Abdallah bin Bayyah

Abdallah bin Mahfudh ibn Bayyah (born 1935[1]), is an Islamic scholar and professor of Islamic studies at the King Abdul Aziz University in JeddahSaudi Arabia.[5][6]

He is a specialist in all four traditional Sunni schools, with an emphasis on the Maliki Madh’hab. Currently he is the President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies.[7] Bin Bayyah is involved in a number of scholarly councils including the Islamic Fiqh Council, a Saudi-based Institute. He was also the Vice-President of the International Union of Muslim Scholars.[8] from which he resigned in 2014.[9][10] He was also a member of the Dublin-based European Council for Fatwa and Research, a council of Muslim clerics that aims to explain Islamic law in a way that is sensitive to the realities of European Muslims.[11] For over two decades, in relation to the latter two institutions, he worked closely with the Egyptian scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi.[6] However post Arab Springs, Bin Bayyah distanced himself from Qardawi and the International Union of Muslim scholors, instead founding the UAE based Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies.[12] The Forum has attracted huge controversy for its close ties to the UAE dictatorship.[13]


Early career[edit source]

Bin Bayyah was born in Timbédra in a household with an Islamic environment in which he studied all of the Islamic sciences. He began his formal studies with his father, Mahfoudh; meanwhile, he studied Arabic with Mohammed Salem bin al-Sheen, Quran with Bayyah bin al-Salik al-Misumi.[14]

In his youth, he was appointed to study legal judgments in Tunis. On returning to Mauritania, he became Minister of Education and later Minister of Justice. He was also appointed a Vice President of the first president of Mauritania.[5] He resides in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and teaches Islamic Legal Methodology, Qur’an and Arabic at the King Abdulaziz University. He is fluent in Arabic and French.[15] Hamza Yusuf serves as his translator.[15]

Views[edit source]

Bin Bayyah is a scholar of uṣūl al-fiqh (principles of Islamic jurisprudence) and has competency in all four Sunni juridical schools; he is widely seen as an eminently learned voice of moderation and peace.

Tasawuff (Sufism)[edit source]

Bin Bayyah is a promoter of Tasawwuf (Sufism).[16] He believes that Tasawwuf (which he defines as the seeking of perfection through the love for and longing towards meeting Allah) needs to be revived in the Islamic Ummah and restored as an Islamic science.[16] He also asserts that various Sufi practices – including the use of dhikr beadsTawassul (using the righteous as a means to gain Allah’s blessings), Tabarruk (deriving blessings from the relics of the deceased), and visiting the graves of the Awliya – all have a “solid basis in Islam.”[16] Bin Bayyah asserts that although Sufis strive to attain Ihsan, the highest level of faith in Islam, it is only attainable once one has mastered the first two levels of faith, Islam (the focus of jurists) and Iman (the focus of theologians).[17]

Bin Bayyah states: “That space of overflowing love, light, passion, insight, transparency, transcendence, and spirituality must have some container and some action to exist within and by. Actually, it is the inseparability and interdependence of the body and the soul. There must be a discipline with its own rules and terminology to represent such perfection aspired to by the highly-determined. That discipline took various names such as “sermons”, as used by Al-Bukhari, and “asceticism”, as in early Sunnah. Eventually, it was agreed to be named “Tasawuff”, just as the discipline of the Sharia was to be called Fiqh.”[17]

On extremism[edit source]

Bin Bayyah is one of the signatories of the Amman Message, which gives a broad foundation for defining Muslim orthodoxy.[18] He is also a signatory to the Letter to Baghdadi, an open letter to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The Letter to Baghdadi is a theological refutation of the practices of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.[19] In 2014, he issued a fatwa against the extremist terrorist group ISIS[20] and was famously quoted in a later interview on CNN for saying, “I call to life, not to death.”[21] In subsequent years, Bin Bayyah has addressed think tanks and similar audiences such as The Council on Foreign Relations.[22]

Prominence[edit source]

Bin Bayyah was quoted by President Barack Obama during his speech before U.N security council 2014.[23] Since 2009, he has been ranked as The 500 Most Influential Muslims by Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre and currently holds the number 15 spot for 2020.[24]

Publications[edit source]

  • The Craft of the Fatwa and minority fiqh, 2005.[25]
  • A dialogue about human rights in Islam, 2003.
  • Ideological opinions (فتاوى فكرية)
  • Amaly al-Dalalat (Usul alfiqh), 2003.
  • Terrorism: a Diagnosis and Solutions
  • The Discourse of Security in Islam and the Culture of Tolerance and Harmony
  • Fatwas and Reflections
  • A clarification on the various legal opinions pertaining to financial transactions
  • The Benefits of Endowments
  • Evidence for those suffering from illnesses on the immense Divine award that awaits them
  • Aims and their Proof

Responsibilities and positions[edit source]

  • Chairman of the Emirates Fatwa Council, UAE[26]
  • President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, UAE[27]
  • Director of the Global Center for Renewal & Guidance, UK
  • Member of the European Research & Fatwa Council, Ireland
  • Deputy President of the International Association of Muslim Scholars, Beirut
  • Member of the Association of Indian Jurists, DelhiIndia
  • Member of The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Jordan
  • Member of the Counsel of Jurists attached to the Organisation of Islamic Conference, Jeddah
  • Member of the Specialist Panel presiding over the Prince Naif ben Abdul Aziz prize for Prophetic Traditions and Islamic Studies
  • Member of the Muslim League’s International High Council of Mosques, Mecca
  • Member of the International Aid Organisation of Kuwait
  • Member of the Lecturing Staff at the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah
  • Member of the High Council in the Centre for Studying the Aims of Sharia, UK

