A BIOGRAPHY OF
ASH-SHAYKH ^ABDULLAH AL-HARARIYY
He is the great ^alim (Islamic scholar), an example of the ^ulama‘ (Islamic scholars), al-‘Imam, al-Muhaddith, the pious worshipper, ash-Shaykh Abu ^Abdir-Rahman, ^Abdullah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Yusuf, al-Harariyy, ash-Shaybiyy, al-^Abdariyy, the Mufti of as–Sumal (Somalia). He is al-Harariyy because he is from the city of Harar. In 1887, as–Sumal was occupied and divided into five parts and the western province (Harar) was given to al-Habashah (Ethiopia). He is ash-Shaybiyy because Banu Shaybah is a clan of Quraysh and they are the people in charge of al-Ka^bah. He is al-^Abdariyy because he also belongs to ^Abd-ud-Dar, a clan of Qusayy Ibn Kilab, the fourth grandfather of Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam.
He was born in Harar around 1339 A.H., or 1920 R.C. He grew up in a humble house loving al-^Ilm (Islamic knowledge) and its people. He memorized al-Qur’an by heart and tartil (reading correctly with tajwid rules) when he was seven years old. He continued to scoop from the sea of knowledge. He memorized numerous books in various Islamic sciences. He gave ^Ilm al-Hadith a great amount of attention. He memorized the six books of al-Hadith (al-Bukhariyy, Muslim, at-Tirmithiyy, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, An-Nasa‘iyy) and other books of al-Hadith with their isnad (names and biographies of the chains of relators). He was authorized by al-^ulama‘ to pass al-fatwa and to relate al-Hadith when he was less than eighteen years old.
He was not satisified with taking knowledge only from al-^ulama‘ of his own city. He went to many places in al-Habashah and as–Sumal seeking knowledge and its people. He had many trips with hardships and difficulties, but he did not care about them; whenever he heard about an ^alim he went to him, which is the habit of the righteous Salaf (Muslim scholars of the first 300 Hijriyyah years).
His intelligence and wonderful memory helped him get in depth in al-Fiqh ash-Shafi^iyy (Islamic knowledge following al-‘Imam ash-Shafi^iyy), and also the same in al-Fiqh al-Malikiyy, al-Hanafiyy, and al-Hanbaliyy, so that he became a person at whom fingers point; people would come to him from different places in al-Habashah and as–Sumal. He became the Mufti of as–Sumal (the highest religious authority qualified to pass Islamic judgements).
He took al-Fiqh ash-Shafi^iyy and its Usul (science of inferring rules and judgements) and an-Nahw (Arabic Grammar) from al-^alim ash-Shaykh Muhammad ^Abdus-Salam al-Harariyy, ash-Shaykh Muhammad ^Umar Jami^ al-Harariyy, ash-Shaykh Muhammad Rashad al-Habashiyy, ash-Shaykh Ibrahim Abil-Ghayth Al-Harariyy, ash-Shaykh Yunus al-Habashiyy, and ash-Shaykh Muhammad Siraj al-Jabartiyy. From those ^ulama‘ (Islamic scholars) he took many main texts such as Alfiyyat-uz-Zubad, at-Tanbih, al-Minhaj, Alfiyyat-ubni-Malik, al-Luma^ by ash-Shiraziyy and other main texts.
He took the sciences of the Arabic Language, especially from the righteous Shaykh Ahmad al-Basir and ash-Shaykh Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Habashiyy and others. He read the Fiqh of the three Mathahib and their Usul under ash-Shaykh Muhammad al-^Arabiyy al-Fasiyy, and ash-Shaykh ^Abdur-Rahman al-Habashiyy. He took at-Tafsir (science of explanation of al-Qur’an) from ash-Shaykh Sharif al-Habashiyy in his town, Jummah.
He took al-Hadith and its sciences from many teachers notably from al-Hafiz ash-Shaykh Abu Bakr Muhammad Siraj al-Jabartiyy, the Mufti of al-Habashah, and ash-Shaykh ^Abdur-Rahman ^Abdullah al-Habashiyy, and others.
He met with the righteous Shaykh, al-Muhaddith, al-Qari’ (Reciter of al-Qur’an), Ahmad Ibn ^Abdil-Muttalib, the Head of the Qurra‘ (plural of Qari’) in al-Masjid-ul-Haram in Makkah (he was appointed as the Imam and Shaykh of al-Masjid-ul-Haram by as-Sultan ^Abdul-Hamid II, the last Muslim, Ottoman Khalifah). From this Shaykh he took the 14 ways of reciting al-Qur’an, as well as ^Ilm al-Hadith and he also met ash-Shaykh, al-Qari’, Dawud al-Jabartiyy.
