I just read this amazing article posted on Imam Suhaib Webb’s blog, “A Sufi Salafi Connection: Sh. Abdul Wahab [ra] and Muhammad Hayyat al-Sindi [ra]: Dr. John Voll“. It’s a long article, so I took my own notes highlighting what I thought was interesting and noteworthy.
Shaykh Muhammad Hayyat al-Sindi…
- was a Hanafi.
- was a Sufi in the Naqshabandiyya tariqa via ‘Abd al-Rahmin al-Saqqaf. Also possible affiliation with the Khalwatiyya.
- was born in Pakistan, moved to Madinah and studied there.
- studied under:
- Abi al-Hasan Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Sindi, ‘Abdallah ibn Salim al-Bagri, Hasan ibn ‘li al-’Ajami, and Abi al-Tahir Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Kirini.
- 2 were Hanafi and 2 were Shafi
- six lines linking Muhammad Hayyat with al-Qashash
- Muhammad Hayyat had at least eight lines of connexion with al-Biibili
- other scholars too, check article.
Shaykh Muhammad Hayyat al-Sindi was the teacher of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (alleged founder of Wahhabism). He taught Sh. ibn Abdul Wahhab “rejection of popular religious practices associated with ‘ saints ‘ and their tombs”. I guess this shows Sh. Muhammad Hayyat al-Sindi wasn’t an extreme Sufi.
Sh. Muhammad Hayyat had 20 students including Sh. ibn Abdul Wahhab:
- Twelve of them were Hanafi
- Five were Shafi
- One was a “Sufi recluse”
- Two Hanbalis (including Sh. ibn Abdul Wahhab).
- Out of the 20, 12 were directly connected to Sufism
- 7 identified with major Sufi tariqas
- 3 taught or wrote Sufi texts
- 1 was a Sufi miracle worker – the “Sufi recluse
- 5 of them were Sufi Shaykhs
So in other words, from what I understand in the article, these 20 brothers, scholars, students of knowledge were the classmates of Sh. ibn Abdul Wahhab. Regardless of what the students, followers of Sh. ibn Abdul Wahhab have to say about Sufism, it is clear that his classmates, teachers, friends, brothers, and people who he most likely “hung out” with were madhab-following sufis.
The author of the article is Dr. John Voll. He is a professor of Islamic history and the associate director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. You can find his profile here.