In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful…
The great scholar, the imaam, Aboo Ahmad Muhammad Amaan ibn ‘Alee was originally from a village in Ethiopia called Taghaa Taab near or within the Harar region of Ethiopia, about 100 miles west of the Somali border. His family name, al-Jaamee, is an ascription to an Ethiopian village named Jaamaa.
He was born in the year 1349 amidst local political turmoil and tribal feuds. He began studying the Arabic Language from Shaykh Muhammad Ameen al-Hararee in Taghaa Taab. There he also completed memorizing the Quran and began studying the locally favored Shaafi’ee math-hab. He made his way to nearby villages to seek knowledge, and then nearby cities, into Somalia, and then across the Gulf of Aden into Yemen. He traveled impoverished, once spending his only amount of money on a single book. He eventually ventured north on foot, and offered the rites of Hajj in the year 1369.
After Hajj, he remained in Makkah, seeking knowledge at the study circles of the Sacred Haram Mosque at the Ka’bah. There, against the advice of some of his previous teachers, he reluctantly read the book, Al-Usool ath-Thalaathah of Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abdil-Wahhaab (may Allaah have Mercy on him), through which Allaah guided him to abandon the innovations of the Soofee-Ash’aree cults that influenced his earlier studies. He then enrolled in Daar al-Arqam in Makkah, along with the likes of another future scholar, Shaykh Yahyaa ibn ‘Uthmaan al-Mudarris. Daar al-Arqam later became known as Daar al-Hadeeth.
In Makkah, he studied under the great scholar, Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have Mercy on him), whom he accompanied back to Riyadh in the early 1370’s, to attend the new academic institute there, along with other future scholars, such as Shaykh ‘Abdul-Muhsin Al-‘Abbaad (may Allaah preserve him). After completing the Secondary program there, he joined Riyadh’s College of Sharee’ah in 1374.
During his years in Riyadh, he benefited from the Muftee of that era, the great scholar, Shaykh Muhammad bin Ibraaheem (may Allaah have Mercy on him). He also studied under the great scholar of Tafseer, Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ameen Ash-Shinqeetee (may Allaah have Mercy on him), as well as the great scholar of Hadeeth, Shaykh Hammaad Al-Ansaaree (may Allaah have Mercy on him). He was also influenced by other great scholars, like Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ‘Afeefee, Shaykh ‘Abdur-Rahmaan bin Naasir As-Sa’dee (through correspondence), Shaykh Muhammad Khaleel Haraas, and Shaykh ‘Abdullaah Al-Qar’aawee (may Allaah have Mercy on all of them).
In 1377, after the death of the great scholar, Shaykh Haafith al-Hakamee (may Allaah have Mercy on him), who had headed the Academic Institute of Saamitah in southern Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Ibn Baaz appointed Muhammad Amaan to relocate there as the new head of the institute. He continued teaching there until 1381, when he was selected to be among the first group of instructors at the newly founded Islaamic University of Al-Madeenah, alongside a number of widely recognized major scholars of the era. As a representative of the university, Shaykh Muhammad Amaan traveled extensively in missionary work, both inside Saudi Arabia and abroad.
Highly recognized for his dedication to the Sunnah, he was appointed as the very first chairman of the new College of Hadeeth at the Islaamic University in the year 1397. He was also assigned teaching positions at the Prophet’s Masjid, Qubaa’ Masjid, and other masjids around the city of al-Madeenah. During his time as Chairman of the College of Hadeeth, he submitted his thesis about the Attributes of Allaah to Cairo University in the year 1403, for which he was awarded his doctorate degree.
