Sham: A Brief Note on the Palestinians

Figure 1A: We often forget how much of a contribution the Palestinians have made to the Muslim world.
Figure 1A: We often forget how much of a contribution the Palestinians have made to the Muslim world.

I was up thinking after having spoken a brother on the phone also my wife. I had mentioned to both of them numerous times the tremendous contributions that the people in English known as Palestinians have made to the knowledge of Islam.

All the ahadith on the virtues of Sham include this swatch of land inhabited by the Palestinians. I have wanted to write on this for a while but realising that if I did so it would be several volumes I thought better and decided to give just a taster to the reader.

Out of all the Arabs, this group fascinated me the most. In the US, coming from an Egyptian background, I had only seen them as drug dealers; but later I would realise what Allah did with this tiny people.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah be pleased with him, said of the Khawarij and mentioned the rank of the Arabs, “All these are Khawarij, rebellious sinners who oppose the Sunnah and have exited the religion.

They speak of the Arabs and free men as having the same ruling, and they believe that the Arabs have neither right nor rank, and they do not love them but hate them. They show deep hatred, envy and enmity towards them in their hearts.

This is an evil statement innovated by a man from the people of Iraq. He was followed be a small group of people and the curse was upon him.” Tabaqat ul-Hanabilah, vol.1, pp. 35-36

I quote this at the outset knowing that some people may claim that I am only saying this and being partial to these words as I am an Arab. However, I ask for two things:

1)      to realise that what I am saying has to do with the people of Sham (and to some extant the Arabs of Iraq) while I am Egyptian.

2)      Let us not look at emotions but look at the reality. The Arabs do have a rank and are a prophetic people. Prophets have come through this people the Last Khalifah, Al-Imam ul-Mahdi, peace be upon him, shall come through these people. The khalifah of the Muslims is to be from Quraish, which is from the Arabs. None of this is accidental.

As I said, I find out of all the Arabs those noble scholars that have and do come from Iraq and Sham. It is also these very ones who shall have High Ranking Saints (Abdal) that will come give Al-Imam ul-Mahdi, peace be upon him, the oath of allegiance in Makkah.

However, I just wanted to look at some of the great people from the Palestinians and how they have changed our lives and still change our lives. Let us praise Allah in this month of Ramadan and remember the ahadith about the virtues of Sham.

Imam `Abdul Ghani ibn `Abdul Wahid al-Maqdisi (d. 600 AH) is one of the great scholars of hadith, coming from Jamma`il, a section of Nablus. He memorised 700,000 ahadith, putting him in the same club as Imams Ibn Rajab, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani.

These were the only men that could have sat in Imam Ahmad’s night classes that he had with Imams Abu Bakr al-Athram, Harb al-Karmani. These were also some of the few men who could say they saw the top of the Imam’s head when he went to sleep. This Imam used to pray some 300 raka`ah a day nafl just out of praise to Allah.

The text `Umdat ul-Ahkam has had commentaries written on it by all schools and is enjoyed the world over for taking ahadith on rulings agreed upon by Imams al-Bukhari and Muslim and putting them under one heading. This was a noble man indeed.

One cannot mention Palestinians without mentioning the cousin of the above, Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah (d. 620 AH), may Allah be pleased with him.

The Banu Qudamah were a virtuous clan and his sisters, Rabi`ah and Sayyidah, were also scholars in hadith. Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din is noted for having known 400,000 ahadith.

His fiqh series is the most exhaustive and yet concise among the Muslims. The fourth book in the series, Al-Mughni, is without equal and nothing comparable has been written like it. Both armchair scholars and serious researches refer to its’ pages.

Both Imams Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah and `Abdul Ghani al-Maqdisi were successors of Imam `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, may Allah be pleased with all of them, taking the ways and principles back to Sham from Iraq.

It is often quite strange that phoneys and charlatans today who claim to be Qadiris in Tariqah do not have the actual main khulafa’ in their chain.

There are also the brothers Imams `Imad ud-Din Ibn Qudamah and Abu `Umar Ibn Qudamah (d. 607 AH) and the nephew of Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din, Imam Shams ud-Din Ibn Qudamah (d. 682 AH) who wrote an exquisite commentary in fiqh known as Ash-Shafi (also referred to as Ash-Sharh ul-Kabir).

We also most remember the Ibn Muflih family. We have Shams ud-Din Ibn Muflih al-Maqdisi (d. 763 AH), whose text al-Adab ush-Shari`iyyah, I had the pleasure of teaching over two years.

No one who attended that class speaks to me except about the possibility of a repeat of the class or the publishing of the translation. Shams ud-Din Ibn Muflih’s text, Kitab ul-Furu`, is another classic in fiqh that is unrivalled.

