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Open Thread Sunday 09-27-2009 | Shuyukh on Twitter





posted by abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

As salamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allahi wa Barakatuhu.

Let me start off this Open Sunday with the one thing most of us cannot get enough of — our shuyukh! Yes, maybe you already have their twitter accounts. Or do you? Alhamdolillah, I’ve added a few here whom we all know and love, and check out the difference in tweet styles. Which shuyukh do you follow on twitter? If you’re a shaykh and do not give a shake about twitter, why not? Come on, shake the tree of knowledge, akhee and give us a date or two, a morsel of ilm or tarbiyah on which we can get ourselves through our labors. Allaho laa ilaha illa Ho! Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa billah.

Share your shuyukh’s twitter addresses with us here, and I might add them to this live feed. :) Or share all the other peeps whose tweets pique you. Are most of your followers Muslim or non-Muslim? What about the people you follow? Does that matter?

Okay, lots to mine right there, but I have one more question for you on this Sunday, please. How close do you live to the masjid? Literally, what’s the drive or walking distance (depending on which one you do most often)? And from work or school to the masjid you go to and from that location?

In my case the distance depends on the day of the week. The answers are 3.2 miles, 3.7 miles, and 7.9 miles — unless we throw in ‘itikaaf which this year was 34.3 miles (though I was living there at that time, so maybe zero?), walhamdolillah. These distances are physical. And I want to say that the distance in my heart is mere instants’ worth. May Allah grant me that someday, bi’idhnillah. Ameen.

All I can say about my heart is that the days I intend to pray in the masjid, indeed the individual salaat I intend to pray in a masjid, those are the days that Allah brings my heart closest to it, and my prayer is to live and work so close to the masjid that I could hear the muezzin without straining. Alhamdolillah, people may call you to pray by tweet, but the adhan is as the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam approved it.

Bismillah walhamdolillah. May Allah accept my repentance and yours. I am an attorney, a stepfather, a husband, a son, and a Muslim. Studying Islam is a means, reflecting what I have learned is a must, and to Allah is the inevitable return. If you would like my help, know that Allah is the source of all aid. If you would like to contact me, try tariqnisarahmed at Gmail, LinkedIn, Twitter, or add me as a friend on Facebook.



  1. Avatar


    September 27, 2009 at 1:38 PM

    I’m not a shaykh but here’s a morsel of `ilm for you: it’s tarbiya not tarbiyya (no shadda on the yaa’). Because it’s such a common mistake I thought I’d say something this time. I love the blog BTW, keep up the good work

    wassalaam ;-)

    • Avatar

      MM Associates

      September 29, 2009 at 2:37 PM

      fix-ed :) jazak Allah khayr

    • Avatar

      Rick James

      October 2, 2009 at 3:20 PM

      With transliteration there is no definite way to spell something unless the other language has an official spelling like “Moslem”in english dictionaries .There’s no way a person can distinguish the word TRULY. What is to be done? One must see the transliterated word in it’s arabic text. .Like Fez there is a clear error in transliteration and translation it is faa alif seen–(.fas) not faa alif zaa…So fez would be a ..clear error but as for tarbeeyah or tarbiyyah or tarbiyah…there is no way for someone to know y or two y’s distinguishes a shaddah or not… So one is basically free to transliterate as he feels….from one language to another unless there is an official spelling for the word.

  2. Avatar


    September 27, 2009 at 5:23 PM

    About five to six minutes driving on the highway, solid 30 minutes walking

    It’s definitely a blessing to live so close and for the growing number of people who are buying up houses right nearby, it’s even better =)

  3. Amad


    September 28, 2009 at 4:44 AM

    interestingly i was closer to a masjid (5 min walk) in USA than I am in the Muslim country now… although don’t let this reflect on masjid densities… just so happened.

    I will say that anything greater than 10 min walk means use of car and that pretty much kills 50% of your jamah prayers due to laziness, time constraints, etc. I know this from experience, so if you live in the West, your first priority should be a place next to the Masjid if possible… it is amazing how much that will help you in your deen.

    • Avatar

      Ahmad AlFarsi

      September 28, 2009 at 12:52 PM

      from the article:

      “They are our grandfathers,” said a young man named Fatih, who wore the long beard, turban and robes of a fundamentalist Islamic sect. “They glorified our religion and brought it to the highest level.”

      The description in the article sounds more like the typical garb (turban + robes) of the Naqshbandis in Turkey. Not an extreme wahhabi fundo like me! :) Seriously though, we have again been reminded that to the Western media, following the sunnah = extremism.

  4. Avatar


    September 28, 2009 at 10:39 AM

    shaykh Abu Eesa is on twitter!!

  5. Avatar


    September 28, 2009 at 2:39 PM

    When should we expect an MM article on recent arrests in NYC & elsewhere?

  6. Avatar


    September 28, 2009 at 11:23 PM


  7. Avatar

    Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

    September 29, 2009 at 1:39 AM

    Why isn’t Sheikh Muhammad Al-Shareef on Twitter? This is a medium very much suited for him…. He can motivate us daily.

