Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

On the life of Sayyidi Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin

On the life of Sayyidi Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin :

The Syrian city of Aleppo is famous for its rich history of Islamic scholarship ; hence, it is often referred to as ‘the city of scholars’. It is in fact the cradle of many pious and leading scholars of Islam. Amongst them was the Friend and Gnostic of Allāh ,  Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin  , an extraordinary scholar and saint who dedicated his entire life to the service of Islām.
It is without doubt that  Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin  has had an important role in defining the scholarship of Aleppo during the past century. His qualities were many, his skills outstanding. Not only was he the leader of the Rifā’ī Tarīqa in his city, he was also a leading scholar of
anafī Fiqh; thus balancing the two central sciences in the footsteps of the four great Imāms.
Yet he was an even more prominent scholar of adīth and Tafsīr.  Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin was in fact one of the last uffā who memorized 100.000 Hadīth, and a leading exegete of the Qur’ān worldwide. However, all these expertises are not what he is most famous for. His true fame came with his immense and intense love for our Master Muhammad . Such incredible levels of love have not been seen elsewhere in our times.
His Childhood and Education
A descendant of Imām usayn bin ‘Alī Abī ālib on his father’s side,  Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin was born into an honorable and pious family, on the verge of the collapse of the Ottoman Sultanate in 1923 CE. During his childhood,  Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin  was surrounded by the love and care of his father, Shaykh Muhammad Najīb Sirājuddīn , who was also a leading scholar of Tafsīr, Fiqh, adīth and Tasawwuf. Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin  was known for expressing much respect, benevolence and love towards his family. It is also said that he was very enthusiastic about helping his mother in her domestic tasks. He loved his father dearly as well, and after his father passed away he always began his writings with a homage.
He began his pursuit of knowledge, under the guidance of his father, at an early age and memorized the Qur’ān at the age of thirteen. At this time he was studying at the Islamic school of al-Khasrawiyya, where he then applied to the study of the adīth. There he studied under leading scholars connected to the school, such as the Faqīh Mu ammad Ibrāhīm al- Salqīnī , the Sūfī Shaykh ‘Isā al-Bayanūnī , Shaykh ‘Umar Mas’ūd al- arīrī , Shaykh Fay allāh al-Ayyūbī al-Kurdī , Shaykh A mad al-Shammā’ and several other prominent scholars. As he remained in their proximity, the Muhaddith, Hāfi and leading historian of Aleppo, al-Shaykh Mu ammad Rāghib al-Tabbākh noticed his intelligence and devotion, was drawn near to him and became his mentor. Shaykh ‘Abdallāh also frequented other scholars who did not teach at his school, such as the anafī Faqīh Shaykh A mad al-Kurdī , Shaykh Muhammad Sa’īd al-Idlībī and several others.
In his final year at the Khasrawiyya, the ministry of education assigned a new program which came to replace the old program.  Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin objected to this fiercely, for the new program contained a very poor amount of Islamic sciences. In spite of the fact that he was in his last year and very near to obtaining his degree, Shaykh ‘Abdallāh left the school and turned his back on the tempting future salary that he could have obtained. Instead, he chose to continue his studies in the nearness of the scholars of his city.
He continued his studies under the supervision of his father, Shaykh Muhammad Najīb Sirājuddīn, who attracted large crowds to his lessons. In this environment Shaykh ‘Abdallāh was given the opportunity to further develop his skills and increase his knowledge, and his fame as a scholar came to conquer Aleppo. He began teaching Islām in various mosques, such as the Hamawī mosque where he tutored one hour in the morning, four times a week. Soon he was asked to teach at various colleges as well as the Sha`bāniyya school, in addition to the many courses and lessons he gave in various mosques. He continued to teach at his mosque, even when the funds that provided his payment were stopped.
Then came one year in which his father’s age prevented him from continuing his courses.
Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin , by then only twenty-two years old, carried the heavy load of succeeding his father in his scholarship. The demands of the public and the level of his father’s courses made
this a great test for him, but by the Grace of Allāh he s2ucceeded in it, and honouring this responsibility caused the admiration of the public for him.
His Scholarship and Piety
Following the vacuum caused by the closing of the Sha`bāniyya Islamic school, Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin  felt the need to found a large Islamic school in Aleppo that would take charge of training future scholars and preachers. He then decided to revive religious teachings and founded the School of Islamic Teachings in 1958. Its program combined legal courses, Islamic spirituality, the life and qualities of the Messenger of Allāh  as well as the sciences of Hadīth. In addition, he founded a Qur’ānic school whose mission it was to teach its students the Qur’ān. Generous scholarships were granted to the pupils in order to encourage the preservation of this knowledge.
As Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin  became the leading scholar of Aleppo, he conveyed in his courses the quintessence of Islamic legislation and spirituality. In a moving voice, he often spoke of the
love towards the Messenger of Allāh  and the duty to follow his excellent manners. He promoted love for the Sunnah and revived it in his behaviour and exhortations. In addition, he confronted the tenets of immoderation which sought to work their way through the city of Aleppo.
Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin was truly in love with the Messenger of Allāh . He did not cease pointing out his qualities, his ethics and the nobility of his status in nearness of Allāh . He did not accept anyone to be given the importance of our Master Muhammad , and for this incredible love Shaykh Abdul Rahman Shaghouri called him, “the Pole of Prophetic love of our times.” 4 His great love for the Prophet is sensed in almost every single line with which he described him .
He was also, according to Shaykh Nūruddīn ‘Itr, “extremely scrupulous and avoided any doubtful thing.”  He was generous and helpful towards the poor, lenient towards the pupils of his school, and known for his humility and devotion. The love that the people of Aleppo had for  Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin  can still be noticed throughout the city, where his photograph is commonly seen and his name is frequently mentioned. Yet, no matter how much the people  loved him, he loved the Prophet even more; and this love was sensed in everything that surrounded him. It is said that he was constantly visited by the Prophet . Such an event is also mentioned by Shaykh Gibrīl Fouād Haddād in the words of Shaykh Nūruddīn ‘Itr, He said Shaykh Sirāj would see the Prophet asleep and awake, that one time the
Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, ordered our liegelord ‘Alī ibn Abī ālib to dress the Shaykh with his cloak, and another time the Prophet himself dressed him with his noble hand, and another time the Prophet told him: “You are our dedicated servant,”
after which he would say: “The Prophet is pleased to have me as his servant.”  In a time when Islām was weakened severely in many ways, one man inspired the people to return to the righteous path as no other. And even though Aleppo is the city of scholars, some said that no scholar was left in Aleppo any longer after his passing away.
His Works
Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin wrote over twenty works, entailing mostly Islamic spirituality, creed, ethics and the noble manners of the Messenger of Allāh . Other works were treatises on the sciences of Hadīth and Tafsīr of the Qur’ān.
He has written the following works:
•    Sayyidinā Mu ammad Rasūl Allāh- Shamā’il al- amīda, Khi ālat al-Majīda
•    Al- alāt ‘alā al-Nabī
•    Shar al-Man ūmat al-Bayqūniyya fī Mu ala al- adīth •   Shahādat an Lā Ilāha Illā Allāh, Mu ammad Rasūl Allāh
•    Durūs awla Ba’ al-Tafsīr Āyāt al-Qur’ān al-Karīm
•    Talawat al-Qur’ān al-Majīd
•    Hadyī al-Qur’ān ilā Ma’rifat al-‘Ulūm wal-Tafakkur fī al-Akwān
•    Hadyī al-Qur’ān al-Karīm ilā ujjat al-Burhān
•    Al-Hadī al-Nabawī
•    Al-Taqarrub ilā Allāh Ta’ālā
•    Al-Du’ā’
•    Al- alāt fīl Islām
•    Al-Īmān bi- ‘Awālim al-Ukhrā wa-Mawāqifuhā
•      u’ūd al-Aqwāl wa-Rafa’a al-‘Amāl
•    Al-Īmān bil Malā’ika
•    Al-Ad’iyyāt wal-Adhkār al-Wārida nā’ al-Layl wa-I rāf al-Nahār
•    Tarjumat al-Shaykh Mu ammad Najīb Sirājuddīn al- usaynī
•    Muhā arāt awla Mawāqif Sayyidinā Mu ammad Rasūl Allāh
•    Mawāqif Sayyidinā Mu ammad Rasūl Allāh ma’a al-‘Ālam
•    Ada’iyyāt al- abā wal-Masā’
•    Manāsik al- ajj wal-‘Umra
•       awla Tafsīr ūrat al-Fāti a
•       awla Tafsīr ūrat al-Mulk
awla Tafsīr   ūrat al- ujurāt
•       awla Tafsīr  ūrat Qāf
•       awla Tafsīr  ūrat al-Insān
•       awla Tafsīr ūrat al-‘Alaq •awla Tafsīr ūrat al-Kawthar
•       awla Tafsīr ūrat al-Ikhlā
Perhaps his most famous work was Sayyidunā Muhammad Rasūl Allāh                        (Our MasterMuhammad the Messenger of Allāh ), an incredible expression of Prophetic love. It is one of the most beautiful discourses on the Prophet’s characteristics, impressing and moving one instantly when reading it.  The following is a small excerpt from this work:
Of all people, the Prophet had the most beautiful face, and the brightest countenance. All of the Sahāba who described the Messenger of Allāh         agreed that his face was bright and radiant, and shone with resplendent light, and clear brilliance. Some of them compared the brilliance of his light to the sun, others to the moon. Some of them likened the shining light of his face to the beams of the moon. All of this confirms for us the clear radiance of his face, and his dazzling luminescence .
