Bio: Sh. Sharif al-Yaqoubi

Bio: Sh. Sharif al-Yaqoubi

Sayyid Shaykh Sharif al-Yaqoubi al-Hasani al-Idrisi

الشيخ السيد شريف اليعقوبي الحسني
b. 1282 – d. 1362 H. (1865–1943 CE) in Damascus
qaddasa Allah sirrahu

Sayyid Muhammad al-Sharif b. Muhammad as-Siddiq al-Yaqoubi, brother of Sh. Ismail al-Yaqoubi and granduncle of Sh. Muhammad Abul Huda al-Yaqoubi, was a great scholar, wali and leader of Sham in the 14th CH.

He was appointed by Shaykh Muhammad al-Mubarak to take his place in the Shadhili Zawiya in Damascus.


Malikite in Fiqh, Shadhili in Tasawwuf, a great caller to Allah and a great murshid; The Sun of Damascus, refuge of the people of his time, leader of awliya and Ulema of Sham; The one remembered by every tongue, who resembled the Prophet ﷺ. The one who saved the lives of many people who were on the verge of death, the one whose prayer was answered, and whose miracles are talked about in Damascus even 75 years after his death. He was from the top Awliya of his time and one of the 40 Abdal.

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Lineage | Teachers | Scholarship and teaching | Head of the Shadhili order in Damascus | Students | Jihad | Da’wa in Libanon | Personality | Miracles | Abdal | Passing | Legacy

He is Sayyid Muhammad al-Sharif, son of Muhammad as-Siddiq, son of Muhammad al-Hasan, who migrated from Algeria, and whose lineage goes back to Sayyiduna Idris, the founder of the city of Fas, and from there to Sayyiduna al-Hasan ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with all of them.

He was the brother of Sayiid Shaykh Ismail al-Yaqobi, and the paternal uncle of Sayyid Shaykh Ibrahim al-Yaqoubi, who was the father of Sayyid Shaykh Muhammad Abul Huda al-Yaqoubi – see Yaqoubi family tree.

Learning and teaching
baridiHe was born in Damascus in 1282 A.H and grew up under his father’s care and guidance. He was also looked after by his uncle Shaykh Mizyan Al-Yaqoubi. He memorised the Quran in Jami’ Baridi, in Hayy Suwaiqa, where his father was the Imam and the teacher. He also memorised many of the didactic poems in various sciences. He memorized Al-Muwatta’ of Imam Malik and ash-Shifa of Qadi ‘Iyad. He studies Arabic, fiqh, hadith usul and other subjects under the top Ulema of his time in Damascus.

His teachers
He read Quran to Shaykh Abu as-Safa al-Maliki and studied Malikte fiqh under the great Shaykh Abd Al-Qadir Al-Dukkali d. 1354 (student of Shaykh ‘Ulaysh, Mufti of the malikites in Al-Azhar d. 1300). He corresponded with Shaykh Muhammad Ma’ al-‘aynayn al-Shinqiti d. 1328. He established friendship Shaykh Muhammad ibn Jafar al-Kattani during the latter’s stay in Damascus. He was also a close friend with 3966the great Muhaddith of Sham, Shaykh Badr al-Din al-Hasani, and with the erudite scholar Shaykh Amin Suwayd. He received many Ijazas from his teachers and contemporaries.

Imam of the Malikites
Sayyid Shaykh Muhammad Sharif al-Yaqoubi was the Imam of the Malikites in the Grand Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, the highest authority in fiqh, tafsir, Sirah, and tasawwuf. He maintained teaching tafsir al-Jalayn, Ash-Shifa of Qadi ‘Iyad, and many other books.

He was someone who loved to learn and teach the sacred knowledge and established advanced makatib (or katatib) – centres of advanced learning for youth to study the sacred sciences.

