Is It Permissible for a Woman to Travel Accompanied by Her Young Son?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question: Is it permissible for a woman to travel accompanied by her young son?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Conditions of a Chaperone

It is permissible for you to travel with your 12-year-old son. A woman must travel either with her spouse or non-marriageable kin (mahram) who is trustworthy, mature (i.e. reached puberty), and of sound intellect. The pre-pubescent child is allowed as well, like the mature. [al-Hadiyah al-Alaiyah]

The Age of a Pre-Pubescent Child

A male child is considered pre-pubescent (murahiq) when he reaches 12 years of age. This is because 12 is the earliest age that a boy can reach puberty. [al-Hadiyah al-Alaiyah]

Hope this helps
Allahu A’alam

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.

Spiritual Activism and the Tradition of Salawat in West Africa – Imam Dawud Walid

In this reminder, Imam Dawud Walid discusses the benefits of sending benediction and praise on the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), relating it to Sacred Activism and Centering Black Narrative.

Imam Dawud tells the story a great 19th-century West African scholar, saint, and activist, Sidi Touba, Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba, whose mother, a scholar herself, was descended from the Prophet.

Shaykh Bamba wrote a great number of works in many Islamic sciences, but when exiled by the French, he devoted all of his time to writing poetry and praise on the Prophet as a means for his liberation and that of his people. Shaykh Bamba was a believer in “virtue ethics”—that the way you take means is more important is the end. Imam Dawud highlights a commonly recurring benediction in these poems, called the salat al-fatih.

Imam Dawud concludes that while at looking the issues is important, so, too, is the means we take. In addition, to keep ourselves centred and spiritually grounded, sending benedictions on the Prophet is extremely important, whether through traditional formulas, the salat al-fatih, or reading a chapter of Jazauli’s Dala’il al-Khayrat.

 

Witr Prayer And Travel

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: When traveling, is it still required to pray Salaat-ul-Witr after Salaat-ul-Isha?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

Yes, the witr prayer is unconditionally mandatory (fard ‘amali), meaning that there is not a single case in which it is acceptable to omit it. Accordingly, it must be prayed during travel just as it is prayed during residency.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The witr [prayer] is a duty. Whoever does not pray it is not from amongst those of our way.” (Abu Dawud) He repeated this thrice, Allah bless him and give him peace.

Praying the Emphasised Sunna Prayers

With respect to the emphasized sunna prayers (sunna mu’akkada), the default ruling is that they should be prayed. But it is permissible to leave them if one is in a state of active travel and rush because of the journey. When not in an active state of travel, such as when a person has reached their destination or has comfortably boarded their mode of transport, the sunna prayers should be prayed unless there is undue hardship therein.

A final thing to note is that all types of supererogatory prayers (nawafil), including the emphasized sunnah prayers, maybe prayed, without dislike, with head movements, whilst seated, and in the direction of travel of the mode of transport in question. The only exception is the sunna cycles (rak‘as) before the dawn prayer (fajr) which requires standing given its strong emphasis and proximity to the mandatory prayer (wajib).

(Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar)

Please also see: Is the Witr Prayer Mandatory? and: How Should I Make up Missed Witr Payers? and: The Basic Rulings of Travel

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan, and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based on his family.

Prayer Of The Traveler

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: When travelling and combining prayers, do the Zuhr prayer and the Asr prayer need to be prayed during Zuhr time or can they both be prayed during Asr time? 

Answer: assalamu alaykum

In the Hanafi school, there is no ‘real’ combining of prayers for a traveler, i.e., prayers are not actually prayed outside their time.

The Hanafis understood the combining of the Prophet (blessings upon him) as one that involved delaying Dhuhr to the very end of its time, performing it while its time was still in, and then performing Asr immediately after in the time for Asr. The same applied to Maghrib and Isha.

The other schools differ and allowed for real combining outside the time of a respected prayer. For the Shafi`i and Maliki schools, you can refer to these two detailed answers:

What Are the Methods for Combining (Jam’) and Shortening (Qasr) Prayer for Travel? [Shafi’i School]

Joining Prayers in the Maliki School

Wasalam,

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas was born and raised in New York, Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. His personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government, media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveler and book collector. He currently resides in Amman with his wife.

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  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.


 

The Etiquette (Adab) of the Visitation (Ziyara) of the Prophet ﷺ – Dr. Hisham A. Hellyer

Bismillah

The Sacred Signs of God

The sages and scholars of this religion have agreed that veneration for the sacred signs (sha’ir) of God is from the virtues of the heart – likewise, lack of proper etiquette (adab) with those signs is evidence of an unhealthy heart. Allah says in His Book: “If someone venerates the sacred signs of Allah, this is truly a sign of piety in the heart”. (Qur’an 22:32)

The scholars note that from among these signs are the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the house of God (the Ka’aba in al-Makka al-Mukarrama), the Divine Word (the Qur’an), the five daily prayers (al-salawat al-khams), and the month of Ramadan. Without the Prophet, we would know nothing of the reality of any of these things. There are many evidences to note in this regard from the Qur’an and the Sunna – for this tract, it suffices to present this sacred tradition (hadith qudsi) which is mentioned in the compendium of authentic narrations, compiled by Imam al-Bukhari: The Prophet ﷺ said, “Verily Allah, the Most High has said: ‘Whosoever shows enmity to a friend (wali) of Mine, then I have declared war against him. And My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved to Me than the religious duties I have obligated upon him. And My servant continues to draw near to me with supererogatory (nafil) deeds until I Love him. When I Love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him; and were he to seek refuge with Me, I would surely grant him refuge.’

