Some Benefits from the Lessons of Sheikh ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdul ‘Azeez al ‘Aqeel – Compiled by Mustafa George

Some Benefits from the Lessons of Sheikh ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdul ‘Azeez al ‘Aqeel
(may Allah have mercy on him) Compiled by Mustafa George DeBerry
November 2011 / Muharram 1433
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

و الصلاة و السلام على اشرف الانبياء و المرسلين و على آله و صحبه و سلم تسليما كثيرا

Recently our beloved Sheikh (‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdul ‘Azeez al ‘Aqeel) returned to his Lord. When this tremendous trial occurred, I promised my beloved brothers in Islam that I would try to inform them of some of the benefits that I received while seeking knowledge from the Sheikh for the time that I had spent with him. But due to life’s many distractions and commitments, I was not able to deliver what I intended in adequate time. By the permission of Allah, at this time, I would like to mention some of those benefits so that my brothers and sisters in Islam can take a greater look at the life of this scholar of Islam, in order that we may reflect upon our own lives and shortcomings and try our best to correct them. I ask Allah to bless our beloved Sheikh, and I ask Him to grant him a high abode in Jennah.[1]

A brief mention of the Sheikh’s style of teaching:

Sheikh ‘Abdullah had retired from his position as a High Judge in Saudi Arabia many years ago. This meant that he had ample time to study, research, teach and give da’wah. Sheikh ‘Abdullah’s lessons where unique in a since that each individual student was allowed to have his own face to face lesson with the Sheikh, reading from his chosen book. A specific detail of how the lessons were performed is as follows:

Fajr: Sheikh ‘Abdullah would perform fajr in congregation in the masjid across from his home. After prayer, he would sit in the masjid for a short spell of time performing his morning adhkar (supplications).

Then he would return to his home and sit in his library. A few of his sons along with 3-6 students would accompany him into his library. After sitting, one of his sons would make sure the Sheikh was comfortable, and if it was winter, they would rub the Sheikh’s feet until he was content. A few minutes later, the Sheikh would look around and instruct the first student who arrived to sit in front of him on the floor. The student would then inform the Sheikh which book he is reading to him and what page has been reached. The Sheikh himself would have his own copy of the same book in which he would always keep a record of the student’s reading. The student would begin reading while the Sheikh followed. If any comments or corrections needed to be made, the Sheikh would do so. Once the student finished the chapter or unit, the Sheikh would then clarify the complete chapter. During his explanation, he would always ask the student questions to make sure he has understood what was read and explained. After completing the explanation, the student would leave, and the next student would sit and begin reading his book. The fajr lessons would continue for a period of 2-3 hours. After every student has completed their reading, the Sheikh would take a short nap until about 10am. He would then awake, pray shurook prayer, and then return to his library for his own research and study. After asr, magrib and isha prayers, the Sheikh would basically teach the same way he taught for fajr prayer.

A mention of a few incidents which occurred in the company of the Sheikh:

1. When I began reading to the Sheikh in the year 2007, there was present in the company of the Sheikh a close student of his. This student advised me and other western brothers that we should read only Fiqh books to the Sheikh because in his (the student’s) opinion, the Sheikh is well grounded in Fiqh, and other subjects such as ‘Aqeedah and Minhaj can be studied with other scholars! Many of the western brothers ignored this advice and continued to persue the reading of ‘Aqeedah books to the Sheikh. One of the books that I chose to read was a summarized explanation of al ‘Aqeedah al Wasitiyah by Sheikh ‘Abdul ‘Azeez al Nasir al Rasheed (may Allah have mercy on him). I chose to read this explanation because several years prior to moving to Riyadh, I had attended the reading of this explanation in the presence of Sheikh ‘Ubaid al Jabiree while studying in The Islamic University of Madina. At any rate, after beginning to read this explanation with Sheikh ‘Abdullah al ‘Aqeel it was noticed the Sheikh would become very energetic whenever this book was being read with him. It’s possible that the reason for this was due to the fact that most students who sat with the Sheikh were reading Fiqh books, while very few chose works in ‘Aqeedah. Sheikh ‘Abdullah himself even would comment during the course of reading the book:

Allah granted us tawfeeq (success) in choosing to read this book!

