Friday, November 16, 2012

Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki



Shaykh al-Sharif Al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Alawi ibn Abbas ibn Abd al-Aziz al-Maliki al-Hasani al-'Idrisi al-Makki (1944–2004) was a prominent Sunni Islamic scholar from Saudi Arabia.

Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki was born in Mecca to a family of well known scholars who, like himself, taught in the Sacred Mosque. The Maliki family is one of the most respected families in Mecca and has produced great scholars, who have taught in the Masjid al-Haram of Mecca for centuries.
Five of the his ancestors have been the Maliki Imams of the Masjid al-Haram of Mecca. His grandfather, al-Sayyid Abbas al-Maliki was the Mufti and Qadi of Mecca and the Imam and Khatib of Masjid al-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 His father, al-Sayyid Alawi al-Maliki was considered one of the greatest Ulama of Mecca in the previous century. He taught the various traditional Islamic sciences in the Masjid al-Haram of Mecca for nearly 40 years.
Whereas the Wahhabism is the official branch of Islam in Saudi Arabia, al-Maliki adhered to the Maliki traditional school of Islamic jurisprudence, and was a renowned teacher of traditional Mystical Sufi Islam (known as Sufism). He was the reviver of Ahlus Sunnah in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia and was attacked by the highest Wahhabi scholars of Najd for doing so and even banned and books were written against him calling him Mushrik (Polytheist). He revived the tradition of holding Mawlid in Hejazi family homes. For doing so, al-Maliki has been accused of heresy by the Wahhabi religious establishment of Saudi Arabia.
With his father’s instruction, he also studied and mastered the various traditional Islamic sciences of Aqidah (Islamic theology), Tafsir (Qur'anic exegesis), Hadith (Prophetic tradition), Seerah (Prophetic biography), Fiqh (Islamic jurispudence), Usul (origins and fundamentals), Mustalah (hadith terminology), Nahw (Arabic grammar), etc. Scholars of Mecca, as well as Medina, all of whom granted him full Ijazah (certification) to teach these sciences to others. Some of the scholars from whom he obtained ijazahs and chains of transmission from include: His father, Shaykh al-Sayyid 'Alawi ibn 'Abbas al-Maliki al-Hasani, Shaykh as-Sayyid al-Habib Ahmad Mashhur TaHa al-Haddad, Shaikh Hasanain Makhlouf, Shaykh Muhammad Hafidh al-Tijani, Shaykh Amin Kutbi, and numerous others. His brother, Sayyid Abbas & Sayyid Muhammad Abd al-Hasan is also a learned scholar but is better known for his beautiful voice and as the topmost Qasidah reciter of Saudi Arabia.

By the age of 15, the al-Maliki started teaching Hadith and Fiqh in the Masjid al-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 Al-Azhar University of Egypt. He received his Ph.D. from the Al-Azhar uUniversity 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 (Islamic scholar) of the university at that time, such as Muhammad Abu Zahra.
Al-Maliki, like all traditional Shaykhs, and like his ancestors before him, taught a number of students at his own residence, providing them with food, shelter, and learning material free of cost. These students usually stayed with him for many years, learning the various branches of Islamic knowledge, then return to their lands. Hundreds of his students have become savants of Islamic knowledge and spirituality in their own countries, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Yemen and Dubai. After returning from the Al-Azhar University he was an appointed professor of Sharia at the Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, where he taught from 1970. In 1971, after his father’s death, the scholars of Mecca asked him to accept his father’s position as a teacher in the Masjid al-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 Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina occasionally. His lessons were the largest attended lessons in the Two Masjids.
His famous students include his son Al-Sayyid Ahmed Bin Muhammed Bin Alawi Al Maliki who still teaches at his family residence in Mecca everyday, Al-Sayyid Abdullah Fad'aq another Famous Saudi Sunni scholar based in and teaches at his residence in Jeddah, Habib Ali al-Jifri and Habib Umar bin Hafiz.
In the early 1980s, he relinquished his teaching position in the Umm al-Qura University as well as his ancestral chair of teaching in the Masjid al-Haram, due to the Fatwās of the Council of the Senior Scholars of Saudi Arabia headed by the late Mufti Ibn Baaz, who considered his beliefs to be in violation of the purity of the Monotheistic belief (Tawhid). Shaykh Saalih Aal-Shaykh, the incumbent Minister of Islamic affairs authored a book entitled "Haazihi Mafaahimuna" [these are our views] in which he attacked the beliefs of the Sayyid, pronouncing him to be deviant and misguided. The book was in fact a rebuttal of Sayyid Al-Maliki's book: "Mafaahim yajib An Tusahhah" [Views that must be corrected].
Since late mufti Ibn Baaz considered the Mawlid-un-Nabi (صلی الللہ علیہ وسلم) as unislamic there was a war of words between the two scholars. In opposition and reply to Sheikh Ibz Baaz’s Fatwa, Al-Maliki produced a clear, decisive and well-supported argument in Arabic on the permissibility of Mawlid-un-Nabi. Al-Maliki, in his book "Holal Ihtefaal Bezikra-al Moulidin Nabawee al-Shareef" raised some very serious questions to Ibn Baaz. He questioned Ibn Baaz about his views on the innovations which are being practised "here" (in Masjid al-Haram) and which were never practised before, neither by the Prophet Muhammad, nor the Sahabah (his companions) and the Tabi‘un (second genearation) and Tabi‘ al-Tabi‘in (third generation) of Muslims (Salaf). The practices, which Al-Maliki mentioned were those such as:
1. The forming of a congregation to perform Tahajjud Salah (night prayer) behind an Imam.
2. The recitation of du'a after the Qur'an has been completed at the end of Ramadan in taraweeh prayer.
3. The gathering of people on the Laylat al-Qadr (27th of Ramadan) at Tahajjud where the Imam delivers a Khutbah (sermon).
4. The call of the muezzin by saying "Salaatul qiyaam athabakumullah."
5. Sending Durood (praise and salaams) upon the prophet during adhan (call for prayer). This was first introduced by Ali who taught it to people of his time. Ibn Jabir mentioned that in his book called "Tah'theeb Al-Aa'thar" so did Imam Tabari, Ibi Assem and Yaqoub bin Shaibah.
From that time until his death in 2004, he taught Hadith, Fiqh, Tafsir and Tasawwuf at his home and mosque on al-Maliki street in the Rusayfah district of Mecca, and his public lessons, between Maghrib and Isha', 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 died, his lesson was well attended. Hundreds of students from all over the Islamic world benefited from his lessons in the Masjid al-Haram Makkah and many hold key religious positions in their lands today.
He was also nominated as the head judge at the international Qira'at (Qur'anic reading) competition in Mecca for three consecutive years.

He died in 2004 and his funeral was the biggest in Mecca in 100 years. For the next three days after his death, the local Saudi radio stations played the Qur'an only. This was something that was done only for him. Future King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz and the powerful defense and interior ministers also attended his funeral.


The Shaykh had over 1,000 or more students who studied under him, both in the Haram in Makkah as well as at his residence in Makkah. Amongst his students is Shaykh Ahmad bin Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki, the son of Shaykh Muhammad, as well as the following
  • Shaykh Fakhruddin Owaisi of South Africa
  • Shaykh Munawwar Atiq Ridwi of the UK/Pakistan