Salam. Someone from the fine city of Leicester (England) requested some information on Shaykh Abd al-Hayy al-Kattani a while back. Unfortunately I have been unable to post a full biography of him as of yet, however readers can find some posts related to him on this blog. The Shaykh (if I recall correctly) is buried in France. Inshallah it is hoped viewers will be able to identify the Shaykh via the first picture below, as to where he is present in the subsequent images. Wassalam
Salam. A reminder for me and perhaps others to shake off our laziness and make an effort to offer the prayer in congregation. We have all heard of its virtues, but sometimes can resort to finding excuses not to do so, which includes grabbing on to the rulings cited in works of fiqh for those who can be excused from offering the prayer in congregation. Imam al-Dhahabi mentioned in his entry for al-Qawariri in his ‘al-Siyar’ (11/442-446):
Al-Baghawi said: I heard Ubaidullah al-Qawariri say: I would not miss the Isha prayer (al-Atamah) in congregation. I was visited by a guest and I was busied with him. I went out seeking the prayer with the tribes of Basra but I found that the people had offered their prayers. I said to myself that it is reported from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that he said: ‘The congregational prayer is more virtuous than the prayer offered alone by 20 degrees’ and it is reported ’25 degrees’ and ’27’. I returned back to my home and offered the Isha prayer 27 times and then slept and dreamt that I was with a group mounted on horses, I was mounted and we were racing, their horses were ahead of mine, and I struck my horse to catch up with them. The last of them (the group of riders in front of me) turned towards me and said: ‘Do not exert your horse as you will not catch up with us’.
I said: ‘Why?’
He replied: ‘Because we offered the Isha prayer in congregation’.
Salam. Imam al-Dhahabi mentions in his ‘al-Siyar’ in his entry for Imam al-Bukhari (12/391/471):
On the authority of al-Farbari: I saw the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in a dream, he said to me: Where are you going?
I said: I am going to Muhammad bin Ismaeel al-Bukhari
He replied: Convey my greeting to him
Imam al-Dhahabi also mentions:
Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Makki al-Jurjani said: I heard Abd al-Wahid bin Adam al-Tawawisi say: I saw the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in a dream, he was with a group of his companions, and he was standing in a place. I greeted him and he replied to the greeting. I said: Why is it that you are standing here O Messenger of Allah?
He said: I am waiting for Muhammad bin Ismaeel al-Bukhari.
After some days (news of) his death reached me, I found that he had passed away during the hour in which I had seen the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Salam. I have been working occasionally on the wonderful beginners level aqidah-fiqh-tasawwuf text from al-Ahsa. Those who have visited the blog in the past will have noticed that other sections from this work have been posted. May Allah (the Exalted) give us tawfiq to complete this work. A reminder: The text of ‘It-haf al-Talib’ is in bold, and the other notes are based on the authors and editors commentary and footnotes. Please refer to other posts on the blog for more details about this blessed text.
Chapter on Tayammum
-In the sacred law (shariah) it is the intending the use of clean earth, and its use in a specific manner for the performance of an act of worship.
[Integrals of Tayammum] Its integrals are two things: 1- The two strikes 2- Complete covering
[Conditions of Tayammum] Its conditions are six: 1- The intention 2-The Wiping 3-That it be with three fingers or more 4-The soil 5-That it be clean 6-The absence of water
[Recommended Acts of Tayammum] Its recommended acts are eight: 1-Striking with the inner part of the hands 2-Passing them forward 3-Passing them backwards 4-To dust them both off 5-To spread out the fingers 6-The tasmiyah 7 -Order 8-Continuity.
