Community Seeking Knowledge

A Brief Biography on Muhammad al-Hassan Walid al-Dido al-Shanqītī

Written by Dr. Abdullah ibn Muhammad Alhakamy, speaking of his ten year relationship with Shaykh Muhammad Alhassan.

In the name of Allah, Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem

All praise is due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, and his followers and companions.

These are a few lines on the life of Allaamah, Shaykh Muhammad Alhassan AlDedew, may Allah provide for his release [al-humdulillah! The Sheikh was released from prision a few years ago], and give him health.

The Shaykh regarding his development and God given talent:

The shaykh was born was he mentioned to me- in the year 1386H, in the well known town of Umm Alqura in Mauritania, which means that he is now in his forties, may Allah bless him in him in his age and benefit the ummah through him.  And if Allah desires for a slave good he facilitates for him the means to seek Him. And if we reflected over the causes of his achievement of knowledge we will see from the most important are:

1) What Allah has given him of endowment, the most important of them being; a very keen intellect, and being very quick to memorize and understand.

2) The environment of knowledge that he grew up in. For he grew up between two parents who were scholars, his mother was from the Hashimite family of Aal Abdul Wadood. So he was Hashimi from his mothers end, on his father’s end he was Humayri, a tribe which traces its lineage to Humayr in Yemen. And his parents cared deeply regarding him, and he learned the Quran at a very early age, to the extent that he told me that at the age of 8 he realized that he had memorized the Quran, although he did not know at what particular age he completed memorizing it. This is because teaching the Quran and mutoon to children is something that is desired there (Mauritania) and is not something special as is the case in other Arab societies today. And he learned from his mother the ten qira’aat (recitations), and he learned at her hand some of the mutoon.

After that Allah blessed him by allowing him to accompany his maternal grandfather, the great Allaamah Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Abd Alwadood, who is known as ‘Muhammad Aali.’ He studied with him while being a small boy, and he memorized from him many of the important mutoon in the instrumental and teleological sciences, and he learned from him the sciences of the Quran and Sunnah, and he read to him the mutawwalaat, and he learned from him worship, guidance, asceticism and seriousness. He knew nothing of the play that children partook in, and he stayed accompanying his grandfather until he passed away. And it is he whom the shaykh speaks of when he says: “My shaykh, my grandfather said.”

He then continued his studies with his maternal uncles, so he learned from his two uncles, the two great scholars, Muhammad Yahya and Muhammad Salim, they are the most well known of the sons of Muhammad Ali, his grandfather who was mentioned. And the majority of what he took was from his uncle Muhammad Salim, and it is he whom the shaykh intends when he says, “My shaykh, my uncle said.”

3) The quiet, rural environment that he grew up in. Far away from business and distractions of life, far removed from the appearance of luxuries.

4) The high ambition and concern that the Shaykh possesses.

Some information regarding his knowledge and action, and da`wah to Allah, and other things:

His ability to memorize:

He is one of the wonders of the world regarding memorization and recollection. He explains many mutoon without a book in his hand- not even a sheet of paper except for rare instances where he has a text written down that he has not already memorized. And he has memorized from Arab poetry, as well as their collections and contemporary poetry what cannot be imagined.

And from the most amazing things that I’ve seen from him, that I haven’t seen with anyone else, his knowledge of the famous positions of the four imams, and the intricate knowledge of the science of defects in hadith, and if he talks about a subject, I think that it was his specialty and spent his life studying it!

And one time, I had written a poem of about 8 verses, regarding the recovery of our great Shaykh Muhammad Salim from an ailment that he had been suffering from some years ago, and Muhammad Alhassan was intending to go to Mauritania and I didn’t have the time to meet him. I was forced to read him the poem over the phone and then I said, “I will send it to you by fax.” He replied, “There is no need for that, I’ll send him the poem,” He had memorized it after hearing it once. And then I learned from someone else that he had written it down and given it to Shaykh Muhammad Salim, and that is the bounty of Allah, He gives to whomever He wishes.

His worship:

Our shaykh, AlDedew, is a Scholar who acts upon what he knows, continuously fasting and praying. He always fasts on Monday and Thursday, as well as all of the other seasonal voluntary fasts. He usually suffices himself with sleeping during the dhaheera (noon). None of us have ever seen him sleeping on other than his right side. As for us, we initially begin sleeping on our right sides, but if our sleep deepens, and the snores come, we turn on our backs, and the best of us is the one who avoids sleeping on his stomach wa Allahu musta’an.

And the shaykh is attributed with an endurance that I have never seen the like of. I’ve never seen him yawn, no matter how late he stays up, or how much he is tired. And a story of his endurance, is that one time I had requested him to research with me a book that was written in Mauritanian script. I was having difficulty in reading it and reading another copy to distinguish the differences in the two copies. This was immediately after his return from a travel. I stayed up with him until 2 AM and was unable to continue, and went to go sleep. Mind you this was one of those long winter nights, I woke up shortly before Fajr, with the aid of an alarm, and went to go wake him, thinking that he had slept. I found him standing in prayer, having completed the research in the two books and documented the differences between the two copies. I said to myself, “Amazing.”

His humility:

I have never seen in my life anyone as humble as him. Even the one who visits him becomes shy due to the shaykh’s humbleness. And it is sufficient that he gives everyone who comes to visit him from whom he loves, his own sandals if he leaves. He does not lecture in the presence of anyone whom he has learned from during his university studies. Intimidating yet reserved, continually hastening to serve the people and carry out their needs, never turning down the request of anyone, disliking of praise, not allowing of anyone to speak ill of the people of knowledge, and disliking of anyone to be attacked of the Muslims be it a ruler or subject.

