I would be unjust to scholarship if I refused to script a few lines of prosal elegy for the teacher of teachers, in whose pen is the fountain of our blessings: Sheikh Muḥammad ʿAlī aṣ-Ṣābūnī. His death is indeed a total eclipse. This is the end of an era.
He was born in the city of Aleppo in Syria in 1930. After his education in his home country and also in Azhar, he emigrated to Saudi Arabia as a furgitive, for the fear of the repressive regime, and he was appointed a lecturer in the Faculty of Sharee’ah at Ummul Qurah University.
Sheikh Ṣābūni lectured in Saudi Arabia for twenty eight years and he authored numerous books which were enthusiastically recieved all over the world. Safwat Al- Tafaasir may be the most accessible of his works, Rawa’i al-Bayaan fi ahkaami ayatil Qur’an seems more popular.
Al-Ṣābūni is influential in the scholarly world and the Islamic epistemic circles simply because of his easy-to-read, simplified commentaries of the Holy Qur’an. One of his most impactful commentaries is the Tafsir Ayat Al-Ahkam, an exploration of the Qur’anic verses pertaining to legal rulings.
The work had initially come in two volumes, but I later found a huge copy of the two volumes compressed into one at an exhibition stand in Salamia.The book mentions reasons for each revelation and also analyses the language; both the sementics and rehetorics of every verse; and then establishes the jurisprudential message of the verse.
The work is of course a masterpiece, ever longed for, by thirsty minds. The euphonic style of the scholar greatly helps his reader, as he takes you round the interesting terrain of the Quranic world. This is the rich legacy which the author had bequeathed to the world of piety.
I have not only learnt from his works, I was also privileged to have listened to him and learnt from his tongue when he visited Nigeria for an event at the University of Ibadan in the early 90s. His style of writing was hardly different from his speaches.
As the scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Alī aṣ-Ṣābūnī, returned to Allah, we pray that his numerous efforts are not wasted. Please, let’s remember him in our prayers. May Allah be pleased with him. We ask Allah for a good end and the ultimate gain of aljannat firdaws.
▪︎Abu Mazeedatilkhayr Bn Sa’eed is a Nigerian author. He writes from Abuja
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