Sheikh Saleh Bin Saif Al-Ateeqi (Al-Atiqi) – His Life and Poetry
Upbringing and Lineage
Sheikh Saleh was born in the town of Harmah, Sudair, in the year 1163 AH. His family traces its lineage back to Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him), who was from the tribe of Taym, a sub-clan of the tribe of Quraysh, and was known as “Al-Ateeq” (which has various meanings, including “noble” or “one who is saved”) (1). His full name was Saleh Bin Saif Bin Hamad Bin Muhammad Al-Ateeqi (2) (Document No. 9). His father, Saif, was an honorable scholar and the imam of Al-Sulaimiya Mosque in Harmah. Saif also owned a school and library in Al-Majma’ah to which he endowed palm trees and a property for the purpose of spending on students of knowledge.
Saleh was educated under the tutelage of his father, Saif Bin Hamad, and raised according to the principles of the Hanbali school of thought. His father then sent him to his friend, Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdullah Bin Fairouz, one of Al-Ahsa’s scholars, so he also received knowledge from him starting in childhood (3). He became close to Sheikh Muhammad Bin Fairouz—the scholar from Al-Ahsa— and received knowledge from other scholars as well, including Esa Bin Mutleq, Al-Sayyid Abdel-Rahman Al-Zawawi Al-Malaki, and other scholars of Al-Ahsa, Makkah, and Madinah (4). He excelled at his studies and delved into jurisprudence, the study of hadith, the Arabic language, and mathematics. Among others things, he studied Sahih Al-Bukhari with his teacher, Ibn Fairouz, and thus gained advanced knowledge of the science of hadith, becoming quite well-known for his mastery of this discipline (5).
His Work and Legacy
Sheikh Saleh lived in Al-Mabriz, a town in Al-Ahsa. He was in charge of teaching the hadith in Ibn Fairouz’s school and also taught in Al-Masri school (6), using educational methods that were popular at that time to teach religious disciplines in these schools. He then moved to the town of Al-Zubarah located in northern Qatar. He became close to Ahmed Bin Muhammad Bin Rizq Al-Wa’ili, who had come there from Kuwait. Ibn Rizq was one of the wealthiest people of his time and built a mosque in the town of Al-Zubarah. Sheikh Saleh led prayers there in addition to giving sermons and teaching religious disciplines.
Sheikh Saleh was such a close friend of Ahmed Bin Rizq that he even used to write his private letters to kings and rulers for him (7). He had beautiful handwriting and used to copy beneficial books in his own hand for the sake of spreading knowledge and gaining the blessings that would come with people benefitting from it. Among the works that he copied in his hand were the books Ghayat Al-Muram fi Fadhl Al-Salah ‘ala Sayyid Al-Anam and Sharh Al-Sudur bi Hal Al-Mawta fi Al-Qubur, both of which were authored by Jalaluddin Al-Suyuti, as well as Hidayat Tulab Qawanin Al-Husab ila Ma’alem Al-Hisab, authored by his teacher, Bin Fairouz (8).
Sheikh Saleh was keen to pass this praiseworthy habit of copying books by hand on to his students, including Ahmed Bin Lahiq, who copied a poetry collection by Ibn Al-Muqarrab Al-Uyuni for his teacher—which later became one of the most important references available on the history of Al-Ahsa (9).
His Work on the Book Al-Iqna’
One of Sheikh Saleh’s most significant works still in existence today in manuscript form appears to be his review of the book Al-Iqna’, authored by scholar Musa Al-Hajjawi. This book is regarded as one of the most important books of Hanbali jurisprudence as a volume in which its author compiled knowledge of the most salient principles of the Hanbali school of thought and its branches. Al-Hajjawi possessed great scholarly abilities as the Mufti of the Hanbalis in Damascus and was considered the most reliable source of knowledge of his time in the Levant. He was also the best source of knowledge regarding the Hanbali school of thought in general, and many people benefitted from him. He died in the year 968 AH. The book was printed twice, the second edition of which was that printed by Al-Darah Press in 1423 AH (2002 AD) and edited by Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdul-Muhsin Al-Turki, who compared it against three Egyptian manuscripts and one Najdi manuscript.
It is quite apparent that the editor did not see the “Zubayri” manuscript of Al-Iqna’, which was in the possession of the scholars of Najd and Al-Zubayr in the twelfth century after the Hijrah. This copy, which was comprised of 284 large-sized pages, was written in the hand of Mawla Nematullah, who finished copying it on 25 Rabi’ Al-Thani 1174 AH. The manuscript was owned by Sheikh Ibrahim Bin Naser Bin Jadid Al-Najdi, and then by Sheikh Saleh Bin Saif Al-Ateeqi, through a legal purchase (Document No. 6). Sheikh Saleh stamped the manuscript with his personal stamp, on which it was engraved: “He whose trust is in the Eternal Allah, His servant, Saleh Bin Saif Al-Ateeqi” (Document 8).
The significance of this manuscript stems from the fact that its owner, Sheikh Saleh Bin Saif Al-Ateeqi, compared it to three other copies, one of which was the copy belonging to his teacher, Muhammad Bin Abdullah Bin Fairouz, and contained the original author’s handwriting. He also reviewed the problem-areas in the book’s explanatory notes and annotations over a series of sessions (Document No. 9). The end-date of this review was documented in a comparison deed on the last page of the manuscript as being 6 Jumada Al-Thani 1213 AH, which was during the lifetime of his teacher, Ibn Fairouz. The work was completed in the town of Al-Zubayr, where they had both moved to from Al-Ahsa.
