A Brief History of Salafi Study Circles In Manchester
In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Allaah [The Exalted] stated in the story of Prophet Yusuf [peace be upon him]:
فَلَمَّا ٱسۡتَيۡـَٔسُواْ مِنۡهُ خَلَصُواْ نَجِيًّ۬اۖ قَالَ ڪَبِيرُهُمۡ أَلَمۡ تَعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ أَبَاكُمۡ قَدۡ أَخَذَ عَلَيۡكُم مَّوۡثِقً۬ا مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَمِن قَبۡلُ مَا فَرَّطتُّمۡ فِى يُوسُفَۖ فَلَنۡ أَبۡرَحَ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ حَتَّىٰ يَأۡذَنَ لِىٓ أَبِىٓ أَوۡ يَحۡكُمَ ٱللَّهُ لِىۖ وَهُوَ خَيۡرُ ٱلۡحَـٰكِمِينَ
ٱرۡجِعُوٓاْ إِلَىٰٓ أَبِيكُمۡ فَقُولُواْ يَـٰٓأَبَانَآ إِنَّ ٱبۡنَكَ سَرَقَ وَمَا شَہِدۡنَآ إِلَّا بِمَا عَلِمۡنَا وَمَا ڪُنَّا لِلۡغَيۡبِ حَـٰفِظِينَ
وَسۡـَٔلِ ٱلۡقَرۡيَةَ ٱلَّتِى ڪُنَّا فِيہَا وَٱلۡعِيرَ ٱلَّتِىٓ أَقۡبَلۡنَا فِيہَاۖ وَإِنَّا لَصَـٰدِقُونَ
قَالَ بَلۡ سَوَّلَتۡ لَكُمۡ أَنفُسُكُمۡ أَمۡرً۬اۖ فَصَبۡرٌ۬ جَمِيلٌۖ عَسَى ٱللَّهُ أَن يَأۡتِيَنِى بِهِمۡ جَمِيعًاۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ ٱلۡحَڪِيمُ
So, when they despaired of him, they held a conference in private. The eldest among them said: “Know you not that your father did take an oath from you in Allah’s Name, and before this you did fail in your duty with Yusuf (Joseph)? Therefore I will not leave this land until my father permits me, or Allah decides my case (by releasing Benjamin) and He is the Best of the judges. “Return to your father and say, ‘O our father! Verily, your son (Benjamin) has stolen, and we testify not except according to what we know, and we could not know the unseen! “And ask (the people of) the town where we have been, and the caravan in which we returned, and indeed we are telling the truth.” He [Ya’qub (Jacob)] said: “Nay, but your ownselves have beguiled you into something. So patience is most fitting (for me). May be Allah will bring them (back) all to me. Truly He! only He is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” [Surah Yusuf Aayaat 80-83]
Regarding the Aayah: [ ٱرۡجِعُوٓاْ إِلَىٰٓ أَبِيكُمۡ فَقُولُواْ يَـٰٓأَبَانَآ إِنَّ ٱبۡنَكَ سَرَقَ وَمَا شَہِدۡنَآ إِلَّا بِمَا عَلِمۡنَا وَمَا ڪُنَّا لِلۡغَيۡبِ حَـٰفِظِينَ – Return to your father and say, ‘O our father! Verily, your son (Benjamin) has stolen, and we testify not except according to what we know, and we could not know the unseen!]- Meaning, he (Benjamin) has been held back because he committed theft and we could not come back with him despite the fact that we did our utmost to (free him). The reality is that we did not witness anything that we have no knowledge, but rather we witnessed that which we have knowledge of, because indeed we saw the golden bowl removed from his bag. [وَمَا ڪُنَّا لِلۡغَيۡبِ حَـٰفِظِينَ – and we could not know the unseen!] – Meaning, if we knew the unseen, we would not have been eager to make effort so that he returns with us and we would not have given you our firm oath. We did not think that the affair will end up in this manner (i.e. not able to come back with Benjamin). [An Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi. slightly paraphrased]
Therefore, we can only testify to what we have witnessed as well as what has been reported to us by reliable people of Sunnah. Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him] stated about Dawah/Study Circles in Manchester as follows: “Manchester has a long history of Salafi da’wah, māshā Allāh Allāhumma bārik. Dr Faisal Malik and myself were living in Rusholme — and Abu Iyaad (who was in Essex Uni at the time doing his phd) would visit us. And we would visit him in Essex. Abu A’ishah (my elder brother who was doing his phd in Manchester Uni) set up the Quran and Sunnah society because the Islamic Soc was run by Ikhwanis. Very active period of time: regular lectures at Ambrose (Manchester Uni prayer hall, a converted church building), also at Salford Uni and