Category Archives: Biography

Biographies of the Scholars & and aspects relating to their personal lives

Shaykh Shukri

salamu `alaykum

Shaykh Shukri   shshukri1.JPG

Whenever I would ask someone regarding Shaykh Shukri of Damascus the reply I would recieve almost immediately and foremost was that “He is one of the biggest awliya alive.” I do not recall a single person stating otherwise when I inquired about him. He took over from the late Shaykh Moustafa al Turkmani (Allah be well pleased with him). May Allah continue to bless us through his presence. Amin.

Wasalam

Salman al Husayni

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The Passing Of Shaykh Moustafa Bassir

From Allah we come, to Him we must return…

Knowledge will not be lost by it being taken out of the hearts of people, but by the deaths of the scholars…

This is a magnificent read. May Allah grant both Shaykh Moustafa Turkmani and Shaykh Moustafa Bassir success in the next life, and may we be able to benefit from their intercession.

sidi Bassir

“We belong to Allah and unto Him we shall return. Sayyidi Muhammad al-Mustafa Basir ibn Sayyid Ibrahim ibn Sayyid Imbarak al-Basiri al-Hasani al-Maghribi al-Susi al-Muqri’ al-Maliki al-Shadhili al-Darqawi passed away in his zawiya in Bani A`yaat (Middle Atlas region of Morocco) on the night of mid-Sha`ban 1427 (night of 7-8 September 2006), at the age of 67.

He is survived by many sons and daughters and countless murids. His eldest son, Sidi Isma`il, continues to be in charge of running the affairs of the zawiya which is heavily frequented by the Fuqara and the Bearers of the Qur’an at all times of the year and which I had the honor of visiting for a month, as I described in my article “From Blessed Morocco: World of the Qur’an.”(*) During my time there, I was blessed to read with him the `Aqida part of the Risala al-Qushayriyya, Ibn Juzay’s tafsir of Surat al-Fatiha, and pages from Sayyid Ahmad Zayni Dahlan’s Mi`raj al-Wusul ila Ma`rifat Allah wal-Rasul.

When I gave Sidi Mustafa a copy of the large arabic volume of Mawlana al-Shaykh Nazim’s talks, published in Lebanon under the title Jami` al-Irshad al-Sharif, he held public readings from it in his zawiya for weeks. A year or two later, when his son-in-law drove him to Damascus, they took me with them on a memorable visit of Mawlana al-Shaykh in Cyprus, at which time the latter vested Sidi Mustafa with his jubba. The least benefit of travels around the seasoned Shuyukh of irshad is that they strip one bare of such amounts of pretense that if one were a tree one might muse whether one consists exclusively of dead bark.

Sidi Mustafa often visited Damascus on his way to Hajj or `Umra and graced the homes of those who loved him with his gracious presence – visits which left such homes in awe at his simplicity and good humor. He commanded attention and attraction wherever he went, especially for the North African students who turned his gatherings into the most special “all-sufi all-memorizers of the Qur’an” circles. Among them the noblest and most learned of them by agreement of those who met him, the adib, usuli, and sufi Shaykh Farid ibn `Azzouz al-Hasani al-Jazairi (who spent over ten years in Damascus and is now back in Algeria) bore special love for the Shaykh, who gave him ijaza in Tariqa.

I remember a visit with Sidi Mustafa to Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn `Arabi’s grave in Damascus, after which men and women flocked to him for advice and help but he said to them: “The Shaykh is here so there is no need for me,” i.e. Shaykh Muhyi al-Din.

Another time, we visited the Hadra of Shaykh Mustafa al-Turkmani in Jami` al-Ward. After the Hadra, as people took their seats and tea was distributed, Shaykh Mustafa al-Turkmani gave Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn `Arabi’s book of Wasaya to Sidi Mustafa and asked him extemporaneously to give the dars for him. Smile for smile, Sidi Mustafa Basir obliged. I remember the latter’s commentary on the wasiyya that we should not sleep before washing mouth and hands after eating lest we feed our shaytan: “The point is not to strengthen your shaytan but to weaken it.”

Another time, Sidi Mustafa took us to Amman, where we visited Shaykh Nuh Keller in his zawiya, who gave him his Shadhili works and led the hadra. In his last visit to Damascus he was hosted by Abu al-Nur Institute, where we visited him.

One of Sidi Mustafa’s favorite repartees in his exchanges after enquiring after the health of his friends was: “Bi-khayr, wa-fi khayr, wa-`ala khayr!” He smiled often and his friendly, unassuming manner hid from our sight, much of the time, the fact that he peered into the spiritual states of people and could diagnose their needs before they even voiced them. His family hailed from the desert and he did not care for appearances. His anger could be fierce and he reserved it, as far as I saw, for the Wahhabis, whom he called “Shalafis” and “Talafis” and for whom he had no tolerance. One time, as we travelled in the Marrakesh region we stopped to pray Maghrib in one of their mosques and one of them had the misfortune of nudging the Shaykh’s toes with his toes as
they love to do inside prayer. As we went into ruku`, the Shaykh slapped the man below the knee and he retreated.