The Excellence of the Prophet ﷺ

It is the only via the Prophet ﷺ that we know what those religious duties are. It is only via the Prophet ﷺ that we know what the supererogatory deeds are. He is, thus, the means by which we are given the knowledge to draw near to God.

He is the ‘Perfect Human’ (al-insan al-kamil), which also is the title of a famous contemporary work by the traditionist of the Hijaz (al-muḥaddith al-hijaz), the shaykh of our shaykhs, Sayyid Muhammad b. Alawi al-Maliki, may God have mercy upon him. The Prophet ﷺ is the Messenger of Mercy (raḥma), whom God sent as a mercy to all created things, which is mentioned in the words of God: “And We have not sent you except as a mercy to all the worlds”(21:107).

And this same attribute of mercy is the attribute of God that is mentioned time and again in this religion, whether it be in the sacred narrations, or in the word of God. Indeed, consider that the basmala (the saying of bismillah al-rahman al-rahim), which opens every cycle of prayer, and is recommended before every action, includes not one, but two attributes relating to mercy (raḥma): al-Rahman, al-Rahim.

It is for this reason and many others that the scholars said that out of all of the sacred signs of God, the Prophet ﷺ is the most sacred indeed – and why the visitation to him is so recommended. The below includes some of the most pertinent recommendations included therein – and there will be many others, but one hopes this will suffice for the ease of memorising and remembering, particularly for those for whom the visitation to Madina is their first time.

The Visitation of the Prophet ﷺ – (Be Merciful to One Another)

Our teachers reminded us, therefore, that in the event we were considering the visitation (ziyara) of the Prophet ﷺ, we should do so in a way that is befitting of the occasion. His essence is mercy – our essence, at all times, but particularly as we embark from our homes to pursue the visitation, should be a complete emulation of that sacred attribute. Our mercy with our families, our friends, those that we know and those that we do not – it is mercy that we should focus upon in our character. If we are genuine in our desire to follow his practise (Sunna), then we should know that this is his Sunna: being a mercy to all the worlds.

As one approaches al-Madina al-Munawwara (the Illuminated City), one should remember – they are visiting the city in which the mercy to the worlds lived, taught, and passed from this world. When one visits the city, one should not be surprised if they feel this overwhelming feeling of serenity (sakina) within it, and this subtle sweetness (jamal): rather, this is entirely natural, considering who is buried therein. There is an awesome-like (jalal) nature to Makka, which cannot be mistaken – and there is a subtle sweetness-like nature (jamal) to Madina, which cannot be mistaken.

Imam Nawawi, one of the foremost authorities of the Shafi’i rite (madhhab), in his commentary on Sahih Muslim, one of the most authentic compilations of Prophetic narrations (ahadith), said:

“The scholars have differed regarding the meaning of the above exception in the same way that they have differed concerning Makka and Madina: which of the two is better? The way of Shafi`i and the vast majority of the scholars is that Makka is better than Madina and that the mosque in Mecca is better than the mosque in Madina. The opposite is true for Malik and a group of scholars”.

So, even though we may follow the opinion that Makka is better, the opinion that Madina is better is clearly of great merit, and well respected, as Imam Malik and others declared it as such.

Indeed, many of our scholars declared that irrespective of the above, the site of the Prophet’s tomb is the holiest place on earth – holier than that of the Ka’aba. Some even compared the nobleness of its location to the nobility of the Throne itself.

And Allah knows best.

The Importance of the Visitation

The visitation, according to most of our scholars, is legally recommended (mandūb); some of our scholars emphasised it so much, that one should be concerned about not making that visit, due to the immense benefit that comes from the visitation. Indeed, the Prophet is narrated as having said:

“Whoever visits my grave, my intercession becomes obligatory for him.”

“Whoever visits me and has no other motive, has a right over me that I intercede on his behalf.”

“Whoever visits me after my death is like he who had visited me during my life.”

“Whoever undertakes a journey specially to visit me, will be my neighbour on the Day of Judgement.”

Be sure that when you visit the Prophet ﷺ, you do not fall into poor etiquette by saying, ‘I am visiting the tomb of the Prophet’ – for you must be aware you are the guest of the Prophet ﷺ, who is aware of you and responds to you. And thus, show it the due respect.

Likewise, be sure to formulate your intention properly – that you intend to visit the Prophet ﷺ, visiting his mosque, praying therein, and thereby drawing closer to the Divine.

Litanies and Practices

The litany (dhikr) that is recommended once your intention has been made is the sending of blessings and prayers (salawat) upon the Prophet ﷺ – any one that you prefer.

Ensure you are clean, fully washed (with a complete bath (ghusl)) wearing good clothes, perfumed, as you would when visiting an honoured dignitary. This should preferably done before you enter Madina, or immediately upon your arrival and before your visit to the Prophet ﷺ.

When you enter Madina, continue your sending prayers upon Prophet ﷺ, and say the following supplication:

اَللهُمَّ هَذَا حَرَمُ نَبِيِّكَ فَاجْعَلْهُ وِقَايَةً لِيْ مِنَ النَّارِ وَآمِنَّا مِنْ الْعَذَابِ وَسُوْءِ الْحِسَابِ.
Allāhumma hādhā ḥaramu nabiyyika faj’alhu wiqāyatan lī mina n-nāri wa amānan mina l-‘adhābi wa sū’a l-ḥisāb

“O Allah, this is the Sacred Precinct of Your Prophet, so make it a protection for me from the Fire and a security from punishment and a bad reckoning.”

