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Obituary: Shaykh Abd al Rahman Ba ‘Abbad

Shaykh Abd al Rahman ibn Abdullah Ba ‘Abbad hails from a tribe which has long been known for knowledge and piety in Hadramawt. The Ba ‘Abbad tribe trace its lineage to our master Uthman bin Affan, may Allah be pleased with him.

Shaykh Abd al Rahman Ba Abbad

His first teacher was his father, Shaykh Abdullah, who later directed him to Habib Umar ibn Hafiz to complete his spiritual instruction. His in depth legal training came at the hands of Habib Abd al Qadir ibn Salim Rawsh al Saqqaf, Mufti of Hadramawat. He also took knowledge from Habib ‘Abd al Qadir ibn Ahmad al Saqqaf and the other great scholars of his time.

Although still young in years, many people benefited from his wisdom and witnessed his beautiful character both in his home town of Al Ghurfah and in Yemen, the Middle East and South East Asia.

He contributed significantly to the renewal of traditional Islam in Hadramawt and students came from far and wide to study in the institute which he established and directed, Ribat al Is’ad, in his hometown, Al Ghurfah.

Those who attended the annual visit to the Prophet Hud, peace be upon him, will remember his powerful speeches in the mosque established by his illustrious ancestors, Masjid Ba ‘Abbad. He was always a voice of reason and moderation and helped to maintain unity among the tribes of Hadramawt. He expended all his efforts to prevent bloodshed during the current conflict in Yemen.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman was killed in a car crash in Oman on 12 Muharram 1440 (22 September 2018). May Allah raise his station and the station of Hasan ibn Muhammad Ba ‘Abbad who died alongside him and bless their loved ones with patience and contentment. His loss comes after the loss of his younger brother, Shaykh Muhammad, also a promising young scholar, in recent years.

May Allah enable his youngest brother, Shaykh Ma‘ruf to continue to carry the banner of the Prophetic legacy.

[Al Fatiha]


Reposted with gratitude to Muwasala.org.

Obituary: Habib Abbas al Saqqaf

As the year 1439 came to a close, the Ummah lost one of its great men, Habib Abbas ibn Muhammad ibn Ali al Saqqaf, the most senior of the Ba Alawi scholars in Singapore.

Habib Abbas al Saqqaf

Habib Abbas was born in Singapore in 1923. He studied the Islamic sciences with the principal scholars of the city, including two great jurists: Shaykh Umar bin Abdullah al Khatib and Qadi al Shihr Habib Shaykh bin Abdullah al Habashi. He then taught at a variety of places around Singapore.

The great caller to Allah, Habib Abd al Qadir al Saqqaf, indicated that Habib Abbas should establish gatherings of knowledge in his house and it duly became a focal point where the scholars and students of Singapore would gather.

The most frequented and well known of these gatherings was on Saturday morning in which the mawlid of Habib Ali al Habashi, Simt al Durar, was recited and a lesson in tasawwuf would be delivered. Any scholar visiting Singapore would make a point of visiting Habib Abbas. He passed away on 29th Dhu’l Hijjah 1439 (10th September 2018).

Let us heed his oft-given advice: always be humble, show respect to your elders and show respect to all, regardless of whether they rich or poor, beggars or government ministers.

May Allah raise Habib Abbas to the highest of stations and allow his legacy to live on.

[Al Fatiha]


Reposted with gratitude to Muwasala.org.

Abdul Sattar Edhi: How Should Muslims React To His Passing? – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

When a great believer like Abdul Sattar Edhi passes away, how should we react? The guidance for this comes from Allah’s promises to us, as Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains in this brief talk.

See also The great Muslim philanthropist, Abdul-Sattar Edhi, returns to his Lord and Three Acts That Formed The Core Of Abdul Sattar Edhi’s Life on the SeekersHub blog.

The great Muslim philanthropist, Abdul-Sattar Edhi, returns to his Lord

The great Muslim, Pakistani social worker, Abdul-Sattar Edhi, has died at the age of 88. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani of SeekersHub pays tribute and reminds us that service can and must be a part of all our lives.

May Allah have mercy on his soul, and admit him among His foremost and most beloved servants—in the close company of His Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him and his folk).

May He make this loss a time to reflect on the urgency of service: the trueness of our faith itself is dependent upon true, expressed concern for others. The Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him) said that, “None of you believes until they love for others all that they love for themselves.”

