Asalamualaikum wrt wb,
All praise be to Allah.
This is the story of a noble woman for our pious and righteous sisters to follow. May Allah bless her.
Interview with Umm ‘Abdullaah Wife of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-'Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah)
Interview conducted by Sis. Maha bint Husein Ash-Shammari
January 7, 2007
All Praise is due to Allaah, and may the salaah and salaam be on Prophet
Muhammad, his household, the noble companions, and those who follow them until
the Day of Resurrection.
The following is an interview with Umm ‘Abdullaah, the wife of our Shaykh,
Muhammad ibn Saleh al-‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah). The interview was
conducted by Sis. Maha bint Husein Ash-Shammari & Published in "Al-
Mutamayyizah Magazine," Riyadh, KSA; Issue No. 45, Ramadhan, 1427.Question 1: Was there any change in the motivation of the Shaykh regarding ‘ilm
(knowledge), dawah, and worship between his youth and his elder years?
Answer: I did not find any diminishing or weakness in his motivation (rahimallah) in
knowledge, dawah, and worship despite his progress in age. On the contrary, his busy
schedule continued to increase with time, as was the case with his worship and call to
the extent that during his intense illness, he (rahimallah) was not negligent with one
moment; he would spend every second in remembrance of Allaah (_:
subhaanallaahu wa ta’aalaa), worshipping Him, teaching, or directing.Question 2: What did you see that was amazing in the Shaykh’s (rahimallah) life?
Answer: His life was an example to follow, especially his patience and motivation to
seek the knowledge as well as teach and dissipate it. Also, his piety (rahimallah) was
something that those who were not close to him may not have known about.Question 3: How did the Shaykh interact with his children in their private lives?
Answers: His dealings with his sons and daughters fell into two stages. First, in their
childhood, he (rahimallah) was keen to be close to them, take care of them, raise some of
the Islamic principles in them, and follow their educational achievements. In
addition, he made sure to direct, admonish, and incite them. For instance, he would
sometimes take the children with him to the masjid to perform some of the fard
prayers. Also, he would encourage them to fast some of the days of Ramadan.
Furthermore, he would incite them to memorize some of the short surahs of the
Qur’aan and reward them on that.
In the stage of youth and maturity, he (rahimallah) was firm concerning their fulfilling of
the religious obligations and in discipline in cases of negligence. He would couple
that with direction and leniency. At certain times, he was not hesitant to do what was
sufficient to change or correct their mistakes. In addition, he (rahimallah) used to put full
trust in them to do certain things so they could learn to depend upon themselves; he
used to continuously encourage them on righteousness and check on them regarding
that.Question 4: Why did the Shaykh (rahimallah) not use henna on his beard?
Answer: Maybe he did not have the time to do that. I think I heard him saying
something to this effect.Question 5: When did the Shaykh anger intensify, and how did he deal with your
Answer: His anger used to intensify if the inviolable matters of Allaah (_) were
violated. Regarding my anger with the children, he would try to calm me down first
and then give the admonition to the one that was mistaken. In general, he (rahimallah) was
quiet and did not anger quickly; when he (rahimallah) did, his anger would quickly
dissipate, and this is from the favors of Allaah (_) upon him, something which I
wished for the like of his condition.Question 6: How did he (rahimallah) get up from his sleep? Did he depend on an alarm
clock, or would he ask someone to wake him?
Answer: He used to depend upon Allaah, then the alarm clock and then us.
Usually he awoke before the alarm and before I would go to wake him.Question 7: Would the Shaykh (rahimallah) ever go outside with his family for a picnic?
Answer: Yes, the family used to have a weekly picnic on Fridays after salaat aljumu’ah;
we would go to an area in the wilderness close by and bring our lunch. He
utilized this time to share in some activities with the children, like foot racing and
solving puzzles. Also, he would bring a small rifle and compete with his children in
aiming and shooting.Question 8: How did the Shaykh fast during the year?
Answer: The Shaykh (rahimallah) consistently fasted three days each month throughout
his life. In addition, he would fast six days in Shawwal, the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah,
and the day of ‘Aashooraa’.Question 9: How did the Shaykh select the names of his children?
Answer: He used to choose names like ‘Abdullaah and ‘Abd ar-Rahman1; he left the
rest for consultation amongst us. We would pick a name and present it to him; he
would either agree or ask us to select another.