The Visiting of the Mosque

The resting place of the father of the Prophet ﷺ, Sayyidina ‘Abdallah b. Abd al-Muttalib (may Allah be pleased with him) is to be found within the enclosure of Masjid al-Nabawi; there is a space near to the Prophet ﷺ that is specified for the resting place of the Prophet Jesus, Sayyidina ‘Isa b. Maryam (upon whom be peace); the original site of the house of Sayyidina Ali b. Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him), may God pleased with him, and Sayyidatuna Fatima (may Allah be pleased with her) is to be found in where the mosque now stands; the Mihrab al-Tahajjud, where the Prophet ﷺ would pray the night vigil (tahajjud) prayer, is in the same precinct; and the ‘Bench’ of the ‘People of the Bench’, who were particularly renowned for their piety (Ahl al-Suffa) is in this same precinct.

With a full awareness, one should proceed to the Prophet ﷺ, reciting salawat, and giving some charity. Recall and remember that you are visiting the Beloved of God, al-Habib, and that you have been chosen and selected to do so by the grace of God.

It is preferable (mandūb) to enter the mosque from the door of Jibril (Bab Jibril) because that was the practice of the Prophet ﷺ – but you may enter through any door.

Following your entrance into the Mosque, ensure you follow the regular etiquette of entering the mosque:

  1. Enter with the right foot
  2. Recite the supplication:                                                                                                                                                                           بِسْمِ اللهِ، اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ. اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَافْتَحْ لِي أَبْوَابَ رَحْمَتِك
    Bismi-llāh, Allāhumma ṣalli alā Muhammad. Allāhumma-ghfir lī wa-ftaḥ lī abwāba raḥmatik.
    In the name of Allah, send blessings upon Muhammad ﷺ. O Allah, open for me the doors of Your Bounty.
  3. Make the intention for spiritual retreat (i’tikaf)

It was the practice of many of the righteous that they would go straight to the Prophet ﷺ, and send him greetings, before anything else, including before they would pray two units (raka’tayn) of prayer to greet the mosque (tahiyyat al-masjid). One should focus solely on the purpose of the visit, which is to greet and visit the Prophet ﷺ. However, if the area in front the Prophet ﷺ is busy, then pray 2 units of prayer as noted below at the Rawda, and then continue to the Prophet ﷺ.

One should proceed to the area of the Rawda, which is in the centre of the mosque, marked by a light green floral carpet. The Prophet ﷺ said of this place: ”The area between my house and my minbar is one of the meadows of Paradise, and my minbar is on my pond (al-Hawd)”. Many of our scholars said that this means, literally, that this area is from Paradise.

In the Rawda, one should pray two units of prayer for greeting the mosque – it has been narrated it is preferable that sura al-Kafirun and sura al-Ikhlas are best to read in the first and second raka’ats respectively. If one cannot do so in the Rawda itself, then pray as close as you can. Remember that it is your intention that is rewarded.

Following this, recall the immense blessing that God has bestowed upon you for this incredible opportunity, as a guest of the Prophet ﷺ. Supplicate to God tremendously – this is one of the most special places on this earth.

You will then eventually exit the mosque from the south, near Bab al-Salam – and in so doing, you will be passing in front of the Prophet ﷺ. Remember: as you walk through this area, you are walking on the ground that was walked upon by the Prophet ﷺ, by his family, by his companions, by his followers, by their followers, by the scholars and sages of this umma.

Read salawat in abundance and be aware you are approaching the physical nearness of the Final Messenger of God; be humble, be aware of your faults, and be hopeful of attaining forgiveness.

The Prophet ﷺ, Sayyidina Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) and Sayyidina Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) are all buried in the middle enclosure that you can see among three enclosures. Stand a little away from the enclosure, facing it, with your back towards the Qibla, and turn slightly left so your face is facing directly to the Prophet ﷺ, who is directly behind the first hole of the middle enclosure that you will be able to see. Invoke prayers and send blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ, in abundance, and request what you will via his intercession (wasila).

And after you have done so, give the Prophet ﷺ your greetings of peace, the minimum of which is:

اَلسَّلَامُ عَلَيْكَ يَا رَسُوْلَ اللهِ
‏As-salāmu ‘alayka yā rasūlAllāh.
Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah.

Do not do so loudly, without decorum – do so with dignity and humility, envisioning the Prophet ﷺ in front of you. Indeed, keeping your voice low at all times in the presence of the Prophet ﷺ is warranted, in due respect of him.

Then, recite more salawat upon the Prophet ﷺ;

repeat the testification of faith;

invoke God for His forgiveness (istighfar);

thank the Prophet ﷺ;

and then do not neglect asking the Prophet for his intercession:

يَا رَسُوْلَ اللهِ، أَسْأَلُكَ الشَّفَاعَةَ وَأَتَوَسَّلُ بِكَ إِلَى اللهِ أَنْ أَمُوْتَ مُسْلِمَاً عَلَى مِلَّتِكَ وَسُنَّتِكَ
Yā rasūla llāh as’aluka ash-shafā’ata wa atawassalu bika ila llāhi ‘an ‘amūta Musliman ‘ala millatika wa sunnatik.
O Rasul Allah! I request your intercession, and I ask Allah, through you, to enable me to die on your religion and your Sunnah.

