Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Can the Deceased Hear the Speech of the Living?

 By Imam Muhammad Mutawalli ash-Sha'rawi, may Allah have mercy on him


Alhamdulilah, the issue is discussed by Imam as-Suyuti in his book The Opening of the Hearts in Explaining the State of the Deceased and of the Graves (شرح الصدور بشرح حال الموتى والقبور), the translation of which is now available

The original video is found here.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Al-Ḥāfiẓ Nūruddīn ʿItr

A translation of this biography from Naseem al-Sham

Prof Dr Nūruddīn ʿItr

He is the imam, the great scholar, the mufassir, the muḥaddith, the ḥāfiẓ, the faqīh, Prof, Dr Nūruddīn ʿItr, Ḥasanī of lineage,[1]Ḥanafī in madhhab, born in Aleppo and resident of Damascus. He achieved precedence in the sciences of the noble, Prophetic ḥadīth, in both narration and knowledge, in the fields of teaching, editing, and authoring. He was the scion of a knowledgeable family, deeply rooted in piety and righteousness and firmly established in the sciences of the Revealed Law, both inwardly and outwardly.

Prof Dr Nūruddīn ʿItr was born in Aleppo in the year 1356 AH (1937 CE)[2]. His father, al-Ḥājj Muḥammad ʿItr, was one of the top students of the great scholar, the sheikh, the knower of Allah, Muḥammad Najīb Sirājuddīn, may Allah have mercy on him and be pleased with him.[3] Al-Ḥājj Muḥammad was a scholar who acted according to his knowledge, and a nurturer and a guide for others. He vowed to dedicate his son to the service of Allah the Exalted’s religion, and prepared the necessary means for him. Then Allah, through His kindness and generosity, brought the matter about. He studied at a high school for the study of the Revealed Law (al-Khasrawiyyah) and was distinguished by his excellent academic performance and precedence in both knowledge and action in that time. He received his high school diploma in 1954 and was the top of his class. Immediately after that, he joined al-Azhar University in Egypt[4] and got his degree in 1958, graduating at the top of his class. He caught the attention of his noble professors, the shuyūkh and scholars of al-Azhar, because of the characteristics of nobility, diligence, and piety that they saw in him. The Lord willed that He would benefit from the righteous scholars that were there, such as ash-Sheikh Muṣṭafā Mujāhid, ash-Sheikh Muḥammad Muḥammad as-Samāḥī, ash-Sheikh ʿAbdul Wahhāb al-Buhayrī, ash-Sheikh Muḥammad Muḥyī ad-Dīn ʿAbdul Ḥamīd, may Allah have mercy on all of them and raise their rank. However, the one who the most influence on him in his formative years, both spiritually and in knowledge, was the lamp of the Ummah in its recent decades, the Sheikh of Islam, the great scholar, ash-Sheikh Sirājuddīn al-Ḥusaynī, the ḥāfiẓ, the mufassir, the knower and verifier, and Dr Nūruddīn, may Allah have mercy on him, is his maternal nephew and his son-in-law, his daughter’s husband.

In 1964, he received his ʿĀlamiyyah diploma with a doctorate from the department of Tafsīr and Ḥadīth, earning a distinction with honours, the title of his dissertation being ‘At-Tirmidhī’s Method in his Jāmiʿ and How it Compares to the Two Ṣaḥīḥ Collections’, which is considered an unrivalled work in terms of both its content and its methodology. The unique way in which he laid out his chapters has come to be relied upon by many researchers in the field of the methodologies employed by the compilers of ḥadīth.

After attaining his doctorate, he went straight back to Syria and taught at the high school level for a short period of time. He was then appointed to teach Prophetic Ḥadīth at the Islamic University in al-Madīnah al-Munawarrah from 1965 to 1967, may the best prayers and peace be upon its resident.