[Reasons Permitting Tayammum]
One who is unable to use water Which is unqualified (mutlaq) and is of a sufficient amount to purify with due to it being a distance Even in a city of a mile Which is a third of a farsakh, 4000 steps, and is a cubit and half from the general cubit (aamah), which in turn is 24 fingers.
or due to illness From which a person fears an increase in the illness or a delay in the healing based on a predominant view, or the opinion of an expert Muslim cold From which he fears harm or illness, even in a city, this is for a person in a state of major ritual impurity (junub) if they do not possess the fees for a bath house (hammam). If they do possess this then there is agreement that it is not permitted. As for the person in a state of minor ritual impurity it is said tayammum is permitted for them. Al-Aini said in ‘Sharh al-Kanz’: The correct view is that it is not permitted for a resident person in a state of minor ritual impurity to perform tayammum (i.e. if they possess enough money to use washing facilities).
fear of an enemy Whether it be a human or other, whether he fears for himself, his properties or trusts thirst Whether he fears it at that moment or in the future, or for a friend amongst fellow travellers, his riding animal even if it be a dog. Likewise his need for it for making dough or the removal of filth
absence of a means Such as a rope and a bucket, for all of the previously mentioned reasons performs tayammum, intending Purification from ritual impurity (hadath) upon his person. It is not a condition to specify the removal of major ritual impurity (janabah) from the minor ritual impurity, or the making of the prayer permissible, or an intended worship which is not correct without purification such as prayer and prostration of recitation. Such that if a person made tayammum for the entry to a masjid, calling the adhan or iqamah he cannot perform the prayer with this tayammum. The time of the intention is: At the time of striking the hands upon that which the person will be making tayammum from, or at the time of wiping the body parts with dust which they have come in contact with.
with two strikes Even if it be from other than the person making tayammum. So for example if he intends tayammum and orders another to perform tayammum on him it is correct/valid.
Note: If a persons face and arms come in to contact with dust during strong winds for example, or a wall collapses creating a large amount of dust in the air and the person wipes his face and arms accompanied by an intention then it will be correct.
covering Meaning with the wipe the face and hands along with the elbows A person should remove the ring, rub between the fingers and wipe all of the skin and hair of the face even if The person performing tayammum is in a state of major ritual impurity (janabah) or menstruating Or in a state of post natal bleeding
With a pure substance from the typeof the earth Such as dust, pebbles, stones, mountainous salt not sea salt. If the dust is admixed with something else, if the dust is predominant then it is permissible, if not then it is not.
It is correct Meaning tayammum before The entry of the time Likewise one performance of tayammum and for more than one obligatory (prayer) Because it is regarded as absolute purity such as wudu.
[Nullifiers Of Tayammum]
It is nullified by Referring to tayammum because it is a substitute for it and therefore takes its ruling That which nullifies wudu, And It is also nullified by the disappearance/absence of the reason which permitted it in the first place. Thus if a person performed tayammum due to an illness it is nullified by his recovery. Likewise due to cold when the weather is no longer cold or the absence of an enemy, or the presence of a means. to access water. All of these are included in his statement:
The ability to use a sufficient amount of water For his purification even if only washing each part once.
 The difference between the Wudu and Tayammum such that the intention is not required as a condition for the validity of wudu, but however is a condition for the validity/correctness of tayammum is because wudu (and its like such as ghusl) is that they are performed with water which is cleansing substance by nature. So when a person performing wudu or bathing uses water the desired aim of purification and cleanliness is achieved from the use of the water. As for Tayammum it performed by the use of soil/dust which by its nature is a soiling substance. However the sacred law has regared it as being a purifying substance due to need. Therefore if any one of us were to wipe their face with soil/dust we would not know if this was a soiling or purification of our face except by the accompaniment of an intention. Therefore it is necessary for the intention for the wiping of the face and hands/arms with dust as being an act of purification. Maraqi al-Falah (p.660).
 That a person start with the face and then the hands/arms as was the practice of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
 It is equivalent to approximately 50 centimetres, therefore based on this a farsakh would be 3000 metres, a mile would be a third of this and would be approximately 1000 metres. According to Abu Yusuf (Allah have mercy on him) if the water is at distance such that if the person went towards it, performs wudu, and his caravan should depart and disappear from sight, it is defined as being distant and then tayammum becomes permissible (Ibn al-Hummam 1/85). Some of the scholars defined it as that if ones voice would not reach a place, then it is regarded as being distant, see al-Mabsut of al-Sarakhsi (1/115).
