When I found out about the death of our beloved shaikh yesterday it really did move me. At 8:15 in the morning a brother from Jordan called me and informed me of the sad news. At that time I was playing with the baby, and I couldn’t help but to just put her down and contemplate the great loss the ummah had just faced. The rest of the day played out similarly, and for the first time in many weeks I actually fell asleep early, in sorrow and sadness.
Just to share a couple of moments I had with the shaikh -rahimahullah- to relive those memories one last time. I first met Sh. Ibn Jibreen in 2003, when I took a week off from school to go and visit Riyadh, little did I know that I would have the opportunity to visit one of the greatest scholars of our era. My first encounter was rather a funny one. One that I cannot help but laugh at even as I type this. We walked with the shaikh from his masjid to his house after asr, and this was the first opportunity I had to actually get close to the shaikh and see him in person. It was customary for students of knowledge to kiss their teachers on their foreheads when they met them, and I thought this was what was expected of me. Little did I know that I was literally about to be thrown to the floor! As I approached to kiss his forehead this 75 year old man, no taller than 5’8, literally pushed me ten feet away as if I were a fly! The shaikh, as small as he was, was built like a tank! I was later informed that due to his humility he disliked being treated as a “shaikh”, as he only considered himself a student of knowledge, Rahimahullahu rahmatan wasiy’ah.
Another amazing occurrence I witnessed during this visit was when we attended his Thursday morning dawrah. From fajr till about 10 am he would go through about 12 different books. The books that I remember specifically going through with him at that time were: Tafsir of Al-Tabari, Tafsir of Shawkani, Kitab al-Tawhid, Usool al-thalalthah, Imam Nawawi’s 40 hadith, Sharh al-sunnah of al-Muzani, and the mandhoomah of al-ajrumiyyah. This alone is a great feat and accomplishment, but what comes next is even more spectacular and great. We often say about things that come really easy to us: “I could even do that in my sleep”. How shocked I was when I actually saw someone this proficient in his scholarship! When we reached tafsir al-Tabari the shaikh actually started falling asleep, and we could actually hear him gently snoring. At that point, may Allah forgive me, I actually thought to myself “wow, some shaikh he is. He falls a sleep on his students” amazingly enough as the brother read the book out loud the shaikh was able to point out places where he didn’t pause, or places where there should be a comma and their wasn’t, and even the typographical errors in the book while his eyes were closed and his head leaned forward on his chest! It really was a site to be seen! A man so proficient in what he taught that he could do it in his sleep! Rahimahullahu rahmatan wasiy’ah
My last encounter with him was during my infamous trip to Riyadh in 2007, where two brothers and I took seven questions and asked them to about 7 different scholars of Riyadh, Sh. Ibn Jibreen was one of them. This time we walked with him to his office, and tens of people are walking behind him to get their personal time with the shaikh. I was actually able to catch up to him before he got into the office, and contemplated if I wanted to take my chances kissing his forehead again. This time I asked him in advance if it was alright with him if I gave him a semi-hug (mu’anakah), and he gracefully accepted and smiled back in return, as if he actually remembered the first incident! As we waited in the office for our turn to sit with him and ask him our seven questions we realized that our recorder was running out of space. We decided that we would delete our sitting with one of the hadith scholars or Riyadh, who in all honesty didn’t even address our questions. As we expected, it turned out to be a wise choice. The shaikh simplistically answered all of our questions and left us with even more points of benefit. We parted from Riyadh later that day, and it was definitely an excellent note to part on. Rahimahullahu rahmatan wasiy’ah.
I often wondered how the ummah dealt with the deaths of such luminaries as Abu Hanifah, Malik, Shafi’ee, and Ahmad. Even those after them from the likes of Al-Nawawi, Ibn Hajr, and Ibn Taymiyyah, May Allah have mercy on all of them. After Sh. Ibn Jibreen’s death I have come to realize that we can’t really “deal” with it. Like his predecessors, Sh. Ibn Jibreen filled a great void in true scholarship, the likes we may never see again. Like his predecessors he was truly a giant amongst men. And like his predecessors if the likes of him is replaced with someone who has half the knowledge, half the calibre, and is half the man he was, there would still be plenty of hope in this Ummah. For our sake I pray Allah does.
Sh. Jibreen will certainly be missed.
May Allah have the utmost of mercy upon Sh. Jibreen, forgive him for his shortcomings, and raise him amongst his predecessors from the prophets, the truthful ones, the martyrs, and the righteous, and what good company they truly are. Ameen
وقال فضيلة الشيخ سلمان في تصريح لموقع الإسلام اليوم: “إنَّ فضيلة الشيخ ابن جبرين من أكبرِ علماء المملكة وأقواهم نشاطًا وأوسعهم تأثيرًا.. شديد التواضع.. عميق الإخلاص.. واسع العلم. لم أَرَهُ غاضبًا ولا مُنْتَصِرًا لنفسِه قطّ.. يُقَبِّلُ رؤوس تلامذته ويأبَى بإصرارٍ أن يقبِّل أحدٌ رأسَه.
Sh. Salman al ‘awdah said about him: “Indeed the illustrious scholar Ibn Jibreen was from the greatest scholars of Saudi Arabia, and the most enthusiastic of them in giving da’wah, and from those that had the greatest of effects. He was extremely humble, truly sincere, and vast in knowledge. I never saw him get upset, nor ever try to put himself above others. He used to kiss the heads of his students, and would outright refuse to have anyone kiss his head…”
Video of the Shaykh’s Janaza prayer:
Please also check out this talk by Sh. Haitham al-Haddad