The senior Shuyukh of da`wa and irshad are never coy about asserting the superiority of Ahl al-Haqq to other schools which they rightly view as the offshoots of modernity and misguidance dressed up as religion. It can never be said of them that they are “neither sufi nor wahhabi” as this would be identical with saying they are “neither guided nor misguided” and is confusion dressed up as moderation. Their successors, on the other hand, are a different story.Another son of Sidi Mustafa, Sidi `Abd al-Mughith, whom I met in Damascus and to whom I owe the honor of meeting his father, authored a large volume entitled al-Nazr al-Yasir min Manaqib Zawiyat Al al-Basir fil-Sahra’ wa-Sous wa-Bani A`yat bil-Maghrib (“A Glimpse at the Merits of the Zawiya of the Basir House in the Desert, Sous, and Bani A`yat in Morocco”). He also authored a brief history of the Shadhiliyya and a biography of Imam al-Jazuli accompanied by a new edition of Dala’il al-Khayrat.

I was told, years after first meeting the Shaykh, the story behind his heavy limp and scarred leg. In his early days, a deranged man showed up gun in hand in the school in which Sidi Mustafa was teaching. People took to their heels but Sidi Mustafa did not budge. The man faced him and said: ‘Who will protect you from me?’ Sidi Mustafa replied: ‘Between you and me there is Allah.’ The man then shot Sidi Mustafa and kept shooting until the gun was empty but by the grace of Allah, Sidi Mustafa survived and was graced with four wives and the successorship of his father in directing the zawiyas of the Darqawiyya-Basiriyya.

May Allah grant him the highest abode in Paradise next to his forefather, our liege-lord the Messenger of Allah, upon him and his House blessings and peace.”

GF Haddad

The zawiya of Shaykh Ibrahim Bassir in Morocco:

Ibrahim Bassir

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Shaykh Gibril On Shaykh Turkmani (Beautiful)

Salamu `Alaykum

A must read from Shaykh Gibril:

“We belong to Allah and unto Him we shall return. Shaykh Mustafa ibn `Abd al-Razzaq al-Turkmani al-Dimashqi al-Shafi`i al-Shadhili al-Darqawi passed away in Damascus on Wednesday 11 Ramadan 1427 / 4 October 2006 after recovering from a stroke a few years ago which had left him, in the words of Shaykh Muhammad al-Ya`qubi, “in a state of complete submission to the Divine Decree.” I remember Shaykh Mustafa’s right hand holding mine in an august hadra during which I heard his muted sobs and imagined, as I stood on his right, his eyes closed and his spiritual gaze firmly trained upon the heart.

Another time, someone had brought a blessed hair of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, to the house of Sayyid Abu al-Khayr al-Kattani in Damascus, who invited a gathering of munshids and fuqara’ to a generous meal for the occasion. The Salutation was marked by the state of Shaykh Mustafa, eyes closed, in tears with his hands open palms up in supplication much of the time.

The last time I saw Shaykh Mustafa – his face typically full of light and mercy – was at the funeral prayer over the wife of Shaykh Muhammad al-Ya`qubi, may Allah gather us all in Paradise as He had gathered us here.

In addition to his rank as a Shafi`i Faqih, Shaykh Mustafa held the highest spiritual authority in the Darqawi community of Shaykh `Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghuri – Allah have mercy on them both. When I visited the latter in 2002 to seek his commendation on my bilingual volume of Forty Hadiths on Shaam, he directed me to Shaykh Mustafa who obliged in a matter of days and graced me with the following text, which I included at the beginning of the volume both in Arabic and in English:

Commendation of Shaykh Mustafa Turkmani al-Dimashqi al-Shafi`i


In the Name of Allah All-Beneficent, Most Merciful. Glory and praise to Allah in Whose Hand is creation and commandment and in Whose Hand alone is giving and withholding. Blessings and greetings of peace on the Prophet of Mercy and rescuer of the Community whom Allah named {Full of pity, Merciful} (9 : 128 ) and upon his virtuous House and Companions. To proceed: the esteemed brother, Dr. Gibril Fouad Haddad, has appraised me of a precious treatise in which he has gathered forty hadiths in praise of Syro-Palestine and its people and in praise of emigration to Allah and His Prophet. The hadiths are all authentic and narrated with respected chains of transmission to their narrators, so that the reader can rest assured and trust in what is herein narrated from the Messenger of Allah – upon him blessings and peace.

The author had a good reason for the choice of this topic. Emigration to Allah and His Prophet is the great sign of faith, the badge of courage, the mark of living simply in this world and desiring the next world. For people to leave their countries, giving up their comforts and pleasures, their families, and all the ties that bind a human being to his land; such a step can never be taken easily. However, it is a step intimately connected with a deep-rooted, essential education, firmly anchored in tremendous principles of faith, conscientious relations with Allah, and absolute confidence in the promise made by Him to His truthful servants. Thus did it come about with the Messenger of Allah – upon him blessings and peace. The most trusted Messenger did not emigrate to al-Madina, nor did his Companions, until he became sure of their faith, the purity of their intentions, the strengthening of their Religion, and their self-extinction into the state of true servanthood to their Lord. Only then did the matter of emigration please them, so that they could preserve their Religion, worshipping and living for Allah truly and completely.