If you do not know the supplication by heart, do so in whatever words you choose. Do not neglect sending greetings to Sayyidina Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) and Sayyidina Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) facing them – which means stepping a little to the right, twice – and then you may return to facing the Prophet ﷺ to make more supplications, before you leave the mosque. Do not give the resting place of the Prophet your back, at any time.

As you leave the mosque, you’ll be facing Janna al-Baqi’, where many of the righteous are buried – it is appropriate to send them the gift of the reward of reciting Sura al-Fatiha by reading it with that intention.

Farewell to Madina

One hopes that one makes the best use of their time in Madina while they are there. Spend your time well, plan it well, use it well. As you pass in front of the mosque of the Prophet ﷺ, ensure you always give him greetings.

Before you leave Madina, ensure you visit him ﷺ one last time before departure. Shaykh Abdal Qadir al-Jilani recommended we supplicate: “O Allah, don’t make this the last of my visit to the grave of Your Prophet, and if you cause me to die, then make me die loving him and his Sunna. Amin, O most merciful of the merciful!”

Our teachers said: leave your heart and soul in those blessed places, and only let your body take the return trip. May God bless us all with the secrets of the ziyara.


Ustadh Dr. Hisham A. Hellyer

Dr Hisham A. Hellyer is Professorial Fellow of Cambridge Muslim College (UK) and Senior Scholar of the Azzawia Trust & Al-Zawiya Institute (South Africa). As a widely published academic and commentator focusing on politics and religion in the West, the Arab world and Muslim communities globally, he concurrently serves as Senior Fellow at RUSI (UK) & the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (USA).

Born to an English father and to an Egyptian mother of ʿAbbāsī-Sudanese & Ḥasanī-Moroccan heritage, he was raised between London, Cairo and Abu Dhabi, before becoming educated at Sheffield and Warwick universities to post-doctoral levels in law and the social sciences. He studied – and studies – the Islamic intellectual tradition in the UK, Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and elsewhere, keeping the company of traditionally trained-scholars, including the likes of the Malaysian polymath, Tan Sri Professor Sayyid M. Naquib al-Attas, and Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, the khalifa of the Makkan sage, Sayyid Muhammad b. Alawi al-Maliki.

With previous positions at and affiliations with the Brookings Institution, Harvard University, the American University in Cairo, and the RZS-Centre for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science and Civilisation (CASIS), he is a frequent commentator and columnist in various media in the United States, Europe and the Arab world. Included in the scholarly section of the annual global ‘Muslim 500’ list of Georgetown University (USA) and RISCC (Jordan), he is also a council member of the British Board of Scholars & Imams. Among his written works are ‘Muslims of Europe: the ‘Other’ Europeans’ (Edinburgh University Press), ‘A Revolution Undone: Egypt’s Road Beyond Revolt’ (Oxford University Press) and “The Islamic Tradition, Muslim Communities and the Human Rights Discourse” (editor) (Atlantic Council)


Further Resources:

Information on the Sites of the Holy City of Madina (pdf) – ‘Madinah Ziyarah Guide

Visitation of the Prophet

Advice from Habib Umar

The Etiquette of the Ziyara (Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyya)

 

Selected Further Reading:

Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din, by Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali

al-Ghunya li talibi Tariq al-Haqq, by Shaykh Abdal Qadir al-Jilani

Al-Arba’in, by Imam al-Nawawi

al-Majmu` Sharh al-Muhadhdhab, by Imam al-Nawawi

al-Idah fi Manasik al-Hajj, by Imam al-Nawawi

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.

The Trodden PathShaykh 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.

The Trodden Path 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.


 

The Role of Sayyids and Sharifs in Spreading Islam (Interview) – Prof Syed Naquib al Attas

Prof Syed Naquib Al-Attas was interviewed by Prof. Mehmet Ipsirli on the role that the Prophetic family (Sayyids and Sharifs) played in spreading Islam in South East Asia.

 

Prof Mehmet: What are the places of Sayyids and Sharifs in the Islamic tradition?

Prof Al – Attas: Nowadays, I feel that these two concepts have become separated in such a way that the Sharif are Hasanese (i.e. following Hasan), and the Sayyid are Husseinese (i.e. following Hussein). I think that this was probably the same in earlier times. Sayyids were called Sharif, and Sharifs were called Sayyid. Of course it is true that the Hasanese gradually became the Sharifs of Mecca and the post of Sharif was established by the Abbasids. I noticed that when I was reading Tabari, he mentioned that Al-Ma’mun appointed one of the sons of Ali as the Sharif of Mecca. The main aim of Al Ma’mun here was to neutralize the followers of Ali in a diplomatic way, as at first they were opposed to the Umayyads and later to the Abbasid’s as well. Thus, he was trying to be friendly with them and to show his favor by appointing such people. Now, Al Ma’mun lived around the year 800; another man al-Dimashqi, who was a geographer, wrote in 1200 that the first missionaries to be sent to Asia were in the time of Uthman’s caliphate; therefore, he said, the missionaries were here because they were running away from Al-Hajjaj, from his persecution, in the time of the Umayyads. They first fled and then they came to that part of Indo-China known at that time as Shampa, and now called Sand in Cambodia. And they then came to Southeastern Asia. Al-Dimashqi referred to them as Alawiyyun (followers of Ali). This was in the time of Uthman. Therefore in the time of Al-Ma’mun and at later dates there were many envoys who were sent to China; it is said that there were at least 32 envoys sent between the time of the Umayyad and Abbasids until around the year 500 (Hijrah).

