long history of serving Islam. The family lineage may be traced to the Sahabi Ali ibn Abi Talib. Also, one of the ancestors of this family was the nephew of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al-Jaylani who lived in Delhi, India. The family moved from Madinah via Baghdad to India.

His father, Shaykh Abdul Hakim Hay (d. 1923) was a scholar, who wrote an eight volume biographical work of about 500 scholars of India. When Abul Hasan was ten, his father passed away and his brother took care of him. His mother was a righteous woman who had memorized the Quran and supplicated to Allah for her son. Once his brother, Abdul Ali (who combined knowledge of Islam with his knowledge of medicine) had completed his medical studies, he took personal care of Shaykh Abul Hasan’s education. 

He received his early education at home. In 1924, his brother entrusted him to Shaykh Khalil ibn Muhammad Al-Yamani, who taught him Arabic. At the age of thirteen, he could speak Arabic fluently. This was achieved under his brother’s supervision. He then joined the Nadawatul Ulama and completed the course in 1927. From 1927-1930 he studied the Urdu Language and its literature after which he began studying English His mother sent him a letter wherein she convinced him and impressed upon him about the importance of Arabic over and above English. 

He began his Arabic studies under the guidance and supervision of Shaykh Khalil ibn Muhammad Al-Ansari Al-Bahufali and his uncle, Shaykh Talha ibn Muhammad Al-Toki. He entered a literature program and after successfully completing the examination in 1929, he entered the Hadith program for a year. 

His paternal aunt invited him to Lahore, where her husband was an Arabic teacher. During this period, he met many scholars and poets. He attended lessons in Hadith conducted by Shaykh Haidar Hasan Al-Yaghistani Al-Afghani (a student of Shaykh Husain ibn Hasan Al-Ansaari) and Shaykh Nazhir Husain Al-Bihari. He stayed with him for about two years during which he read Sahih AlBukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abi Dawud and Sunan AlTirmidhi as well as a portion of Tafseer AlBaydawi and some lessons in logic.  

Then he accompanied Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Al-Din Al-Hilali. He travelled to Lahore in 1930, to benefit from his teacher, Shaykh Ahmad Ali Al-Lahori. He read Surah Al-Baqarah to him. He was very impressed with his Shaykh’s lessons, so he returned in 1931. During this trip, he attended lessons in Hujatullahi AlBaaligha by Shah Wali Allah Al-Dehlawi. He visited Lahore again in 1932, after which he was a registered student at Madrasah Qasim Al-Uloom where he passed and received a certificate at the hands of Shaykh Husain Ahmad Madani. In the same year, he went to Deoband and attended lessons in Sahih AlBukhari and Sunan AlTirmidhi by his teacher, Shaykh Husain Ahmad Madani. He received Ijazah from Shaykh Abdur Rahim Al-Mubarakfuri. Shaykh Abdul Qadir Raipur honoured him with successorship. He studied some Fiqh with Shaykh I’zaz Ali. He also benefited greatly from his paternal aunts husband, Shaykh Muhammad Talhat Al-Hasani, in Lahore who took him to accompany prominent personalities. He also met the famous poet and writer, Muhammad Iqbal.

In 1934, Shaykh Abul Hasan began his academic career as a teacher of Arabic and Tafsir, but later expanded to included history, Hadith and other subjects.  Initially, the advice he received from his friend, Shaykh Masud Al-Nadwi helped him in becoming a better teacher. He began teaching in the Dar Al-Uloom affiliated to Nadwatul Ulama in Lucknow. He formulated syllabi for teaching Arabic and he wrote Qasas AlNabiyeen, AlQiraat AlRaashidah and Mukhtaaraat min Adab AlArabi. In many ways he revolutionized the way Arabic was taught. He compiled a book of Arabic prose Mukhtaraat min Adab Al-Arab which was commended by Shaykh Ali Al-Tantawi and Shaykh Muhammad Bahjat Al-Baytar. Under his supervision, Shaykh Muhammad Al-Rabi’ Al-Hasani Al-Nadwi authored a book in Arabic Literature that was taught at the Dar Al-Uloom. He continued writing and he wrote his amazing book, Mazha Khasira AlAalam bi Inhitaat AlMuslimin between the years 1943-1974. He left teaching in 1944 but remained connected to the institute until he was appointed as the dean of educational affairs in 1953 and then the Head of Nadwatul Ulama in 1961. 

His desire to spread Islam brought him into contact with the Jamat Islami. He was in contact with Abul Ala Al-Maududi and some of his books, although he did not approve of some of his views. He was disappointed so he disassociated himself from it. 

In 1940, he went to Nizamudeen where he spent time with Mawlana Ilyas. During his stay there he met Shaykh Muhammad Zakariya. In 1947, he performed Haj and stayed in the Hijaz for six months, where he was involved in various Islamic activities and he met the ulama. He performed Haj again in 1950. He travelled to Egypt and other countries in the East in 1952, during which he met many prominent Muslim personalities and he delivered some talks. In Egypt, he was accompanied by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ghazali and was even invited by Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (a student at the Al-Azhar at the time) to deliver talks in his village. 

He was hoping to meet Imam Hasan Al-Banna, but he had already been assassinated. Instead, he met his father, Shaykh Ahmad Abdur Rahman Al-Banna. In 1956, he travelled to Damascus, Syria in response to an invitation from Shaykh Mustafa Sibaaie and the Faculty of Shariah. He was received with a warm welcome from many including Shaykh Mustafa Zarqa. He remained in Damascus for about three months and delivered a few lectures that were later published in a book entitled Rijaal AlFikr wa AlDawah fi AlIslam

He traveled to Turkey via Aleppo. Dr. Saeed Ramadaan (Hasan Al-Banna’s son-in- law) organized a conference on Palestine in Damascus. Shaykh Abul Hasan returned from Turkey to Damascus to participate along with many prominent scholars that included Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ of Pakistan. He loved Syria and visited it again in 1964 and 1973.

In 1960, he went to Burma where he stayed for a month delivering lectures. In 1962, he travelled to some countries in Europe including Spain. There he met some of the orientalists. This followed with other travels to America, Morocco and the Gulf.  His visit to Europe was in 1963 as per invitation from the Islamic Centre in Geneva. During subsequent visits to Britain, the Oxford Islamic Centre was established in 1983 and he was appointed as its head. He visited America and Canada in 1977 and followed it with other visits, the last was in 1993.

He presented his message in an excellent manner that was relevant to people of all walks of life. He was well aware of the different challenges and ideas within Muslim communities all over the world. 

His writing gained tremendous popularity amongst the scholars, not only in India, but also amongst the Arabs who took a special interest in his writings as well. This was mainly because he selected Arabic more than Urdu.

He was invited to deliver lectures on various topics in Makkah and Madinah.

