Shaykh Haafidh Ibn Ahmad Ibn ‘Alee Al-Hakamee

Author: Based upon the biography by his son, Dr. Ahmad Ibn Haafidh al-Hakamee [1]

Published: Sunday 10th July, 2005

His Birth and Early Childhood
Shaykh Haafidh Ibn Ahmad Ibn 'Alee Al-Hakamee (rahimahullaah) was one of the notable Salafee scholars from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and one of the most famous of those who lived in the 14th (hijree) century to come from the southern region of the country (i.e. Tuhaamah).

Shaykh Haafidh was born on the 24th of Ramadaan, 1342H (1924 CE) in a coastal village called as-Salaam, which lies just southeast of the city of Jaazaan. When he was still just a small boy, he moved to the city of al-Jaadi' which is close to the city of Saamitah, because his father found that farmland and pastures were better there. However, his immediate family continued to commute between the two cities due to extenuating circumstances.

The young Haafidh was raised under the good and righteous guardianship of his father who taught him modesty, purity and good character. Before reaching the age of maturity, he worked as a shepherd herding his fathers' sheep, which were the most important form of wealth to his family as well as the rest of the people in the society in those days. However, Haafidh differed from the other boys in his village because of his intelligence and his ability to memorize and understand quickly. He learned to write while he was still a small boy and he memorized the entire Qur’aan by the time he was twelve years old.

Seeking Knowledge and Religious Studies
When the young Haafidh reached the age of seven years, his father put both him and his older brother, Muhammad, [2] into a Qur’aan memorization school in the village of al-Jaadi'. There, he read Juz ‘Amma and Juz Tabaarak (30th and 29th parts of the Qur.aan) to the teacher and afterwards he and his brother finished learning to read the entire Qur’aan with the proper rules of recitation in just a few months and shortly thereafter he completed memorizing the Qur.aan in its entirety. Next he concentrated on his writing skills until he perfected them and was able to copy the Qur’aan with excellent handwriting. At the same time he and his brother were busy reading and memorizing books of Fiqh, inheritance law, Hadeeth, Tafseer, and Tawheed under the tutelage of their father, since there was no one else suitable or trustworthy enough to teach them.

In the year 1358H (1940), Shaykh 'Abdullaah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Hamad al-Qar'aawee [3] traveled all the way from Najd to the city of Tuhaamah in the southern part of the Kingdom after he heard about the level of ignorance and the spread of innovation in the region - which (eventually) becomes the condition of every area that has only a few people calling to Allaah's religion (Islaam) or no one at all to set the affairs straight. Shaykh al-Qar'aawee vowed to shoulder the responsibility of calling to the True Religion (of Islaam) and correcting the corrupt beliefs in ‘aqeedah and the superstitions that were stuck in the minds of the ignorant people in the region.

In 1359H (1941), Haafidh Ibn Ahmad's older brother, Muhammad, went to Shaykh Hamad al-Qar'aawee with a letter from the both of them requesting some books on Tawheed and expressing their regret at being unable to come (and study with him), because they were busy serving and seeing to their parents needs. They also requested that the Shaykh visit their village so that they might listen to some of his lessons. Shaykh al-Qar'aawee accepted their invitation and went to their village where he met the young Haafidh and got to know him very well and saw in him promising signs of excellence and intelligence - which turned out to be a very accurate evaluation.

Shaykh al-Qar'aawee remained in al-Jaadi' (their village) a number of days teaching, and a group of elders as well as some youth from the local people attended the lectures. Amongst them was the young Haafidh who was the smallest of them in age, yet the fastest of them in memorizing and understanding the information given. Shaykh 'Abdullaah al-Qar'aawee said about him: "And thus it was that I stayed a number of days in al-Jaadi'. Haafidh attended the lessons and if he missed anything then he would get it from his classmates. He is like his name Haafidh (which means: one who memorizes), he preserves things (accurately) by heart as well as with his note taking. I used to dictate to all of the students and then explain the lesson and the older students used to ask him if they had trouble understanding something or (if they missed) writing something in their notes." [This quote was taken from a short autobiography of the life of Shaykh al-Qar'aawee]

When Shaykh al-Qar'aawee was ready to return to the city of Saamitah - which by this time he had already made his dwelling place and the center for his da'wah activities - he asked the young Haafidh's parents to permit him to employ someone to herd their sheep on Haafidh's behalf in exchange for their permission that Haafidh and his older brother return with him to Saamitah so that they might seek knowledge there underneath his tutelage. But Haafidh's parents refused the Shaykh's request at first, insisting that their youngest son remain with them because of their great need for him. However, Allaah decreed that the life of Haafidh's mother would end during the month of Rajab in the year 1360H (1942), so Haafidh's father then allowed him and his brother Muhammad to study with the Shaykh two or three days a week and then return to him.

Haafidh began to study in Saamitah with the Shaykh, who would dictate lessons to him after which he would return to his village. Haafidh was an inspired student who understood and memorized everything that he read or heard.