This brief lesson is a reminder on the urgency, responsibility, and opportunity of service—and some of the principles and proper manners related to service:

Listen: Ummah Boost: Serve The Community, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Taking heed from his example, make a commitment—now, today—to give some of your time each week in serving others. Consider it the zakat on your time. 2.5% of your week’s 168 hours is 3.5 hours (or 30 minutes a day).
Obituary: The great Muslim philanthropist, Abdul-Sattar Edhi, returns to his Lord

Five Ways Find A Way To Serve Humanity

Choose on the basis of what service would
(1) be of greatest, widest, and most lasting benefit—to yourself and others, in their religion or in their worldly life;
(2) use the skills and experience Allah has blessed you with;
(3) be easy to sustain with consistency;
(4) would be of benefit to you in your turning to Allah (such as by the company it would facilitate for you); and, simply
(5) be an opportunity that is available before you to serve others.
“And Allah remains in the aid of His servant as long as His servant remains in the aid of others,” promised the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk).
Sura Fatiha‬ for the soul of Mawlana Edhi (Allah have mercy upon him).

Watch: These Bird Walk

A moving documentary on a small part of Mawlana Edhi’s legacy can be watched on Netflix, Amazon and also Vimeo (below).
In Karachi, Pakistan, a runaway boy’s life hangs on one critical question: where is home? The streets, an orphanage, or with the family he fled in the first place? Simultaneously heart-wrenching and life-affirming, THESE BIRDS WALK documents the struggles of these wayward street children and the samaritans looking out for them in this ethereal and inspirational story of resilience.

Who was Abdul Sattar Edhi and what is his legacy?

 

Photo credit: DVIDSHUB

“He Brought Us Back To Life” – A Tribute To The Late Dr Ahmad Sakr

Ahmed-Sakr-SpeakingBack in the late 1990’s, I gave up a $20 bill to buy a video cassette that featured a keynote speech by a world-famous Muslim scholar whom I had recently started admiring and subsequently learning from. After his talk was over, I was pleasantly surprised to see the familiar figure of Dr. Ahmad Sakr coming up to the mic, so I continued watching my TV screen. As he began sharing his humorous advice for successful marriages, I sat transfixed, hanging on every word and even grabbing a pen and paper to take notes. I later told my brother, “I bought the videotape because of Shaykh So-and-So, but — you know what? — Dr. Sakr was in it too and he was absolutely amazing! He totally stole the show!”

“Don’t you remember what he did for Muslims in Southern California in the 1980’s?” my brother asked matter-of-factly. “He brought us back to life.”

Truer words were never spoken.

Before Dr. Sakr arrived on the scene, I was a typical teenager — like countless others — who had no focus in her day-to-day existence other than pop culture, fashion, and personal amusement. The few times I went to the local mosque, I felt untethered, continuing to drift away from religion and spirituality like flotsam on the open sea.

Then Dr. Sakr threw us our life-lines and reeled us back in.

This week I was visiting my parents and siblings in Southern California when my mother asked me if I wanted to go visit Dr. Sakr who has been suffering from Parkinson’s for some years now. My response was: “Of course! When?” Our plan was to see him the next day, but on Monday evening my sister solemnly read aloud a text announcing his passing. A collective gasp reverberated around the living room.

It was as if we had felt our lifeboat shake.

Ahmed-Sakr-2A Pioneer

When you read Dr. Sakr’s biography, you learn that he was one of the pioneers of Islamic work in North America, instrumental in establishing many national organizations and institutions including the MSA (Muslim Students Association) and ISNA (Islamic Society of North America). He was the first representative and director of the Muslim World League to the United Nations. He was selected as an Outstanding Educator of America. He wrote over 50 books and sat on countless boards and taught in several universities. He won many accolades and titles in his lifetime.

But none of that felt relevant to us restless teenagers living in 1980’s California.

With smiles, jokes and kindness

So how DID this Lebanese-American father of four who was already in his 50’s manage to win the hearts and minds of all-American kids living in the suburbs of Los Angeles?

By smiling at them. By cracking jokes with them. By speaking kindly to them. By remembering their names. And perhaps most importantly of all (every adult needs to take note) — by never ever judging them.

My observations are backed up by Shibli Zaman who wrote this personal testimonial on Facebook:

“I owe Dr. Ahmad Sakr. I remember when I was an angst-ridden headbanger in my early teens with long hair, wearing Iron Maiden attire emblazoned with zombies before zombies were cool, I would get a lot of head-shaking and condemnation from my parents’ generation in the Muslim community. I was a rebel, so — to be honest with you — I looked forward to my local Muslim community’s mini-conferences so that I could rub their noses in my non-conformity.

