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Student Testimonial – Tamim Faruk

Sidi Tamim Faruk shares a beautiful testimonial on how SeekersGuidance has had a beneficial impact on his life as a student.

Thinking back on my life so far, the age 15 strikes me so much. When previously I had little self confidence, that was the first year I grew out of my shell and started to realize what it was I actually believed in and stood for.

And a large part of that, I owe to Shaykh Faraz, whose institution, SeekersGuidance I had discovered through my brothers. I decided to enroll in the basics of “Hanafi Fiqh” at their prompting, to better grasp my faith and practice it correctly. Up until this point, I was Muslim, I believed, I cared but it still didn’t sit right with me. Even though I knew I had something deep and beautiful, I was living between two worlds. At high school, most people didn’t have conception of religion. It didn’t envelope them and while I tried to follow, I felt alone and my Muslim identity felt inferior.

But after I enrolled in this course, somehow, everything thereafter just felt like it filled and pervaded with meaning. Praying was no longer just a chore, or empty actions, but a conversation with the Divine. It was from this introduction, I became enraptured with Islam as a whole and became concerned with spirituality.

This started to show in my daily life. As one of the few Muslims in my school, I no longer felt afraid to pray the noon pray outside the little portable where my math class was held. I no longer cared when being gazed upon by my peers, whose opinions had been constricting me and my self esteem for so long. The same people I felt inferior to, it meant nothing. I no longer minded being interrogated about why my foot was in the sink to make ablution, or why I would lower my gaze during a movie or why I needed to pray in the first place.

Because nothing else mattered. I had purpose. I had direction. I learned not to put my faith in “perishing things” but in the One who sustains us all and never dies. I learned the place of good character, and made it my goal to reflect this goodness as much as I could. I strove to embody beautiful qualities, mercy, kindness, forbearance. And after setting my sights to connect with the Divine, I learned to entertain and grapple with the deeper philosophical and sociological realities which plague our society. I saw Islam and its intricate spiritual, political and legal system as a solution.

I fell in love with the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and the people who love him. I learned what to value in my friends and see them for their beautiful qualities – both Muslim and non.

And from this love, I learned to stand up for what I believe in. I was comfortable in my own skin and no one could take that away.

All this, an entire paradigm shift and at such a young age, largely in part because I was pointed to Shaykh Faraz. While others struggle with finding their convictions til their death beds, I was blessed to know who I was at a young age.

I am indebted to so much of my development to Shaykh Faraz since I was 15. The funny thing is that he probably doesn’t even know the impact he has had on me and how my life has changed because of him.

This is because that first course I took was online, along with the other hundreds of courses that Seekers offers for free. Other than that, I only see Shaykh Faraz once or twice a year when I have time to visit. But even if he didn’t see it, I owe him so much and have deep love and reverence for him.

May Allah bless and protect all of our teachers who selflessly sacrifice and work to spread their light. May Allah allow us to take advantage of them, as their heirs, and to be worthy of serving them and furthering their causes.

– Sidi Tamim Faruk, SeekersGuidance Student

The Trodden Path (Episode 11): Shaykh Sulayman al-Ahdal

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 eleventh episode of the The Trodden Path series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed writes on the life of Shaykh Sulayman al-Ahdal of Yemen.

Shaykh Sulayman al-Ahdal (1365-1440=1946-2019)

Sulayman ibn Muhammad Abdul Wahhab al-Ahdal grew up in the city of Zabid in Yemen. This city was known as the city of knowledge throughout Yemen and was regarded as the leading city with regard to scholarship in the Shafi madhhab. In fact, much of Yemen relies on the fatwa that is pronounced by the Mufti of Zabid. A unique feature of this city is that whenever students from other parts arrived here to study, they were welcomed and very soon settled in the city and even married in the city and resided there. Some of the renowned scholars who were lived in Zabid were the author of al-Qamus al-Muhit, al-Fayruz Abadi and the author of Taj al-Urus, Muhammad al-Hasan Murtada al-Zabidi.

Shaykh Sulayman was born in 1946 (1365) into a prominent family with a rich legacy of scholarship. In addition, the family lineage links up to the Prophet Muhammad through his grandson, Hasan ibn Ali.

Shaykh Sulayman commenced his education by studying the Quran with the jurist, Sa’id al-Mikhlafi, the modes of recitation of the Quran with Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id. In addition, he studied the basics of calligraphy and mathematics.

He gradually progressed in his studies. So in fiqh, he began with Safinat al-Najat, Abu Shuja’, al-Zubad and Minhaj al-Talibin. The student was at liberty to select the subject that he wished to specialize in and the scholars guided him along his way and quest for knowledge without interfering in his choice. Initially, the student studied along the foundational subjects that a student required. These included Arabic grammar, Tafsir and Bulugh al-Maram.

Shaykh Sulayman devoted himself to his studies. They began studying from before Fajr until sunrise. Others spent most of the day studying, only stopping for sleep. Students vied with one another in their acquisition of sacred knowledge. The students never sufficed with a mere overall understanding of the book, but rather they concentrated on understanding the entire book. A text like al-Ajrumiyah for example was studied with ten different scholars because every scholar had his own unique style and manner of explaining the lesson. Thus, they benefited even more. Shaykh Sulayman excelled and he was known as the ‘young Shafi’.

