Imam Mustafa Ar-Ruhaibani

Figure 1A: A photo of the town of Ruhaibah, the home of the grand marja`.

Figure 1A: A photo of the town of Ruhaibah, the home of the grand marja`.

The marja` is referred to by the scholars as, “the Shaikh, the Imam, the `Alim, the Faqih, the Scholar of Inheritance, the Complete Researcher and Authority, Unique Researcher of his time, former Mufti of the Hanbalis of Damascus.”

Birth and Upbringing

Mustafa ibn Sa`d ibn `Abduh as-Suyuti ar-Ruhaibani ad-Dimishqi. Born in the hamlet of Ar-Ruhaibah in the year 1165 AH, he memorised the Qur’an and then set out almost immediately for Damascus at a young age.

The first teacher of the Imam was the great scholar, Imam Ahmad al-Ba`li (d. 1189 AH), whom he benefited from greatly and strived a great deal before Imam al-Ba`li died and he had to move to another teacher.

Learning and Authority

The next two teachers he moved to in Damascus were also marja` scholars and they were Imams Muhammad ibn Mustafa ibn Al-Lubadi an-Nabulsi (d. 1191 AH) – a marja` from the great hamlet of maraji`, namely Kafr Lubad – and Shaikh `Ali Afanda At-Taghtashani.

After benefiting from these men, he next moved to the Imam, Muhammad ibn `Ali as-Salimi and Shaikh Muhammad al-Kamili.

When looking at the curriculum of Ar-Ruhaibah and Damascus in fiqh and other areas, this is the shape of what the Imam studied after completing his work on the Qur’an and the readings in the six books of hadith:


Beg: Ad-Dalil ut-Talib Li-Nail il-Ma’arib Imam Mar`ii ibn Yusuf al-Karmi (d. 1033 AH). This is the standard foundational work in Sham while the scholars of the Gulf, Egypt lean heavily on Ar-Rawd ul-Murbi` by Imam Mansur al-Buhuti (d. 1051 AH).

Inter: Ghayat ul-Muntaha by Imam Mar`ii ibn Yusuf al-Karmi. This text was a joining between the original text of the author, Al-Muntaha, as well as the work Al-Iqna`, penned by the Palestinian giant, Imam Musa ibn Yahya al-Hajjawi (d. 968 AH).

Well known throughout Sham, Iraq, Egypt but is more dominant in Sham than in Egypt and the Gulf, which usually utilize Kash-shaf ul-Qina` by Imam Mansur al-Buhuti (d. 1051 AH) – top student of Imam Yahya al-Hajjawi (d. 1000 AH), the son and marja` successor of his father, Imam Musa al-Hajjawi (d. 968 AH).


Beg. and Inter: Lum`at ul-I`tiqad al-Hadi ila Sabil ir-Rishad by Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din Ibn Qudamah and its’ associated commentaries.  Most authorities and their students tend to study the bare text but to compare it with Imam Al-Balbani (d. 1083 AH) and sometimes progressing to the Nihayah of Imam Ibn Hamdan (d. 695 AH).


Beg. and Inter: In this area,  Imam Mustafa ar-Ruhaibani consulted the works of Imams Muhammad Ahmad as-Saffarini (d. 1188 AH), Ibn al-Mabrid (d. 909 AH) as well as Badr ud-Din Al-Balbani (d. 1083 AH), may Allah have mercy upon all of them.

Imam Mustafa ar-Ruhaibani, like many of the Imams of his time and Maraji`, had no tariqah in tasawwuf, yet was a paragon of piety according to all accounts and biographies of him by contemporaries.

The Imam eventually was given permission to give rulings by Imam ash-Sharif Isma`il al-Jarra`ii (d. 1202 AH), who was the chief judge in Damascus and their Mufti up until his death.