“When I first met him, I was particularly surprised by his LACK of surprise at me. I had grown accustomed to raised eyebrows when I would meet more religious-oriented elders in my community, and it somewhat entertained me. But from him all I received was a firm handshake accompanied with a hand on the shoulder and an unusual look straight into the eyes. From that day forth, he always stepped aside to see what was going on in my life. He would always ask me, ‘So when is your Islamic heavy metal album being released?’ I had absolutely no intention of doing ‘Islamic heavy metal’, but it was his way of saying that he wouldn’t judge me; however, he wanted me to focus my efforts — whatever they were — for the cause of Islam in America. He would affectionately refer to me as ‘Shibli Nu’mani’, invoking the name of a legendary Islamic scholar of the Prophet’s biography with whom I share my first name. He had a way of bringing me back to my roots and traditions without me feeling judged. It worked.

“From accounts I have heard from countless American-Muslims over the years, this was his way. We can never repay him for his service to shaping the Muslim community in America as a demographic that is largely made up of professionals and — dare I say (in a good way, of course) — over-achievers. His message of ‘whatever it is you do, make sure you are the best at it; don’t forget who you are and give back to your community’ was heard. Rest in peace, my dear ‘Ammu (uncle). Paradise is yours, insha’Allah (God willing).”

For the purpose of this article, I reached out to friends and family, asking them to share their thoughts and memories about Dr. Sakr with me, and the commendations have been pouring in non-stop.

“He was a great American”

A mother of two, Nasha Khan, emailed me this today: “When I first began researching Islam as a 15-year-old, desperate to make sense of my world and my difficult life experiences, I began reading the Qur’an and a lot of books on Islam. Among the first books I picked up were Dr. Sakr’s Death & Dying and Life, Death and Life After. I remember poring over them in the dark quiet of the late nights when my parents thought I was sleeping. And for the first time, I felt the reality of death and the akhirah (hereafter). The fear it instilled in me spurred me to reflect on the way I lived and dealt with challenges at a young age. I can easily say his were the first books that propelled me towards the quest for Truth.”

I asked my brother to tell me something to share with the world about Dr. Sakr. He said, “He wasn’t just a great Muslim. He was a great American. He was never angry or hopeless or depressed or fiery in his sermons. He was always gentle and funny and positive and cheerful. No matter what the circumstances, he always made you feel that there was hope. That is not a small thing. That is HUGE.”

One of my brother’s friends told me, “I never heard him raise his voice. Not once. Not in any of his khutbahs (sermons) nor in any of his personal conversations. When I sought advice from him for my marriage problems, he always spoke in a calm, respectful manner and never made either of us feel uncomfortable. He was a pillar in our community and he will be missed.”

Never Made Us Feel Guilty or Ashamed

My mother reflected while talking to my father and me tonight, “You know, in all the years he taught us, he never lectured us about hijab (the headscarf). His wife covered according to shariah (sacred law) and so did his daughters and granddaughters. But he never made any of us ladies feel guilty or ashamed about not wearing hijab. He just led by example and eventually many of his students just started getting it, alhamdulillah (praise be to God). He let everyone grow at their own pace.”

Talking about not letting people feel shamed or judged, there is one particular incident that stands out in my mind. When I was a student at Cal Poly Pomona University, our MSA invited Dr. Sakr to come give a talk about Islam that was open to the public. As he was up on stage speaking about the similarities between Islam and Christianity, a man stood up in the audience, clutching a Bible, and began yelling at him about how “this man (Dr. Sakr) was preaching a false religion brought by a false prophet who produced a false book and how Jesus Christ was the only way to salvation”.

Dr. Sakr stood there smiling quietly the whole time while this man went on and on, berating him and the rest of us. At the end of his tirade, we all looked to our scholar to put him in his place. Dr. Sakr simply said, “Thank you for sharing your thoughts, my brother. May God bless you.” And then he continued with his speech.

I remember thinking at the time (as a fiery, passionate college student who wanted to change the world) that his response was too gentle and may have come across as “weak”, but now — as an adult — I realize that he was actually the embodiment of the sunnah.

When I last visited Dr. Sakr, he was immobilized by pain and lying flat on his back in bed. After hearing (not from him) about his various ailments and the negative effects of the different medications and the varying degrees of pain and the debilitating progress of the disease, I turned to him where he lay listening and asked with a smile, “But you are content with Allah?”

