SAYYID MUHAMMAD BIN ALWI
BIN ABBAS AL-MALIKI AL-HASANI
Al-Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki was was born in 1946, one of the foremost traditional slamic scholars of contemporary times and without doubt, the most highly respected and loved cholar of the holy city of Makkah. He was a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad SAW , leader of the Ahl ul- Bayt, the Imam of Hadith in our age, an authority of the four Madhabs, a spiritual leader of the highest caliber, caller to Allah, and unparalleled in his standing in the world of traditional Islamic scholarship. A visit to him was one of the musts for the Ulama who visit Makkah.
The Sayyid descends from a noble family that is directly connected to the blessed Prophet (Sall Allahu ?Alayhi Wa Sallam) himself. He is a scion of the famous Al-Maliki Al-Hasani family of Makkah, who are descendants of the Prophet (Sall Allahu ?Alayhi Wa Sallam) through his grandson, Imam al-Hasan bin Ali, may Allah be pleased with him. The Maliki family is one of the most respected families in Makkah and has produced great scholars, who have taught in the Haram of Makkah for centuries. Five of the Sayyid’s ancestors have been the Maliki Imams of the Haram of Makkah. His grandfather, al-Sayyid Abbas al-Maliki was the Mufti and Qadi of Makkah and the Imam and Khatib of the Haram. He held this position during the Ottoman then Hashemite times, and continued to hold it after the Saudi Kingdom was established too. The late King Abd-al-Aziz bin Sa?ud had great respect for him.
For more about him, check Nur al-Nibras fi Asanid al-Jadd al-Sayyid Abbas by his grandson al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Maliki. His late father, al-Sayyid Alawi al-Maliki was one of the greatest Ulama of Makkah in the revious century. He taught the various traditional Islamic sciences in the Haram of Makkah for nearly 40 years! .Hundreds of students from all over the Islamic world benefited from his lessons in the Haram and many hold key religious positions in their lands today. The late King Faisal would not make any decision on Makkah without consulting al-Sayyid Alawi.
For more about al-Sayyid Alawi, check his biography called Safhat Mushriqah min Hayat al-Imam al-Sayyid al-Sharif Alawi bin Abbas al-Maliki by his son, and our author?s younger brother, al-Sayyid Abbas al-Maliki. Sayyid Abbas is also a learned scholar but is better known for his beautiful voice and as the topmost Qasidah reciter of Saudi Arabia.
The work contains articles written on al-Sayyid Alawi by scholars from all over the Islamic world. The Maliki family has produced many other scholars also, but we have only mentioned our authors eminent father and grandfather. For more information on this noble family, check works on the history of Makkah and its scholars in the last few centuries. One will find enough.
He was fortunate to have as his father, the most learned scholar of Makkah. His father was his first and primary teacher, teaching him privately at home and as well as at the Haram of Makkah, where he memorized the Holy Qur?an at a young age. He was educated by his eminent father from childhood and was authorized to teach every book he studied with him. With his fathers instruction, he also studied and mastered the various traditional Islamic sciences of Aqidah, Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh, Usul, Mustalah, Nahw?etc at the feet of other great scholars of Makkah, as well as Madinah, all of whom granted him full Ijazah (certification) to teach these sciences to others. By the age of 15, the Sayyid was already teaching the books of Hadith and Fiqh in the Haram of Makkah to fellow students, by the orders of his teachers! After finishing his traditional education in his hometown of Makkah, he was sent by his father to study at the esteemed al-Azhar University of Egypt. He received his Ph.D. from the Azhar at the age of 25, making him the first and youngest Saudi to earn a Ph.D. from there. His thesis on Hadith was rated excellent and highly praised by the eminent Ulama of the Azhar at that time, such as Imam Abu-Zahrah.
It has been the way of most great Ulama to travel in pursuit of knowledge. The Sayyid was no exception to this rule. He traveled from a young age to seek knowledge from those who possess it. He traveled extensively in North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and the Indo-Pak sub-continent to learn from great scholars, meet the Friends of Allah, visit the Mosques and Shrines, and collect manuscripts and books. In each of these lands, he met the great Ulama and Awliya and benefited immensely from them. They in turn were also very impressed by this young student from Makkah and gave him special attention. Many already had great respect for his learned father, so were honored to have the son as their student.