Question 10: What were some of the things that would please the Shaykh?
Answer: There is no doubt that the Shaykh’s (rahimallah) happiness used to increase
whenever he saw the strength of Islam and Muslims. Regarding happiness at home, it
was manifested in meetings with his family and children.
These are the names of two of his sons.
You would also see the signs of pleasure and happiness on him upon receiving his
grandchildren. He used to open his cloak to allow them to enter underneath and then
inquire about them a few times before reopening it; he would do this several times.
Later, he would take them to his library where he kept a special kind of sweets they
used to call “halawat abooye” (my father’s sweets). We were keen to ensure that
they would not find it, except with him. In addition, despite his busy schedule, he
made sure to visit his grandchildren at their homes or in the hospital if any of them
were ill; this would have a great influence on them and their patents.
Question 11: How many children did the Shaykh (rahimallah) have?
Answer: The Shaykh had five sons and three daughters.
Question 12: Who amongst his children was the closest to his heart?
Answer: The Shaykh used to deal justly with his children in all affairs, major and
minor. If he found any kind of distinction between them, he would never declare it
openly because this is not from justice. If he was keen to be just in matters lighter
than this, then what should we expect here?
Question 13: Who amongst his children was most affected by his death?
Answer: All of them were, and the reality of the matter is that I used to feel that we
were not alone in this as he was a father to Muslims around the world, who all felt a
great shock by his death.
Question 14: Who is his youngest child?
Answer: The youngest is a daughter who is 21 years old.
Question 15: What were the steps the Shaykh took in seeking knowledge, and what
was your role in that?
Answer: The Shaykh (rahimallah) began teaching in the Grand Mosque in Unayzah
following the death of his Shaykh, ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Naasir as-Saa’di (__ ___)
even before I married him. At that time, he used to consider himself a student of
Concerning my assistance, it was manifested in not distracting him from seeking
knowledge and propagating it. I used to serve and make available to him what would
support his efforts. I would also follow the children and take care of them, except in
matters that required his notification so that he could direct, admonish, and seek a
Question 16: How did he reconcile between the dawah, which took most of his time,
and his familial and social responsibilities?
Answer: He used to organize his time and gave this great attention. For instance, he
would dedicate time for teaching, fatawa, dawah, worship, the family, the children,
social responsibilities, and upholding the ties of kinship. If he, at certain times, was
unable to directly share in some of these responsibilities, he was still keen to share
even by phone.
Question 17: What was his policy regarding educating and directing his children?
Answer: His policy was education; however, he did not force his children to seek a
specialty but instead used to consult with them regarding this decision. The obvious
proof is that his children graduated from different types of colleges, some sharee’,
others military, and also educational.
Question 18: Taking into consideration the Shaykh’s work and commitments, this
inevitably led to him being away from home and the family. What was your role
regarding this matter, and how did you cover for his absence?
Answer: Even if he was away from home whether for teaching and propagating
inside Unayzah or while traveling, he used to follow up with his children through
phone calls and by checking on their affairs upon his return. My role is not even
worth mentioning because we always felt his presence with us. In general, I used to
make the children feel their father’s responsibilities were great and his works many.
As such, I would incite them to be patient on that, and he (rahimallah) used to compensate
them on his return.
Question 19: Could you tell us about his worship at home?
Answer: He was keen to perform the as-sunan ar-rawatib (regular sunnah prayers),
except in limited circumstances. He (rahimallah) used to wake up in the latter part of the
night as much as possible and then make the witr before fajr, in addition to the
remembrances and istighfar that he did not discontinue.
Question 20: What was his daily program? For example, when did he sleep and
wake, and when did he eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Answer: The Shaykh used to get up in the last third of the night, praying as much as
Allaah (_) wished and then make the witr before the adhan of fajr. Following the
adhan, he would pray the regular sunnah of fajr. Next, he would wake his family
before going to perform salaat al-fajr at the masjid. He would then return home to
read his daily remembrances in the courtyard as well as some of the Qur’aan until
about sunrise. He would then sleep till about 8 am. This was on the days that he was
not teaching at the university.