He also said: This is an excellent explanation of al ‘Aqeedah al Wasitiyah.

After several readings with the Sheikh from this work, I mentioned to his student who initially advised me to read a Fiqh book, I said: Do you still think that I should change my book?

He replied: No, masha Allah, the Sheikh loves reading ‘Aqeedah books![2]

2. On the morning of 1429-10-18 (October 18, 2008) after salatul Fajr, the students followed the Sheikh into his living-room for our regular morning lessons. Before beginning the lesson one of the Sheikh’s grandchildren entered the room, and it was apparent from his appearance that he wasn’t very strong in his adherence to the Sunnah. The Sheikh’s grandson informed him that he would be taking a trip to the United Arab Emirates for some sort of educational training. Upon hearing this, the Sheikh immediately said:

When you go there make sure you befriend good individuals. It’s important that you don’t befriend those who can possibly cause you harm in your religion. Be very cautious who your companions are during your travel. It is upon you to hold fast to your religion and be sure to preserve your prayers![3]

Compiler’s comment: This action of the Sheikh is in accordance with the statement of Allah in the Quran, where He – The Most High said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا

{Oh you who believe, save yourselves and your family members from the Hell-fire} Surah al Tahreem:6

3. One evening while some students were reading their books to the Sheikh, a group of unfamiliar students entered upon the Sheikh. After the students who were to the Sheikh left the room, the unfamiliar students approached the Sheikh and requested that he grant them tezkiyaat or ijazaat (a form of recommendation). Upon hearing this, the Sheikh became very upset and replied:

Where have you come from? Who are you? I don’t know you nor have I seen you before. I don’t know your Minhaj (methodology), nor do I know anything about you!

The students stood up and left the room!

4. About 2 years before the Sheikh passed away, one of his sons died. On the night of the Janazah (burial), several family members and students visited the Sheikh to give their condolences. At the time of salatul Isha, the Sheikh normally reads from the Tafseer of Sheikh ‘Abdul Rahman al Sa’di. When I entered the masjid for prayer, I assumed that due to the death of the Sheikh’s son, that night the Sheikh would not do his normal reading from the Tafseer book. I was wrong! After the Sheikh prayed his two units of Tahiyatul Masjid (the prayer for entering the masjid), he sat and opened his Tafseer book and began to read. I was amazed that even the death of his beloved son did not deter him from seeking knowledge.

Some benefits recorded during sittings with the Sheikh:

The Sheikh mentioned during our reading of Al ‘Aqeedah al Wasitiyah:

Things which are attributed to Allah are divided into two categories:

Things which are independent (not associated with the attributes of Allah), such as: The House of Allah, The Camel of Allah, etc. Attributing these things to Allah is done for the purpose of displaying tremendous reverence.

Things which are not independent, such as: The Knowledge of Allah, The Might of Allah, etc. Attributing these to Allah is done so for the purpose of describing Allah with His own Attributes.

The Sheikh said, while reading from a book of Tafseer (Explanation of The Quran):

From the best books of Tafseer is Tafseer ‘Abdul Razzaq. This is because the author was Sunni, Salafi.

He said, while discussing rulings pertaining to the Athan and Iqamah (call to prayer):

If the Imam of the prayer is forced to leave the congregation during the prayer, the person who steps forward would continue from where the Imam left off, contrary to the Muathen (caller to prayer) who is forced to discontinue the Athan. The person who comes forward to continue should start the Athan from the beginning.

He said on 1429.4.7 (April 13, 2008):

The way of the Salaf is more knowledgeable, wiser, and safer.

He also mentioned during the same sitting:

This book (Al ‘Aqeedatul Wasitiyah along with the explanation) is a wonderful book with great benefit.

