Category: Scholarship

Passing of Senior Meccan Hanafi Scholar

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Sh Yaqub Ali Murad


We received the sad news yesterday of the passing of Shaykh Yaqub Ali Murad al-Balushi al-Makki, one of the senior most and elderly hanafi scholars of the sacred city of Mecca.

Shaykh Yaqub was born in the Kerman region of Iran and travelled widely in pursuit of knowledge, acting as a judge in the city of Buraimi in current day Oman before settling in the sacred city of Mecca.

He kept a low profile and shunned fame whilst at the same time serving students of knowledge who came to him. In the 1970s for example he tutored Shaykh Yahya al-Mulla during his student days in Mecca, reading with him works such as the Lubab and Maraqi al-Falah in their entirety.

He was well known for his piety and zuhd, being well known for his performing 2 umrahs every day during the month of Ramadan.

The picture above of Shaykh Yaqub was taken at a mawlid in his home in Mecca on the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal 2015 where the Barzanji mawlid and other qasaid were recited.

May Allah Taala have mercy on him and give his family steadfastness at this time.


Categories: Makkah Scholarship

Obituary: Habib Hamid al-Kaf

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habib hamid kaf youth

habib hamid old


The world of Sunni Islam earlier on today lost one of its great hidden gems from the sacred city of Mecca, namely the Ba Alawi Sayyid famed for his high isnad and hadith scholarship:  Habib Hamid bin Alawi bin Salim bin Abi Bakr al-Kaf.

Habib Hamid was born in the village of Kalayan in Sothern Kalminatan in Indonesia on the 25th of Shaban in 1345 Hijri (1927 CE).  He was however of Hadrami ancestry via the Ba Alawi Sayyids of the al-Kaf family.

He was raised in a home of piety and knowledge under the care of his father, his mother having passed away when he was young.  He undertook his primary studies under his father and then joined the government school of his area where he completed the different levels of study at the time.  In the year 1360 hijri he joined the Madrasah al-Khayriyyah where he studied for 3 years taking from scholars such as:  Shaykh Umar Ba Raja, Sayyid Salim Aqil and others.  Thereafter he returned to Banjar Maseen and joined the institute named Dar al-Salam al-Diniyyah in Martafura and took from the scholars there such as:  Shaykh Muhammad Sharani bin Arif, Shaykh Hussain Qadri, Shaykh Abd al-Qadir Hasan and others.

In 1367 hijri (1948 CE) he made the intention to travel to Mecca for performing the Hajj and thereafter seek residence in the Holy City to seek knowledge.  After his arrival he studied in the circles of the scholars of the Masjid al-Haram for a period of four years after which he joined the Dar al-Ulum al-Diniyyah in 1371 hijri and graduated in 1374 hijri.

He then began his teaching career and taught fiqh, usul, hadith, Arabic grammar, astronomy and other sciences such that he became known as one of the scholars of the Masjid al-Haram.

His teachers in addition to the above mentioned are:

  • Sharif Mustafa bin Abd al-Qadir al-Shinqiti
  • Shaykh Muhammad Uhayd al-Boghori
  • Shaykh Hasan bin Saeed Yamani
  • Shaykh Hasan al-Mashat
  • Shaykh Muhammad al-Arabi al-Tubbani
  • Sayyid Alawi bin Abbas al-Maliki
  • Sayyid Muhammad Amin Kutbi
  • Shaykh Muhammad Nur Sayf
  • Shaykh Muhammad Yasin al-Fadani
  • Shaykh Abd al-Qadir bin Abd al-Muttalib Mindili
  • Shaykh Ibrahim bin Dawud Fatani
  • Shaykh Abd al-Karim al-Banjari

Teaching Career

Habib Hamid was honoured to teach in the Masjid al-Haram near the Bab al-Mahkamah from the year 1374-1399 alongside lessons in his home. He also taught for a number of years in Shaykh Muhammad Yasin al-Fadani’s school in Mecca, and upon Shaykh al-Fadani’s passing away took over his weekly lesson in his home which ran until now.

Links to the UK

Some students with the Karima al-Marwaziyya Foundation in the town of High Wycombe in the UK came to know of Habib Hamid al-Kaf over the last few years but were unfortunately unable to meet him due to inability to travel and Habib Hamid’s moving home and thus being difficult to locate when some students visited the Hijaz a few years ago.