If one looks into the histories of the Prophets; upon them peace; one will find that they seldom accomplished their purpose or reached the height of their spiritual state except through emigration from their countries. This seems a path habitually imposed by Allah upon His chosen servants. Take, for example, Ibrahim the Friend of Allah, upon him peace: he emigrated from Iraq to Egypt and from Egypt to Palestine. Take the Christ; upon him peace: he left his native Nazareth and roamed in all the regions of Palestine, summoning people to Allah, guiding them and pointing them to Him. So did Yusuf – upon him peace – until he resided in Egypt, powerful and honored. It is no wonder, then, that the Messenger of Allah – upon him blessings and peace – went to al-Madina as an emigrant, taking for model his brothers, the Prophets.

Al-Madina then became the abode of emigration, the fortress of Islam, the beginning of universal goodness for human beings; a new history for a new generation dawning upon the world with the highest moral values it had ever seen, an immaculate and pristine civilization free of the blots that mar the nobility of human beings. Thus does the Qur’an lavishly praise the emigrants in the way of Allah, saying, {Those who fled their homes for the cause of Allah and then were slain or died, Allah verily will provide for them a good provision. Lo! Allah, He verily is the Best of all who make provision. Assuredly He will cause them to enter by an entry that they will love. Lo! Allah verily is knower, Indulgent} (22:58-59); and {And those who became fugitives for the cause of Allah after they had been oppressed, We verily shall give them goodly lodging in the world, and surely the reward of the Hereafter is greater, if they but knew; Such as are steadfast and put their trust in Allah} (16:41-42). Similarly, the Qur’an blamed and castigated those that sat back instead of accomplishing the Hijra, saying, {Lo! as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they wrong themselves, (the angels) will ask: In what were you engaged? They will say: We were oppressed in the land. (The angels) will say: Was not Allah’s earth spacious that you could have migrated therein? As for such, their habitation will be hell, an evil journey’s end} (4:97).

Since, by emigration, is meant the establishment of the Religion, united decision-making on the basis of pleasing Allah, and collective efforts aimed at protecting the way of truth upon which depends human happiness and the safety of future generations, the Messenger; upon him peace; showed and extolled the immense merits of Syro-Palestine in the context of strife and dissensions. He indicated that it will harbor a community that will defend the truth sincerely and genuinely and that it will be victorious, impervious to its adversaries until the coming of the Divine command. The reader can read the hadiths to this effect in this treatise. In this respect, Islam entrusted the people of Syro-Palestine with a huge responsibility and caused them to be the focus of all eyes. Indeed, the students of sacred knowledge visit them from every corner of the world because they are in a position of leadership, since Syro-Palestine, in these times of strife and dissension, is the rallying-place of the Muslims, the capital of belief, and the forefront of excellence.

Lastly, I thank Dr. Gibril Fouad Haddad for his unsparing efforts and sacrifices; may Allah grant him Godwariness and make all difficult things easy for him so that he will do more good and contribute in the spreading of truth and the rebuttal of falsehood. May Allah make true our servanthood to Him Who is our Sovereign Lord and may He grant us to please Him and obtain His good pleasure. Truly, my Lord hears our supplication! And praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.”

Mustafa `Abd al-Razzaq Turkmani
On behalf of our Shaykh the Knower of Allah
Sayyidi `Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghuri

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The Passing of Shaykh Mustafa al Turkmani (May Allah be well-pleased with him)

Salamu `Alaykum

From Allah we come, to Him we must return

Knowledge will be lost not by its being taken out from the hearts, but by the death of the scholars, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said. Weep, for we have lost one of the awliya.

Shaykh Mustafa

 

