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Sheikh Saif Bin Hamad Al-Atiqi (Al-Ateeqi) 1695-1776

Name Traditions: He is Sheikh Saif Bin Hamad Bin Mohamed Al-Atiqi (the surname is also spelled as Al-Ateeqi, Al-Atiki and Al-Atiji in western sources). The Al-Atiqi family’s genealogical lineage  goes  back to Abdullah Bin Abi-Quhafa known by the titles “Al-Atiq”, “Abu-Bakr”, and “Al-Siddique”(573-634 AD), may Allah be pleased with him, from the Taym branch of the Quraish Tribe(1); The Prophet Mohammed’s (Allah praise be upon him) closest companion and first Caliph of the Islamic world. Sheikh Saif Bin Hamad Al-Atiqi was mentioned among the scholars of the Hanbali school by the author of Al-Suhob Al-Wabila (2) and by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Abdulrahman Al-Bassam (3); he was also mentioned by Ibrahim Bin Saleh Bin Essa (4). It was narrated by the author of Al-Suhob Al-Wabila and later by Bin Bassam that he was named Saif Bin Ahmed as mentioned in some documents and this is occasionally a dialect of the Najdians for the name "Hamad". He was mentioned many times as Saif Bin Hamad as seen in many documents written by the hands of his sons; Mohamed Bin Saif and Saleh Bin Saif Al-Atiqi, including the ownership bond of the book "Diwan Al Sarsary" (document 1, in Arabic section, AlAteeqi.com) and the book of Al Khazen; Interpretation of the Holy Quran which was entrusted by it's owner Saif Bin Hamad to his descendants (document 2, in Arabic section, AlAteeqi.com).

Legacy: Sheikh Saif Bin Ahmed Al-Atiqi was described by his friend, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Fairouz Al Ahsaei as a good jurist, who memorized the holy Quran and would not miss a day without reading it. Although wealthy and well off, he did not concern himself with worldly materials and had a habit of donations to charity. In the town of Harma of Najd (in present day Saudi Arabia) he had established the first public school and library and endowed them with productive palm trees and a residential property from which earnings would be charity to serve the financial needs of these establishments. This library, which is known as Al-Atiqi Library, is one of the most famous and oldest community libraries in Najd. The stated palm trees seem to be the palm trees which were historically referred to as "Fayd Saif" or "Fayd Al-Atiqi", with Fayd meaning a plantation or real estate of agricultural value. Some historians attribute this library and palm trees to Sheikh Saif Bin Hamad's younger relative, Sheikh Saif Bin Mohamed Bin Ahmad Al-Atiqi, and it is likely that both men contributed to the donation. Local documents from his home town "Harma" indicated that he owned several business stores which elaborate the diversity of his commercial interest.

Saif Al-Atiqi was an esteemed figure and socially active in his town and region such that several deeds were documented in his presence as a material witness.

 

Intellectual Contributions: Our Sheikh was Imam of Ibn Sulaym Mosque in the town of Harma which is now referred to as AlSulaymiya Mosque. It was certainly the main venue of his activities in teaching and the school was likely attached to it. Saif Al-Atiqi was widely reputed for his opposition against Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulwahab's movement. His opposition was on a scholarly basis in specific matters which he collected in a unified volume that became almost a myth until later discovered in recent years in Kuwait (Manuscript # 155, Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Library of manuscripts). The book was deposited by the descendents of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalaf Al Duhaian who had  a Library which included a collection of manuscripts and works from Al-Atiqi scholars. This volume that Sheikh Saif compiled, although having no specific title, included documents that addressed various issues. In its end he wrote a  dedication from the owner (himself) to his son Mohamed Bin Saif, God have mercy upon them (document 3, in the Arabic section of Alateeqi.com).

Sheikh Mohamed Bin AbdulWahab was concerned with the opinions of Sheikh Saif Al-Atiqi and others like him who disagreed with some of the ideas of the Wahabi "Salafi" movement. This is known by the fact that Sheikh Mohamed had mentioned Sheikh Saif in one of his letters to Ahmed Bin Ibrahim, a scholar from the city Murat in the province of Alwashim(5). In this letter, Sheikh Mohamed wanted to debate against Sheikh Saif's school of thought, in his endeavor to spread his ideas. This letter from Sheikh Mohamed Bin Abdul Wahhab, also shows that Saif Al-Atiqi was the communication liaison between the scholars of  the two holy cities (Mecca and Medina) and his school of thought in Sudair, Najd. To confirm this conclusion, we refer to another letter (6) that was addressed by Mohammad bin AbdulWahhab to Saif Al-Atiqi himself. The letter contains debate of the different issues of contemporary concern, but especially in reference to an outspoken opponent of Bin Abdulwahhab whose name is Abdullah Al-Muweis. This latter scholar was a Judge for the town Harma in which sheikh Saif resided. Saif apparently handed the letter over to his colleague because Al-Muweis responded to the letter and these transactions were found in the same collection (7).