Some of his Shuyukh were:

  • Shaykh Muhammad Siddiq al-Battah
  • Shaykh Muhammad Ahmad (Hanafi jurist)
  • Shaykh Muhammad Ahmad al-Salimi
  • Shaykh Muhammad Sulayman al-Idrisi with whom he studied al-Minhaj and most of the six books of Hadith.
  • Shaykh Ahmad Abdullah al-Khalil
  • Shaykh Abkar Abdurrahman al-Mahadilah
  • Shaykh Muhammad Abdullah Bazi with whom he studied Arabic literature and rhetoric.
  • Shaykh Ahmad Muhammad al-Khatib
  • Shaykh Asad Hamza Abdul Qadir
  • Shaykh Khalid al-Shar’abi
  • Shaykh Ahmad Ali al-Sadat al-Sahbani with whom he read and studied Manzhumat Mughni al-Labib and al-Dhari’ah.
  • Shaykh Ahmad Dawud al-Battah with whom he read much of al-Irshad. With this teacher, he gradually progressed in his study of fiqh until he reached al-Minhaj. He attended his lessons on the Sahihayn and the Sunan.
  • Shaykh Abdullah Dawud al-Maghribi
  • Shaykh Umar Ahmad Sayf who was from Ta’iz. The shaykh studied some fiqh, hadith and Arabic with him.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Salim al-Bayjani with whom he read some hadith.
  • Shaykh Abduh Ali Khalil with whom he read and studied tajwid, Arabic grammar and some smaller texts.
  • Shaykh Sa’id al-Nakhlani
  • Shaykh Abdullah Abdul Wahhab al-Iryani
  • Shaykh Husayn Abdullah al-Hadaya with whom he studied some subjects related to the Arabic language including rhetoric.
  • Shaykh Husayn Muhammad al-Wassabi. He attended his lessons in the six books of Hadith and in Tafsir al-Jalalayn and al-Baydawi.

He did not suffice with these scholars, instead whenever other scholars visited Zabid, he was eager to benefit from them. These included Shaykh al-Imrani and others.

The shaykh combined his studies with the responsibility of looking after his family. In addition, the shaykh like many others supported freedom and thus opposed all forms of oppression and injustice. In this regard, he along with some of his friends used to meet to discuss the revolution and they composed poetry in this regard.

In addition to the shuyukh who were mentioned earlier, there were a number of other personalities who had influenced him and his thinking. Some of these were:

  • Abduh Muhammad al-Mihklafi
  • Yasin Abdul Aziz
  • Shaykh Abdul Majid al-Zindani
  • Shaykh Abdullah Atiyah

There were other scholars who visited Zabid from whom he benefited. Some of them were: Shaykh Abdullah Azzam, Shaykh Mustafa Mashhur and Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali al-Nadwi.

Shaykh Sulayman was a voracious reader and he always completed a book once he had commenced reading it. He was specifically influenced by the views of Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali, Abu al-A’la al-Mawdudi, Shaykh Sa’id Hawwa, Salamah Musa, Khalid Muhammad Khalid and Abul Hasan Ali al-Nadwi. He enjoyed poetry especially the poetry of Abi Tammam, al-Mutanabbi and Ali Mahmud Taha. He enjoyed Madarij al-Salikin by Ibn al-Qayyim and Sifat al-Safwah. He even composed his own poetry in a book titled: Tagharid Tihamiyah.

He contributed in preparing the curriculum for some of the academic institutions.

The country Yemen was ruled by people who subjected the citizens to cruel anti-Islamic treatment. People who performed Salat were punished. He along with some others worked tirelessly to educate the youth about the teachings of Islam. At one stage, he was sentenced to death, but he remained in his home for about 20 days. He served as the head of the local consultative council in Hudaydah and held various other positions even in 2003. He was a member of the Permanent Council of the National Conference for about 18 years. 

During this period, he was never afraid to offer his advice even to the President whom he urged to fulfill his commitment to the people. During the first parliamentary elections in Yemen that took place in 1993, Shaykh Sulayman was one of those selected to the assembly. Because he called for transparency and details with regard to the wealth of the country, others worked to have removed. He opposed the practices of deviant ad corrupt politicians.

In 1997, he was elected again after he received the most votes but there were people who tried to snatch the ballot boxes and even threatened people with death. When this happened, Shaykh Sulayman opted to maintain public peace and thus withdrew. Shaykh Sulayman was of the view that the success of the country is dependent on three conditions:

  1. An independent judiciary.
  2. A parliamentary system that clearly defines the working conditions of the president.
  3. A local authority with complete authority.

He was convinced that if Yemen held on to these three conditions it could have been one of the powerful countries in the region. 

Marriage

He married for the first time when he was 15 years old but this spouse was chosen for him by his mother. He was blessed with a son who passed away in a car accident. This son was very active in the field of da’wah at the University of Sana’. This marriage though did not last and thereafter he married a second time and he was blessed with seven children. Thereafter he married for the third time and was blessed with a son.

Advice to Students

He encouraged students to dedicate their time to all aspects of knowledge because there is no da’wah without knowledge. The ulama ought to be the ones guiding the Islamic movement. His distinguished between the ‘worldly scholars’ and the ‘scholars of the Hereafter’. The former, are willing to issue fatwa’s in accordance with the wishes of the authorities, while the latter are the ones whom Allah uses to preserve the religion.