He taught in Jami’ Baridi after his father passed away and was the Imam of the masjid.
With Shaykh Salih ibn Shaykh al-Tayyib, he opened a maktab in Bab Musalla (Maydan). With Shaykh Abd Al-Qadir ibn Shaykh Al-Tayyib he opened one in Zuqaq al-Naqib (’Amara). He opened a school called Madrasa Rayhaniyya in Zuqaq al-Mahkama with Shaykh Muhammad Al-Mubarak and Shaykh Abd Al-Jalil Darra.

Head of the Shadhili order in Damascus
He took the Khalwati order, which was the order of the Yaqoubiy family when arriving from Algeria in the Migration of the Shuyukh in year 1263 A.H., from his father, uncle and grandfather. He also took the Naqshabandi order from his uncle (Shaykh Mizyan).

He was a close student of Shaykh Muhammad Al-Tayyib Ad-Dillisi and took from him the Fasi branch of the Shadhili order. He accompanied his Shaykh until he died in 1313. He then accompanied his brother and Khalifah Shaykh Muhammad al-Mubarak Al-Dillisi until he passed away in 1330. Shaykh Muhammad al-Mubarak appointed him as hsi successor in his zaawiya, so he became head of the Shadhili Fasi order, which was the only branch of the Shadhili Tariqa in Damascus at that time.

Many of the scholars who accompanied Shaykh Sarif and studied under him became the most learned in sacred knowledge, and had the greatest impact in Syria and the Muslim world in the second half of the 14th century.

Sh. Sharif al-Yaqoubi and his students
View list of students in Arabic
Picture compiled by Sh. Doctor Muhamad Sharif al-Sawwaf, a grandson of Sh, Sharif al-Yaqoubi

Amongst his students were:
Shaykh Ibrahim Al-Yaqoubi, d. 1406
Sayyid Shaykh Makki al-Kattani, d. 1393
Sayyid Shaykh Al-Zamzami al-Kattani, d. 1371
Shaykh Salih Farfur, d. 1407
Shaykh Hasan Habannaka. d. 1398
Shaykh Ahmad Al-Habbal, d. 1430
Shaykh Sa’id Al-Ahmar,
Shaykh Isma’il Al-Tarabulsi
Shaykh Ibrahim Qaddour al-Sabbagh
Shaykh Salih Al-Nu’man
Shaykh Ahmad Al-Harun.

Amongst his most noteworthy students were:

Sayyid Sh. Ibrahim Al-Yaqoubi was his nephew and student, and became the most erudite scholar of his time;

Sh. Hasan Habannaka established a madrasa where the top scholars of Syria studied under him and graduated from his school;

Sh. Salih Farfur established the Shari’a institute Ma’had Al-Fath, and had huge impact on in the Muslim world.

Sh. Salih Farfur came to Shaykh Sharif as a student, accompanied him, learning from him, and taking guidance from him. At one point, Sh. Sharif ordered him to open a circle in the Umayyad Mosque, and sent his son Abd al-Karim al-Yaqoubi to be a student. This circle grew to become several classes, and later on became Al-Fath institute.

Sh. Ahmad Habbal: his student, companion and servant
Sh. Ahmad Habbal served Shaykh Sharif and his family for 15 years, travelled to Hajj in service of Shaykh Sharif, and witnessed many of his miracles.

His Jihad
At the end of the world war, the Ottoman power over Syria collapsed, and King Faysal, son of Sayyid Husayn (the Sharif if Makka) seized power over Syria. In March 1920 he declared himself King of Syria. His kingdom lasted only for a few months, after which the French invaded Syria. People – led by the `Ulema – rose in arms to defend the country against the French. They trained themselves using the arms of the former Ottoman government.

The Syrian army, though small, rose up to defend the country under the command of the defense minister, Yousef al-Azmeh. The government also, offered arms to the volunteers who wanted to join the army.

Shaykh Sharif al-Yaqoubi was the commander of a divison of about 500 people, which he gathered from his students and relatives, and the young people in the Moroccan quarter, and they joined the Syrian Army. In July 1920, a battle was fought in the village of Maysalun outside Damascus. The Syrian mujahids were easily defeated because their weapons were old and inefficient. Some of the leaders were sentenced to death and had to leave the country.