 If there is surety of there being harm in the performance of wudu there is agreement that tayammum is permitted for him, because harm is repelled by statements of the sacred law. See Rad al-Muhtar ala Dur al-Mukhtar (1/156). The basis for this is that which is reported by Imam Ahmad in ‘al-Musnad’ (3/204) from Ibn Abbas from Amr bin al-Aas that he performed prayer with the people whilst in a state of major ritual impurity. When they came to Madinah they asked the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) who questioned him regarding it. He replied: O Messenger of Allah I feared that the cold would kill me, as Allah (the Most High) has said: ‘Do not kill yourselves, Indeed Allah is Most Merciful with you’ so I performed tayammum and prayed. At this the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) laughed.
 He is Mahmud bin Ahmad bin Musa bin Ahmad bin Hussein bin Yusuf bin Mahmud al-Ayntabi, al-Halabi and then al-Qahiri, al-Hanafi. Better known as al-Aini (Badr al-Din, Abul Thana, Abu Muhammad). A jurist, scholar of Usul, Mufassir, expert in hadith, historian, grammarian, poet. He was fluent in both Arabic and Turkish. He was born in Kaykan on the 17th of Ramadan in the year 762 Hijri and passed away in Cairo in 4/12/855 Hijri. From his numerous include: His commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari in 21 volumes called Umdat al-Qari, Uqd al-Juman fi Tarikh Ahl al-Zaman in 19 volumes, Ramz al-Haqaiq fi Sharh Kanz al-Daqaiq in fiqh. See Mujam al-Muallifin (12/150) and Fawaid al-Bahiyyah (p.205).
 Meaning more than a dirham in terms of size.
 Intended worship (ibadah maqsudah) is that which which is not obligated is the course of having to perform another act of worship. See Bahr al-Raiq (1/157).
 Jabir reports from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: ‘Tayammum is two strikes, a strike for the face, and a strike for the hands up to the elbows.’ Reported by al-Hakim in ‘al-Mustadrak’ (1/180).
 Meaning a menstruating and post natal bleeding woman both of whose bleeding has ceased.
 Everything which burns with fire and becomes ash such as leaves and wood. Likewise everything which is malleable such as metal, gold, and silver. Also everything which is consumed by the earth such as grains and seeds. All of these are not regarded as being from the type of the earth. All such objects/materials which are not like the above are to be regarded as being from the type of the earth. Therefore all that which is not from the type of the earth is not permissible to make tayammum from if it is not covered in dust. As for that which is from the type of the earth it is permissible to make tayammum from it even if it does not have dust on it with the condition that it is pure. See al-Zaylai ala al-Kanz (1/38-39). The basis for this are His (the Exalted’s) words: ‘Perform tayammum from pure earth’. The earth is defined as that which is apparent upon the land from its type. And that which is from the hadith of Jabir: ‘…the earth was made a masjid and pure for me…’ reported by al-Bukhari (335) and Muslim (3).
 Because tayammum is akin to wudu due to the order in the noble verse where He (the Exalted) said: ‘If you do not find water then perform tayammum with pure earth’ (al-Maidah:6) and His (Allah bless him and give him peace) saying: ‘Dust is a purification for a Muslim even if it be for 10 Hajj’s if he does not find water’ reported by Abu Dawud (333) and Ibn Hibban (1308 ) al-Hakim (1/176-177 ) from Abu Dharr. It was graded Sahih by al-Tirmidhi (124) who said it was Hasan Sahih. I say: However it is superior to repeat it for every obligatory prayer to remove oneself from the difference of opinion regarding the matter.