Shaykh Sulayman graciously accepted an invitation to Pretoria, South Africa in 2012 during which students and scholars gathered around him to recite the entire Sahih alBukhari. This was completed in nine days. However, those present benefited from his personality and his advices during the meal breaks and the additional time spent with him. He displayed great patience, despite his ill health, enduring long hours listening to the words of the Prophet Muhammad and even advised many to recite certain specific forms of salutations daily upon the Prophet.

اللهم صل و سلم على سيدنا محمد عدد كل حرف جرى به القلم

Demise

When the political situation in Yemen became volatile and his life was in danger, he moved to Makkah where he remained until he passed away on the 8th March 2019 (1 Rajab 1440). While in Makkah he expressed joy and sadness. Joy for being close to the blessed ka’bah and sadness for being separated from his family.

* Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed met Shaykh Sulayman al – Ahdal in the Haram in Makkah in 2018.


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.


Scholars of the Subcontinent – Shaykh Hamzah Maqbul

In this inspiring and informative lecture, Shaykh Hamzah Maqbul discusses how knowledge and scholarship flourished in the Indian subcontinent. The subcontinent became a vibrant and illuminating center of Islamic scholarship which produced many erudite scholars. From Shah Waliuallah to the founding scholars of the world renowned Deoband seminary, Shaykh Hamzah elaborates on the immense sacrifices the scholars of the Indian subcontinent made for the preservation and dissemination of Islam.

Announcing the SeekersGuidance Youth Certificate

The Trodden Path (Episode 10): Shaykh Esa Mannun

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of his most notable teachers were:

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

Certificates and Acknowledgements:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Positions Held:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

His Personality and Character:

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

Death:

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


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

He has authored two books:

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

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


The Trodden Path (Episode 8): Shaykh Yusuf ibn Ismail Al-Nabhani

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 eighth episode of the The Trodden Path series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed writes on the life of Shaykh Yusuf ibn Ismail Al-Nabhani.

Shaykh Yusuf ibn Ismail Al-Nabhani 1265-1350=1849-1932 (Palestine)

Yusuf ibn Ismail ibn Yusuf ibn Ismail ibn Muhammad Nasir Al-Deen Al-Nabhani was a scholar, a poet, an author and a Qadi whose lineage links up with Banu Nabhan, a Palestinian Bedouin tribe who settled in the town of Ijzim near Haifa in North Palestine. He was born there in 1849 (1265) where he grew up.

He studied the Quraan under his father who was a righteous scholar and a meticulous memorizer of the Quraan whom Allah blessed, even in his old age, by maintaining all his senses and he spent most of his time in various acts of worship. His father’s daily practice was to read one third of the Quraan and thus completed the Quraan thrice every week.

Shaykh Yusuf’s father sent him to Cairo, Egypt to study. For six years 1866-1872 (1283-1289), he studied at the Al-Azhar under illustrious and accomplished scholars and masters in the Shariah sciences. One of them, Shaykh Ibrahim Al-Saqaa (d. 1298) was probably the leading scholar at the time and was known for his precise understanding. Shaykh Yusuf spent about three years studying under him, during which he read the two commentaries Al-Tahrir and Al-Minhaj of Shaykh Zakariya Al-Ansaari together with their marginalia by Al-Sharqawi and Al-Bujayrimi. His other teachers were:

  1. Shaykh Al-Sayyid Muhammad Al-Damnahuri (d. 1869-1286)
  2. Shaykh Ibrahim Al-Zurru Al-Khaleeli Al-Shafi’ (d. 1870-1287)
  3. Shaykh Hasan Al-Adawi Al-Maliki (d. 1881-1298)
  4. Shaykh Abdul Hadi Naja Al-Abyari (d. 1888-1305)
  5. Shaykh Shams Al-Deen Muhammad Al-Anbabi (d. 1908-1326)
  6. Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al-Rafiie Al-Hanafi (d. 1905-1323)
  7. Shaykh Yusuf Al-Barqawi Al-Hanbali

 

After graduating, he returned to Ijzim, Palestine where he held various courses and lessons in his home town. He travelled frequently to Beirut and Damascus where he met prominent ulama. One of the leading scholars he met was Shaykh Mahmood Effendi Al-Hamzawi with whom he read the beginning of Sahih Al-Bukhari and obtained a general written Ijazah. He is presumed to have met Shaykh Abdullah ibn Idris Al-Sanusi, Shaykh Muhammad Abu Al-Khair Abideen, Shaykh Husain ibn Muhammad Al-Habashi, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Abdullah Al-Khaani and other renowned scholars.

He went to Istanbul twice where he worked for several years and worked as the editor of the Al-Jawaaib newspaper and proof read some Arabic books. His monthly salary was ten pounds for editing and proof reading for about two to three hours daily. The newspaper’s owner was very sad when Shaykh Yusuf planned to leave this job for his new position as a Qadi in Iraq. He offered him the chance to work as his partner or accept an increase. Shaykh Yusuf refused both these offers.

Shaykh Yusuf left Istanbul for the first time for Iraq and went to Kawi Sanjaq, a district in Mosul. Thereafter he returned to Istanbul. In (1300), he left for the second time when he was appointed as the Chief Judge of the Criminal Court in Latakia, a Mediterranean Sea port. 

After five years of distinguished service, he was transferred to the position as Chief Judge in Jerusalem, Al-Quds. Eight months later, he was promoted in1888 (1305) to Chief Justice of Beirut, Lebanon where he remained for about twenty years.