These students in the UK were however were able to benefit from scholars who took directly from him such as Shaykh Tariq Sardar and Shaykh Khalid Turkestani from Mecca.  The latter this last Ramadan (2015) specifically narrated to us rare musalsalat narrations from Habib Hamid to be transmitted to us.  He also gave to us the Mudd vessel from Habib Hamid for us to keep in High Wycombe along with the ijazah for the vessel.  Students in High Wycombe did request an ijazah directly from Habib Hamid, however he requested that students visit him in person for this honour.


Habib Hamid al-Kaf’s funeral was prayed today after Isha in the Masjid al-Haram, after which he was taken to be buried in the Maala graveyard in the enclosure specified for the noble Ahl al-Bayt.


Categories: Makkah Scholarship

Reading of Jaliyat al-Kadr with Isnad

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The picture above is of a blessed gathering which took place in the Midlands in the month of Ramadan wherein the Jaliyat al-Kadr regarding the martyrs of Badr was recited with a chain of transmission back to its author.

Visible in the picture is our teacher Shaykh Khalid Turkestani from Mecca who was visiting us for a few days in the UK and agreed to read this poem with us with his chain of transmission.

Shaykh Turkestani narrates this poem via his teacher Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki by way of recital and also possesses other chains back to the author by way of ijazah from his teacher Shaykh Muhammad Yasin al-Fadani.

JazakAllah Khair to the Karima al-Marwaziyya Foundation for organising this trip for Shaykh Turkestani, the Olton project for being generous hosts for this event and Manaqib productions for their translation and publication of the Jaliyat al-Kadr and facilitating the reading from the idea of its inception to its completion.


Categories: Makkah Scholarship

Shaykh Abd al-Rahman al-Mulla

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God have mercy on Sh Abd al-Rahman al-Mulla, (pictured here in the centre in a blue garment) who passed away on this day (27 Shawwal) in 2001 aged 98 years old. I believe there is a biography of his on this website, but to summarise he studied in his native Ahsa, Mecca and Madinah in his youth.

We are fortunate to narrate some musalsal hadith from him via his nephew Shaykh Yahya al-Mulla.


Categories: al-Ahsa Scholarship

Najd and Traditional Hanbalism

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Ulema Najd


As mentioned elsewhere on this site, the evidence based method of teaching fiqh has seemed odd to me and radically different to the way other madhabs are taught in institutes of traditional learning.  Some people who seem to know nothing of fiqh except their understanding of it being the “weighing up” of evidences and following the “stronger opinion” may be puzzled to find endless pages of classic fiqh commentaries with the odd mention of an evidence.  They may also scoff at any rebuke of the contemporary “I am a Hanbali who does tarjih of the strongest opinion” which seems to be prevalent in Saudi.

I have detailed this elsewhere on this site and prepared a small powerpoint on this which I may upload soon inshAllah.  [Suffice it to say, Imam al-Shawkani’s Salafi commentary entitled Sayl al-Jarrar on a Shia Zaydi fiqh text sums up nicely what I am referring to].

I was therefore pleased to find the following passages in a work on the scholars of Najd by Shaykh Aal-Bassam (cover above) which succinctly highlighted the differences in approach to fiqh which came in to vogue after the emergence of Shaykh Ibn Abd al-Wahab.  He also mentioned the existence of other schools of fiqh in Najd in the not too distant past, and the existence of many scholars of Najd who opposed the movement of Shaykh Ibn Abd al-Wahab.

The selected quotes below begin from page 17 onwards:

From the time that we first know about the scholars of Najd until the appearance of Shaykh Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahab (Allah Most High have mercy on him), scholarly knowledge was primarily limited to fiqh, meaning the subsidiary matters of fiqh.

The predominant madhab amongst them was the madhab of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (Allah be pleased with him), along with the existence of others from the schools of the four Imams, except that the majority was that of the madhab of Imam Ahmad. Scholarly knowledge – regardless of the different madhabs – did not usually extend beyond comprehensive understanding of this field of knowledge.

Thus their engagement with the knowledge of Tafsir, Hadith and Tawhid was extremely limited. As for the sciences related to language, they did not concern themselves with them except for the science of Nahw and its concise works from which they learned that which was sufficient to rectify their language from grammatical mistakes.

