Category Archives: Scholarship

A Shattered Glass

I made reference in a previous post to meeting in al-Ahsa the sons of Sh. Muhammad Awwamah. I had met them first at the home of one of the historians from the al-Mulla family (may Allah give us the tawfiq to record what occurred there).
Some of us had moved on to the home of Sh. Yahya al-Mulla to read some fiqh with him, during the course of the lesson the Sheikh received a call to say that the visitors from Madinah were on their way.

They entered, greeted the Sheikh and asked him if they could record some of the answers to their questions, what followed was Sh. Yahya mentioning in response to his visitors request the history of the Hanafi school in al-Ahsa, going on to reluctantly grant (due to his not feeling worthy) his guests request for an Ijaza to narrate from him.

Then as a final question the visitors asked the Sh. Yahya to relate to them the story that they heard about the broken glass.

Sh. Yahya expressed surprise at their knowledge of this and mentioned that he actually met the person who witnessed the event.

The Story
Sh. Yahya’s father Sh. Muhammad al-Mulla was known for his piety and people would often come to him so that he may recite and blow on water for them to drink. However due to his teaching commitments and lack of time, Sh. Muhammad al-Mulla would recite ‘Bismillah’ or the Fatiha (I cant recall exactly which of the two it was, but I think it was the former) and blow into a cup of water. A lady came to the Sh. Muhammad and asked him to recite and blow, which due to his busy schedule he quickly did, however the lady was not satisfied and requested the Sheikh to recite and blow properly. Sh. Muhammad paused, agreed to her request, recited (Bismillah or Fatiha) and then blew into the cup which to everyone’s amazement shattered to pieces.Sh. Yahya having recounted the story, found that one of his visitors had duly stood up and had asked him to recite and blow into his cup of tea that had been poured for him.

Sh. Yahya’s expression was: ‘Come on..! you must be joking’ mainly because the visitors were looking for a repeat of this extraordinary feat from the son.
After finally agreeing he recited and blew into the cup…..Wassalam


Sh. Ibrahim bin Hasan al-Mulla

Salam. The following is the biography of one of the scholars from the al-Mulla family whose beginners text on hanafi fiqh is currently being proofread and edited for publication (May Allah the Exalted facilitate its completion).
Imam Ibrahim bin Hasan al-Mulla
Biography of the Author

