Shaykh Muhammad al-Hashimi
Sufi Master, scholar of Fiqh and `Aqida, mjadhid. Unique in his humbleness, He was famous for his character and his ma`rifa of Allah, and he was not famous for his knowledge nor for his karamat, although he had plenty of both.
His character was that of the Prophet, in speech, hal, character and deeds. He treated others as he would like them to treat him. His guest tables were famous, and his smile always resplendent. He never became angry except for the sake of Allah. He spread the Shadhili tariqa in Sham.
He is Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Muhammad b. `Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Jam`a al-Hashimi al-Jaza’iri al-Sahili thumma al-Dimashqi al-Ash`ari al-Maliki. His lineage – on both parents’ side – goes back to Sayyiduna al-Hasan ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with the two of them.
He was born by righteous parents on Saturday the 22 of Shawwal 1298 in the city of Sabta next to Tlimsan in Algeria. His father, who was a qadi of Tlimsan, passed away when he was a boy, leaving behind several children, of which Muhammad was the oldest. He studied under scholars in Algeria.
In 1329, he migrated together with his family, and his sheikh, Sheikh Muhammad ibn Yallis, and the latter’s son, Sheikh Ahmad, escaping french oppression in Algeria, which prevented `ulema from having their halaqas. Sheikh Muhammad al-Hashimi was at that time about 31 years old. By way of Tanja and Marn, they headed towards Sham. He recorded everything in detail in his diary:
Al hamduli Allah. On Thursday the 20th of Ramadan 1329, corresponding to the 14 of September (Aylub) of 1911, we left Tlimsan emmigrating. We stayed in Tanja during the whole month of Shawal, waiting for al-Babur.
At this time, the news reached us of Italy’s occupation of Tarabulis al-Gharb (Tripoli), may Allah thwart her efforts, and give Islam victory over her. Peace. The slave of his Master Muhammad ibn al-Hashimi.
On the 5th of December the same year he recorded:
“We reached Marsin, when 27 days had passed of (the month of) Dhul Hijja, and it so happened that we were upheld for a long time on our travel. We remained there for two months and some twenty days. Peace. The slave of his Master Muhammad ibn al-Hashimi.”
At that time, Damascus was under the rule of the ottoman governer Jamal Pasha. The Turkish government spread out Algerian refugees to different places in the Ottoman empire. When the Hashimi family arrived at Sham, Sheikh Muhammad al-Hashimi was taken to Adnah in Turkey, while his sheikh, Sheikh Muhammad bin Yallis, remained in Damascus. After two years, he was allowed to return to Damascus and reunite with his sheikh.
During the first world war, the Syrian populations suffered great hardship, particularly in the provisioning of food. Harvests were poor, the army requisitioned some of the crop, and Britain and France blockaded the Syrian coast to prevent imports. During this time, both the mother and the brother of Sheikh Muhammad al-Hashimi passed away.
In Dhul Qa`ida 1333 / Aug 1915 his mother Amatu Allah Khayra bint al-Shaykh Abi Zian passed away, and was buried in the graveyard at Bab Saghir in Damascus, next to the two wives of the Prophet (sall Allah`alehi wa sallam). His brother, Sheikh Muhammad the younger, passed away in 1334 / 1916 and was buried in the graveyard of Bab Saghir near the grave of Ibn Umm Maktum al-A`ma, one of the companions of the Prophet (sallAllah `aleihi wa sallam).
At the end of the world war, the ottoman power over Syria collapsed, and King Faysal, son of Husayn (the Sharif if Makka) seized power over Syria. In March 1920 he declared himself King of Syria. His kingdom lasted only for a few months, after which the french invaded Syria. People – and at their tëte the `ulema – rose in arms to defend the country against the french. They trained themselves using the arms of the former Ottoman government.
Sheikh Muhammad al-Hashimi strongly disliked the french colonization. Despite of his age and his fragile physique, he joined the ranks of the popular uprising, training himself in martial arts and the use rifles. He fought alongside with many other `ulema of Damascus. amongst them one of his sheikhs, Sheikh al-Sharif al-Yaqoubi, who commanded a division of 500 people.
In July 1920, a battle was fought in the village of Maysaloon outside Damascus. The mujahidun were easily defeated because their weapons were old and inefficient, and many of them were sentenced to death and had to leave the country.