 Ghalwah: It is the furthest point at which an archers arrow will fall. From al-Layth: a complete farsakh is 25 ghalwah, and from Ibn Shuja: a ghalwah is the distance of between 300-400 cubits. In modern measurements it would equal approximately 184.80 metres. See ‘Mujam Lughah al-Fuqaha’ (p.334).
 Even by looking in its directions if it is evident by looking.
 Meaning has a strong view because it necessitates action in practical acts, as opposed to doubt for no ruling is built upon it.
The ‘Dalail al-Khayrat’ is indeed a blessed text, may Allah (the Exalted) enable us to benefit from it and have the tawfiq to write more on it in the future.
I was given a small paperback book consisting of litanies compiled by Shaykh Abu Bakr al-Mulla al-Ahsai. [Please note that Sh Abu Bakr was a contemporary of Imam Ibn Abidin] They consisted of three texts:
-‘Tajrid Kawkab al-Munir’, a shorter version of it called ‘Dalail al-Fadail’: both manuals on sending salawat upon the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)
-And an abridgement of the ‘Hizb al-Azam’
I requested Shaykh Yahya to select 40 salawat whose source is from the hadith from the ‘Dalail al-Fadail’ or perhaps the ‘Safwat al-Dalail’ which is also edited by Shaykh Yahya and is by a Shafi scholar from al-Ahsa. I requested this mainly for myself and perhaps others whose unfortunate laziness and lack of resolve means that we are unable to fully benefit from the ‘Dalail al-Khayrat’.
Shaykh Yahya -Allah preserve him- was happy to help with this request and promised to work on this project in addition to his many other commitments of: full time work, teaching students, editing books, looking after Masjids and Madaris amongst other things.
I have pasted below the beginning of Shaykh Abu Bakrs introduction to his ‘Dalail al-Fadail’ which is based on another work of his which was described by some as: “It is as if the one who recites it has recited the Dalail al-Khayrat’.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمدُ لله تعالى وحدهُ ، والصلاةُ والسلامُ على منْ لا نبيَّ بعدهُ ، صلاةً وسلاماً يعمانِ آلهُ وصحبهُ وجندهُ ، أما بعدُ :
فإني لما جمعتُ كتابَ الكوكبِ المنيرِ في الصـلاةِ على البشيرِ النذيرِ المشتملِ على عدةِ كيفيـاتٍ تفوقُ الواحدةُ منها عدداً كثيراً منَ الصلواتِ ، حتى قيلَ في بعضها : أنَّ منْ صلى بها فكأنما قرأَ دلائلَ الخيراتِ .
أحببتُ أنْ أنتخبَ فرائدهُ رَوْماً للاختصارِ ، وترغيباً للمنتفعينَ المعرضينَ عنِ الإكثارِ ، فَلَخَّصْتُ منهُ ذلكَ وَأَضَفْتُ إلى ما هنالكَ جملةً منْ مفتاحِ السعادةِ ومعراجِ السيادةِ للسيدِ الشريفِ أحمدَ بن عمرَ الهندواني ، لِمَا اشتملَ عليهِ منْ الكيفياتِ النافعـةِ المتضمنةِ لأدعيةٍ هيَ لخيراتِ الدارينِ جامعةٌ ، فلذلكَ لَمَّا فرغــتُ مـــنْ هذا المنتخــبِ الكـــاملِ سميتــهُ ( دلائلُ الفضائلِ ) واللهُ سبحانهُ وتعالى المسؤولُ أنْ يَمُنَّ عَلَيَّ بالقبولِ ، إنهُ أكرمُ مأمولٍ .
This is the final installment in the series on following the hadith and following a Madhab. The aim was to select some brief quotes and arguments from Shaykh Muhammad Awwamah’s ‘Athar al-Hadith al-Sharif’ and present them in a way which would benefit the common reader interested in the matter. The original book from which these posts were taken has much more detailed arguments which can be referred to, the aim here was to just give an outline. We hope this series has been of benefit and has helped in removing any doubts which may have risen in the minds of the sincere seekers of truth out there. Wassalam
Doubt: If the Imams of the Madhahib knew the sunnah why then do some of them deduce a ruling from a weak hadith, which is opposed by an authentic hadith with another Imam. Does this not show that this Imam of the madhab did not know the Sahih hadith?