Medals and awards[edit source]

  • Awarded the King Abdul Aziz Medal with the Rank of Distinction
  • Awarded the Jordanian Medal First Degree
  • Awarded the King Abdullah II of Jordan Prize for Scholars and Callers to God, Jordan
  • The Degree of the Organisation of Islamic Conference with Distinction, and others
  • Awarded the Chinguetti Prize for the Category of Islamic Studies for his book “A Dialogue from Afar”[28]
  • The “Ma’al Hijrah[29]” award from King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah of Malaysia for his efforts in spreading science, values of peace, tolerance, coexistence and positive influence in the world.

See also[edit source]

Prominent students[edit source]

References[edit source]

  1. Jump up to:a b John Gallagher, Eric D. Patterson, Debating the War of Ideas, p 51. ISBN 0230101984
  2. ^ Gerhard Böwering, Patricia Crone, Mahan Mirza, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, p. 347. ISBN 0691134847
  3. ^ Washington Institute: “Sufism: An Alternative to Extremism?” by Sarah Feuer Archived 2015-09-19 at the Wayback Machine March 11, 2015
  4. ^ Read Secret Practices of the Sufi Freemasons Online by Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff | BooksArchived from the original on 2021-07-18. Retrieved 2021-05-15.
  5. Jump up to:a b John Gallagher, Eric D, Debating the War of Ideas, p 51. ISBN 0230101984
  6. Jump up to:a b al‐Azami, Usaama (July 2019). “‘Abdullāh bin Bayyah and the Arab Revolutions: Counter‐revolutionary Neo‐traditionalism’s Ideological Struggle against Islamism”The Muslim World109 (3): 343–361. doi:10.1111/muwo.12297ISSN 0027-4909Archived from the original on 2021-12-31. Retrieved 2021-08-30.
  7. ^ “Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies”Archived from the original on 2015-04-03. Retrieved 2015-04-02.
  8. ^ Members list (Arabic) Archived January 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ “404”. elkhabar.com. Archived from the original on 2014-08-21. {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  10. ^ “Middle East Online: Qaradawi’s deputy resigns from Union of Islamic Scholars”Middle East Online. Archived from the original on 2016-03-01. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  11. ^ List of Members of the European Council for Fatwa and Research Archived August 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ “Rivals in the Gulf: Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Abdullah Bin Bayyah, and the Qatar-UAE Contest Over the Arab Spring and the Gulf Crisis”Routledge & CRC Press. Retrieved 2022-01-05.
  13. ^ “UAE’s forum for ‘promoting peace’ is another cynical PR initiative”Middle East Eye. Retrieved 2022-02-09.
  14. ^ ar:عبد الله بن بيه[circular reference]
  15. Jump up to:a b Imams Online: “Abdallah bin Bayyah” Archived 2015-10-04 at the Wayback Machine retrieved September 20, 2015
  16. Jump up to:a b c ISRA News: “Abdallah Bin Bayyah” Archived 2015-09-30 at the Wayback Machine retrieved September 19, 2015
  17. Jump up to:a b The Official Website of His Eminence Abdallah Bin Bayyah: “Sufism in Islamic Shari`ah” Archived 2015-09-30 at the Wayback Machine retrieved September 20, 2015
  18. ^ “Bin Bayyah’s official reply to Amman Message”Archived from the original on 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  19. ^ “Letter to Baghdadi”Letter to BaghdadiArchived from the original on 8 February 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  20. ^ Bayyah, Sheikh Abdullah bin. “Prominent Muslim Sheikh Issues Fatwa Against ISIS Violence”NPR.orgArchived from the original on 2019-12-16. Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  21. ^ Sheikh Bayyah: We’re facing an existential challenge – CNN Videoarchived from the original on 2019-04-05, retrieved 2020-02-26
  22. ^ “A Conversation With Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah”Council on Foreign RelationsArchived from the original on 2020-04-20. Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  23. ^ “Prominent Muslim Sheik Issues Fatwa Against ISIS Violence”. September 25, 2014. Archived from the original on May 12, 2018. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  24. ^ “Abdullah bin Bayyah”The Muslim 500Archived from the original on 2020-01-04. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  25. ^ Gerhard Böwering, Patricia Crone, Mahan Mirza, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, p 347. ISBN 0691134847
  26. ^ WAM/Hatem Mohamed (2021-12-04). “Emirates News Agency – 8th Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies starts Sunday in Expo 2020 Dubai”. Wam.ae. Archived from the original on 2021-12-28. Retrieved 2021-12-31.
  27. ^ “Archived copy”Archived from the original on 2021-12-28. Retrieved 2021-12-28.
  28. ^ “Bio”. binbayyah.net. Archived from the original on 2013-12-12. Retrieved 2013-12-08.
  29. ^ “King of Malaysia has Awarded Sheikh Abdullah BIM Bayyaj”BinBayya NetworkArchived from the original on 10 February 2020. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
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