One of the Maraji` of Sham
He is Shaikh `Abdur-Rahman ibn Ahmad ibn Salih ash-Shami al-Hanbali. Born in the year 1360 AH in the hamlet of Duma, the Shaikh came from the family of the notable and noble marja` – and the successor successor to the great Imam Mustafa ibn Ahmad ash-Shatti – known as Imam Ahmad ash-Shami.
His greatest teacher and scholar at the time was his father, so Imam `Abdur-Rahman, along with his brother Salih – who is also a marja` – sat and took ample notes and advice from their illustrious father. Both later headed to Damascus to further their education.
Upon completion of the Qur’an, the course of study centred around Ad-Dalil ut-Talib along with its’ commentaries by Shaikh at-Taghlabi (d. 1033 AH), Al-Lubadi (d. 1319 AH), along with the side by side texts of Imam Mansur al-Buhuti (d. 1051 AH) which act as additional filler, one of them entitled `Umdat ut-Talib and the other as Ar-Rawd ul-Murbi`.
In addition to all this, the greatest text of study for the Imam – indeed for most of the Shami Hanbalis – is that of Ghayat ul-Matalib, authored and commented upon by the two marja` sages, Imams Mustafa ar-Ruhaibani and Hasan ash-Shatti.
Imam `Abdur-Rahman finished at the University of Shari`ah in Damascus in the year 1384 and went into teaching but due to his love of knowledge and increasing his wisdom, stopped the classes he was holding in Beirut.
He has since then made the acquaintance and good friendship of the great marja`, Shaikh Muhammad Sa`id Ramadan al-Buti and was welcomed onto a panel of muftis to answer questions. The Imam has fit in well and contributed to topics in a lively well and has been well received by questioners and also his peers.
Imam `Abdur-Rahman has insisted that it is not permissible for women to travel over 48 miles in a group, even if it is fulfilling something such as Hajj and there are no mahrams. In this area, he has come down on one of the stricter positions of the marja` people.
He has also strictly held to the position that shaving the beard is impermissible while if someone did not happen to have an ample amount of facial hair, the individual would not be taken to task for this at all.
People have been warned on a number of occasions by the Imam that smoking is indeed impermissible and he has not shrank from the controversy today raging among young people who merely regard it as disliked.
In cases where the husband marries a second wife and the first wife rejects it without previous conditions, the Imam has stated that the woman’s reasoning is not valid as there are verses and texts that undergird the institution of polygamy; but the Imam does state for the husband to grant divorce if the first marriage unravels due to the second marriage.
Birthday parties and similar customs were roundly denounced by the Imam who classified them as little more than freakish customers that have appeared from foreigners. His most terse statement regarding this was that, “There is no benefit in such a celebration whatsoever without any support from the Revealed Law.”
Imam `Abdur-Rahman ash-Shami still stands as a regular mufti for the panel of maraji` set in Sham and also shuttles back and forth to Algeria and other countries to conduct classes and train tomorrows muftis. We ask that Allah bless the Imam with long life to continue in his father’s tradition.