He proved through his writing, that the material and spiritual prosperity of any system hinged on its concept of following divine guidance and amongst other issues through text and rational evidence as well as the finality of Prophethood. Sayid Qutb praised his book ‘Islam and the World’.

He was well versed in many fields of Islam. One of his greatest contributions was in the field of history and cultural studies in Islam. His book, ‘Saviours of the Islamic Spirit’ in four volumes deals with separate individuals who were portrayed as revivers and restorers of Islam. He wrote a number of other books totaling to about thirty-one in number. Many have been translated into many different languages. Some are:

  • Al-Sira’ bayn Al-Fikrat Al-Islamiyah wa Al-Fikrat Al-Gharbiyah fi Al-Aqtar Al-Islamiyah. He studied and analyzed western thought and the dangers it posed for the Muslim community.
  • Al-Arkan Al-Arba’ fi Daw Al-Kitab wa Al-Sunnah, Al-Salaat, Al-Zakat, Al-Sowm wa Al-Haj – one of his best books in which he explains the objectives of the four pillars of Islam in a very appealing and encouraging way. He also compares the acts of worship practised by the Jews, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.
  • Al-Sirah Al-Nabawiyah. This was one of his most loved books.
  • Al-Nubuwat wa Al-Anbiya fi Daw Al-Quran. A series of lectures that he delivered in 1963 at the Islamic University in Madinah where he highlighted the role of Prophets and prophet-hood in guiding humanity.
  • Al-Tariq ila Al-Madinah.
  • Al-Aqidah wa Al-Ibadah wa Al-Suluk.
  • Nahwa Al-Tarbiyah Al-Islamiyah Al-Hurrah fi Al-Hukumat wa Al-Bilad Al-Islamiyah. He spoke about the need to educate and properly train and nurture the youth.
  • Rabaniyah Laa Rahbaniyah –Here he emphasizes on the need for genuine spirituality in all spheres of life.
  • Al-Arab wa Al-Islam
  • He has other books wherein he described his travels to various countries and cities and his message to the people there. These include books like; Ismaie Ya Misr, Ismaie Ya Suriyah, Usbuaan fi Al-Maghrib Al-Aqsa, Min Nahr Kabul ila Nahr Yarmuk etc.
  • Ila Al-Islam min Jadid. The book discusses the need to return to the pristine teaching of Islam and the need for people to carry out this great responsibility. 
  • Al-Madkhal ila Al-Dirasat Al-Quraniyah.
  •  Al-Sira’ bayn Al-Iman wa Al-Madiyah. He discusses the four stories in Surah Al-Kahf in relation to the struggle between Imaan and materialism.
  • Sirah Amir Al-Muminin Ali ibn Abi Talib.
  • Al-Islam Atharuhu fi Al-Hadarah wa Fadluhu ala Al-Insaniyah.
  • Al-Muslimun wa Qadiyat Falastin. He was concerned about Palestinian problem from as early as the thirties. Here he discusses various issues related to Palestine.
  • Al-Muslimun fi Al-Hind. 
  • Izha Habat Rih Al-Iman.
  • In addition, he wrote hundreds of articles that were published in magazines and newspapers, as well as talks that he delivered at conferences and other occasions.

He was always at the forefront in combating all kinds of trials and tribulations (Fitnah). Many times this resulted in confrontation between him and the government. He strongly opposed the move to make the national anthem compulsory in UP schools. The anthem contains lines that are clear examples of Shirk. He also opposed the government’s attempt to include Hindu Mythology in the school syllabus.

He participated in many organizations internationally and many recognized and acknowledged his excellence as a scholar. Some of his activities and affiliations were:

  • In India, he was the founder member and the first rector of Nadwatul Ulama and the Head of the affiliated Dar Al-Uloom.
  • He was also the President of the Academy for Islamic Research.
  • He was the Head of the Council of Religious Education for the Northern Province of India and Head of the Muslim Personal Law Board in India. 
  • Shaykh Abul Hasan was also a member of the Administrative Council of Dar Al-Uloom Deoband.
  • Shaykh Abul Hasan was one of the founder members of the Muslim World League (Rabita). 
  • He was a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
  • He was a member of the World Supreme Council of Mosques.
  • He was even a member of the International Fiqh Academy. 
  • He was a member of the Advisory Council of the Islamic University in Madinah in 1962.
  • He was a member of the Arabic Academy in Damascus (Syria), Cairo (Egypt) and Jordan and a member of the International Higher Assembly for Islamic Propagation in Cairo.
  • He was a member of the Administrative Council of the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan. 
  • He was a member of the league of Islamic Universities in Rabat, Morocco.
  • He also served as a member of the Royal Academy for Research of Islamic Civilization in Jordan.  
  • He was appointed as the head of the International Arabic Literature Council in 1981.
  • In 1980, he was awarded the King Faisal Award for serving Islam and the Sultan Hasan Bolkhaih International Prize. 
  • He received an Islamic Scholarship plaque from the Oxford University in 1999.

Among the great honours granted to him by Allah in this world, was the occasion when the door-keeper of the Ka’ba placed the keys of the Ka’ba in his hand. Then, in the presence of many scholars Shaykh Abul Hasan opened the door and on the request of the prince made Dua inside.  

Around about March 1999 he was afflicted with semi-paralysis and he was treated in a small hospital and he sensed that his death was near. Shaykh Muhammad Ijtiba Al-Nadwi visited him before Ramadan and asked him about the contemporary personalities that impressed him. He replied and said that he was impressed with Hasan Al-Banna, Shaykh Mustafa Sibaaie, Muhammad Al-Mubarak, Dr. Saeed Ramadan, Shaykh Ali Al-Tantawi, Shaykh Abdul Aziz ibn Baz, Shaykh Ahmad Ali Lahori, Shaykh Husain Ahmad Madani, Shaykh Abdul Qadir Raipuri and Shaykh Muhammad Zakariya Khandelwi. 

On the 20th Ramadan, he went to the village (Takih Kalan).  

He passed away on the 31st December 1999 (23 Ramadan 1420) after preparing for the Jumuah Salat and after he sat down ready to recite Surah Kahf. But he began with Surah Yasin instead and after reading a few verses, he passed away.


Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed is a well respected South African Islamic scholar who lives in Pretoria, South Africa. He studied at the King Saud University in Riyadh and the faculty of Shariah at the Islamic University of Madina. He has attained a M.A. in Islamic Studies from the University of South Africa. Through his extensive travels he has met and benefited from many senior scholars from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, India, Turkey etc. He has received numerous Ijazahs from the various scholars that he has met, studied with and served. He is currently a senior educator at the al – Ghazzali College in Pretoria.

He has authored two books:

Muslim Scholars of the 20th Century.

Muslim Scholars of the 21st Century.

He was one of the translators of Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al – Maliki’s work: The Way of the True Salaf.


