By Mariam E.

When an ear of corn is plentifully heavy with seed, it tilts and leans over. But if it is unfilled and light, it remains standing tall and proud. Such is the state of the believing slave; the more knowledge and faith in Allah that fills his heart, the more he will lower himself in humbleness and modesty towards the believers.

In times when we may sometimes observe the evil effects of pride and arrogance affecting the Muslim communities around us, it can be uplifting to turn to a simple, yet powerful example of one teacher that did not let the high position he held in the hearts of many around him lead him to develop a sense of self-importance or conceit.

Once a student of this teacher sought permission to recite a poem. The teacher sought consultation on whether to grant permission to the student. Permission was given and the student began to recite his poetry:

يا أمتي! إن هذا الليل يعقبه فجر وأنواره في الأرض تنتشر
والخير مرتقبٌ، والفتح منتظـر والحق رغم جهود الشر منتصر
و بصحوة بارك الباري مسيرتها نقية ما بها شوبٌ ولا كدر

ما دام فينا ابن صالح شيخ صحوتنا
بمثله يرتجى التأييد والظفر

The poem begins by praising the awakening of Islam through the spread of its light, and the rise of the Truth regardless of the efforts of evil.

Then the student reaches a line which seems to place a condition for the khayr he previously described, saying:

ما دام فينا ابن صالح شيخ صحوتنا
بمثله يرتجى التأييد والظفر

As long as there is in our midst the son of Saleh, the shaykh of our awakening, with the likes of him the support and triumph is expected.”

At this the teacher interrupts, proclaiming clearly that he does not agree with this line. He explains that the Haqq (Truth) should not be tied to certain individuals. For every person shall pass away, and if the people tied the Truth to a certain individual, they would lose hope.

But he does not leave the student there, rather he asks him to replace this line with “as long as there is in our midst Kitaab Allah wa Sunnata Rasulihi (the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger)”. Not only did this humble teacher correct the student, he also led him to a better alternative, which did not put an end to the entire poem.

The student obeys; for indeed, when the teacher is humble, it is likely that his students will not carry pride as well. Then the student continues with the recitation of his poem: “Ibnul 'Uthaymeen………faqeehunaa (our faqeeh)…” Once again the teacher interrupts, and firmly yet very gently objects to the recitation of this poem, as he has now realized that the entire poem is dedicated to him. With the utmost regard for the feelings of the student, he asks him if he has anything else to share. He then continues in a very calm tone with valuable advice to his students. The advice revolves around the fact that the students should never tie the standing and continuity of the Haqq with men, for men may go astray.

Ibn Mas'ud (radhiAllahu anhu) said, “Whoever wants to take an example, take the example of someone who died, because the living one is not safe from fitna.” The teacher continues with his advice, basing it on three reasons. First, men or certain individuals are not completely free or safe from error or fitna. Second, all men will die and none shall remain forever.

Allah (subhanahu wata'ala) says,

وَمَا جَعَلْنَا لِبَشَرٍ مِّن قَبْلِكَ الْخُلْدَ ۖ أَفَإِن مِّتَّ
فَهُمُ الْخَالِدُونَ

“And We did not grant to any man before you eternity [on earth]; so if
you die – would they be eternal?”
(al-Anbiyaa' 21:34)

Finally, the son of Adam is merely a man. He may feel proud when he is praised and begin to think highly of himself. He may assume that he is always correct, thereby leading him to his own destruction. In a hadeeth recorded by Bukhari, the Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhe wasallam) rebuked one who excessively praised another, saying: “You have destroyed (or cut) the back of the man.” The teacher thanked the student for his husn dhann (good thoughts) about him, and asks Allah to place him at the level of his husn dhann or higher.

Such was the example of a role model, a scholar… Ibnu 'Uthaymeen (rahimahullah).

Although he was one of the most knowledgeable scholars of his time and held the position of being the shaykh of many many students, he refused to allow that the rise of the Truth be linked to his name. He could have let it pass as merely a student expressing his love and respect for the shaykh. But he did not. All praise is due to Allah that Ibn Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) corrected his student so beautifully, for through this, he left us with valuable lessons for every teacher, student and believer. We are also left with a moving example of the humble and modest heart of this great scholar.

It was this beautiful characteristic which raised him and instilled love in the hearts of many towards him. Until this day, we continue to see in the students of this shaykh, whether they are in the East or West, the same humbleness regardless of their knowledge and efforts in da'wah to Allah.

It is only when the ear of corn becomes filled that a scholar rises to the level of a true scholar.

May Allah have mercy on Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saleh ibn 'Uthaymeen and make us amongst the humble ones. Ameen.

You may listen to the complete incident here:
YouTube Preview Image

Even if you don't understand Arabic, the tone will most probably touch you.

29 Responses

  1. Amatullah

    May Allah have mercy on Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saleh ibn ‘Uthaymeen and make us amongst the humble ones.

    Ameen. Jazaaki Allahu khayran ukhti, I really love your posts. May Allah bless you.

    SubhanAllah, rahimahullahu ta’ala.

    Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen rahimahullah has touched the hearts of many people…we hope that he is among those that Allah loves.

    He has left behind so much khayr for us to benefit from. Many of his lectures have been transcribed into books which are so cheap overseas and so easy to find– this just goes to show the effect he has on the masses and the blessing Allah has given him with spreading the aathaar of his ilm. It is known among the Arabic language students that his books are always the easiest to understand – language wise and explanation wise.

