One of the Greatest Scholars of the Ummah has passed Away
All praise be to Allah, and may peace be upon the Prophet
Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awad al-Azhari passed away last week in Madina. He was one of the great scholars of the last century, and one of the greatest da’ees and teachers of Islam in Syria. Here are a few words about his life, so that we learn from his example.
Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awad graduated from Azhar Ashareef, writing his doctorate on the Tafseer of Surah al-Mujadilah. Even though he had to leave school at a young age to help support his family, it never stopped him from learning knowledge.
He had a passion for Dawah, and insisted that all Muslims must propagate what they learn. He said, “If all Muslims taught what they knew, however little, the world would be filled with goodness.” He would always remind people of the hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him, “Propagate what I say, even if only a verse.”
In fact, one day, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awad prayed Fajr in a Masjid, and no one showed up except the Imam and the Mu’adhin. He said, “Where is everyone?” He went outside, and in those days, they would open the markets after Fajr. He went to the middle of the Souk, and started calling out, “Oh People! How is it that you get up this early in the morning to earn money, but you don’t remember the rights of Allah! Don’t you know the reward of praying Fajr in Jama’ah?” He continued calling out until he gave Dawah to all the people in the Souk. The next day, for Fajr, the Masjid was filled.
He insisted that Muslims should never leave any opportunity unturned for giving Dawah. Wherever you are, said the Shaikh, give Dawah, at weddings, at friend’s houses, in the market, in the streets. He insisted that Muslims have extremely high himma, aspirations, and change the society around them for the better.
He had great concern about marrying the youth, and family relations in society in general. He would always insist on speaking at weddings and encourage to families to marry their youth, and work together for this aim. He would say, “Next month, I want to hear about ten more weddings.” In fact, after one of his talks, 15 families agreed to marry.
Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awad was famous for his piety and fear of Allah, and wara’, and he would say, “By Allah’s grace on me, I haven’t committed any sins, I have never even seen the thigh of my own child.”
He would never miss Fajr prayer in the Masjid. When he got married, before his wedding night, his friends got together and started joking saying, “Finally the Shaikh is going to miss Fajr prayer in Jamma’.” The next morning, they were all surprised, when sure enough the Shaikh came on time for Fajr prayer.
He used to be very serious about the religion and have a lot of fear of Allah, and insisted that all Muslims take on the responsibility of teaching the deen. When he was at dinner one evening, someone said the dua for the host, jokingly “May those fasting eat your food, and May the angels bless you except Jibreel, until you bring us tea.” The Shaikh became upset, and he said, “Do you know who Jibreel is? He is the angel of Revelation. Do you make dua for Jibreel to bless someone because of tea?”
As Shaikh Na’eem Araqsoosi, one of his students, remembers, “We used to joke around during religion class at school. But when Shaikh Muhammad ‘Awad become our teacher, we became so serious and we would always look forward to religion class. He used to love the Prophet, peace be upon him, so much.”
Even during his final illness, the Shaykh’s passion for Dawah came through. During the last few weeks of his life, before he passed away, he would tell his guests: “Make sure you help the youth get married. This is the only way they will be safe in their religion.”
Let us follow in Shaikh Muhammad ‘Awad’s example of giving Dawah, in all places and times.
And may Allah shower the Shaikh with His Infinite Mercy and enter him into the Paradise. Ameen.