Da’wa in Libanon
Shaykh Sharif went to the mountains of Lebanon calling people to Allah. Over a few years, he visited over 100 villages and towns. He established several mosques, taught the people and appointed Imams. His base at that time was Beirut, where he had classes which were attended by the most brilliant young scholars. Some of his students in Lebanon include, amongst many others, Sh. Ahmad Mukhtar al-‘Alayli (who later became Secretary of Fatwa), and Sh. Hassan ad-Dimashqi, who becamse later Shaykh al-Qurat. His best friend in Beirut was none other than the Great Shaykh Yusuf an-Nabhani. Later on, Sh. Yusuf an-Nabhani would visit Damascus and stay with him.

Shaykh Sharif left a huge impact in Lebanon, which continues till today.

After the French occupation had dwindled, he returned to Damascus. However, he continued his Da’wa efforts in Lebanon. he now took some of the young scholars with him. Amongst those who travelled with him were Sh. Salah al-Za’em, Sh. Saleh Farfur, Sh. Ibrahim Qaddur al-Sabbagh.

Once Shaykh Sharif was on his way to Beirut, to call people to Allah and spread Islam in the mountains of Lebanon, Upon departing came across one of his students, Shaykh Ibrahim Qaddur as-Sabbagh, who had just stepped out to buy meat for his family. Sh. Sharif asked him to accompany him to Lebanon. Sh. As-Sabbagh did not hesitate. He dropped everything and followed Shaykh Sharif for forty days, then returned to his family.

He had the demeanor and characteristic of the Ulema. In his attire he wore the most elegant clothing.

He was someone who relied upon Allah, and who taught and nurtured through his actions as well as his words. He was extremely generous and gave freely to others. He loved the poor and destitute. He would host people and feed them with the best of food. No one visited him at meal time, but he would eat.

From the stories which have reached us:

He would honour and give to the workers at the Umayyad Mosque. One day one of the workers asked him for some money, but he didn’t have anything at the time. He went to a shop nearby and borrowed some money and gave it to the worker. The next day when he came to the shop to pay off the debt he was told by the creditor, Shaykh Sa’id Al-Ahmar (one of his close students), that the person he had given to was not poor. Shaykh Sharif replied: You have ruined my intention, please don’t say such things to me. I gave him for the sake of Allah (i.e. not because he was a poor person).

◈ He was once coming out of the Umayyad Mosque, and heading towards Suq Hamidiyya. At the end of the Suq, he saw a battalion of Senegalese soldiers in a military parade. They were part of the French army. Shaykh Sharif thought in his mind of the saying that, if 40 believers get together, there is a wali amongst them. He prayed: O Allah, if there is a wali amongst them, show me who he is. As he was thinking this, a soldier stepped out of line and came towards Shaykh Sharif and said: Yes, there is a wali amongst us!

◈ Shaykh Sharif was once asked by Sayyid Shaykh Muhammad Makki al-Kattani to teach him alchemy, Shaykh Sharif replied, “Give me what is in your pocket”, Sayyid Shaykh Makki handed him a big, heavy, old style key. Shaykh Sharif read something on it and it immediately became gold. He handed it over to him saying, “This is our alchemy.”

◈ Shaykh Sharif used to offer his guests the best type of dates (ambari, ambar-like), and fresh ghee (saman baladi). Once when Sh. Sharif was ill, Sayyid Shaykh Makki al-Kattani visited him. Sh. Sharif apoligized that the type of ghee offered is not “what we usually get”. Sh. Muhammad Makki al-Kattani then purchased an ewe and fed it and took its milk and produced fresh ghee from it. He did this for 6 months, until he had filled a big jar. Sh. Makki then visited Sh. Sharif and offered him the jar of ghee. Upon receiving it, Sh. Sharif said immediately: ‘This has the scent of the Ahl Al-Bayt!’