UMIST. A lot of battles on campus with Fosis, HT, Ikhwanis, takfīris, etc. It was in this period (late 1995 and early 1996) that we split from Jimas (after the Ali Tamimi visit) and we set up Oasis, which was dissolved in the same year (1996) after the Oasis conference in Birmingham. Then after that we set up Salafi Publications: Myself, Abu Iyaad, Abu Talhah (rahimahullāh) along with our brother Abu Hakeem who was in Madinah. Dawah spread through the website, yahoo email groups, book publications, translations, audios, “blazing meteor” series, etc. That was the era of Ibn Bāz, Al-Albāni, Ibn Uthaimīn, Muqbil, Rabee, An-Najmi, Ubayd, etc — visits from Abdus-Salām Burjis, Abu Anas Hamad Uthman, Muhammad Ibn Hādī, Al-Anjari, Ali Hasan, Salīm al-Hilāli, etc. Foundation years: from 1993 to 2001, I’d say. A lot of the brothers who stood firm are still around, though some have died since, may Allah protect the living and have mercy on the deceased”. [End of quote] [An Except from Shaikh Abu Khadeejah’s statement]
Some of us- including myself – did not witness this period of Dawah/Study circles – between early 90s and the beginning of 1995; rather Allaah guided us to Salafi study circles at the end of 95 after attending a lecture at the university mosque delivered by Shaikh Abu Khadeejah, Shaikh Abu Iyaad and I think the third speaker was Shaikh Abu Hakeem. Immediately after these lectures, we were encouraged by the likes of my beloved elder brother Abul Haarith (Ismaa’eel As-Seneghaalee)- at Masjid Al-Huda at present – to attend lessons delivered by Murad Al-Jazaa’iri [may Allaah return him to what is correct Aameen] at Manchester University Mosque. We continued to attend the only Salafi study circles at the time until Al-Markazus Salafi was established in 2002. There was only one permanent teacher throughout this period as far as I know; then in 2004 – after the Masjid had already been established in 2002, fitna took place between brothers and thus Murad decided to stop teaching. So, we asked Salafipublications to help re-establish study circles. Shaikh Abu Khadeejah, Shaikh Abu Iyaad and Shaikh Abu Hakeem, as well as my beloved first Arabic teacher Ustaadh Abu Harun, started their visits to Manchester. Shaikh Abu Khadeejah and Shaikh Abu Hakeem visited every month, Shaikh Abu Iyaad gave a regular Telelink (Al-Arba’een An-Nawawiyyah, Sitta Mawaadi Minas Seerah etc) and Ustaadh Abu Harun introduced us to Madeenah Book 1. These lessons, especially Shaikh Abu Iyaad’s, carried on for a very long time; then Ustaadh Abu Mu’aad (may Allaah bless him) – who came to Manchester in 2001 or 2002 to study at Manchester University and also used to attend Murad’s study circle at university mosque, and thereafter travelled to Jaami’ah Islamiyyah in 2004 – returned from the Jaami’ah in 2010 and started teaching in the Masjid. And at present – all praise is due to Allaah, we also have Ustaadh Abdul Hakeem Mitchel as well as the monthly visits by other Salafi students of knowledge. Therefore, what is very clear with regards to study circles in Manchester is that its foundations were established – by the Tawfeeq of Allaah – by way of what Shaikh Abu Khadeejah stated regarding Dawah in the early 90s in Manchester; then I and others witnessed Murad’s circles from late 1995 to 2004. And here I quote my beloved brother Abu Aa’isha Amjad Khan – who started attending the Masjid in 2005 – “In addition to what our brothers have mentioned, from way back when we were blessed with visits from our elders such as Shaikh Abu Khadeejah, Shaikh Abu Hakeem, brothers used to tune in regularly – every Sunday – to Shaikh Abu Iyaad’s lessons. We continue to be blessed with their lessons, advice and experience, and the advice and experience of others like Shaikh Abdul Ilaah, Shaikh Uways At-Taweel, Shaikh Abu Idrees, Shaikh Abu Iyaad and others (may Allaah bless them all)”.