On the Passing of Shaykh Mustafa At-Turkmani
By Imam Zaid Shakir


I surveyed the Gates of Paradise, and found crowds at all of them; except the Gate of Humility. Hence, I entered through that gate. -Sayyid Ahmad Ar-Rifa’i Words are difficult to summon upon hearing of the death of our dear, beloved teacher Shaykh Mustafa at-Turkmani, May Allah envelop him in His Mercy. Our Shaykh possessed a combination of virtues that were difficult to find in contemporary scholars, and with his passing finding anyone who possesses those virtues will be all the more challenging.He was a jurist of distinction, being one of the most distinguished students of the great Damascene jurist Shaykh Hasan Habannakah; having served for a time on the Legislative Council of the State of Qatar. He was a memorizer of the Qur’an, being one of the elect students of the great Syrian master of recitation, Shaykh Husein al-Khattab; during his youth being called upon to lead the Tarawih prayers for a group of scholars who would gather during Ramadan in the house of Shaykh Mekki al-Kattani. He was a real Sufi, being one the honored students of Shaykh Muhammad al-Hashimi, and later the great Rifa’i master, Abdul Hakim Abdul-Basit. He was a master of the Arabic language, and memorized much of the literary and mystical poetry of the Arabs.He was also a da’i, an Islamic worker, who tirelessly served the people of southern Damascus. He served as a moving sermonizer at Jami’ Rida, in the Zahira Jadida section of the city. Before being slowed by his illness, he moved tirelessly between the mosques and homes of Midan, Zahira Qadima, Zahira Jadida, Mukhayyam Filastine, and Mukhayyam Yarmuk, the latter two areas being large Palestinian refugee camps, delivering classes and inspiring lectures, blessing newborn babies, conducting marriages, and consoling families who had lost loved ones. He was truly a man of the people.Because the Shaykh was an Islamic worker who was in touch with the common folk, he always advised me to return to America to work for Islam. In this regard, Shaykh Mustafa’s advice ran counter to that given by many of the scholars of Damascus, who would frequently argue for migration from the un-Islamic lands of the West. He would not only advise returning, but he would constantly pray for our success.

The above-mentioned combination of gifts is rare in today’s world, and by possessing them Shaykh Mustafa was in an elect class of scholars. In addition to these qualities, our Shaykh also possessed the very highest standard of Islamic etiquette. I was blessed to keep the company of the Shaykh for the better part of five years, studying a wide array of classical Islamic texts with him, and trying my best to attend as many of his public lessons, and private gatherings as I could manage. During that time and in various situations, the Shaykh never once raised his voice. He never spoke ill of anyone. I never saw him argue or dispute with anyone. When confronted with an opinion on an issue related to the Divine Law that differed from his own, he would merely nod his head to express his disagreement, not seeking to exalt his own opinion.

Having mentioned all of these virtues possessed by Shaykh Mustafa, I can nonetheless confidently say that they were all surpassed by his deep humility. I feel anyone who knew the Shaykh would agree and I will relate some personal experiences I had with the Shaykh to illustrate this point.

Upon our arrival in Damascus, Shaykh Mustafa agreed to teach our group of Western students the very basics of tajwid and jurisprudence. We were all neophytes and he patiently endured our ignorance, our bad manners with him, and the terrible overcooked tea we would offer him. He would walk to my house after Fajr to deliver these lessons, oftentimes on cold, damp winter mornings, seeking to avoid the suspicion of the secret police.

At the private gatherings he would host at his family’s rural property, situated in the hills outside of Damascus, he would directly participate in preparing the food, serving the guests, and cleaning up both before and afterwards. He would not allow anyone to take the broom from his hands. Many are the scholars who will reference the Prophet, peace upon him, participating in digging the ditch before the Battle of the Trench. However, few are those who will take the broom, mop, vacuum cleaner, toilet bowl brush, or a shovel and “dig their own ditches.” He was one of those elect few.

During the almost five years of attending the circle of Shaykh Mustafa at Jami’ Ghazwati Badr, next to his house in Zahira Qadima, he would never sit on the raised platform designated for teaching out of respect for the Imam of the Masjid, the noted elderly scholar, Shaykh Muhammad al-Farrah. Even after the passing of the Imam, Shaykh Mustafa refused to sit on the raised platform.

During the illness of Shaykh Abdr-Rahman ash-Shaghouri, May Allah shower his Mercy upon him, Shaykh Mustafa was called upon to assumed the duties that ailing master was no longer capable of performing. However, he refused to do so, as long as Shaykh Abdur-Rahman remained alive, out of his respect for the status of the Shaykh. Others of lesser station would have rushed to assume the Shaykh’s indispensable, yet weighty duties. However, Shaykh Mustafa was held back by his etiquette with Shaykh Abdur-Rahman, and his fear of Allah.

Shaykh Mustafa’s humility led many people in Damascus to overlook his greatness as a scholar. This is especially true because almost twenty of his most productive years were spent in Qatar. However, the scholars knew his rank, and the mention of his name would bring praise and adoration from the likes of Dr. Said Ramadan al-Buti, a classmate during their youth at Shaykh Hasan Habannakah’s school, Ma’had at-Tawjih. I have heard one of the learned people of Damascus say, “If you want to see one of the Tabi’een, look at Shaykh Mustafa at-Turkmani.”

In recent times, the skies have shaded few Muslims of the stature of our departed Shaykh. Today, like us, the skies are weeping. However, we must soon dry our eyes and get on with the work Shaykh Mustafa and the other scholars of this Ummah have bequeathed unto us. To help us in that work, we should seek strength through the following advice I received from Shaykh Mustafa during one of my last visits to Damascus. When I asked him what does he advise to help us get through the challenging and even threatening times facing Muslims in the West, he responded, “Frequent recitation of the Qur’an, and abundant Salawat on the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah upon him.”

May Allah accept Shaykh Mustafa into the ranks of the righteous, and may his life and example be an inspiration for us all.