Some of his books are:

 

  • Riyad Al-Jannah fi Azhkaar Al-Kitab wa Al-Sunnah
  • Jami’ Karamaat Al-Awliya
  • Al-Majmuaat Al-Nabhaniyah fi Al-Madaaih Al-Nabawiyah
  • Wasaail Al-Wusool ila Shamaail Al-Rasul
  • Afdal Al-Salawaat ala Sayid Al-Saadaat
  • Tahzheeb Al-Nufoos
  • Hujat Allah ala Al-Aalimeen
  • Al-Fath Al-Kabir
  • Nujoom Al-Muhtadeen
  • Al-Sabiqaat Al-Jiyaad fi Madh Sayid Al-Ibad
  • Al-Sharaf Al-Muabad li Aal Muhammad
  • Al-Anwaar Al-Muhammadiyah
  • Khulasat Al-Kalam fi Tarjeeh Deen Al-Islam
  • Hadi Al-Mureed ila Tareeq Al-Asaanid
  • Al-Fadaail Al-Muhammadiyah
  • Al-Asaalib Al-Badia’t fi Fadl Al-Sahaba wa Iqna’ Al-Shia’
  • Muntakhab Al-Sahihayn
  • Al-Ahadith Al-Arbaeen fi Fadl Al-Jihad wa Al-Mujahideen
  • Arbaoun Hadithan fi Arbaeen Sighatan fi Salat ala Al-Nabi
  • Al-Bashaair Al-Imaniyah fi Al-Mubashiraat Al-Manaamiyah
  • Dalil Al-Tujaar ila Akhlaaq Al-Akhyaar
  • Al-Dalalaat Al-Wadihaat Sharh Dalaail Al-Khayraat
  • Hizb Al-Awliya Al-Arbaeen Al-Mustaghitheen bi Sayid Al-Mursaleen
  • Husn Al-Shir’ati fi Mashruiyat Salat Al-Zhuhri izha Taddadat Al-Jumuah
  • Irshaad Al-Hayaraa fi Tahzheer Al-Muslimeen min Madaris Al-Nasara
  • Ithaf Al-Muslim bi Ahadith Al-Targheeb wa Al-Tarheeb min Al-Bukhari wa Muslim
  • Jawaahir Al-Bihaar fi Fadaail Al-Nabi Al-Mukhtar
  • Mithal Al-Na’l Al-Shareef 
  • Mufarrij Al-Kuroob wa Mufarrih Al-Quloob
  • Al-Nazhm Al-Badi’ fi Mowlid Al-Shafi’
  • Qurrat Al-Ayn min Al-Baydawi wa Al-Jalalayn
  • Rafu’ Al-Ishtibah fi Istihalat Al-Jihat ala Allah
  • Al-Tahzheer min Itikhaazh Al-Suwar wa Al-Tasweer
  • In some of his works he strongly criticized Ibn Taymiyah, Ibn Qayim, Muhammad Abduh, Jamal Al-Deen Al-Afghani and Rashid Rida. He was specifically critical of Ibn Taymiyah’s fatwa affirming direction and place to Allah, but he also praised and applauded Imam Ibn Taymiyah’s book Al-Sarim Al-Maslul ala Shaatim Al-Rasul. 
  • There are various treatises in Hadith in his handwriting in the archives in Rabat, Morocco.

After retiring, he engaged in writing and worshiping and he traveled to Madinah where he lived for a while. 

He returned to Beirut where he passed away in the beginning of Ramadaan in 1932 (1350). One of his last students, Shaykh Husayn Usayran, passed away in July 2005 and was about 97 years old.


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.


 

When Zubair Met Zubeida: A Snapshot of Learning at SeekersGuidance – Saad Razi Shaikh

A year and a half ago, I started learning at SeekersGuidance. Here’s why you should start too.

A few weeks into the year 2018 found me by my desk, staring at the blank screen of my computer, not unlike an oracle staring at her orb. A string of lows in life had found me bewildered and lost. My university days were drawing to a close, the career opportunities were not heart-warming, and I was at a loss at what to do next.

Winter was receding, spring was due in a couple of weeks. In February of that year, I began my first term at Seekers Guidance. I had signed up, not sure what was to come next. I was auto-enrolled for the two foundational courses, the ‘Absolute Essentials of Islam’ and the ‘Essentials of Islamic Tradition.’ Before starting on those, I had heard a short clip on how to gain the most from seeking sacred knowledge, the tips and practices, the points of caution.

Back then, I was not aware of the teachers at Seekers. But when I heard the short clip, I took notice. I paused and took detailed notes, something I rarely ever did. Both the style of the teacher and the substance of the lesson taught hit the right wavelength for me. In between jotting down notes and nodding at the screen, I thought of how wonderful it would be if the same person would be teaching the courses I had enrolled in.

And lo and behold! When I first tuned into my first ever lesson, I found the same teacher teaching. I learned his name was Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. He would be guiding the students into their first steps into the learning of the sacred sciences.

The courses were taught in English, the language that had been my medium of learning lifelong. The courses were structured according to levels, starting with the foundations, eventually progressing to Mastery. Both live sessions and term-long Q & A were offered. All of this, for absolutely no cost. Here was guidance that would measure in gold, yet for free? I was intrigued, dumbfounded. Eventually as the year passed, the lessons revised, and the learning put to practice, my intrigue gave way to gratefulness.

