Ebrahim Moosa – Cii News | 17 December 2012

Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdullaah As-Subayyal, a senior Saudi scholar  as well as former Imaam and khateeb of Masjid Al-Haraam in Makkah has passed away after an illness. He was 86.

Sheikh  as Subayyal is renowned for serving as the Imaam of Islam’s Holiest site for more than 40 years. He continued discharging his duties until an advanced age, leading his last congregational Salaah in the Haram in March 2007.

Born in 1345 Hijri (1926), he assumed his duties in Makkah in 1385 Hijri(1965) on a recommendation from Shaykh ‘Abdullaah ibn Muhammad ibn Humayd (RA) who was at the time the President of Religious Supervision within al-Masjid al-Haraam. In addition to leading the congregational prayers delivering khutab, he was also granted authority to deliver lessons there.

Among the notable events that occurred during his career was the seizure and attempted takeover of the Haram by armed fighters in 1979.

In the early morning of 20 November, Sheikh Al Subayyal was preparing to lead the prayers for the fifty thousand Musalees who had gathered for prayer. At around 5:00 am, he was interrupted by insurgents who produced weapons from under their robes, chained the gates shut and killed two policemen who were armed with only wooden clubs for disciplining unruly pilgrims. The insurgents declared that the Mahdi, or redeemer of Islam, had arrived in the form of one of the insurgent leaders, Mohammed Abdullah al-Qahtani, and called on Muslims to obey him. Despite the fighters being heavily armed, Sheikh al Subayyal resisted, refusing to offer allegiance to their leader as demanded.

Sheikh Subayyal was the Imaam on the Haram during the siege on Makkah

Among his many teachers was Al-Imaam ‘Abdullah Ibn Humayd who was the President of the Fiqh Council at the Muslim World League and widely  recognised as a leading jurist of his age. Sheikh al Subayyal’s students include al-’allaamah Abdur-Rehmaan Al-’Ajlaan and Shaykh Saalih Al-Fawzaan, a Member of the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia and representative on the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Verdicts.

In 1393H he was appointed General Deputy to the President of Religious Supervision within al-Masjid al-Haraam and continued in this post after the Presidency adopted new changes in 1397H whereby he became Deputy to the General President for Affairs related to al-Haramayn ash-Shareefayn. In 1411H he was appointed General President for the Affairs of al-Masjid al-Haraam and al-Masjid an-Nabawee with the rank of (Government) Minister where he continued until Dhul-Qi’dah of 1421H when his resignation was accepted.

In addition to his scholarly pursuits, he also served on a number of commitees and held leadership positions in various Da’wah organisations. He was a member of the Islaamic Fiqh Council at the Muslim World League and had taken part in nearly every session of the Council since its inauguration in 1398H.

As President of the Committee for the Landmarks of al-Haram al-Makki, he oversaw the task of establishing the boundaries around Makkah with official arched structures numbering 1,104 in total. His committee also produced a detailed and comprehensive map of the boundaries of Makkah depicting the location of each and every official arched structure as well as the districts inside and outside the Haram area. The Committee also supervised the establishment of 14 official signs at the 7 entry points to Makkah which every visitor sees upon entry.

Sheikh al Subayyal took part in many da’wah-related trips within the Kingdom and overseas; his first foreign trip was to the Republic of Guinea (Africa) in 1395H, and his last to Japan in 1424H. His da’wah-related trips number more than 100 – covering more than 50 countries across the world.

Among Sheikh al Subayyal ‘s sons was the late Shaykh Dr. ‘Umar al Subayyal who also served as an Imam and Khateeb at Masjid al-Haraam until his demise.

His Janaazah Salaah is due to be performed today after Asr at the Haram.


*Many Biogrpahical details courtesy Fatwa-Online website

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