He started giving classes at a young age for the students who were maybe older than he was; so he was both learning and teaching. He was superior in both al-Habashah and as–Sumal to his peers in knowing the biographies of the people of al-Hadith and their ranks, and memorizing the texts and getting in depth in the sciences of as-Sunnah, language, Tafsir, and others.
He did not leave any known Islamic science without mastering it. He may talk about some knowledge or science and a person may think that he specialized in that only. You would see him humbly listening to a Hadith with his ear and his heart, although he knows better about it than the speaker himself.
He went to Makkah and met its ^ulama‘ such as ash-Shaykh, al-^Alim, as-Sayyid, ^Alawiyy al-Malikiyy, and ash-Shaykh Amin al-Kutubiyy. He attended circles by ash-Shaykh Muhammad al-^Arabiyy at-Tabban. He contacted ash-Shaykh ^Abdul-Ghafur an-Naqshabandiyy and took at-Tariqah an-Naqshabandiyyah from him .
Afterwards, he went to al-Madinah and contacted its ^ulama‘. He took al-Hadith from ash-Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Muhammad as-Siddiqiyy al-Bakriyy. He stayed by and in ^Arif Hikmat and al-Mahmudiyyah libraries going through the manuscripts. He stayed in al-Madinah close to the Prophet’s Mosque for about a year. He received permission to teach from many ^ulama‘.
He then went to Jerusalem in the 5th decade of this century and then he went to Damascus where he was welcomed by its people, especially after the death of its Muhaddith Badr-ud-Din al-Hasaniyy. He went to Damascus, Beirut, Hims, Hamah, Halab, and other cities. He then lived in Jami^-ul-Qatat, and his fame spread in the area. Consequently, the scholars and students of ash-Sham (area including Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and Jordan) came seeking him, and he got to know some of its scholars. They benefited from him and acknowledged his knowledge, and he was called “the Successor of ash-Shaykh Badr-ud-Din al-Hasaniyy”. He was also known as “the Muhaddith of ash-Sham countries”. A great number of the ^ulama‘ of ash-Sham praised him such as ash-Shaykh ^Izz-ud-Din al-Khaznawiyy, ash-Shafi^iyy, an-Naqshabandiyy from al-Jazirah in the north of Syria, ash-Shaykh ^Abdur-Razzaq al-Halabiyy, the Director of al-Masjidul-‘Umawiyy in Damascus, ash-Shaykh Abu Sulayman az-Zabibiyy, ash-Shaykh Mulla Ramadan al-Butiyy, ash-Shaykh Abul-Yusr ^Abidin, the Mufti of Syria, ash-Shaykh ^Abdul-Karim ar-Rifa^iyy, ash-Shaykh Naji Nur from Jordan, ash-Shaykh Sa^id Tanatirah, ash-Shaykh Ahmad al-Husariyy, the Director of the Islamic school of Ma^arratun-Nu^man, ash-Shaykh ^Abdullah Siraj al-Halabiyy, ash-Shaykh Muhammad Murad al-Halabiyy, ash-Shaykh Suhayb ar-Rumiyy, the Amin of al-Fatwa in Halab, ash-Shaykh ^Abdul-^Aziz ^Uyunus-Sud, the Head of the Qurra‘ of Hims, ash-Shaykh Abus-Su^ud al-Himsiyy, ash-Shaykh Fayiz ad-Dayr^ataniyy, the Shaykh of Damascus who knows the Seven Qira‘at (ways of recitations of Qur’an), ash-Shaykh ^Abdul-Wahhab Dibs wa Zayt of Damascus, Dr. Halawaniyy, the Shaykh of reciters in Syria, ash-Shaykh Ahmad al-Harun of Damascus, the righteous waliyy, ash-Shaykh Tahir al-Kayyaliyy from Hims, and others, may Allah benefit us from them.
He was also praised by ash-Shaykh ^Uthman Siraj-ud-Din, the descendant of ash-Shaykh ^Ala‘-ud-Din, the Shaykh of an-Naqshabandiyyah in his time and they had brotherly and scholarly correspondances between them. He was praised also by ash-Shaykh ^Abdul-Karim al-Bayyariyy, the teacher in Jami^-il-Hadrah al-Kilaniyyah in Baghdad, ash-Shaykh Ahmad az-Zahid al-‘Islambuliyy, ash-Shaykh Mahmud al-Hanafiyy, who is one of the famous and active Turkish shuyukh (pl. of shaykh), ash-Shaykh ^Abdullah al-Ghammariyy, the Muhaddith of the Morrocan area, ash-Shaykh Habibur-Rahman al-‘A^zamiyy, the Muhaddith of the Indian Peninsula, whom he met with many times and stayed as his guest for some time.