Your Brother in Islam,

Imam Zaid Shakir
10/4/06

 
Zaytuna

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Time With Mufti `Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf (db)

Salamu `Alaykum

Alhamdulilah, I just came back from an exclusive dinner with Mufti `Abdur Rahman and a few other brothers, which included two of my close friends Br. Shu`ayb and Br. Yaser. We were also joined by Br. Sulayman of NYU. It was a very enjoyable time, although it would have been better if I had spoken more and asked more questions. I had a few issues on my mind that I wanted to run across the Shaykh so as to seek his most noble opinion. Yet, Alas, I did not make enough of an effort and thus lost out on the opportunity. However, I thank Allah for allowing me to benefit from the Shaykh’s suhba.

As many may or may not know, this past Saturday was the UANA Introductory Conference held at MCMC in New Jersey. There were a number of scholars that attended including Mufti `Abdur Rahman, Maulana Ibrahim Memon, Maulana Ahmad Patel, Shaykh Nadim Qurayshi, and atleast half a dozen others. We arrived a bit late due to heavy traffic at the Holland Tunnel. Yet, we managed to catch a part of Mufti `Abdur Rahman’s lecture that dealt with traditional Sunni scholarship throughout history, in specific how Sunni scholars stood up and proclaimed the truth even in the presence of corrupt government’s around them. Examples included Imam Hasan al Basri, Imam Ahmad, Shaykh `Izz ibn `Abd al Salam, Imam Zaynul `Abidin, and others (May Allah be well-pleased with them all). I will detail this issue in another post, if Allah wills.

Mufti `Abdur Rahman, through his talk, aimed to embed respect for the `ulema in the minds and hearts of the people. In a society where many cast doubts on them, take the religion from other than them – notably their own opinions -, and see them as backwards and unaware, it is essential to show not only the sacrifices the `ulema made but also their intellectual brilliance, discourses, foresight, knowledge, understanding, tact and wisdom. There is a reason why the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “The scholars are the heirs of the prophets”. Here, it is important to note that this inheritance is not merely that of outward knowledge relating to fiqh or principles of hadith and so forth, but also of the prophetic states and their knowledge of Allah so much so that they became the door through which one must walk to reach Him, and now the `ulema have become the door through which one must walk to reach them (i.e. the Prophet’s).

After the talk was over Yaser, Shu`ayb, Husayn, and I went up to meet Mufti `Abdur Rahman to give our greetings. Alhamdulilah, Mufti `Abdur Rahman recognized me and said “Salman! Salamu `Alaykum” adding a firm handshake and a hug. I dont intend to brag but it was definitely a good feeling! Mufti `Abdur Rahman actually had a chance to speak to my murshid over the phone a while ago. They were scheduled to meet during the first half of 2004 during an event at my university. My murshid was, unfortunately, unable to make it. That was the first time I met Mufti `Abdur Rahman. I managed to spend the night with him at the local mosque along with Husayn during that visit. It was just us three and a truly remarkable experience.

Anyways, leaving aside the details of the UANA (which I will detail in a seperate post), Sunday was the day we were scheduled to have dinner with Mufti `Abdur Rahman. We were told to meet him in the city at a Turkish restaurant named Al Barakah which was situated right next to the `Uthman ibn `Affan mosque. When we arrived, Mufti `Abdur Rahman was already there with 3 other brothers. We gave our salam’s, sat down, and after waiting a while decided to order some food. Humus, lamb, chicken, rice, salad, and baklava, with tea to top it off, made an exceptional meal. During the festivites Mufti `Abdur Rahman discussed a few things which i feel is important to share here:

[1] Firstly, the thing which I believe benefited me the most was when he discussed his days of talab al `ilm. He mentioned how sometimes it is better and more beneficial for a student to travel long distances in order to seek knowledge not only because certain places are in themselves full of blessings but also because it allows one to leave behind all these worldly distractions and firmly concentrate on the goals one is seeking to attain. Mufti `Abdur Rahman mentioned how he got so much done in India, covering the al Lubab fi Sharh al Kitab (a commentary on the Quduri) privately, the Raf` wal Takmila (hadith), and his Ifta’ courses wherein he had to answer 4-5 properly referenced and researched fatwa questions a day! This was all done with a wife and a child to take care of.

[2] He spoke about studying in Syria and how many students go there and come back without properly completing their studies. This is not because the `ulema there are not solid, definitely not, but mainly because many people go there and jump around from scholar to scholar, searching, looking, and end up wasting alot of time without finding anyone. I have personally seen this happening with friends of mine as well. Unless one gets into a recognised institution such as Mahad al fath it is very difficult to find major `ulema willing to teach privately on a regular and consistent basis. Mufti `Abdur Rahman mentioned how he was blessed to have had the opportunity to study qira’at with Shaykh `Abdul Razaq Halabi (the Shaykh allowed him to read half a juz a day as compared to others who studied only a page or so with him) six days a week, and also specific works (such as the fiqh al akbar) with Shaykh Adib Kallas three to four times a week. Shaykh Adib was also one of the teachers of Shaykh Faraz. I asked Shaykh Faraz, “Is it impossible to study with these two shuyukh now?” to which he replied, “Basically…”.