Sadly, his father did not live long after that, as he died on his way back from Hajj in the same year 1360H (1942 CE). After that, Haafidh was able to study and gain knowledge (full time), so he went to his Shaykh and stayed with him, always learning and benefiting from him. Haafidh proved to be an exceptionally gifted student who learned very quickly. He was also very good at poetry and prose and he (eventually) authored many books in the major categories of Islamic knowledge.

When Haafidh was only nineteen years old, Shaykh al-Qar'aawee asked him to write a book about Tawheed and the 'aqeedah of the Pious Predecessors, that would be easy for students to memorize, and that would also demonstrate just how much he has benefited from his reading and studying. The young Haafidh responded by writing a treatise in didactic prose entitled: “Sullam-ul-Wusool ilaa 'Ilmal-Usool fit-Tawheed” which he completed in the year 1362H (1944 CE), and which was met with the avid approval of his teacher as well as the other prominent scholars of his time.

He followed this work with other writings also in didactic prose on Tawheed, Hadeeth Terminology, Fiqh, Principles of Fiqh, inheritance law, History, Seerah of the Prophet, On the Obligatory Actions and Adaab al-Ilmiyyah, Admonitions and others, all of which were originally published with the help of King Saud Ibn 'Abdul-'Azeez.

It becomes clear for us through what Shaykh Haafidh al-Hakamee left behind for us from his writings that he was profoundly affected by reading books that were written by the scholars of the early generation of Muslims about Tafseer, Hadeeth, Fiqh, and Principles of Fiqh, Islaamic manners, Arabic language and grammar. As regards 'Aqeedah, he was obviously very influenced by the writings of Shaykh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and his famous student Ibn al-Qayyim.

His Works

  1. On Tawheed:

    1. Sullam al-Wasool Ilaa Ilmal-Usool Fee Tawheed Allaah Wa Ittiba ar-Rasool.
      It was completed in 1362H. Its first edition was printed in Makkah in 1373 and it is 16 pages.
    2. Ma'arij al-Maqbool, Bi-Sharh Sullam al-Wasool Ilaa Ilmal-Usool Fit-Tawheed.
      This is a big explanation of the first book. It was completed in 1366H and is in two large volumes and is approximately 100 pages. (Recently a summary of this has been done into one large book of 480 pages.)
    3. A'laam an-Mansoorah Fee Ei'tiqaad at-Ta'ifatun-Naajiyah Wal-Mansoorah.
      The Shaykh has authored this book in the form of questions and answers. It was completed in the month of Ramadhaan in the year 1365H. Its first edition was printed in Makkah and it is approximately 68 pages.
    4. al-Jauharah al-Fareedah Fee Tahqeeq al-Aqeedah.
      This book is in the form of a poem. It was first printed from Makkah in the year 1373H and is approximately 19 pages.
  2. On The Sciences of Hadeeth:

    1. Daleel al-Arbaab al-Falaah Li-Tahqeeq Fun al-Istalah.
      An excellent book in the field of the science of hadeeth, it was first printed in Makkah in the year 1373H and it is 173 pages.
    2. al-Lulu al-Maknoon Fee Ahwaal al-Asaaneed Wal-Matoon.
      It is in poem form and was completed in the year 1366H. It first edition was printed in Makkaah and it is approximately 18 pages.
  3. On Jursiprudence (Fiqh):

    1. as-Subl as-Sawiyyah LiFiqah as-Sunan al-Marwiyyah.
      It is a long poem and under their relevant chapter headings. It was first printed in Makkaah and it is about 134 pages.
  4. On the Principles of Fiqh:

    1. Waseelatul Hasool Ilaa Muhimaat al-Usool.
      This is also a poem of the principles of fiqh. The books was completed in 1373H and first printed in Makkah and is about 35 pages.
    2. Matn Laamiyyah al-Mansookh.
      This is a poem of all the issues abrogated in the books of fiqh. It was first printed in Makkah and is about 10 pages.
  5. On The Obligatory Actions:

    1. an-Noor al-Faa'idh Min Shams al-Wahee Fee Ilm al-Faraa'id.
      This is a treatise on the obligatory actions, the books was completed in 15-81365H and was first printed in Makkah in the 1373H and is about 46 pages.
  6. On History and The Life Of The Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) Life:

    1. Nayl as-Sool Min Taareekh al-Umam Was-Seeratur-Rasool.
      This is a poem about history, it was firstprinted in Makkah and is about 52 pages.
  7. On Admonitions and Adaab al-Ilmiyyah:

    1. Naseehah al-Ikhwaan al-Mashoorah.
      This is also in poetic form and was printed in 1374H from Makkah and is about 15 pages.
    2. al-Manzoomah al-Maymeeyah Fil Wasayah Wal-Adaab al-Ilmiyyah.
      This is another poem which the Shaykh wrote to encourage the students to seek knowledge and to hold firm to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Messenger (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam). It was also printed in Makkah and is 14 pages long.