He took permission for at–Tariqah ar-Rifa^iyyah from ash-Shaykh ^Abdur-Rahman as-Sibsibiyy, and ash-Shaykh Tahir al-Kayyaliyy, and permission in at–Tariqah al-Qadiriyyah from ash-Shaykh Ahmad al-^Irbiniyy, may Allah have mercy upon them.
Ash-Shaykh ^Abdullah came to Beirut in 1950 R.C. and he was the guest of the famous shuyukh like ash-Shaykh, al-Qadi Muhyid-Din al-^Ajuz and ash-Shaykh, al-Mustashar Muhammad ash-Sharif and ash-Shaykh ^Abdul-Wahhab al-Butariyy, the imam of Jami^ al-Basta al-Fawqa, ash-Shaykh Ahmad Iskandaraniyy, the Imam and Mu’aththin in Jami^ Burj Abi Haydar and they learned and benefited from him. Then he met with ash-Shaykh Tawfiq al-Hibriyy, may Allah have mercy on him, and at his residence he used to meet the important people in Beirut. He also met with ash-Shaykh ^Abdur-Rahman al-Majthub and ash-Shaykh Muhammad al-Butariyy, the Qadi of Beirut presently, and they benefited from him. He met with ash-Shaykh Mukhtar al-^Alayiliyy, may Allah have mercy upon him, who was the Amin of al-Fatwa who acknowledged his honor and breadth of his knowledge, and prepared for his residence in Beirut to teach in different mosques. The Department of al-Fatwa paid the expenses of his residence during that period. In 1969 R.C., upon the request of the Director of al-‘Azhar in Lebanon, he lectured in at-Tawhid to the students there.
Ash-Shaykh ^Abdullah’s primary goal was (and is) to spread the correct belief of Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jama^ah, a task which has been occupying most of his time. He fought the atheists and the people of al-bida^ (prohibited innovations) to extinguish their fitan (misguidings). This did not leave much time for writing books, he left quite a few writings, however:
1. An explanation of Alfiyyat-ul-^Iraqiyy in the Science of al-Hadith.
2. A poem in at-Tawhid (Islamic Belief) of about sixty lines.
3. As–Sirat-ul-Mustaqim in at-Tawhid, published.
4. Ad-Dalil-ul-Qawim ^alas–Sirat-il-Mustaqim in at-Tawhid, published.
5. Mukhtasaru ^Abdillah-il-Harariyy, al-Kafilu bi ^Ilm-id-Din-id–Daruriyy, published.
6. Bughyat-ut–Talib lima^rifat-il-^Ilm-id-Diniyy-il-Wajib, published.
7. At-Ta^aqqub-ul-Hathith ^ala man ta^ana fima sahha min-al-Hadith, published. In this book, ash-Shaykh ^Abdullah refuted the claims of al-‘Albaniyy against some Ahadith. The Muhaddith of the Morrocan area, ash-Shaykh ^Abdullah al-Ghammariyy, said about the book “it is a good and well written refutation”.
8. Nusrat-ut-Ta^aqqub-il-Hathith ^ala man ta^ana fima sahha min-al-Hadith, published.
9. Al-Mawlid-ush-Sharif, published.
12. Sharhu Alfiyyat-iz-Zubad in the Shafi^iyy Fiqh.
13. Sharhu Matni Abi Shuja^ in the Shafi^iyy Fiqh.
15. Sharhu Matn-il-^Ashmawiyyah in the Malikiyy Fiqh.
16. Sharhu Mutammimat-il-‘Ajurummiyyah in an-Nahw.
17. Sharh-ul-Bayquniyyah in the Science of al-Hadith.
18. Sarih-ul-Bayan fir-raddi ^ala man Khalaf-al-Qur’an, published.
Ash-Shaykh ^Abdullah al-Harariyy is very pious, humble, and worshipful Muslim. He spends his time teaching al-^Ilm and performing ath-thikr (mentioning sentences containing the names of Allah) at the same time. He does not care about acquiring worldly things. He has a good and pure heart. He does not waste a moment without teaching, performing thikr, reciting, admonishing, or guiding. He has the correct belief in Allah and is holding on to al-Qur’an and as-Sunnah. He has a good memory and powerful and brilliant proofs. He is wise, managing things at the right time and place. He refuses and renounces disobeying Allah very much . He has a high effort in bidding al-ma^ruf and forbidding al-munkar (ordering with obedience and prohibiting the disobedience) until the people of misguidance and prohibited innovations feared and envied him. This did not lessen his efforts to fight them, because Allah supports and defends the people who believe in Him.
This was just a summary of his honorable biography. If we wanted to extend it, then the pen would get tired and the pages would overflow, but what we mention is enough by which you would know about him, just like the title of the book indicates the contents of the book.