I already knew his answer. Without a moment’s hesitation, he said, “Prophet Ayub (Job) dealt with so much worse. All of the prophets were tried with so many tests and tribulations. This is nothing. I just have to be patient.”

It never fails to amaze me how the sign of a true teacher is one who continues to guide you during good times and bad, simply by his example.

When he attended his 19-year-old grandson’s funeral in his wheelchair six months ago, my brother approached him to kiss his hand, not expecting him to either recognize or remember him in the midst of the crowds. But Dr. Sakr squeezed his hand and said quietly in his familiar, elegant accent, “Doctorrrr….inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’oon (we surely belong to Allah and to Him we shall return).” He was always a paragon of sweet patience in the presence of immeasurable pain. (He was buried today only a couple of graves away from his eldest grandson.)

Loved by teenagers

My 15-year-old niece texted me this evening: “To all of us kids from Institute of Knowledge, Dr. Sakr felt like a grandfather. When our school was in his building, he used to come down after Dhuhr (afternoon) prayer and give us advice about everything; and it was advice many of us still remember very well. He would stress all the sunnahs, especially fasting. If we liked one of his books, he would gift it to us. He was really kind and loving. We all loved him very much.”

Upon reading his daughter’s words, my brother said, “What I find so remarkable about this man is the tawfiq (success) he had from Allah. If you think about it, he taught three generations of our family: our parents, us, and our children.”

“My teacher…my teacher…my teacher”

Ahmed-Sakr-funeralWhen I was at the beautiful Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley this afternoon for Dr. Sakr’s janazah (funeral) prayer, I was fascinated by the throngs of people who had shown up to pay their last respects. There were men and women from all strains of Islam — Arabs and South Asians and East Asians and African-Americans and Sunnis and Shias and Deobandis and converts from North and South America. As I walked through the clusters of people in the large hall, I overheard snippets of conversations, many accompanied by tears: “He was my first teacher…” and “I have lost my beloved teacher…” and “I will never have another teacher like him…”

“Did you notice?” my girlfriend asked me. “Everywhere you hear: ‘my teacher…my teacher…my teacher.’ THAT was his gift. He made everyone feel like they were his most special student and he was their only teacher.”

As we were stepping out of the main doors, my father stopped to talk to one of the uncles who is intimately involved with the running of the mega-mosque. Apparently, for years, the Islamic Center has been unsuccessfully trying to get its permits approved so that the mortuary could finally be functional. With a sense of reverent awe, this uncle informed my father that the final official approval came in just last week, and Dr. Sakr was the first community member whose body was bathed and prepared for burial and stored in the very center where he had been the imam so many years earlier. Today, Dr. Sakr inaugurated the mortuary which will be serving the community for as long as the center stands, insha’Allah.

Words do not suffice

After hearing this news, my parents and I climbed into the car that was waiting to take us to the cemetery. Once there, I was carried along by the crowds and suddenly found myself standing near the head of Dr. Sakr’s grave, watching people eagerly stepping forward to fulfill his last rites. I blinked back tears as I watched my middle son Ameen, surrounded by his shuyukh (teachers), carefully lifting up three handfuls of dirt with his right hand to gently drop onto Dr. Sakr’s casket. When he turned his head and our eyes connected for the first time, I had a difficult time getting out the simple words: “He was my teacher.” I wanted to somehow convey to my son the affection and appreciation I felt for this man who had made me first fall in love with my religion all those years ago because I knew Ameen of all people would understand, given how much he adored his own teachers. But I couldn’t say anything and he just silently hugged me, patting me on my back in a sincere attempt to comfort me.

Later that evening at home, my brother told my parents and me, “If I die before you all, please bury me somewhere near Dr. Sakr. I have no doubt that he’s a wali (friend of Allah), insha’Allah.”

At one point, my eldest son Shaan mused, “So even my being president of the MSA at my high school is thanks to him, isn’t it? If he had never helped establish MSA’s in America in the 1960’s, who knows if we would ever have had them by the time my generation came along?”

Before he went to bed, my mother handed Shaan a copy of Dr. Sakr’s book Khutab from Mihrab (Sermons from the Pulpit), a collection of his Friday sermons which my brother had said helped him and his friends conduct Friday prayers in the Caribbean back when they were in med school there in the 1990’s. “Maybe this can help you with your Friday MSA meetings from now on,” my mom told him, and Shaan nodded his head thoughtfully. As I saw the book exchange hands, I couldn’t help reflecting how the knowledge was being passed on from one generation to the next, but the teacher was no longer here.

