SAYYID MUHAMMAD IBN ALAWI BIN ABBAS IBN ‘ABD AL AZIZ AL MALIKI (Born 1947 in Makkah)
The Sayyid is a descendent of the prophet Muhammad (Blessings and Salutations of peace upon Him) through Imam Hasan, a grand-son of the prophet. He is a contemporary Saudi Arabian scholar of Tafseer (interpretation of the Qur’an), Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet), Fiqh (Islamic law), `Aqeedah (tenets of faith) and Seerah (Prophetic biography).
He is the most highly acclaimed and respected scholar (Shaykh) in Makkah (Mecca). He was born to a family of traditional Maliki scholars of ancestral residence in the Holy City. His grandfather was the Qadi (Chief Judge) of Makkah and an Imam of the Holy Mosque, the site of the Ka’bah.
His father Sayyid Alawi taught and lectured in the precints of the Holy Mosque for 30 years until he passed away in 1971, his funeral being the biggest one in the area in the present era. Sayyid Muhammad was educated by his eminent father from childhood and was authorised to teach every book he studied with him.
He also learnt at the feet of prominent scholars of Makkah such as Shaykh Say-yid Ameen Kutbi, Shaykh Hassan Masshat, Shaykh Muhammad Nur Sayf, Shaykh Saeed Yamani and many others. At the age of 25 he received his Phd from from the esteemed Al Azhar university of Egypt. His thesis – on Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet) – was rated excellent and highly praised by the ‘ulama (learned elders) there at the time such as Imam Abu Zahra.
During his never-ending quest for knowledge he has travelled extensively to north Africa, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Yemen and the Indo-Pak sub-continent to gather Hadith, collect manuscripts, visit scholars, saints and benefit from their wisdom. Apart from the ‘ulama of the Hijaz (Arabian Peninsula) he has got “Sanad” or “‘Ijazah” (lineage of authority to teach and guide) in the theological and spiritual sciences from eminent savants all over the Islamic world.
The great Da’ee (spreader of the religion) and Imam of Yemen, Imam Habib Ahmad Mashur al-Haddad , Shaykh Hasnayn Makhluf the great Mufti of Egypt, Shaykh al Ghimari of Morrocco , Shaykh Diauddin Qadiri of Madinah and numerous others have given him their ‘ijazah. In 1970 he was appointed professor of Islamic studies at the Umm-ul-Qurra university in Makkah.
In 1971, after his father’s death, the scholars of Makkah asked him to accept his father’s position as a teacher in the Holy Mosque, which he did. 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. Since 1983 he has concentrated on research and teaching . He also gives classes at his home and mosque on al Maliki street in the Rusayfa district of Makkah.
He is highly respected by the Saudi government and was nominated head judge at the international Qira’at (Qur’anic reading) competition in Makkah three times. He is also the author of close to one hundred books.
The Traditional system of Islamic education is based on Ijazah or the ‘permission to transmit Knowledge.’ Not any person 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.
Most such sanads, such as those of the Qur’an, Hadith and Tasawwuf go back to the blessed Prophet _ himself. Sayyid Muhammad was honored to be one of the Shaykhs with the largest number of Ijazahs in our times. He also possessed the closest/shortest ‘chain of narration’ to his ancestor, the Prophet Muhammad . 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. Thus, his own Ijazah that he would grant to his students was from the most prestigious and rarest in the world, linking his students to countless great scholars.
Indeed, most of the great Scholars today had sought the Ijazah from the Sayyid. The Masters who granted the Sayyid their respective Ijazahs were great savants and shining stars from all over the Islamic world. I would like to mention a few here:
1) His learned father and his first teacher, al-Sayyid `Alawi bin Abbas al-Maliki 2) Shaykh Muhammad Yahya Aman al-Makki 3) Shaykh al-Sayyid Muhammad al-`Arabi al-Tabbani 4) Shaykh Hasan Sa`id al-Yamani 5) Shaykh Hasan bin Muhammad al-Mashshat 6) Shaykh Muhammad Nur Sayf 7) Shaykh Muhammad Yasin al-Fadani 8) Al-Sayyid Muhammad Amin Kutbi 9) Al-Sayyid Ishaq bin Hashim `Azuz 10) Al-Habib Hasan bin Muhammad Fad’aq 11) Al-Habib `Abdul Qadir bin `Aydarus al-Bar 12) Shaykh Khalil Abd-al-Qadir Taybah 13) Shaykh `Abd-Allah Sa’id al-Lahji From Medina al-Munawwarah: 1) Shaykh Hasan al-Sha’ir, Shaykh al-Qurra of Medina 2) Shaykh Diya’uddin Ahmad al-Qadiri 3) Al-Sayyid Ahmad Yasin al-Khiyari 4) Shaykh Muhammad al-Mustafa al-`Alawi al-Shinqiti 5) Shaykh Ibrahim al-Khatani al-Bukhari 6) Shaykh `Abdul Ghafur al-`Abbasi al-Naqshband.