[3] One of the crucial points Mufti `Abdur Rahman brought up, which i have discussed on my blog as well under the post formally entitled as “The Guiding Force of the Future: The Deobandis” (now deleted due to fear of fitna), was the unrigorous nature of some of the so-called “`alim programs” currently in existence. In specific, the three or four year intensives that are in place after which one comes out as a “Maulana”. It is really a sad state of affairs. Our Akabir studed eight, ten, twelve years just to complete there `alimiyyah and now we have students doing the same thing in three years? Do we expect a level of mastery being attained in such a short duration? Mufti `Abdur Rahman actually stated that this was an insult to the scholars of the religion and how such students should not be given full blown ijaza’s. Rather, he mentioned how in a minimal of six years a person can have the basics down in a solid manner if he studies hard enough after which specialization comes. I think this is a crucial issue… I mentioned to Mufti `Abdur Rahman students i knew who studied for years yet they could not translate a sentence of Arabic. He simply shook his head… May Allah grant us all knowledge and allow us to fully maximize our learning and understanding of this knowledge. Amin.

[4] Mufti `Abdur Rahman mentioned the background behind the publishing of the work “Path to Perfection”, which is available for purchase at White Thread Press. As the description states, the work is an anthology of the spiritual teachings of Hakim al Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (May Allah be well-pleased with him). It was a surprise to discover that one of my close friends and fellow murids Sidi Rashid had an important role to play in the unveiling of this work. Sidi Rashid is actually one of the closest murids of my murshid, probably the closest to him from all of us here in the United States. Sidi Rashid sent Mufti `Abdur Rahman a webserver link which contained this book telling Mufti `Abdur Rahman that it was an excellent manual on tasawwuf that should be published. Mufti `Abdur Rahman, after reading some of it, agreed. At that time both were unaware that the work was by Maulana Maseehullah (May Allah be well-pleased with him) rather assuming it was the work of the scholar whose webserver it was hosted on. They tried to contact him to gain publishing rights and permission. One day though Mufti `Abdur Rahman was going through his library and he saw the work “Shari`at aur Tasawwuf” of Maulana Maseehullah and opened it only to realize it was the same book! He immediately started working on publishing it and, alhamdulilah, now we have this work with us. It is a must read for everyone, especially those affiliiated with the ashrafiyya tariq.

[5] A funny incident: Mufti `Abdur Rahman told us a story relating to his time in Syria. As it occurs Syria has some excellent tea shops, or so they say. Mufti `Abdur Rahman would visit them and he realized something. Whenever the shop person gave him tea they would also give him a glass of water along with it. Naturally, Mufti `Abdur Rahman would drink the tea and then the water. He assumed it was there as a “cooling” effect. There is a twist though… someone finally told him that the water is there for the shopkeeper to see whether the customer liked the tea or not. If he did not he would drink the water otherwise he would leave the water as it was. We all laughed when we heard this because Mufti Sahib *always* drank the water… for cooling purposes ofcourse!

Anyway, we discussed a few other things including Egypt, publishing houses, Muslims in England, some Deobandi-Barelwi stuff (dont ask, I wont tell, but Mufti Sahib was very balanced), Al Maghrib (we actually discussed this on Saturday at the conference), his law school aspirations, the UANA and just general chit chat.

We then preceded to pray. Maghrib came in and Mufti `Abdur Rahman led the prayers after which we stepped outside. We arranged a date for him to return to New York, after Ramadhan, to visit our university and give some durus. He agreed, Alhamdulilah. We then said our salam‘s and headed in our respective directions. We actually were not pleased to be seperated, even calling up Husayn askign him where Mufti sahib was headed to see whether we could spend more time with him. It was not to be though…

Mufti `Abdur Rahman is really one of the more learned people in North America. With a very strong footing in all the Islamic sciences, he makes an ideal teacher and guide for all of us. His disposition is also very friendly, very jamali. Although a tall and big person, which may intimidate many, he is always smiling and makes everyone feel comfortable. His publishing house, White Thread Press, is by far one of the best out there something which even Shaykh Faraz attested to. I remember speaking to Shaykh Faraz yesterday and he praised Mufti `Abdur Rahman highly as a person commited to learning, serious in his talab and scholarship, and a man of righteousness and piety who I should try my utmost best to seek `ilm from. Here is a bio of the Mufti:

Shaykh Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera has been studying the traditional Islamic sciences and writing scholarly works for most of his life. He completed the bulk of his studies at Darul Uloom Bury, North England, where he memorized the Qur’an by the age of fifteen and thereafter went on to complete a rigorous, six-year Shari‘a program. He graduated from this program with authentic certifications (ijaza) in numerous Islamic disciplines, including Arabic, Islamic jurisprudence, and hadith (with particular emphasis on the six canonical collections of hadith (Sihah Sitta) and the Muwattas of Imam Malik and Imam Muhammad. His teachers at Darul Uloom Bury included Shaykh Yusuf Motala and other students of Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi.

