BIOGRAPHY OF SHEIKH ZULFIKER IBRAHIM MEMON AL’ATHAREE

BIOGRAPHY OF SHEIKH ZULFIKER IBRAHIM MEMON

Written by the students of Sheikh Zulfiker Ibrahim at Markaz Sunnah, Leicester, United Kingdom.

1. EARLY YEARS

Sheikh Zulfiker Ibrahim Memon was born in Leicester, United Kingdom on 24th October 1977 (11thDhū al-Qa‘dah 1397). During his early years of education he was raised in a Barailwi environment, adopting their methods and culture. He later adopted the Deobandi manhaj when he attended Dar-ul-uloom Bury (UK) to embark on a course of memorising the Qur’an. By the mercy of Allah he completed this course at the age of 14. At this point he wanted to pursue further studies and migrated to Dabhel, Gujarat, India to further his aspirations.

 

2. JAMIAH ISLAMIA TALIMUD DEEN, DABHEL, GUJARAT, INDIA

During a period of 5 years at the Jamiah Islamia Talimud Deen, Sheikh Zulfiker studied multiple books and subjects, including:

  • Urdu, Persian and Arabic Grammar
  • Syntax and Etymology (Sarf and Nahw of the Arabic language)
  • Rhetoric (IlmulKalaam and Mantiq)
  • Hanafi Fiqh
  • Usool-ul-Fiqh according to the Hanafi Madhab
  • Matureedee ‘Aqeeda and Tafseer
  • Sharh Me’at-Aamil
  • Hidayatun-Nahw
  • Noorul-Idhaa
  • Kanuzu-Daqaa’iq
  • Usool-ush-Shaasee
  • Noorul-Anwaar
  • Sharh Ibn Aqeel
  • Al-Hidaayah
  • Sharh Tahdeeb of Taftaazaani & Al-Mukhtaarat
  • Aqeedatut-Tahawiyah (with the explanation of the Maturedee Madhab),
  • Sharh Aqaid of Nasafi (with the explanation of Taftaazan, the main book of Aqeedah in the Matureedee Madhab).


3. RETURN TO ENGLAND

Following the time spent at Jamiah Islamia, Sheikh Zulfiker returned to the United Kingdom where he was appointed the Head of Islamic Studies at the Loughborough Cultural Centre. He assumed this role for three years and it was at the same institution, he took a more senior role in helping students memorise the Qur’an.


4. THE ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY OF MEDINA

At the age of 21, Sheikh Zulfiker was accepted at the Islamic University of Medina in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after a successful application. It was at this turning point in his life where Sheikh Zulfiker dedicated his life to the manhaj of the Ahl-ul-Hadeeth. During his time at this institution he graduated with a distinction in the Arabic language after which he graduated from the three year course in the Institute of Islamic Studies and Secondary Education, with distinction. Sheikh Zulfiker then entered the degree programme and attained a Bachelor’s Degree (BA) with first class distinction from the Faculty of Hadeeth. He immediately followed this up by attaining a Post Graduate Diploma with first class distinction in the Fundamentals and Principles of Da’wah in the Department of Higher Studies.

Sheikh Zulfiker is presently pursuing a Master’s Degree in the Department of ‘Aqeeda and Da’wah and is currently compiling his thesis.

 

5. IJAZAT

During his academic career, Sheikh Zulfiker has acquired various Ijazat from various credible scholars thereby cementing his knowledge in the path of Allah.