 

Introducing The Centre for Arabic Manuscript Verification and Editing – Istanbul, Turkey

By Shaykh Mahmoud Masri

SeekersGuidance launched The Centre for Arabic Manuscript Verification and Editing in January 2020, in partnership with  the Fatih Sultan Mehmet University Research Centre, ISAM – Centre of Islamic Studies, and the Institute of Arabic Manuscripts. The purpose of this is to contribute to the revival of Islamic scholarship, through training scholars and academics to properly edit and publicize our great heritage of manuscripts (makhtutat).

The Centre for Arabic Manuscript Verification and Editing trains researchers, students and scholars in the science of manuscript verification,  editing and publication through structured courses. It is hoped that this will set a precedent of collaboration among institutions, and lead to further development of this critical science.

The Importance of Manuscript Editing

The importance of this science has largely been neglected in our community–especially in parts of the Islamic world that host the largest and richest collection of historical Arabic manuscripts. There are at least six million unique manuscripts that have been identified across the Islamic world.

Only about 10% of these manuscripts have been published–and, sadly, most of those haven’t been published reliably.

The vast majority of this great heritage remains unknown and unserved.

Reviving this science of manuscript editing will allow us to take these great works of Islamic scholarship from the dark storage rooms into the light of publication, thereby providing scholars deeper understanding and insight of our rich scholarly tradition–and contributing to the revival and renewal of Islamic scholarship.

Manuscript Editing Requires Careful Training

It’s worth mentioning that without proper training in this science, we run the risk of publishing works that are unreliable, as we have seen in the past.

Scholars and academics alike have reported the dire need for the development of strong methodology and process in this field.

Though this work is critical, few organizations have shown interest in this field, making the involvement of an international organization like SeekersGuidance even more visionary.

SeekersGuidance continues to dedicate itself to preserving and disseminating traditional Islamic guidance in conformity to our rich intellectual tradition.

A Reflection from a Student of The Centre for Arabic Manuscript Verification and Editing

By Yusuf Ferzan Yüksel

A Historical Perspective

Human beings have made tremendous efforts over thousands of years to record and transfer knowledge from generation to generation. Today in our digital world, we all witness a phenomenal revolution in the ways and tools people use to serve this purpose. Before the digital age, the invention of the printing press opened new horizons before humanity and significantly enhanced our capacity to record and spread knowledge. Regarding the principle that our knowledge accumulates over centuries and we build new information upon all the data that has arrived at us so far, an intriguing question poses itself: “How were we recording and transferring knowledge before the invention of the printing press?” The answer is quite apparent, as thousands of libraries around the world contain millions of manuscripts, that are hand-written works.

From the 7th century until the great Western scientific revolution took place, Muslims were carrying the flag of knowledge and science and thus, they produced millions of manuscripts in every scientific field of research. This enormous legacy we inherited from their centuries-long efforts is not only our legacy as Muslims, but it is also a great part of the accumulation of knowledge and thought created by humanity throughout history. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for us to reach this accumulation and develop healthy relations with it first, then benefit from what it offers to us as a source of knowledge as well as of new perspectives.

Importance of this Science Today

In order to achieve this goal, we need to make critical editions of thousands of manuscripts in various fields, giving priority to the most important ones. It is well known, manuscripts are not like printed books. Since they were copied by hand, they may contain errors or differ from the original work. This necessitates a special process of comparing different copies of the same book so that one could reach an editioned copy which is more likely to be in accordance with the original work. This phase is the most crucial part of the process of studying a manuscript for publishing which is generally called “at-tahqiq”.

Recent Efforts to Reconnect to Our Manuscript Heritage 

Even though there is an increasing interest in our legacy of manuscripts in the last decades, we still have a long road to reveal the real dimensions of this hidden treasure. Realizing the need for more experts in this field, some foundations have started to organize “tahqiq” courses. ISAM (Centre for Islamic Studies) is the most prominent foundation in Turkey in organizing these courses. Between the years 2013 and 2018 they organized 25 international “tahqiq” courses at different levels. Since 2018, it ISAM has shared its experience by organizing “tahqiq” courses in cooperation with important educational institutions in Turkey, such us Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakıf University and Ibn Haldun University.

International Cooperation to Train Researchers

The most recent “tahqiq” course organized by ISAM was held in Uskudar/Istanbul last month offering two different levels: Basic and Advanced Levels. The course was organized in cooperation with Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakıf University, SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary (Nuru’l-huda) and the Egyptian Arabic Manuscripts Institute.

Through these strategic partnerships, this time, they were able to gather experts from multiple countries such as Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and Turkey; not to mention the 60+ participants from around the world.

As an Islamic Studies researcher, I highly value these opportunities. Since September of 2019, I have been able to participate in both basic and advanced levels of the “tahqiq” program. These courses have given me the tools to explore and enter the fascinating world of manuscripts. I have had a chance to learn key aspects of the “tahqiq” process from experienced experts such as Mahmud al-Masri (SeekersGuidance/ Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakıf University), Hamza al-Bakri (Ibn Haldun University), Hasan Othman (Umm al-Qura University-Mecca) and Faisal al-Hafyan (the Egyptian Arabic Manuscripts Institute).

I strongly encourage researchers in Islamic/religious studies, comparative literature studies, historical studies, and Middle Eastern Studies to benefit from such services and not to miss the next “tahqiq” course. I pray that the interest in our manuscripts legacy increases over time, and leads to a deeper understanding of our tradition. May Allah, Most High, reward everyone that has been involved with these programs with either his/her time, money, knowledge or thought.

For more information about our work in Istanbul and the newly launched Dar al Fuqaha Seminary click here.

SeekersGuidance Launches the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary in Istanbul

In Partnership with the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Waqf University — and Classes Begin

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate 

For a number of years, SeekersGuidance has been supporting displaced Syrian scholars based in Istanbul (Turkey) through the Islamic Scholars Fund. 

This support has enabled them to dedicate themselves to teaching and spreading balanced, mainstream Islamic knowledge and guidance in a dignified manner.

However, our senior scholars felt there was still a clear gap: these scholars were dispersed across Istanbul and neighbouring areas—and it was difficult for students of knowledge to access them, and to have a clear program of traditional Islamic studies.

The Next Step: The Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary Launches—and Begins with Hundreds of Students

To address this, Dr. Mahmud Masri, our Senior Academic Advisor, proposed the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary, and the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Waqf University embraced the proposal and partnered with SeekersGuidance in January 2020 to launch this visionary program.

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.

Launch of the Ijaza Program

Classes began on January 25, 2020, the Ijaza Program began with 15 weekly classes—each at the maximum 100-student capacity—with leading scholars including Shaykh Usama al-Rifa’i, Shaykh Khalid Kharsa, Shaykh Ismail Majdhub, Dr. Mahmud Masri, and many others. 

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.

