Why this Imam Still Matters

Figure 1A: The Masjid where the Imam had preached at during his lifetime.

Figure 1A: The Masjid where the Imam had preached at during his lifetime.

Known to his contemporaries as “the teacher of the scholars, the `alim, the scholar of the principles of fiqh, the scholar of fiqh, the grammarian,” he is `Abdul Qadir ibn Ahmad ibn Mustafa ibn `Abdur-Rahim ibn Muhammad ibn `Abdur-Rahim Ibn Badran as-Sa`di ad-Dumi ad-Dimashqi al-Hanbali.

Born in the year 1265 AH to a righteous family, his father – Shaikh Ahmad ad-Dumi (d. 1317 AH) – was known to the people as a pious man while the grandfather of the Imam was a marja` in his own right, the scholar, Imam Mustafa ad-Dumi (d. 1322 AH). Imam `Abdul Qadir Ibn Badran ad-Dumi learned the Qur’an from his father and moved quickly to increase his knowledge.

He learned Ad-Dalil ut-Talib from his grandfather along with a number of other texts. His next teacher was Imam Muhammad ibn `Uthman ibn `Abbas al-Khatib ad-Dumi (d. 1308 AH). Again Ad-Dalil ut-Talib was gone through as well as its’ commentaries. Then they went and read Mukhtasar ul-Ifadat by Imam al-Balbani (d. 1033 AH).

Imam Ad-Dumi then headed to Damascus after he completed his work with his teacher in Duma and studied with one of the maraji` of the period, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hasan ash-Shatti (d. 1306 AH), completing work in fiqh and also focusing on inheritance.

His work also took him to study higher math as well as some portions of theoretical math. He also filled his time with studying the six books of ahadith with teachers and memorising them.

After some six years in Damascus, he suffered the loss of his teacher, his father and then his grandfather. He returned to Duma and taught in one of the larger masjids but attracted attention and criticism due to his rare positions and rulings that he was giving.

This led to his leaving Duma and heading to Damascus.

Scholars of the Ummayad Family Central Masjid approached him and asked him to teach and upon his tacit approval, he became the first permanent non-Ash`ari scholar to teach there in perhaps one century or more. He taught fiqh, tafsir and also math and inheritance.

In addition to this, the Imam taught in other areas in the city and drew a good number of students who came to benefit and also obtain blessings. Also during this time, the King of Arabia, after the Salafi takeover of the Peninsula, asked the Imam to become the marja` over Arabia.

After some convincing the Imam agreed. The reason for this is twofold. One is that Salafis murdered so many scholars after the takeover that the people needed further enquiries to be answered from abroad. Secondly, the maraji` of the Hanbali school have always exclusively been from Iraq/Sham and then Egypt. This had been established in writing atleast since 1100 AH.

Notable Rulings

The Imam ruled that all Sufi groups today are phoney and part of Satanic secret societies to undermine Islam and Muslim Orthodoxy.

[Al-Mawahib ur-Rabbaniyyah: fil Ajwibati `an As’ilat il-Qazaniyyah, pp. 195-197]

A very strong position was taken against bank notes that are referred to as money. The Imam rightly diagnosed this money as “debt notes” and stated that the true nature of money is that of “stale” or “dead.”

[Al-`Uqud ul-Yaqutiyyah, pp. 209-256]

If there are numerous jumu`ah prayers occurring in one place, this is permitted in so far as there is valid reason for them – such as in the case of overcrowding or uneven distribution of population throughout the different masjids.

[Al-`Uqud ul-Yaqutiyyah, pp. 159-162]

Only three people are required for Jumu`ah prayer to be valid. This was especially novel as the position of the school was always that it was forty men.

[Al-`Uqud ul-Yaqutiyyah, pp. 159-162]

It is impermissible for Muslims – except under pain of death, loss of limb or lifetime incarceration – to transact with banks on a regular basis with things such as loans, usurious gain and such.

[Al-Mawahib ur-Rabbaniyyah: fil Ajwibati `an As’ilat il-Qazaniyyah, pp. 183-187]

Imam `Abdul Qadir Ibn Badran – may Allah have mercy on him – was one of the first maraji` to allow family photos or portraits in order to establish family lineage and also keep evidence or record of family.

[Al-Mawahib ur-Rabbaniyyah: fil Ajwibati `an As’ilat il-Qazaniyyah, pp. 203-205]

It was also stated by the marja` that it was valid for men to wear silver jewellery, such as rings but even necklaces (this was a rare and minority ruling while most were of the opinion that such things are effeminate).

[Al-`Uqud ul-Yaqutiyyah, pp. 167-179]

As was the case with Imam Muhammad `Alawi al-Maliki, Imam ad-Dumi despised the  beliefs of the movement built by Muhammad ibn `Abdul Wahhab, undermined its’ beliefs and affirmed Orthodoxy but often believed that the founder was either separate to or innocent of the false beliefs in the movement.

[Al-Madkhal ila Madhhab il-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, pp. 446-447]

Both he and Imam Al-`Alawi al-Maliki came out of the time period in which many of the salafi theology books were not openly shown and the regime claimed to foster “togetherness.”

It was wrongly attributed to the Imam that he denied the Second Coming of the Messiah and that of Al-Imam Mahdi, based upon statements he made about hadith in that regard and verses.

[Al-Mawahib ur-Rabbaniyyah: fil Ajwibati `an As’ilat il-Qazaniyyah, pp. 47-103; Al-`Uqud ul-Yaqutiyyah, pp. 63-86 ]

However such an attribution can be shown to be mistaken when someone reads through all the Imam’s books and especially cross references with one of his final texts, Al-Madkhal, where it can be read that that he considers both doctrines part of Muslim theology and whoever denies them as being gravely astray.

[Al-Madkhal ila Madhhab il-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, pp. 49-80]

Later Life and Death

He died on Sunday 29 Rabi` ul-Awwal 1346 AH after a long illness and left behind no children. Unfortunately after his death, his library in Duma was gutted and destroyed by vandals and devastated. The same thing happened in Damascus in an annexed library he owned.

This was due to the continued friction between Sunnis and `Alawis as well as the widespread unrest in the area as the French pulled out of Sham.

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