What made me most happy was Shaykh Faraz’s manner of teaching. The subject at hand was the building blocks of our faith, the keys to the happiness of this world and the next. As necessary it was to get the basics of it right, the task was overwhelming to picture too. I was nervous at the start, not sure if I would be sincere enough or plain simple good enough to learn it.

This is where Shaykh Faraz’s light-hearted style, his jovial way of teaching came to the rescue. Rarely ever had I seen an Islamic scholar so approachable and fluid in his teaching. The neat structuring of the lessons, the soundness of the classical texts it was based on, the unbroken chain of learning the teacher taught it with, all added up to the learning experience I was happy to partake into. I found myself hurrying through the lessons at first, eager to absorb as much as I could. Later, I slowed down, listened more carefully, took detailed notes and revised them before handing in the assignment due before the close of term.

Those who have heard Shaykh Faraz’s lectures know the characters of Zubair, Zubeida and Uncle Jamil. They are something of a regular, the hapless Zubair wanting to marry Zubeida, with her father Uncle Jamil throwing tests at Zubair. Shaykh Faraz uses them to illustrate the finer points of the lessons. These playful additions bring them to life. I have often wondered if someday, on walking into a Toronto wedding, I may bump into these characters!

As I became more comfortable with the routines and rigor of online learning, I started to explore Seekers more. In between terms, I would tune into the On-Demand courses. I would listen to podcasts, I would swap the time I could have spent reading the news feed for reading through the Answers service. Eventually, I started listening to other teachers, and Alhamdulillah, I felt both their knowledge and their states influence me for the better.

Ustadh Anik Abdullah Misra said in an interview that through the internet, ‘Allah has made believers connect to each other in an age of disconnectedness.’ The more I reflected on this, the more I realized how true it was. For how did I come to SeekersGuidance in the first place?

Back in early 2018, when I had been staring at my desk, I was at a loss at what to do next. At some point, I knew I wanted to study Islam, to at least get the basics of the Deen right. But how was I to pursue this? Drop my academics and head to a local seminary? Do a Masters in Islamic Studies? Study with local madrasah students? I had options but not the clarity to pursue which one.

It was then it dawned on me, I need not break my head open to figure things out. I could ask Allah directly. I decided to offer the Istikhara prayer to seek the way ahead. I took out my phone, googled the Istikhara dua, and opened the first link that felt right. Once the Arabic text appeared, I kept the phone aside, offered the two rakats, before picking the phone again and reciting the dua. Later, I saw the browser tab still open. I read the entire web page, I scoured through the website. I had never seen it before. At the top, I saw the ‘Courses’ section. Before I knew it, I had signed up.

The website was SeekersGuidance. My prayers had been answered, the dilemma cleared up. The road to seeking knowledge was now wide open.


Saad Razi Shaikh is a journalist based in Mumbai. He writes on popular culture and community initiatives. He can be reached on Twitter @writweeter


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SeekersGuidance Islamic Scholars Fund

SeekersGuidance Islamic Scholars Fund

The Seekersguidance Islamic Scholars Fund supports deserving and needy Islamic scholars and students dedicate themselves to studying and teaching Islam–to benefit individuals and communities, now and in the future, through the reliable spreading of Islamic knowledge and guidance.

 

“Scholars are the inheritors of Prophets,” said the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is only by supporting current scholars and future scholars can we support and revive the Prophetic legacy of faith, guidance, mercy, and excellence in our communities and in the Umma.

 

The Islamic Scholars Fund has grown from $350,000 raised in 2015 to  over $1 million in both 2017 and 2018. This has supported dozens of deserving scholars and students, male and female, on a regular, monthly basis. The impact this is having in our communities on five continents, both now and into the future, is tremendous.

 

Scholars who were busy working odd jobs, trying to make ends meet, are now able to dedicate themselves to teaching and guiding their communities. And students who have the potential to become Islamic scholars are now able to pursue scholarship with focus and commitment.

 

But there are many others who need your support. Without your help, these scholars will continue to struggle, unable to teach. When that happens, we all suffer the consequences.

 

Help spread the light of Prophetic guidance in these challenging times. Invest your Zakat and charity impactfully — to preserve sound, reliable Islamic knowledge for future generations.

Give your zakat and charity at SeekersGuidance.org/donate

* All contributions are Zakat-eligible and tax-deductible in the US.


How Does the Islamic Scholars Fund Work?

The Islamic Scholars Fund accepts both zakat and charity. Scholars and students of knowledge are zakat-eligible under the category of “in the Path of Allah,” mentioned in the Verse of Zakat [Qur’an, 9.60]

 

This is confirmed across the schools of Sunni Islam. The scholars affirm that the best of zakat and charity is the giving that has the greatest benefit or fulfills the greatest need. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar] And there is consensus that the greatest benefit that we are responsible to preserve–for the good of humanity–is the preservation of religion. This requires supporting present and future scholars.

 

The Islamic Scholars Fund operates on our Fund Policies devised through careful consultation with a wide network of senior scholars in the West and East, and has been endorsed and supported by scholars and leaders, including Habib Umar bin Hafiz, Imam Zaid Shakir, Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, Dr. Ingrid Mattson, Imam Siraj Wahaj, and others.

 

We only give funds to those who

(1) qualify as being scholars, teachers of Islam, or dedicated and deserving students of Islamic knowledge; and who are (2) eligible for zakat or charity.

 

We have an Islamic Scholars Fund Committee of four individuals to approve any funding requests:

(1) Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, our founder and executive director;

(2) Dr. Asif Padela, senior academic advisor;

(3) Shaykh Hamza Karamali, our Dean of Academics; and

(4) Sidi Hamed Ali, our Managing Director.