The Specialization in Islamic Law and Method

These classes—in a wide range of classical Islamic studies disciplines—will culminate in a Specialization in Islamic Law and Method (Takhassus fi’l Fiqh wa’l Usul). Details of the current weekly schedule and the Specialization can be found below.

The goal of this Specialization in Islamic Law is to produce scholars who can address the critical challenges facing Muslims and humanity in our times—through deep training in both classical texts and contemporary issues, under-trained, qualified specialist scholars.

These classes are open to students from across the world. Already, there are students from several dozen countries attending the Ijaza Program—despite it not being widely announced yet. Alhamdulillah.

The Launch Ceremony

At the launch ceremony in mid-January, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani (founder and Executive Director of SeekersGuidance) emphasized that this Dar al-Fuqaha’ Seminary, and the Ijaza Program seeks to connect seekers of knowledge with leading mainstream, trained scholars, through the system of direct study (talaqqi) that is the key to recognize traditional Islamic learning. 

He stated that the hope and aspiration is that the Specialization in Islamic Law and Method will facilitate the transfer of the Prophetic inheritance that these leading scholars have to a new generation of upcoming scholars—around the world—who will be able to uphold, live, and transmit this life-giving Prophetic legacy, and spread knowledge, guidance, and good.

Abdüs Samet Koçak, representing the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Waqf University, made clear the esteemed institution’s commitment to facilitate the success of this globally-impactful project, as part of fulfilling its own vision of being a leading institution of higher learning.

Dr. Mahmud Masri introduced the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Seminary project, as a collaboration of SeekersGuidance and the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Waqf University

He explained why the classes were beginning under the title of the Ijaza Program (Dawrat al-Ijaza). The point of Islamic knowledge isn’t scholarly authorization (ijaza). Neither the scholars teaching nor the students are in this program for mere authorization. Rather, the purpose of Islamic knowledge is drawing closer to Allah, through seeking and spreading the good, for oneself and others. 

However, the ijaza system requires revival as part of the revival of traditional Islamic studies—through rigorous curricula of Islamic studies, with high standards, and careful, conditional granting of qualified authorizations that can be trusted and relied upon.

Dr. Mahmud explained the full Specialization in Islamic Law and Method, with its stages and levels. You can read its details below. This is, insha’Allah, a truly Ummatically-impactful project.

Shaykh Usama al-Rifa’i and Shaykh Isma’il Majdhub Emphasize Mastery, Roundedness, Sincerity, and Truly Benefiting From One’s Teachers

Two of the seniormost scholars in the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Seminary, Shaykh Usama al-Rifa’i and Shaykh Ismail Majdhub spoke about their great joy at the launch of this project.

They both highlighted how “ijazas” (scholarly authorizations) have become in danger of losing their significance—with people giving and receiving “baraka ijazas” or ijazas without complete, rigorous study and training under qualified scholars. 

Thus, a revival of sound scholarly authorizations that are (1) through rigorous, complete study; (2) limited to the text or level of study completed; and (3) demonstrated uprightness of the one receiving the authorization is a significant step forward.

These senior scholars reminded students of the need to (1) take their studies seriously and to strive towards mastery; (2) to have well-rounded study of all components of a complete curriculum of Islamic studies; (3) to ensure that their knowledge is sought sincerely for the sake of Allah; and (4) to make the most of the opportunity of direct benefit from their teachers’ example and wisdom.

Classes Began on January 25, 2020, With 15 Classes—All At Capacity

By the grace of Allah Most High, the Ijaza Program of the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary began on January 25, 2020, with 15 weekly classes. Every class is at the (100-student) capacity. Over 400 students—Turkish, Syrian, Western, and other—had applied. Already, it is clear that this program is addressing a critical need, both locally and globally.

All these classes are being recorded. These classes will be offered as complete online courses through the SeekersGuidance Arabiyya (Nur al-Huda) online portal, insha’Allah.

“I have spent over five years studying in Istanbul, but I haven’t found any opportunity that offers the level of scholarship that Dar al-Fuqaha offers.” said a student from Italy.

“This is an Ummatically-impactful project,” said Shaykh Mumin al-Annan (Syrian scholar, now in Sweden).

This program is open to both men and women, and over 40% of the students are women.

“Whoever pursues a path seeking knowledge therein, Allah facilitates for them a path to Paradise,” said the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). 

We ask Allah Most High that the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary be a means of His facilitating a clear path of seeking and spreading such knowledge—for seekers everywhere—and a part of a global revival of the light of Prophetic guidance, in an authentic, relevant, merciful, balanced, transformative manner.

The Summer Program: the Ijaza Intensive

This Summer, SeekersGuidance has announced the Summer Ijaza Intensive—one of three Summer Intensive Programs in Istanbul. 

Already, several hundred students have applied, to study classical Islamic texts in Arabic, at various levels, directly with trained, authorized traditional Islamic scholars. This program, like all SeekersGuidance offerings, is provided completely free—as part of our Knowledge Without Barriers commitment and ethos. 

In total, almost 2000 students (yes, almost 2000) have applied for the three Summer Intensive Programs. You can still apply, till the end of February.

These programs are supported through the SeekersGuidance Islamic Scholars Fund—which you can support through your zakat and charity and help support the scholars and students who will preserve, revive, and spread the light of Prophetic guidance across the world, now and in upcoming generations. 

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation. 

Istanbul Summer 2020 Ijaza Intensive – Postponed Until Further Notice

ISTANBUL SUMMER 2020 IJAZA INTENSIVE 

This program is especially designed for students of knowledge that want to build strong foundations in the basic Islamic Sciences in both rational and transmitted, such as Theology, Islamic Law, Sacred Legal Theory, Islamic Spirituality, Sciences of Hadith, Logic and others, in a manner that builds upon each other

ISTANBUL SUMMER 2020 IJAZA INTENSIVE –  Postponed Until Further Notice

 

 

 

Global Impact Report: A Snapshot of the Growing, Global Impact Made Possible With Your Support

Download PDF

SeekersGuidance presents our Global Impact Report. It expounds on our vision to build an Islamic Seminary with Global Impact while upholding the Prophetic ethos of making knowledge free and accessible to all those who seek it.

A letter from our founder, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, is included. He talks about the focus, the gradual and steady growth of SeekersGuidance, the challenge we are facing.

This is our impact & growth of the last 10 years

We also look at our impact in a concise top-level look

What We Do Reflects World Wide

On the Ground in Toronto

We have also enabled face to face time with notable scholars from around the world

What are we doing in 2020?

2020 continued…

Your support means the world, not in just numbers but in real impact to people’s lives

The Truly Global Seminary

Our Global Faculty

 

Your support will help to grow this impact

 

Knowledge Without Barriers: A Heartbreaking Story About A Student in Need

I just wanted to share a quick story that reflects the importance and blessings of SeekersGuidance and the Knowledge Without Barriers initiative.