 Anything apart from this they regarded as a waste of time and a preoccupation from that which is superior than it. It was rare that anyone from them would go beyond Fiqh to the other sacred sciences or Arabic…

As for the Fiqh of the madhab of Imam Ahmad, then they had gained a complete mastery over it and paid significant attention to it, such that they taught its books in a detailed manner and researched its issues in a comprehensive and intricate way.

When the call (dawah) of Shaykh Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahab spread then this approach (ittijah) changed, with a greater variety in the intellectual culture and increase in sciences. Thus the primary focus became Tawhid not least the Tawhid al-Uluhiyyah, along with attention being paid to the Salafi books of Tafsir such as Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, al-Baghawi and their like.

 There was a focus on hadith and its central works and commentaries. Likewise the principles of these sciences were taught. The attention in fiqh – the subject of the lesson being the fiqh of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal – was that if the well known position of the school (Mashur) was weak and another view (in the school) was more correct, then the preferred view taken was which was  supported by the evidence from the Book and the authentic Sunnah, meanwhile not going outside of the positions of the other Imams or some of them.

If you wish to compare between these two periods in relation to the research of matters of knowledge, then compare between the Fatawa of the scholars of Najd, some of which were copied by Shaykh Ahmad al-Manqur in his collection (Majmu’) and between the Fatawa which are compiled in Durar al-Saniyyah. You will see that in the first they confine themselves to the well known position (Mashur) of the Madhab, attempting to apply their answer in conformity with that which had been stated by the Hanbali jurists, free from citing evidences from the Book and the Sunnah.

 As for the Durar al-Saniyyah, you will see that their Fatawa are sourced from the madhab of Imam Ahmad (Allah have mercy on him) except that they are mentioned alongside their evidences in the Sacred Law. Likewise you will find that they may go against the well-known position of the Madhab when the authentic evidence conflicted with the Madhab…the point is that the intellectual culture between the first and second time periods had changed.

Before the emergence of Shaykh Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahab and the unification of the country and centralising of education policy, all the four madhabs existed in Najd, except that the widespread madhab in it was the Hanbali madhab. The people of al-Kharaj on the other hand were predominantly upon the madhab of Imam Abu Hanifah and al-Shafii. From their scholars was Rashid bin Khanin al-Aidhi by way of lineage and Hanafi in madhab, a contemporary and opponent of Shaykh Muhammad [bin Abd al-Wahab] and his dawah.

 I was informed by Shayh Rashid bin Khanin – our contemporary – …that he spent a lengthy time as a scribe for the Qadi of al-Kharaj, Shaykh Abd al-Aziz bin Baz, and that the [old] legal records and rulings which they found [for the area] were all issued by Hanafi or Shafii judges, and that scholars of the Khanin family were previously Hanafi…

Likewise there was in some of its scholars [of Najd] adherence to Tasawwuf and belonging to specific tariqahs

In this book of mine I have written biographical entries for many scholars who opposed the Salafi dawah which was revived by the Islamic leader, reformer, Imam Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahab.

End of selected quotes


Categories: Fiqh Scholarship

Sh Yahya al-Mulla in the UK Easter 2014

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Sh Yahya al-Mulla Easter 2014


This picture is taken from one of the senior most Hanafi scholars of the Arabian Gulf – Shaykh Yahya bin Muhammad bin Abi Bakr al-Mulla – on his visit to the UK a few months back, where he taught Qawaid al-Fiqh according to the Hanafi school as well as other subjects including transmitting narrations of his teachers in hadith.

Categories: al-Ahsa Scholarship

Sayyid Maliki’s Dua/Dhikr at Iftar Time

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Last Ramadan when Shaykh Khalid Turkestani from Mecca visited the UK to teach in Ramadan, he taught us the following dua at the time of Iftar.  He mentioned that he learnt it from his teacher Shaykh Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki when the Sayyid and his students would sit together to break the fast, repeating the basic formula of this dua together for some time preceding the iftar itself.

Sh Turkestani kindly sent the following recording as a reminder of what to recite, which I have attempted to transliterate and quickly translate to give an idea of the meaning.

