One of the Maraji` of Sham
b. 1354 AH
He is Isma`il ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn `Abdur-Rahim ibn Mustafa ibn `Abdur-Rahim ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn `Abdur-Rahim ibn Khalil ibn Muhammad ibn Shams ud-Din ibn Muhammad ibn `Abdul Qawi ibn `Abdullah Ibn Badran as-Sa`di ad-Dumi.
Birth and Upbringing
The noble marja` and Imam was born in the year 1354 AH in Duma and began his schooling in the area. He learned the rules of tajwid and Qur’an from Shaikh Ahmad ibn `Abdul Majid – who was a student of Shaikh Muhammad Salim al-Halwani – and the Imam excelled in his Qur’an hifz and commentary.
After this, the Imam then went to Damascus and sat with the Shaikh, the great `Alim and sage, Ahmad Quwaidir. This began an odyssey of 15 years of knowledge at the Dar ul-Hadith in Damascus.
He also spent five years learning from this same Imam texts such as the Sharh of Akhsar ul-Mukhtasarat of Imam Al-Balbani (d. 1083 AH) – which he read to him twice – as well as Sahih Muslim with the Sharh of Imam an-Nawawi (d. 676 AH) and the Imam benefited greatly from this time along with studying the other books of hadith.
The Imam suffered a tragedy when his noble teacher, Imam Al-Halwani, died and this had a great impact on the personal life of Imam Ibn Badran. He moved to Duma and then took up residence with the great marja` and wise man, Imam Ahmad ash-Shami. He stayed with the Imam some three years and studied the Kashf ul-Mukhdarat of Imam `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Abdullah al-Ba`li (d. 1192 AH) again during that time.
A Setback but Continued Knowledge
After this, Imam Isma`il Ibn Badran headed to Imam `Abdul Majid ibn Muhammad `Abdul Majid – known as Al-Hanbali us-Saghir – and spent 2 ½ years with him, reading out to him Dalil ut-Talib by Imam Mar`ii ibn Yusuf al-Karmi (d. 1033 AH).
After that, he read to the Shaikh Manar us-Sabil by Imam Ibrahim ibn Duwayyan (d. 1353 AH). This text, due to its’ brevity and easy notes, was well loved by the Imam. Right after this, the Imam moved on to sit with the man he calls, “The Pillar, the Ocean of Sciences, the Understander of the Religion, the Mujtahid, the Linguist and scholar of Usul.” This was none other than Al Imam ul-Kabir, `Abdul Qadir ad-Dumi al-Hattawi.
The texts studied together were Ghayat ul-Muntaha fi Jam`ii il-Iqna` wal-Muntaha by Imam Mar`ii ibn Yusuf al-Karmi.
He spent three years with Al-Imam ul-Kabir until he died. Imam Isma`il ibn Badran was given ijazah by him on three separate occasions and was declared by this as marja` in the year 1401 AH and put in charge of teaching fiqh.
As of now, the Imam teachers fiqh most days of the fiqh, focusing on Dalil ut-Talib by Imam Mar`ii ibn Yusuf al-Karmi, Nail ul-Ma’arib by Imam `Abdul Qadir at-Taghlabi (d. 1133 AH), which Imam Isma`il loves very much indeed.
He also does readings in Manar us-Sabil, Kashf ul-Mukhdarat, Al-`Uddah Sharh ul-`Umdah by Baha’ ud-Din al-Maqsidi (d. 624 AH). As for those students who are advanced, he will do the opening portions of Al-Mughni by Imam Muwaffaq ud-Din ibn Qudamah (d. 620 AH).
Students also have to incorporate the study of Arabic into their time with the text Al-Ajrumiyyah by Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Dawud as-Sinhaji (d. 723 AH) and its’ commentary by Imam Zayni Dahlan (d. 1304 AH). He has taught this text with commentary so many times that he has memorised not just the text but also the commentary.
In an interview the Imam was asked about the most knowledgeable scholars of today and to name some for the people at home. The answer he gave was, “In this time – by the praise of Allah, there are noble scholars and sages who are working hard and they are great scholars of fiqh.
We have in Sham some respected and trustworthy scholars, for example Muhammad Sa`id Ramadan al-Buti, Muhammad Ratib, Muhammad Karim Rajih, Mahdi Mustafa an-Nuri. These scholars are indeed head over the Muslim world and not just Sham alone. ”
Imam Isma`il ibn Badran will often take 80 students at a time through a series of books, the students coming from such places as ar-Ruhaibah, Damascus but even further afield from countries such as Algeria, India, US and the UK. Some students have sat with the Imam for many years.
Day by day, this is how the Imam spends his time and he is dedicated to the knowledge and trying to produce the scholars for tomorrow. These people have been steadfast and diligent in the quest to learn. We ask Allah that He reward the Imam and those studying diligently with him.