This is a short story about one of the sharpest students in our class, who always looked exhausted. Every half an hour or so, he would stand so that he wouldn’t doze off in class.

Every chance he got, he would ask me about the ‘ulema in Pakistan and Canada. He would lament about the state of his people but was hopeful that one day they would reclaim the legacy of the likes of Imam Bukhari, Baha’udin Naqshaband and Imam Tirmidhi.

One morning, I saw him sitting on a bench outside the masjid waiting for Fajr to come in. As I greeted him and saw the exhaustion on his face, I wondered how many nights he had spent on a park bench, and if that was the reason he was always so tired… That was also the last day I saw him in class, he stopped attending.

I ran into him today, and asked him where he’s been… He smiled and said he’s been attending a reading of Sahih al Bukhari. I asked him when he’ll be returning to class… Sadly, he informed me that he wouldn’t be able to, and that he plans to start at another mahad(institution). Why? I asked, ‘this mahad is known to have a much better program and teachers’… He looked down and said ‘I know, but its too much money.’ I asked, how much? ‘200 lira per month ($35 USD), but the other one I can study for free.’ I told him not to worry, let’s figure something out’, he just smiled and said ‘it’s difficult.’

Often times I hear people referring to programs that cost thousands of dollars. It’s not a lot of money! If people really valued knowledge they’d make it a priority!

This brother left his country to seek knowledge, he likely often sleeps on a park bench, doesn’t own a cell phone.. $35/month is his barrier to entry… $35/month. We may lose a future ‘Alim, one who shows deep concern for the umma, loves the ‘ulema and the tradition, and is more than capable, for just $35/month.

Knowledge Without Barriers is critical.

The Trodden Path (Episode 10): Shaykh Esa Mannun

In this series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed of South Africa will take us on a journey through the lives and biographies of some of the most celebrated and well known scholars of the twentieth and twenty – first century. These historical accounts will provide us with refreshing insights and lessons, and motivate us to follow in the footsteps of our pious predecessors.


In this tenth episode of the The Trodden Path series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed writes on the life of Shaykh Esa Mannun of Palestine.

Shaykh Esa Mannun 1306-1376=1889-1956 (Palestine)

Esa ibn Yusuf ibn Ahmad Mannun was a great scholar of Fiqh, a specialist in the Shafi’ school and a reputable scholar of Usul-Fiqh.

He was born in 1889 (1306) in the village of Ain Kaarim on the outskirts of the city of Quds. This area was known for its beauty, fresh, unpolluted air, sweet, refreshing water and it was an area surrounded by grape and olive trees. Many would come here for their summer vacation on account of the beautiful environment and the generosity and affable nature of the local people. 

Shaykh Esa grew up in this pure environment. His parents were good practising Muslims with a noble background. His grandfather, Ahmad Mannun made sure, that his grandson while still very young, developed a thirst for knowledge and a love for reading and he encouraged him in every possible way.

His father, Yusuf, desired that his son work with him on his grape orchard, but the boy was not very keen. He would remain with his father for short periods, after which he would return to school. His grandfather helped him by speaking to his father and urged him not to let his son be distracted from schooling and acquiring knowledge. 

Thereafter, Esa dedicated even more time and studied with passion and a desperate desire in search of knowledge. It was then through the mercy of Allah that he was blessed by having had the opportunity of studying under a great teacher, Shaykh Yusuf Al-Habiyah, who devoted a lot of time and attention to the young Esa. Because of his intelligence and wit, he excelled way above his friends; as a result, Shaykh Yusuf taught him some additional lessons that were not included in the school syllabus. He taught him the Quran and helped him memorize it. Shaykh Esa also studied Arabic grammar, Lexicology, Fiqh and Tawhid after having grasped all the requirements of the school syllabus, which included subjects like mathematics, history and writing skills.

When he sat for the examination at the Darul Ma’arif in Al- Quds, he impressed the examiners to such an extent, that they were prepared to have him appointed as a teacher in one of the schools on the outskirts of the city. When he learnt about this, he pressurized his grandfather to convince a friend of his to intervene so he would not be sent to another area, as he was not prepared to leave his Shaykh, with whom he had spent so much time.

Shaykh Esa treasured the time with his Shaykh, even though it resulted in a decrease in his salary and reduced the possibility of being promoted.

He taught at the school for one year. Being fifteen years old, he was the youngest teacher at the school. He had a desire to study at the Al-Azhar University. In 1902 (1322), he intended to travel to Egypt to continue his studies. He faced some pressure from his parents, but he continued to be good and kind to them, until they finally granted him permission. During his time in Egypt, he was fortunate to have had the opportunity to have met and become acquainted with some of the senior scholars of the time.

It was his practice not to attend the lesson of any scholar until he prepared it thoroughly and understood it. When the teacher began the lesson, he listened attentively to find out if his understanding of the subject conformed to what the teacher said. In most cases this was true. The only reason why the teacher in many cases was better was because he had the chance to refer to many more and rare references that were not available to the students. Shaykh Esa however was admired both as a student and a teacher.

He had a great desire to benefit from the different scholars. He would rise before Fajr and after the Salat, he attended lessons conducted by the scholars. He sat with one Shaykh and after sunrise he would proceed to another and then another in this way until before Asr. Thereafter, he rested for a while and had his lunch. These lessons he attended were voluntary.

After Asr Salat, he returned to the Al-Azhar to revise his lessons and prepare the lessons for the next day. He continued in this way until late at night. When this was over, he would carry his books and return to his room to continue his normal routine from the morning. He was known amongst his friends for his hard-work and the effective way in which he utilized his time.

Five years after joining the Al-Azhar, the teachers at the University decided to introduce some new policies. They decided to place those students who studied privately under scholars of their choice in formal studies that would correspond with their academic level. They decided on a period of 12 years. For this they carried out examinations that were conducted by committees of Ulama. As a result of this examination Shaykh Esa was placed in the ninth year, even though he was only in Egypt for five years.

This encouraged him to sit and attempt the International Examination, which was only permitted to students after 12 years. He occupied himself during the vacation, and during his years as a student, he only went home once. He did not go home again until he was appointed as teacher at the Al-Azhar. 

Some of his most notable teachers were:

  • Shaykh Salim Al-Bishri, the Shaykh of the Al-Azhar.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Hasanain Makhluf, father of Shaykh Hasanain Makhluf who was the Mufti Egypt and a member of the Council of Ulama.
  • Shaykh Abdul Hakm Ataa, under whom Shaykh Esa studied Tafsir and Usul.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Ulayan who was known for his precise understanding and was a famous scholar of Tawhid and logic.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Bakhit Al-Mutiie, who was a renowned faqih and Usul specialist of his time. He was the Mufti of Egypt and a person with many books to his credit.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Abduh, who was also the Mufti of Egypt and a person known for his eloquence.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Al-Rifa’ie, who was a person who had dedicated most of his time and effort to the study of Hadith.
  • Shaykh Ahmad Nasr

Certificates and Acknowledgements:

The practice at the Al-Azhar was that a student studied with a Shaykh for a length of time. When he felt that he had the ability to enter the examination, he would present an application to the Committee of Scholars of the Al-Azhar. The examination was conducted orally by a panel of the senior ulama. This examination was very difficulty during which the student was tested on many subjects. 

