Imam Musa Al-Hajjawi

Figure 1A: Nablus, the city that is a mother to many of the greatest scholars of this Ummah.
Figure 1A: Nablus, the city that is a mother to many of the greatest scholars of this Ummah.

He is Sharaf ud-Din Abul Manja Musa ibn Ahmad ibn Musa ibn Salim ibn Ahmad ibn `Isa ibn Salim Al-Hajjawi Al-Maqdisi As-Salihi. Born in 895 AH in the village of Hajjah (one of the hamlets around and incorporated into the city of Nablus) in Palestine, he was raised in the village and started his memorisation of Qur’an and early sciences.

His teachers

Having studied with his father and notable scholars of Hajjah, upon reaching adulthood he headed to Damascus and began keeping the company of the grand marja`, Imam Ash-Shuwaiki. His lessons would be conducted in the famous Salihiyyah school in Damascus which has a 900 year old history of scholarship.

The study embarked upon included the memorisation of the creed texts Ibtal ut-Ta’wilat by Al-Qadi Abu Ya`la Al-Baghdadi (d. 458 AH), Lum`at ul-I`tiqad by Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah (d. 620AH), Nihayah by Imam Ibn Hamdan (d. 695 AH) along with other selected texts on the topic.

In fiqh, he began his study with Imam Shihab ud-Din Ash-Shuwaiki (d. 939 AH) by committing to memory Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah’s text Al-Muqni`. Upon completing it a number of times, he was authorised to teach it.

Instead of teaching the text in its’ original form, the Imam decided to summarise it, adding salient points and taking statements that have been repeated several times in different portions of the book and moving them to one location.

The result was his masterpiece, Zad ul-Mustaqni` Bikh-tisar il-Muqni`, known simply to students the world over as, “The Zad.” As a summary, it was easy to memorise and put into practice, with Imam Al-Hajjawi having eliminated all the other quotations and sticking to the dominant ruling.

Other teachers at this time included Imams Ibn Ad-Diwan (940 AH), Najm ud-Din `Umar ibn Muflih (d. 919 AH),

Marja`iyyah and Written Legacy

Imam Al-Hajjawi, only in his late 20s, was declared as marja` by both his teachers and contemporaries. Shortly after this, he was installed as Imam at the Al-Muzaffari Seminary in Damascus, where he taught Revealed Law and aspects of fiqh for a number of years.

These years of his life were filled with teaching, clarifying dubious matters and preparing a written legacy that would still be heralded after his death. The Zad has already been mentioned so we shall not mention this text again.

Another text was Al-Iqna`, a four volume work dealing with fiqh in far more detail than the Zad. Within its’ pages, Imam Al-Hajjawi took the approved statements of Imam Taqi ud-Din Ibn Taymiyyah and sought to reconcile them with rulings in the school that seemed contradictory. The result was something special indeed.

Hashiyat ut-Tanqih was a text in Usul ul-Fiqh that was written in order to simply for advanced students the methods used in deriving rulings. It was also to make the link between the principle of maslahah (facilitation) in the Revealed Law and tamkin and tatbiq (establishment and implementation).

This was a continuation of themes discussed in other works by Imam Najm ud-Din At-Tufi (d. 714 AH). The result of this large volume was another classic with a number of commentaries being written in order to flash out even more treasures.

Having studied the works of the grand Imam and marja`, Muhammad `Abdul Qawi Al-Mardawi (d. 699 AH), Imam Al-Hajjawi decided to write commentaries and notes on his two seminal texts, namely Manzumat ul-Adab ish-Shar`iyyah and Al-Kaba’ir.

The first commentary dealt with etiquettes due oneself and others and the second covered major sins, repentance and how to safeguard the human soul from wallowing in and glorying in sin. A life of teaching and reaching out to the believers kept Imam Musa Al-Hajjawi busy for the Sake of Allah.

Students

Students of the Imam include high ranking figures such as:

Ahmad ibn Ibrahim An-Najdi (d. 999 AH). He studied with the Imam and returned to Arabia as a marja` to teach his people.

Yahya ibn Musa Al-Hajjawi (d. 1000 AH). The son of the Imam and high ranking authority in his own right. He is the teacher of the two marja` geniuses, Mar`ii ibn Yusuf Al-Karmi (d. 1033 AH) and
Mansur ibn Yunus Al-Buhuti (d. 1051 AH).

Shams ud-Din Ar-Rujaihi (d. 1002 AH). Marja` and one of the chief students of the Imam, he was chief judge in the supreme court and also advised the appeals court and chose its’ judges.

Ahmad ibn Muhammad Ash-Shuwaiki (d. 1007 AH). This scholar studied both fiqh and hadith from the Imam.

Abu Bakr ibn Zaitun Al-Hanbali (d. 1012 AH). He was one of the heads of the Salihiyyah school after the death of Imam Musa Al-Hajjawi.

Ahmad ibn Muhammad Al-Ushaiqiri (d. 1012 AH). Imam Al-Ushaiqiri was one of the most dedicated foreign students to the Imam and stayed with him for more than four years.