Answer: The Imams had a vast and deep understanding of the sunnah, which can be seen by all those who study their biographies, but regarding the doubt that they may have used weak hadith certain things must be noted.
The Evidences Mentioned In The Books Of The Madhabs May Not Be Evidences That The Imam Used
The hadith that the jurists (fuqaha) present in their books as evidences for the madhab are not necessarily the exact same evidences that the Imam of the Madhab himself based his ruling on. Yes they may be the same in many instances, but this cannot be applied to everything that has been deduced by the Imam. Thus in the books which mention the evidences for a madhab you will find: the ruling that is mentioned is of the Imam, but the evidence is a hadith that the author found in agreement to what the Imam judged, so he cited it as a proof, and the Imam may have had a different proof that only Allah knows.
This principle applies most of all to the Hanafi madhab, because Imam Abu Hanifah did not himself record his fiqh and evidences, as was the same to a certain extent with the other Imams who did not record all their evidences. Therefore the hadith that you find in al-Hidayah of al-Marghinani al-Hanafi for example and Sharh al-Risalah of Ibn Abi Zaid al-Qairawani al-Maliki and alMajmu Sharh al-Muhadhab of al-Shirazi al-Shafi and al-Mughni of Ibn Qudamah al-Hanbali and others, many of the ahadith cited in these works are not those that were used to deduce the ruling by the Imam of the Madhab himself.
A Misunderstanding Which Leads To Harbouring Bad Opinion Of The Madhabs
The lack of comprehending the previous point has caused some to harbour a bad opinion of the madhahib for when they checked the hadith mentioned in the books they may see the scholars of hadith classifying many of the hadith as: ‘fabricated, weak or not known in a marfu form’.
Thus the they think that these ahadith are from the deductions of the Imam of the Madhab himself, which then leads to the doubt of: ‘How can we accept the leadership in religious matters and Ijtihad for someone who deduces from fabricated and weak narrations, and attributes to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) the statement which are actually the words of a companion (sahabi) of follower (tabiee)?’.
The Imams Had Their Own Chains For The Hadith, Some Of Which Have Not Reached Us
The jurist (faqih) may cite an evidence which is the evidence of the Imam himself, and it is reported in a hadith book of the later hadith scholars who came after the time of the Imams of the schools of law, such as the 4 Sunan, Masanid, Mujam works etc. The hadith scholar adjudges it to be weak based on its chain of narration, or perhaps even fabricated, thus it cannot be acted upon with this chain of narration.
However at the same time that this hadith has been reported by the Imam with his own specific chain of narration which is Sahih or can be relied upon, but this Sahih chain is not mentioned in the hadith collection you have in front of you.
So someone comes along in the twentieth century and analyses the hadith from the route of the muhaddithin in their books, and finds that the hadith cannot be relied upon, so he will hurry to criticize and find fault with the ruling in the madhab which is based on this hadith. But if he looks in the works of the Imams he will find that the very same hadith has reached us with a Sahih or Hasan chain of narration.
Example Of A Hanafi Ruling Which Has A Sahih Chain From The Imam But Was Only Discovered Later
An example to illustrate the above point is the following: Al-Marghinani mentions in al-Hidayah (4:139) with its commentary Fath al-Qadir the hadith:
“Ward off the legal punishments (hudud) due to doubts”.
He mentions that it is marfu, it was referenced by al-Zaylai in Nasb al-Rayah (3:333) in a mawquf form from Sayyidina Umar, Muadh ibn Jabal, Uqbah bin Amir, and in the chain of narration to them is Ibn Abi Farukh, and he is abandoned as a narrator, and from al-Zuhri, and he is follower (Tabi) whose words are not a proof.