From Hadramawt and Yemen:
1) Al-Habib `Umar bin Ahmad bin Sumayt, Grand Imam of Hadramawt 2) Shaykh al-Sayyid Muhammad Zabarah, Mufti of Yemen 3) Shaykh al-Sayyid IbrahIm bin Aqil al-Ba-`Alawi, Mufti of Ta’iz 4) Al-Imam al-Sayyid `Ali bin `Abdul Rahman al-Hibshi 5) Al-Habib `Alawi ibn `Abdullah bin Shihab 6) Al-Sayyid Hasan bin `Abdul Bari al-Ahdal 7) Shaykh Fadhl bin Muhammad Ba-Fadhal 8) Al-Habib `Abdullah bin `Alawi al-Attas 9) Al-Habib Muhammad bin Salim bin Hafeez 10) Al-Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad 11) Al-Habib `Abdul Qadir al-Saqqaf 12) Shaykh `Abdullah Zayd al-Zabid.
From Syria and Lebanon:
1) Shaykh Abul Yusr ibn `Abidin, Mufti of Syria 2) Shaykh al-Sayyid al-Sharif Muhammad al-Makki al-Kattani, Mufti of the Malikis 3) Shaykh Muhammad As`ad al-Abaji, Mufti of the Shafi`is 4) Shaykh al-Sayyid Muhammad Salih al-Farfur 5) Shaykh Hasan Habannakah al-Maydani 6) Shaykh `Abdul `Aziz `Uyun al-Sud al-Himsi 7) Shaykh Muhammad Sa`id al-Idlabi al-Rifa`i 8) Shaykh `Abdullah al-Harari.
1) Shaykh al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Hafiz al-Tijani, Imam of Hadith in Egypt 2) Shaykh Hasanayn Muhammad Makhluf, Mufti of Egypt 3) Shaykh Salih al-Ja`fari, Imam of al-Azhar 4) Shaykh Amin Mahmud Khattab al-Subki 5) Shaykh Muhammad al-`Aquri (student of Imam al-Bajuri) 6) Shaykh Hasan al-`Adawi 7) Shaykh al-Sayyid Muhammad Abul `Uyun al-Khalwati 8) Al-Imam al-Akbar Dr.`Abdul Halim Mahmud, Rector of al-Azha.
From North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia):
1) Al-Sharif Idris al-Sanusi, late King of Libya 2) Shaykh al-Sayyid `Abdullah bin al-Siddiq al-Ghumari, Imam of Hadith in Morocco 3) Shaykh al-Sayyid `Abdul `Aziz bin al-Siddiq al-Ghumari 4) Shaykh Muhammad al-Tahir ibn `Ashur, Imam of al-Zaytuna, Tunis 5) Shaykh al-Sayyid al-Sharif `Abdul Kabir al-Saqali al-Mahi 6) Shaykh al-Tayyib al-Muhaji al-Jaza’iri, Muhaddith of Algeria 7) Shaykh al-Faruqi al-Rahhali al-Marrakashi 8) Shaykh al-Sayyid al-Sharif Muhammad al-Muntasir al-Kattani 9) Shaykh Sidi Muhammad Bal-Qa’id al-Hibri al-Shadhili al-Darqawi.
From the Indo-Pak subcontinent:
1) Shaykh al-Faqih Abul Wafa al-Afghani, Imam of the Hanafis, Hyderabad Deccan 2) Shaykh al-Allamah `Abdul Mu`id Khan, Hyderabad Deccan 3) al-Imam al-`Arif-Billah Mustafa Rida Khan al-Barelawi, Mufti of India 4) Mufti Muhammad Shafi`i al-Deobandi, Mufti of Pakistan 5) Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyyah al-Kandahlawi, Master of Hadith 6) Malawana Zafar Ahmad Thanawi, author of ‘Ila al-Sunan 7) Shaykh al-Muhaddith Habib al-Rahman al-`Azami 8) Mawlana Sayyid Abul Hasan `Ali al-Nadaw.
From the Sudan:
1) Shaykh Yusuf Hamad al-Nil 2) Shaykh Majdhub Muddassir Ibrahim al-Tijani 3) Shaykh Ibrahim Abul Nur 4) Shaykh al-Tayyib Abu Qinayah al-Tijani.
There is no doubt that a personality like Sayyid Muhammad bin `Alawi was a blessing for this Ummah. He was indeed a biological and spiritual inheritor of the beloved Prophet . The people of Mecca and Medina dearly loved him and all who met him would fall in love with him.
His house in the holy city of Mecca was open throughout the year for visiting scholars and students, thousands of whom would throng to him.
Generous with guests, he was also fearless in speaking the truth, and went through extremely hard times for that. Nevertheless, the support of Allah always seemed to be with him.
Biography by Shaykh fakhrudin Owaysi