In 1967, he returned to Damascus to be appointed a lecturer and then professor in the Faculty of the Revealed Law at Damascus University. He taught the two subjects of Ḥadīth and Tafsīr in the humanities faculties at the universities of Damascus and Aleppo. Likewise, he taught at several other Arab and Islamic universities for brief periods of time, in addition to numerous masjids. He continued – by Allah’s grace, Mighty and Majestic is He – to teach at the Faculty of the Revealed Law until the final months of his life, stopping only because of his illness. Thousands of lecturers graduated under him, including an elite group of distinguished scholars and professors.

He was also a specialist in evaluating both undergraduate and graduate curricula in several universities in the Islamic world.

He supervised dozens of university dissertations, at both the MA and PhD level, and was a referee for development studies of university lecturers. He was known for his strict accuracy in refereeing.

His works number more than fifty, in terms of both editing and authoring, his most prominent book being Minhāj an-Naqd fīʿUlūm al-Ḥadīth, which is considered a new, historical phase in the science of ḥadīth terminology after the phase of Shaikh al-Islam al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī.

His book ʾIʿlām al-Anām, which is considered a unique gift in analysing ḥadīth, is exceptional in clarifying how the fuqahāʾ of the Ummah derived differing rulings from the same text. In general, his books were characterised by their originality in chapter arrangement and condensation of information, but were still clear for the one wanting to specialise in that topic. These qualities are rarely found together. Most of his writings are standard textbooks in curricula at several universities, such as the University of Damascus, al-Azhar, and others.

For his students, he was a compassionate father, a strict teacher, and a rectifying nurturer. He affected their lives in terms of knowledge and calling people to Allah. He was also very experienced in opening many institutes and schools dedicated to the study of the Revealed Law, and he secretly assisted a number of students of knowledge with their material needs.

The sheikh, the great scholar, despite being one of greatest ḥadīth scholars of our age, if not the greatest, was distinguished by his clear spiritual life. His objective was to purify his soul. His goal was to attain the pleasure of Allah and His Messenger. He refrained from holding posts and from this worldly life. He was modest, magnanimous, merciful, as pure-hearted as snow, humble, gentle-hearted, and tearful. The insightful people who attended his gatherings were absolutely certain that the sheikh was living in the world of someone whose heart loves them and is attaching to the noblest master, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, as well as his Companions and Followers. Thus, despite his immense achievements, he constantly chose to be unknown, to stay away from the bright lights as much as possible. Indeed, we would not be exaggerating if we said that his way was to swallow one’s ego and be modest, despite the divine gifts of reverence and awe that Allah the Exalted gives to the people of veracity and uprightness.

Dr Nūruddīn was a gift from the Lord, Glorified and Exalted is He, to the land of ash-Shām, and thus we ask Allah, Mighty and Majestic is He, to bless us and to let us benefit from him.

He passed away on Wednesday morning, the 5th of Ṣafar, 1442 (23rd of September 2020) and was buried in Damascus close to the grave of the Knower of Allah, ash-Sheikh Arslān ad-Dimashqī.

We ask Allah to envelop our sheikh in the vastness of His mercy and to place him in the loftiest heights of Paradise, and we ask Him to have mercy on our scholars who have preceded us, to bless the lives of those who remain, and to compensate us well for those who have departed.

[1] He is a descendant of the Master of the Earlier and Later Generations through both of his parents, as the ʿItr family is from the progeny of the grandson al-Ḥasan and the family of Sirāj ad-Dīn is from the progeny of the grandson al-Ḥusayn, may Allah be pleased with both of them.
[2]He was given this name based on what his mother, al-Ḥājjah Duriyyah, may Allah have mercy on her (the only daughter of Sīdī ash-Sheikh Najīb), has stated, which is that ash-Sheikh Najīb Sirājuddīn, may Allah have mercy on him and be pleased with him, the grandfather of Prof Dr Nūruddīn ʿItr, told her to give him that name.
[3]He is one of the peers of the Muḥaddith of ash-Shām, ash-Sheikh Badruddīn al-Ḥasanī, may Allah be pleased with him, with whom he had an unshakable relationship, and they would visit each other often. He affirmed that ash-Sheikh Badruddīn said, ‘Ash-Sheikh Najīb is the most knowledgeable person on earth in his time’.
[4]At that time, there were no universities for the sciences of the Revealed Law in Syria.