His teachers and ijazat
In Damascus, Sheikh Muhammad al-Hashimi attended the classes of Abd al-Qadir al-Dukali in Jami`al-Nakhla in Hayy al-Suayqa, and read many books with him, e.g. al-Sanusiyya with the author’s commentary on it, and the book Umm al-Barahin, and Sheikh al-Dukali gave him ijaza and gave him his book before passing. He also studied the books of ajza’ (hadith) from various shuyukh in Damascus, among them al-Muhaddith Sheikh Badr al-Din al-Hasani; Imam Muhammad ibn Ja¨far al-Kettani al-Hasani, the great marokkan scholar and hadith master who resided in Damascus for almost ten years after the war (1336 –1345); Sheikh Amin al-Suayid, Sheikh Najib Kîwan, Sheikh Tawfiq al-Ayyubi, Sheikh Mahmud al-`Itar from him he took Usul al-Fiqh, and Sheikh Muhammad ibn Yusuf known as al-Kafi, from which he took Maliki fiqh. They gave him ijaza in all the logically derived and traditionally transmitted (`aqli wa naqli ) sciences.
His Sheikh in tasawuf and suluk was Sheikh Muhammad ibn Yallis, who gave him idhn for the Shadhili wird amm, and made him his khalifa after his son Ahmad, however he passed away in 1346 without giving him special ijaza for taking murids through the Shadhili path. When the great murshid Sheikh Ahmad ibn Mustafa al-`Alawi passed by Damascus on his way to hajj year in 1351, he gave him idhn for al-wird al-khass (al-ism al-mufrad) and for irshad.
For more than thirty-five years, Sheikh Muhammad al-Hashimi was teaching in the Umayad mosque and other mosques of Damascus such as al-Nuriyya and al-Shamiyya. He establsihed organized study circles in private homes and in mosques, and he used to go round the mosques of Damascus to gather people for learning and dhikr. This he continued to do until his last days.
He was tireless in directing Muslims to leave the wrong way. His classes were on Maliki fiqh, `Aqida, tasawwuf and tafsir al-Quran, and his circles of `ilm went on from morning to eve.
He was always concerned about the state of the Muslims, and it pained him when they suffered misfortunes. He used to gather the `ulema in the Umawi mosque to discuss the issues of the Muslims and warn against those who disunite them, He wrote a risala explaining the reasons of disunion and the harm of it and the usefulness of uniting for Allah and to cling to the rope of Allah. he called it “Al-Qaul al-fasil fe bayan al-murad min wasiyyati al-hakim.”
His circles were like meadows of Paradise. He did not like that any shortcoming of any Muslim to be mentioned in his circles, nor did he want sinners to be mentioned. He used to say: “When mentioning the righteous, Mercy descends.”
He was a phenomenon in his character, which was most distinguished in humility and gentleness. If someone asked him a question, he would say: You know better, it’s from your knowledge. If he wanted to correct someone, he would say: “Sidi, what do you think, maybe this is better.” He never made any claims, disliked ceremonies for him.
He had many miracles, but he did not like people mentioning them. He never sat on a chair, but always on the floor. When guest came, he would seat them in his guest room, and them go to sort and shine their shoes. He never allowed anyone to kiss his hand – even when elderly, he would always be the first to kiss other people’s hand. He stood for every person.
He built his home in Hayy al-Muhajirin on Mount Qasiun in two sections: one for his family an another for his guests and murids. (Of Mount Qasiun it is said: It beats the youth, but the old people beat it.) His home was always full of guests. and he never got tired of serving them.
Many slept over with him, and, with his fragile body, he served the brothers himself bringing them food and mattresses to sleep on. He never turned down a request or refused anyone help. People would come to him at midnight, and he would open the door, dressed the way he always used to received guests. One of his student said: “He was like soldier, always prepared. We never saw him wearing a night gown.” 
He was magnanimous and forbearing, never got annoyed with anyone, and he carried every burden with patience and a joyous face. Once a man came to his home in Damascus and began to attack him and ridicule him, saying words that would make the skin of any Muslim contract.
However the Sheikh said nothing to him except: “May Allah reward you with khayr, indeed you are exposing our faults, we will abandon those (faults) and improve our character.” At the end of the day, the man approached the Sheikh, kissed his hands and his feet and asked him for forgiveness.
