By Mohammad Mustafa Ali (5th Year Alim Student, DarusSalam Seminary)
From the notable luminaries who represented traditional Islam in the twentieth century, there is one name that stands out. A reviver, a light, a scholar in every sense, Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah has become a role model for many across the globe.
His full name is ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ b. Muḥammad b. Bashīr b. Ḥasan Abū Ghuddah al-Khālidī al-Makhzūmī al-Ḥalabī al-Ḥanafi. His lineage is traced back to the notable warrior, Khālid b. Walīd. ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah was born in the city of Aleppo in the year 1917 (AH 1336) on the seventeenth of Rajab. His father, Muḥammad, punctually preformed his daily devotions and was known for his piety. He also owned a textile business which he inherited from his father, Bashīr.
At an early age, Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah began studying under his father and grandfather. Later, he enrolled in al-Madrasah al-ʿArabiyyah al-Islāmiyyah al-Khāṣṣah where he studied for a duration of four years. During his studies, he gained proficiency in the subjects of Qur’ānic recitation and writing, however, he was sub-par in handwriting. He then studied in the seminary of Shaykh Muḥammad ʿAlī al-Khaṭīb in Aleppo for a few months. He continued learning the Qur’ān, jurisprudence, and also improved his handwriting. He then joined his father in the family business.
When he turned eighteen, in 1936 (AH 1356), he enrolled in the six-year program at the famous university al-Madrasah al-Khusrawiyyah. He graduated with honors in the year 1942 (AH 1362). A year later, Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah enrolled in the Kulliyyah al-Sharīʿah program in the famous al-Jāmiʿāt al-Azhar. He graduated in the year 1948 (AH 1368). Thereafter, he spent two years specializing in education before returning home to Aleppo in 1950 (AH 1370).
Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah was blessed to have studied under many notable scholars during his time. When asked regarding his teachers, he would cry profusely, beseeching Allah in supplication.
Some of his teachers are:
- Shaykh Ibrāhīm al-Salqīnī who is described as a true friend of Allah. He was very righteous and had attained a high level of asceticism, knowledge, and piety. He lived to be about one hundred years old. Regarding him, Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah remarked: “He would constantly be overcome by tears. Just being in his company was more beneficial than listening to an inspirational speaker.”
- Shaykh Muḥammad Rāghib al-Ṭabbākh who was Aleppo’s historian and ḥadīth He was a very loving teacher. His teaching style benefited everyone. Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah was able to study the noble sciences of ḥadīth, sīrah, and history under him. He covered famous works such as the Muqaddimah of Ibn Ṣalāḥ, al-Mawḍū‘āt al-Kubrā of Mullā ’Alī al-Qārī, al-Tajrīd al-Ṣarīḥ of al-Zabīdī, and al-Shamāʾil al-Muḥammadiyyah of Imām al-Tirmidhī.
- Shaykh Muḥammad al-Nāshid who specialized in the fields of Arabic and naḥw.
- Shaykh Muḥammad Najīb Sirāj al-Dīn who was an elder scholar.
- Shaykh Muṣṭafā al-Ṣabrī who was the final Shaykh al-Islām of the Ottoman Empire.
- Shaykh Zāhid al-Kawtharī who was a scholar of the highest caliber and the vice Shaykh al-Islām of the Ottoman Empire.
- Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah was blessed to study many books of taṣawwuf with Shaykh ’Īsā al-Bayānūnī, such as: Shurūḥ al-Ḥikam of Ibn ’Aṭā Allāh al-Askandarī and Bidāyah al-Hidāyah of Imām al-Ghazālī.
- Under ʿAllāmah Shaykh Muḥammad al-Rashīd al-Ḥanafī, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah studied the Ṣaḥīḥ of Imām Muslim, Shurunbulālī’s Marāqī al-Falāḥ, and the Ḥāshiyah of Ibn ʿĀbidīn.
- Under Shaykh Muṣṭafā al-Zarqā, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah studied Mullā Khusrū’s Durar al-Ḥukkām, as well as portions of the Muwāfaqāt of Imām al-Shāṭibī, and Imām Muḥammad’s al-Jāmiʿ al-Ṣaghīr.
May Allah have mercy on them all.
In 1962 (AH 1382), Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah traveled eastward to Pakistan and India. He met many great Indian scholars including Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mawlānā Zakariyyā Kāndelhawī, Mawlānā Yūsuf Kāndelhwī, Mawlānā Manẓūr al-Nuʿmānī, and Shaykh Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī al-Nadwī. And in Pakistan, he met Muftī Muḥammad Shafīʿ and ʿAllāmah Yūsuf Binnūrī.
Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah was also able to visit many countries around the world such as Afghanistan, Kuwait, Yemen, the Emirates, Tunisia, Palestine, Sudan, Somalia, South Africa, and even some parts of Canada and America.
Being a popular, erudite scholar, many students were able to take benefit from him and gain his ijāzah. Some of them are:
- Shaykh Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī
- Shaykh Muḥammad ’Awwāmah
- Mawlānā Salman al-Nadwī
- Shaykh Habīb al-Raḥmān al-Aʿẓamī
- Mawlānā Ṣiddīq Aḥmad Bāndawī
- Mawlānā Yūnus al-Jawnpūrī
- ʿAllāmah Anwar Shāh al-Kashmīrī
- ʿAllāmah Yūsuf Binnūrī
- Muftī Taqī al-ʿUthmānī
Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah was tall, handsome, and hade a thick beard. Upon him was the glow of the scholars of ḥadīth and knowledge. He would dress well and would smell of perfume.
He was also a prime example of following the sunnah both in character and conduct. He was very humble, to the extent that he did not consider himself a scholar. He would frequently perform ḥajj and ʿumrah, especially in the month of Ramadan. He was well spoken, eloquent, sharp minded, and beloved to the people. He was very patient and forbearing and would act according to the sharīʿah in all matters. He would constantly remember Allah or recite the Qurʾān and was very quick to cry when remembering Allah or mentioning the pious predecessors.
Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah remains a popular author. He has written many works, as well as producing his own commentaries on traditional works. Amongst them are:
- Ṣafaḥāt min Ṣabr al-ʿUlamāʾ – A book comprising of many stories and narrations regarding the scholars of the past and their pursuit of knowledge.
- Qīmat al-Zaman ’ind al-ʿUlamāʾ – A beautiful work describing the value of time.
- Extensive notes on ʿAllāmah ʿAbd al-Ḥayy al-Laknawī’s al-Rafʿ wa al-Takmīl – An advanced work in the field of ʿulūm al-ḥadīth.
- al-ʿUlamāʾ al-ʿUzzāb – A book consisting of scholars who preferred pursuing knowledge over marriage.
- al-Ajwibah al-Fāḍilah – A detailed assessment of ten different issues pertaining to the Qurʾān and the Ḥadī
- al-Rasūl al-Muʿallim – A beautiful work describing the Prophet’s ﷺ teaching method.
… and many others. For a longer list and PDFs, click here.
After living a long life of serving ʿilm, Shaykh ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah passed away on Shawwāl 8, 1996 (AH 1417) at the age of sixty. He is buried in the blessed graveyard Jannah al-Baqī‘ in Medinah.
May Allah fill his grave with nūr and accept all that he has done.