After waking again, he would eat some breakfast and then finish his work and
readings in his study. He would also pray salaat ad-duhaa before going to the masjid
for salaat adh-dhuhr. Upon his return, he would eat lunch with his family at about
1:30. Next, he would take phone calls until about 20 minutes before ‘asr. He would
then rest for fifteen minutes or less before going to the masjid to pray ‘asr and meet
the needs of people who went to the masjid knowing he would be there. He would
return to his study after addressing the people’s needs to read before going again to
the masjid for maghrib and his daily classes that would last until isha. Usually he
would return home after that to eat a light dinner before going to his study to either
give lectures outside of the Kingdom via telelink or hold meetings. This was almost
his regular schedule throughout most the year, although it would change during some
seasons such as Ramadan, Hajj, and the summer break.
There were also some weekly commitments, and these would take place either at
home or outside. Some of his weekly commitments included: Wednesday night
meetings with the judges, meetings with the imaams that were scheduled to give the
khutbah of jumu’ah in the masajid, meetings with university staff and professors, and
meetings with the people of hisbah (those that enjoin what is right and forbid what is
wrong) until 11 or 12 pm then he would go to sleep.
Question 21: What was his schedule during Ramadan, especially after iftaar?
Answer: During Ramadan, the Shaykh (rahimallah) had a different schedule. He would
spend most of the time at the masjid reciting Qur’aan and meeting the needs of the
people. Also, he would invite some of the students of knowledge and the poor to eat
iftaar at our home. After salaat al-isha, he would return home for dinner and to give
fatawa over the phone. In addition, many people would visit our house to either say
salaam to the Shaykh (rahimallah) or seek a fatwa.
Question 22: Where did the Shaykh (rahimallah) like to spend his rest time?
Answer: In reality, the Shaykh (rahimallah) did not know rest time; all of his time was
busy. Even when he was sitting with us, the phone sometimes would ring, and he
would spend a long time addressing the call. His rest time was in propagating the
knowledge, meeting people’s needs, and fatawa.
Question 23: How many hours a day did the Shaykh (rahimallah) sleep?
Answer: The connected time did not exceed 3 to 4 hours. In total, it did not exceed 6
Question 24: Who amongst the students of the Shaykh did he praise, mention often,
and was pleased with their visits?
Answer: He (rahimallah) looked the same upon all of his students. All of them were like
his sons, and he did not praise any of them in particular, but he looked upon them
equally when he would meet or welcome them to the house. Also, he would share in
their special occasions, meetings, trips, or support them if they were in need of
Question 25: How did the Shaykh’s (rahimallah) family deal with his asceticism and
Answer: We used to see him (rahimallah) as an example in all things, and we used to
revere his asceticism and piety, which would comfort us since he (rahimallah) did not like
any unnatural mannerisms nor did he want that around him. He was a simple person
who liked ease in all of his matters.
Question 26: Did he (rahimallah) cry upon the death of Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baaz?
Answer: He was greatly affected by the death of his Shaykh, from whom he took
knowledge. Everyone around him felt the extent of the profound impact it had. May
Allaah make us meet them all in the Paradise of bliss.
Question 27: Did he travel for other than seeking knowledge?
Answer: No, he did not travel except to seek knowledge. He used to travel to Makkah
for ‘Umrah, where he would dedicate times for duroos (talks). In addition, he went to
Riyadh and Ta’if to attend the meetings of the Grand Scholars Committee, where he
would also schedule duroos and lectures.
Question 28: Can you tell us about the apparent generosity of the Shaykh with those
Answer: We used to feel his care (rahimallah) for the people in need, whether they were
distant or close. For instance, he used to check on the affairs of his family and
relatives that were in need. Also, he would do the same with his neighbors, helping
them in all that they needed, comforting them concerning their worries, and sharing in
their joyous occasions.
Question 29: What did you learn from the Shaykh? Did you learn matters of fatawa?
Did you ever give fatawa?
Answer: I learned from the Shaykh (rahimallah) everything that relates to the affairs of this
life, whether from the social or legal aspects. Concerning giving fatawa, I would not
even dare to do this. I only used to present the questions I received to him and then
relate the answers and fatawa to those that had asked.
Question 30: Before the Shaykh’s (rahimallah) death, what did he admonish his household
and beloved ones with?
Answer: The Shaykh (rahimallah) did not give a specific direction before his death, but
throughout his life, he would direct everyone to that which benefited them in their life
and in their deen (religion).
Question 31: We would like an admonition from you to the wives of the callers and
students of knowledge.