This would remain the case until Imams `Ala’ ud-Din Al-Mardawi (d. 883 AH), Burhan ud-Din Ibn Muflih (d. 885 AH) and Ibn Qundus came on the scene and changed things with their commentary notes, those being Al-Insaf, Al-Mubdi` and al-Mukhtasar respectively.

And who could forget the Ibn `Abdul Hadi family? Particularly there is Imam Ibn al-Mabrid (d. 909 AH), who was the first one to declare Imam Ahmad ibn `Atwah the first general qadi over the whole of Arabia;

but before him we could mention Imam Jamal ud-Din Ibn `Abdul Hadi (d. 744 AH) who wrote the most complete primer on the Qadiri Tariqah besides the Imam (`Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, may Allah be pleased with him) himself.

Imam Jamal ud-Din also wrote a very balance and fair text, Manaqib ul-A’immat il-Arba`ah, a slim but useful text on the life of the four Imams and their knowledge.

Still more could be said of Imam Sharaf ud-Din Musa ibn Ahmad al-Hajjawi (d. 968 AH), another noble scholar from the outskirts of Nablus. His shortening of Al-Muqni` and commentary on al-Iqna` are legendary and still enjoy wide success.

One of the great marja` scholars of his time he was also a Qadiri. Anyone today claiming lineage to Shaikh `Abdul Qadir al-Jilani without mentioning him as simply not telling the truth or has perhaps been misled.

He is considered as the Shaikh and teacher of the Egyptian and Arabian Hanbalis as his books enjoy a wider following than another wonderful Palestinian from Tulkarim, Imam Mar`ii ibn Yusuf al-Karmi (d. 1033 AH).

His text, Ad-Dalil ut-Talib, is the mainstay along with many other insightful works by Imam al-Karmi. He wrote the first and most exhaustive ruling on tobacco, coffee and also the ravages of conventional opium use.

He also wrote two inspiring reminders about keeping promises and the obligation of seeking medical attention when direct means have not rendered any succour.

At this place we would also like to mention the Al-Qaddumi family, hailing from Kafr Qaddum; this is yet another stronghold surrounding Nablus. This has brought us Imam `Isa al-Qaddumi (last seen alive 1188 AH), who some believe was an appearance of al-Khidr (and Allah knows best).

Imam `Isa al-Qaddumi was a student and successor to another great Palestinian from Nablus, Imam Muhammad Ahmad as-Saffarini (d. 1188 AH), may Allah be pleased with both of them; at the appearance of the false teacher Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab, the sacrifices made were crucial.

Imam as-Saffarini wrote four volumes of literature against the cult in general and then mentioned it twice in two smaller researches.

We also have the great marja`, Imam `Abdul Ghani al-Lubadi (d. 1319 AH), who came from a family of Palestinian judges and wise men. He was contemporaries with other Imams such as Yusuf al-Barqawi, Ahmad ibn `Ubaid al-Qaddumi (d. 1314 AH), Muhammad ibn `Ubaid al-Qaddumi (d. 1318 AH), Ahmad ibn Husain al-Qaddumi (d. 1320 AH).

Then came Imam `Abdullah Sufan al-Qaddumi (d. 1331 AH), may Allah be pleased with him, who not only wrote against cults but also on his travels throughout the Muslim world. He would live his last days in Madinah and be buried in Jannat ul-Baqi`.

Perhaps for some he is mainly remembered as the teacher of both Shaikh Mustafa ash-Shatti and Shaikh Ahmad Rida Khan, may Allah be pleased with both of them.

This was also the age of the great faqih, Imam Musa al-Qaddumi (d. 1336 AH), who wrote his text al-Ahkam ul-Jaliyah, as a brief manual for Muslims on the five pillars. He was the first to comprehensively prepare conversion tables from the Muslim to imperial and even Japanese measurements. The Imam was thus thinking ahead.

The Faqih was also known for fierce resistance to the Balfour Declaration and subsequent Ashkenazi Jewish incursions into his homeland. He died and was buried with his people.

Shaikh Mahmud ibn `Abdul Ghani al-Lubadi (d. 1360 AH) carried on the work of Imam `Abdul Ghani al-Lubadi and taught in Jordan and surrounding areas until his death and students remembered him fondly.

Still today we continue to benefit from Imams like `Awn al-Qaddumi and `Abdur-Rahim an-Nabulsi, may Allah preserve both of them. We also ask Allah in this noble month to continue to enrich and bless the Palestinians, in spite of the trials that they might be undergoing as they still have pious people among their ranks.

And with Allah is every success,

al-Hajj Abu Ja`far al-Hanbali