 

Prof Mehmet: Was there any policy to send envoys that had been particularly chosen from the Prophet’s descendants?

Prof Al – Attas: Yes, I think that the Chinese emperor respected them more because they were from the Prophet’s descendants. I suppose the reason why the Tang dynasty sent a Chinese ambassador to the court of Medina at the time of Umayyads was because the political center was still in Medina at that time, not in Mecca. There was a Sharif in Mecca, but the seat of caliph was in Medina. The purpose of this ambassador was to report to the emperor about this new power in the world. Who was this new power? It was reported back to China that they were worshipping heaven. They had no idols and they did not eat pork. The source that mentions this ambassador also records that an Arab general accompanied the ambassador back to China. We are not sure who this general it was. Some say that he was Sad b. Abi Waqqas; the Chinese believe that he is buried in the north of the country. This was at the time of the Companions.

 

Prof Mehmet: Was there a difference between the Sayyids and the Sharifs in this sense?

Prof Al – Attas: The role of the Sharifs, I think, was more administrative. They gradually became the Sharifs of Mecca. That is, they acted like governors and gradually became the rulers. But the Sayyids were the ones who continued to struggle, as the Umayyads were more opposed to the Husseinese rather than the Hasanese.  Many of them were located in southern Arabia. What is now known as Oman at that time was called Hadramout – Hadramout is even mentioned in the Bible, and this was at the time of Moses – and this was a very important area.

Many of the Husseinese were located in this area. They were a seafaring people, who traveled by sea. It is for this reason that Ibn Khurdabbe talks about the sea routes, and he mentions how the Sayyids got to China and how they went on to India and so on. They were people who spread Islam following the hadith (sayings of the Prophet). You know the Dutch scholars and Western scholars talk about merchants and traders. Merchants and traders would not be able to be close with ruling powers. The ruling powers would only have respected people who were descendants of the Prophet. For that reason, the locals intermarried a great deal with the Sayyids, just like in Sumatra.

I think one of the characteristics of the Sayyids is that wherever they went, they were not very nationalistic or racist. I think it was Sayyid Ali who was the first one to marry with a non-Arab, the daughter of the Persian emperor, Yezdecarb. In other words, the Sayyids married non-Arabs, but other Arabs did not act like this. When the Sayyids went to Africa, they gradually became like the Africans with this intermarriage, and the same can be stated for China.

But what is important here is that the role of these people, this mission, was prepared in advance. It did not happen accidentally. In other words, they were selected as pious people who knew Islam, and were brave enough to go on these dangerous routes. They were not only traders and merchants either. The western people knew that traders and merchants would not able to spread the religion. They claim that in Islam everybody is a missionary. Of course, theoretically this is true, but in reality, a missionary must be acquainted with many things, because ultimately he has to speak with the king. They have to be able to be close to the kings. Much of the missionary work consists of this high-level diplomacy. That is what is most important in my opinion.

 

Prof Mehmet: In your opinion, what is the social responsibility of descending from the family of the Prophet?

Prof Al – Attas: These descendants of the Prophet spread knowledge. Even Western orientalists say that the descendants of the Prophet are the ones who spread the knowledge. They mentioned the Fatimids and the Al-Azhar. These people established universities and places of education, and much more.

Of course, not everybody was doing all of these things. Some of them, the simple people, may have been doing nothing.  It was a question of spreading knowledge and the religion.

And they were careful not to add to the heresy. They were more traditional, and being traditional entailed going back to the ways of the Prophet. This was because, particularly in the southern part of Hadramout, they were isolated. The early Sayyids who came here learned the hadiths, and then they read the works of the ulama. The books that we can see they were using were ones like Kutb al-Kulubal-Maki, al-Qushayri’s Risala and several others, as well as Ghazali, of course.

As for Hadramout, the first man who brought Sufism (tasawwuf) was a man called Fakih al-Mukaddaam, and this must have been sometime in the 15th century.

 

Prof Mehmet: We see that these journeys started very early from the time of the Prophet. As soon as they learned about Islam they left their country and went to a different part of the world. The Prophet also encouraged the Companions to make these journeys.

Prof Al – Attas: Yes, as we have said already, before the advent of Islam, it has been acknowledged that there were already Arabs in Europe, even at the time of Christ in that area, and they were involved in trade at the time of the Romans.

But I think the role of the Sayyids was to spread Islam. This was the most important. The second factor was that they were trying to teach people the proper forms of Islam from such books. They did not add any thing. Of course, they studied the hadith, so they had more information about what was legitimate. They also read other works. But they did not seek publicity. They also did not care if people acknowledged them or not. They just completed their tasks.

 

Prof Mehmet: How were the Sayyid roots of the first people arriving into Asia influential in the Islamization of the region?

Prof Al – Attas: It is true that the Sayyids came first. These Sayyids were already in the north of Sumatra. They came first to Sumatra, then to the Malay peninsula and then to Joho. Malaca, of course is Joho, and from there they went to Brunei and from there to Sulu and then finally Java. I think the reason why they arrived last in Java is because Java was very powerful at that time and the kingdom was very large. There were also Arab writers there in ancient times; it is said that the maharaja was not called a maharaja, but rather known by the Japanese title batara. It is said that he had a hundred thousand troops and weapons ships. In other words, this was a very strong kingdom with a tradition of Hinduism or Hindu -Buddhist.