Upon graduation, he traveled to South Africa, where he attended Madrasah Zakariyyah part-time to gain specialized training in answering legal questions (ifta’) under Mufti Rada al-Haq. While in South Africa, he also completed a Bachelor or Arts (with honors) in Islamic Studies at Rand Afrikaans University, Johannesburg, under the supervision of Professor Abdul Rahman I. Doi.

He then traveled to Syria, where he received a second certification in Qur’anic recitation and memorization, this time from Shaykh ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Halabi, who possessed a short, unbroken chain of transmission (sanad) to the Messenger of Allah (upon him be peace). Additionally, he received a certification from Shaykh Adib Kallas after reading Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari’s Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar and attending lectures on other classical texts of Islamic creed (‘aqida).

After his trip to Syria, he traveled to Saharanpur, India, where he received a formal authorization to issue legal rulings (fatawa), which required a close study of part or all of a number of classical jurisprudential texts, including, among others, Ibn Nujaym’s Al-Ashbah wa ’l-naza’ir and ‘Allama Haskafi’s Al-Durr al-mukhtar (along with its gloss, Radd al-muhtar, by ‘Allama Ibn ‘Abidin al-Shami). During this time, Shaykh Abdur-Rahman also attended classes on the principles of hadith (usul al-hadith), studying ‘Allama Lakhnawi’s Al-Raf ‘ wa ’l-takmil fi ’l-jarh wa ’l-ta’dil and parts of Imam Suyuti’s Tadrib al-rawi.

Shaykh Abdur-Rahman attained additional certifications in hadith from such great scholars as Shaykh Muhaddith Habib al-Rahman al-A‘zami (through his student Shaykh Mufti Zayn al-‘Abidin), Shaykh Abu ’l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi, and Shaykh Muhammad al-‘Awwama. May Allah continue to bless those of his teachers who are still alive and have mercy on those who have passed on to the next.

To date, Shaykh Abdur-Rahman has authored the highly popular Fiqh al-Imam: Key Proofs in Hanafi Fiqh (1996) and co-authored Reflections of Pearls (1995). He also published Provisions for the Seekers (1996), a translation and commentary of the Arabic work Zad al-Talibin, a collection of short hadiths compiled by Mawlana ‘Ashiq Ilahi from ‘Allama Tibrizi’s Mishkat al-Masabih. This work has recently been revised and republished in an extended edition. His latest published work is Prayers for Forgiveness: Seeking Spiritual Enlightenment through Sincere Supplication (2004), a translation of Al-Istighfarat al-Munqidha min al-Nar, a collection of seventy prayers for forgiveness of Imam Hasan al-Basri. Additionally, Shaykh Abdur-Rahman has completed an unpublished translation of Imam Abu Hanifa’s Al-Fiqh al-Akbar, along with its commentary, written by ‘Allama Maghnisawi, with notes from Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari’s larger commentary (to be published soon).

He presently serves as Imam of a southern California masjid and continues to work on scholarly publications through White Thread Press. Some of his fatawa can be found at www.sunnipath.com and some of his lectures at www.zamzamacademy.com and www.al-rashad.com.

Link

Blessings on the Prophet, his family, and his companions.

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Shaykh al Hadith Muhammad Sufi Sarwar (May Allah continue to bless us with his blessings)

Salamu `Alaykum

Attached is a biography, in Urdu, of Shaykh al Hadith Hazrat Sufi Sarwar Sahib – the `arif and wali of Allah, and our grand Shaykh. He was blessed with khilafa from three of Maulana Thanawi’s khulafa – Maulana Maseehullah Khan, Mufti Muhammad Hasan, and Hajji Muhammad Sharif (Allah be well-pleased with them all). I asked my Master and Guide about this and he replied that Hazrat Sufi Sahib gave baya` to one and got khilafa, then he passed away. Then he gave baya` to the other and also got khilafa, then he passed away. Then he gave baya` again to the third and again recieved khilafa, then he also passed away.

He was a man of medium height, big, fair complexion, and a white beard. He would always begin his sermons with “Maulana Thanawi said…” showing his dedication to the Akabir. Among his most notable traits was his humor and straightforwardness which brought a sense of joy and happiness to his gatherings. This lowly one remembers seeing Hazrat enter the room where he would give his after `asr durus and waving off his students and lovers who were trying to pick up his shoes, or help him wear them or take them off. It was humility and humblness that made Hazrat react like that, even though he was extremely old and fragile.

Among the karama of Hazrat Sufi Sahib was his obliviousness to the dunya and his istiqama on the path of Allah. Around his neck Hazrat wears a ring that was given to his brother by the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) in a dream. I heard this from a number of khulafa of my Guide.

This lowly slave was blessed to sit in the gatherings of Hazrat Sufi Sahib in August of 2005 in the mubarak madressa Jami`ah Ashrafiya.

Insha’Allah, I will try and translate the attached file one day.

