التاريخ: 17/01/2011

Shaykh Muhammad Nimr al-Khateib

تراجم وأعلام

Shaykh Muheammad Nimr al-Khateib (1918-2010 / 1431)Muheammad Nimr ibn ‘Abd al-Fattahe ibn Shaykh Sa’id al-Khateib was an eminent scholar
whose lineage linked up with Shaykh Ahemad al-Seayadi al-Rifa’i. This has been
established by Heusayn al-Rifa’i in his book titled Baher al-Anseab. The Khateib family is
connected to the Ashraf in Egypt and have a legacy of Islamic sacred knowledge and
they even carried the responsibility of fatwa in Haifa for many years.
Shaykh Nimr was born in the 1918 in the city of Haifa in Palestine into a scholarly
family. In his youth he learnt the Quran and some of the basics of Islam. His first
teacher was his father who was a renowned scholar and one of the persons who had a
profound influence on his life. Shaykh Nimr grew up like his father and he displayed
tremendous love, respect and obedience to his parents. His family was also known for
their amazing hospitality and always welcomed students of sacred knowledge and
other guests. In fact when students would pass by on the ay to pursue their studies at
the al-Azhar University in Egypt, many used to stop at their home for a few days.
As a young boy, he witnessed the attempts by the British to imprison his father,
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattahe. After his father’s release from prison, the young Nimr
proceeded to the city of Akka to pursue his education. He completed his primary and
secondary schooling and also studied at the al-Ahemadi Institute. Here he studied
under some renowned scholars. Some of them were:
• Shaykh al-‘Akki
• Shaykh Tawfiq al-Anbatawi
• Shaykh ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam
• Shaykh Kamil al-Qaseseab
• Shaykh ‘Abd Allah al-Jazzar, Mufti of Akka
• Shaykh Muheammad al-Lubabidi, Senior Shafi’ Mufti
• Shaykh Muheammad al-Qablawi
1 Prepared by Shoayb Ahmed. The compiler visited the Shaykh a few times and was fortunate to
receive Ijaza from him.
He then travelled to Egypt where he continued his studies at the al-Azhar University
where he was fortunate to have studied under illustrious scholars who included:
• Shaykh Muheammad Amiin al-Kurdi al-Naqshbandi
• Shaykh Muheammad Bakhit al-Muti’i who was the Mufti of Egypt. With him he
studied a portion of al-Hidaya, a famous text in the Heanafi madhhab.
• Shaykh Salama al-‘Azzami
• Shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim al-Simalutei
• Shaykh Yusuf al-Dujwi with whom he studied some Tafsir.
• Shaykh Dassuqi ‘Arabi
• Shaykh ‘Isa Mannun
• Shaykh Yusuf ‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Mashhadi
• Shaykh Yusuf al-Marsifi
• Shaykh ‘Abd al-Majid al-Lubban
• Shaykh Muhammad al-Khider al-Heusayn
• Shaykh Muhammad Heabib Allah al-Shanqitei
• Shaykh ‘Abd al-Raheman al-Jazili
Some accomplished scholars were his colleagues at the time. They were:
• Shaykh ‘Abd Allah al-‘Alayili
• Shaykh Mukhtar al-‘Alayili
• Shaykh Ahmad al-‘Ajuz
• Shaykh Muhammad Subra
• Shaykh Muhammad Hearb
• Shaykh Muhammad Ghazal
He remained in Egypt for seven years and he attained the Higher al-Azhar Certificate
that was approved and signed by his teacher, Shaykh Heabib Allah al-Shanqitei and Shaykh
When the al-Azhar restructured its system, he joined the Faculty of Useul al-Din where he
studied for an additional four years. Thereafter he returned to his home in Haifa after
having already registered for the Masters Programme.
On returning to Haifa he was hurt when he observed the atrocities committed by the
colonialists and he immediately engaged in teaching and guiding the people. He even
established a school where he conducted classes at night with a special curriculum. He
established various organizations and he was even appointed as the first Minister of
Defence for the revolutionary ministry. He remained in Haifa from 1939 until 1948.
When the Arab and Muslim uprising took place and after the martyrdom of Shaykh ‘Izz
al-Din al-Qassam, he led the revolt against the British and the Zionists. He was
imprisoned in Haifa and released after a while. While teaching at the al-Burj Institute he
was again imprisoned.
