This blog doesn’t really serve as a journal. However, yesterday was one of the most meaningful days in my life that it just has to be jotted down here in my blog. I was lucky enough to drive and accompany a great scholar who originates from India, and is having his first trip to Malaysia. He is Syeikh Dr. Muhammad Akram An-Nadwy from the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies. Syeikh Dr. Muhammad Akram An-Nadwy (Syeikh Akram An-Nadwy), as the title “An-Nadwy” would suggest, is one of the better students of the prominent Islamic scholar, Syeikh Abu Hassan Ali Al-Hasani An-Nadwy. Syeikh Akram An-Nadwy happens to be one of the great scholars of hadith in the world today. His magnum opus is a forty-volume Arabic work on female hadith scholars, each volume extending to 700 pages thick.
During our short time spent together in the car, Syeikh Akram An-Nadwy shared a lot about Oxford, about his life in England, about his life with Syeikh Abu Hassan Ali An-Nadwy in Nadwatul-Ulama in India; he even talked about his work on female hadith scholars, about how even the greatest names in the discipline of ‘ulum al-hadith like Az-Zuhri had female teachers. This shows, he said, that in terms of knowledge, men and women in Islam have the same capacity, opportunity and responsibility. When he came to that, Syeikh Akram An-Nadwy even shared his previous day experience engaging with Sisters in Islam (SIS); he said that most feminists, secular Islamists, had prejudiced idea about Islam and is looking at problems from the wrong perspective. Usually they look to the Western world for solutions when the reality is, actually, the number of women-related problems such as divorce and domestic violence in the Western world is far higher than what we have in the Islamic world. Syeikh Akram An-Nadwy did mention an institution to which we can refer about those figures, but unfortunately I don’t think I remember the name. Hey, I was driving!
Anyway, we (I wasn’t the only one accompanying him, there were three of us with him) took Syeikh Akram An-Nadwy on a short and quick look around Kolej Dar al-Hikmah and SERI ABIM at Sungai Ramal Dalam, before we went to Yayasan Al-Jenderami in Jenderam, Selangor. Yayasan Al-Jenderami is a pondok-like institution, a modern one though, of which the name I’ve heard so many times before but yesterday with Syeikh Akram An-Nadwy was my first time there. Alhamdulillah, again and again Allah gives His blessings. When we arrived there, I was already attracted to the place. It’s such a nice place, filled with the feeling – the ‘aura’ – of a blessed place. The hospitality was just too welcoming; I can’t help but feel embarrassed by the warm welcome, too much for me to deserve I guess. When I browsed through their gallery, looked at the pictures of the Islamic scholars who have visited Yayasan Al-Jenderami, I understood very well why there’s such a strong feeling to that place. Almost every prominent Islamic sufi-scholar who I know of have been there! Subhanallah.
After being given a quick tour around the place, we were taken to meet with the advisor and mudir of Yayasan Al-Jenderami, Syeikh Hj. Mohd. Hafidz Bin Selamat. Syeikh Akram An-Nadwy presents Syeikh Hj. Mohd. Hafidz with some of his books and they talked for an hour or so, on their respective schools, their method of teaching, and on some issues pertaining to the Muslim world. About half an hour before Zuhur, the people at Yayasan Al-Jenderami gave us two rooms – one for Syeikh Akram An-Nadwy and for us the escorts – to rest before making our way later to Rembau. Masya’Allah, they have their own hotel! Well, it’s an Inn perhaps, but their rooms are of hotel standard.
After having a late lunch, we departed for Yayasan As-Sofa in Rembau. We’ll be attending a formal Maulidurrasul celebration there; it’s an event I’ve been looking forward to since during the actual Maulidurrasul date, I was in Miri and was unable to attend the main celebration with Syeikh Muhammad Fuad bin Kamaludin Al-Maliki (Syeikh Fuad Al-Maliki). We arrived at Yayasan As-Sofa earlier; and while waiting for the program to start, and while entertaining Syeikh Akram An-Nadwy, he (Syeikh Akram An-Nadwy) gave us his ijazah. He read to us the hadith musalsal bi-awwaliyyah and granted us with his ijazah, and explained a little bit to us about the ijazah. Alhamdulillah.
Later in the evening, after reciting the Maulid ad-Daiba’ie, we were joined by Dr. Abdul Razak ibn Abdul Rahman As-Sa’di Al-Hasani, an Islamic scholar from Baghdad but currently teaching at the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) in Gombak. He granted us with the ijazah of a ‘tsulasiyyat’ hadith from Sahih Bukhari. A ‘tsulasiyyat’ hadith is a hadith which has only three narrators (rawi) from Imam Bukhari to Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. It is a very strong hadith, in which Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam mentions that whoever lies upon his words (alledging that some words are from Rasulullah when the fact is it isn’t) then that person will be sent into hellfire. Dr. Abdul Razak As-Sa’di Al-Hasani gave the ijazah to all those who attended that Maulidurrasul celebration. Alhamdulillah.
Finally, the event at night was the best of all. Not just because it was attended by the King of Negeri Sembilan, but because of the gathering of people in the name of love towards Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. The gathering of several Islamic sufi-scholars, surely made the event a blessed one. There was Syeikh Akram An-Nadwy, Dr. Abdul Razak As-Sa’di Al-Hasani, and of course Syeikh Fuad Al-Maliki. Then, midway through the event, Syeikh Sayyid Afeefuddin ibn Sayyid Abdul Qadir Mansuruddin Al-Gaylani, a great Iraqi Islamic scholar, arrived. Dr. Abdul Razak As-Sa’di Al-Hasani and Syeikh Sayyid Afeefuddin Al-Gaylani both later on delivered their speech for the Maulidurrasul celebrations, but it was Syeikh Fuad Al-Maliki’s speech which made my day.
Syeikh Fuad Al-Maliki elaborated on Syeikh Sayyid Afeefuddin Al-Gaylani’s speech. He mentioned and stressed on how exalted Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam is, and that he is not and must not be put at the same level as other human beings. He is not just a typical human being; Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam is in fact the most distinguished and honoured of all creation. Praising the most distinguished of Allah’s creation, celebrating his birthday, singing words of praise, can only be an honourable deed then. Syeikh Fuad Al-Maliki also mentioned about the love of the Prophet towards us – his ummah. Syeikh Fuad Al-Maliki elaborates a little bit on Surah Ad-Dhuha, the love of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala towards Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and the love of the Prophet towards us. It touches our hearts, and it made me feel how lucky I am to become an ummah for Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. It is a blessing which is worth much more than the whole world. May Allah bless our Syeikh!