Critical review of the book “The Scholar Mahmoud Muhammad Shakir as I Knew Him” ​​by Abdullah Usaylan

When I read the news of the publication of this book; I commented on it – not hesitating – that it is a precious treasure that will be one of the most important documents in the biography of the great scholar Mahmoud Shakir – may God’s mercy be upon him successively – because the author is one of those who knew thanks to the reader’s knowledge of those who read to him, so he admired his bright style, fascinated by his grandiose statement, then remained enchanted by his looks. The meticulous feat in study and research, until his mass gathering fell over him in the seventies of the last century, and his country sent him to Egypt to study a master’s degree in Al-Azhar Al-Sharif. From his close students, and from his loyal loved ones, whom he constantly corresponded with messages of loyalty and remembrance, until he joined the Supreme Companion.

Cover of the book (social networking sites)

I saw the book as a precious treasure; Because this style of writing and writing in the autobiography is dominated by focus, and is characterized by being restricted to a specific scope that does not depart from it except to collect the parties of the recorded biography, and this focus comes from the title: “As I knew it”; It is a biography based on the acquaintance of the two people with its history, causes, secrets, and facts, until it ends with the day when the page of acquaintance with death was turned; Or parting, which was not after a meeting between acquaintances.

I admire this type of biography with great admiration, especially if it relates to great scholars, influential writers, and distinguished men. Some of them are useful and beneficial, for that would have been a great benefit that would illuminate a dark side of their lives that fills the world and preoccupies people, and connects an unknown rope with a known reality until it matches and is expelled; Therefore, all of this was very keen to read this book. For the position of the author from the author about him, and for the position of this kind of walking in illuminating the hidden aspects of the journey of men.

Prof. Dr. Abdullah Usaylan has worked hard to achieve what we have previously talked about, so he threw the book to be placed in the hands of the reader; Quotes from what he knew from Shaker’s biography and science, with all its details and subtleties, except for the situations and conditions that he missed from his memory. And we saw in the author’s style, and we have no opinion in a style like him, that it is a good, sober style dominated by clarity, and his approach is characterized by a good division of the positions of the biography, which he began with a brief word about the environment of Shakir and his family, then followed by talking about their relationship that began while he was in the master’s stage in 1392 AH / 1972 AD, on the day the critic and writer Abdel Quddus Abu Saleh took him to Shaker’s house in Heliopolis, and the author recorded the moment of the first meeting well.

Then he talked about that precious place in Shakir’s house, which was his balcony, which housed the masters of thought and literature; From researchers, authors, writers and poets who are referred to well, and he did not fail to talk about the meeting on Friday, which they used to gather at the Shaker table, mixing between the most delicious food and the best of words, and this table is one of the most important things that represent Jude Shaker, and expresses his generosity in an unequivocal expression; As he used to do it every Friday without interruption, in poverty and richness, and in hardship and ease, and he used to check on those who were absent from his house, and angered the anger of love and tenderness from those who were shy, so he tried to avoid the table and eat in another place, and this is what the author told about himself. When the relationship with Shaker was talking, whenever it was time for lunch, he went out to the nearest restaurant to eat it there, and then returned after half an hour; So that he would not share food in Shakir’s house out of shame and shyness, and when Shakir sensed that, he asked him and then believed it. He addressed him immediately, saying: “You leave my house at the time of eating, if you do such and such, do not heat up again” (p. 139), and this is great generosity.

The author dealt with things that are among the most important things that I was keen to know, and then I came across by reading the book, and they relate to Shakir’s biography in his home, and his biography outside when he was traveling to perform Hajj, and the special meetings that take place between him and his students and loved ones who are spread across the earth, And in his private letters that he sent to the author, and he appeared in them as a human being who has a relationship with people, and we do not recall from that except a few fragments that he would complete in the book for those who wanted to see them fully.

It is from Shakir’s tenderness and kindness to his family that his daughter (Zalfi) came to him from school crying, “and when he saw her, he almost passed out, but the one who brought his daughter calmed him down and reassured him, and it seems that the one who was with her was a health symptom without fear. His daughter settled in the house; her mother, Umm Fahr, took care of her, and she was acquitted of the symptom that had hurt her.” This thankful compassion included the pets that Umm Fahr kept in the house; Shakir entered once, “to his room to sleep, and he found a cat sleeping in his bed, so Umm Fihr wanted to keep her away, but he asked to leave her in the bed and not wake her, and he slept on the ground and slept” (p. 23-24, p. 142).