  • In 1423 AH, he obtained an Ijazah in the Qur’an from the Egyptian Qari, Khalid bin Suleiman bin Muhammad Mahmood, a teacher at the Prophet’s Masjid.
  • In 1436 AH, he obtained an Ijazah in the Qur’an from the Egyptian Qari, Hasaanain Ibrahim Hasaanain Ali, teacher of recitation modes in the Prophet’s Masjid. This Ijazah is distinguished as one of the highest chains of transmission in the world.
  • In 1423 AH, he obtained an Ijazah in all the books of Hadeeth from Sheikh Irshadul-Huq al-Atharee.
  • He also obtained an Ijazah Khasah (Distinguished Ijazah) from Sheikh Shihab-ud-Deen, a student of Imam Abdul Jalil Samrodi, the Muhaddith of Gujrat, India in the following books:
    • The “Six Books” of Hadeeth
    • Muwatta of Imam Malik
    • All the books of Imam al-Bukhari
    • All the books of Imam al-Shawkani
    • Kitab-ut-Tawheed of Imam Ibn Khuzaimah
    • All the books of Haafiz Ibn Hajar
    • Sharh-us-Sunnah of Imam Baghawi
    • All the books of Shah Wali-ullah Dehlavi
    • And other books.
  • He also attained an Ijazah Khasah in Medina, from Sheikh Idrees as-Salafi, a student of Sheikh-ul-Hadeeth Sultan Mahmood and Sheikh Badee-ud-Deen as-Sindi with their books and chains of transmission.
  • He attained an Ijazah Khasah in Medina from Sheikh-ul-Hadeeth Mahmood Ahmed Hasan of Jamia Sattaariyah, Karachi, Pakistan in all the books of Hadith, which he had narrated from his teachers.
  • He also obtained Ijazat in the Hadith books from the following scholars:
    • Sheikh Zubair Ali Za’ee of Pakistan in Medina in 1434 AH, from his teachers Sheikh Badee-ud-Deen as-Sindi and his elder brother, Sheikh Muhib-ullah as-Sindi.
    • Sheikh Abdul-Wakeel of Makkah in 1435 AH, from his father ‘Allamah Abdul-Haqq al-Hashimee, the Muhaddith of Makkah and student of Imam Sayyid Nadheer Hussain Dehlavi.
    • Hafiz Ilyas Athari of Pakistan in Madeenah in 1435 AH, from his teacher Hafiz Gondalwee.
    • The Salafee Sheikh of Makkah, Izaaz-ul-Huq bin Mazhar-ul-Huq ar-Rabaani al-Arakani, who previously followed the Deobandi Manhaj. This Ijazah includes the highest chain of narrations (sanad) for Imam al-Bukhari’s Thuluthiyat, from his teacher, Zafar Ahmed Thanwi.
    • The Mufti and Muhadith of Makkah, Sheikh Wasiullah Abbas Hafidhahullah in England 1435 AH permitted Sheikh Zulfiker to transmit the Thuluthiyat of Imam al-Bukhari.
    • Sheikh Zulfiker also obtained the following Ijazat from Sheikh Dhiya-ur-Rahman al-Adhami who has narrated his works from Allamah Ubaidullah ar-Rahmanee al-Mubarakpuri:
      • A general Ijazah in all the books of Hadith, 1436 AH.
      • An Ijazah for the Hadith of al-Musalsal bi’l-Awaliyah, which has been transmitted back to Imam Sufyan bin Uyaynah.
      • An Ijazah on the measurement of al-Mudd (a Prophetic measurement which is approximately 775ml). This has been transmitted back to Sheikh Muhammad bin Hadee as-Sindi, the Sheikh of ‘Allamah Muhammad Hayat Sindi, after which the chain of narrators are unknown.

 

6. DA’WAH

Despite the numerous qualifications acquired by Sheikh Zulfiker, his zeal to promote the Manhaj of Ahlul Hadeeth and to spread his knowledge never stops. Multiple books of the Arabic and Urdu language have been published under his supervision whilst being the Head of the Department of Publications for Jamia Umm-ul-Qura, Pakistan. He has also worked as a translator for internet-based media outlets such as madeenah.com. Sheikh Zulfiker has worked very hard to ensure the Deen of Allah reaches the most remote of areas, and currently serves as the Head of Markaz Quba, Nepal. This is a madrasah located and established in the Himalayan region.

Sheikh Zulfiker has also had the honour of protecting the grave of the Messenger of Allah, a role which required him to translate various literature into the English language and thereby advising the attending audience against the sin of committing Shirk and Bid’ah in the presence of the Prophet’s grave. He assumed this role as a member of The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice of the Prophet’s Masjid, al-Madinah and has worked as a translator there for a period of 8 years.