So, the plan was probably to first Islamize the Malay side and when that was done then to go on to Java. It would not have been possible to go to Java first, because they were so powerful. Gradually, of course, by coming to them in the 1470s, the Japanese kingdom fell into the hands of Islam. However, some Arabs navigators writing in the 1430s said they Muslim kingdoms were already present in Java. The problem is that I am not sure if this date is correct.

The simpler meaning of Sayyid is those people who went to the villages. They taught people Islam, and the question of adab (manners). This is still going on. If you go to Indonesia you can find many of such people in the villages. They demonstrate a certain exemplary behavior, and they are very pious people. You can the see Hasanese in Singapore; they are very popular in Singapore, even among the non-Muslims, because they are simpler and more open-handed as well.


Syed Muhammad al Naquib bin Ali al-Attas (born September 5, 1931) is a prominent contemporary Muslim philosopher and thinker from Malaysia. He is one of the few contemporary scholars who is thoroughly rooted in the traditional Islamic sciences and who is equally competent in theology, philosophy, metaphysics, history, and literature. He is considered to be the pioneer in proposing the idea of Islamization of knowledge. Al-Attas’ philosophy and methodology of education have one goal: Islamization of the mind, body and soul and its effects on the personal and collective life on Muslims as well as others, including the spiritual and physical non-human environment. He is the author of twenty-seven authoritative works on various aspects of Islamic thought and civilization, particularly on Sufism, cosmology, metaphysics, philosophy and Malay language and literature.


* This article was modified from its original source (lastprophet.info)

The Trodden Path (Episode 3): A Glimpse At the Lives of the Illustrious Scholars and Saints of the 20th and 21st Century.

In this newly anticipated 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 third episode of the The Trodden Path series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed writes on the life of Shaykh Wahbi Sulayman Ghawji.

 

The Trodden Path

Shaykh Wahbi Sulayman Ghawji (1342-1434=1923-2013)

Shaykh Wahbī ibn Sulaymān ibn Khalīl Ghāwji Albānī was born in 1923 (1342) in Skudera, the former capital of Albania. He attended classes and studied the Qurān and theHanafi books of doctrine and morals. His first teacher in the Islamic Sciences was his father who narrated with chains of transmission (samā’) from the shuyūkh of Albania. In 1937 he migrated with his family to Syria where they settled in Damascus. His father assumed the position as Imām in the al-‘Umariyyah Mosque where he served as the deputy to Shaykh Muhammad Shukrī al-Ustuwānī.

His secondary education ended when King Ahmad Tughu decreed that Albanian students had to wear European hats. In 1937 his father sent him to Egypt to continue his studies where he initially studied at the Cairo Institute and in 1939 he enrolled at the Faculty of Sharī’ah of the al-Azhar University. Shaykh Wahbi’s proficiency in the Arabic Language was weak but he was dedicated and motivated and he graduated from the al-Azhar University in 1945. He then enrolled in the specialization programme concentrating on the Islamic Judicial System (Qadā) from which he graduated in 1947 with the International al-Azhar Certificate. Shaykh Wahbī said: “My father sent me to Egypt and I stayed there for ten years. I studied Arabic and received a degree from the Faculty of Shari’ah and then obtained a specialized degree that enabled me to serve as a judge in an Islamic Court. I attended the discourses of Imām Muhammad Zāhid al-Kawtharī whose hand I was honoured to kiss and who handed me a compilation of his teachers, which included chains of transmission (thabt) titled ‘al-Tahrīr al-Wajīzfīmā Yabtaghīhi al-Mustajīz’. However, I narrate from him only through the intermediaries of Shaykh Muhammad ‘Alī al-Murād and Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattāh Abū Ghuddah (d. 1997).” Shaykh Wahbī described al-Kawtharī as a sign of Allah in learning, modesty and abstinence, as if al-Kawtharī were a king walking in the street.” Shaykh Wahbī himself has been described inthis manner.

He returned to Syria where he was accepted by the Ministry of Education as a teacher in schools in Aleppo. While in Aleppo he became acquainted with Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ali al-Murad and they developed an excellent relationship that resulted in Shaykh Wahbi and his brother both marrying the sisters of Shaykh Muhammad Ali al-Murad. After three years in Aleppo, he was transferred to Damascus where he taught formally in the schools and voluntarily in various mosques. Sometimes he conducted as many as eight lessons per week and these included a Tafsir lesson at Jami’ al-Rawdah that continued for about ten years.Shaykh Wahbi remained in Damascus until 1965 during which he even taught at the Faculty of Sharī’ah at the University of Damascus and among his students here were: Dr Muhammad al-Zuhayli. It was during this period that he began writing some articles for newspapers and magazines.

When he reached the age of forty, he began writing and one of the first books he authored was the book titled: ‘ArkanalIslamalKhamsah’. In 1966 he travelled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he taught at the Faculty of Sharī’ah of the Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University for one year after which he moved to the branch of this university in Madinah where he remained for five years. In 1972 he returned to Damascus where he continued teaching at various secondary schools until 1980 when he formally retired. He returned to Madinah where he taught for a while at the Secondary School affiliated to the Islamic University for a short while before being transferred to the Center for Academic Research of the same university. He faced some hardship because of his book ‘ArkanalIman and he then submitted his resignation. He remained for about year in Madinah unemployed after which he travelled to Jordan where he settled in Amman during which he authored his book titled: alTaliqalMuyassarala MultaqaalAbhur in Fiqh of the Hanafi madhhab.