  8. Avatar


    September 30, 2009 at 10:37 AM

    There’re more Shuyukh FB-ing than this.

    Bilal Philips
    Navaid Aziz
    Said Regeah

    … to name a few

    • Avatar

      MM Associates

      October 1, 2009 at 3:34 PM

      Hmmmm… do they update their status on FB regularly? I understand that if someone FBs and tweets they can have the updates on one automatically feed the other. So they only need to post once. And I’d like to get the tweets from those shuyukh…

      abu abdAllah

    • Avatar

      Aly B - DiscoMaulvi

      October 5, 2009 at 7:08 AM

      Sheikh Bilal Philips is on FB…. can you post a link…??

  9. Avatar

    aboo alee

    September 30, 2009 at 1:42 PM

    Sheikh Abu ‘Abdissalam:

  10. Avatar


    October 4, 2009 at 8:36 AM

    After finding out about this post:

    abuabdissalam: lol, who’s this chap?

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Complicated?:​ ​The A-Z of Women’s Modern Fiqh | Sh Waleed Basyouni

Sh. Waleed Basyouni



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Obituary of (Mawlana) Yusuf Sulayman Motala (1366/1946 – 1441/2019)

Monday, September 9, turned out to be a day of profound anguish and sorrow for many around the world. In the early morning hours, news of the death of Mawlana* Yusuf Sulayman Motala, fondly known as “Hazrat” (his eminence) to those who were acquainted with him, spread. He had passed away on Sunday at 8:20 pm EST in Toronto, after suffering a heart attack two weeks earlier.

Dr. Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera



Dar Al Uloom Bury, Yusuf Sulayman Motala

A master of hadith and Qur’an. A sufi, spiritual guide and teacher to thousands. A pioneer in the establishment of a religious education system. His death reverberated through hearts and across oceans. We are all mourning the loss of a luminary who guided us through increasingly difficult times.

Monday, September 9, turned out to be a day of profound anguish and sorrow for many around the world. In the early morning hours, news of the death of Mawlana* Yusuf Sulayman Motala, fondly known as “Hazrat” (his eminence) to those who were acquainted with him, spread. He had passed away on Sunday at 8:20 pm EST in Toronto, after suffering a heart attack two weeks earlier. (May the Almighty envelope him in His mercy)

His journey in this world had begun more than 70 years ago in the small village of Nani Naroli in Gujarat, India, where he was born on November 25, 1946 (1 Muharram 1366) into a family known for their piety.

His early studies were largely completed at Jami’a Husayniyya, one of the early seminaries of Gujarat, after which he travelled to Mazahir Ulum, the second oldest seminary of the Indian Sub-Continent, in Saharanpur, India, to complete his ‘alimiyya studies. What drew him to this seminary was the presence of one of the most influential and well-known contemporary spiritual guides, Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi (d. 1402/1982), better known as “Hazrat Shaykh.” He had seen Mawlana Zakariyya only briefly at a train stop, but it was enough for him to understand the magnitude of his presence.

Mawlana Yusuf remained in Saharanpur for two years. Despite being younger than many of the other students of Shaykh Zakariya, the shaykh took a great liking to him. Shaykh Zakariya showered him with great attention and even deferred his retirement from teaching Sahih al-Bukhari so that Mawlana Yusuf could study it under his instruction. While in Saharanpur, Mawlana Yusuf also studied under a number of other great scholars, such as Mawlana Muhammad ‘Aqil (author of Al-Durr al-Mandud, an Urdu commentary of Sunan Abi Dawud and current head lecturer of Hadith at the same seminary), Shaykh Yunus Jownpuri (d. 1438/2017) the previous head lecturer of Hadith there), Mawlana As‘adullah Rampuri (d. 1399/1979) and Mufti Muzaffar Husayn (d. 1424/2003).

Upon completion of his studies, Mawlana Yusuf’s marriage was arranged to marry a young woman from the Limbada family that had migrated to the United Kingdom from Gujarat. In 1968, he relocated to the UK and accepted the position of imam at Masjid Zakariya, in Bolton. Although he longed to be in the company of his shaykh, he had explicit instructions to remain in the UK and focus his efforts on establishing a seminary for memorization of Qur’an and teaching of the ‘alimiyya program. The vision being set in motion was to train a generation of Muslims scholars that would educate and guide the growing Muslim community.

Establishing the first Muslim seminary, in the absence of any precedent, was a daunting task. The lack of support from the Muslim community, the lack of integration into the wider British community, and the lack of funds made it seem an impossible endeavour. And yet, Mawlana Yusuf never wavered in his commitment and diligently worked to make the dream of his teacher a reality. In 1973 he purchased the derelict Aitken Sanatorium in the village of Holcombe, near Bury, Lancashire. What had once been a hospice for people suffering from tuberculosis, would become one of the first fully-fledged higher-education Islamic institutes outside of the Indian-Subcontinent teaching the adapted-Nizami syllabus.

