Umdat’l-Ulama

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About This Fascinating Text

tarikh motifThis is the matin or main text of the `Umdat’l-`Ulama (the Support of the Scholars) of Shehu Uthman ibn Fuduye` in Arabic and English. This work was considered by the scholars of the Sokoto polity to be one of the key works which established the Shehu as the mujaddid (Islamic reformer) of the 12th century hijra (19th century). The work comprises no more than a register of the Qur`anic verses and prophetic traditions that establish the sciences of Iman, Islam and Ihsan.

As my shaykh Muhammad al-Amin ibn Adam Kariàngha cited that at first glance this work seems insignificant, however when this concise work is examined from the perspective of its exegesis (tafsir) and commentary (sharh), it is then that the genius of the work becomes apparent. It is for this reason that the Shehu named it ‘the support of the scholars’ and declared that:

“Whoever understands all that has been evidenced to him in every chapter from these chapters with its verses and traditions and learns them by heart, he will subsequently be a scholar (`alim). Everything that has been evidenced to him from the chapters from these chapters will be sufficient, if Allah wills, for him whose insight has been illumined by Allah in order for him to arrive at everything he needs in the Deen from its verses and traditions.”

It was based upon this challenge and in response to a request by the amir of our jama`at in the US, that I began composing a commentary upon this work which I called: `Uddat’l-Fuqara `Ala Tareeq’l-Asfiya fee Sharh `Ala `Umdat’l-`Ulama (The Groundwork of the Impoverished Upon the Path of the Purified Regarding a Commentary Upon the Support of the Scholars). The first chapter of this commentary has been completed with the help of Allah and the best of His assistance.

The Shehu rahimahu Allah arranged this work into seven chapters along with a brief introduction and conclusion:

Chapter One An Explanation of the Deen of Islam and the Division of Its Sciences. Chapter Two An Explanation of the Verses of the Foundations of the Deen.         Chapter Three An Explanation of the Traditions of the Foundations of the Deen. Chapter Four An Explanation of the Verses of the Outward Branches of the Deen. Chapter Five An Explanation of the Traditions of the Outward Branches of the Deen. Chapter Six An Explanation of the Verses of the Inward Branches of the Deen.   Chapter Seven An Explanation of the Traditions of the Inward Branches of the Deen.

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`Uddat’l-Fuqara `Ala Tareeq al-Asfiya Fee Sharh `Ala `Umdat’l-`Ulama The Groundwork of the Impoverished Upon the Path of the Purified Regarding a Commentary Upon the Support of the Scholars

By Shaykh Muhammad Shareef