Another one of his famous works is al- alāt ‘alā al-Nabī  (The Prayer upon the Prophet ), what follows is a small excerpt from this book.
¼ Allāh Himself sends blessings upon this Prophet, as an honouring and ennobling; and Alllāh’s angels send blessings upon this Prophet, to seek the honour of doing so and to acquire blessings (tabarruk) from this, and to be dyed by its lights and drowned in its spiritual secrets. Then, when those of the lower worlds heard of this, their hearts found intimacy in this, and their resolves and determinations were stirred towards seeking the honour of sending blessings upon this noble Prophet . Thus, the tongues of their states- -expressing their needs–called, ‘O Lord! Grant us permission to attain unto the honour of sending blessings upon this noble Prophet whom the angels have been honoured by sending blessings upon.’ The Divine Call same, ‘O you who believe, send blessings upon him and give peace.’
His Colleagues and Students
Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin maintained good contacts with other scholars in the Middle East. During his three pilgrimages to Mecca and various trips to Damascus, Homs, Hama, Baghdad and Jerusalem, he maintained brotherly relations with the scholars and preachers of those cities. His colleagues were his friends, and amongst them was the great scholar of Hadīth, Shaykh `Abdal Fattāh Abū Ghudda .
His students are many, and some of them have become leading scholars worldwide by following in his footsteps. Here we shall mention only a few of them.
•    Shaykh Nūruddīn ‘Itr
•   Shaykh Mu ammad Awwāma
•   Shaykh Majd Makki
•   Shaykh Sāmir al-Nass
•    Shaykh Muhammad al-Ninowy
He was also the teacher of our Imām and beloved friend, Shaykh ‘Alī al-Khalaf, may Allāh preserve him.
The Return to his Lord
Following a surgical operation thaht was carried out at the end of his life, the health of Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin deteriorated. On the 4t of March 2002 (1422 H) he passed away. The news of his death was announced throughout the Muslim world, and covered it with a veil of sorrow. Words of condolences flowed from many Muslim countries, and Shaykh Yūsuf al-Qaradāwī recalled the merits of this noble scholar on al-Jazeera:
“It is a word of mourning, because we have a habit in this program to say farewell to our great scholars as they leave our lower world to rest in the other world. Last week, our brothers in Syria, in the flourishing city of Aleppo, said farewell to one of the greatest senior scholars who dedicated his life for scholarship, religion, the call to Allāh and education: Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin , may Allāh grant him His mercy and place him in the higher realms of the Paradise.  Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin was a man of scholarship, of religion. He was heir of the scholarship of his father.  This man was a scholar of Ḥadīth and Fiqh. Moreover, he was a preacher and a teacher. It is said that he knew the work taysīr al-wusūl ilā ahādīth al- rasūl by heart. He memorized the exact narrations and terms therein, and taught it to his pupils. I was not fortunate enough to meet Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin in person, but I knew him through his students and followers who spoke to me in length about him.  Our brothers in the city of Aleppo said farewell to him, and we offer them, as well as ourselves, our condolences, in these days when many great scholars of the community leave us.”
In his tradition of love for his father, I ask the dear reader to recite ūrat al-Fātiha and donate the reward of its recitation to the renowned scholar and great Gnostic, carrier of the banner of the Qur’ān and Sunnah in the footsteps of his noble father, the Qur’ānic exegete and scholar of adīth, the Pole of Prophetic love in our times,  Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin , may Alllāh have mercy on him, and reward him well on behalf of the Muslims; Indeed, He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
O Allāh, bless this great scholar and grant him jannat al-firdaws, and pardon our errors and mistakes for the sake of Your Most Beloved, Our Master Muhammad, and our love for those righteous servants who love him most.
It Has been narrated by several ‘Ulama that  Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin  had a dream in which he was told by one of the sahaba ”Oh Abdullah You Are My Servant” after this shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin Said If anything happens to me after this moment it would not matter !
