He is the Shaikh, `Abdullah ibn Khalaf Ad-Dahayyan Al-Harbi Al-Hanbali
Birth and upbringing
Ad-Dahayyan (sometimes read as Ad-Dahyaan) was born in Al-Kuwait in on 28 Shawwal 1292, his father being an imam, khatib and Qur’an teacher in the city of Al-Majma`ah in Najd. The father moved from the Najd to Kuwait in the year 1285 after which time the marja` and his son was born.
Shaikh `Abdullah learned Qur’an with his father and also learned the beginnings of reading, writing and math and this made learning something beloved to him. After reaching a certain point, his father sent him to learn fiqh from the Shaikh, Muhammad ibn `Abdullah Al-Faris, whom he accompanied and learned detailed matters of fiqh and Arabic.
Journey for `ilm
After this, in the year 1310, the Shaikh made his way to Az-Zubair in Iraq to learn from the qualified scholars there, particular the Hanbali scholars. So while there he read to the following in fiqh:
The Shaikh, Salih ibn Hamad Al-Mabayyid
The Shaikh, `Abdullah ibn `Abdur-Rahman Al-Hamud
The Shaikh, Muhammad ibn `Abdullah Ala `Iwajan
The Shaikh, `Abdullah Ad-Dahayyan was well known for his intelligence and quick take up of knowledge and he was loved by his shaikhs and teachers. They were surprised by his quickness and what they saw him do.
Ad-Dahayyan also showed great traits of truthfulness, sincerity, humility, good etiquettes, great morals and calm demeanour. After more than two years, the Shaikh, `Abdullah Khalaf Ad-Dahayyan returned to Al-Kuwait and received more authorisations in the Noble Qur’an, Hanbali fiqh, the six books of hadith and the books of Ahkam. The did this from some of the premier scholars of his time, which included:
The senior scholar of Najd, the Shaikh, Ibrahim ibn Salih ibn `Isa (d.1343)
The Shaikh, Muhammad ibn `Abdul Karim Ash-Shibl Al-Qassimi (d.1343)
In the year 1323, the Shaikh travelled to fulfill the obligation of Hajj and was able to go along with a caravan of many scholars, taking authorisations from them and also teaching others and giving authorisations. He spoke to them and they spoke to him. And it would be here while on Hajj that he would receive his marja`iyyah.
After he completed his Hajj, he travelled by sea to India, then to Musqat in Oman and then returned to Al-Kuwait and with the knowledge he had gained begun to put himself to the service of his people.
Being a humble man, he often conferred with different scholars to discuss matters and these are preserved in books. Those who corresponded with include:
The Shaikh, the senior scholar, Ibrahim ibn Salih ibn `Isa
The Shaikh, the senior scholar, `Abdul Qadir ibn Badran (d.1346)
The Shaikh, Muhammad Al-Amin Ash-Shanqiti
The Shaikh, Mahmud Shukri Al-Alusi
The Shaikh, Muhammad ibn `Abdul `Aziz ibn Mani` and others, may Allah be pleased with all of them.
The Shaikh, `Abdullah ibn Khalaf Ad-Dahayyan then had turned over to him the post of imam and khatib at the Central Masjid established by Nasir ibn Yusuf Al-Badr. Many people came from all around the area, not just Al-Kuwait, in order to hear the Shaikh’s khutbahs and lessons.
He had to be forced into a position (as he did not want it) to act as sentencing qadi which he reluctantly accepted after the death of the Shaikh, `Abdullah ibn Khalid Al-`Adasani (d.1348). When he relented, he went forward to look after the people’s affairs and refused any wage or gifts given by people for the work that he did. He even refused admin fees for printing documents and the like.
His gatherings and students
Every morning the Shaikh, may Allah have mercy upon him, would read from Tafsir ul-Qur’an il-`Azim by Imam Ibn Kathir (d.774) and then he would read Imam Al-Bukhari’s Al-Jami` us-Sahih along with Imam Ibn Hajar’s (d.852) Fath ul-Bari.
In between the salahs of Maghrib and `Isha’, he would read in other sciences and branch fields of study. Whenever he completed a text, he would move on to the next one. He had a high level of insight into the books of Hanbali fiqh and taught regularly from the books of the latter-day Hanbali scholars.
Students of knowledge flocked to attend the gatherings of the Shaikh whenever he was there and many of the virtuous ones of Al-Kuwait were there. Some of the students of Ad-Dahayyan include:
The Shaikh, Yusuf ibn `Isa Al-Qana`ii
The Shaikh, `Abdul-`Aziz Ar-Rashid
The Shaikh, Yusuf Al-Hamud
The Shaikh, Ahmad Al-Khamis
The Shaikh, `Abdul Wahhab Al-`Abdullah Al-Faaris
The Shaikh, `Abdur-Rahman Ad-Dusari
The Shaikh, `Abdullah An-Nuri
The Shaikh, `Abdul Wahhab Al-`Abdur-Rahman Al-Faaris
The Shaikh, Muhammad ibn Sulaiman Al-Jarrah
The Shaikh, `Abdur-Rahman Al-`Ubaidan and others, may Allah be pleased with all of them.