Due to this weakness Ibn Hazm attacked these narrations in al-Muhalla, but the was refuted by Kamal Ibn al-Hummam in Fath al-Qadir, for he established for the hadith its meaning from another hadith mentioned in the two Sahih’s that:
“He (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to Maiz: perhaps you (only) kissed, perhaps you (only) touched, perhaps you (only) winked/signalled”.
The fine point Ibn al-Hummam is making here is that the first hadith which is supposedly weak is supported in meaning by this second hadith where the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is trying to ward off implementing the legal punishment. Thus Ibn al-Hummam established the authenticity of the first narration from the same meaning implicit in the second.
The Authentic Chain For This Hadith Found With Imam Abu Hanifah Although The Well Known Chains For It Are Weak, And Was Missed By Many Hadith Specialists
The hadith mentioned by al-Marghinani which al-Zaylai declared weak in marfu form is however narrated by Imam Abu Hanifah in his Musnad (p.32), its chain of narration being:
“From Miqasam from Ibn Abbas that he said: The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said…”.
Miqasam is trustoworthy (thiqah), he was declared trustworthy by Ahmad bin Salih al-Misri, al-Ijli, Yaqub bin Sufyan and al-Darqutni.
There is no other Sahih chain of narration for this hadith except this one of Imam Abu Hanifah. So from this example we learn that the Imams had their own specific chains of narrations which are not often referred to when referencing ahadith. So look at this example and take note. The Hafidh of hadith al-Zaylai could not not find this Sahih chain, and Ibn al-Hummam who was a great hadith scholar himself did not abandon the position of his madhab just because he couldn’t find a Sahih chain for this narration, rather he tried to look and see if there was anything which could be used as a proof for the position of the Imam, he did not abandon the position of the madhab as some nowadays would have done, but rather stuck the madhab and in the end was borne out as being correct.
Ibn Taymiyyah Mentions The Imams Had Sahih Chains For Hadith Which Over Time Have Reached Us As Weak
Also there are hadith which the Imams of the madhabs knew during their time and had Sahih chains of narration for, but later on only reached us with a weak chain, this was stated by Ibn Taymiyyah where he said in ‘Raf al-Malam’ (p.18):
“The Imams that came before the gathering of these books were more knowledgeable of the sunnah than the later scholars by far, because much of what reached them and was Sahih for them has only reached us from a majhul (unknown narrator), or cut off chain of narration, or has not reached us at all”
So from these words of Ibn Taymiyyah it becomes clear that the hadith that we think is weak in actual fact may have reached the Imams of the madhab with a sahih chain of narration, so how can we possibly leave the ruling of the madhab because of our lack of research around this or complete knowledge of it.
The Imams May Cite A Proof With Explicit And Clear Wording Even Though It Is Individually Weak But Is Supported By Other Evidences
Sometimes the the scholars of fiqh may mention a hadith as a proof for the ruling of the madhab, the find that there is hadith which is individually weak but has a clear wording and meaning related to the issue, so they cite it, even though there is other stronger evidences but less clear in its wording, but possessing the same meaning.
However the scholar of hadith finds it not to be the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) but that of a Tabiee, so they think that the ruling no longer applies, even though the proof is definitely established.
For example some have deduced for the Dhuhr and Asr prayers being silent the hadith: ‘The prayers of the day are silent’ despite it having no basis in terms of being the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), but rather it is the statement of some of the Tabieen such as Mujahid, Abu Ubaidah, Abdullah bin Masud as was stated by Hafidh al-Zaylai in Nasb al-Rayah and al-Sakhawi in Maqasid al-Hasanah (p.265-266). But this does not negate the ruling as it is established from a hadith in al-Bukhari that Khabbab Ibn Aratt was asked:
“Would the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) recite in the Dhuhr and the Asr? He said: Yes. We said: How did you know this? He said: By the movement of his beard (Allah bless him and give him peace).”
So the narration is weak in of itself but strong due to other outside supporting narrations which indicate to the meaning of the hadith being established.