Imam ar-Ruhaibani had a huge footprint in Islam and was declared to be marja` by his peers in his time and taught numerous maraji`, one of them being Imam Hasan ash-Shatti (d. 1275 AH).

The two maraji` came together and authored a text entitled,  Al-Ghayah, a work dually authored and collected by the two authorities. The original work by Imam Ar-Ruhaibani was entitled Matalib Uwl in-Nuha Fi Sharhi Ghayat il-Muntaha, which was a large three or six (depending on print size) volume work that was an expansion of Imam Mar`ii ibn Yusuf al-Karmi’s Ghayat ul-Muntaha.

Imam Hasan ash-Shatti’s contribution to the text was his Tajrid Zawa’id il-Ghayah wash-Sharh, which further fleshed out the texts in the two works but also highlighted the differences between these two mountains of knowledge.

The works of the the Imam are some five or more which include the above fiqh text and also the following:

Tuhfat ul-`Ibadi Fima fil-Yawmi wal-Lailati min al-Awrad. This is at text that details the various supplications of a believer in his daily life from authentic sources in the Sunnah of our Messenger, Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

Majmu`a Fatawa. A series of collected fatawa on numerous topics that is currently under scrutiny for printing. We ask Allah to speed the process and make these works available to us.

Notable rulings

Imam Mustafa as-Suyuti ar-Ruhaibani stated boldly and without apology that whoever made hajj and thought that this lifted from him the obligation of prayer and zakah should be asked to repent or if he was ignorant taught the truth. If he was to continue after that, the ruling of the Imam is that he is to be killed.

[Source: Matalib Uwl in-Nuha Fi Sharhi Ghayat il-Muntaha, vol.2, pp. 478-479]

Building on graves and making tawaf around them was seen as impermissible, rather than disliked, the stricter of the two positions narrated from Imam Musa al-Hajjawi.

[Source: Matalib Uwl in-Nuha Fi Sharhi Ghayat il-Muntaha, vol.2, pp. 146-147]

Women were not to be forbidden from visiting the graves, but it was still disliked as there was a fear that there may be wailing and the tearing of clothing in morning. It is here that the Imam took the more lenient position rather than prohibition.

[Source: Matalib Uwl in-Nuha Fi Sharhi Ghayat il-Muntaha, vol.2, pp. 159-160]

The dead know of those who visit them every second and not merely Friday, which is the most far ranging of most of the rulings of the scholars.

[Source: Matalib Uwl in-Nuha Fi Sharhi Ghayat il-Muntaha, vol.2, pp. 161-162]

One should recite Surahs such as Fatihah, Yasin, At-Takathur, Ikhlas, Falaq and Nas upon entering and in the graveyard, a practice that has its’ origins in the first three generations.

Family connections and remembering one’s loved ones was especially important to the Imam during the period of occupation in Sham from the French when sometimes people were stopped from going to the graves due to warfare.

[Source: Matalib Uwl in-Nuha Fi Sharhi Ghayat il-Muntaha, vol.2, pp. 161-162]

Jihad is a communal obligation and does not become an individual obligation. The point is important as the Imam himself was a warrior but never stated that most, all of the Ummah are obligated as we find today.

[Source: Matalib Uwl in-Nuha Fi Sharhi Ghayat il-Muntaha, vol.2, pp. 509-511]

Those innovators and people in cults are unbelievers in general but not individually until the judgments have been established and they have been evaluated; but these people in the groups, one is to fear for their souls.

[Source: Matalib Uwl in-Nuha Fi Sharhi Ghayat il-Muntaha, vol.6, pp. 200-203]

Imam Mustafa as-Suyuti ar-Ruhaibani died Friday 12 Rabi` ul-Akhir 1243 AH at 78 years of age and was prayed upon by all the scholars of the Ummayah Family Central Masjid and buried with the family of Imam Ibn `Abdul Baqi ad-Dimishqi.

We ask Allah to reward him and place him in the highest palaces of the Paradise for his leadership.

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