Shaykh al-Sharif Al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Hasan ibn Alawi ibn Abbas ibn Abd al-Aziz al-Maliki al-Hasani al-'Idrisi al-Makki (1944–2004) was a prominent Sunni Islamic scholar from Saudi Arabia. He was born in Mecca to a family of well known scholars who, like himself, taught in the Sacred Mosque. The Maliki family is one of the most respected families in Mecca and has produced great scholars, who have taught in the Haram of Makkah for centuries. With his father's instruction, he also studied and mastered the various traditional Islamic sciences of Aqidah, Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh, Usul al-fiqh, Mustalah, Nahw, etc. at the feet of other great scholars of Meccah, as well as Medina, all of whom granted him full Ijazah (certification) to teach these sciences to others. Some of the scholars from whom he obtained ijazahs and chains of transmission from include: His father, Shaykh al-Sayyid 'Alawi ibn 'Abbas al-Maliki al-Hasani, Shaykh as-Sayyid al-Habib Ahmad Mashhur TaHa al-Haddad, Shaikh Hasanain Makhlouf, Shaykh Diya al-Din Ahmad al-Madani al-Qadiri (Khalifa of Imam Ahmed Rida Khan) , Shaykh Mustafa Rida Khan al-Qaadiri (Khalifa and son of Imam Ahmed Rida Khan , Shaykh Muhammad Hafidh al-Tijani, Shaykh Amin Kutbi, and numerous others.
By the age of 15, the Sayyid was already teaching the books of Hadith and Fiqh in the Haram of Makkah to fellow students, by the orders of his teachers. After finishing his traditional education in his hometown of Mecca, he was sent by his father to study at the esteemed Al-Azhar University of Egypt. He received his Ph.D. from the al-Azhar university at the age of 25, making him the first and youngest Saudi to earn a Ph.D. from there. His thesis on Hadith was rated excellent and highly praised by the eminent Ulama of the Azhar at that time, such as Imam Abu-Zahrah.
Five of the Sayyid’s ancestors have been the Maliki Imams of the Haram of Mecca. His grandfather, al-Sayyid Abbas al-Maliki was the Mufti and Qadi of Mecca and the Imam and Khatib of the Haram. He held this position during the Ottoman then Hashemite times, and continued to hold it after the Saudi Kingdom was established too. The late King Abd-al-Aziz bin Sa‘ud had great respect for him. His father, al-Sayyid Alawi al-Maliki was considered one of the greatest Ulama of Mecca in the previous century. He taught the various traditional Islamic sciences in the Haram of Mecca for nearly 40 years. Whereas the Wahhabism is the official branch of Islam in Saudi Arabia, al-Maliki adhered to the Maliki traditional school of Islamic jurisprudence, and was a renowned teacher of teaditional Mystical Sufi Islam (known as Sufism). Because of this difference with the Wahhabi religious establishment, al-Maliki has been accused of heresy.
Hundreds of students from all over the Islamic world benefited from his lessons in the Haram makkah and many hold key religious positions in their lands today. The King Faisal of Saudi Arabia would not make any decision concerning Mecca without consulting al-Sayyid Alawi. He died in 2004 and his funeral was the biggest in Makkah in a 100 years. For the next three days after his death, the local Saudi radio stations played the holy Qur'an only. This was something that was done only for him. Future King Abdullah and the powerful defense and interior ministers also attended his funeral.
His brother, Sayyid Abbas is also a learned scholar but is better known for his beautiful voice and as the topmost Qasidah reciter of Saudi Arabia.
Al-Maliki, like all traditional Shaykhs, and like his ancestors before him, taught a number of students at his own residence, providing them with food, shelter, and learning material free of cost. These students usually stayed with him for many years, learning the various branches of Islamic knowledge, then return to their lands. Hundreds of his students have become savants of Islamic knowledge and spirituality in their own countries, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Yemen and Dubai. After returning from the al-Azhar university he was an appointed professor of Sharia at the Umm al-Qura University in Makkah, where he taught from 1970. In 1971, after his father’s death, the scholars of Mecca asked him to accept his father’s position as a teacher in the Haram, which he did. Thus, he sat on the Chair from which his family had taught for more than century. He also taught in the Haram of Medina occasionally. His lessons were the largest attended lessons in the Two Harams.
