We found the Shaykh in the mosque near his home, after the Maghrib prayer. Upon commencing the prayer, he sat in his place supplicating for a prolonged period of time even though it was Ramaḍān and he had been fasting. As he stood up and proceeded to exit the mosque, he found a group of brothers from the young students who had gathered in a circle after the prayer and had begun to talk between themselves and raising their voices.
So the Shaykh admonished them and sternly reminded them of the importance of making the invocation after the prayer. He said with the concern of a father to a son, “Why do you not spend your time saying “SubhānAllāh, wal-ḥamdulillaah, waAllāhu Akbar”, as is reported from the Messenger ﷺ, you do this 33 times and complete it with “lā ilāha illā Allāh” . Then he said, “For you do not know which of these statements you utter and what word it is that you shall say or which action that you shall do that perhaps by it, Allāh will forgive your sins. And if you cannot remember Allāh in this way after the prayer, then at least pray two units of the supererogatory”. Then the Shaykh gave them greetings of peace and smiled gently and left.
We were astonished with his diligence of implementing the Sunnah, teaching it and advising with it regardless of whom he addressed or the situation that he was in. He then began to make his way to his car assisted by his son; upon which, after witnessing this we approached the Shaykh and told him that we have come from Riyadh, and we have come to give him greetings of peace, and to ask of his health. The Shaykh turned his head briefly as he was getting into the car, replying to our greetings of peace, asking Allāh to bless us and then he invited us to his house after the Ramaḍān night prayers. Upon which his son informed us what time the Shaykh would be available.
After Ramaḍān night prayers, we met the Shaykh outside of his house, greeted him briefly and waited to be invited indoors. We went upstairs to his private chambers, upon which the Shaykh proceeded to drink Costus Root (Qust al-Hind) as appears in the Sunnah. He was joyful and happy and tremendously welcoming. He asked us to sit down and made sure that we were served coffee. He asked us about Riyadh and what lessons were going on. We informed him that we came from Imām Muḥammad ibn Saʿūd Islamic University and we told him of the lessons of our father, the Shaykh, Sāliḥ ibn Fawzān al-Fawzān and the previous lessons of Shaykh Ṣāliḥ ibn Muḥammad al-Luḥaydān and Shaykh ‘Alī al-Ḥaddādī; which he replied to by supplicating for them all.
We mentioned the tremendous good that we had seen in the University at the hands of Shaykh Sulaymān Abā Khayl. We enlightened him of the knowledge-based conferences, lectures and seminars that are held at the University which clarify the Salafī methodology and the defend the belief of the People of Sunnah. And those specific lectures and conferences that are held in order to dispel and refute many of the doubts of the innovators, like the Muslim Brotherhood. And we mentioned to him Shaykh Muḥammad al-Fayfī had recently held a small conference about the correct understanding of Jihād and how the People of Innovation have began to misuse this. We mentioned to him that the Muslim Brotherhood are openly refuted in the University, in the lessons and conferences, by name.
The Shaykh became happy and he informed us the evil of the People of Innovation, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood. He mentioned – opening his hands and interlocking his fingers, “The Muslim Brotherhood and the Ṣūfīyyah and the Shīʿa are like this”, continuing to interlock his fingers. And then he said, “You will never find them except that they are together united against the People of the Sunnah”.
He then began supplicating and asked about Shaykh Sulaymān Abā al-Khayl and asked Allāh to bless him and his efforts and all of the work that he has done and he has put in the University. And he supplicated for Shaykh Muḥammad al-Fayfī and Shaykh ‘Alī al-Ḥaddādī in what they do in the University and asked Allāh to grant them success.
He then advised us specifically about five things that a successful student of Knowledge needs.
He mentioned the importance of sincerity to Allāh, and focused on the true meaning of taqwá, he advised us with patience upon this path in seeking knowledge and that we should adorn ourselves with forbearance, wisdom and uprightness.
The brothers proceeded to ask advice regarding an Islamic school that they had opened in East London and which books the Shaykh advised them to study. He advised them with focusing upon the books of ʿAqīdah and the works of the Salaf, especially the books of the Imām and Reviver of the Sunnah Shaykh Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb for the beginners. He advised with studying Qawāʿid al-Arbaʿ, Uṣūl al-Thalātha, Kitāb al-Tawḥīd and Kashf al-Shubuhāt. And he said al-ʿAqīdah al-Wāsiṭīyyah is a tremendous book on the topic of the Names and Attributes, if you understand it then your understanding will be grounded.
He then warned us and said that he has seen many of the youth, such as ourselves, who had with them zeal and made great effort in giving daʿwah but sadly so many had gone wrong; he advised us to combat such pitfalls by cooperating with our elder Salafī brothers from Salafī Publications (Maktabah Salafīyyah). He said to us, “By Allāh, we have seen over the years many of the youth (in the west) who wanted to give daʿwah and had with them zeal and great effort but sadly, we found that when they broke away from their brothers (in the Maktabah), they were misguided and began to misguide others. For we have never seen anybody who broke away from them except that this was what he was upon. So be with them and cooperate with your brothers. And that which is difficult for you seek their advice in, and return your affairs back to them”. And he made supplication for Allāh to bless the brothers at Salafī Publications, specifically Abū Khadījah and Abū Ḥakīm.
The conversation continued for some time, we then excused ourselves and thanked the Shaykh for his time and we left him. We had barely reached the door except that the Shaykh had returned back to his reading wasting no time in idleness.
May Allāh bless the Shaykh in his time, Knowledge, and actions; and reward him with His pleasure and reward him for his sincere advise and concern for this nation. And may Allāh reward our elders who have carried this daʿwah from the scholars of the Sunnah and make us of those who implement the fatherly advise we received from the Shaykh and make us of those who cooperate and seek the advise of our respected elders and teachers.
Abū ʾUkāsha ʿAbd al-Ḥakīm
Imām Muḥammad ibn Saʿūd Islamic University,
Ramaḍān 1438 AH