◈ Sh. Ahmad Habbal, who was a student, companion and servant of Sh. Sharif, related to Sh. Muhammad al-Yaqoubi the occurrence of Shaykh Sharif’s dua for rain on Mount Qasyoun. [t.b.c.]

◈ On one occasion Shaykh Salih Farfour went with his students to visit Shaykh Sharif Al-Yaqoubi. Sh. Salih asked Shaykh Shafiq al-‘Umariy (who was a Qari’) to recite. Sh. Sharif said for everyone to wait. He asked everyone to gather their hearts (i.e. have a present heart), and asked Shaykh Shafiq to make his heart present. He then recited and it was a recitation that left an impact on all attendees. It was described as a recitation of the Akhira. They said, they never felt anything like it.

◈ Everything around sh Sharif was connected to blessings and success. His duas were sought from the people of Damascus. Business men would seek his duas. It was noticed that the business people who accompanied the Shaykh, served him, or took tariqa with him, became the wealthiest and most successful in Damascus and Syria. The scholars who accompanied him and studied under him became the learned most of their time, and had the greatest impact in Syria and in the Muslim world.

Sh. Sharif’s student Shaykh Sa’id Al-Ahmar told Shaykh Ibrahim al-Yaqoubi (the nephew of Shaykh Sharif and best friend of Shaykh Sa’id) that he got much wealth from the duas of Shaykh Sharif. He said he gave Shaykh Sharif much money and always got much more back in return. He said, “It was through the barakah of Shaykh Sharif that I got everything.”

Shaykh Sa’id would open his safe for Sh. Sharif to take whatever he wanted. Sh. Sharif would not take for himself, but for the needy people who used to come him.

(Anecdote of Sayyid in Madina on Umrah and how Shaykh Sa’id’s son prayed next to them.) [t.b.c]

One of the Abdal
Sayyid Shaykh Muhammad Sharif al-Yaqoubi was one of the 40 Abdal (Substitute Saints) of Sham.

One of the signs of Abdal is they bear calamities from the Ummah. One visible effect of this is that they lose children. Sh. Sharif lost all his male children in his life.

One of his sons, Siddiq, was killed by a Turkish officer. Shaykh Sharif decided in his heart to forgive him. The day of the trial, he went to the court wearing a silham (moroccan overcoat with a big cap), so he entered the court covering his face. When the time came for him to speak, he spoke the needed words of forgiveness, and left, still covering his face. When he was asked abot it, he said, “I do not want to recognize his face anywhere I see him.”

Sayyid Shaykh Tajuddin al-Kattani said about him, (in a public gathering when I (Shaykh Abul-Huda) once visited him, “anyone who saw Shaykh Sharif will enter al-Jannah”.

Many said about him, “Anyone who saw him, it is as though he saw the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.

Passing Away
The day Sh. Sharif passed away, Damascus’ shops closed mourning his death and the city followed after his funeral. It was the greatest funeral Damascus ever witnessed (after the funeral of Sh. Badruddin in 1354 whose son was prime minister).

His legacy continues today in many great scholars and Awliya of today who have been favoured with Shaykh Sharif’s blessings, knowledge, duas, hard work and sincerity. The is most evident sign of this is the grandson of his brother Sh. Ismail: Shaykh Muhammad Abul Huda Al-Yaqoubi.

The inheritor of his turban
Before the birth of Shaykh Ibrahim al Yaqoubi, Shaykh Sharif suggested to his brother, Shaykh Ismail Al-Yaqoubi to wear the turban [imama] of the Ulema. Shaykh Ismail declined, opting for low profile and seclusion. Shaykh Sharif then said to Shaykh Ismail, “We will keep this turban for one of your sons.” Shaykh Ibrahim was born later and inherited the rank of his uncle [Shaykh Sharif], then the rank of his father [Shaykh Ismail].

May Allah (the Exalted) have mercy on Sh. Sharif al-Yaqubi, all the scholars mentioned in this article, Sh. Ibrahims students and all of the Muslims.