Shaykh Esa presented his application and did not wish to waste time. When he realized that a month had passed and he still did not receive any notice of his examination, he continued with his usual practice. Many of his colleagues were eager to study with him because of his ability to clarify difficult issues. While studying and preparing for the examination he had the opportunity to go and enquire about his application. He was taken by surprise, when one of the supervisors asked him to immediately sit for the examination. He was happy and he praised Allah for this. He went forward without any fear or hesitation, even though he did not have with him any book to revise from. During the examination he answered by quoting texts from memory in a very eloquent manner. This impressed the examiners and they all agreed to award him the certificate with the highest results.

After completing the examination, he returned to his friends with whom he used to study. He informed them that he had just completed the examination that lasted six hours, and he was successful. They were thoroughly amazed. This outstanding event occurred in 1911 (1328). His success encouraged his friends to take the examination.

After having achieved this certificate, he was confident to try and obtain the highest academic certificate available at the time, at the Al-Azhar. This examination was very difficult because it included various branches of Shariah and the Arabic Language.

He began preparing for this examination. Usually there would be a time period of a few years between the two examinations. However, Shaykh Esa because of his exceptional intelligence, applied one year after he received the first certificate. He passed without any difficulty and all members of the examining committee were highly impressed including the Head of the examination, Shaykh Muhammad Shakir, the father of Shaykh Ahmad Shakir. This was in 1912 (1329).

The practice at the Al-Azhar at the time was that those who applied for this examination were given certain important sections and topics to prepare. The student would have to answer questions on these. This examination was also conducted by some of the most senior scholars of the Al-Azhar. The topics were chosen from sixteen different sciences of Shariah, namely: Fiqh, Usul-Fiqh, Tafsir, Hadith, Tawhid and subjects related to the Arabic language such as grammar, syntax, rhetoric poetry etc. Subjects like logic, research methodology and ahklaq were also included. 

Usually, a student, after he was granted the topics would choose a senior scholar who would help him prepare him for the examination. Shaykh Esa however, began studying and explaining these subjects to his friends and they were in no need to seek the assistance of another scholar.

On the day of the examination, he proceeded to the examination centre where the examination committee was present and was headed by Shaykh Abdul Hakm Ataa. Some examiners informed him not to hasten with Shaykh Esa because if they completed the examination in a short time, another student would be sent and there would not be sufficient time for that.

Shaykh Esa sat in front of the committee for about eight hours, responding confidently. They realized that he was different from the students they were accustomed to questioning. In his presence he was awarded his result, which too was an unusual practice.

Coincidentally, while he was in front of the committee, Shaykh Muhammad Shakir walked in and began questioning him on some intricate issues. The Shaykh answered eloquently and he left a lasting impression on the committee and the students and scholars at the Al-Azhar.

In 1912, there was no real need to appoint graduates as teachers, but the deputy of the Al-Azhar approached Shaykh Muhammad Shakir and asked if they were in need of teachers who could teach writing skills and calligraphy, Shaykh Esa was summoned to participate in a writing contest from which a teacher would be selected. Many prominent scholars in this field were present. However, due to Shaykh Muhammad Shakir’s acquaintance with Shaykh Esa, he was called to resume his post as a writing teacher.

When he arrived on the first day for lessons, Shaykh Muhammad Al-Dinari presented the time-table to him. He was shocked to find that he was assigned to teach all the subjects except Fiqh because the students in that class were all Hanbali while he was Shafi’. He immediately returned it, saying that it was wrongly assigned to him. Instead Shaykh Al-Dinari reassured him that there was no mistake. Shaykh Esa was very happy.

He remained a teacher in the first level for a few years, after which he was promoted to the second level, and then to the highest level in the Faculty. He was soon the most prominent teacher of Shariah. He continued teaching Usul-Fiqh to the fourth year students for a number of years. During this period, he wrote his book Nibrasul Uqul fi Tahqiqil Qiyas inda Ulamail Usul which was acclaimed by many scholars.

When the department for specialization was introduced, he was granted the task of teaching the students one of the most comprehensive books in Usul-Fiqh (Musallam Al-Thubut) and its commentary by Abdul Ali Al-Laknawi Al-Hindi.

In 1918, when only 30 years old, he was appointed to oversee the Syrian students and their dormitories. One of his accomplishments while serving in this position was when he noticed the absence of a good system to control the funds for the students. He studied the Waqf system and implemented it in such a way whereby he had excess funds at the end of every year.  He was also appointed to the section that prepared teachers for the various faculties. He was assigned the task to teach Tawhid and Usul-Din, a duty, he continued to do for a long time. He taught some of the most important and difficult works on the subject namely; Al-Mawaqif by Allamah Al-Iijee with its commentary by Allamah Jurjani and Al-Maqasid by Allamah Sa’d Al-Din Al-Taftazani.

On one occasion, there was a problem at the Syrian students’ dormitories. Shaykh Esa visited the Shaykh of the Al-Azhar, Shaykh Muhammad Mustafa Al-Maraghi with the intention of resolving the problem. Shaykh Maraghi enquired about where and what he taught: When he replied and informed him that he taught at the Faculty of Usul-Din and he taught the likes of Al-Mawaqif, Shaykh Maraghi was taken aback and he began questioning him on some complicated issues. Shaykh Esa explained to them clearly and confidently and this pleased and satisfied Shaykh Maraghi. He then enquired if he had any books to his credit. Shaykh Esa told him about his book Nibrasul Usul…. He asked for a copy then allowed him to deal, with the dormitory problems in a manner he saw suitable and further reassured him of any assistance in any matter. This incident was an acknowledgement and approval by Shaykh Maraghi for Shaykh Esa.

In 1939, Shaykh Esa presented his book to the Council of senior Ulama to achieve recognition and to be regarded as a member of the Council. He was unanimously accepted by all, despite being the youngest. The King of Egypt awarded him the gala uniform as an honour in 1941.

He worked with the endowments to improve the conditions for the students. The number of students he was responsible for would some times reach 500 and they included Palestinians, Syrians, Jordanians and Lebanese. 

He visited the students and discussed their lessons with them and motivated and encouraged them to devote more time and effort to their studies. Many prominent scholars came out from these dormitories.

His home was also a place of learning. Students would gather and benefit from him while many were preparing to sit for the examination. His gathering commenced after Asr and ended late after Esha. This used to continue for about two months before the examination. He did this voluntarily and with the intention of promoting Ilm.