He even led some skirmishes and battles and was wounded in some of these and very
often he would return home to return bullets or shrapnel from his clothing. He was
wounded and then imprisoned in the uprising of 1948. He was taken to Beirut for
medical treatment and was subsequently summoned to Damascus by the President,
Shukri al-Qutli who took a liking to the Shaykh and personally appointed a doctor to
attend to him. From then on his relationship with the President had strengthened. In
Damascus, he taught at the al-Anbar School, at the Faculty of Sharia’ and at various
Islamic Schools. He even conducted a daily programme on Damascus Radio. He
established an organization for the Palestinian Refugees. The Syrian President sent him
for Hajj and he was tasked to deliver a special letter to the Saudi King. He was also a
member of the delegation to Pakistan. He remained in Syria for about three years and in
1951 he moved to Baghdad in Iraq.
In Iraq, he taught at some of the institutions and was even the lecturer (khateib) at the
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani Mosque. He eventually returned to Beirut where he
established the Jamiyyat al-Rabita al-Islamiyya and the al-Fath al-Islami School which
later became known as the Imam al-Awza’i Secondary School. He left Beirut again and
returned to Iraq where he continued teaching in various mosques including Jami’
Darragh and Jami’ al-Bunya.
He even taught at the Centre for Higher Studies and Research in Tunisia and at the
Islamic University in Libya and completed some duties with the Ministry of Endowments
in Morocco.
He travelled extensively making people aware of the dangers and plans of the Zionists.
Over the years the Shaykh had become acquainted with some orientalists, particularly
when he travelled to Germany and a few other European countries.
Shaykh Nimr was a reputable scholar and an eloquent and prolific lecturer. When he first
arrived in Madina Munawwara in (1402), he taught at the Islamic University at the postgraduate
level and thereafter he taught at the College of Education. After retiring from
formal teaching he opened the doors to his home to students. He resided in Madina
where he conducted lessons from his home. His son, Shaykh Ahmad is a young aspiring
Some of the books authored by him are:
• Min Hadyi al-Quran
• Min Athar al-Nakba
• Al-Madkhal ila Dirasa al-Manteiq
• Falsafat al-Heajj
• Al-Islam Din al-Hidaya
• Ahedath al-Nakba
• Al-Iman Teariquna ila al-Naser
• Heaqiqat al-Yahud wa al-Mateami’ al-Sahyuniyya
• Murshi al-Du’at
• Abhath Tamhidiyya fi al-‘Aqida al-Islamiyya
• Mawqif al-Din min al-‘Ilm
The following books are still in the process of being published:
• Falsafat al-‘Ibada fi al-Islam
• Qabas min Nur al-Islam
• Min ‘Ulum al-Quran
• Dirasat fi al-Falsafat al-Islamiyya
• Al-Falsafat al-Islmaiyya min Masadiriha al-Aseliyya
• Tarikh al-Fiqh al-Islami
• Muqaddimat fi al-Falsafat
• Ayyam fi Pakistan
• ‘Aam fi Tunus wa Libya
• Shuhur I al-Maghrib al-Aqsa
• Muheadarat Islamiyya
• Ahsan al-Hadith
• Shakhsiyat ‘Araftuha
• Fatawa Islamiyya
• As’ilat wa Ajwibatuha
• Al-Nasraniyya fi al-Quran wa kama fahimaha al-Mufassirun
• Ibn ‘Arafa, ‘Alim al-Maghrib
Shaykh Muhammad Nimr shared an excellent relationship with many ‘ulama, among them
is the renowned Syrian scholar who also resides in Madina, Shaykh Khalil Mulla Khateir
who was present at the Ithnainiyya gathering that was held in honour of Shaykh Nimr.
Shaykh Khalil addressed the gathering at the above mentioned event and he said that his
relationship with Shaykh Nimr dates back to about thirty-seven years. Among the points
raised in his speech was that our honour and respect for the ‘ulama will never equal the
respect and honour afforded to them by Allah. He also spoke about Shaykh Nimr’s
personality and his generosity.
Others who spoke at the above function spoke about the honour and dignity of a
believer and this as evident in Shaykh Nimr along with his impeccable etiquette and his
immense knowledge. He as an excellent, profound and eloquent orator who had an
amazing effect on his listeners. He carried the responsibility of jihad and sacrifice in the
true sense and was very conscious of the plight of the Umma and particularly the
At the Ithnainiyya, Shaykh Nimr was afforded the opportunity to address those present.
Among the things he said was that Allah has indeed honoured ‘ilm (sacred knowledge)
and we will find about one-sixth of the Quran discussing ‘ilm and those who possess it.