He said on 1429.6.27 (July 1, 2008):

The goodness and fairness of Islam is displayed in the statement of Allah:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ

{Indeed Allah orders with justice and good.} Surah al Nahl:90

On 1429.10.7 (October 7, 2008) he said:

Ablution is a condition for performing Tawwaf (encircling the Ka’ba), except if one is not able to perform ablution.

On 1429.12.7 (December 5,2008) he said:

None of the Salaf mentioned that the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) heard the Quran directly from Allah.

On 1429.12.15 (December 13, 2008) he mentioned:

The conditions for the validity of prayer are nine[4], but many scholars suffice with the mentioning of only 6. They hold that Islam, sound intellect, and the age of maturity are three conditions which are well known, and they must be present for any act of worship to be accepted. Therefore, some scholars do not mention them as conditions.

On 1430.2.21 (February 16, 2009) I asked him the following question:

Is it correct to say that Waraqah bin Nowfal[5] was actually the first man to believe in the Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)?

The Sheikh responded: This is correct. He believed in him to the extent that he had vowed to support and defend the Prophet if he lived long enough.

On 1430.2.22 (February 17, 2009) the Sheikh mentioned:

If a person forgets to mention the Name of Allah before performing Tayammum (purification with the usage of dust, sand, etc), the purification is still considered valid.

On 1430.2.29 (February 24, 2009) a Fiqh book was being read to the Sheikh.

The author of the book mentioned that it is not obligatory upon the wife to serve her husband. Sheikh ‘Abdullah ‘Aqeel responded saying:

This is the Mathhab (Hanbalee school of thought)[6], but there is no proof to support this opinion. On the contrary, the proofs inform that it is an obligation upon the wife to serve her husband.

On 1430.3.4 (March 1, 2009) the Sheikh commented:

The word Nushooz (conflict or dispute between spouses) is used to describe dispute from the wife, but it is also used to describe dispute from the husband. Allah stated in the Quran:

وَإِنِ امْرَأَةٌ خَافَتْ مِنْ بَعْلِهَا نُشُوزًا

{If a female fears nushooz from her husband..} Surah al Nisaa:128

On 1430.4.2 (March 29, 2009) the Sheikh responded to the statement of the author of a fiqh book.

The author mentioned that it is only compulsory upon the husband to have intercourse with his wife once every four months. Sheikh ‘Abdullah responded:

This is incorrect. It is preferred that the husband performs intercourse as much as possible. He should do so according to his ability, whether this is every night, every two nights, or once a week.

On 1432.8.8 (September 6, 2011) Sheikh ‘Abdullah returned to his Lord at the age of 95. May Allah accept his deeds from him and grant him a high place in Jennah.

Links about the Sheikh’s life and death:

alarabiya.net/articles/2011/09/06/165667.html

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved Messenger Muhammad, and upon his family members and companions.

Mustafa George DeBerry
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


[1] A short biography of the Sheikh can be found on http://www.salafee.multiply.com (this site is down now)

[2] It’s ajeeb (amazing) how the Shaytan tries to distract the servents of Allah. To the extent, that he even has the ability to use a student of knowledge who thinks that he is advising his brother with good, but in fact, he advises with that which is furthest away from good!

[3] This advice is based on the statement of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “A man is upon the religion of his friend, therefore one should be careful whom he befriends.” Sunan Abi Dawood 4833.

[4] Isalam, sanity, age of maturity, removal of ritual impurities, purification of body and prayer area, facing the Qibla, entering of the time of prayer, covering of private parts, the presence of the intention from prayer. Refer back to: The Explanation of The Conditions, Pillars and Requirements of Prayer by Sheikh Muhammad bin ‘Abdul Wahhab Al Ibaanah Publications.

[5] The cousin of Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her)

[6] This is an example of how the scholars of Saudi Arabia do not blind follow and adhere to a particular school of thought if the opinions are not supported by proofs and evidences.