The Sayyid (Allah have mercy on him) use to say:

Ashadu an la ilaha illalah nastaghfirullah

I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, we seek Allah’s forgiveness

Nasaluk Allahummal jannata wa naudhubika min an nar

O Allah, we ask you for Paradise and seek refuge in You from the Fire

Ya Adheem Ya Adheem ighfiri dhanb al-adheem

O Great One (Allah); O Great One (Allah); forgive the enormous acts of disobedience

Fainnahu la yaghfiru dhanb al-adheem illal adheem

For no one forgives enormous acts of disobedience except the Great One (Allah)

La ilaha illalah nastaghfirullah

there is no god except Allah, we seek Allah’s forgiveness

Nasaluk Allahummal jannata wa naudhubika min an nar

O Allah, we ask you for Paradise and seek refuge in You from the Fire

Categories: Fiqh Makkah Scholarship

Reminder of Rihla 1997

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Embedded image permalink


Today I cam across this picture of Sayyid Ibrahim al-Khalifah (Allah Most High protect him) from al-Ahsa returning back to Saudi Arabia after his reading of Sahih Muslim with students in Turkey.  To his right is visible his Shaykh Abdullah al-Khatib along with a number of his colleagues.

Shaykh Abdullah al-Khatib is remembered by many students who attended the month long Rihla course in Nottingham in 1997 where the teaching line up consisted of Shaykh Nuh Keller, Shaykh Abdullah al-Kadi, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Shaykha Besa Krasniqi and some other supporting staff.

Shaykh Abdullah’s voice is still etched in the memories of many students, and we pray that we can once again benefit from his recitation of the Quran and rendition of Qasaid in the near future on the British Isles.

Side note:  Sayyid Ibrahim al-Khalifah mashAllah has a strong circle of students in his native al-Ahsa, a number of whom are young upcoming scholars in their own right.  His circle of students are very active in teaching the Shariah sciences with a focus on the school of Imam al-Shafii.  I was fortunate enough to attend the opening lesson of the reading of Sahih al-Bukhari in 2007 in al-Ahsa which was attended by a large number of his Ahsai students.






Categories: al-Ahsa Scholarship

Musalsal Hadith Text in English

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Safahat Cover


Please find uploaded below (at the end of the post) a brief text on Musalsal hadith which was compiled for the recent visit of Shaykh Yahya bin Muhammad al-Mulla.  I believe it is the first text of its kind in the English language, and we pray to Allah Most High for the ability to translate further on this topic to enable students in the West to be able to linked to this academic legacy left behind by our ulema.

Readers will find the following in the text:

  1. A very simplified diagram of some chains of transmission of Shaykh Yahya al-Mulla
  2. A selection of Musalsal hadith selected from the works Ithaf al-Ikhwan and Al-Ujalah (which Shaykh Yahya read with his teachers)
  3. The Arabic text and translation of the whole chain and hadith
  4. A discussion on the narrations presented taken from a number of sources
  5. A sample ijazah to be signed for scholars or competent students of knowledge who might meet the Shaykh


Safahat 1.2

Sayyid Ahmad al-Ruqaymi

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One of the hidden gems of traditional Islam in Makka is the teacher of our teachers, the Husayni Sayyid,  Allamah Ahmad al-Ruqaymi.  During his teaching career he was known for his mastery of a range of sciences and regularly taught works as diverse as Sharh Ibn Aqil in grammar, Tafsir Nasafi, logic, the books of hadith and complex calculations in inheritance law, not to mention the Shafi’i school.

He is the teacher of countless students who have travelled to Makka to study in its circles of traditional knowledge.  Shaykh Yahya Al-Mulla studied with him back in the 1970s when he was a student at Dar al-Ulum Makka, as did Shaykh Khalid Turkestani, who read a number of works with him privately and provided me with the information presented below.

It is unfortunate that elderly scholarly gems such as Sayyid Ahmad are virtually unknown in traditional circles in the West, despite their producing generations of scholars and dedicating their lives to teaching.  How many a student has visited Makka a number of times and had no idea that scholars of his calibre were actively teaching?

Alhumdulillah I was fortunate enough to visit the Sayyid a few months ago at an appointment he gave me despite his Ill health, when I entered his run down flat I was taken to his room where he was lying down with the Tafsir of Imam al Baydawi resting on his chest so it would face him so he could read it.  He was kind enough to narrate the hadith of mercy to me and had to be pulled up to an upright position to allow him to sit up.  May Allah Most High protect him and give him a long life filled with worship.