He went on to state that there is no distinction between Islamic Knowledge and Modern
knowledge. He said that all knowledge is Islamic because we have been commanded by
our Prophet Muhammad to acquire it. Yes the acquisition of some aspects and some
skills is farde kifaya (if some members of the Muslim community learn it then the
responsibility is waived from the rest) and some branches of knowledge will lead a
person closer to Allah than others. The object of every branch though is ultimately to
take the individual closer to Allah.
The Shaykh also spoke about those Muslim students who are over awed by the West
when they study in universities in Europe etc. these students return to their countries
ridiculing their countries and cultures and they even attribute ignorance to our illustrious
scholars of the past. They fail to realise that the Muslims have contributed to the rise of
European Culture and scholarship. While Muslim scholars were being honoured in their
communities, scholars were being persecuted and killed in Europe. This changed when
European scholars went to Cordoba in Spain and studied at the feet of Muslim scholars.
Similarly, today our youth travel to Britain and France to study and are totally impressed
with their cultures. We are the Umma of the greatest Prophet, with the greatest Book. If
it were not for the Prophet and this great Quran, the world would still be in darkness and
ignorance. We must therefore guard against having our children lured to the lands of
He related an incident from the time of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz when a Muslim army
from Azerbaijan entered an area without giving its inhabitants one of three options.
These options were: (1) To accept Islam (2) To pay the jizya (3) To face the Muslims in
battle. A delegation from Azerbaijan informed ‘Umar about this. He summoned a judge
and asked him to investigate the claim. The judge proceeded alone and established that
the Muslim army had acted wrongfully. He immediately ordered the Muslim army and its
commander to withdraw. The people of Azerbaijan observed that a single Muslim could
request a victorious army to withdraw. This convinced them that Islam is indeed a true
religion and they accepted Islam.
Shaykh Nimr also elaborated about the position and sacredness of the land of Palestine
and the link between Masjid al-Hearam in Makka and Masjid al-Aqsea as is mentioned by
Allah in the Quran. He spoke about the Jews, the Zionists and their religious ideology
and the worlds perception and affiliation to these ideologies. He referred to his book ‘al-
Yahud wa Heaqiqat al-Mateami’ al-Seuhyuniyya (The Jews and the reality of the Zionists
He spoke about the promise of Allah that the Jews will eventually gather in the land of
Palestine, but at the same breath the words of the Prophet Muhammad are also true
when he informed us of a decisive battle between the Muslims and the Jews. He said that
it is no coincidence that when 300 000 Jews arrived from Russia to settle on the west of
Jordan, at the same time 300 000 Muslim Palestinians gathered and settled on the East of
Jordan. The land of Palestine is for the Muslims and the Palestinians have been placed
there by Sealahe al-Din al-Ayyubi as custodians and guards of the land.
Shaykh Nimr also responded to questions that were posed to him on various topics
including his understanding of Tasawwuf. In his answer he mentioned that the basis of
Tasawwuf is ihesan mentioned in the famous Headith of Jibril wherein the angel Jibril
posed a few questions to our Prophet Muhammad. One of these was about ihesan to
which the Prophet replied and said that is to worship Allah as if one sees Him, and if one
cannot then be aware that Allah is watching him.
He went on to mention that the Sufi’s are like a hospital. Usually in a hospital we have
patients who go there to receive treatment for different illnesses. Likewise is the case
with Tasawwuf, because through it different spiritual ailments like jealousy etc are
Just like we have jurists (fuqaha) who teach us the practical aspects of our religion like
fasting and Sealat, we also have ‘ulama who teach us the fundamentals of Tawheid
(theology). In this way we have ‘ulama who teach and guide us as to how we can cleanse
ourselves from evil characteristics. This is ihesan. Tasawwuf has been described with more
than thirty names all of which evolve around character (akhlaq). Thus whoever is better
than you in character then he is more of a Sufi than yourself. We have observed this in
other disciplines where imposters have managed to enter the ranks and corrupt or tarnish
the image. In the same way there are imposters who have tarnished the name of
Tasawwuf. Thus Tasawwuf may be classified into two categories: (1) Those ho
concentrate on refining character (2) Those who use it as a means to disbelief and in
actual fact follow Shaytean.
Shaykh Nimr had taken the Naqshbandi Sufi Order and the pledge of fealty (baya’) from
the devout Turkish Naqshbandi, Shaykh Mahemud Effendi.1
Shaykh Muhammad Nimr passed away on the night of ‘Iid al-Adehea (10 Dhil Heijja 1431)
corresponding to the 16th November 2010 in Madina Munawwara. Moments before he
passed away he asked his son to assist him in making ablution (wudeu) after which he
recited the following