The conclusion is that the weak hadith and its like that we see in books of Fiqh amongst them are those which are the proofs of the Imam himself or they are mostly the deductions of the author. And its weakness does not necessitate the weakness of the ruling built upon it, for it may have support from Quran and Sunnah.
Aslong As A Hadith Is Not Fabricated Then It May Be Strengthened By The Quran Or A General Principle
Some of the Imams were of the view that a hadith may have a weak chain but that it could be strengthened by an evidence outside of hadith such as a verse of the Quran or a general Shariah principle. This is important as a researcher may just limit himself looking for chains of transmission, and not realise that the hadith is regarded as being authentic not because of its chain alone but by being strengthened by something outside of the hadith literature. Imam al-Suyuti mentioned in ‘Tadrib al-Rawi’ (p.25):
“Abul Hasan Ibn al-Hassar said in Taqrib al-Madarik Ala Muwatta Malik: A jurist (faqih) may know the authenticity of the hadith if its chain does not contain a liar: by its being in agreement with a verse from the book of Allah, or some of the principles of the sacred law (shariah), this causes him to accept it and act upon it”
Weak Hadith Are Preferable To Analogy (Qiyas)
The final point is that some of the Imams were of the view that basing a ruling upon a weak hadith was preferable to resorting to analogy (qiyas). Thus this would explain some instances wherein the Imam may have based a ruling upon a weak hadith.
What if someone asks you: ‘Have you seen anyone like yourself?’ what should our response be? The humility of the Imams of the past who were asked this very question and were acknowledged experts in their fields during their own liftetimes should be a reminder for all of us. Not least in these days when titles are thrown around with ease. Just take a look at an Indo-Pak jalsa poster, people are now competing with each other over inventing ever increasingly ‘exotic’ titles.
No longer is ‘Allamah’ or ‘Mawlana’ enough, you have the various combinations of a prefix such as: Muhaddith followed by anyone one of: al-Kabir, Adham, al-Asr, al-Islam. These are then combined as per scholar with the other prefixes such as Faqih, Mufassir, Shaykh et al. Then to top it all off we have at the end ‘Damat Barakathum’ which now is no longer enough so it has been further lengthened by some to ‘Al- Aaliyah al-Qudsiyyah’.
I await to see how these titles will evolve further in the coming years. What someone should point out is that they have now lost their effect, many people no longer fall for a title suggesting one of the greatest scholars walking the face of the earth has turned up in town, only to depart after attending the said scholars speech disappointed and disheartened.
I don’t have a problem with titles for our scholars who deserve them, the blatant abuse of them in this age is something which I and others find unfortunate. If we were to look up the meanings of the words ‘Allamah’ and ‘Mawlana’ we would realise that both of these denote immense respect for those individuals whom are fortunate enough to have them affixed to their names. And yes, we will find lengthy titles for scholars in the books of the past, I don’t think many of us would disagree that those scholars fully deserved such titles.
Imam al-Dhahabi mentions something related to this. He said in the entry for Imam al-Darqutni in ‘al-Siyar’ (16/449-461):
“Raja’ bin Muhammad al-Muaddal said: I said to al-Darqutni: Have you seen anyone like yourself? He replied: Allah said: So ascribe not purity to yourselves
I persisted with him so he said: I have not seen anyone who has compiled what I have compiled.
Abul Dhar said: I said to Abu Abdullah al-Hakim: Have you seen the like of al-Darqutni? He replied: He did not see the like of himself, so how can I?”
Imam al-Dhahabi mentioned in the entry for Ibn Asakir in ‘al-Siyar’ (20/554-571):
“Abu al-Mawahib said regarding him: I was discussing with him in private the hadith masters (Huffadh) he had met. He replied: As for Baghdad then Abu Amir al-Abdari, as for Isfahan then Abu Nasr ak-Yunarti, however Ismaeel al-Hafidh was more famous than him.
I said to him: Based on this has our Master seen anyone like himself?