It is his appreciation of the guests that he bids them farewell, and accompanies them when he bids farewell, and he “used to bid farewell to his guest at the elevator door, and he is the one who presses his button, waits until the elevator picks up his guest, and then returns to his council” (p. 25).

One of his traits with the students who go to his house and stay in his custody is that he “has a merciful heart, is kind to students of knowledge, is keen to help them, praises those who deserve praise from them, and appreciates those who do him a favor.” He was kind to an Azhari student who wanted to “acquire a copy of The book of layers of stallions poets from the library of Wahba, so he asked him for 35 pounds for it, and he did not have the required amount, and he had with the student a limited amount that would take him to his residence, so he paid him what would complete the required amount, and that amounted to Sheikh Mahmoud Shaker, so he went to the library, and blamed He was harsh on the person in charge of the library, and said to him: This is the one who came to you as a poor student of knowledge, and you had to help him, and had it not been for his eagerness to learn, he would not have given you everything in his pocket. The percentage that he has” (p. 123-124).

One of his keenness on his library, and his love for books, is that he “would not allow anyone who wanted a book from his library to take it himself, rather he had to ask him for the book, and he was the one who brought it himself.” Then he “does not allow any book to be loaned, and if the book enters his library He does not come out of it except for binding with Hajj Saad Khader, the distinguished and elaborate volume, and whoever asks him to lend a book apologizes for it, and invites him to look inside the library for any book he wants” (p. 36-38).

And one of his characteristics in worship is that “he was keen to perform the prayer in congregation in his house, leading his family, and whoever attends his council, and does not go out to the mosque except for the Friday prayer, because the mosque is not close to his house, and I realized (i.e. the author) praying with him repeatedly, and the like This deed compels whoever comes to him during prayer times to get up to perform it with him, and he may be one of those who does not regularly pray, and this is what happened with some of his visitors and attendees of his council” (p. 137).

One of the strength of his memory is that his righteous student, Mahmoud Al-Tanahi, came to him and recorded the subject of his doctorate in Amali Ibn Al-Shjari, so he passed by a transmission from Sibawayh’s book, wanting to document it without being guided to his place, so he went to Shakir to present the problem to him “mentioning the text of the transmission that Ibn Al-Shjari provided from the book Sibawayh, and that he searched the book and did not find it, so it was only Sheikh Mahmoud Shaker that he got up and brought his copy of Sibawayh’s book, and he opened one of the pages of the book, and pushed it to him, and said to him: Read, so he found the text he was looking for. O Mahmoud (Al-Tanahi), whoever works in the investigation must know (how) he reads books to extract what he wants from them, and Al-Tanahi only thanked Sheikh Mahmoud, with supplications for him, accepting his advice with open arms” (p. 52).

I do not want to be too many to mention such examples, as they are present and forthcoming for those who read the book, and I review it and express my opinion on it; To be read by those who find care and attention in it, but it is better to conclude these models with two important positions for Shaker; To signify that the author cited many things from his own life:

The first: his faith and reverence while performing Hajj or Umrah, or visiting the honorable kindergarten in Medina; Abdullah Usaylan says, “One of his great appreciation (i.e., thankful) for the status of the Haram and the Kaaba is that he did not enter with his shoes, rather he left them at the door, and upon completing the rituals of Umrah, we went to where he put his shoes, but we did not find them; either he was stolen or taken by mistake, and he did not care about that. And he walked barefoot to one of the stores that sells shoes next to the Haram, and bought him shoes.If he comes to the mosque of the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, his souls rejoice, and his chest is relaxed, and if he stands in front of the grave of the Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace, he stands with all manners and respect, and he repeats the phrases of peace. And a lot of blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace” (p. 117).

The other position is related to what is circulated about Shakir that he was a very irritable man, quick to anger, very sharp, and the author explained that Shakir was “very humble, carrying a tender heart between his sides, overflowing with love, serenity and purity, not knowing hatred and arrogance,” and he was only angry When he finds in front of him someone who misleads the facts and tries to twist her neck, either arrogantly or out of ignorance. To apologize” (p. 129).