The author of this work is the Imam, the Mufti, the Proof of the Sacred Law (Shariah), Ibrahim bin Hasan al-Mulla, al-Hanafi, al-Ahsai.
Birth and Passing Away
Sheikh Ibrahim was born in the city of al-Ahsa, in the area called al-Koot. This neighbourhood of the city was the residence of a number of scholars and pious people. The exact date of his birth is unknown, however it is clear that he was born around the end of the tenth century (Hijri). As for his passing away it was on the seventh of Shawwal 1048 (Hijri) in the city of al-Ahsa.
The Sheikh was raised in a pious environment under the tutelage of his father and also his maternal uncle, the notable scholar Sheikh Muhammad bin Mulla Ali Aal-Waaiz. From a young age he was drawn to the seeking of sacred knowledge. He studied in al-Ahsa with its most notable scholars (who held study circles and taught in religious schools
His Teachers
Our author studied with his maternal uncle and other scholars of the city. Over a number of years Sheikh Ibrahim studied, Aqidah, Usul, Hadith, Tafsir, Grammar, Logic and Tasawwuf. Until he attained a firm grounding and a high standing in terms of knowledge. His level of knowledge was at a level was such that he was counted as being amongst the scholars of his city. He was given Ijazah and praised by a number of scholars.
His Travels
Our author did not limit his search of knowledge to the scholars of the al-Ahsa and their praise of him. Rather he set off in the pursuit of knowledge to the Hijaz and met and studied with the major scholars of the holy sanctuary, benefiting from both the resident scholars and those visiting.
Those Whom He Took Knowledge From
Sheikh al-Islam Wajih al-Din Abd al-Rahman bin Isa al-Murshidi al-Hanafi who was the Mufti of the Hanafi school in Makkah. He wrote for our author a lengthy Ijazah indicating in it his firm grasp of the various Islamic disciplines.
Sheikh Muhammad bin Ali bin Allan al-Bakri al-Siddiqi. Interestingly Sheikh Muhammad also studied and benefited from our author despite being counted as being from his Sheikhs. He wrote a commentary on a work by our author called ‘Daf al-Asa’ describing him in his introduction as: ‘the Jurist and Mufti of the East’
Sheikh Abd al-Malik bin Jamal al-Din al-Isami who passed away in 1037 (Hijri)
Sheikh Muhammad al-Rumi. He was described as the Qadi of the two holy sanctuaries (Haramain). Our author attended his lessons of the tafsir of al-Baydawi.
He studied the science of the purification of the heart and manners from his maternal uncle and then with Sheikh Taj al-Din al-Naqshbandi al-Hindi. This was when Sheikh Taj al-Din visited al-Ahsa.
His Students
A number of notable scholars studied with him, amongst them being:
His son Sheikh Abd al-Rahim
His nephew Sheikh Abd al-Rahman bin Muhammad Aal-Waaiz
The ruler of al-Ahsa Sheikh Yahya bin Ali Pasha
Sheikh Muhammad Salih, well known as al-Hakeem al-Ahsai
Sheikh Muhammad al-Ahsai al-Hanafi who migrated to Baghdad (d.1083 AH)
Sheikh Muhammad bin Uthman al-Shafi al-Ahsai, well known as ‘ the Shafi of the age’ (Shafi al-Zaman)
Sheikh Muhammad bin Nasir, the Shafi Mufti and ancestor of the Aal Abd al-Latif family.
His Standing in terms of Knowledge
Al-Muhibbi said about our author in Khulasah al-Athar (1/18-19):
Sheikh Ibrahim bin Hasan al-Mulla al-Ahsai al-Hanafi, (is) from the major scholars and Imams adorned with the quality of conviction and engrossed with worship. He was a jurist, grammarian, well grounded in a number of sciences. He studied in his city with a number of scholars and studied in Makkah with its jurist Abd al-Rahman al-Murshidi who wrote for him a detailed license indicating in it to his expertise in the Islamic sciences. He took the path from the knower of Allah (most high) Sheikh Taj al-Din when he came to al-Ahsa, and in turn from him al-Amir Yahya bin Ali Pasha the ruler of al-Ahsa…he has a number works in different sciences…and he has a large amount of poetry.
His works
Our authors preoccupation with teaching and issuing legal verdicts is perhaps a reason for his not leaving a great amount of written material behind. His written works include:
Al-Ajwibah al-Ibtisamiyah – A collection of answers to questions sent to him.
Hidayah al-Murid Sharh Jawharah al-Tawhid- A commentary to Imam al-Laqqani’s well known poem on belief.
Hadiyyah al-Nasik fi Ahkam al-Manasik– A text on the legal rulings related to Hajj.
Daf’ al-Asa fi Adhkar Sabah wal-Masa– A collection of invocations for the morning and evening.
Bast al-Kasa– A commentary on the previous text.
Manzumah fi Adab al-Akal wa al-Shurb– A poem on the etiquettes of eating and drinking, the authors grandson Sheikh Muhammad bin Abd al-Rahim authored commentary on it entitled Miftah al-Qurb.
Uqd al-Uqyan fi Shuab al-Iman– A poem on the branches of faith.
Tuhfah al-Mubtadi– A brief introductory text for beginners on Islamic law covering the legal issues related to purification and prayer according to the Hanafi school. This is the text which is before you.
Turfah al-Muhtadi– A commentary of the previous text.
Sharh Risalah al-Tajiyyah– A commentary of a letter sent by Sheikh Taj al-Din al-Hindi to his student al-Amir Ali Pasha, the ruler of al-Ahsa.
Al-Fatawa al-Ibrahimiyyah– A collection of legal verdicts issued by author and collated by one of his students.
Sharh Manzumah al-Imritiyyah– A commentary of a text on grammar.
Manzumah fi Mawadi’ al-Salat ala al-Nabi– A poem of all the places where one should send Salutations and Salutations upon our Master the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Sawlatiyyah- Sh. Muhammad al-Mulla