 

Amongst the contributions of Sheikh Saif Al-Atiqi, is a copy of  "Daleel Al Nasik Li'ahkam Al Manasik" (A guide for performing Hajj and  Umra) which was authored by Sheikh Abi Numai Bin Abdullah Al-Tamimi Al-Hanbali in 1008 A.H. at Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo. This manuscript was transcribed by sheikh Saif  and is dated  on  the 28th of the month of  Ramadan 1166 A.H.(29 July 1753). This book contained an ownership deed by Saleh Bin Saif Al-Atiqi which later was transferred to Othman Bin Jarallah Bin Hamad in 1223A.H. (1808). The book is now held in Alsuwayih  family Library in Alrawtha, Sudeir province in central Saudi Arabia.

 

The Final Days: In the volume compiled by Saif Al-Atiqi mentioned above (8), there is a rare description of later travels by Saif Al-Atiqi which apparently was documented by his friend Mohamed Bin Fairouz, in which it is  said that Saif migrated with his wife, Fatima Bint Ibrahim Bin Abdul Rahman" from Sudeir in the province of Najd" to Kuwait  on the 21st of "Muharram" 1189A.H.(24 March 1775). Note that this is the oldest contemporary source documenting the establishment of the Al Atiqi family in Kuwait. The dwelling he chose for his family is located in the central part of the city known as "Hay Al-Wasat" near the grand mosque. This mosque was established by the wealthy pearl merchant "Mohammad bin Rizq" and we have reason to believe that sheikh Saif was chosen to lead the prayer therein .In the month of "Safar" (a month later) of that year, his wife Fatimah had passed away in Kuwait. Simultaneously to his wife's death, his son, Saleh, traveled to him from Al Ahsa'a (a town in Najd) aiming to aid his recovery. This was on 28th of the month Rabi-Al-Awal of 1189A.H.(29 May 1775). Two months later and after Sheikh Saif's recovery, Saif  and his son Saleh, boarded a ship from Kuwait to the port city of Al Qatif on the 28th of Gumada-Ul-Awal 1189 A.H.(28 July 1775) for the purpose of traveling to Al Ahsa'a to meet his old friend Mohamed Bin Fairouz. It was there that Sheikh Saif passed away in Al Ahsa'a during the following year 1190 A.H. This scholar did not miss the opportunity to dedicate his new dwelling in Kuwait as "Waqf" for the purpose of feeding the poor.

Descendants: Two of Sheikh Saif Al-Atiqi's scholar sons, Saleh and Mohamed, were famous scholars and their biographies are well documented (9). They apparently settled after the year 1206 A.H. in Zubeir south of Iraq. His other sons Abdulrahamn, Abdullah and Ibrahim settled in Kuwait. Ibrahim Al-Atiqi also had houses in Zubeir and Majmaa in Najd, Saudi Arabia. Saif's elder son Hamad had many decendents whose siblings are distributed between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.  His son Ibrahim, also became a reputed scholar, and contributed to the evolution of the Hanbali  school  in Kuwait. We discovered a manuscript in which Ibrahim bin Saif dedicated a book by Judge Ala'a El Din Ali Bin Soleiman Alsa'dawy titled Altanqeeh Almoshbii Fi Tah'rir Ah'kam Almuqnii to Hanbali Students of Sharia  in the year 1216 A.H.(1216)(10).

 

Prepared by: Dr. Imad Mohammad Al-Atiqi

August-September 2012


References:

(1)       R.L. Carter "Merchant Families of Kuwait" Scorpion Books, 1984.

(2)        Ibn Humeied " As-Suhub Al-Wabilah Ala Thara'eh Al-Hanabila" edited by Bakr Bin Abdullah Abou Zaid and Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Othaimeen, Al Resalah Establishment – 1996

(3)       Abdullah Bin Abdul Rahman Bin Basam "Ulmaa Najd Fi Thamaniyat Quroon" or "Najd Scholars through eight centuries" Al Nahda Al Hadeetha Library and press house – 1998.

(4)       Ibrahi Bin Saleh Bin Essa – Manuscript.

(5)       Hussein Khazaal "Life of Sheikh Mohamed Bin Abdul Wahab" National Library 1968. The letter is published originally in "Tareekh Najd" authored by Hussein bin Gannam. This manuscript was first published in 1948 by Al-Halabi Press in Egypt.

(6)       Abdullah bin Ibrahim Al-Turki " Mantiqat Sudeir Fi Ahd Al-Dawlat l-Suoodiyat Al-Oula" Darat Al-MAlik Abdu;Aziz, 1425 AH (1995)p. 155-159.

(7)       Abdullah bin Ibrahim Al-Turki. Ibid.

(8)       We have commented on this document in Alateeqi.com , article number (36) in the Aabic manuscript section, inwhich we corrected his passing date.

(9)       Their biographies are in the references (2) and (3) above. See also AlAtiqi, Imad"Ulmaa Al-Atiqi fi Thalathat Quroon" Al-Darah, vol 4, no. 25, 1420 AH. P. 128-187; their biographies are also in AlAteeqi.com.

(10)  See the article (manuscript) number (34) in Alateeqi.com (Arabic section).

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