In a unique evening session, Shaykh Waleed Basyouni discussed the life of one of his greatest teachers, the late Shaykh Bin Baz. Personally, I often learn more from the adab and personal lives of scholars and people of knowledge than their books and formal lectures. And so this session was for me. Lasting well into the night and chock full of personal stories, anecdotes and personal details, Shaykh Waleed gave a perspective of the shaykh that can never be obtained from reading about him nor reading his books and listening to his lectures.
My intent here is not to present the notes in there entirety, but I was struck by a number of things about the esteemed late Shaykh. I shall share two here.
1. His attachment with the people:
Known as “Samaahatul Waalid” (Dear Father) among the people, he was a person who belonged to the common people and treated those around him with great care and concern. He rarely dined alone, and for 30 years of his life he established an open-house policy during lunch time: his door was open to all to dine with him, and so you would find scholars, students of knowledge, government officials and janitors sitting side by side eating lunch in his house. Ordinary people were known to come up to him and complaint to him, including women. He would receive letters from all over the world from common people as well as dignitaries, and he would try to answer each one, often sending help and monitary assistance.
2. His concern for the global Islamic movement and affairs of the ummah:
He was truly a global personality and has a significant role and hand in Islamic work and dawah all over the world. He invited scholars and dignitaries from all over the globe and hosted them, even those he disagreed with. He graciously hosted Shaykh al-Sha’rawi from Egypt in 1972 and introduced him and praised him. He had close, positive interactions with others, including Allamah Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the late Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali , Shaykh Tantawi and others. He was among those who invited the late Syed Maududi to serve on the Advisory Committee which prepared the scheme for the establishment of the Islamic University of Madinah and placed him on its Academic Council ever since the inception of the University in 1962.
He once approached one of his students Shaykh Abdullah Gu‘ud with a sealed letter and a plane ticket, telling him “You are going to Pakistan.” He was to deliver this letter to the president of Pakistan, none other than the late general Zia ul-Haque. Shaykh Abdullah, unaware of the contents, arrived in Pakistan, where General Zia was expecting him. The general read the letter and said, “Give our greetings to Shaykh Bin Baz and tell him that inshallah he will hear what he loves.” Shaykh Abdullah came back and informed Bin Baz, who thanked him and said, “Perhaps Allah will bring some good through you.” A few days later, Bin Baz approached him again, this time elated, rejoicing and thanking Allah repeatedly while saying, “Allah has indeed brought immense good through you, Shaykh Abdullah.” He then informed him that the letter was a personal request to General Zia to intercede with the president of Turkey to release Najmuddin Erbakan, the architect of the Islamic movement in Turkey, from prison and impending execution. Erbakan was released.
Shaykh Bin Baz had a keen awareness and concern for the affairs of the ummah. He had a great role in assisting the Afghan resistance against the Soviet invasion, helping the people of Bosnia, Kosova, Kashmir, Africa and everywhere else Muslims were suffering. Contrary to what is generally attributed to him, even during the Iran-Iraq War, he personally appealed to the leaders of both countries to end the war. He had a letter drafted for this purpose by none other than Shaykh Taha Jabir Alwani.
This was the esteemed Allamah Ibn Baz, a true scholar of and for the ummah. His janazah was performed in the Haram and in absentia throughout the world in every major masjid, making him perhaps the only person in our entire history to have as many people pray for him.
Unfortunately, some cultish, sectarian groups have hijacked his name for their narrow, limited agenda, but the life of the Shaykh is too expansive and free from that. He was a man who lived for and left an impression on the entire ummah. In the words of Shaykh Qaradawi : “If I were to change my opinions for any man, it would be for Ibn Baz,” and the late Shaykh al-Albani: “If anyone is a muhaddith, it is Shaykh Ibn Baz.” Shaykh Waleed himself narrated that he heard the late Shaykh Abdurrazak al-‘Afeefy say about him, “This man did not belong to this century!”
Live from Houston, Ilm Summit 2008 Day 1