When the Shariah Qada College was closed to foreigners, who did not have an Egyptian Certificate, he continued to intercede on their behalf until the students were permitted to study there.

In addition, when the various faculties were established at the Al-Azhar, one of the conditions of enrolment was that the student must have a high school certificate. This was not easy for most foreigners; as a result, they were deprived entry. Shaykh Esa again interceded on their behalf at administration level. They finally agreed, on condition that every faculty had its own entrance examination. This was another contribution to the Muslim World.

He had a lot of care and concern for the foreign students and would invite them to his home in Ramadan to break their fast. He would set aside certain times when students would visit him at his home and he entertained them on the days of Eid. He was like a father to them and would assist them financially and any other way possible.   

Many of these foreign students experienced great difficulties because of their lack of knowledge of the Arabic language, and as a result they could not further their studies. They complained and Shaykh Esa took up the matter with Shaykh Maraghi, and subsequently a committee was formed in 1941 headed by Shaykh Esa to look into students’ grievances. He presented some suggestions to the Shaykh of the Al-Azhar.

He had a special concern for the Palestinian students, especially after the disaster in 1948 when their access to food supplies was cut off. He worked with Al-Azhar Organization for the freedom of Palestine to try and provide some funds for these students. These were noble and virtuous actions that helped protect and nurture a nation.

Positions Held:

In 1944, he was appointed as Head of the Faculty of Usul-Din, because of his excellent administration and his compassion and because he was a person who was concerned about the welfare of the institute. He was able to disassociate himself from all controversies. He believed that the Al-Azhar was a trust from Allah, with which Allah had entrusted the Ulama, and because of it Cairo sparkled above the other cities. In fulfilling this trust, he visited the teachers and lecturers in their classes and listened to their lessons and he questioned the students to ascertain the level of their comprehension. Before leaving, he would advise them to listen to their teachers’ explanation and to prepare the lesson before coming to class. 

In 1946, after the excellent manner in which he administered the Faculty of Usul-Din, he was transferred to the Faculty of Shariah.

Co-incidentally Shaykh Esa was one of the ulama who questioned and examined Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah, when he was a student at the Al-Azhar and he was very pleased with Shaykh Abu Ghuddah’s answers and praised him in the presence of the examining committee.

Shaykh Esa remained in charge of the Faculty of Shariah for about ten years. Some of the reasons why he was so effective and successful are:

  • He would proceed very early to the faculty, at times before the staff.
  •  He was very precise in everything he did.
  • He was well acquainted with the students and the teachers.
  • He had a deep insight in selecting the panel of Ulama that was to examine the students.
  • He was concerned about the welfare of the institute, the teachers and the students.
  • He was not interested in amassing wealth or earning high salaries.
  • He advised the authorities to utilize the graduates in various departments of education.

He spent about 42 years of his life at the Al-Azhar, either teaching or in administration or even serving on various committees.

He was at one stage, the head of the Hadith Council and a member of the Fatwa Council and the Committee that reviewed the syllabi. He participated in many research projects in matters of waqf and personal law.

In 1954, he reached the age of retirement, so he requested from the administration to absolve him from administrative duties and to allow him to spend more time on academic research and writing. A function was held in his honour where students and scholars praised him.

After retiring, he remained at home devoted to his books. The Ulama of the Al-Azhar still did not want to leave him, so they appointed him as the Head of the Hadith Council that was set up to revise the book (Al-Jamu’ bayn Al-Sahihayn) by Hafiz Al-Humaidi. He maintained this position until he passed away.

Ever since his student days, Shaykh Esa had a love for books and he acquired many irrespective of the price. Once, he bought a manuscript, and after studying it he realized that it contained a portion from Imam Al-Nawawi’s book Al-Majmu’ in the Shafi’ madhab. He was very happy and encouraged the scholars to have it published. He was so impressed with the book that he decided to complete the book continuing from where Imam Al-Nawawi and Imam Taqi Al-Din Al-Subki stopped. He wrote about 100 notebooks of about 40 pages each after which, he passed away.

Even though Shaykh Esa was so busy, he still managed to write many books. Some of his books are:

 

  • Nibrasul Usul fi Tahqiqil Qiyas inda Ulamail Usul.
  • Completion of Al-Majmu’ by Imam Nawawi.
  • A treatise on the rules of Hajj.
  • Discourses in Tawhid and Usul – Fiqh. 
  • A Treatise, refuting the claims of those who wish to make Ijtihad in this era.
  • The law on killing an apostate.
  • Discourses on the Tafsir of some verses of the Quran that were aired over the radio in the month of Ramadan.

 

The above are his works that have been printed. Those not printed are innumerable.

His Personality and Character:

He was a person of lofty aspirations; he was honourable and trustworthy. He disliked arguments between the ulama. He opposed Taha Husain and his views regarding fasting in Ramadan questioning the one who really has the right to Ijtihad. He loved research and used his time to maximum benefit. He was very friendly in his approach and in his speech. He displayed a high degree of trust in Allah.

Death:

He passed away in 1956 (1376). Many prominent scholars attended his funeral including the Shaykh of the Al-Azhar, students, government officials and journalists. His Janazah was performed in the Al-Azhar mosque and he was buried in one of the graves near Imam Shafi’s grave.


Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed is a well respected South African Islamic scholar who lives in Pretoria, South Africa. He studied at the King Saud University in Riyadh and the faculty of Shariah at the Islamic University of Madina. He has attained a M.A. in Islamic Studies from the University of South Africa. Through his extensive travels he has met and benefited from many senior scholars from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, India, Turkey etc. He has received numerous Ijazahs from the various scholars that he has met, studied with and served. He is currently a senior educator at the al – Ghazzali College in Pretoria.

He has authored two books:

  1. Muslim Scholars of the 20th Century.
  2. Muslim Scholars of the 21st Century.

He was one of the translators of Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al – Maliki’s work: The Way of the True Salaf.


The Trodden Path (Episode 9): Shaykh Ibrahim Al-Khutani of Turkestan

In this series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed of South Africa will take us on a journey through the lives and biographies of some of the most celebrated and well known scholars of the twentieth and twenty – first century. These historical accounts will provide us with refreshing insights and lessons, and motivate us to follow in the footsteps of our pious predecessors.


In this ninth episode of the The Trodden Path series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed writes on the life of Shaykh Ibrahim Al-Khutani  of Turkestan.

Shaykh Ibrahim Al-Khutani 1314-1389=1896-1969 (Turkestan)

Muhammad Ibrahim ibn Sa’d Allah ibn Abdur Rahim ibn Abdul Alim Al-Fadli Al-Khutani was a famous scholar. He was born in Qaraqaash, Turkistan in 1896 (1314). He was born into a home with a history and legacy of knowledge and piety.