His authored works
The works of the Shaikh do not fully demonstrate his knowledge as he was so busy looking after the people’s needs and affairs, he did not have time to put several books into print. In spite of this, he did leave behind a few works:
Al-Masa’il ul-Fiqhiyyah. This covers questions and answers from waters all the way to Hajj.
Diwan ul-Khutab il-Mimbariyyat il-`Asriyyah. This is a how to guide of giving khutbahs for people who are new.
Majalis Ramadan. This is a series of presentations on the virtues of Ramadan.
Mansak Saghir Fil-Hajj. A new Muslim’s guide to Hajj
Qasidah fi Rihlat il-Hajj. A poetic meter on Hajj and its virtues.
Risalah fi Du`a Khatam il-Qur’an. A selection of supplications for the one that has completed the Qur’an.
Al-Futuhat ur-Rabbaniyyah fil Majalis il-Wa`ziyyah. A series of admonitions to the Ummah about various topics, including neo-Platonist philosophy and the dangers of modernism, which he rightly linked to America.
And there were others besides this that were useful along with individual rulings he passed and these were hung up in the masjid or preserved in books.
The rank of the Shaikh
The library of the Shaikh was quite extensive and he had some valuable books, especially manuscripts which were sent forth or bequeathed to him from Sham, Egypt, Baghdad, Al-Hijaz and Najd until it reached a sizeable amount.
After the death of the Shaikh, the library was given as inheritance to his nephew, Shaikh Ahmad Al-Khamis and then after that this vast body of manuscripts passed to the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowments.
After this, it was then handed over to the Fiqh Enyclopaedia Library of Kuwait for preservation and publishing where it is now housed.
The praise the scholars have for him
The historian, `Abdul `Aziz Ar-Rashid, said of him, “The Shaikh, `Abdullah is one of the most noble of the scholars of Al-Kuwait and the most pious. So whenever harsh or rough people came to his gathering, he was patient and magnanimous with these affairs and trials in addition to being humble and generous”.
The student of the Shaikh, `Abdullah Al-Nuri, may Allah have mercy upon him, said of him, “Those that knew the Shaikh, `Abdullah ibn Khalaf, they knew that he was a man of piety and humble for Allah in and of Himself. He was of great rank in the eyes of the people and spent his days benefiting the people, acting as a mufti for them, worshipping Allah, going among the people as an assistant, visiting the ill, wishing them condolences in their difficult times, he had great love in the hearts of the people and exalting the laws of the Religion. He was never known to have laziness and waywardness, and neither was it mentioned of him that he wasted an hour of his time in frivolity and aimlessness”.
The senior scholar of Sham, the Shaikh, `Abdul Qadir ibn Badran Al-Hanbali, may Allah have mercy upon him, said of the Shaikh, “The noble and virtuous senior scholar, the Shaikh of the Kuwaiti corridor and Najd, the Shaikh, `Abdullah Khalaf ibn Dahayyan, the scholar and virtuous teacher of those areas”.
The luminary of `Iraq, the Shaikh, Mahmud Shukri Al-Alusi said of the Shaikh, “He is noble scholar, the complete human being, the reminder of the First Three Generations when people saw him. He is the Shaikh, `Abdullah ibn Khalaf and Allah strengthened the Religion through him and made him a coolness of the eyes for the Muslims”.
After spending a life filled with good and striving in which he served the people with knowledge, the Shaikh developed an illness that rendered him in a position in which he was bedridden until his death on 27 Ramadan 1349, having not gone past the age of 57 years. And may Allah have mercy upon the Shaikh with an enveloping mercy and be pleased with him and expand his goodness with all honour and generosity.
 Notice that his parents taught him the beginning knowledge. It would be after that when the parents don’t know that they send him to someone else. In the English-speaking countries, so many know nothing and then send their children to learn and the children return home to desolate houses. This is light painting on the waves of the ocean with a paint brush.
 And it is a custom there that when someone has finished memorising the Zad and studying the commentary with comprehension, he then has a black `imamah wrapped around his head and he is commanded to teach.
 These three scholars were also the chief marja` people over the UAE and wrote a book of fiqh with countless fatawa on modern issues there as well as Iraq and the surrounding environs.
 Al-Masa’il ul-Fiqhiyyah, pp. 15-22