He replied: Do not say this, Allah (the Most High) said: So ascribe not purity to yourselves
I said: He has also said: And proclaim the blessings of your Lord
He replied: Yes, If a person said ‘My eyes have not seen the likes of myself they will have told the truth’.”
“…The more likely is that it is ascribed to wool (soof) because linguistic analogy supports it. And because the wearing of wool was from the characteristics/signs of the Prophets, ascetics and worshippers. This view was given preference and chosen by al-Siraj in ‘al-Lum’ (p.40), al-Qushayri in ‘al-Risalah’ (4/3,4 with its commentary) al-Kalabadhi in ‘al-Tarruf’ (p.29,30) Ibn Taymiyyah in ‘al-Sufiyyah wal-Fuqara’ (2/17) and al-Yafi in ‘Nashr al-Mahasin al-Ghaliyah’ (2/343).
Abu Nasr al-Siraj and others mentioned that the name ‘Sufi’ was present during the time of the followers (tabieen) and at the end of the companions era. The evidence for this being that Hasan al-Basri (Allah the Most High be pleased with him) said: I saw a Sufi in the tawaf, I gave him something but he did not take it.
And Sufyan al-Thawri (Allah the Most High be pleased with him) said: If it were not for Abu Hashim al-Sufi I would not have known the finer points of ostentation (riya).
He then mentioned that Makka al-Mukarramah became deserted during a time before the coming of Islam such that no one would perform tawaf of the House (Kabah). A sufi man would come from a far away land and perform tawaf of the House and then leave. He said: If this is correct then it proves that this name was known before Islam and was attributed to the people of virtue and uprightness.
Imam Abul Abbas Ahmad bin Taymiyyah (Allah the Most High have mercy on him) said in the treatise ‘Al-Sufiyyah wal-Fuqara’: The wording (meaning al-Sufiyyah) is reported from more than one of the Imam’s and Shuyukh such as Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Suleiman al-Darani and Sufyan al-Thawri…”
Al-Waqidi said: Saeed Ibn al-Musayyib was one of the most skilled of people in interpreting dreams. He learnt it from Asma bint Abi Bakr al-Siddiq and she learnt it from her father.
Imam al-Dhahabi said in another place:
From Imran bin Abdullah who said: Hasan bin Ali saw that it was as if there was written between his eyes ‘قل هو الله احد’ he and his family took glad tidings from it, and they related it to Saeed bin al-Musayyib. He said: If his dream is true then he has only a little of his life remaining. He (Hasan) passed away after a few days.
Salam. Please find the biography of another of the famous scholars of the Hijaz from whom many of our teachers have benefitted from. When I had the opportunity a while back to visit inside the blessed ‘Bayt al-Mawlid’ (which has been turned into a library) I found that a room to the left as you enter had what appears is the personal library of Shaykh Hasan al-Mashat. I assume it was donated to the library after his passing away, Allah have mercy on him. Also note, as mentioned below, that due to his lengthy teaching career 3 generations of scholars took from him.
Shaykh Hasan al-Mashat ( 1317-1399 )
He is Hasan bin Muhammad bin Abbas bin Ali bin Abd al-Wahid al-Mashat. The most learned scholar and gatherer of various sciences and distinguished in many of them. He was Maliki by way of Madhab.
Birth And Studies
He was born in Makka on the 3rd of Shawal 1317 Hijri, the origin of his family being traced back to Fes in Morrocco. He grew up in Makkah under the close care attention and upbringing of his father. He read the Noble Quran with tajwid with Shaykh Muhammad al-Sanari and Shaykh Abdullah Hamudah al-Sanari. He learnt writing, mathematics and other subjects with Sayyid Ali Hasan al-Labani (Allah have mercy on all of them).
In the year 1329 he entered the ‘Madrassa al-Sawlatiyyah’ and studied there until his graduation, during the time which he also attended the circles of knowledge in the noble Haram, and some times in the homes of some his teachers which include: Continue reading