Nur ud-Din Al-Humaidi (d. 1030 AH). The marja` of Damascus and mufti there, he was a teacher of hadith as well as fiqh.

Ahmad ibn Abul Wafa’ ibn Muflih (d. 1038 AH). This scholar learned fiqh and its’ fundamentals from the Imam.

Later Life and Death

Imam Ibn Al-`Imad (d. 1008 AH), may Allah be pleased with him, says of the Imam, “The Shaikh, the Imam, the Scholar, the Mufti of the Hanbalis in Damascus, Shaikh ul-Islam.

He was an imam that was hardworking, a scholar of hadith and fiqh, a master teacher of juridical principles and having abundant piety.”

On Monday 12 Rabi` ul-Awwal 968 AH, Imam Musa Al-Hajjawi, may Allah have mercy upon him, died and was buried among his people in Palestine. We ask that Allah bless him and all those who make use of his works up until today.

`Eid ul-Fitr 1435: Joy and Lessons Learned in 30 Days

Figure 1A: the Hanfia Mosque in Bradford. The site of a grizzly and disturbing act of violence between people who all answer to the name "Sunni" and "Muslim."
Figure 1A: the Hanfia Mosque in Bradford. The site of a grizzly and disturbing act of violence between people who all answer to the name “Sunni” and “Muslim.”

As was our habit, we went out to site the moon on Sunday 29 Ramadan 1435. We broke our fast on a local hillock and waited. After this, we then attempted to make contact with someone in Morocco to know if the moon had been cited in the desert, the mountains or the cities.

When we found that this had not happened, we understood that `Eid would be on Tuesday.

We had done our job to the best of our ability. Nothing more could be done. The best that someone could do was the Sunnah of sighting the moon in order to determine when Ramadan is to begin and end.

The abandonment of the Sunnah always leads to more severe consequences in the long run. One might believe that they have escaped from the Revealed Law and the Holy Lord that revealed it, but this is a fleeting and false belief.

This was especially evident recently in an article in which the following was stated:

Last night the committee of the Bradford Hanfia mosque had a meeting to decide when they were going to celebrate Eid. All 12 members were present plus a large audience consisting of a hundred strong local residents who eagerly waited for a decision.

Things got quite heated when 6 decided it was today and the other 6 members said it was Tuesday. Subsequently the argument got quite loud and vigorous resulting into a fight breaking out. Chairs and tables were used as weapons like they use at a WWF wrestling matches.

Several serious injuries were sustained with ALL the committee ending up in the Accident and Emergency ward in hospital. The police cordoned off the mosque whilst evidence was collected.

The result of this was today this was a crime scene hence hence nobody could read their Eid prayers.

A careful read of the article, which was released just after Sunday, shows that the people involved had not met to go and sight the moon as is mentioned in the Revealed Law. Rather, they met to decide on their terms when they would be celebrating `Eid. The catastrophic consequences then played out in front of all those present.
The end result is that the masjid, due to it now being a crime scene, has been closed by the police for further notice while investigations continue. The twelve man committee will be spending their `Eid in the hospital.

There will be no `Eid (Monday or Tuesday), five daily prayers and possibly Jumu`ah while the police piece together the entire chain of events and establish the burden of proof against those who are suspected.

Figure 1B: A Masjid as a crime scene. Only time will tell what type of trauma this will have on the wider community of Muslims.
Figure 1B: A Masjid as a crime scene. Only time will tell what type of trauma this will have on the wider community of Muslims.

Excited children, women and young men will be turned away when attempting to enter the masjid. They will have to attend somewhere nearby as an alternative. Muslims will witness yellow police tape around a house of worship emblazoned with the words: POLICE LINE…DO NOT CROSS.

One examining such a story might at first laugh, but then fall into sadness. Something so simple in the Revealed Law has been left. In the course of substituting it with something inferior (the opposite of sighting), this has led to the injury of countless people, the entrance of police into a private institution, the besmirching of the names, institutions and people of Islam and a general sense of unease in the Slaves of Allah.

 

Figure 2A: It took police to bring order in an area built to bring tranquility and resolve disputes. By returning to the Sunnah, Allah will return the tranquility to us. Until then, this lessons will only be more severe.
Figure 2A: It took police to bring order in an area built to bring tranquility and resolve disputes. By returning to the Sunnah, Allah will return the tranquility to us. Until then, this lessons will only be more severe.

My hope is that out of this terrifying and saddening event, those involved will have time to reflect. Maybe they will consider how to return to the Sunnah of sighting the moon and realise that this will solve most of the differing and put them on a firm footing.

I indeed hope that those injured, while reflecting on their time spend in the hospital and the possible court date to come, will remember the words of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, when he said of the crescent moon, “Fast when you see it and break fast when you see it.”

And with Allah is every success,

And may everyone have a blessed `Eid and may Allah accept our fasting and the Zakah that we gave to compensate the wealth that we earned.

Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali