They were the brother of one of the greatest saints in the Middle East in the first half of the 14th century; Sayyidunā al Shaykh Sharīf al Yáqūbī rahīmahullāh whose miracles are countless and are narrated by the Syrian and Lebanese people until today. He was one of the Abdāl of Shām. Besides being a great scholar, he was the Imām of the Mālikītes in the Grand Umayyad Mosque in Damascus. The day they died, Damascus’ shops closed mourning their death and the city followed after their funeral. Before the birth of Shaykh Ibrāhīm al Yáqūbī rahīmahullāh, Shaykh Sharīf rahīmahullāh suggested to their brother, Shaykh Ismáīl rahīmahullāh [as they were a Scholar] to wear the turban [īmāma] of the Ulema. Shaykh Ismáīl rahīmahullāh refused, opting for seclusion. Shaykh Sharīf rahīmahullāh then said to Shaykh Ismáīl rahīmahullāh, “We will keep this turban for one of your sons.” Shaykh Ibrāhīm rahīmahullāh was born later and inherited the rank of their uncle [Shaykh Sharīf rahīmahullāh], then the rank of their father [Shaykh Ismáīl rahīmahullāh]. In addition, Shaykh Ibrāhīm rahīmahullāh inherited the rank of several of the Awliyā of Damascus which they specified by name in their writings.
Sayyidunā al Shaykh Ismáīl rahīmahullāh was the head of the Awliyā of their time and along with their brother Shaykh Sharīf rahīmahullāh, they were and are still a great source of barakah in Damascus so much so that duá is answered at their blessed graves. Shaykh Ismáīl rahīmahullāh was trained in the Shādĥilī way by Sayyidunā al Shaykh Muhammad al Mubārak rahīmahullāh and by Shaykh Ahmad al Sūsī rahīmahullāh. They were given ījāza by them and from other Shuyūkh and later had the honour of receiving an ījāza directly from the Best of Mankind, Sayyidunā RasūlAllāh śal Allāhu álayhi wa sallam, which they met while awake. They were a man of seclusion, with a himma that would move mountains. They lived in a room in Sinān Bāsha Masjid in Damascus for 30 years, visiting family once every week on Thursday. Their khalwā in the Sinān Bāsha Masjid is painted green and has many secrets, lights and bārakah.
Shaykh Ismáīl rahīmahullāh attended the lessons of the Mūhaddith Shaykh Badr al Dīn al Ḥasanī rahīmahullāh. Shaykh Ismáīl rahīmahullāh was a spiritual guide in the Shādĥilī path and gave this path to their son, Shaykh Ibrāhīm rahīmahullāh who benefited from their instructions and training. Shaykh Ismáīl rahīmahullāh were also trained in the Qādirī and Khalwatī orders as well. Shaykh Ibrāhīm rahīmahullāh said of them, “He was full of ikhlās. His wird which lead to his opening was 5000 times Sūrat al Ikhlās everyday for 5 years.” Before Shaykh Ismáīl rahīmahullāh passed, they told Shaykh Ibrāhīm rahīmahullāh, “Keep my turban, you are going to have a son, name him Muhammad, and give him my turban.” The turban [īmama] amongst the Awliyā is a symbol of secrets handed down from a walī to another, and alhamdulillah, Sayyidunā al Shaykh Fātih al Kittanī, the son of Shaykh Makkī al Kittanī rahīmahullāh, put the blessed turban on to al Sayyidunā al Shaykh Muhammad al Yáqūbī hafīdhahullāh in later years.
Shaykh Muhammad al Yáqūbī hafīdhahullāh has said that all the openings and miracles they have been given over the years are because of the bārakah of their father Shaykh Ibrāhīm, their grandfather Shaykh Ismáīl, their great Uncle Shaykh Sharīf, their father Shaykh Siddīq [the Mālikīte Imam of Grand Omayyad mosque], Shaykh Árabī [who was Shaykh Ibrāhīm rahīmahullāh’s maternal uncle and the cousin of Shaykh Ismáīl rahīmahullāh], however, Shaykh Muhammad hafīdhahullāh has said that the source of the wilāyah and bārakah in their blessed family is due to their great grandfather, the grandfather of Shaykh Ismáīl, Sayyidunā al Shaykh Muhammad al Hasan, who was a great man of Allāh, rađhī Allāhu ánhum ájmaīn.
Shaykh Ibrāhīm rahīmahullāh said to their son, Shaykh Muhammad hafīdhahullāh that wilāyah will remain in their offspring and that along with them; their children will also be Awliyā and will enter the diwān of the Awliyā. That was something which Shaykh Ismáīl rahīmahullāh’s grandfather, Shaykh Muhammad al Hasan rahīmahullāh was granted upon making duá for their offspring. It was them [Shaykh Muhammad al Hasan] who migrated with their family as part of the famously known ‘Migration of the Scholars’ (Hijrāh al Mashāikh) during the middle of the thirteenth Islamic century.
May Allāh sanctify their secret, grant them al Firdaus al ála and allow us to learn from their teachings and blessed life and the life and teachings of their offspring, in particular, their blessed grandson, Shaykh Muhammad al Yáqūbī hafīdhahullāh.