Currently, Sheikh Zulfiker is the head of Markaz Sunnah Leicester (MSL), a Da’wah organisation based in England, UK. Through a dedicated team, he is able to manage the affairs of MSL remotely and yet pursue his thesis at the Islamic University of Madeenah. As part of his management responsibilities, Sheikh Zulfiker visits Masjids in Leicester and other cities around the UK to deliver talks on a host of subjects. He has also previously travelled to Trinidad and Tobago to offer similar services to the Muslim communities there.

 

7. PUBLISHED BOOKS

Throughout his life Sheikh Zulfiker has had many books published under his supervision in relation to several subjects, including:

  • ‘Irshad-ul-Qaree’ (Arabic, four volumes) by Imam Haafidh Gondalwee, an academic critique in Arabic of Faid-ul-Baree, by the great Deobandee scholar, Anwar Shah Kashmiri of Saheehul-Bukhari.
  • Dawamai-Hadeeth (Urdu, two volumes) by Imam Haafidh Gondalwee, a refutation of those who reject Hadeeth as an authority, in particular, the famous misguided Parvez from Pakistan who was the founder of the deviated sect who reject Hadeeth, known as “Munkir-ul-Hadeeth” and author of the book “Maqaamai-Hadeeth”.
  • Ziyaaratai-Qabrai-Nabawi, by Allamah Basheer Sahsawani, a refutation of the famous Hanafi scholar, Maulana Abul-Hasanaat Abdul-Hay Lucknowi Hanafi on the issue of travelling to the Prophet’s grave.
  • Mayaarul-Huq (Urdu) by Sheikh-ul-Islam Nadheer Husain Dehlawi, on the issue of Taqleed (blind following).
  • Difaai-Sunnah by Allamah Thanaullah Amritsaree, a refutation of a Rafidee scholar and his allegations on the narrations of Saheeh-ul-Bukhari and other narrations.
  • A translation of a consice refutation of Qasidah-al-Burdah by Sheikh Jameel Zeeno (English).

Sheikh Zulfiker has also revised and wrote a forward to an academic work by Ali Hasan Khan entitled “A Critical Analysis of the Sufi Creed of the Elders of Deoband and Tablighi Jamaat” (English); edited the book “Taweez: Amulets in the Light of the Quran and Sunnah” (English) by Azhar Majothi and verified its narrations; and he is currently supervising a project in which the Qur’an will be translated into Gujarati. So far 20 parts have been completed.

 

8. TEACHERS

The following are the names of teachers under whom Sheikh Zulfiker acquired his knowledge up to the present day. It should be noted that some of these names have been mentioned for reference only and not for promotion. To add to this, Sheikh Zulfiker has broken all ties with those affiliated with the Deobandi Manhaj.

 

  • Deobandi Teachers
    • Haafidh Eclaira
    • Maulana Ghulam
    • Maulana Adam Lunat
    • Hafiz Seedat
    • Maulana Makki
    • Mufti Yusuf Hans
    • Maulana Rashid Kayaat Maulana Ibrahim Kawi
    • Maulana Ilyas Desai
    • Maulana Yusuf Kawi
    • Sheikh Alaud-Deen Nadvi
    • Mufti Abbas Bismillah

 

  • Salafi Teachers
    • Sheikh Khalid Ar-Radaadee
    • Sheikh Wasiullah Abbas
    • Mufti Rais Nadvi
    • Sheikh Yusuf Muhammadee
    • Sheikh Abdullah as-Saaidee
    • Sheikh Muhammad Bakheet al-Hujaili
    • Sheikh Abdullah Bukhari
    • Sheikh Muhammad bin Hadee al-Madkhalee
    • Sheikh Saood Daajan
    • Sheikh Ibrahim bin Aamir ar-Ruhailee
    • Sheikh Saleh as-Sindhee
    • Sheikh Abdul-Baree bin Hammad al-Ansaree
    • Sheikh Muslih al-Haarithee
    • Sheikh Ahmed bin Abdul-Aziz Khalaf
    • Sheikh Saleh al-Awaajee
    • Sheikh Hamood ar-Ruhailee
    • Sheikh Haamid al-Hujaili
    • Sheikh Basar
    • Sheikh Abdul-Hamid Az-Zughaibi

Sheikh Zulfiker has remained in contact with his teachers on a regular basis and is always seeking their counsel on various matters. This has enabled him to maintain the highest integrity in his works.