-Praising the One who created man, and ennobled him with knowledge and clarity. Salutations and blessings upon the choicest of His creation, the Master of the children of Adnan, upon whom was revealed ‘Recite and your Lord is most generous’.
To proceed: the loftiest of objectives is the adornment with knowledge and embellishment with manners (adab) accompanied by following that which has been ordered and leaving that which has been prohibited. For one of those who who kept his eyes awake in its attainment, and spent him time in knowing and completing, the striving student, Muhammad bin Allamah Abi Bakr al-Mulla al-Ahsai. He received and studied the sciences mentioned above in our school ‘Al-Sawlatiyyah al-Hindiyyah’ in Makkah the protected, established by the erudite and righteous, the deceased Mawlana al-Sheikh Rahmatullah bin Khalil al-Rahman al-Hindi. Appreciating his efforts this certificate was awarded to him from the the school so that reliance may be placed on it. And by Allah is success.
Salam, the above is a very rough translation of the meaning of the main paragraph of the above certificate. Some of us went through a basic reading of the whole of Mukhtasar al-Quduri last year with Sheikh Bandar Abdullah al-Mulla in the Dawsari masjid located in the the Gold Belt area of al-Khobar. Sheikh Bandar is credited (Allah reward him) with helping us in meeting the hanafi scholars from al-Ahsa belonging to the Mulla family. He also gifted us with a number of works in fiqh which can only be described as ‘Tarjuman al-Qalb’.
After the seminar on the four madhabs in al-Ahsa which took place in Dammam, and at which Sheikh Bandar presented a brief history of the hanafi school, he gifted a book to me by his father in law on the history of the different schools in al-Ahsa. The work contained amongst other things a copy of Sheikh Muhammad al-Mulla’s certificate of graduation from Madrassa al-Sawlatiyyah in Makkah. I had been meaning to scan it and place it on the internet for others to benefit from, but was delighted find that someone else had already done so.
This certificate emphasizes the important point that tasawwuf is not divorced or alien to the studying and teaching of sacred knowledge. This is what scholars such as Sheikh Muhammad al-Mulla dedicated their life to and this is what they passed on to their students, and this is what we witnessed ourselves and were told by them.
We have recorded evidence of Sheikh Abu Bakr (Sheikh Muhammads father) being presented with poetry written by his students expressing their happiness and joy at the return of their teachers son from the Hijaz after completing his studies.
Sheikh Muhammad al-Mulla’s son Sheikh Yahya mentioned to us that his father was: ‘An ocean in both outward sacred knowledge and tasawwuf’.
May Allah (the exalted) have mercy on all those mentioned in this post.

Al-Ahsa to India: Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Mulla

Salam, I found the following biography of the author of ‘It-haf al-Talib’, namely Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Mulla al-Ahsai. The interesting thing about it is that it was published in India quite some time ago, and reminded me of some of the links between the people of al-Ahsa and the Indian Subcontinent.
The first time that we met Sayyid Ibrahim al-Khalifah, an elderly Saudi man came into the room, Sayyid Ibrahim told me that he could speak Urdu/Hindi, I smiled back politely not expecting much, to my surprise the elderly gentleman proceeded to speak very clear and grammatically correct urdu/hindi. Puzzled I asked where he had learnt it, and he replied that he lived in India with his father who traded there, he spent a number of years living in Bombay, and was sent back home to al-Ahsa at the outbreak of the second world war!
I met other al-Ahsa people who mentioned their family members who were buried in India due to their passing away whilst working there, this was all before the Saudi ‘Industrial Revolution’ which turned the flow of workers in the opposite direction.
As for the hanafis, then one of the Scholars of the al-Mulla family whom I’m not sure if is still alive (he was in a comatose state when I was in al-Ahsa last year), namely Sheikh Abdullah bin Abd al-Rahman al-Mulla. He was born in the year 1330 (nearly 100 years ago), he studied with the scholars of al-Ahsa, then proceeded to study in India at Dar al-Ulum Deoband. It is said that his certification from Dar al-Ulum Deoband makes him the first Saudi to gain a university degree.
Sheikh Yahya al-Mulla’s father, Sheikh Muhammad al-Mulla had some students from the indo-pak subcontinent. Once when I was with Sheikh Yahya he went to his room and returned with an urdu translation of the short text by Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Mulla entitled ‘Wasilah al-Talab’. He added that a student of his father who had returned back to pakistan had translated it, I didnt note down the Sheikhs name, but I was told that he had passed away.
I also discovered that one of the fastest growing tariqahs in pakistan, namely the Idrisi’s, whose Sheikh resides in Pakistan itself was the murid of Sheikh Muhammad al-Mulla.
These are some brief comments, and are by no means exhaustive, the picture below is of the cover of the biography of Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Mulla published in India.

Iranian Turkoman Sunni Scholar

Sheikh Nur Muhammad Nurizad, the Sunni scholar, Imam and Khatib of the Friday prayers in the town of Kanbad Kawas in northern Iran passed away recently on the 14 of Rabi al-Awal.

