Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh , We pray this finds everyone well, wrapped in Allah’s mercy and steadfastly traveling the path to eternal felicity, in sha Allah.
In Memoriam: Shaykh Ahmad Habbal al-Rifai Rahimahullah from Damascus
Shaykh Ahmad ibn Muhammad Salih ibn ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Rifai’ al-Habbal Alayhi Rahma was born in 1905 (1323).
He was a scholar known for his immense piety and devotion. He was the person who led The gatherings in praise of the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. In fact his contemporaries and other righteous scholars acknowledged his piety and status in front of Allah.
One of the leading scholars of Quran and Tajwid, Shaykh Muhyi al-Din al-Kurdi Alayhi Rahma (d. 2009) used to say that whenever something serious happened he sought Allah’s help Through the rank and position Shaykh Ahmad al-Habbal held.
Shaykh Makki al-Kittani Alayhi Rahma who was the leading authority in the Maliki madhhab and the Leader of the ‘Ulama League of Syria had referred to Shaykh Ahmad as one of the abdaal more than forty years ago.
The Qutb of Madinah Shaykh Zakariya al-Naqshbandi Rahimahullah a in Madinah was another person who acknowledged Shaykh Ahmad’s piety and virtue.
Contrary to what some may think, Shaykh Ahmad Alayhi Rahma as not an illiterate person with a great affection for the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. He was a true zahid, one who truly knew Allah and a Sufi of the first category. He was granted permission in the Sufi order to guide people but instead he preferred to attach himself to the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam until he is said to have reached a state where he saw the Prophet while awake.
The reports of many righteous persons who saw the Prophet with Shaykh Ahmad Alayhi Rahma on his side in their dreams is countless.
He progressed in his spiritual rank until when he was in his seventies he was considered As one of the abdal, then the qutb of Sham and then possibly one of the four awtad. He inherited this honour from the qutb before him who was Shaykh ‘Arif ‘Uthman Alayhi Rahma and prior to him this position as held by Shaykh Badr al-Din al-Hasani Alayhi Rahma.
Shaykh Ahmad Alayhi Rahma may be distinguished in this day and age from others due to his ‘ibada, Devotion, abstinence, love for the Prophet Muhammad, dhikr, humility and servitude of the people.
Shaykh Ahmad Alayhi Rahma was kind and compassionate to the poor and weak and he accepted their invitations. So we can safely say that the persons who had the greatest and most profound influence on him were; his father, Shaykh Salih Alayhi Rahma (1961); then the fact that he accompanied the illustrious and devout muhaddith, Shaykh Badr al-Din al-Hasani Alayhi Rahma , the saintly scholar, Shaykh Sharif al-Yaqoubi Alayhi Rahma and Shaykh Sharif ‘Uthman Alayhi Rahma.
Shaykh Ahmad Alayhi Rahma was a true Prophetic heir in his attachment to the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. This is in addition to the fact that his genealogy linked him to Shaykh Ahmad al-Rifai’ Alayhi Rahma and ultimately to the Prophet Muhammad. This is supported by the various dreams seen about him herein people were informed that he was the Prophet’s representative in the land of Sham.
The Noble Shaykh said on one occasion:
Return, my son, to the book of Allah; do not abandon it, and you shall be succesful. Read its letters; safeguard its boundaries (that it sets out); stick to its commands; avoid its prohibitions; persevere in it in the paths you take; make constant your recital of it in the depths of the night; for it is the path to your salvation and the means to your victory. A people never left the book of Allah except that they were disgraced; they never held fast to it save that they were given victory.
Shaykh Ahmad Habbal al-Rifa’i May Allah sanctify his secret, passed away on, Tuesday, 1st of Safar 1430 Hijri (corresponding to January 27, 2009), at an age of nearly 110 years.
Some photos of the Noble Shaykh: