Regarding This Selection
The SIIASI is honored to present the Fat’h’s-Shakuur Fee Ma`arifat `Ayaan `Ulama’ ‘t-Takruur of Shaykh Abu Abdallah, Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr as-Sideeq Ahmad ibn Abdallah ibn Muhammad ibn at-Taalib Ali Banaan al-Bartuli al-Wulaati al-Maaliki is one of the rarely known texts which discusses the biographies of about two hundred of the learned sages of West Africa who lived between the period of 1056 A.H. to 1215 A.H. (circa 1650 C.E. to 1800 C.E.).
In a sense this text should be placed along side the Shajat’n-Nuur az-Zakiyya of Shaykh Ibn Makhluf, the Infaq’l-Maysuur of Muhammad Bello, the renowned Nayl’l-Ibihaaj of Shaykh Ahmad Baba at-Tinbukti, the ad-Dibaaj’l-Madh’hab of Shaykh Ibn Farhuun, and the Tarteeb’l-Madaarik of Qadi `Iyad.Shaykh Muhammad al-Wulaati, follows these famous biographical texts by arranging the scholars in alphabetical order, citing the place, day, and sometimes hour that they were born.
He mentions their major teachers and the sciences and books they learned from them, as well as their chains of authorities; and the students they taught. He also mentioned the journeys that these scholars took in search of knowledge, the names of the books they produced as well as professions and responsibilities they fulfilled in the Islamic societies in which they resided. More importantly, Shaykh Muhammad al-Wulaati, took care to mention the spiritual bounties, austerity, righteousness, virtue and the service these two hundred or so sages contributed to the societies in which they lived. The author arranged the text in twenty-two chapters and Allah willing we will post these chapters gradually in that order.
In short, the Fat’h’s-Shakuur is a brief picture of the kind of super empowered individuals essential for the generation and development of Islamic civilization. One of my teachers often said:
“An entire civilization cannot necessarily generate a Man of Allah, but a Man of Allah can generate an entire civilization.”
The Fat’h’s-Shakuur Fee Ma`arifat `Ayaan `Ulama’ ‘t-Takruur paints a picture of the kind of individuals who laid the foundations for the highIslamic civilizations of Takruur, Mali, Songhay, Baghirma, Dia, Messina, Segou, Zaura, Kanem-Bornu, Wodai, Dar Fur, and Sokoto. It was the memories and legacies of such sages which imbued the enslaved African Muslims in the western hemisphere with the powerful historical consciousness required to raise the banner of liberty and freedom in the countless slave insurrections and wars ignited in Bahia, Surinam, Belize, Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, the Florida Everglades, southern Georgia, the Sea Islands and the French Territories of Louisiana.
No doubt, the Fat’h’s-Shakuur Fee Ma`arifat `Ayaan `Ulama’ ‘t-Takruur will be the essential element in formulating the identity construct needed by the resurgent indigenous African Muslim communities in the west as they rise from the dust of the present crumbling dominant culture.
In one sense the translation of the Fat’h’s-Shakuur is a fulfillment of the mandate given to us by al-Hajj Malik El Shabazz, rahimuhu Allah ta`ala on the eve of the formulation of the Organization of African American Unity some forty years ago, when he said:
“We assert that we Afro-Americans have the right to direct and control our lives, our history, and our future, rather than to have our destinies determined by American racists. We are determined to rediscover our true African culture, which was crushed and hidden for over four hundred years in order to enslave us and keep us enslaved up to today. We, Afro-Americans, enslaved, oppressed, and denied by a society t hat proclaims itself the citadel of democracy, are determined to rediscover our history, promote the talents that are suppressed by our racist enslavers, renew the culture that was crushed by a slave government and thereby, to again become a free people.”
The achievement of freedom is a spiritual, intellectual, political and in some cases a necessary military ACT. No aspect of the struggle for freedom can be attained without a historical consciousness.
About The Author
The author Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr as-Sideeq al-Wulaati, was born in 1732 C.E. during the height of the 19th century Islamic tajdeed movements of the Bilad’s-Sudan, and died in 1804 C.E., within months of the famous hijra of Shehu Uthman ibn Fuduye` and his jama`at from under the political sovereignty of the Habe` Hausa kingdoms. His time was an era of extreme contradictions in Africa, where Europeans were denuding the continent of her sons on the one hand, and the African Muslims had ignited the fires jihaad and Islamic sovereignty on the other.
For the Africans enslaved in the western hemisphere, this period was a cultural ‘missing link’, an era of spiritual ‘comatose’ in which we were disconnected from the vitality of our living culture. The Fat’h’s-Shakuur, reconnects the link, awakens the historical consciousness and regenerates the upward Path of our culture; and like an Awakening Lion, insha Allah, we will emerge into this age of the collapse of western civilization lucid, alert and unrelenting, joining the other Lions as they awaken from the slumber which typified the outgoing age.
So, on this first day of February, the shortest month of the year in which the US allows its domestically colonized African American national minorityto celebrate their timeless history, we at SIIASI present this seminal text, the Fat’h’s-Shakuur Fee Ma`arifat `Ayaan `Ulama’ ‘t-Takruur (The Inciting of Gratitude Regarding Acknowledgment of the Notables Among the Scholars of West Africa) of the African Muslim sage at-Taalib Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr as-Sideeq Wulaati; as a form of gratitude to Allah, His Messenger, and to all our righteous forebears who went before us in the struggle; to say:
“We have the flag! We have the flag! It did not touch the ground!”
Shaykh Muhammad Shareef bin Farid
Tuesday, 27th Safar, 1432 A.H. (February 01, 2011)
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