Shazia Ahmad

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Shaykh Sa`id Ramadan al-Bouti is a well-respected modern-day scholar and author who is most popularly known for his esteemed work Fiqh us-Seerah. In my time in Damascus, I saw hundreds of people from every walk of life – mothers and shopkeepers, students and cab drivers, young and old – flock to his weekly classes at different masajid in the city to benefit from his knowledge.  Known for his eloquence and deftness in language, one would often see foreign students sitting in his classes with dictionaries in hand, understanding only parts of his talks but fully absorbing how Arabic is spoken by someone with true mastery of it.  Shaykh Bouti is also known for his sharp intellect and – at times – acerbic critique and comments.  During one of his Friday sermons, when he noticed an attendee taking a picture of him on his cell phone, he interrupted his line of thought to rebuke him by saying, “O you who is worshipping your device!  How is it that you use this time for other than remembering Allah?”  A full biography of Shaykh Bouti is quoted below.

I wanted to share with you this short clip from a television interview with Shaykh Bouti for a few reasons.  In the remarks he makes regarding modern-day tariqas (often translated as Sufi orders), we come to realize that people do not always easily fit into one designated ‘camp’ or another – pro-Sufi or anti-Sufi, Salafi or anti-Salafi, etc – and that we should not be quick to put people in such pre-constructed labels or boxes.  We also learn that taking a critical stance on an issue does not necessarily mean that one finds it devoid of benefit.  Most significantly, we see from this clip the intense importance of sincerity and being honest with ourselves in our relationship with Allah, especially for those who teach and call others to Islam.

May Allah bless our teachers and grant us the beautiful quality of sincerity in our efforts.

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