He (May Allah have mercy on him) was a pious sincere scholar who spent over 60 years of his life in teaching, and was regarded as one of the most notable Sunni Qadi’s and Mufti’s of Iran.

May Allah the exalted envelop him in His mercy, truely to Him do we belong and to Him we return

Sayyid Ibrahim al-Khalifah al-Hasani al-Shafi

I found this old picture of Sayyid Ibrahim al-Khalifah who is a Shafi Scholar and respected for his attention to the sciences of hadith. I visited him twice in al-Ahsa, once at his masjid opposite the fort pictured elsewhere on this blog.
The second time was in the basement of his home where he was reading Sahih al-Bukhari with his students. He began the lesson by reading hadith for quite some time, and then went round each student asking them to read several hadith each, alhumdulilah I was honoured to be able to read to him when my turn came.
After the dars I asked him for Ijazah which he kindly gave me, unfortunately I do not have his thabat at hand to scan, however it should be noted that he narrates from over 70 different Shuyukh.
He has studied the Shafi madhab with the scholars of al-Ahsa, is known for his abilities as a Munshid and has a number of students, some of them quite young who study with him and look up to him as a father figure.
It is not difficult to see why as the Sheikh is one of the most friendliest scholars I have met, and one quickly feels at ease around him.
May Allah swt keep him in good health and enable us to benefit from him further.
NOTE: The picture above was taken some time ago

Reasons for Writing


Many a time when browsing in a bookshop I find works by contemporary scholars which make me think: Why!

I found the following quote in the interesting autobiography of Sh. Abdullah al-Ghumari which pretty much sums up what should be kept in mind by all authors. I would perhaps add an extra point, namely that of editors meticulously editing material which have not received critical editions, but perhaps this could be incorporated into one of the seven reasons, as editing as in the modern form did not exist at the time of Imam al-Maqqari.

Reasons for writing:
“Al-Maqqari said in Azhar al-Riyad:
I saw in the handwriting of some of the senior (scholars) regarding that which is desired from writing are seven:
-something which has not been written before and is authored
-something written incompletely and is completed
-or is incorrect and is corrected
-or is difficult and is explained
-or is lengthy and is condensed/abridged
-or is not in one place and is gathered
-or is prose and is versified.”

Al-Mulla Family Scholars


Its raining in Bida Zayed today, Imam al-Nawawi in his al-Adhkar mentioned that the time of rain descending is one of moments when supplications are answered.  The following was written a while back, based on the article by Sh. Bandar Abdullah al-Mulla:

Scholars of the al-Mulla family
The al-Mulla family has produced a number of distinguished scholars of hanafi fiqh over the last five centuries. A brief mention will be made of some of them:

1- Sh. Ali bin Hussein al-Waaiz al-Mulla: He is the ancestor of the al-Mulla family, he was a Qadi in al-Ahsa in the latter half of the tenth century

2-Sh. Muhammad bin Ali al-Waaiz al-Mulla: One of the distinguished scholars of the eleventh century. He authored a number of legal verdicts (fatawa). The ruler of al-Ahsa Ali Pasha al-Bariki endowed him with the Madrasa al-Qubah in the al-Koot area in order to teach in the year 1019.