He memorized the Quraan at a young age under his paternal uncle and teacher, Qari Rozi Muhammad Al-Andajaani. He studied the basics under his father and his cousins, Shaykh Muhammad Sharif Al-Khutani and Shaykh Muhammad Esa Al-Khutani. 

When he completed his initial education, he desired to travel to Lucknow, but as per instruction from his teachers, he travelled to Kashghar. He settled at Madarasah Taj Hakim Bik where he studied under Shaykh Muhammad Yaqub and Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdul Baqi Al-Artuji. With the latter he studied Talkhis Al-Miftah. In Kashghar, there was a scholar from Tripoli-Lebanon whose name was Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id Al-Asli under who he studied Hadith. Thereafter the Russians deported this Shaykh to Khawarizm. 

However, he did not remain in Kashghar for more than eight months, after which he moved to Samarkand in 1914 (1332), where he settled in Madrasah Umar ibn Abdul Aziz. He studied under the Imam of the school, Shaykh Hadi ibn Fadl, Shaykh Muhammad Akram and Shaykh Burhan Al-Din. With Shaykh Burhan Al-Din he studied Al-Jazariyah and Al-Shatibiyah.

In 1920 (1339), he completed his studies, then went to Andajaan where he studied under his cousin Shaykh Rozi. He again read and studied Al-Shatibiyah with its commentary. He then received Ijazah from his Shaykh in Qirat. He then proceeded to Namnakaan where he studied Hadith under Shaykh Muhammad Thabit. He sought Ijazah from his teachers who granted it to him. Many of them narrated from Shaykh Ali ibn Zhahir Al-Watri (d. 1904 -1322).

In 1929 (1348), he traveled to Istanbul, thereafter he went to Hijaz to perform Haj after which he settled in Madinah. In Madinah, he was closely attached to Shaykh Abdul Baqi Al-Laknawi and Shaykh Abdul Qadir ibn Towfiq Al-Shalabi. Both were renowned Hanafi scholars of Hadith. He studied under them and heard the Musalsalaat and various other subjects.

He sought Ijazah from a number of other scholars in Hijaz. They included:

  • Shaykh Umar Hamdaan Al-Mahrasi
  • Shaykh Al-Sharif Ahmad Al-Sanusi
  • Shaykh Ali Al-Maliki
  • Shaykh Habibullah Al-Shanqiti
  • Shaykh Muhammad Al-Khidr Al-Shanqiti
  • Shaykh Ahmad Al-Fayd Abadi
  • Shaykh Idroos ibn Salim Al-Baar
  • Shaykh Umar Ba Junaid

In Madinah, he taught in Al-Madrasah Al-Nizhaamiyah with his teacher Shaykh Abdul Baqi Al-Laknawi, who had appointed him as a teacher. He taught between the years (1351-1354). When this institute was closed due to Shaykh Abdul Baqi’s ill health, he moved to Madrasah Torah Gul Al-Turkistani. When Shaykh Ahmad Al-Fayd Abadi learnt of his brilliance, he requested that he teach students at Madrasah Al-Uloom Al-Shariyah in the senior level.

In 1962 (1382), he moved to the library that was attached to the Prophet’s Mosque and was known as the Al-Mahmudiyah Library. He was very well acquainted with books and manuscripts and wrote a book where he mentioned the manuscripts that he read. He was also involved in translating works from Turkish, Urdu, Persian and the Uzbek language. He did conduct lessons in some of the smaller schools.

He taught in the Prophet’s Mosque, where he taught Al-Muwatta with the transmission of Imam Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan, Alfiyah, Al-Kawaakib Al-Duriyah in grammar and Tafseer Al-Jalalayn. His practice was to repeat these books once he had completed it and he may have even taught Mishkaat Al-Masabih.

Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim travelled extensively. He travelled to Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Najd (Riyadh), Kuwait and Jordan. In these countries he met and benefited from the scholars who included:

  • Shaykh Muhammad Zahid Al-Kawthari
  • Shaykh Mustafa Sabri
  • Shaykh Mustafa Abu Sayf Al-Hamami
  • Shaykh Muhammad Jameel ibn Umar Al-Shatee

In 1379 he visited Damascus and was Shaykh Abu Al-Khair Al-Maydani’s guest. Many benefited from him during this trip.

Over and above his travels, he loved performing Haj and must have performed Haj about forty times either by walking or by camel, even though it was tough.

He was a very warm person, who welcomed the scholars who arrived in Makkah and Madinah from other countries. In this way he met many and sought Ijazah from them. Some of them were:

  • Shaykh Abdul Hay Al-Kettani
  • Shaykh Alawi ibn Tahir Al-Haddad
  • Shaykh Muhammad ibn Iwad Al-Tarimi
  • Shaykh Umar ibn Sumait, Mufti of Zanzibar

Shaykh Ibrahim was affectionate to his students and would encourage them to increase their knowledge. If he observed signs of brilliance in a student, then he took special care of him and guided him. Many gained from him. Some of his students were:

  • Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id Daftar Dar
  • Shaykh Hamid Mirza Khan
  • His son, Muhammad Yahya
  • Shaykh Umar Muhammad Falatah
  • Shaykh Muhammad Yasin Al-Fadani
  • Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah

Even though he worked tirelessly, he wrote a number of books namely:

 

  • Tuhfat Al-Mustajizin bi Asanid A’laam Al-Mujizin
  • Fath Al-Rauf Zhi Al-Minan fi Tarajim Ulama Khutan
  • Al-Risalat Al-Fadilah fi Thubut Al-Tawaafeen li Al-Qarin bi Adilat Al-Qati’yah
  • A book on the laws of Jumuah, Eid and Janazah in Turkish
  • A compilation of his teachers Fatawa

 

He was a person known by many to have avoided the luxuries and pleasures of the world; he was simple in his dressing. He was an orator and a person who maintained and upheld the recitation of the Quran. He was very punctual and particular in performing his five Salat in the Prophet’s Mosque. Outwardly, the respect and dignity of the ulama was clearly apparent. He was very fond of gathering books and manuscripts and his own library contained about fifty-two manuscripts. 

He took ill in 1969 (1389), for about six months and succumbed to this illness in the same year. The Janazah was performed in the Prophet’s Mosque and he is buried in Al-Baqi’.


Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed is a well respected South African Islamic scholar who lives in Pretoria, South Africa. He studied at the King Saud University in Riyadh and the faculty of Shariah at the Islamic University of Madina. He has attained a M.A. in Islamic Studies from the University of South Africa. Through his extensive travels he has met and benefited from many senior scholars from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, India, Turkey etc. He has received numerous Ijazahs from the various scholars that he has met, studied with and served. He is currently a senior educator at the al – Ghazzali College in Pretoria.

He has authored two books:

  1. Muslim Scholars of the 20th Century.
  2. Muslim Scholars of the 21st Century.

He was one of the translators of Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al – Maliki’s work: The Way of the True Salaf.