Sayyid Ahmad al-Ruqaymi

He is the most learned scholar, hadith specialist and jurist:  Sayyid Ahmad bin Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz al-Ruqaymi al-Husayni al-Shafi’i previously of Yemen and now of Makkah.

Birth & Upbringing

He was born in 1350 Hijri in Yemen in the area lower Wassab, which is east to the city of Zabid.  He was raised by his parents and his religious ubringing was undertaken by his father Sayyid Abdullah, with whom he studied the Quran with.  Thereafter he studied the foundational sciences of Islamic law, grammar and other subjects with his uncle Sayyid Muhammad Abd al-Aziz al-Ruqaymi (d.1367).  After his passing away he kept the company of his cousins Sayyid Khalid bin Abd al-Baqi and his brother Sayyid Ahmad, with whom he studied.

Arrival in Makkah

In the year 1384 Hijri he travelled to Makkah to perform the obligatory Hajj, bidding farewell to his family and heading towards Makkah intending to fulfill his obligation and take up residence.

His Teachers

During his residence he attended the circles and lessons of Sayyid Alawi bin Abbas al-Maliki.  He studied a number of sciences with him, amongst them being:  Ibn Aqil in grammar and parts of Sahih Muslim and other works in hadith.  After the passing away of Sayyid Alawi he attended the circle of his son Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki (Allah Most High have mercy on him).

Likewise he kept the company of Shaykh Hasan al-Mashat with whom he read parts of the Sahih of Imam Muslim, the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Qatr al-Nada and other works in a number of sciences.

He studied Islamic law and fiqh with Abdullah al-Lahji

He kept the company of Sayyid Muhammad Amin Kutbi and read a large number of works with him, such as Qatr al-Nada, Al-Mughni of Ibn Hisham and Ibn Aqil in grammar; Jawhar al-Maknun in Balagha; Taftazani and Sharh al-Izzi in Sarf; Sirah al-Nabawiyyah of Halabi and Suhayli; Jalalayn and other books.

He studied with Sayyid Muhammad al-Arabi al-Tubbani in the Haram al-Makki al-Sharif as well in his home.

He studied fiqh with Shaykh Ibrahim Fatani, with whom he read many works of the Shafi school such as: Al-Tahrir; Mughni Sharh al-Minhaj; Sharh al-Adhkar of Ibn Allan.  Likewise in Balagha the work Hawashi al-Naqiyyah and other books…

He did not miss out on taking from Shaykh Muhammad Nur Sayf Hilal, as he read many books in different subjects with him in the Masjid al-Haram and in his home.

He studied Islamic and Inheritance law with Sayyid Salim al-Attas.

He read Islamic law, hadith and grammar with Shaykh Abdullah Dardum

He read the work Lub al-Usul with Shaykh Muhammad Iwad (d.1412)

He read the work Lub al-Usul and Jam’ al-Jawami’ with Shaykh Ismail al-Zayn

He read the Sahih of Imam al-Bukhari; hadith science, tafsir and Al-Ashmuni in grammar with Shaykh Khayr Muhammad Hijazi

He also studied fiqh with Sayyid Umar al-Yafi’i

His Permission to Teach
He was given permission by his Shuyukh to teach, he also told me [Khalid Turkestani],

“I opened a small grocery store in which I used to work, Shaykh Muhammad al-Arabi al-Tubbani passed by and [on seeing me] said:  This is not your place, your place is teaching.  After some time Sayyid Muhammad Amin Kutbi also passed by and [on seeing me] said:  Your place is teaching and instruction.  Thereafter I left the grocery shop and turned my attention to teaching, and all praise is due to Allah for this.”

Teaching Career
Sayyid Ahmad’s teaching career spans decades, with his being honoured with teaching in the Masjid al-Haram for a period of time.  In addition to this he also taught at Shaykh al-Fadani’s school Dar al-Ulum al-Diniyyah as well as the Sawlatiyyah from which he retired relatively recently in 1428H due to old age.  Despite his Ill health he still receives students who come to read with him in his home.

Categories: Makkah Scholarship