The years of struggle by Maulana Yusuf to fulfil this vision paid off handsomely. Today, after four decades, Darul Uloom Al Arabiyya Al Islamiyya, along with its several sister institutes, also founded by Mawlana Yusuf, such as the Jamiatul Imam Muhammad Zakariya seminary in Bradford for girls, have produced well over 2,000 British born (and other international students) male and female ‘alimiyya graduates – many of whom are working as scholars and serving communities across the UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, the US, Canada, Barbados, Trinidad, Panama, Saudi Arabia, India and New Zealand. Besides these graduates, a countless number of individuals have memorized the Qur’an at these institutes. Moreover, many of the graduates of the Darul Uloom and its sister institutes have set up their own institutes, such as Jamiatul Ilm Wal Huda in Blackburn, Islamic Dawah Academy in Leicester, Jami’ah al-Kawthar in Lancaster, UK, and Darul Uloom Palmela in Portugal, to just mention a few of the larger ones. Within his lifetime, Mawlana Yusuf saw first-hand the fruit of his labours – witnessing his grand students (graduates from his students’ institutes) providing religious instruction and services to communities around the world in their local languages. What started as a relationship of love between a student and teacher, manifested into the transmission of knowledge across continents. In some countries, such as the UK and Portugal, one would be hard-pressed to find a Muslim who had not directly or indirectly benefited from him.

Mawlana Yusuf was a man with deep insights into the needs of Western contemporary society, one that was very different from the one he had grown up and trained in. With a view to contributing to mainstream society, Mawlana Yusuf encouraged his graduates to enter into further education both in post-graduate Islamic courses and western academia, and to diversify their fields of learning through courses at mainstream UK universities. As a result, many ‘alimiyya graduates of his institutes are trained in law, mainstream medicine, natural medicine and homeopathy, mental health, child protection, finance, IT, education, chaplaincy, psychology, philosophy, pharmacy, physics, journalism, engineering, architecture, calligraphy, typography, graphic design, optometry, social services, public health, even British Sign Language. His students also include several who have completed PhDs and lecture at universities. His vision was to train British-born (or other) Muslim scholars who would be well versed in contemporary thought and discipline along with their advanced Islamic learning, equipping them to better contribute to society.

Despite his commitment to the establishment of a public good, the shaykh was an immensely private person and avoided seeking accolade or attention. For many decades he refused invitations to attend conferences or talks around the country, choosing to focus on his students and his family, teaching the academic syllabus and infusing the hearts of many aspirants with the love of Allah through regular gatherings of remembrance (dhikr) and spiritual retreats (i’tikaf) in the way of his shaykh’s Chishti Sufi order.

During my entire stay with him at Darul Uloom (1985–1997), I can say with honesty that I did not come across a single student who spoke ill of him. He commanded such awe and respect that people would find it difficult to speak with him casually. And yet, for those who had the opportunity to converse with him, knew that he was the most compassionate, humble, and loving individual.

He was full of affection for his students and colleagues and had immense concern for the Muslim Ummah, especially in the West. He possessed unparalleled forbearance and self-composure. When he taught or gave a talk, he spoke in a subdued and measured tone, as though he was weighing every word, knowing the import it carried. He would sit, barely moving and without shifting his posture. Even after a surgical procedure for piles, he sat gracefully teaching us Sahih al-Bukhari. Despite the obvious pain, he never made an unpleasant expression or winced from the pain.

Anyone who has listened to his talks or read his books can bear testimony to two things: his immense love for the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his love for Shaykh Mawlana Muhammad Zakariya Kandhlawi (may Allah have mercy on him). It is probably hard to find a talk in which he did not speak of the two. His shaykh was no doubt his link to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) in both his hadith and spiritual transmissions.

Over the last decade, he had retired from most of his teaching commitments (except Sahih al-Bukhari) and had reduced meeting with people other than his weekly dhikr gatherings. His time was spent with his family and young children and writing books. His written legacy comprises over 20 titles, mostly in Urdu but also a partial tafsir of the Qur’an in classical Arabic.

After the news of his heart attack on Sunday, August 25, and the subsequent effects to his brain, his well-wishers around the world completed hundreds of recitals of the Qur’an, several readings of the entire Sahih al-Bukhari, thousands of litanies and wirds of the formula of faith (kalima tayyiba), and gave charity in his name. However, Allah Most High willed otherwise and intended for him to depart this lowly abode to begin his journey to the next. He passed away two weeks later and reports state that approximately 4,000 people attended his funeral. Had his funeral been in the UK, the number of attendees would have multiplied several folds. But he had always shied away from large crowds and gatherings and maybe this was Allah Most High’s gift to him after his death. He was 75 (in Hijra years, and 72 in Gregorian) at the time of his death and leaves behind eight children and several grandchildren.

Mawlana Yusuf educated, inspired and nourished the minds and hearts of countless across the UK and beyond. May Allah Almighty bless him with the loftiest of abodes in the Gardens of Firdaws in the company of Allah’s beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and grant all his family, students, and cherishers around the world beautiful patience.

Dr Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera
Whitethread Institute, London
(A fortunate graduate of Darul Uloom Bury, 1996–97)

*a learned Muslim scholar especially in India often used as a form of address
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