 

We confirm both the eligibility and deservingness of any candidate for support through careful consideration and consultation with community leaders and scholars who know the candidate.


 

 

The Trodden Path (Episode 4): A Glimpse At the Lives of the Illustrious Scholars and Saints of the 20th and 21st Century.

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 fourth episode of the The Trodden Path series, Shaykh Shoayb Ahmed writes on the life of Shaykh Muhammad Shakur al-Mayadini

 

  Shaykh Muhammad Shakur al-Mayadini   

The Shaykh was born in the city of Mayadin in Syria in 1938 (1356). He hailed from a noble family and his lineage joins with the household of the Prophet Muhammad through his grandson, Husayn ibn Ali (RA). The city of Mayadin was on the banks of the Euphrates River and was an old city that was known from the Roman era and it also featured during the era of the Abbasid leader, Harun al-Rashid.

He was born into a family of average financial standing and his father lived until his 90’s. Initially, the young Muhammad Shakur was the only child. Thereafter his father married for a second time and he was blessed with sons and daughters. Because he had to serve his mother and she had no other children, he was pardoned from the normally compulsory military conscription.

Muhammad Shakur married for the first time when he was 17 and he was blessed with his first child when he was 19. He had six children from his first wife. His wife was the perfect aide and confidant and patiently bore all the difficulties including the times when he was imprisoned and the unsettled lifestyle. Shaykh Shakur said the following about her when she passed away: “I lived with her for 50 years and never once did I go to bed angry with her.”

After her demise, he married for the second time to woman from Jordan who bore him a daughter. She too took excellent care of the Shaykh even during the days of his illness.

He assisted his father in his business and various other chores and patiently bore all the difficulties as a result of the travelling between different towns and cities.

He was loved by all, the young and the old and spent almost all his time in the masjid. He is not known to have missed the Fajr Salat in the masjid except due to severe illness.

Education:

Period in Syria

He completed his primary education in Mayadin and he continued in Dayr Zor. It was during this period that he began acquiring sacred knowledge in the different masjids and he even began delivering the Friday sermon (khutbah) in the city and in some neighboring villages. He completed his secondary school at Dar al-Mu’allimin in Aleppo in 1959. During this period he had some confrontations with the Syrian Government and he was imprisoned. His secondary school certificate allowed him to teach and so he taught for a while. He studied under Shaykh Mahmud Umar Mushawwah under whom he studied various subjects and remained with him for a long time. There was a mutual love for one another between the shaykh and the student. Shaykh Shakur regarded his teacher, Shaykh Mahmud as his father. In 1962, he obtained his general secondary school certificate.

He was appointed as a teacher in Hasakah but continued in his quest for knowledge. He enrolled at the Faculty of Shariah at the University of Damascus and graduated in 1967. During his time as a student at the university, he realized that he needed to increase his knowledge because what he gained at the university was not sufficient. So, he began reading profusely day and night until he is supposed to have read about 30 000 pages in one year in different subjects that included the nine famous canonical books of Hadith. He also read voluminous books like Tafsir al-Tabari, Tafsir al-Zhilal (fi zhilal al-Quran) and about nine volumes of Tafsir alRazi and other books. He used to makes notes as he read. If he was not reading then he was listening to a recorded lesson or khutbah on the old cassette players.He spent a lot of time with his teacher (shaykh) and discussed various juristic, political and social matters. Every Friday, asked Shaykh Shakur about the topic of the sermon. The teacher and studied would then walk out of the town discussing and brainstorming the topic. He was prevented from delivering the Friday sermon on a number of occasions because he was fearless when he ascended the pulpit. During this period there were many who were his students and later became reputable scholars and even professors, engineers and teachers.

Period in Makkah

The next phase in his life began in 1976 when he moved to Makkah where he was honoured to teach at one of the schools close to the Haram in the Shamiyah district. Very often he used to go to the Haram early before his teaching commenced in order to perform tawaf. He also taught at the Abu Zayd al-Ansari Hifz School in the Tan’im district until 1983.During this period he had a permanent place in the Haram where he taught various subjects including Tafsir and Islamic etiquette. He began editing and annotating various books and one of his first works was alAwa’il by al-Tabarani which was published in 1983. He registered for the Masters’ degree in Egypt and successfully completed the first year but was unable to complete his studies due to financial constraints. He also wished to return to his country to promote the religion. It was during his time in Makkah that he became acquainted with various scholars that included; Shaykh Ali al-Tantawi, Shaykh Muhammad Mahmud al-Sawwaf, Shaykh Muhammad Ali al-Sabuni and Shaykh Diya al-Din al-Sabuni.

He was fortunate to have entered the Ka’bah on a number of occasions. During his stay in Makkah he collected many books which resulted in his own large library. His passion for books continued until a short while before his death. His selection was so huge that even while completing his doctoral thesis there were only two books that he required that were not in his library. He eventually bought these as well.

He was even appointed as an Imam in one of the mosques in Makkah for four years and served as the Friday preacher in another mosque in Aziziyah also for about four years. Thereafter he resigned from his teaching post in Makkah and decided to move to Baghdad in Iraq to devote more time calling people to Allah.