Such is the nature of life.

Ever since hearing about Dr. Sakr’s passing, all of the lessons he ever taught us have been swirling around in my brain. The first time I ever performed (or even learned about) Salat-ul-Tasbeeh was behind him. The first time I felt the sweetness of staying up and worshipping with the community on Laylat-ul-Qadr (Night of Power) was with him. The first time I realized the power of prostration or the fact that the tashahhud (testimony of faith) in prayer was a personal conversation with God was thanks to him. He taught us to prepare for the afterlife and now he’s gone on to experience it before us. How does one thank a teacher for all that he’s done for him/her? How does one even find words that are sufficient enough?

Dr. Sakr’s son-in-law shared with us some details of his final moments. He told us that Dr. Sakr had completed the Isha (late night) prayer and had asked his wife to let him hear the renowned Shaykh Muhammad Jibril’s lyrical recitation of Surah Kahf which he always enjoyed so much. She told her husband that her iPhone was low on battery, so she would go charge it. When she returned, he had passed.

He died as he lived…teaching us all the way

I end this piece with a hadith (saying of the Prophet Muhammad) for everyone to reflect on and a plea for everyone to repeat.

The hadith was reported by Abu Huraira (may God be well-pleased with him): The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When Allah loves a servant, He calls Jibreel (Gabriel) and says: ‘Verily, I love this person, so you should love him.’ Then Jibreel loves him and makes an announcement in the heavens, saying: ‘Allah loves this person and you should love him.’ Thus, the dwellers of the heavens love him and he is honored in the earth.”

And the plea is the same one I heard Dr. Sakr’s devoted wife softly murmuring as she followed his funeral cortege to the gravesite today: “Allah, have mercy on Ahmad.” Aameen.

By Hina Khan-Mukhtar

Hina Khan-Mukhtar is a mother of three boys and one of the founders of the homeschooling co-operative known as ILM Tree in Lafayette, California, which now serves over 30 homeschooling families in the East Bay. In addition to teaching Language Arts to elementary, middle school, and high school students, she has written articles on parenting and spiritual traditions for children and is involved in interfaith dialogue.

On the Passing of Shaykh Dr. Wahba al-Zuhayli

A tribute to Shaykh Dr. Wahba al-Zuhayli (above) from Imam Zaid Shakir

During my time in Damascus, I lived in many different neighborhoods: Zahira Qadima, Mukhayyam Yarmuk, Saha Shahbandar, Muhajireen, Suq al-Jumu’ah and Khurshid. Like a desert nomad in search of greener pastures, I was ever in search of a cheaper rent.

My year in Saha Shahbandar was certainly challenging from one perspective. We lived in a one room Mulhaq (add-on) on the top of the roof of an apartment block. Our landlord was a retired Syrian army general. A committed secularist, he was amazed and astonished that an American who was not born into a Muslim family would actually become a Muslim.

The challenge of rooftop living manifested itself during the summer months. During that season, it was so hot on that roof that it was difficult to move from about 11:00am until around 5:00pm. On most days, I would leave around 1:30pm to attend class at the Dawah College at Abu Noor, hence, my wife was left to sweat it out alone. Mercifully, after 5:00pm, the gentle, refreshing breeze was a most welcome visitor. When I was home at that time, I would leave the door and windows open to make sure she did not pass us by.

Another delightful gift that made one forget the sweltering midday sun was the evening dance of the swallows as they darted to and fro gobbling up the seemingly invisible insects that constituted the staple of their diet. Starting about an hour before Maghrib, their rapid dips and ascensions, swoops, turns and incredible acceleration were mesmerizing. Additionally, one of our neighbors was a pigeon trainer and during the evening we would marvel as he stood on a nearby rooftop energetically sending out the flag signals, which called his dutiful troops home.

It was during this year that I got to know Dr. Wahba Zuhayli. Our neighborhood mosque was the beautiful Jami al-Kuwaiti, also known as Jami ‘Uthman. Dr. Zuhayli’s house was about one hundred meters north of the mosque and he frequently prayed his Fajr (morning) prayer there. Oftentimes, I would join a group of students for ask Dr. Zuhayli questions as we escorted him back to his house. Occasionally, if the brief walk provided insufficient time for answers, Dr. Zuhayli would invite us into his study to carry on the “dars.” Those walks reminded me of the Prophet’s, peace upon him, pedagogical method. He did not have Halaqas or formal lessons, per se. Being in his presence was the ultimate classroom.

