Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ahlan wa Sahlan Shaykh Muhammad Shukri al-Banjari


Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam al-Maliki had every reason to be delighted yesterday. The man who has been educating, coaching and mentoring him since he was a teen was present. He is Kiai Shaykh Muhammad Shukri bn Unus bin Ali bin Abdul Rashid bin Hassan al-Banjari from Banjarmasin Indonesia. It was Shaykh Shukri's first visit to Malaysia. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.
Wearing a radiant smile on his face, Shaykh Fahmi started the Majlis Ta'alim at KL Ba'alawi saying: “You know the ruling on tayamum? It becomes null and void when there is water. So, now that my guru is here, you don’t really need me anymore. I humbly request him to give you whatever ijazah he has given me. So that the sanad of knowledge that I have been teaching you would carry more value. So that you will benefit from more barakah InshaAllah

Allah Hu Allah! That is how tawadhuk and loving Shaykh Fahmi Zamzam is. So you can imagine how extraordinary his own guru is. MashaAllah tabarakallah!

"One of the ijazah which I had received from my dear guru Shaykh Muhammad Shukri al-Banjari is Ratib al-Haddad. That was in 1975. That is more than 30 years ago. Praise be to Allah who has given him a long life, and you too, that we could all meet here today."

"Thanks to him, I understand the Arabic language. I first learned nash'ah, jurumiah and all the important basics of Arabic grammar from him. His lecture notes were still handwritten then. They were subsequently published and became an important text at pesantren in and around Banjarmasin. But I must say that my guru is not a speaker/orator. He is more than that. He has been very much involved in coaching mureed who later became guru themselves. He is also well known for the grand event (majlis ilm) called 'Sabilah Anwar' which he has been organizing since the '70s.  He has written more than 20 books. The most popular being the Isfa'ut Talibin - on the concept of jurumiyah, published decades ago. As far as I am concerned, Shaykh Shukri is insan Rabbani - one who has mastered a great deal of spiritual knowledge, one who practices his knowledge and one who is dedicated to spreading the deen.

Today, we will cordially ask him to start our new lecture series based on a book which he wrote in Arabic and which I had translated into Malay in 2004. It is called '40 Hadith Kelebihan Ilmu dan Ulama' (Forty hadith on the virtues of knowledge and scholars.'
Shaykh Shukri,  petite and soft-spoken, introduced himself to the eager attendees. The moment he started speaking, it became obvious that his small physique hides a treasure of knowledge.

"My name is Shukri bin Unus bin Ali bin Abdul Rashid bin Hassan al-Banjari. As per the meanings of my name and my forefathers, I hope to be one who is grateful, unsun lillah (familiar with Allah) and become exalted thereby; and a servant who guides others to goodness."

"I had written the original kitab in Arabic 26 years ago. Allah had caused my chest to expand (inspired) to compile the forty hadith. He had made me busy on the days of Tashrik when I had begun working on the book. I hope Allah would reward my small effort as mentioned by the Prophet s.a.w in a hadith: “Whoever involves himself i.e. memorize, keep or relate, 40 hadith, he will be resurrected as one who is faqih and aleem.” And “Whoever narrates to my ummat 40 of my hadith I will grant that person my shafaat and he will always be in Allah’s mercy.” I wish to also quote the words of Prophet Daud from 'Sunan' Imam ad-Darimi: “Tell the seekers of knowledge to get himself a cane and sandals made of steel. Let him use them to go around looking for knowledge until the cane is broken and the sandal wears off.”

The first hadith quoted in my book is from Abu Umamah r.a.: “Between two men; one is an abid (worshipper) and one is aleem (knower), the advantage of the latter over the former is like my stature over the weakest of you.” And, “Allah, the angels and the inhabitants of the heavens and earth, including the ants and fish all pray for the good of one who teaches.”

On a lighter note, Shaykh Shukri said, Imam Nawawi of Bantan and Javanese in general don’t like to eat fish. They don’t have the heart to eat a creature that seeks forgiveness for man! Adding to what his guru was saying, Shaykh Fahmi said, ‘We have plenty to learn from ants. They are not only cooperative and have a sense of togetherness, but they are also a good planner.’ He related a story of Prophet Daud keeping one ant as captive in a bottle. Prophet Daud had asked the ant how much it needed to survive for a year. The ant confessed to needing only one grain of wheat. So Prophet Daud kept it in a jar with just that. After a year had passed, Prophet Daud found that the ant had only eaten half of the wheat. Apparently, the ant had planned to save some for fear that Prophet Daud might forget to let him out.

The second hadith in Shaykh Shukri's book discussed the difference between one who is knowlegable and one who concentrates more on practices. The hadith as reported by Abdullah bin Abbas says: “An aleem has more control over shaytan than a thousand abid.” This is because an aleem can not only protect himself but also guide others. In contrast with an abid who only busies himself with worship for his own good. The third hadith is about Allah elevating one who is knowledgable and that the most noble of all people is one with taqwa. The person with knowledge will always be highly regarded even if he was poor or lacking in pedigree.

"Three hadith is enough as muqaddimah to my book. I hereby grant you ijazah for all that he (Shaykh Fahmi) has taught you and will teach you, from all that I have given him ijazah for, InshaAllah."

The above is part transcript and part summary of the lectures. The ahadith I had quoted from the lectures were not verbatim.

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