Tausiyah and Ijazah
The Traditional system of education is based on Ijazah or the ?permission to transmit Knowledge?. Not anyone was allowed to teach, only those who had certified Ijazahs from well-known scholars.For every branch of knowledge and for every book of Hadith, Fiqh, Tafsir… etc, there were Sanads or chains of narration that went back to the author of the book himself through his students and their students. Many important Sanads, such as those of the Qur?an, Hadith and Tasawwuf go back to the blessed Prophet SAW himself.
Sayyid Muhammad is honored to be the Shaykh with the largest number of Ijazahs in out times. He also possesses the closest/shortest ?chain of narration? to his ancestor, the Prophet Muhammad SAW.In his Arabian homeland and in the course of his travels, the Sayyid obtained more than 200 Ijazahs from the greatest scholars of his time, in every branch of Islamic knowledge. His own Ijazah which he used to grant to his students was thus the most prestigious and rarest in the world, linking his students to countless great scholars.
One would not like to use the word ?career? for the Sayyid?s teaching activities, as it is very closely connected to material gains. The Sayyid however, like all traditional Shaykhs, and like his ancestors before him, teached solely for the sake of Allah and expects no material gains at all. In fact, he hosts a large number of students at his own residence, providing them with food, drink, shelter, clothes, books and everything else they need. In return, they are only required to follow the rules and etiquette of students of sacred knowledge. These students usually stay with him for many years, learning the various branches of Islamic knowledge, then return to their lands. Hundreds of students have learnt at his feet and have become savants of Islamic knowledge and spirituality in their countries, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Yemen and Dubai.After returning from the Azhar however, he was also appointed professor of Islamic studies at the Umm al-Qura University in Makkah, where he taught from 1970.
In 1971, after his father?s death, the scholars of Makkah asked him to accept his father?s position as a teacher in the Haram, which he did. Thus, he sat on the Chair from which his family had taught for more than century. He also taught in the Haram of Madinah occasionally. His lessons were the largest attended lessons in the Two Harams.
In the early eighties however, he relinquished his teaching position in the Umm al-Qura University as well as his ancestral chair of teaching in the Haram, due to the Fatwas of some fanatical scholars of the Wahhabi sect, who considered his presence a threat to their extremist ideology and authority.
Since then, he teaches the great books of Hadith, Fiqh, Tafsir and Tasawwuf at his home and mosque on al-Maliki street in the Rusayfah district of Makkah, and his public lessons, between Maghrib and Esha, were attended by no less than 500 people daily. Many students from the University used to attend his lessons in the evenings. Even the night before he passed away, his lesson was well-attended. Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki was highly respected by the Saudi government and was often consulted by the respected King himself on important affairs. He was also nominated as the head judge at the international Qira?at (Qur?anic reading) competition in Makkah for three consecutive years.
The Sayyid was a prolific writer and has produced close to one hundred books till now. He has written on a variety of religious, legal, social and historical topics and many of his books are considered masterpieces on the subject and are prescribed textbooks in Islamic institutes around the world. We mention here some selected works on various subjects: Aqidah:
1) Mafahim Yajib ?an Tusahhah
2) Manhaj al-Salaf fi Fahm al-Nusus
3) Al-Tahzir min al-Takfir
4) Huwa Allah
5) Qul Hazihi Sabeeli
6) Sharh ?Aqidat al-?Awam
1) Zubdat al-Itqan fi ?Ulum al-Qur?an
2) Wa Huwa bi al-Ufuq al-?A?la
3) Al-Qawa?id al-Asasiyyah fi ?Ulum al-Quran
4) Hawl Khasa?is al-Quran
1) Al-Manhal al-Latif fi Usul al-Hadith al-Sharif 2) Al-Qawa?id al-Asasiyyah fi ?Ilm Mustalah al-Hadith 3) Fadl al-Muwatta wa Inayat al-Ummah al-Islamiyyah bihi 4) Anwar al-Masalik fi al-Muqaranah bayn Riwayat al-Muwatta lil-Imam Malik
