In the name of God; the Merciful, the Compassionate.
Praise is to Him who guided the believers to the truth.
And may His blessings and salutations be upon Mohammad, the seal of the Prophets.
One of the practices in Damascus that is in need of revival is the relating of the six books of Prophetic sayings (being Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, ibn Najah, and al-Nasa’i) Nevertheless, it is a practice currently being revived by the noble Sheikh Mohammad al-Yaqoubi; son of the illustrious Sheikh Ibraheem Yaqoubi. For the first time in about 125 years (the last time being done by Sheikh Mohammad Kisbari), one of the six books was publicly related with certifications being awarded. Currently, there are probably only 1,000 people in Damascus, land of the scholars, who have permission to say “The Prophet said.” In a time where Islam is being taught by people with no background in the outward and inward sciences, the revival of this practice is especially necessary.
After one of the afternoon lessons, a flyer was being distributed saying that Sahih Muslim would be taught in its entirety within eight days at The Masjid of our Master, Sultan of the Enlightened, the Greatest Sheikh, Sheikh Muhyadin ibn Arabi. The program would start after the Morning Prayer and continue unto the Night Prayer with two breaks; one for breakfast and one for lunch and a nap. This would happen in my last days in Damascus (hence the entry being called “The Perfumed Ending”). The schedule was rigorously followed and the students had to sit on the floor for long hours, something many of the people save for the most dedicated students were unaccustomed to. In addition to that, there were roughly 300 students attending the lessons so coordination was very difficult. The one who had to the most hardship was Sheikh Mohammad al-Yaqoubi himself. In addition to having to sit for the whole day aside from some brief stretch breaks, he also had to read from Sahih Muslim at a fast pace for much of the time. Insha’Allah he rests and recovers.
Despite the hardships, attending was well worth the difficulty. I had been in Damascus for two and a half months and I felt that I had learned more in those eight days than the rest of the time I spent in Damascus. Understanding one of the primary sources of Islam greatly enhanced my understanding of it. Through this, there are a number of supererogatory acts that I was made aware of; simple day to day things that over time will make an impression on the Scale insha’Allah. Another benefit is love for the Prophet. You read what he said and what those he was around said about his and you realize that he called for very noble objectives such as being grateful to God, loving your family and neighbors, feeding the poor, and giving every living thing its right even if it is as small as an ant. Even when he was angry or seemed threatening, he was doing it to warn his nation of an impending danger. Finally, the benefit of having the blessing of all of the scholars and students of knowledge must also be mentioned. The scholars need no introduction but the students were a sight to see. Three hundred people from countries such as Turkey, Uzbekistan, Dagestan, Chechnya, Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, the United Kingdom, America, and Allah knows how many others. Sheikh Mohammad said that we were better than the United Nations. There are few things as amazing as seeing people gathered from all over the world for the sake of Allah.
If I heard that this was going to happen another time for one of the other six books, I would try my utmost to go again. We endured achy joints, sleep deprivation, and long hours knowing only that this might make the Day of Judgment easier and that respite from a meal or nashid were near (the munshids were so good that I told one of them that his voice was like two hours of sleep and a cooked meal). May Allah this, for all those who attended a proof for them and not a proof against them and reunite them at the hawd of the Prophet.
The Sheikh asked who memorized the Alfiyya. I raised my hand thinking he said al-Fil.
The Sheikh asked what was Imam Malik’s name during a trivia session. Someone replies “Malik.”
During the sections on marriage, the Sheikh looked up and informed that any of the brothers who wanted access to his phone book needed only to ask.