Since becoming familiar with Dr. al-Zuhayli’s writings, especially his monumental works, al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu (Islamic Jurisprudence and Its Proofs) and al-Tafsir al-Munir (The Illuminating Commentary), I have maintained that Dr. Zuhayli was a living proof against those who argue that the likes of Abu Faraj Ibn al-Jawzi, Imam Nawawi, Imam Suyuti and the many other prolific authors of this Ummah could not have possibly penned all of the works attributed to them. What then do they say concerning Dr. Zuhayli, who within his lifetime has written enough volumes to fill several library shelves?

Yesterday evening, like so many others over the course of the past year, this great giant passed on. May Allah bless him and reward him immensely for the rich literary heritage he has vouchsafed us. May enough of us join his as the scholarly heirs of the Prophets, peace upon them, helping to keep the great heritage of our Ummah – knowledge – alive in the world.

“The World Has Lost A Giant” – Imam Zaid Shakir on the passing of Shaykh Shukri al-Luhafi

Shaykh Shukri Luhafi

Photo credit: Official Tweets from the Students of Shaykh Shukri al-Luhafi

The Muslim world has lost one of its giants with the passing of Shaykh Shukri Al-Luhafi. Despite his stature, it is unlikely that anyone reading these words who is not from Syria has ever heard of Shaykh Shukri. Before I arrived in Syria, in 1994, to begin my studies there, I too did not know who he was.

Upon arriving in Damascus, Shaykh Shukri was one of the first scholars I met. Our most generous host, Abu Munir Sha’ar, had arranged callighaphy lessons with the Shaykh. A motley gang of Americans made our way through the streets of Damascus to the Shaykh’s apartment for an introduction. Upon arriving at the building housing the Shaykh’s home, we descended down a tight stairwell into a dimly lit, cramped basement apartment. This was the Shaykh’s humble abode.

Only Musa Furber proved to be a consistent student of the Shaykh. I had become involved with other pursuits, although I would visit from time to time. I would also see the Shaykh at every public dhikr and the accompanying lessons that I was able to attend. The Shaykh had a very distinct way of arriving at the various masjids where the Dhikrs would occur. Specifically, on a rugged, Chinese-made black bicycle. He usually had a couple of children on the crossbar and two or three more on the makeshift backseat.

Shaykh Shukri Luhafi serving waterAs the attendees filtered into the venue, Shaykh Shukri, with the hint of a smile teasing his lips, would serve water. He was the waterman. This beautiful practice, like his home, like everything about him, spoke volumes about his humility. What exactly is humility? Some define it as assuming a station lower than that one could rightfully claim. By this definition, Shaykh Shukri was truly humble. Why? Because he could claim being a leading scholar in Damascus. He could claim that he was a renowned callighapher. He could claim being a master of the ten canonical readings of the Qur’an. We could add to the list of the things he could rightfully claim, however, he renounced all claims. He was the waterman.

When the great master, Shaykh Abdur Rahman Shaghuri, became too ill to continue commenting on the various texts read at the public dhikrs, that task fell upon my teacher, Shaykh Mustafa Turmani. One day Shaykh Mustafa was unable to make it to the dhikr, and hence, the lesson. The attendees, knowing Shaykh Shukri’s scholarly attainment, asked him to comment on the text. The Shaykh read the text, verbatim, not adding a single word of his own commentary, and then quietly closed the book. His respectful reverence, despite his qualifications, would not allow him to speak in the place of Shaykh Mustafa.

Shaykh Shukri Luhafi smilingUpon the passing of Shaykh Mustafa, the leadership of the Shadhuli Tariqa in Damascus was assumed by Shaykh Shukri. Now, at last, he spoke, and he guided the faithful with wisdom, courage and vision from that time until his demise.

I write these words with tears welling in my eyes as I remember this humble servant and as I reflect on how blessed I am to have had the honor of sitting in his home, eating his food, been served by his hand, listening to his silence, and benefiting from his state as well as his very parsimonious speech. May Allah grant him the highest ranks of Paradise and may He bless us to elevate ourselves to begin to carry even a small fraction of the load Shaykh Shukri has entrusted to us.

“There is no one who humbles himself for Allah’s sake, except Allah elevates him.” Prophetic Hadith.

This tribute was first published on Imam Zaid Shakir’s blog New Islamic Directions.