His humbleness attracted people, and they learned from him, and made him famous and raised him in honor. Many a deviated sinner repented at his hands and became righteous believers, and knowers of Allah. It is reported that once a drunkard crossed his way, unkempt and dusty, and Sheikh Muhammad al.Hashimi wiped the dust from his face, spoke kindly to him, gave him advice and did du’a for him. On the next day, the drunkard repented and was the first to appear in his class,
He was the humblest and gentlest of all sheikhs. Two students got this from him:
1. Sheikh Ahmad al-Shami – Hanbali mufti of Dumas
2. Sheikh Shukri al-Lahafi (at the time of writing still alive) – he is an embodyment of Sheikh Muhammad al-Hashimi
He had many murids, and he gave those of them whom he found deserving idhn for da`wa and irshad. In this way he contributed to the spreading of the tasawwuf and `ilm throughout Damascus, Aleppo and other places in Sham.
Among the students he qualified for irshad were Sheikh `Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri and Sheikh `Abd al-Qadir `Isa. Among his top students of his were Sheikh Ibrahim al-Yaqoubi, Sheikh Najib al-Ahraf, Sheikh Sanid al-Hamzawi, Sheikh Sa’id al-Kurdi (who lived in Jordan) and his son Isma`il. At the time of writing, many of his students are still alive.
Amongst his writings are:
- Al rislala al-mawsuma bi `aqida Ahl al-Sunna – a concise matn, also in a rhymed version
- Miftah al-Janna – Commentary on `Aqida Ahl al-Sunna
- Al-risalatu al-mawsuma bi sabil al-sa`ada fi ma`na kalimatay al-shahada – ”The Way to Happiness through Shahada”)
- Al-Qaul al-fasil fi bayan al-murad min wasiyyati al-hakim – about the unity of the Muslim umma
- Sharh Shatjanj al-`Arifin – a commentary on “Chess of the gnostics” of al-Sheikh Muhiy al-Din Ibn `Arabi (printed in Damascus 1357 /
- Al-hall al-sadid fima istashkalahu al-murid min jawab al-akhdh `an murshidayn “Proving that a murid is allowed to take tariqa from two Masters at the same time”
He passed away in Tuesday the 12th of Rajab 1381, and the funeral prayer was held in the Umawi mosque. He is buried in the graveyard of Dahdah (to the northern side of the Umawi mosque). His grave is well known and visited by many.
Sheikh Muhammad al-Hashimi took the Shadhili tariqa from Sheikh Muhammad b. Yallis lal-Tlimsani (d. 1346 in Damascus), and from Sheikh Ahmad b. Mustafa al-`Alawi; who both took it from Sheikh Muhammad b. al-Habib al-Buzidi, from Sheikh Muhammad b. Qudur al-Wakili, from Sheikh Abu Yusra al-Muhaji and Sheikh Muhammmad b. `Abd al-Qadir al-Basha, who both took it from Sheikh al-`Arabi b. Ahmad al-Darqawi
Relation to the Yaqoubi family
Sheikh al-Sharif al-Yaqoubi was fifteen years older than Sheikh Muhammad al-Hashimi, and one of his teachers, They fought together in the battle of Maysaloon.
Sheikh Isma’il al-Yaqoubi ((he brother of Sheikh al-Sharif) was a close friend of Sheikh Muhammad al-Hashimi’s. For five years they shared the same house, and their children grew up together and they are milk siblings. The house had two floors, one for the Hashimi family and one for the Yaqoubi family.
Sheikh Muhammad al-Hashimi was one of the major sheikhs of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Yaqoubi. Sheikh Ibrahim studied with him from the age of 5, and began memorzing his poems from age 6 or 7. He used to accompany him and his sons to the mosque, Among the books he studied with him are: the Makkan Revelations of Sheikh Muhy al-Din Ibn al-`Arabi, books of Imam al-Sha`rani, and books on `Aqida and Maliki fiqh.
He was one of his top students, and he continued studying with him until his passing, Sheikh Muhammad al-Hashimi gave him general ijaza in everything logically derived and transmitted, including ijaza to transmit the Shadhili Path. The ijaza is signed the 24th of Shawal 1379.