Period in Iraq

In 1983 he moved to Baghdad, Iraq where he remained for a few years calling people to Allah while never neglecting his research. While in Baghdad, he edited a number of books which were published.He visited the different libraries in Baghdad to familiarize himself with the different manuscripts. It was during his stay in Iraq that he was able to complete his Masters’ degree which he obtained from the Punjab University in Pakistan. Even while in Pakistan, he maximized his time to study and read Hadith with various scholars from whom he obtained ijazah. He travelled numerous times to Makkah where he was fortunate to have met and read with scholars like Shaykh Muhammad Yasin al-Fadani, Shaykh Abu Turab al-Zhahiri and others and from whom he also received ijazah. It was during this time that he studied under Shaykh Husayn Usayran. He read the entire SahihalBukhari and the complete Quran to him and he received ijazah from him. His son, Muhammad Adib also read a portion of SahihalBukhari with Shaykh Husayn and also received ijazah from him.

Period in Jordan

This is regarded as the golden period in his life because it was filled with his lessons from which many benefited. He dedicated all of his time to serving the religion. He was appointed as the imam and preacher in two cities; Zarqa and Amman. He moved to Jordan in 1991 where he lived in Zarqa and served as an imam in one mosque after which he moved to Masjid al-Quds in Zarqa. This mosque became a beacon of knowledge because it was here that Shaykh Shakur led the prayers, delivered lectures and taught hundreds of students. He used conduct lectures in various other mosques as well. He conducted weekly lessons during which he taught Tafsir, special lessons for the women on a Wednesday. Many of these ladies were prominent in the field of Da’wah and used to phone him for answers to their questions. During his lessons in Zarqa, he explained a reasonable portion of the book, alHidayah by al-Mirghaynani. He also conducted lessons in sirah.

After some of his students insisted, he finally registered at the al-Quran al-Karim University in Sudan for his doctorate with a special focus on Hadith. He obtained his doctorate cum laude in 1998 when he was about 60 years old. Thereafter he relocated to the capital, Amman where students from different parts of the world thronged around him. Some were post-graduate students and others were scholars. They studied SahihalBukhari and Muwatta under him. He continued conducting lessons in some of the other mosques. He continued teaching women on a Wednesday and these lessons continued for over 12 years. Many completed SahihalBukhari, Muwatta, alAdab alMufrad and a portion of Ihya Ulum alDin. These women maintained a very high level of dedication and punctuality and would rarely miss a lesson except if it was beyond their control.

During this period he began conducting some online lessons. During these lessons, students would read to him and he explained. He did this despite his ill health because he was too ashamed to turn a student away. He delivered the Friday sermon in Jordan for about 24 years and only stopped due to his illness in 2012. He obtained Jordanian citizenship in 2003.

Some of his Shuyukh:

  • Shaykh Mahmud ibn Umar ibn Muhammad Sharif Mushawwah (d. 1420) who was the Mufti of Dayr Zor. With him Shaykh Shakur studied Fiqh of the Hanafi School.
  • ShaykhHusaynUsayran
  • Shaykh Abu Abdullah Muhammad A’zam ibn Fadl al-Din al-Jondalwi (d. 1405). Shaykh Shakur received ijazah from him.
  • Shaykh Ibrahim Fatani.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Ubaydullah, a mufti from Paksitan.
  • Shaykh Abu al-Tayyib Muhammad Ata Allah Hanif al-Fojiyani (d. 1409). He received ijazah from him.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Malik Kandehlawi, who was the senior scholar of Hadith at the Dar al-Hadith al-Ashrafiyah in Lahore. He received ijazah from him as well.
  • Shaykh Abu Muhammad Badi’ al-Din Shah al-Rashidi al-Sindi (d. 1416).
  • He received ijazah from both Mufti Taqi and Mufti Rafi’ Uthmani who are two senior scholars from Pakistan.
  • Shaykh Muhammad Yasin al-Fadani (d. 1410). He read the Muwatta as per the narration of Imam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan.
  • Shaykh Abu Turab al-Zahiri who was the son of Shaykh Abdul Haq al-Hashimi.
  • Shaykh Abdul Wakil who is a son of Shaykh Abdul Haq al-Hashimi
  • ShaykhHusaynUsayran (d. 1426). He read the Quran and SahihalBukhari to him.

Shaykh Muhammad Shakur was blessed with many students. This is due to him having taught in Makkah, Baghdad and Amman. He read and taught SahihalBukhari and the Muwatta well over 20 times.

Some of his students who are respectable scholars are:

  • Shaykh Ali ibnYasin al-Muhaymid
  • ShaykhHusayn al-Ubaydli
  • Shaykh Muhammad Adib (son of Shaykh Shakur)
  • Shaykh Muhammad Daniel (Britain)
  • Shaykh Ali ibn Muhammad al-Imran
  • ShaykhNizamYaqubi
  • ShaykhRiyadibnHusayn al-Taaie (Iraq)
  • Shaykh Abu al-Hajjaj Yusuf al-Alawi

His character:

He was deeply hurt and affected when a Jewish soldier killed a number of Palestinians during the Fajr Salat in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. After this incident he delivered two fiery and emotional sermons after which he was admitted to the hospital and they discovered that he had a clot in his heart. He underwent numerous medical procedures and operations. Some of the medication had side-effects and caused other complications. He was afflicted with prostate cancer and received treatment for about four years. Despite his ill health, he remained committed to the Din and continued teaching.

