Shaykh Ahmad al-Dawghan al-Ahsai
(Born 1911/1332 Hijri)
This is a brief biographical entry for the most learned scholar, jurist, ascetic, remnant of the pious predecessors, the Mufti and reviver (Mujaddid) of the Shafi’i school in al-Ahsa. Ever since coming to learn about Shaykh Ahmad al-Dawghan for the first time in 1997 I had desired to somehow meet the Shaykh. Alhumdulillah I was finally able to meet him at the end of 2006 or beginning of 2007 , visiting him in his home in al-Ahsa.
Birth and Lineage
He is Shaykh Ahmad bin Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Hussaina al-Dawghan al-Ahsai al-Khalidi.
His father was from the students of knowledge, his grandfather was a scholar as was his ancestor Shaykh Hussain.
He was born in the year 1332 Hijri (1911) in the area of al-Koot in the city of al-Ahsa and was raised there.
Pursuit of Knowledge
It was in al-Ahsa where he undertook his studies, amongst his teachers being:
Shaykh Muhammad bin Hussain al-Arfaj al-Shafi’i (1287-1360)
Shaykh Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Aliyy al-Arfaj al-Shafi’i (1280-1357)
Shaykh Abd al-Aziz bin Salih al-Ulji al-Maliki (1288-1362)
In the course of his studies he memorized the Quran at a young age, as well as the text of al-Zubad in Shafi’i fiqh and parts of the Alfiyyah Ibn Malik.
Shaykh Ahmad al-Dawghan taught for approximately 25 years in Saudi schools. However in his youth due to poverty (before the Saudi oil boom) he travelled to India in pursuit of a livelihood. He taught Quran to young children there, his wage being 2 rupees a month! Shaykh Ahmad al-Dawghan said,
“We were afflicted with poverty and now we are experiencing immense blessings, we are unable to praise Him (Allah Most High) sufficently.”
He possesses an unbroken chain for the books of the Shafi’i school linking back to Imam al-Shafi’i. It is said that there is between Shaykh Ahmad al-Dawghan and between Shaykh Ahmad Zayni Dahlan (the Mufti of Makkah who died in 1304 Hijri/1886) only one narrator, namely his teacher Shaykh Muhammad bin Hussain al-Arfaj.
He has numerous students from both al-Ahsa and outside it, the most notable being: His sons Dr Muhammad and Shaykh Abd al-Aziz, Shaykh Walid bin Abd al-Latif al-Arfaj and his brother Dr. Ahmad, Shaykh Abd al-Latif bin Abdullah al-Saeed al-Arfaj, Shaykh Abd al-Latif bin Muhammad al-Arfaj, Dr Abd al-Ilah al-Arfaj, Dr. Isam al-Khatib, Dr Muhammad bin Abdullah al-Jughaiman, Shaykh Muhammad bin Abdullah al-Dawghan, Shaykh Luay bin Abdullah Sayyid al-Hashim, Shaykh Mahir al-Jafari, Shaykh Muhammad bin Abu Isa al-Umayr, Sayyid Ibrahim al-Khalifah and numerous others including those from Kuwait, Syria, Sudan and elsewhere.
Advice to Students
His advice to students of knowledge when once requested to do so was,
“I advise you to have taqwa of Allah and obedience to Him, seeking knowledge, righteous action and sincere intention.”
Praise of a Notable Scholar
Shaykh Muhammad Awwamah said of him,
“In the city of al-Ahsa is the remnant of the righteous Salaf, our Shaykh, the scholar who practices his knowledge, the example to be followed…Shaykh Ahmad al-Dawghan, Allah protect him and give him well being. He trained generations over decades. They are relied upon in Fatwa in Shafi’i fiqh, may Allah give coolness to his eyes through them.”
From the works which he has taught are:
Umdat al-Salik of Shaykh Ahmad bin Naqib al-Misri
Sharh al-Zubad of Shaykh Ahmad bin Hijazi al-Fashani
Al-Idah of Imam al-Nawawi
Fath al-Muin of Shaykh Zayn al-Din al-Mallibari
Fath al-Wahhab of Qadi Zakariyyah al-Ansari
Kifayat al-Akhyar of Shaykh Taqi al-Din al-Hisni
Al-Iqna of Shaykh Khatib al-Shirbini
Mughni al-Muhtaj Sharh al-Minhaj of Shaykh Khatib al-Shirbini
Fath al-Jawwad Sharh al-Irshad of Shaykh Ibn Hajar al-Haytami
May Allah Taala protect Shaykh Ahmad al-Dawghan and allow us to continue benefitting from him, Amin.