Answer: They should preserve their husbands, openly and secretly. In addition, they
should prepare for them the best situations and conditions to continue providing their
duties of dawah and knowledge. Also, I incite them that they should not be bothered
by the busy schedule of their husbands and their time spent traveling, seeking
knowledge, reading, and doing dawah. By Allaah’s (_) Will, they are sharing in the
Question 32: Could you tell us about the way the Shaykh (rahimallah) used to receive his
Answer: He (rahimallah) would receive his guests with simplicity and a real sense of
welcoming. He ensured that they felt like guests, and no day passed, except that he
brought a guest either for lunch, dinner or in between. We were pleased with his
guests and would honor them.
Question 33: What about a rare and pleasing encounter he had with his children or
The Shaykh (rahimallah) acted with simplicity towards his children and neighbors and all
those surrounding him. And one of those rare and nice occasions is that the Shaykh
(rahimallah) used to record some short recitations and nasheed2 for his children and
sometimes in the presence of one of the neighbors' kids. He then would re-play the
cassette to them during some meeting with them at older ages. We even still keep
some of these recording to this date.
Question 34: What is your advice to those that spread mischief in our Kingdom?
Answer: We ask Allaah to preserve our land and to continue to bestow upon us
the favor of security and safety. The Shaykh (rahimallah) would often repeat and mention
that he does not know any nation on the face of the earth that applies the sharee’ah
and holds to the correct creed like this one. Similarly, he (rahimallah) used to incite us to
deal with affairs using wisdom, good admonition, and leniency instead of resorting to
Question 35: Is there anything that the Shaykh (rahimallah) asked you to do that seemed
strange and made you feel hesitant?
Answer: It may be unknown to most that I was illiterate and did not receive any kind
of formal education. When I first married the Shaykh, I was fully busy in his
service and in providing him the correct, comfortable environment to seek knowledge
and teach. After we had our children, I was busy with them, and it took all my time to
raise them, in addition to the time I used to spend to help and support the Shaykh in seeking knowledge.
After the children grew up and my responsibilities began to ease slightly, I was
surprised that the Shaykh (rahimallah) began to incite me to join the schools for the elderly.
Although hesitant at first, I decided to join. During this period, he followed my
The Shyakh's position on the so-called Islamic Nasheeds as posted on the site
) is not to be confused with this innocent children-directed recordings
referred to here.
achievements and would not accept for any of my sons to sign my transcripts of
record. He (rahimallah) would say, “I am the one to sign for all that relates to your
academic achievements.” This moment of learning is a period that can not be
forgotten because of the great, innumerable benefits.
Question 36: What kinds of gifts would the Shaykh (rahimallah) give you, his children,
and people in general?
Answer: During his lifetime, he (rahimallah) would not withhold anything from those that
were close and those that were distant, to the best of his ability. The greatest gift he
used to give us was his dawah and du’aa; I ask Allaah (_) to accept his du’aa, hold
them for him in his good record, and bestow upon us the ability to be righteous to him
after his death.
Question 37: Did the Shaykh (rahimallah) relate to you anything nice that occurred in the
Answer: He (rahimallah) would always tell us those things that he thought were fit to
Question 38: When did the Shaykh (rahimallah) travel for dawah, and how would you deal
with him concerning that?
Answer: I used to incite and encourage him as well as make things easy for him by
providing him what he needed. In general, his trips were few, and I used to join him
on most of them.
Concerning travel outside of the Kingdom, he did not leave the country, except to
seek treatment in America for ten days, and I joined him during that.
Question 39: Could you tell us about the Shaykh’s use of the internet when it was
first introduced to the Kingdom?
Answer: He was one of the earliest to hasten to benefit from this service and tried to
utilize it to dissipate, propagate, and serve the Islamic knowledge. There is nothing
more evident of this than the establishment of his website, which contains all of his
works. His site is currently supervised by the charitable organization that was setup
after his death.
Question 40: When did the Shaykh (rahimallah) buy the automatic, telephone answering
Answer: From the things that are unknown to many is that the Shaykh (rahimallah) was
keen and had interest in modern electronic instruments. There were those that used to
provide him with the newest technology, such that you would often find with him
some electronics that had not yet been released to the open market; examples include:
electronic watches, instruments that could determine the direction of the qiblah, audio
recording devices, mobile phones, and automatic telephone answering machines
among many other gadgets. He (rahimallah) acquired the automatic answering machine as
soon as it became available in the Kingdom. He used it a great deal, often
programming it and recording the messages himself, to the extent that when he would
travel, he would leave a detailed message on how to contact him while he was away.
