About the Author
Shaykh ʿAbdur Rahmān al-Akhḍarī
He is an Algerian scholar whose full name is Abū Yazīd ʿAbdur Raḥmān bin Muḥammad al-Ṣaghīr bin Muḥammad bin ʿĀmir. He is most commonly known as “al-Akhḍarī.” He followed the Mālikī school in fiqh and the Ashʿarī school in creed. He is considered to be from amongst the great scholars of Islam and the distinguished scholars of Algeria in the 10th century Hijra.
The majority of sources have concurred that he was born in Nabṭūs and grew up there in his early years. Nabṭūs is a village that is about 10km from Baskara. He was born in the year 920H/1514 CE according to the most accurate narration. Shaykh ʿAbdur Raḥmān al-Akhḍarī grew up in an environment filled with knowledge and righteousness. His father, Muḥammad al-Ṣaghīr, gave him what he need to have in terms of raising, knowledge, and manners. Al-Akhḍarī was aided in his search for knowledge by being very intelligent and insistent on learning from a very young age. He was born into a family devoted to studying and this aided him in his search for knowledge. He was known for his breadth of knowledge in that he mastered various subjects.
Al-Akhḍarī undertook a riḥla, or journey to seek knowledge, that gave him a well-rounded development of his knowledge. One of his journeys took him to Tunis to study in the famed Zaytuna University. During his time their studying and sitting with great scholars, his knowledge base increased greatly. After his time there, his journey took him to Binṭways so that he could take another journey to Constantinople as it was a great center of learning at that time. There, he met many scholars and studied with them and took from their knowledge. After that, he returned to Binṭways and settled there establishing a school at the Zāwiyah that his grandfather, Muhammad ibn ʿĀmir, founded. The school was a center of learning whose knowledge illuminated the horizons around it. Al-Akhdari stayed at the school teaching and giving lessons to students and producing scholars. It was a grand school that was that had as its pillar Al-Akhdari and attracted the attention of many seekers of knowledge. Those seekers then began coming to the school from every deep valley and faraway land including the area in the south of the country and from Constantinople and the surrounding areas.
Shaykh Abdur Rahman al-Akhdari loved to take time to be alone (khalwa) as he was one who renounced worldly things (zāhid) and spent much time in devotional worship (ʿibādah). From time to time, he would travel to the mountains in the surrounding area and would find rest being there as well as an increase in spiritual cleansing. One of these mountains that he would travel to is Mount Ahmed Haddu and Mount ʿIyāḍ that are part of the Al-Awrās range that borders on the desert. It was during these mountain retreat that he wrote a number of his books such as Al-Durratul Bayḍā’ which he wrote while on Mount Ahmed Haddu. While on Mount ʿIyāḍ, he wrote a commentary on his book on Arabic rhetoric entitled Al-Jawhar al-Maknūn as we find that he wrote at the end of the book, “This book was completed during the blessed night of Friday on the last day of Rabīʾ al-Awwāl in the year 952 in an area of Mount ʿIyāḍ.”
– He studied with his father, Shaykh Muhammad al-Ṣaghīr, beginner courses in arithmetic and inheritance.
– He studied with his brother Shaykh Ahmed who was the oldest of his brothers. He studied law (fiqh), logic (manṭiq), and rhetoric (bayān). Shaykh Ahmed did not author any books.
– Shaykh Abū ʿAbdullah Muhammad ibn ʿAlī al-Khurūbī who was a jurist (faqīh), narrator of Prophetic sayings (muḥaddith), and a person of the inner path (ṣūfī). He was born in in a village near Tripoli in Libya but was raised in Algeria. Al-Akhḍarī studied with him and took the wird of the Shādhili and Zarrūqī order. Shaykh Abū ʿAbdullah wrote Dhawil Aflās fī Akhbāri Fās (a book on the city of Fes), Al-Uns fī al-Tanbīh ʿan ʿuyūb an-nafs (a book on the faults of the self), and Muzīl al-Lubs (a book on the secrets of the five pillars). He passed away in 963 Hijrah.
– Shaykh ʿAbdur Raḥmān ibn al-Qurūn who lived near the village of Ṭulūqah. Al-Akhḍarī benefitted immensely from him.
– Shaykh ʿUmar ibn Muhammad al-Kammād who is well known as “Al-Wazzān.” He was one of the great scholars of Constantinople and was a faqīh, ṣūfī and a scholar of both logic and narrations. Some of his works include Al-Biḍāʿah al-Muzjāh, fatwas on both law and creed, and a marginal commentary (ḥāshiyah) on Sanūsi’s work on creed.
Shaykh ʿAbdur Raḥmān al-Akhḍarī was constantly in the service of Islam through teaching and studying and continued in this fashion until his death. The biographers who have studied his life have differed on the year in which he passed away but the strongest opinion is that he passed away in the year 983 Hijrah. He passed away in an area called “Kuḥāl” and was then taken to his birthplace for burial near Muhammad ʿĀmir and his brother Ahmed ibn Muhammad. This was a request that he had made to his students while he was sick. He was buried there and his grave is still well known to this day and people visit his grave. Shaykh ʿAbdur Raḥman al-Akhḍarī is considered to be from amongst the pious friends of Allah (awliyā’) about whom Allah said, “Verily the friends of Allah will not have fear nor will they be sad.” He is from amongst those who spent their lives in the service of education.
Al-Akhḍarī wrote over 20 books including texts, commentaries, and poems. Some are have been printed recently, some exist as old prints, others are still in manuscript form and some have decayed or been lost. The following is a list of some of his works:
1- Al-Jawhar al-Maknūn fī Thalāthati funūn, which is a book on rhetoric (balāghah).
2- A commentary on Al-Jawhar al-Maknūn.
3- Al-Sirāj fil Hay’ah, a poem on astronomy written when he was 19 years old.
4- Al-Durrah al-Bayḍā’ fī aḥsan al-Funūn, a 500-line poem on inheritance and arithmetic written when he was 20 years old while he was studying with his father. He began writing a commentary on this book but it was stolen before he completed it. It was then returned and yet he was not able to complete it.
5- Azhar al-Maṭlab fī ʿilm al-Usturlāb, a book on the use of the Astrolabe, astronomy and the planets. He wrote the book when he was 24 years old.
6- A commentary on the Sanūsiyyah, a book on creed (ʿaqīda)
7- Al-Sullam al-Murawnaq, a 143-line poem on the rules of logic which he wrote when he was 24 years old.
8- A commentary on Al-Sullam al-Murawnaq.
9- A poem on the rules of grammar.
10- Al-Durrar al-Bahiyya, a versification of the book on grammar al-Ajrūmiyyah.
11- Al-Farīdah al-Gharrā’, a poem on creed (ʿaqīda).
12- Al-Qudsiyyah, a poem on true purifying the soul (taṣawwuf) and leaving innovations.
13- Mukhtasar fil ʿIbādāt and this is the book before you.
14- A treatise warning about the harms of innovation.
15- A poem in praise of the Prophet “may peace be upon him”.
16- Mishkāt al-Nās.
17- Naṣīḥatul Shabāb, which he wrote as advice to the youth of his age.
Shaykh Rami Nsour
From the book “The Abridgement of al-Akhdari: Mukhtasar al-Akhdari“