Shaykh Monawwar Ateeq The 27th of Rabee al-Awwal marks the departure of one of the greatest Muslim scholars in the world, the greatest master of Hadith in his era, al-Sayyid Badruddin al-Hasani (May Allah Almighty sanctify his secret) of Damascus (1850-1935). He was called the ‘roaming encyclopaedia’ by his contemporaries for the vastness of his knowledge. For 17 years, the shaykh secluded himself to the memorisation of traditional texts and appeared among people in his thirties leaving the scholars in awe of his photographic memory and intellectual acumen. Doctors and engineers who attended his classes would astonishingly remark: we exhausted our life learning our profession, and he knows it more than us. On the request of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid, Sayyid Badruddin al-Hasani began teaching under Qubbat al-Nasr at the Umayyad Mosque, an exclusive seat of lectureship dedicated to the shaykh of the ulama of sham. Here he would narrate Sahih al-Bukhari and speak on its narrators, their histories and its commentaries by memory and thus mesmerise his attendees who flocked to him from near and far. His knowledge coupled with the light of piety illuminated him among his peers like the sun. His students recorded remarkable miracles they witnessed including him knowing and directly addressing the thoughts, questions and needs of his students and guests without them asking and his miraculous hearing of the response of the Messenger of Allah (upon him be peace and blessings) to the salawat and salam he recited during his classes! Shaykh Badruddin authored approximately 40 works in his youth and by 30, and thereafter dedicated his life to teaching public and private classes which occupied most of his day. Thus, there came a time when his students became the major teachers of the blessed land and every imam and teacher affiliated with him in Damascus. He spent 80 years of his life in studying and teaching and did not miss his class even on the day of his passing away. It was known of him that he did not lie flat on his back or side to sleep but would recline on some pillows placed around him when he was overcome by sleep whilst reading, and thus slept 2 or 3 hours at night and an hour during the day. His greatest passion was to buy books and manuscripts and outside of classes he would dedicate most of his time reading them. His contempt for the French occupiers of Damascus and struggles to protect the Muslim land from foreign invaders paved the way to the liberation of Syria. The Sayyid instilled the love of the Deen in the hearts of people with great wisdom and changed the lives of thousands he encountered. His benefit extended to people of all walks of life and all ages. By the grace of Allah Almighty, I and many of my colleagues were blessed to meet with some of Shaykh Badruddin’s last students whilst studying in Damascus in 2002 and thereafter. Undoubtedly, this makes us feel lucky as the Shaykh is recorded to have supplicated for those who gazed at him and those who gaze at his students! Shaykh Badruddin al-Hasani and his students supported Sayyidi Imam Ahmad Raza Khan against the Deobandi fitna after the latter returned from Hajj in 1905. The Shaykh’s son Sayyid Taj al-Din al-Hasani penned an excellent endorsement to al-Dawlah al-Makkiyyah on the vast Prophetic knowledge as did the Shaykh’s longest serving student and khalifa Shaykh Yahya al-Maktabi who took an active role in soliciting support for Imam Ahmad Raza Khan and the doctrine of the Ahlussunnah from the scholars of Damascus. I was honoured to gather these efforts and copies of the manuscripts of the endorsements and publish them in Arabic in 2007 and distribute them among Syrian Ulama. Shaykh Diya al-Din al-Madani- who had strong links with the Shaykh’s son and students, Shaykh Abul Hasan Zayd al-Faruqi and Sayyid Fazl e Rasul Haydari were important sunni scholars who were blessed from the Indo-Pak to visit and meet Shaykh Badruddin and take ijaza in hadith from him. The former two thus became important links in the chain of transmission to him for people in the Indian subcontinent. The major sufi, Al-Sayyid Ali Hussain Kichauchawi of India also met Shaykh Badruddin and our grand teacher Allamah Ata Muhammad Bandyalwi also narrated from him through one link. Very few people are aware of these encounters unless they have read the biographies of the scholars of the Indian subcontinent. May Allah Almighty elevate the ranks of our great grand master and the giant Sunni Imam of Damascus, al-Muhaddith al-Akbar, al-Sayyid Badruddin al-Hasani, increase His favours upon him, continue his legacy and keep us on his path of piety and knowledge, ameen. Al-Fatihah!