An example of Shaker’s haste to apologize is that when he came to Riyadh to obtain the King Faisal Prize that was granted to him for his book “Al-Mutanabbi”, so he stayed in the Al-Khuzama Hotel, “a prominent figure in literature and culture, and a fan of Professor Mahmoud, who is Professor Abdulaziz Al-Rifai, came to his council in the hotel. And with him was a friend of his, Professor Abd al-Rahman al-Bani, and with this friend was a book he wrote, entitled “The Qur’anic Film.” He presented a copy of it to the scholar Mahmoud Shakir. There is such a thing as (the Qur’anic film), and we should remove the Book of God from such titles that are not worthy of the Book of God.” The two fell silent, and after a while they asked permission and left. Mahmoud said: O Abdullah, I hope that I have not sinned against Professor Al-Rifai and his guest. Early morning the next day, and ended up apologizing for good and brother Stream (pp. 130-131).

We conclude the examples from this interesting book with this incident that concluded with an apology, and then we apologize if the author disagrees with the fact that he filled his book with things that he would have preferred to be free of; Because it does not serve the purpose that prompted him to write, and it does not benefit the reader in much. Because every reader has a goal in reading the book, he draws it for himself through the title, and the reader does not address this book unless he requests the author to tell him about Shaker (as he knew him), and not as (Shaker himself wrote about his life), so the place of this is in his writings and books ; Therefore, the honorable author had no need to talk about Shakir’s relationship with his sheikh, Sayed bin Ali al-Marsafi (p. 31), nor about Shaker’s passion for mathematics, and his transition from it to Arabic language sciences (p. 34).

The author also did not need to talk about Shakir’s poetics and the details of his poetry in the Diwans (p. 61), nor about Taha Hussein and the issue of pre-Islamic poetry (p. 103), nor about the value of the word for Shakir (p. 126), in addition to his writings and investigations, and the details of their funny linguistic expressions. its rare literary uses (p. 175); Because these topics are not required by the reader in this book, and he does not consider it as a presumption or a place for them, then the author did not comment on them, but the narration of the texts mentioned in these issues as a narration from the books of Shakir himself, then he passed by them without a critic or commentator for the most part, and he was the first If he did not find an alternative to talking about these issues, he would address them in terms of his views on them, or in terms of the special sayings that Shakir spoke to him about these issues, if any, otherwise they do not fall within the scope of the goal that the book was created in order to achieve, and it does not increase the reader Except they were scattered in extrapolating his private biography with Shakir in a detailed, continuous and coherent manner, especially since the venerable author mixed these topics with his own memories, so he presented some of them over others, and I became at times – while I was reading – I don’t know if I was reading a past memory, or I am following a study.

Likewise, the author repeated the talk about Shaker’s library, and I wish his talk about it was gathered in one place without separating its parts, and such a thing almost happened in his talk about the students of Shaker and the professors and scholars going to his house. Thankful letters to him, and the handwriting of the great scholar Abi Fahr – may God have mercy on him – is a precise and fast line like the speed of his mind and the clearness of receiving information, so no one who is not an expert in it reads it except on difficulty and difficulty. -If he wills- for the sake of intimacy, inference and proof, and if he added to that, he also recorded his messages, which he sent to Shakir in response to him, that would have been extremely benevolent and beneficial, and perhaps the venerable professor will be able to remedy that in the upcoming editions.

These are the observations that I restricted to the content of this book, and I add to them a reference to a longing in my soul that was not fulfilled; I was looking forward to finding in the book enough interesting hadiths about funny incidents that occurred between Shakir and the author, or between him and some of his students, who is an eyewitness; Because a thankful person in his assembly was kind and friendly, as his student Al-Tanahi says, “He sympathizes with his attendants, and makes each of them an imposed share of his kindness and acceptance. Likewise, I was looking forward to him recording the scientific advice or life lessons that he benefited from from Shakir, but this longing remained in my chest without the illness being cured, and its yield narrated, and perhaps the author has an excuse and I do not know.

Whatever the case, this book revealed many aspects of Shakir’s private life, and it is better to be advised, worthy of reading, and Professor Dr. safety.