    This also reminds me of another incident with shaykh Albani rahimahullah, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFzTPHR3Ukk

    may Allah have mercy on our scholars!

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    • Ibn AbuAisha

      Assalamu Alaikum,

      Na’am Ukhti, I have a translated booklet of his titled Makarimul Akhlaaq. Perhaps it’s a transcribed lecture. And SubhanAllah as you rightly point out, even the English rendering is so easy to understand. May Allah have Mercy on the Shaykh.

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      • Umm Anas

        assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatUllahi wa barakatuh,

        you can purchase it from troid.com insha’Allahu ta’ala.

        wa salaamu alaikum,
        umm anas

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  2. Muslim Apple

    Ameen. Reading your posts always puts my heart in a state of ease, quiet, and tranquility. May Allah azza wa jal reward you with good. And I hope to see you again later on this year, in sha Allah.

    We can see some of the beautiful manners Ibn Uthaymeen (rahimahullahu ta ala) taught his students in the manners of some of our own teachers. I always love to hear their stories of their time with him.

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  3. Ibn AbuAisha

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    JazakiAllah Khair for the beautiful reminder. SubhanAllah! What a truly humble man he was, Rahimahullahu Ta’ala.

    Recently, our teacher mentioned that when Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked towards the end of his life about the ‘Ulama the people should turn to after his death, he said, “The ‘Ulama are many, but where are the Fuqaha?” At this our teacher said that memorizing aathaar and mutoon can be accomplished by people, but few are the ones who truly have a deep understanding of the Deen, and Shaykhuna Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was indeed one of them…May Allah grant him the highest levels of Jannah and grant us the Tawfeeq to inculcate the quality of humility.

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    • abu Rumay-s.a.

      this is a question I had to some other scholars…did the shaikh ever speak highly of others whom he deemed were true fuqaha..

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      • Ibn AbuAisha

        Good point, though I’ve heard that the Shaykh did mention names of those whom he considered Fuqaha, I cannot vouch for the veracity of that report. WAllahu Aa’lam, perhaps his students who heard directly from him can tell us…

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  4. AM

    Lovely post, may Allaah reward you with goodness.

    There seems to be a mistake in the order of the words in the third line transcribed above. The article has the line as :
    الباري مسيرتها نقية ما بها شوبٌ ولا كدر بارك وبصحوة

    When the student recites the poem in the audio recording he says :
    و بصحوة بارك الباري مسيرتها نقية ما بها شوبٌ ولا كدر

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  5. tawheedfirst

    Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakatu

    BarakAllaahu feeki ukhtee.

    Here’s an audio in which Dr.Saleh AsSaleh rahimuhullaah relays the event of his teacher, rahimuhullaah, followed by the actual audio of the event:

    Wa Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakatu

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  6. Dr. Ali Shehata

    Masha’Allah

    Barak Allahu feeki ya Mariam. It was a timely reminder and I think I will use it in my classes. May Allah reward you with the best for taking the time to give us this reminder!

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  7. Yasir Qadhi

    Subhan Allah… what a giant.

    I am at once humbled and ashamed when I think of him; humbled that Allah blessed me to study with him in Unayza the last summer of his life, and ashamed at how far I am from where I should be with that blessing and experience.

    Yasir

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  8. ahmed

    MashaAllah, Sh Uthaimeen was and still is fantastic.

    I never had the chance to study with him, rahimahullahu ta’ala rahmatan wasi’a, but do have the chance to listen to his lectures and read his books.

    Just through this incredibly tenuous connection, i find my iman raised in ways i never thought possible.

    May Allah allow me to meet him in the hereafter and thank him directly, if Allah allows me to enter jannah.

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  9. Abd- Allah

    JazakumAllah khayr for this post!

    May Allah have mercy on our scholars such as Bin Baaz, Albani, and Bin Uthaymeen. Whenever I hear such stories about them it brings tears to my eyes. How much there is for us to learn from them in terms of knowledge and manners. They left for us so many lessons to learn from.

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  10. AsimG

    My favorite by far discussing the 3 shuyookh of Saudi is by Shaykh Muhammad Hassan.

    What humbleness, subhanAllah:

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    • Abd- Allah

      SubhanAllah. How much did the Ummah lose when these three giants passed away, and they all passed away within short periods of one another. This reminds me of the hadith where the Prophet peace be upon him said that “Truly, Allah does not remove Sacred Knowedge by taking it out of servants, but rather by taking back the souls of Islamic scholars [in death], until, when there is not a single scholar left, the people take the ignorant as leaders, who are asked for and who give Islamic legal opinion without knowledge, misguided and misguiding.”

      Brother AsimG, just as a side note, Shaykh Al-Albani rahimahullah is not from Saudi. He is originally from Albania (hence the name Al-Albani!) and he was born in Albania, but then his parents made hijrah to Syria when he was still a kid.

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  11. Salaf-Stories

    Asalaam alaikum Warahmatulah Wabarakatuh

    Don’t tie the truth to Men – the Humility of Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen
    [with Audio & English Translation]

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    • Mariam E.

      wa Alikum asallam warahmatu Allahi wabarakatu

      Nice video/translation, mashaAllah. Jazakum Allah khair

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