Those who interacted with Shaykh Shakur would agree that he was soft natured, he cried easily, devout worshiper and a person who was eager to impart knowledge at every opportunity.  He was very emotional when he heard the blessed characteristics of the Prophet Muhammad. He loved and respected the ulama.

He continued teaching even in his old age and despite his illness. He even had women attend and complete Sahih alBukhari with him. He was alert during the recital of the Hadith and very often pointed the variations in the different editions. He preferred commenting on various aspects related to the Hadith.

We witnessed all of the above when we invited him to South Africa in 2013 as per the recommendation of Shaykh Muhammad Daniel (Cordoba Academy). When I (Shoayb Ahmed) phoned him to invite him, he gladly accepted despite his ill health and having never met me previously. Yet he was willing to undertake the long journey. He traveled with his wife and his young daughter. It was a pleasure having such a scholar with such an amazing personality. I asked him as to why he didn’t hesitate in accepting the invitation. He said that a Muslim brother made a request and he accepted the opportunity to travel for the pleasure of Allah and to impart ‘ilm. He did not inform his children about his planned visit to South Africa until the night prior to his departure. He feared that had they known earlier, they would have prevented him from travelling. He didn’t even inform us that he was unable to walk and needed a wheelchair. When he was questioned about this? He said that if we knew that he was unable to walk, we would have cancelled his visit. He would sit for hours while we read alMuwatta and other works to him. He carried many books with him as gifts for the students and he even distributed cash to those who were graduating. He was overjoyed to have met an old friend when he was reunited with Shaykh Muhammad Ali al-Sabuni in South Africa. The day before he departed he was taken to the Pretoria Zoo and he really enjoyed himself. When he departed and we greeted him at the airport, it was as if we were bidding farewell to our father. This is how attached we became to him during his ten day visit.

His books and annotations:

Despite his teaching, his Hadith sessions and his responsibility as imam, he still found time to write and annotate various books. Sometimes he used to spend 14-15 hours a day reading and researching various aspects.

  1. He gathered 40 Hadith on sending salutations upon the Prophet Muhammad. He compiled this in Baghdad in 1405.
  2. Fayd al-Mu’in ‘ala Jami al-Arba’in fi Fadail al-Quran al-Mubin by Mulla Ali al-Qari (d. 1014). He referenced the Hadith and edited the work.
  3. Targhib Ahl al-Islam fi Sukna Bilad al-Sham by al-‘Izz ibn Abd al-Salam. He edited it and referenced the Hadith.
  4. Fad al-Wiaa’ fi Ahadith Raf’ al-Yadayn fi al-Dua by al-Suyuti. He edited this work in Pakistan
  5. Al-Rawd al-Dani ‘ala al-Mu’jam al-Saghirby al-Tabarani (2 volumes)
  6. Al-Lum’at fi Khasais al-Jumuah by al-Suyuti
  7. Al-Ifsah ‘an ahadith al-nikah by Ibn Hajr al-Haytami.
  8. Hibat al-Rahman al-Rahim min Jannat al-Na’im fi Fadail al-Quran al-Karimby Muhammad Hashim al-Sindi. Shaykh Shakur condensed it and edited it.
  9. Siham al-isabah fi al-da’wat al-mujabahby al-Suyuti.
  10. Majma’ al-zawa’idwamanba’ al-fawa’idby al-Haytami
  11. Al-Imta’ bi al-arba’in al-mutabayinah bi shart al-sama’ by Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani.
  12. He edited al-Majma’ al-Mu’assas li al-Mu’jam al-Mufahras by IbnHajr
  13. Tasdid al-Qaws fi Takhrij Musnad al-Firdaws by Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani. This book contains about 6000 Hadith. He passed away before completing this work. He completed about one third.

His demise:

He passed away on a Friday night having conducted his last lesson in Sahih alBukhari a day prior to his demise. He requested to be taken to hospital where his health deteriorated and he was in severe pain. He used to place his hand on the area where he experienced pain and say: ‘Ya Allah!. His children were at his side and he spoke to them. He passed away on the 10th December 2015(28 Safar 1437).

 


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.


 

 

Ramadan Seminar Q&A Session – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Originally posted on May 8, 2018

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani answers questions on the fiqh of fasting, including the nullifiers of fasts, expiation for broken fasts, and the spiritual retreat.

Among the many questions and points Shakyh Faraz addresses, he mentions that if one breaks fast deliberately or by accident, the time of fasting is not over, and one is able to fast, then one refrains from everything a fasting person refrains from until fasting ends. This is a sign of contrition and remorse.

Hasten to Break Fast

The Shaykh also mentions that one should not delay breaking fast excessively out of a mistaken sense of piety or fervor. Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said:

قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ أَحَبُّ عِبَادِي إِلَيَّ أَعْجَلُهُمْ فِطْرًا

Allah Mighty and Majestic said: “The most beloved among my servants are those who hasten to break their fast.” (Tirmidhi)

Be Tactful and Considerate with Others

But one must also remember that when in a group of people who believe they are in the right to delay, one must be discreet about the matter and not make disagreement a point of contention or rancor. If you consider breaking it in such a situation do it tactfully.

These and many others points and rulings are covered in this session. And you should listen to it even if you know all the answers as there is no harm and abundant good in reviewing what one knows and strengthening one’s knowledge.

May Allah grant us eternal success in the blessed month of Ramadan and in all the months He has decreed for each and every one of us until we are brought before Him. Amin.


Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al Kallas, may Allah have mercy on him, as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersHub in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.

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