 

9. INFLUENCES

Whilst studying in India at the age of 18, Sheikh Zulfiker began to read the works of Imam Abdul Jalil Samroodi. It was there where he saw a turning point in his Islamic approach and decided to adopt this methodology. Following this, he attended the Islamic University of Madeenah to pursue his knowledge further.

 

10. SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

The Messenger of Allah stated in an authentic Hadeeth reported on the authority of al Tabarani “Any action without the remembrance of Allah is either a diversion or heedlessness except four acts: walking from target to target (during archery practice), training a horse, playing with one’s family,and learning to swim.”  In light of this hadeeth, sheikh Zulfiker makes every effort to carry out these activities besides giving Da’wah in the path of Allah. During his leisure time Sheikh Zulfiker especially likes to engage in swimming and horse riding. Further to this he has expressed his desire to learn archery and shall commit to this in the near future. To further supplement his enthusiasm for knowledge, Sheikh Zulfiker likes to spend time reading manuscripts and reading on the history of Ahlul Hadeeth. He also likes to spend time in Yanbu, a beach in Saudi Arabia prior to sunset. During this period he likes to contemplate and reflect on the creation of Allah almighty.

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WHO ARE AHLUL HADEETH

The phrase AHLUL-HADEETH (PEOPLE OF HADEETH) refers to a group who venerate the Sunnah and seek to propagate it. They adhere to the ‘aqeedah (beliefs) of the companions of the Prophet ṢALLĀ ALLĀHU ʿALAYHI WA-SALLAM. In seeking to understand their religion, they refer to the Qur’aan and Sunnah and the interpretation of the best generations, unlike others who adhere to beliefs other than the ‘aqeedah of the righteous salaf and refer to human reasoning, tastes and what they see in dreams.

This group is the saved group, the victorious party, which many imams have stated is the group referred to in the words of the Prophet ṢALLĀ ALLĀHU ʿALAYHI WA-SALLAM: “A group of my ummah will continue to prevail, following the truth. They will not be harmed by those who humiliate them until the decree of ALLAH SUBḤĀNAHU WA TA’ĀLA comes to pass when they are like that.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1920).

The imams, in the past and more recently, have said a great deal describing this group. We may choose from among them the following:

1 – AL-HAAKIM SAID:

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal did well when he commented on this report by saying that the victorious group who will prevail until the Hour begins is “Ashaab Al-Hadeeth” (the people of hadeeth). Who is more deserving of this description than people who follow the way of the righteous and follow in the footsteps of the salaf who came before us, and exposed the falsehood of the people of bid’ah (innovation) by basing their arguments on the Sunnah of the MESSENGER OF ALLAH ṢALLĀ ALLĀHU ʿALAYHI WA-SALLAM.

MA’RIFAT ‘ULOOM AL-HADEETH, BY AL-HAAKIM AL-NISABOORI, P. 2, 3

2 – AL-KHATEEB AL-BAGHDAADI SAID:

ALLAH SUBḤĀNAHU WA TA’ĀLA has made these people – Ahl al-Hadeeth – the pillars of sharee’ah, and He has destroyed through them all abhorrent innovations. They are the trustees of ALLAH SUBḤĀNAHU WA TA’ĀLA among His creation, the intermediaries between the Prophet ṢALLĀ ALLĀHU ʿALAYHI WA-SALLAM and his ummah.

They are the ones who are striving hard to protect his religion; their light is shining, their virtues are well known, the signs of their sincerity are obvious, their way is prevailing, and their evidence is supreme. Every group has its own focal point which is based on whims and desires, apart from the people of hadeeth, whose reference point is the Qur’aan, whose evidence is the Sunnah and whose leader is the MESSENGER OF ALLAH ṢALLĀ ALLĀHU ʿALAYHI WA-SALLAM to whom they belong; they do not pay any attention to whims and desires, and they do not care about personal opinions. They are content with what is narrated from the MESSENGER OF ALLAH ṢALLĀ ALLĀHU ʿALAYHI WA-SALLAM, and they are the ones who are entrusted with it and they take care of it.