3-Sh. Muhammad bin Imad bin Abdullah al-Mulla: He was a Qadi in al-Ahsa at the end of the tenth and beginning of the eleventh century
4-Sh. Abd al-Malik bin Abdullah bin Ali al-Waaiz al-Mulla: One of the scholars of the eleventh century
5- Sh. Muhammad bin Ahmad al-Mulla: A scholar of the eleventh century, he was the Imam of the Muhammad Ali Pasha masjid located in the castle/fortress in al-Koot. It is known today as Jami al-Shuyukh, the masjid was established in the year 1044.
6- Sh. Umar bin Ahmad al-Mulla: One of the distinguished scholars of the family, he established a masjid in the al-Koot area and linked endowments (awqaf) to it. He made his son Sh. Abd al-Rahman the overseer of the masjid and endowments.
7- Sh. al-Qadi Abd al-Rahman bin Umar al-Mulla: He passed away in 1237, he was a Qadi in al-Ahsa in the thirteenth century.
8- Sh. al-Mufti, al-Qadi Muhammad bin Umar al-Mulla: He took on the responsibility of issuing legal verdicts (fatwa) in al-Ahsa and judgeship in al-Qatif in the year 1244.
9- Allamah Sh. Abu Bakr bin Muhammad bin Umar al-Mulla: One of the greatest scholars of his age, he passed away in Makka in 1270. He authored many works in topics such as Tawhid, hadith, fiqh and the Arabic language.
10- Allamah Sh. Abdulah bin Sh. Abi Bakr al-Mulla: He passed away in 1309, one of the notable scholars of the family. He taught, preached and guided, whilst authoring a number of works.
11- Al-Qadi al-Mufti Sh. Abd al-Latif bin Abd al-Rahman al-Mulla: He took on the role of Qadi and issuing legal verdicts in al-Ahsa for more than thirty years. He passed away in the year 1339. He has a number of legal verdicts (fatawa) and authored some works on fiqh.
12- Sh. Abu Bakr bin Sh. Abdullah al-Mulla: One of the notable scholars of the 14th century, he took on the role of teaching and preaching in a number of madaris and masjids belonging to the family. He also enjoyed great respect amongst the people in both the Ottoman and Saudi periods. He passed away in 1366.
13- Sh. Ahmad bin Sh. Abd al-Latif al-Mulla: He took knowledge from his father and the other scholars of his city. He took on the role of Qadi for a short period of time. He enjoyed great respect amongst the people with his home being a calling point for all people wishing to benefit from his knowledge, especially that of history and genealogy. Likewise he was Imam of Masjid al-Mulla and taught and preached in madrassa al-qubbah. He passed away in 1402.
14-Sh. Muhammad bin Abi Bakr al-Mulla: He took knowledge from the scholars of his city and scholars of Makka. After his graduating he busied himself with teaching and preaching in the Masjids and Madaris belonging to the family. He paid special attention to the poor and needy. He passed away in 1395.
15-Sh. Abd al-Rahman bin Abi Bakr al-Mulla: The jurist and scholar of hadith, he took knowledge from the scholars of his city and then from the scholars of Makka. He taught in al-Ahsa and in Makka, he passed away in 1421.
These are some of the more distinguished of the scholars of the family from the past. Presently a number of the family have devote themselves to knowledge, some of them being:
16- Sh. Abdullah bin Abd al-Rahman al-Mulla: Born in the year 1330, he took from the scholars of al-Ahsa, then studied in India at Dar al-Ulum Deoband. After graduating from Dar al-Ulum Deoband he taught at the al-Amiriyah madrassa in al-Ahsa. He also opened a bookshop named ‘Maktaba al-Tawun al-Thaqafi.
17- Sh. Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Abi Bakr al-Mulla: He passed away in 1422. He had a circle of knowledge in is masjid called al-Qanbari in al-Koot area. A number of the students of knowledge in al-Ahsa benefitted from him.

18- Sh. Yahya bin Sh. Muhammad bin Abi Bakr al-Mulla: He has sought knowledge from a number of scholars in al-Ahsa, he studied at Dar al Ulum Makka, Madinah and al-Azhar. He graduated from the faculty of Shariah of Ibn Saud University in the year 1405. He has a number of circles in his masjid in the al-Koot area. He is currently focussed on publishing the works of the scholars from his family, publishing a large number of them, alongside the teaching of the hanafi madhab.

Apart from the above mentioned names there are other advanced students of knowledge and hanafi scholars in al-Ahsa. I have not yet met all of them, however special mention should be made of Sh. Rayed al-Mulla and Sh. Murad al-Mulla, both are grandsons of Sh. Abd al-Rahman mentioned above, they have studied with the scholars of the al-Mulla family and currently teach some of the circles and are also involved in the editing and commentary of various texts for publication.

Dua Before a Dars

A beneficial prayer to be recited before the start of a lesson, written on the first page of a manuscript by a student. I found this in Sheikh Yahya al-Mulla’s edition of the hanafi fiqh text ‘Minhaj al-Raghib Sharh It-haf al-Talib’. May Allah (the exalted) facilitate its translation. For the benefit of those who may not be able to decipher the handwriting I had it typed out below:
اللهم افتحْ عليّ حكمتَكَ وانشرْ عليّ رحمتَكَ
يا ذا الجلالِ والإكرامِ
اللهمّ أخرجْنَا من ظلماتِ الوهمِ وأكرمْنَا بنورِ الفهمِ
اللهمّ افتحْ لنا أبوابَ فضلِك ويسرْ لنا خزائنَ علمِك
ياأرحمَ الراحمين
وصلى اللهُ على سيدنا محمدٍ وعلى آله وصحبِه وسلم