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Community Reflections Seeking Knowledge

Lessons learned from Dr. Muhammad 'Eshmawi al-Azhari

From the Vaults of al-Azhar

Dr. Muhammad ‘Eshmawi lives in Tanta.  Two years ago a group of us were blessed to read the book he wrote, actually a poem, covering the basics of hadith sciences. Last year I continued to visit him, read with him and, all praise be to Allah, took benefit from him. However, here’s something that I learned from him that will always stick with me. I thought of sharing it and hope it is of benefit?

Dr. ‘Eshmawi: “Okay, Suhaib you can go.”

Suhaib: “Dr. can I ask you something?”

Dr. ‘Eshmawi: “Sure”

Suhaib: “You come to Cairo to teach, you take the bus, come with a friend or something. Shaykh please allow me to pay you something?”

Dr. ‘Eshmawi: “No.”

Suhaib: “At least let me pay the costs of your travels?”

Dr. ‘Eshmawi: “Suhaib! If you offer me one more time I will not teach you anymore. I take nothing for teaching those who want to read with me. I sit and read with anyone who wants. If you like, you can come to Tanta and read the major books of hadith with me? But, don’t offer again, or I’ll stop. The knowledge is for Allah.”

What amazes me is that I know the Shaykh is in need but refused to take a penny in a land where times are tight and teachers are underpaid.

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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