Al-Maalik Sa'ood Ibn Abdul-Azeez printed the books in Saudia Arabia from Makkah between 1373-1374H, and the book al-Ma'arij al-Maqbool was first printed in 1377H from Maktabah as-Salafiyyah in Egypt.

Other than this he had some treatises and books in poetic form in manuscript form and from them were:

  1. Miftah Dar us-Salaam Bi-Tahqeeq Shahadatee al-Islaam.
  2. Sharh al-Warqaat Fee Usool al-Fiqah of Abil Ma'alee al-Juwaynee.
  3. Hamziyatul-Islaah Fit-Tashjee'a al-Islaam Wa-Ahlehu Wa-Tamassuk Kulli Tamassuk Bi-Asaasah Wa-Asalahu.
  4. Majmoo'a Khatab Lil-Jumu'a Wal-Munasibaat ad-Deeniyyah.

All of them are clear evidences of the level of his knowledge.

Some of His Other Achievements
When Shaykh 'Abdullaah al-Qar'aawee realized the superiority of his student Haafidh, he appointed him as a teacher for the other students, and they benefited greatly from his lessons.

In 1363H (1945 CE) Shaykh al-Qar'aawee selected Haafidh to be the director of a school (Madrassah as-Salafiyyah) in Saamitah, which was the first and the largest of all of the schools that Shaykh al-Qar'aawee established for the students of knowledge in the southern region of the kingdom. Haafidh was also made regional superintendent for all of the schools in the neighboring villages and townships.

Shaykh al-Qar'aawee went on to enlarge the schools in Tuhaamah and 'Aseer and he eventually established at least one school in every village in the south that taught Islamic studies. He appointed his students as teachers and administrators for these schools. However, when Shaykh al-Qar'aawee had established literally hundreds of schools in the southern region, he took his first student, Haafidh al-Hakamee, as his assistant whilst traveling and supervising the schools.

Shaykh Haafidh traveled to many places in order to fulfill his responsibilities with Shaykh al-Qar'aawee including as-Salaamah, al-'Ulyaa, and the city of Beesh, Umm al-Khashab in northern Jaazaan. Afterwards, he returned to Saamitah again as director of the schools in the region in order to help his Shaykh administer the many schools that he had established so that the important improvements brought about by this da'wah might continue.

Most of Shaykh Haafidh al-Hakamee's time was spent trying to uplift the youth in his area and benefit them with his knowledge as much as he could. Some of his students are now renowned scholars in their own right having taken positions as judges, teachers, and preachers everywhere in the southern region of the kingdom and elsewhere.

In 1373H (1955 CE) a high school was opened in Jaazaan, the capital city of the southern region, and Shaykh Haafidh al-Hakamee was chosen to be its first director in the same year. Then in 1374H (1956 CE), a scholastic institute in Saamitah was opened by the General Directorate of Colleges and Institutes, and Shaykh Haafidh al-Hakamee was chosen to be its director as well. Shaykh Haafidh performed his administrative duties extremely well in addition to teaching some classes where he was known to give the students knowledge above and beyond the limited curriculum of the institute either himself or through some of the other teachers in the institute.

His Death
Shaykh Haafidh al-Hakamee remained as the director of the scholastic institute in Saamitah until he performed Hajj in the year 1377H (1958 CE). After completing the rites of Hajj, Shaykh Haafidh died in the city of Makkah from a sudden illness on Saturday, the 18th of Dhul Hijjah, 1377H (1958 CE) while he was still a young man of only 35 years. He was buried in Makkat tul-Makarramah. May Allaah, the Exalted, have mercy on him.


[1] He is a teacher in the faculty of Lughatul-Arabiyyah in the University of al-Imaam Muhammad bin Sa'ood al-Islaamiyyah, Riyaadh.

This biography is taken from A'laam an-Mansoorah Fee Ei'tiqaad at-Ta'ifatun-Naajiyah Wal-Mansoorah (pgs.15-30) (pgs. 12-14) (7th and 2th Editions respectively) based upon the biography of the Shaykh by his son.

[2] He is now one of the well-respected scholars in the southern part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His efforts in Da'wah and Islamic teaching have had a tangible effect on the entire region. He has been the head of the Islaamic Institute in Saamitah for the last 20 years. He assumed the position after his brother - who was the first head of the institute - left the position. I ask Allaah to extend his life, and grant him good health, and make success always his ally, and that the Muslims continue to benefit from him. Ameen.

[3] Shaykh 'Abdullaah al-Qar'aawee was born in the year 1315H in the city of 'Unayzah in the area of al-Qaseem and he died in the year 1389H in the city of Riyadh (rahimahullaah). Great credit goes to him for the growth and development of knowledge and literature in the southern region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Tuhaamah and 'Aseer). There were many positive results and great improvements in the religion, society, and culture of that area and its youth due to his call to Da'wah at-Tawheed.


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