In the early eighties, he relinquished his teaching position in the Umm al-Qura University as well as his ancestral chair of teaching in the Haram, due to the Fatwas of the Council of the Senior Scholars of Saudi Arabia headed by the late Mufti Ibn Baaz, who considered his beliefs to be in violation of the purity of the Monotheistic belief (Tawheed). Shaykh Saalih Aal-Shaykh, the incumbent Minister of Islamic affairs authored a book entiltled "Haazihi Mafaahimuna" [these are our views] in which he attacked the beliefs of the Sayyid, prouncing him to be deviant and misguided. The book was in fact a rebuttal of Sayyid Al-Maliki's book: "Mafaahim yajib An Tusahhah" [Views that must be corrected].
Since late mufti ibn baaz considered the Mawlid-un-Nabi(صلی الللہ علیہ وسلم) as unislamic there was a war of words between the two scholars. In opposition and reply to Sheikh Bin Baaz' Fatwa, the distinguished Arab Scholar, Sheikh Sayyid Alawi Maliki, who is an Ustad of Hadith in the Haram Shareef in Makkah, produced a clear, decisive and well-supported argument in Arabic on the permissibility of Meelad-un Nabi. Sheikh Sayyid Alawi, in his book "Holal Ihtefaal Bezikra-al Moulidin Nabawee al-Shareef" raised some very serious questions to Bin Baaz. He questioned Bin Baaz about his views on the innovations which are being practised "here" (in the Haram Shareef) and which were never practised before, neither in the Prophet's time, nor in the period of the Sahaba-Ikraam or of the Salf-e-Saleheen. The practices, which Sheikh Alawi mentioned were those such as:
1. The forming of a congregation to perform tahajjud salaah behind an imaam.
2. The recitation of du'a after the Quran has been completed at the end of Ramadaan in taraweeh prayer.
3. The gathering of people on the 27th of Ramadaan at tahajjud where the imaam delivers a sermon.
4. The call of the muezzin by saying "Salaatul qiyaam athabakumullah."
5. Sending praise and salaams upon the prophet <-X This was first introduced by Hazrat Ali (radi Allahu anhu) and he used to teach it to people of his time. Ibn Jabir mentioned that in his book called "Tah'theeb Al-Aa'thar" so did Imam Tabari, Ibi Assem and Yaqoub bin Shaibah.
From that time until his death in 2004, he taught the great books of Hadith, Fiqh, Tafsir and Tasawwuf at his home and mosque on al-Maliki street in the Rusayfah district of Makkah, and his public lessons, between Maghrib and Isha'a, were attended by no less than 500 people daily. Many students from the University used to attend his lessons in the evenings. Even the night before he died, his lesson was well attended.
Sayyid Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki was highly respected by the Saudi government and was often consulted by the King himself on important affairs. He was also nominated as the head judge at the international Qira’at (Qur’anic reading) competition in Mecca for three consecutive years.
The Sayyid was a prolific writer and has produced close to one hundred books. He has written on a variety of religious, legal, social and historical topics and many of his books are considered masterpieces on the subject and are prescribed textbooks in Islamic institutes around the world. According to one of his students, Shaykh Muhamad Fuad Kamaludin, a Muslim scholar from Malaysia, Dr Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki can write up a book of 150 pages just in one night.
This is a selected list of the works the learned Sayyid has authored and published. There are many other publications that are not mentioned and many works that are still to be published.
Many of the Sayyid’s works have been translated into foreign languages.
Whereas Salafism (known to some as Wahhabism) is the official branch of Islam in Saudi Arabia, Sayyid Muhammad al-Maliki adhered to Sufi Islam, following the Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence, and was a renowned teacher of Sufism. Because of this difference with the Wahhabi religious establishment, Sayyid Muhammad al-Maliki had been accused of heresy, had been banned from preaching at the Sacred Mosque, had his passport revoked, and had been arrested.