فضيلة الشيخ محمد الشريف اليعقوبي رحمه الله تعالى
إدارة الموقع
فضيلة الشيخ محمد الشريف اليعقوبي رحمه الله تعالى
الشيخ محمد الشريف اليعقوبي

1282 – 1362هـ = 1865 – 1943م

فقيه مالكي، داعية كبير، صوفي شاذلي نقشبندي ، مرشد مربٍ ، من كبار أولياء عصره .

مولده ونشأته :
هو محمد الشريف بن محمد الصديق بن محمد الحسن بن محمد العربي بن أحمد بن بابا
حبّي بن الخضر بن عبد القادر اليعقوبي , الحسني , يرجع أصله إلى المغرب العربي , وأسرة اليعقوبي منتشرة في الجزائر وفي مراكش في أكثر من مدينة .

ولد في دمشق سنة 1282 هـ , ونشأ في حجر والده وجده وعمه محمد مزيان أبي صالح بن محمد الحسن , حفظ القرآن الكريم على والده في جامع البريدي ( حي السويقة ) وجوَّده , وحفظ عليه المتون في سائر العلوم , وتلقّى عنه الفقه والعربية والحديث والأصول .

وأَخذَ الطريقة الخلوتية عن والده كذلك , وعن جده وعمه , وأخذ بالإضافة إليها الطريقة النقشبندية عن عمه أبي صالح الذي أخذها عن بيت الخاني .

بعد وفاة والده اشتغل بالتعليم , فاعتنى بتأسيس المكاتب ( الكتاتيب ) فإلى جانب تعليمه في جامع البريدي أسس ثلاثة مكاتب : أولها في باب المصلى بالميدان الذي أسسه مع الشيخ صالح ابن الشيخ الطيب والثاني في زقاق النقيب بالعمارة مع الشيخ عبد القادر ابن الشيخ الطيب أيضاً , والثالث المدرسة الريحانية في زقاق المحكمة ( خلف الصاغة الجديدة بالحريقة ) مع الشيخ محمد المبارك والشيخ عبد الجليل الدرّة .

شيوخه :
تتلمَذَ على الشيخ محمد الطيب الدّلسي صهر الشيخ المهدي السكلاوي وأخذ عنه الطريقة الشاذلية الفاسية وكان معه إلى أن مات , فأصبح مع أخيه الشيخ محمد مبارك الدّلسي , ولازمه إلى أن مات كذلك فورث مقامه , وجلس في زاويته ( دار القرآن الخيضرية ) وقرأ على الشيخ عبد القادر الدُّكالي , تلميذ الشيخ عليش شيخ الأزهر ومفتي المالكية , وعلى الشيخ ماء العينين الشنقيطي , والسيد محمد بن جعفر الكتاني وقد لازمه مدة طويلة , وأجازه هؤلاء كلهم كما وقرأ على الشيخ سليم سمارة , وكان يحضر على المحدث الأكبر الشيخ بدر الدين الحسني في مجلس خاص تفسير الجلالين , وأخذ منه إجازة , وله كذلك إجازة من الشيخ أمين سويد , وإجازة خاصة بثبت ( مناهل الصفا لإخوان الوفا ) للشيخ فالح الظاهري .

صفاته وأخلاقه :
تحلّى بأخلاق علماء التصوّف , فكان شديد التوكّل على الله مجاب الدعوة كريماً معطاءً يبذل المال ولا يستبقي بين يديه بقية , يحب الفقراء والمساكين فلا يخلو بيته منهم وقلّما يدخل إلى داره أحد إلا تناول طعاماً , والبركة في طعامه ظاهرة لا يُطعِم إلا ألذ المأكولات , أنيق الملبَس , حسن المظهر وهو مربِّ بأفعاله وأقواله يقف بجانب الحق ولا يبالي ، له قصص ومواقف تدل على هذه الأخلاق منها : أنه كان يُكرم خدم الجامع الأموي ويعطيهم كل حين , دخل مرة يصلي فطلب إليه خادم منهم عطاء ولم يكن معه مال فاستدان من الشيخ سعيد الأحمر , أحد أصحاب المحلات في سوق المسكية فأعطى ذلك الخادم وفي اليوم التالي عندما ردَّ الشيخ الدَّيْنَ قال له الشيخ سعيد : هل تدري أنك أعطيت رجلاً غنياً غير محتاج ؟ فقال له : إنك أفسدت عليَّ نيتي وأرجو ألا تقول لي مثل ذلك في مرة قادمة فأنا أعطيته لله.


