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Drops for the Contemporary Student: Gleanings from Sheikh Salman al-`Oadah

Assalamu `alaykum,

It is always a great blessing when one meets scholars. One night I was blessed to meet  Sheikh Salman al-`Oadah.

Suhaib: “Asalamu `alaykum!”

Sheikh: “Welcome! Wa `alaykum al-Salam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh!”

Suhaib: “Sheikh! I’m an American-born convert, currently studying at al-Azhar and wanted your advice on building a good background in fiqh.”

Sheikh: “First, it was wise of you to choose al-Azhar. It is respected for its moderation and wide outlook. As for your second question, I would advise many of our brothers and sisters to master two important texts that will give them a good foundation in Fiqh and assist them in the future:

  • Fiqh al-Sunna is an excellent work and has many benefits for the student.
  • One should memorize and be familiar with Bulugh al-Muram of al-Hafidh ibn Hajar.

These texts will certainly provide a novice with a good foundation and serve the master when he is in need.”

Sh. `Oadah is a well respected scholar in all circles. A student of some of the great scholars, including Sheikh bin Bayyah, he runs one of the most popular English blogs on the web. Recently he wrote an important work addressed to extremist groups within the Muslim world, which can be read here.

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship.

Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010 and his website, www.SuhaibWebb.com, was voted the best “Blog of the Year” by the 2009 Brass Crescent awards.

Suhaib Webb has lectured extensively around the world including in the Middle East, East Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America. Upon returning from his studies in Egypt, Webb lived in the Bay Area, California, where he worked with the Muslim American Society from Fall 2010 to Winter 2011. He currently serves as the Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston’s Cultural Center (ISBCC).

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    • Salaam Alaykum – May Allah reward you for all you efforts, I read your website everyday and thoroughly enjoy it. As a new Muslim I am in need of building my personal knowledge of the foundational acts of worship (prayer, wudu, zakat, etc.). I noticed that you listed Fiqh As Sunna as a good source for anyone learning the basics, would this be more appropriate than studying one madhab? If so, is there an Englisd version of Foqh As Asunna you would recommend?

      Thanks in advance – Jason

  • I once heard a scholar mention that Fiqh As-Sunnah follows the Shafi’i madhab in about 90 percent of its fiqh opinions.

    I have also heard that Bulugh Al-Maram is a collection of hadith which basically contains the proof texts of hadith for the Shafi’i madhab.

    I would be interested to hear about anyone else’s information about these two great texts which al-hamdulilah are translated into English.

  • As-salamu ‘alaykum,

    Shaykh Nuh Keller (hafidhahu Llah Ta’ala) mentioned this, that Fiqh as-Sunnah corresponds with the Shafi’i school in about 90 or so percent of its fiqh rulings/opinions.

    Also, there is a Q&A on SunniPath, answered by shaykh Faraz Rabbani (hafidhahu Llah Ta’ala), which states that, “Fiqh al-Sunnah is not a reliable manual of fiqh”.

    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=151&CATE=91

    How are we to weigh these opinions with the one on this site, i.e. the recommendation(?) of using Fiqh as-Sunnah? It is an honest question, and I am not trying to stir up any arguments or such.

    BarakaLlahu fik.

    • Asalamu alaykum,

      Wa alaykum al-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barkatuh,

      Ibrahim:

      This is a very good question. Ultimately it would come down to:

      Scholarship and training- Meaning, one should compare qualifications in Islamic law to see which scholar’s words have greater weight.

      Compatibility- Meaning at the end of the day, it is upon the person to follow the one he feels most comfortable with.

      Absence of Fanaticism- Meaning, the opinions mentioned above are just that. Thus, since this is an issue open for discussions and disagreements, one should not be harsh or abusive towards those who differ with the scholar he follows.

      Studying a Madhab- I would personally recommend it for a number of reasons but would emphasis, that for the scholar it is only a beginning.

      SDW

      • Based on my research, studying from a madhab seems like the most appropriate method BUT without a person who can walk me through these practices is where things get complicated. I don’t have anyone in my immediate area, at least not that I’m aware of that teaches Fiqh. I purchased Reliance of the Traveler and went through some of the book but find that its challenging to swallow and comprehend alone versus in a group setting. Thanks for the advice and I will continue to ask Allah to give me guidance so I can worship Him how He deserves.

        Your Brother – Jason

  • Masha Allah, great advise from the Shaykh, I met him when he came to South Africa in 2008. He has inspired and influenced me greatly in my thinking.

    May Allah reward him abundantly

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