Shaykh Abdullah Would fondly exchange books with the late Arif of Madinah Sidi Shaykh Zakariyah Al Bukhari who came to syria in the nintees and met Shaykh abdullah Sirajuddin and took duas from Al-Arif Billah Shaykh Abdul Rahman Shaghouri  . Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin Met Shaykh Shaghouri in the nintees ( InshahAllah a friend shall be sharing this audio of the meeting between both of these Arifeen) .
Sidi Shaykh Nazim Of Cyprus Said That ”This Is A Man Of His Time” It Has also been noted that shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin took bayah with shaykh nazim .
Shaykh `Abd Allah Siraj al-Din illustrated this verse from Surat al-Mu’minun: {And those who give that which they give with hearts afraid because they are about to return unto their Lord} (23:60).
He said Shaykh Siraj said “the wird or regular devotion of the student of knowledge is his knowledge,” i.e. he must try to put into practice everything he knows, at one point or another.
He said Shaykh Siraj said “The school is not the walls but the teachers. Be the school wherever you are.”
He said he heard Shaykh Siraj’s teacher say: “The student of knowledge is for everyone,” i.e. he must be a beacon for his dependents, his relatives, his neighbours, and so forth. He must also know the legal
rulings that apply to the everyday situations of people so he can help them and guide them. He said even if he didn’t hear Shaykh Siraj say this, it was his line of action and teaching anyway.
He said Shaykh Siraj emphasized Riyad al-Salihin. “The tasawwuf of Imam al-Ghazzali’s Ihya’ lost its people a long time ago.” I heard Mawlana al-Shaykh Nazim say the same of Imam al-Qushayri’s Risala. “But the tasawwuf of Imam al-Nawawi is accessible through his books, mainly Riyad al-Salihin and al-Adhkar.”
Shaykh Nur al-Din said Riyad al-Salihin is “the quintessence of the books of the Sunna, and its quintessence are its chapter-titles.” Another book which we heard Shaykh Nur al-Din say Shaykh Siraj emphasized was al-Mundhiri’s al-Targhib wal-Tarhib.
He said Shaykh Siraj would see the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, asleep and awake, that one time the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, ordered our liegelord `Ali ibn Abi Talib to dress the Shaykh with his cloak, and another time the Prophet himself dressed him with his noble hand, and another time the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, told him: “You are our dedicated servant,” after which he would say: “The Prophet is pleased to have me as his servant.”
Blessings and peace on the Prophet, his Family, and all his Companions.
An Additional Note :
” This great talk about the late Hafiz and Shaykh al-Islam of Aleppo, Sayyid Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin , by his son-in-law and greatest student the Hafiz Nur al-Din Itr was given in the historical old mosque of Jami` al-Tawba in Damascus as part of the biographical lectures about the lives of the great Shuyukh of Shaam every first Thursday of the Arabic month.
The date of this talk is Thursday 4 Rabi` al-Awwal 1423 = 16 May 2002, over two months after the Shaykh had passed away on March 4, 2002.
The talks are organized under the auspices of the Mosque, headed by Dr. Hisham al-Burhani (sitting at Dr. Itr’s right, who spoke right after him).
Outwardly the talk is about the life and states of Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin  and his teachings. However, the talk also shows the delightful, profound language and state of our dear beloved teacher Dr. Nur al-Din Itr who, as usual when he speaks of his teacher, was constantly on the brink of tears. You can hear him address the Holy Prophet at one point, and you can hear him also say that he converses (in the present tense) with his teacher Shaykh Abdullah Sirajuddin  although most probably no one or almost no one notices.
The talk sums up the focus of the senior Shuyukh of Shaam on two traits which I find are special to them:
1. The complete yet unassuming focus on `azima (strictness) and mastery in `ilm and practice at the highest level possible of the Shari`a and their inculcation in the students.
2. The continuous yet once again unassuming intimacy with the Messenger of Allah, upon him blessings and peace and the preparation of students for it.
As Dr. Shihab al-Din Farfur said in his elegiac poem (ratha’) which he read for the first time at the closing of the session: “Messenger of Allah, I send the expression of my sadness [at the passing of our teacher] to you, and we have no other request than meeting you.” He said he composed it after he gifted the Fatiha to the Shaykh, whereupon he received its inspiration. Indeed, such a line itself seems straight from the mouth of Shaykh Siraj al-Din.
These are our teachers and fathers in the Religion, and even the stone pillars around them could tell you most eloquently: If, after you sit with them attentively, you can boast of better living exemplars at these two levels, point them out to us so that we may travel to them on the apples of our eyes and kiss their feet. Otherwise, leave us in peace with them for they are the testament of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, concerning the people of Shaam.”


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