1) Muhammad(Sall Allahu ?Alayhi Wa Sallam) al-Insan al-Kamil 2) Tarikh al-Hawadith wa al-Ahwal al-Nabawiyyah 3) ?Urf al-T ?arif bi al-Mawlid al-Sharif 4) Al-Anwar al-Bahiyyah fi Isra wa M?iraj Khayr al-Bariyyah 5) Al-Zakha?ir al-Muhammadiyyah 6) Zikriyat wa Munasabat 7) Al-Bushra fi Manaqib al-Sayyidah Khadijah al-Kubra
1) Al-Qawa?id al-Asasiyyah fi Usul al-Fiqh 2) Sharh Manzumat al-Waraqat fi Usul al-Fiqh 3) Mafhum al-Tatawwur wa al-Tajdid fi al-Shari?ah al-Islamiyyah
1) Al-Risalah al-Islamiyyah Kamaluha wa Khuluduha wa ?Alamiyyatuha 2) Labbayk Allahumma Labbayk 3) Al-Ziyarah al-Nabawiyyah bayn al-Shar?iyyah wa al-Bid?iyyah 4) Shifa? al-Fu?ad bi Ziyarat Khayr al-?Ibad 5) Hawl al-Ihtifal bi Zikra al-Mawlid al-Nabawi al-Sharif 6) Al-Madh al-Nabawi bayn al-Ghuluww wa al-Ijhaf
1) Shawariq al-Anwar min Ad?iyat al-Sadah al-Akhyar 2) Abwab al-Faraj 3) Al-Mukhtar min Kalam al-Akhyar 4) Al-Husun al-Mani?ah 5) Mukhtasar Shawariq al-Anwar
1) Fi Rihab al-Bayt al-Haram (History of Makkah) 2) Al-Mustashriqun Bayn al-Insaf wa al-?Asabiyyah (Study of Orientalism) 3) Nazrat al-Islam ila al-Riyadah (Sports in Islam) 4) Al-Qudwah al-Hasanah fi Manhaj al-Da?wah ila Allah (Methods of Dawah) 5) Ma La ?Aynun Ra?at (Description of Paradise) 6) Nizam al-Usrah fi al-Islam (Islam and Family) 7) Al-Muslimun Bayn al-Waqi? wa al-Tajribah (Contemporary Muslim world) 8) Kashf al-Ghumma (Virtues of helping fellow Muslims) 9) Al-Dawah al-Islahiyyah (Call for Reform) 10) Fi Sabil al-Huda wa al-Rashad (Collection of speeches) 11) Sharaf al-Ummah al-Islamiyyah (Superiority of the Muslim Ummah) 12) Usul al-Tarbiyah al-Nabawiyyah (Prophetic methods of education) 13) Nur al-Nibras fi Asanid al-Jadd al-Sayyid Abbas (Set of Grandfather?s Ijazahs) 14) Al-Uqud al-Lu?luiyyah fi al-Asanid al-Alawiyyah (Set of father?s Ijazahs) 15) Al-Tali al-Said al-Muntakhab min al-Musalsalat wa al-Asanid (Set of Ijazahs) 16) Al-Iqd al-Farid al-Mukhtasar min al-Athbah wa al-Asanid (Set of Ijazahs)
This was a selected list of the works the learned Sayyid has authored and published. There are many other publications that were not mentioned and many works that are still to be published. We also did not mention the numerous important classical works that the Sayyid has located, researched and published for the first time, with notes and commentary. All together, the Sayyid?s contribution in this field has been great. Many of the Sayyids works have been translated into foreign languages.
The Sayyid was also a keen propagator of true Islamic guidance and spirituality and has traveled all over Asia, Africa, Europe and America calling people to heed to the Words of Allah and His final Messenger Muhammad SAW. In Southeast Asia especially, the Sayyid personally established and runs more than 70 Islamic schools to counter Christian missionary activities. Large numbers of Christians and Buddhists have embraced Islam at his blessed hands-many, only by looking at the Muhammadan Light shining on his face.
Wherever he went, the leaders, scholars and masses of that country receive him with jubilation. He has often addressed crowds of hundred thousand people. He is dearly loved and adored all over the Muslim world, not only because of his Muhammadan Lineage but also because of his immense knowledge, wisdom, humble manners and spiritual charisma. He was known to be extremely generous with his knowledge, wealth and time.
The Sayyid followed and advocated the mainstream majority tradition of Islam, the way of Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama?ah, the hallmark of which is tolerance and moderation, knowledge and spirituality, and unity in diversity. He believed in adherence to the four established Madhhabs, but without fanaticism. He teaches respect for the great Ulama and Awliya of the past.
He was against the hasty condemnation of fellow Muslims as Kafirs and Mushriks, something that has become the trademark of certain sects today. He was very critical of so-called 20th century reformers who wish to simply wash away the Islam of the previous generations in the name of pure Islam.He believed that condemning all Ash?aris, or all Hanafis, Shafi?i?s and, Malikis or all Sufis, as some sects are doing nowadays, means condemning the whole Ummah of Islam for the past thousand years. This can only be the attitude and approach of an enemy of Islam, not a friend.
