Imām Yūsuf b. Isma’īl b. Yūsuf b. Isma’īl al-Nabhānī was born in Ijzīm in 1849. In his formative years he studied the Holy Qur’ān with his father Imām Isma’īl al-Nabhānī, later travelling to al-Azhar University in Egypt to continue his studies for approximately 6 years.
He travelled thereafter learning the spiritual sciences stopping at spiritual centers across the Levantine. Gaining ijāzāt in numerous spiritual orders like Idrīsiyyah, Rafā`iyyah, Khalwatiyyah, Shādhiliyyah, Naqshbandiyyah and Qādiriyyah. He then found settlement in Beirut, Lebanon working as a Judge (Qāḍī).
He authored over 100 books upon many areas of religious sciences some of which are taught and studied by scholars and students alike.
To conclude, Imām Kattānī said “he was the [Imām] Būṣīrī of his time, eloquent poet, prolific author and a pearl of his time”. An individual who was truly a master of many sciences and marvellous scholar. The Imām passed away in Beirut in the beginning of Ramaḍān in 1931.
Abridged biography courtesy of Muhammad Ali Asghar and Sayyid Muhammad Samdani in Forty Divine Narrations
The Righteous Life and Blessed Works of the Poet of the Holy Prophet !
the Pious Erudite Sidi Shaykh Yusuf Al Nabhani
Al-Nabhānī wrote of himself in his first published book, al-Sharaf al-Mu’abbad li-Āli Muh.ammad
! (1309/1891), in Asbāb al-Ta’līf lil-‘Abdi al-D.a‘īf, and in Jāmi‘ Karāmāt al-Awliyā’ (both
I am the faqīr Yūsuf ibn Ismā‘īl ibn Yūsuf ibn Ismā‘īl ibn Muh.ammad Nās.ir al -Dīn al-Nabhā nī. We go back to the Banū Nabhā n, an Arab desert folk who settled of old in the town of Ijzim1 North of the Holy sites in the land of Palestine, presently part of the district (qad.ā’) of H.aifa in ‘Akka, province of Beirut. I was born in Ijzim in 1265/1849 approximately.
I read the Qur’ān with my Master and father, the righteous Shaykh and meticulous memorizer of the Book of Allāh, Shaykh Ismā‘īl al-Nabhānī who is now [in 1891] past eighty, in full pos-session of his senses, of strong build and excellent health, and who spends most of his time in works of obedience.
My father’s daily devotion in every twenty-four hours was one third of the Qur’ān, then he would complete the Qur’ā n three times every week. The praise for this belongs to Allā h! #Say: In the bounty of Allāh and in His mercy: therein let them rejoice. It is better than what they hoard$ (10:58).
Then he sent me – Allāh save him and thank him on my behalf! – to Cairo for study. I entered the Mosque of al-Azhar the day of al-Sabt in early Muh.arram of the year 1283 [16 May 1866] and resided there until Rajab 1289 [October 1872]. During that time, I learnt all that Allāh destined for me to learn of the sciences of the Sharī‘a and its preparatory disciplines at the hands of the accomplished teachers and major established masters of the time, any one of whom, if he were found in a place, would be the leader of its people to the gardens of Paradise and would meet their requirements in all of the sciences – the spoken and the rational.
One of them, or rather their peerless leader was the accomplished, erudite teacher, the refuge of meticulous understanding, the Shaykh of all Shaykhs, Teacher of all Teachers, Sayyidī al-Shaykh Ibrā hīm al-Saqqā al-Shāfi‘ī who died in 1298 aged around ninety years. He spent his entire blessed long life reading lessons until most of the Ulema of our time became his students, either directly, or through an intermediary. I attended his classes – Allāh have mercy on him! – for three years and read with him the two commentaries – al-Tah.rīr and al- Manhaj – of Shaykh al-Islām Zakariyyā al-Ans.ārī together with their marginalia by al-Sharqāwī and al-Bujayrimī respectively.
Also among my teachers is the venerable erudite Scholar, Sayyid ī al-Shaykh al-Sayyid Muh.ammad al-Damanhūrī al-Shāfi‘ī who died in 1286 aged around ninety years.
Also the erudite Scholar Sayyidī al-Shaykh Ibrāhīm al-Zurrū al-Khalīlī al-Shāfi‘ī who died in 1287 aged around seventy.
Also the erudite Scholar Sayyidī al-Shaykh Ah.mad al-Ajhūrī al-D.arīr al-Shāfi‘ī who died in 1293 aged around sixty.
Also the erudite Scholar Sayyidī al-Shaykh H.asan al-‘Adawī al-Mālikī who died in 1298 aged around eighty.
128 kms. south of H.aifa, Palestine on the Southern edge of Mount Carmel, 100 meters above sea level.
Life and Works of al-Qād.ī Yūsuf al-Nabhānī 2
Also the erudite Scholar Sayyidī al-Shaykh al-Sayyid ‘Abd al-Hādī Najā al-Abyārī who died
in 1305 aged just over seventy years.
Also Shaykh Shams al-Dīn Muh.ammad al-Anbābī al-Shāfi‘ī the Master of al-Azhar
Mosque, who died in 1313.
Also Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rah.mān al-Sharbīnī al-Shāfi‘ī the Master of al-Azhar Mosque, who died in 1326.
Also Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qā dir al-Rāfi‘ī al-H.anafī al-T.arabulsī the Master of the Damascenes’ Porch (Ruwāq al-Shawāmm) in al-Azhar Mosque, who died in 1323.
Also Shaykh Yūsuf al-Barqāwī al-H.anbalī the Master of the H.anbalīs’ Porch in al-Azhar Mosque.2
[And many others, some of whom are named in Hādī al-Murīd and Jāmi‘ Karāmāt al-Awliyā’.]
[After I graduated and returned home to Ijzim] I began to hold a number of religious courses in ‘Akka and my home town of Ijzim. Then I travelled frequently to Beirut, then Damascus where I met the eminent Ulema. Chief among them was the Jurist of Damascus at the time, our Master the erudite Imām, al- Sayyid al- Sharīf Mah.mūd Effendī H.amza – Allāh have mercy on him! – with whom I read the beginning of al-Bukhār ī’s S.ah.īh., after which he gave me a general certificate comprising the rest of the S.ah.īh. as well as all his other narrations and his own works. He wrote this long certificate in his superb style and handsome handwriting.
Then I headed for Constantinople twice and worked there for several years. I edited the periodical al-Jawā’ib until it folded. I also proofread the Arabic books that came out of its press. My monthly salary there was ten Līras for editing and proofreading. I worked on this for about two or three hours [daily] and did it on the insistant request of the paper’s owner, Ah.mad Effendī Fāris. He considered me his greatest blessing and showed great sadness at seeing me leave for my new position with the government [as a judge]. He offered me to work as his partner or a raise, but I refused.
I left Constantinople, the first time, for Iraq. I went to the district of Kawī S.anjaq in the province of Mosul. Then I returned to Constantinople. I left it a second time in 1300 when I was appointed head judge of al -Jaza’ court in al-Lā dhiqiyya on the Syro -Palestinian sea-shore. After living there for five years the Dawla – Allāh grant her victory! – transferred me to the head judgeship of the court of al-Qudus al-Sharīf. This took place through those at whose hands Allāh decreed goodness for me, without request nor prior knowledge on my part. Then, after less than a year – eight months to be precise – they promoted me, without request nor prior knowledge on my part, to the chief judgeship of the Beirut Court of Justice. This was in 1305/1888.3
After al-Nabhānī retired he turned entirely to writing and worshipping. He travelled to al-Madīna al-Munawwara and lived in the Noble Neighborhood for a while. Then he returned to Beirut where he passed on to the mercy of His Lord in the beginning of the month of Ramad.ān 1350/1932.
Bibliography of al-Qād.ī al-Nabhānī
Afd.alu al-S.alawāt ‘alā Sayyid al-Sādāt (“The Choicest Invocations of Blessings on the Master of Masters”) .
Ah.san al-Wasā’il fī Naz.mi Asmā’i al-Nabiyyi al -Kāmil (“The Best Means in Versifying the Names of the Perfect Prophet !”), in three hundred verses, in print. The Qād.ī wrote a brief history of the compilations of the Prophetic Names in his introduction to his commentary on al-Jazūlī’s Dalā’il al-Khayrāt titled al-Dalālāt al-Wād.ih.āt in which he mentioned various recensions to date:
Al-Qād.ī ‘Iyād.’s superlative masterpiece al-Shifā’
Al-Fākihānī’s al-Fajr al-Munīr
Abū ‘Imrān al-Zanātī’s compendium (201 names)
Al-Jazūlī’s devotional masterpiece Dalā ’il al-Khayrāt in which he relied on al-Zanātī Al-Suyūt.ī’s al-H.adā’iq fī Asmā’i Khayr al-Khalā’iq (300+ names)
Al-Suyūt.ī’s al-Riyād. al-Anīqa fī Asmā’i Khayr al-Khalīqa listing sources for the H.adā’iq
Al-Suyūt.ī’s al-Bahjat al-Saniyya (500 names)
Al-Sakhāwī’s al-Qawl al-Badī‘ fil-S.alāt ‘alāl-H.abīb al-Shafī‘ (450 names)
2Al-Sharaf al-Mu’abbad li-Āli Muhammad ! (p. 140-142).
3Asbāb al-Ta’līf (p. 290, 332) and .Jāmi‘ Karāmāt al-Awliyā’ (2:52).