Finally, brothers and sisters, the affair is not merely about how long a person has been present, how great his efforts or becoming prominent quickly; rather the affair is that one constantly asks Allaah for Tawfeeq to fulfil one’s Ibaadaat, learning as much as one is able, fearing misguidance and fitna until we meet Allaah. Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi Al-Mad’khali [may Allaah preserve him] stated: “When you embark on the path towards seeking knowledge- seeking (sound) understanding of it and acting upon it, this indeed is one of the signs that Allaah wishes good for you. Therefore, receive glad tidings, have good thoughts about Allaah and be sincere to Allaah [The Blessed and Exalted] in your statements, deeds and knowledge. Neither be deceived (by yourself) – we seek Allaah’s Refuge from self-deception – nor feel safe from Allaah’s plan. [فَلَا يَأۡمَنُ مَڪۡرَ ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلۡقَوۡمُ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرُونَ – None feels secure from the Plan of Allah except the people who are the losers]. [ Surah Al-A’raaf. Aayah 99]
A believer always fears that his situation will change. It has been reported from Aa’isha and Anas [may Allaah pleased with them] that the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] often (supplicated), “يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِى عَلَى دِينِكَ – O turner of the hearts (Allaah)! Keep my heart firm upon your religion”. I [i.e. Aa’isha or Anas] asked, “O Allaah’s Messenger! We believe in you and what has been revealed to you, so do you fear for us?” He said, “Yes, indeed the hearts are between two fingers among the fingers of Allaah and He turns them how He pleases”. By Allaah! This is (true) understanding – that a person does not feel safe about himself, for indeed Satan flows through the human being like blood. (a) Therefore, a person should guard his heart, intellect and deeds ardently more than the (manner in which) he guards his wealth and honour. Whoever is given authority to look after his own affairs, it is obligated on him to guard his heart before everything else.
[رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ – Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower]. [ Surah Aal Imraan’ Aayah 8] [An Excerpt from Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm’ pages 75-76]
I warn my brothers against the Fitan (trials, temptations) and that they turn to Allaah (for help) to keep them steadfast upon the Religion. They should supplicate a lot (just as Allaah taught the believers that they say),[رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ – Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower]. [Surah Aal Imraan’ Aayah 8]
They should make this tremendous supplication often and the supplication which Allaah’s Messenger used to make often. Anas said that Allaah’s Messenger used to say a lot, “O Turner of the hearts, keep my heart firm upon your religion”. So the companions said, “O Allaah’s Messenger! Do you fear for us?” He said, “Yes, indeed the hearts are between two fingers from the fingers of Allaah, and He turns them however He wills”.
Therefore, the believer does not feel secure from Allaah’s plan. [فَلَا يَأۡمَنُ مَڪۡرَ ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلۡقَوۡمُ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرُونَ – None feels secure from the Plan of Allah except the people who are the losers]. [Surah Al-A’raaf, Aayah 99]
The believer always fears Allaah – fears that Allaah may not accept his deeds and he is not deceived by hope [i.e. hoping whilst not striving sincerely]. The spending carried out in the path of Allaah and the strenuous effort made through acts of obedience to Allaah is nothing in the eyes of the truthful believer, for they are not equal to the smallest blessing amongst the (uncountable) blessings of Allaah. Allaah’s Messenger said, “Glorified be You (O Allaah) and free are You from all imperfections! I cannot fully praise you, for you are as you have praised yourself”. [Saheeh Muslim 486]
This was Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] – the one whose past and future sins were forgiven, but he feared Allaah the most. He said, “I swear by Allaah that I am the most fearful of Allaah and the most conscious of Him than you”. He used to stand for so long that his feet became swollen. Aishah said, “O Allaah’s Messenger! Why are you doing this when Allaah has forgiven your past and future sins?” He said, “Should I not be a thankful slave?” [An Excerpt from Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm. Pages 204-205. Slightly paraphrased]
We ask Allaah:
اللَّهُمَّ أَصْلِحْ لِي دِينِي الَّذِي هُوَ عِصْمَةُ أَمْرِي
وَأَصْلِحْ لِي دُنْيَايَ الَّتِي فِيهَا مَعَاشِي
وَأَصْلِحْ لِي آخِرَتِي الَّتِي فِيهَا مَعَادِي
وَاجْعَلِ الْحَيَاةَ زِيَادَةً لِي فِي كُلِّ خَيْرٍ
وَاجْعَلِ الْمَوْتَ رَاحَةً لِي مِنْ كُلِّ شَرٍّ
O Allah! Rectify my religion for me, which is the safeguard of my affairs; rectify my worldly [affairs], wherein is my livelihood; and rectify my Afterlife to which is my return; and make life for me [as a means of] increase in every good and make death for me as a rest from every evil. [Saheeh Muslim Number: 2720]
Written By Abu AbeeBakr/Abu Mu’aawiyah (Abdullah Jallow)
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