The Sayyid strongly believed that the great Madhab-following Sunni-Sufi Islamic scholars of the past thousand years, are our connection to the Qur?an and Sunnah, and not a barrier between them and us, as some would like to believe. True understanding of the Quran and Sunnah is one that is based on the interpretation of the great scholars of Islam, not the whims and fancies of modern-day extremists who don?t think twice before condemning the majority of the Muslims of the world. The Sayyid believed that the majority of this Ummah are good. It?s the fanatical minority groups that must check their extremist ideologies.
The Sayyid was also a proponent of true Shari?ah based Sufism, the Sufism of the great Awliya and saints of this Ummah. He himself was a spiritual master of the highest calibre, linked to most of the great Spiritual Orders of Islam, through great Shaykhs of the Tariqah. He believed that reciting Dhikr, alone and in congregation, is an integral part of a Muslims spiritual well being. All his students are required to pray Tahajjud and read morning and evening Awrad.
Finally, the Sayyid believed that Muslims must use their resources to uplift the state of their Ummah, spiritual, socially and materially, and not waste their precious time in fighting over petty issues. He believed Muslims should not condemn each other on matters that have been differed upon by the Ulama, they must rather join hands in combating that which is agreed upon to be evil and sin. The Sayyids views are exemplified in his most famous work Mafahim Yajib an Tusahhah (Concepts that should be rectified), a book that gained wide appreciation throughout the Islamic world, and was highly acclaimed in scholarly circles.
There is no doubt that the presence of Sayyid Muhammad Alawi is was a blessing for this Ummah. He was indeed a biological and spiritual inheritor of the beloved Prophet SAW. The people of Makkah and Madinah dearly loved him, as was displayed in his Janazah.
Anyone one who used to meet him fell in love with him. His house in the holy city of Makkah was open throughout the year for visiting scholars and students, thousands of who throng to him. Generous with guests, he was also fearless in the speaking the Truth, and has gone through extremely hard times for that. Nevertheless the support of Allah always seemed to be with him. Radiy Allahu Anhu wa Ardaah. Ameen. For more on the life and achievements of al-Shaykh al-Imam Dr. al-Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki, check his excellent biography called Al-Maliki ?Alim al-Hijaz by the famous writer/historian of Makkah, Dr. Zuhayr Kutbi.
He studied in Al-Falah school in Jeddah and the school to memorize the holy Qur’an in Makkah. He traveled to India and Pakistan to learn from Hadith scholars. He got his Masters and PhD from Al-Azhar University in Egypt. He was also trained in Morocco. He taught in the Shariah College of Makkah from 1390 AH to 1399 AH. Maliki took his father’s seat in the holy mosque after he died in 1391 AH and taught for many years the Arabic language, history of the Prophet (peace be upon him), Hadith, explanation of the Qur’an and jurisprudence. He participated in many Islamic and international conferences and wrote 37 books on the history of the prophet and jurisprudence. Lutfullah Hatim, a friend of Sheikh Maliki, said he was shocked by the scholar’s death. He described him as a great scholar who enjoyed helping people. “The Islamic world is poorer today by his death,” he added.
Tens of thousands of students attended the funeral of Sheikh Sayed Muhammad Alawi Maliki who died early Friday morning and was buried in the Al-Malah cemetery in Makkah after Taraweeh prayer. All roads leading to the cemetery were closed because of the large crowd of mourners.
His admirers began flocking to Maliki’s house in the Al-Rusefah neighborhood in Makkah after hearing the news of his death. He died of complications from diabetes. Former Information Minister Dr. Muhammad Abdu Yamani, a friend of the sheikh, said the world suffered a tragic loss in his death. He described him as a man with an open mind. His house was open to everyone. “The whole of Makkah is very sad that he died. Hundreds of students graduated under his training. He was in very good condition when I met him early in Ramadan but death was too quick to claim his life,” Dr. Yamani said.
More than 200,000 people attended the funeral, most of them people who attended his lectures and others who loved him. More than 600 of his students attended his final lecture, which lasted until 2 a.m., an hour before he died. Sameer Barkah, one of the students close to the sheikh, told Al-Madinah, “He looked very happy the day he died and he was joking with his children and grandchildren. He prayed the entire Taraweeh prayer, though he was suffering severe pain.”
The residents of Makkah and the surrounding areas had a great shock when they heard that Muhammad ibn Alawi Al-Maliki Al-Husseini, a great scholar and a Makkah icon, had died. His death comes at a time when we are all in great need of him and his knowledge.