His sacrifice in the path of Da`wah:

The Shaykh has traveled all over the world, calling people to Allah, warning people of extremism in the religion. He was not invited anywhere except that he traveled to it, teaching, lecturing, binding together the fatigue of day and the fatigue of night without rest, with remarkable patience, and endurance of hardship that is rarely met nowadays.

Some of his gifts:

From the talents of the Shaykh is the ability to interpret dreams, and he is insightful in this. He follows the tafseer of the salaf, and restricts his interpretation with an isnaad to the knowledge to Allah. He does not interpret anything out of his reach (by striving to connect facts that aren’t there) and does not interpret anything that would bring about from its interpretation a general or specific harm.

He also has expansive knowledge of the shari`ee ruqya, as well as curing for magic and the evil eye, and the majority of his time is spent in the service and aiding of people.

May Allah reward him, as well as a general knowledge that he possesses of astronomy and medicine and others.

Some of the sayings of the people of knowledge about him:

When he came to this land (Saudi Arabia) he met many of the scholars and students of knowledge here. He had with them many dialogues and discussions, and developed with many of them a relationship of love with some of the known scholars here such as with Shaykh Bakr Abu Zaid, as well as his university instructors in the Kingdom.

And many of them have praised him, and been impressed with the depth of his knowledge, and from those who praised him much were the Shaykh Dr. Bakr Abu Zaid, and Shaykh Dr. Salih ibn Humayyid.

And after the passing of the Shaykh of the Shuyookh of this land, Shaykh bin Baaz, Shaykh Sulayman Alraji’hee invited a large number of Scholars and students of knowledge to discuss the effects that this would have, and the vacuum that the Shaykh left behind with his passing. From those invited were Shaykh Abd Alrahman Alfiryan and Shaykh Abdullah ibn Jibreen, Shaykh Abdullah Al-Baraak and others. The Shuyukh studied the effect of the event, and a number of them spoke. Some who were present asked Shaykh Muhammad Alhassan to speak, he then gave a very moving talk that impressed the scholars. Some of them suggested that it be recorded and distributed, and it was done.

His Fitnah:

This noble Scholar now sits in the prisons of the Mauritanian system. His crime is that he said to this government that it is not permissible for it to open an embassy for Israel, the state that kills our women and children and soils our holy sites in Palestine. This system continued its inclination to the jews and accepted their leaders, and the last of them to visit was their secretary of state some days ago.

The result for the Shaykh was to be imprisoned, him and everyone who studied in Saudi Arabia who is active in calling to Allah. They were accused with importing Wahhabism into Mauritania, and all of the charitable and educational institutions that were Saudi initiated- by private or public sector- were shut down.

Lastly, I know that I am very overdue in writing this account of the Shaykh, for no other reason except that I am unknown to the people, and did not think that this would have an effect. I came to see however, that it is an obligation on me to due whatever I can towards this Scholar lest what I write help in lifting the oppression off of him. As he is a victim of the two imprisonors, prison and illness, and the latest news is that his health is deteriorating greatly, and has to be led to the examination room with a soldier walking next to him, carrying an I.V.

In closing, I would like to suggest that the scholars and students of knowledge of the Islamic world call, through any channel that deals with the issues of the Islamic world, and that they send a delegation to dialogue with this corrupt government, to allow the Shaykh to leave it to go anywhere else for medical attention.

I ask Allah to arrange guidance for this ummah in its affairs, giving power to those who obey Him, and humiliation for everyone who attacks His religion. Verily He is generous and noble, peace and blessings be upon the best of His creation; his prophet and chosen one, and on his companions and followers, and all praise is to Allah in the beginning and end.

Abdullah ibn Muhammad Alhakamy

Thousands of Mauritanians attending Sh. Dedew’s speech against Israeli aggression in Gaza in January 2009. (source:

[on the extreme left of the photo, if you look closely, you can spot Sh. Dedo sitting with other shuyukh, dressed in white]

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  • SubhanAllah, may Allah bless the shaykh and protect him.

    A few years ago he was one of the mashaykh teaching us in the haramain, however he could not attend and I was truly saddened that I missed the opportunity to learn from him hafidhahullah.

  • As salaam alaikum,

    Just so that I have got my facts right, the Shaykh has now been released, correct? And is living in Saudi Arabia, correct?

    • Asalamu alaykum,

      Yes, he’s been out for some time. I talked to him a year ago and he’s doing well.

  • Yes, he was released from prison a few years ago. This is an old article. He lives in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, where he runs the Markaz Takwin al-Ulama and other organizations.

    He has memorized many books of Hadith, Fiqh and other subjects, and thousands of couplets in Arabic. May Allah preserve him and accept his good deeds and forgive the rest. May Allah give us opportunities to bless from his Ilm and Zuhd. Ameen.

  • Dear Imam Suhaib,
    JazakumAllahu khairun for the article
    May Allah protect the Shaykh
    Does Shaykh Mohammad AlHassan have a website or are his lectures posted somewhere?
    May Allah reward you.

  • Asalaamualaikum imam suhaib ma Allah reward u for this article. I was wondering is it true the shayk has memorised sahih sitta. An Indian shayk who learned in Mauritania for a little while said the shayk had a almost photographic memory Also since you studied in Mauritania have u met or studies with Shaikh Yadali ibn al-Haj Ahmed is it true if he is a hafiz of hadeeth.sorry if I’m going off on one lol but I am planning on studying from shafi scholars after which I want to go to Mauritania

  • Dear, can you please tell me about Sheikh Dedew’s views on Deoband school of thought and taqleed
    Jazakallah khair

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