He was in that, a reference to all of us.
Question 41: Did the Shaykh (rahimallah) buy newspapers, and how did he learn about
local and national news?
Answer: We used to receive one of the newspapers at our home as a gift, and he would look at it if he had time.
Sometimes he would ask us for scissors to clip out
important articles or news so he could keep it. Also, he would hear the news on the
radio, especially during breakfast around 7 or 8 in the morning when he would listen
to either the Qur’aan broadcasting station from Riyadh or the BBC. In addition, he
would listen sometimes at length to the analysis of the news if there were important
Question 42: Was there ever an offer for the Shaykh to move to Riyadh?
Answer: Several times he was asked to move to Riyadh, Madinah, and Makkah. He
was even assigned as a judge in the eastern province of al-Ihsaa, but he used to see
that his staying in Unayzah had a great benefit, so he (rahimallah) refused these offers.
Question 43: During the visits of King Faisal , King Khaled, King
Fahad , and other princes, what did the Shaykh (rahimallah) offer them?
Answer: When he was at his home which is made of mud in Unayzah, he was visited
by King Saud , King Khaled , and King Fahad ; they were
amazed by his humbleness, piety, simplicity, and asceticism.
Question 44: Did anyone offer to install any echo instruments for the microphone in
the Shaykh’s masjid?
Answer: The Shaykh (rahimallah) did not see to that.
Question 45: Was the Shaykh (rahimallah) married to anyone else other than you, and how
many wives did he have?
Answer: No, the Shaykh (rahimallah) was not married to other than me. He married two
wives before me; his first wife died, and Allaah did not intend for the second
marriage to continue.
Question 46: We need from you an admonition to men who have more than one wife.
Answer: Justice. Justice. Justice.
Question 47: If one would ask the father (i.e. the Shaykh) to admonish me as a girl,
what would you expect him?
Answer: He would admonish you as he would admonish one of his daughters and all
of the daughters of the Muslims to fear Allaah openly and secretly, to be
righteous to the parents, uphold the ties of kinship, preserve the husband, and fear
Allaah regarding raising the children Islamically based on leniency and kindness.
Question 48: Did the Shyakh (rahimallah) use to tell you about those striving in
Sheeshaan (Chechnya) and other places especially since it reached us that he was
keen concerning their news and Fatwa?
Answer: He (rahimallah) was keen on following the status (affairs) of Muslims
everywhere, in Palestine, Algeria, Afghanistaan, and Sheeshaan.
Question 49: How did the Shaykh (rahimallah) receive the news of his illness, and how did
he tell you about it?
Answer: He (rahimallah) received the news with patience, anticipating the reward. One of
my sons reported to me that after they (rahimallah) received the news, he instructed them
not to mention anything to their brothers, sisters, or me and that the matter should be
left to him. He (rahimallah) related the news to us gradually. We ask Allaah to
forgive him and give him a spacious residence in Paradise.
Question 50: We came to know that the Shaykh (rahimallah) during his illness refused to
call his cancer the “evil disease,” choosing instead to simply refer to it as dangerous.
Would you tell us about this and his patience?
Answer: This was not only after his illness, but rather he had this opinion before
because he disliked using the term “evil” for this disease.
As for his patience, this was manifested in his illness, and I knew that he suffered
greatly from it. The pain would wake him many times during the night; whenever he
was asked about it, he would confirm that it existed, adding that he only told them this
as information and not as a complaint, since he (rahimallah) knew the reward for those that
All Praise is due to Allaah, and may the salaah and salaam be on Prophet
Muhammad, his household, the noble companions, and those who follow them until
the Day of Resurrection.
It is known that the Shaykh, like the other reliable scholars of our times, al-Albani and Bin
Baaz, as well as Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan, exerted great efforts to correctly direct the
Muslims in these countries and in others as well as to the reality and conditions of Jihaad and warned
them from deviation as evident in their published fatawaa and advices. The reader is referred towww.understand-islam.net
for further details on this, especially under "Contemporary issues,"
"Jihaad," "Clarifications," etc. May Allaah, the Most High, guide all Muslims to understand and
properly adhere to the true conditions and rulings regarding Jihaad. Aameen.