I had heard of Al-Maliki before I met him. My late father talked to me about Al-Malki and his ingenuity in mastering the science of Usool Al-Fiqh (basics of jurisprudence), had told Al-Maliki?s father, Sayed Alawi, also a scholar, that his son was like the branch of a tree that had excelled the trunk.
Al-Maliki went to Egypt where he studied Islamic jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University. When he returned to Saudi Arabia, he had gained a thorough understanding of the meaning of Islam and its various schools of thought, its dimensions and its respect for the views of others. He also studied Islamic knowledge under the scholars in the Holy Haram that in those days was full of scholars of different schools with different ideas and opinions. This reinforced what he had learned in Egypt where people had opened their minds to different views. God Almighty has implanted in our nature a freedom of opinion and a freedom to differ and that is why He created us. This late scholar had wide knowledge and was magnanimous, large-hearted and frank in presenting his views. He stood for truth without caring for criticism. He objected strongly when people, believing in fantasy, thought that they could defeat him through argument and curb his influence.
I have seen him on many occasions, exuding confidence, never raising his voice. He left the hypocrites shivering with the clarity of his arguments and he silenced the sycophants. Nobody could buy him as knowledge is not available for money; unfortunately, some of his colleagues allowed themselves to be bought.
He wrote a number of books and delivered hundreds of speeches in Muslim countries from Morocco to Indonesia. Hundreds of students visited him at his house in Makkah and benefited from his knowledge despite bans and other obstacles.
Many books have been written attacking him and statements with no basis in truth were made by his opponents in order to blacken his reputation; he ignored them and did not bother to respond to baseless criticisms. When one of Al-Maliki?s associates recited a couplet that described his opponents unfavorably, his comment was, ?I will not allow you to describe them like that. They have their opinions and I have mine. What we oppose is the idea that everybody should have the same opinion. Islam is wide and opens its heart to a variety of opinions under the banner of Lailaha Illallah (There is no god but Allah).
Three days before his sudden death, he was my guest at a sahoor party to which I had invited some friends to honor him. We enjoyed exchanging views and opinions and we were so enthralled by his talk that we urged him to say more. He promised me that he would arrange a meeting with one of the Shafie scholars in the Kingdom after he returned from Madinah but he died without having the chance to fulfill his promise.
We, the people of Makkah, have been stunned by two tragedies. The death of Al-Maliki occurred before we had recovered from the shock of the death of Muhammad Hassan Faqi, the poet of Arabism. Faqi was a great thinker but unlike many poets, he was not a sycophant. When he became well known outside the Kingdom, people accused him of apostasy. Now Al-Malki too has left us and we will suffer from his absence. Our consolation must be that his message was the eternal message of Islam, which will continue to shine despite all the smear campaigns.
Al-Maliki?s body was laid to rest in Al-Mualla Graveyard in Makkah beside his father, Sayed Alawi. I was unable to bid him a final farewell, as I was sick in bed. It pleased me, however, to hear that thousands had come for his funeral in the Haram Mosque where they prayed for him and showed him their love and respect. May God?s mercy fall upon this beloved scholar who was also a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Pass Away of Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki.
He passed away in 1971 and his funeral was the biggest in Makkah in a 100 years! For the next three days after his death, the local Saudi radio stations played the holy Qur?an only. This was something that was done only for him. He passed away on Friday the 15th of Ramadan (and he had wished for dyeing in Ramadan) in a state of fasting in his house in Makkah. His Death was sudden. Here is something I wrote to a friend after his Janazah.The Sayyid was buried next to his Father, near the Grave of his ancestor Sayyidah Khadijah. Before he passed away, he had phoned an old student in Indonesia and asked him if would come to Makkah in Ramadan? When he said no…the Sayyid said : “Wont you attend my Funeral?!! Indeed, he passed away in Ramadan on a Friday Morning…what more sign of Acceptance by Allah does one need?! . Makkah is crying for him, Arabia is crying for him…the entire Islamic World is crying for him Sayed Muhammad Alawi Maliki, a prominent scholar of Makkah, died yesterday morning in the holy city at the age of 60. He was suffering from diabetes. Maliki was born in Makkah and brought up in a religious family. His father, Sayed Alawi Malki, was one of Makkah’s well-known religious scholars. He was educated in Makkah inside the holy mosque under the guidance of top scholars, including his father and Sheikh Hasan Muhammad Al-Mashat.
May Allah grant him the highest place in Jannah next to his beloved Grandfather, Sayyidina Rasulollah SAW. Ameen.
Ya Allah, pouring and overflowing Ridho for him and award the us with the secret which Thou keep at him, Amen.