They are the guardians and keepers of the faith, the vessels and bearers of knowledge. If there is a difference of opinion concerning a hadeeth, people refer to them, and what they rule is what is accepted and listened to. Among them are prominent faqeehs, great imams, ascetics who are well-known among their tribes, men who are known for their virtue, skilled reciters of Qur’aan and good speakers.

They are the majority and their way is the right way. Every innovator pretends to be following their path, and cannot dare to claim any other way. Whoever opposes them, ALLAH SUBḤĀNAHU WA TA’ĀLA will destroy him, and whoever goes against them, ALLAH SUBḤĀNAHU WA TA’ĀLA will humiliate him. They are not harmed by those who forsake them, and those who stay away from them will not prosper. The one who cares for his religion needs their help, the one who looks down on them is a loser, and ALLAH SUBḤĀNAHU WA TA’ĀLA is able to support them.

SHARF ASHAAB AL-HADEETH, P. 15

3 – SHAYKH AL-ISLAM IBN TAYMIYAH SAID:

Hence it is clear that the people who most deserve to be called the victorious group are “Ahl al-Hadeeth wa’l-Sunnah”, who have no leader to follow blindly apart from the MESSENGER OF ALLAH ṢALLĀ ALLĀHU ʿALAYHI WA-SALLAM). They are the most knowledgeable of people concerning his words and deeds, the most able to distinguish between what is sound and what is not [of hadeeth]. Their imams have deep knowledge of that, they are the ones who understand its meanings and are the most sincere in following it.

They accept it and believe in it, and act upon it. They show love to those who adopt it and they show enmity to those who oppose it. They are the ones who measure any idea against that which is proven in the Qur’aan and Sunnah, so they never adopt any idea and make it one of the basic principles of their religion unless it is proven in that which the MESSENGER OF ALLAH ṢALLĀ ALLĀHU ʿALAYHI WA-SALLAM brought. Rather they make that which the MESSENGER OF ALLAH ṢALLĀ ALLĀHU ʿALAYHI WA-SALLAM brought, the Qur’aan and Sunnah, the foundation and basis of their beliefs.

With regard to the issues concerning which people dispute, such as the attributes of ALLAH SUBḤĀNAHU WA TA’ĀLA, the divine decree, the threat of Hell, the names of ALLAH SUBḤĀNAHU WA TA’ĀLA and the principle of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, etc., they refer that to ALLAH SUBḤĀNAHU WA TA’ĀLA and His MESSENGER OF ALLAH ṢALLĀ ALLĀHU ʿALAYHI WA-SALLAM.

They examine the general ideas concerning which the different group’s dispute and whatever of these ideas is in accordance with the Qur’aan and Sunnah, they approve of it, and whatever goes against the Qur’aan and Sunnah, they reject it. They do not follow conjecture or whims and desires. For following conjecture is ignorance and following whims and desires without any guidance from ALLAH SUBḤĀNAHU WA TA’ĀLA is wrongdoing.

MAJMOO’ AL-FATAAWA, 3/347, 348.

We should note that Ahl al-Hadeeth includes everyone who follows the hadeeth of the Prophet ṢALLĀ ALLĀHU ʿALAYHI WA-SALLAM and gives it precedence over all else, whether he is a scholar or an ordinary Muslim.

SHAYKH AL-ISLAM [IBN TAYMIYAH] SAID:

We do not mean by Ahl al-Hadeeth only those who study it, write it down or narrate it, rather we mean anyone who takes care to memorize it, understand it and follow it, both inwardly and outwardly. The same may be said of “Ahl al-Qur’aan” (the people of the Qur’aan).

The basic quality of these people is their love of the Qur’aan and hadeeth, referring to them and their meanings, and acting upon what they learn.

MAJMOO’ AL-FATAAWA, 4/95

The imams have said a great deal on this matter. You can learn more by referring to the sources quoted above, as well as volume 4 of Majmoo’ Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah.

And ALLAH SUBḤĀNAHU WA TA’ĀLA knows best.