Wasalam

Salman

Hazrat Sufi Sarwar Sahib

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Shaykha Amatullah bint ‘Abdul Ghani (Allah have mercy on her and her father)

I was reading Sis. Salikas blog regarding female scholars and whether there was a shortage of them (See: A Shortage of Female Scholars?) and I decided to post a brief biography of the musnida fil hadith in her age, Shaykha Amatullah bint ‘Abdul Ghani. Insha’Allah it will inspire some our fellow sisters (and brothers). What will follow was given to us by Shaykh Abul Hasan:

Shaykha Amatullah was born in the year 1250 AH in the blessed city of Medina and died more than a century later in the year 1357 AH. Her father was the famous Indian Muhaddith: Shaykh ‘Abdul Ghani ibn Abu Sa’id Ahmad ibn ‘Abdul Aziz ibn ‘Isa Al Umri (Allah have mercy on him). She was a Hanafi in the furu’ and a Naqshabandi in suluk. She heard Hadith from a number of prominent ‘Ulema, and her status lead to a number of well known Hadith scholars to take Ijaza from her.

Her main Isnad ran via her father: Shaykh ‘Abdul Ghani – who took from the Hafidh (memorizer) of Hadith: Shaykh Muhammad Abid Al Sindhi (d. 1257 AH) – who took from Shaykh ‘Abdull ‘Aziz Al Dihlawi (d. 1239 AH) – who took from his father, the Musnad Al Hind: Shah Waliullah Al Dihlawii (d. 1176 AH)

Her students include:

Ibrahim Al Kaneet (d. 1389 AH)
Ahmed Al Ghumari (d. 1380 AH)
Muhammad Al Hafiz Al Tijani (d. 1398 AH)
Salim Al Jundat (d. 1395 AH)
Muhammad ibn Ali Al Mussawi Al Alawi Al Makki (d. 1354 AH)
Muhammad Yasin Al Fadani (d. 1410 AH)
and more…

The above was taken from Dr. Yusuf ibn ‘Abdur Rahmans Mu’jam Al Ma’ajim. The Arabic can be read below:

أمة الله الدهلوية 1250-1357

مسندة المدينة المنورة، المعمرة القانتة ، ذات الأدب والعقل الراجح، العالمة الفاضلة:
أمة الله بنت العلامة المحدث عبدالغني بن أبي سعيد أحمد بن عبدالعزيز بن عيسى العمرية الدهلوية المدنية النقشبندية
ولدت بالمدينة المنورة ، ونشأت في بيت والدها المحدث المشهور عبدالغني 1296 فنهلت من ينابيع العلم ، وقرأت عليه القرآن ومبادىء العلوم، وسمعت عليه الكتب الستة مرات، والكثير من الأجزاء الحديثية ، وتحملت ما عنده من المسلسلات، وأجازها ، واعتنى بها منذ صغرها فاستجاز لها المشايخ ، لذلك شاركت أباها في بعض شيوخه.
وكذا أخذت بالإجازة والتلقى عن كثير من المحدثين ، واجتهدت في تحصيل العلم، واهتمت بتعليم النساء بعض المختصرات، وبعد وفاة والدها احتاج الناس للأخذ عنها، فكان العلماء يحضرون عندها للسماع والاستجازة، وفي الغالب يقرأ الشيخ إبراهيم سعد الله الختني المدني 1389 طرفا من صحيحي البخاري ومسلم وأول مصنف ابن أبي شيبة والأوائل العلجلونية والفوائد الجلية لابن عقيلة وتسمعهم المسلسلات الوترية للمحدث علي بن ظافر الوتري 1322 وبعض الأحزاب ، ثم تكتب الإجازة للحاضرين.
عمرت أكثر من مائة عام ، وهي من آخر من بقي من أصحاب تلاميذ عبدالعزيز الدهلويت1239 وبوفاها نزل الإسناد درجة ، خاصة عند أهل الهند ، لأن غالب أسانيدهم تتصل بعبدالغني الدهلوي1296 وهو إلى محمد عابد السندي1257 وهو إلى عبدالعزيز الدهلوي1239 وهو إلى شاه ولي الله أحمد بن عبدالرحيم الدهلوي ت1176.
ومن تلاميذها الكثيرين : إبراهيم الختني1389 ، وأحمد الصديق الغماري1380، ومحمد الحافظ التجاني المصري1398 ، وسالم آل جنداتت1395 ، ومحمد بن علي المساوري العلوي المكي ت1354 ، ومحمد ياسين الفاداني1410 ، والقاضي الحبيب أبو بكر بن حسين الحبشي المكي1374 ،
انظر تشنيف الأسماع لمحمود سعيد ممدوح ص 101 لها:
إجازة أمة الله الدهلوية لياسين الفاداني وهي واسعة كبيرة ، تذكر أسانيد الكتب طبقة بعد طبقة ، مما يدل على اعتناءها وتمكنها وسعة اطلاعها انتهى ما ذكره المرعشل

Blessings on the Prophet, his family and companions.


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