The greatest scholars of this era loved this upright Salafee scholar and recommend him. His personal teacher, Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have Mercy on him), who outlived him by four years, said, “I know him as a person of knowledge, virtue, good creed, and diligence in calling to Allaah and warning against innovations and false teaching…”
Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan (may Allaah preserve him) said:
“Students and highly accredited teachers are many, but only a few of them truly benefit themselves and others. Shaykh Muhammad Amaan al-Jaamee was one of those select few scholars who put their knowledge and efforts to serve the Muslims and guide them by calling them to Allaah with insight. This was through classes he would give while at the Islamic University and at the Prophet’s Masjid, as well as during his travels inside the Kingdom and abroad. He would call to Allaah’s Oneness and spread the correct creed. He would direct the youth of the Ummah towards the methodology of righteous Salaf (early scholars), while warning them about destructive principles and deviant calls. Whoever did not know him personally should get to know him through his beneficial books and numerous tapes, which contain a massive amount of abundant knowledge and plentiful benefit…”
Shaykh Rabee’ ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee (may Allaah preserve him) said:
“I only knew Shaykh Muhammad Amaan to be a believing man of towheed, a Salafee of clear understanding, well versed in the sciences of the Islaamic Creed. I have seen no one better than him in presenting and explaining the creed. He taught us [the books] Al-Waasitiyyah and Al-Hamawiyyah in secondary school. I have never seen anyone more virtuous or skilled at educating the students than this man. We knew him to have good manners, humility, and dignity, manners which his students learned from him…”
The large body of his students who went on to become highly reliable scholars of today also testifies to the knowledge and sincerity of Shaykh Muhammad Amaan. The following are from the more notable of today’s scholars who learned from him:
- Shaykh Zayd ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee
- Shaykh Bakr ibn ‘Abdillaah Aboo Zayd
- Shaykh Rabee’ ibn Haadee al-Madkhalee
- Shaykh ‘Alee ibn Naasir al-Faqeehee
- Shaykh Saalih ibn Sa’d as-Suhaymee
May Allaah have Mercy on those who have passed, and may He preserve those who remain.
Shaykh Muhammad Amaan also left behind a heritage of writings and recorded classes, some examples of which follow:
- As-Sifaat al-Elaahiyyah (The Divine Attributes), his doctoral thesis
- The Status of the Sunnah in Islaamic Legislation (book)
- A Compilation of Writings in Creed and Sunnah
- Explanation of Kitaab at-Towheed (recorded classes)
- Explanation of al-Qawaa’id al-Muthlaa (recorded classes)
- Two explanations of al-‘Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah (recorded classes)
- Explanation of the 40 Hadeeth of an-Nawawee (recorded classes)
- Explanation of ‘Umdat al-Ahkaam (recorded classes)
- Explanation of Nayl al-Owtaar (recorded classes)
Shaykh Muhammad Amaan was a man of obvious sincerity, shining in his personal character, and ingrained in his teachings and writings of and sound refutations of falsehood. He was a man devoted to advising the Muslims on every level he could reach them. He did not socialize much, but his interactions with the people were limited to benefitting and providing benefit. He was also cautious and chose his words wisely. He would not allow anyone to backbite in his presence, nor would he permit anyone to gossip or talk about people’s defects.
He was kind and gentle when people would regret speaking ill of him. After a lecture in Riyadh in 1412, when someone falsely accused him of allowing ribaa (interest), he said, “May Allaah excuse him, whether he honestly misunderstood or had ill intentions. I ask Allaah not to punish anyone because of me, as I only work to rectify matters.” He would pardon anyone who sought to apologize. May Allaah be gracious with him.
While he socialized rarely, Shaykh Muhammad Amaan would use his money, status, and free time to assist his students who needed his help. In fact, in 1374 when he first assumed a teaching position in Riyadh, he continued to sleep in the masjid, and he would give his entire salary away in charity, saying, “I don’t need it.” He only began to take some of it for his family once he was married. This lifestyle rightfully earned him the love of Allaah’s servants. One sign of the love Allaah placed in the hearts of his students for him is that when he left to teach at the Islaamic University of al-Madeenah in 1381, all of his students from Saamitah followed him there to enroll.
Shaykh Muhammad Amaan battled serious illnesses in the latter part of his life and was bedridden during his last year. Before he passed, he gathered his family together, advised them, and reminded them to be conscious of Allaah, maintain family ties, and to be steadfast upon the Salafee creed. “The creed, the creed,” he would repeatedly say. The last thing he said was the testimony that he lived and died for: “There is no deity deserving of worship other than Allaah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah.”
Shaykh Muhammad Amaan died on Wednesday, the 26th of Sha’baan, 1416, leaving behind two wives and 18 children. May Allaah have Mercy on him and bless his family and students.
Written by: Moosaa Richardson