In 1986 he moved to Dubai where he taught Fiqh at the College of Arabic and Islamic Studies. He also served as the deputy director and the head of the Fiqh Department for one year. He continued teaching until 2001.

In 2001 (1422) a function was held in his honour and it was attended by some renowned scholars who included: Shaykh Ibrahim al-Salqini, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ijaj al-Khatib, Dr Muhammad al-Zuhayli, Dr Mustafa Muslim, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Karim Tatan, Dr ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Kaylani, Dr Ma’mun al-Shafqah and others. The guests spoke about the Shaykh and his personality and some even composed odes in his honour describing him as a rare pearl and requesting to him to supplicate to Allah for them.

In 2000 he returned to Damascus where he lived since. He taught Fiqh form the famous Hanafi book, alHidayah at Ma’had al-Fath al-Islāmī and he delivered the Jumu’ah sermon at Jami’ al-Arnaout in Damascus and taught at various mosques including Jami’ al-Iman.

Ever since Yugoslavia gained independence, Shaykh Wahbi travelled to Albania about six times for the sake of propagating and spreading the message of Islam. His first visit was in 1991. During these visits he conducted lessons and lectures in Albanian in Skudera.

Among his teachers apart from those already mentioned are:

  • Shaykh ‘Ināyat Allah al-Askūbī who narrates with chains of transmission from his Macedonian and other shuyukh
  • Shaykh Muhammad al-Khidr Husayn who was the Grand Shaykh of al-Azhar from 1952-1954.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Abu Daqiqah in Egypt
  • Shaykh Muhammad Ali al-Sāyis in Egypt
  • Shaykh Hasan Habannaka al-Maydani in Damascus who was a renowned Shafi’ scholar and the teacher of renowned scholars like Shaykh Mustafa al-Khinn, Shaykh Mustafa al-Bugha and Shaykh Muhammad Sa’īd Ramadan al-Būtī.
  • Shaykh Muhmamad Salih al-Farfūr who was a renowned Hanafi scholar and the teacher of illustrious scholars like Shaykh ‘Abd al-Razzāq al-Halabi, Shaykh Adīb Kallās and Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Bazm.
  • Shaykh Abu al-Yusr ‘Abidīn who was the Mufti of the country.
  • Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhāb Dibs wa Zayt a renowned scholar in the Hanafi madhhab and in the science of qirā’āt.
  • Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ali al-Murad
  • Shaykh‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah
  • Shaykh Muhammad al-Hāmid of Syria.
  • ShaykhSa’d al-Dīn al-Murād al-Hamawī of Syria
  • Shaykh Muhammad al-‘Arabī al-Tubbānī
  • Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Alawī al-Mālikī of Makkah
  • Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ ‘Uthmānī and his son, Mufti Taqī ‘Uthmānī of Pakistan
  • Shaykh Mufti ‘Ashiq Ilāhi al-Murtahinī al-Madanī of India but he resided in Madinah.
  • Shaykh Abu al-Hasan ‘Alī al-Nadwī of India

 

He was known for the books he authored related to Fiqh of the Hanafi madhhab as well as about 35 books he authored in his native Albanian Language. He participated in writing textbooks to teach Hanafi Fiqh at Islamic Institutions that were affiliated to the Ministry of Endowments in Syria. He also wrote about 400 articles that were published in various magazines.

He visited Shaykh Mustafa al-Sibaī in his last illness and he presented him with an article in which he criticized him on some aspects of socialism. Shaykh Mustafa published it verbatim. This is a sign of the lofty character of a scholar and exactly how Shaykh Wahbi described Shaykh Mustafa.

He revised some of the books authored by Shaykh Sa’īd Hawwa and he even wrote the forward to Shaykh ‘Abd Allah ‘Alwan’s book titled ‘TarbiyyatalAwlad fi alIslam’.

 

Among the works Shaykh Wahbī authored and published are:

  • Abū Hanīfah al-Nu’mān Imām al-A’immah al-Fuqahā
  • Arkān al-Imān on the branches of faith
  • Arkān al-Islām on the Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh) of the five pillars according to the Hanafi school of thought
  • Al-Hayāt al-ākhirahah wa luhuwaah waluhu wa Husn ‘Aqibati al-Muttaqīnafina bi Fadl Allah wa Rahmatihi on the states of the Hereafter
  • Jābiribn ‘Abd Allah, Sahābiyyun Imāmun wa Hāfizun Faqīh
  • Kashf Shubuhāt man za’ama Hilla Arbāhi al-Qurūd al-Masrafiyyah in refutation of those who declared bank interests on loans as permissible.
  • Kalimatun ‘Ilmiyyatun Hādiyatun fi al-Bida’h wa ahkāmiha which is a concise study of the Sunni definition of innovation
  • Maqālatun fi al-Ribāwa al-Fā’idah al-Masrafiyyah
  • Masā’il fi ‘Ilm al-Tawhīd
  • Min Qadāya al-Mar’ati al-Muslimah
  • Munāzratun ‘Ilmiyyatun fi Nisbati Kitāb al-Ibāna Jami’ ila al-Imam al-Asha’ariwa Yalihi faslun fi Khilāfat Ahl al-sunnahwa Khilafāt al-Manqūlabayn al-Māturidiyyahwa al-Ashā’irah
  • Al-Salātu wa ah kāmuhā
  • Al-Shahādatānwa Ahkāmuhā
  • Al-Siyāmu wa ah kāmuhu
  • Al-Tahdhīr min al-Kabā’ir
  • A two volume compilation of his fatwa’s that were issued in Dubai.