Sh. Sharif al-Yaqoubi and his students | Open in high resolution
Picture compiled by Sh. Doctor Muhamad Sharif al-Sawwaf, a grandson of Sh, Sharif al-Yaqoubi
View list of students in Arabic


العارف بالله السيد الشريف الشيخ محمد الشريف اليعقوبي

وحَولَه عددٌ من أَشْهرِ تلامذته من كبار الدعاة والعلماء
١- العارف بالله الشيخ احمد الحبّال الرّفاعِي
٢ – العارف بالله الشيخ محمد رشيد مفتي زاده الخالدي /بيرت
٣- العارف بالله الشيخ محمد رشيد العبلي
٤- الشيخ تيسير كيوَان
٥- الشيخ محمد صالح النعمان /أمير الفتوى بحماه
٦- العلامة المربي الشيخ محمد حسن حبنكة الميداني
٧- العلامة العارف بالله الشيخ عارف الصوّاف الدوجي
٨- العلامة العارف بالله الشيخ محمد سعيد البرهاني
٩-العلامة العارف بالله الشيخ ابراهيم اليعقوبي
١٠ – الوجيه الحاج مُصطفى العطار
١١ – العلامة المربي الشيخ محمد صالح الفرفور
١٢ – الشيخ المحدث تيسير المخزومي
١٣ – الشيخ المحدث حسين عيران
١٤ – العارف بالله الشيخ عبد الرحمن الخطيب الحسني
١٥ – العارف بالله الشيخ سعيد الاحمر
١٦ – العارف بالله الشيخ رياض كيوان

إعداد الشيخ الدكتور محمد شريف الصواف سبط العارف بالله الشيخ محمد الشريف اليعقوبي ١٤٣٧ ه / ٢٠١٥ م

ومن تلامذته أيضاً السادة العلماء:

الشيخ سيف الدين الخطيب الفيّومي
الشيخ اسماعيل الخطيب الفيّومي
العارف بالله الشيخ فريز الكيلاني
الشيخ محمد بشير الخطيب الحسني
الشيخ احمد المَعَضماني
الشيخ احمد الخَردَجي
الشيخ ابراهيم قدور الصبّاح
الشيخ محمود فرحية الهندي /السحماني
العلامة الشيخ ممختار العلايلي /بيرت

Burial place

Shaykh Muhammad AbulHuda al-Yaqooubi composed the following lines about his Grand uncle, Shaykh Sharif, as part of his poem Ma’aathir Al-Shaam (مآثر الشام) which is around 480 couplets about the blessed land of Shaam. He says:

ومنهم لنا عمٌّ شريفٌ مبجلٌ
وصاحب بيت كان للعلم منتدى

إمامٌ عظيمُ الشأن قطبٌ معظمٌ
ونور رسول الله من وجهه بدا

وكان لأهل العصر في الفقه مرجعًا
وللناس في وقت الملمات مقصدا

به قد أغيث الناس في القحط مرةً
عليه بكوا إذ مات درًّا منضدا

وأخباره قد عطرت كل مجلسٍ
وأحواله صارت مثالاً تفردا

Sayyiduna Sh. Muhammad al-Yaqoubi praying at the tomb of Sayyiduna Sh. Sharif al-Yaqoubi in Bab Saghir cemetery in Damascus

View pictures of the tomb stone of Sh. Sharif al-Yaqoubi


Students’ notes from lectures of Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi
Burial places of Yaqoubi Family members in Damascus: damas

Copyright 2017 Damas Cultural Society – Latest update: 2017-08-27

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