He also wrote important marginalia:

  • Minah al-Rawd al-Azhar on Mulla ‘Ali Qāri’s Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar a classic textbook on Sunni doctrine
  • Al-Ta’līq al-Muyassar on Shaykh Ibrāhīm al-Halabi’s recension of Hanafi Fiqh, Multaqā al-Abhur
  • Muqaddimah fi ‘Ilm al-Tawhīda long introduction to Idāh al-Dalīl fi qati’ Hujaji Ahl al-Ta’tīl by the Shāfi’ scholar, Qādi Badr al-Dīn ibn Jamā’a which is a defence of Sunni doctrine against anthropomorphists
  • On al-Qāsim ibn Sallām’s Fadā’il al-Qurān
  • On Hāfiz al-Zabīdi’s two volume ‘Uqūd al-Jawāhir al-Munīfah fi Adillat Madhhab al-Imam AbiHanīfah on the Hanafi proofs in jurisprudence.
  • Al-‘Iqd al-Jawāhirin his bio-bibliographical introduction to al-Zabīdi’s Bulghat al-‘Arib fi MustalahAthar al-Habīb
  • On al-Kawtharī’s Mahq al-Taqawul fi Mas’alah al-Tawassul and Hāfiz Muhammad ‘Abid al-Sindī’s Hawla al-Tawassulwa al-Istighātha written to clarify the Sunni ruling on tawassul.

 

He also wrote prefatory comments for the following works:

  • ‘Abd al-Karīm Tattān and Muhammad Adīb al-Kilāni’sSharh Jawharah al-Tawhīdin two volumes
  • Khaldun Makhlut’s Ahwāl al-Abrārinda al-Ihtidār on the states of the pious at the threshold of death

 

His Personality:

He was a very handsome person upon whom the awe of the fuqaha and the nūr of ‘ilm was apparent. He had a thick beard and was very neatly dressed. He practically demonstrated the noble character of the Prophet Muhammad in his conduct and he was very particular on adhering to the Sunnah. He was a humble person and disliked those who pretended to possess Islamic sacred knowledge. He was pleasant in his speech and close to the hearts of those seated around him. Peoples’ hearts even those who opposed him were attracted to him. He never offended anyone and he carefully selected his words before he spoke. He was patient and always pardoned people. He displayed anger for the sake of Allah but never harboured any hatred or malice for anyone. He cried easily especially hen reciting the Qurān or when listening to the incidents of the pious predecessors. Despite this he shared some light-hearted moments with those with him from time to time. He was very particular about his dressing and even in the quality and appearance of his books.

 

What the ‘Ulama Said About Him:

Shaykh Ahmad Kuftaro: ‘When I speak about the righteous scholar, my brother for the sake of Allah, respected Shaykh Wahbi Sulayman Ghawji who has acquired his ‘ilm from one of the most prestigious institutions in the Muslim World; al-Azhar University, I will state that this Shaykh is indeed a proof in ‘ilm and ma’rifah and a role model in propagation and spirituality and an illuminating light…’

 

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah: ‘The noble brother, Shaykh Wahbi Sulayman Ghawji. May Allah protect him and may the slaves and the lands benefit from his knowledge and virtue.’

 

Shaykh Mustafa al-Khinn: ‘I have lived a long time with the honourable brother Shaykh Ghawji in different situations. I have only found him to be a righteous man, a sincere caller to Allah based on ‘ilm and guidance.’

 

Shaykh Muhammad Sa’īd Ramadan al-Buti: ‘…one of the divinely inspired scholars who combined vast knowledge of ‘Aqidah and Fiqh while treading the way of the pious predecessors in worship, piety, abstinence and adherence to the way of the Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah. I regard him today as one of the best people who demonstrate the belief, character, piety and method of the pious predecessors…’

 

His Demise:

Shaykh Wahbi remained in Damascus until a few months ago when he left to Beirut where he was intentionally delayed by members from Hizb for about 24 hours and with the result he missed his flight. Shaykh was ill suffering from a weak heart and water in his lungs. He arrived in the UAE the next day and he was admitted to hospital where he remained for one week. He was discharged but a month later he was re-admitted with inflamed lungs. He received treatment for two weeks and he passed away on the 19th February 2013 (9 Rabi’ al-Akhir 1434). The Janazah Salat was led by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Karim Tatan and he was buried in the al-Qawz cemetery in Dubai.

 

* Profile prepared by Shaykh Gibril Haddad with additional notes translated by Shoayb Ahmed from the Arabic article by Muhammad Muyassar ibn Shaykh Muhammad Bashir al-Murad. The translator visited the Shaykh in Damascus in 2006 and attended a lesson in Hanafi Fiqh and was granted ijazah and permission to translate the Shaykh’s books into English. This biography appears in the book: Muslim Scholars of the 21st Century by Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed (published by DTI)


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.