The book was later owned by Sheikh Naser Bin Sulaiman Bin Sahim, who acquired it in Rabi’ Al-Awwal of 1223 AH, which was the same year in which Sheikh Saleh passed away. It may be that he purchased it from his heirs. All of the above-mentioned scholars (Ibn Jadid, Sheikh Saleh Bin Saif Al-Ateeqi, and Ibn Sahim) were originally from Al-Majma’ah, Sudair. The manuscript was then owned by Ali Bin Fawzan Al-Samit, who endowed it to students of knowledge and placed it under the supervision of his brother, Jasir. Currently, the manuscript is in the Abdul-Aziz Al-Babtain Library in Kuwait and catalogued as Manuscript No. خ 794.
Sheikh Saleh was a man of great intelligence, which made it possible for him to excel in several fields of knowledge, including the science of hadith, the laws of Islamic inheritance, mathematics, and astronomy. In addition, he had beautiful handwriting and a gentle voice that was described as so melodious that even the doves would stop to listen to it. Along with that, he was so brave and courageous that it was said that bravery of the type he possessed was not present in others of his time. A contemporary of his, Sheikh Uthman Bin Sanad, praised his knowledge, mentioning that he also possessed great knowledge of literature and poetry and was known for his impeccable manners, cheerful disposition, and good morals. He also described him as someone who readily accepted obedience to the Creator, never objecting or showing resistance in this regard.
Ibn Sanad further praised Sheikh Saleh’s skills in the domains of poetry and literature, saying: “It is no wonder Burqa mentioned his poetry, Diwan Al-Sababah, while Ibn Nabatah mentioned his preaching.”
He also described some of the letters and books he wrote, saying that his writing was a testament to the great virtues he possessed, revealing his praiseworthy qualities, ideas, and values. Among other things, Ibn Sanad mentioned Sheikh Saleh’s sense of determination, as well as his great wit, modesty, kindness, and companionship (10).
Sheikh Saleh also displayed a strong sense of loyalty and deep emotions, which appeared clearly in the elegy he composed for his beloved teacher, Muhammad Bin Fairouz (see below).
It is clear from the above that Sheikh Saleh Bin Saif Al-Ateeqi was a prolific poet, and we know for sure that most of his poetry did not survive into the present day. Below, however, we will share a few samples of his poetry that we have looked at so that one may understand the purpose of his writing.
One of Sheikh Saleh’s best known works of poetry in the domain of astronomy was his poem on the twenty-eight phases of the moon, which he penned in at least two different locations that we know of (11). The poem appears as follows (in Arabic) and lists the twenty-eight phases of the moon (See Documents 10 and 11 for more information about the names of these phases):
شَرطنا بُطيناً للثريا بدبرهم وهقعةُ هنع و الذراع و ناثرُ
وطرفتهم معْ جبهةٍ ثم زبرةٍ وصرفةُ عوَا والسماكُ وغافر
زبانا وإكليلٌ و قلبٌ وشولةٌ نعائم بلدٌ ذابحٌ وهو سائرُ
كذا بلعٌ سعد السعود خبائهم وقدم وأخر للرشا فهو آخرُ
Sheikh Saleh also wrote a poem in praise of Sharh Al-Burhaniyah Al-Kabir, by Sheikh Muhammad Bin Saloum, as follows (12):
أعنى ابن سلوم المفيد لقاصد
الشيخ ذا المجد الاثيل محمد
طلق المحيا خير خل عابد
عين الزمان أخ الصفا بحر الوفا
ما شابه كدر وليس بحاقد
قد قال ذلك مخلص فى وده
إرث له فيما مضى عن والد
هو ابن سيف صالح فى وده
يرجو بظهر الغيب دعوة ماجد
ذاك العتيقي الحنبلي بلا خفا
Some of Sheikh Saleh’s poetry also included riddles and conundrums that had to be solved. See the Arabic-language version of Sheikh Saleh’s biography on this website for a back-and-forth riddle-exchange in poetry-format initiated by his friend, Sheikh Abdul-Wahhab Bin Muhammad Bin Fairouz (the son of his beloved teacher) (13), whom Sheikh Saleh addressed in his response to the riddle as “you who have combined all virtues and glory.”
Sheikh Saleh was also extremely skilled at composing elegies in which he expressed his warm feelings towards those whom he loved. He elegized his teacher, Muhammad Bin Fairouz, who died in 1216, in a long poem, which started as follows (14):
Major news came my way and shocked me—
A calamity that set my emotions on fire—
Shocking news that snatched my patience away as soon as I heard it,
And caused the tears to flow from my eyes.
He then praised the honorable sheikh’s virtues, calling him (in part):
A sea of knowledge, and the beauty of Muhammad’s religion—
A shining star of knowledge, and an exceptionally kind person.
Sheikh Saleh extolled his beloved teacher’s other praiseworthy traits as well, describing him as follows:
A man of logic, eloquence, and a smiling face—
A man even more eloquent than Sahban!
A man who received his guests with generosity
and a cheerful disposition for the sake of Allah—
Not like those who perform good deeds
and then remind people what they have done!
His was a generous hand that touched everyone, near or far.
Sheikh Saleh also mentioned Sheikh Ibn Fairouz’s teaching and longtime companionship, which he said he enjoyed and benefitted from both “before and after adulthood,” until he himself grew old.
The elegy expressed Sheikh Saleh’s emotions with complete abandon, elaborating in great detail how he felt upon the death of his beloved teacher. He stated that he would gladly sacrifice his “soul, wealth, and body” for his sake, then took a more pragmatic approach, saying:
But it is Allah’s will that he has died—
and I have no objection to what All-Giving Allah has destined.
If anyone had been destined to live forever in this world,
it would have been Prophet Muhammad without a doubt—
From this we derive our support—
and with that our hearts are at peace.
Another of Sheikh Saleh’s poetic works was a poem he penned on the index page of the manuscript of Iqna’ referred to above. This poem was about euphemisms for divorce (Document No. 7) and begins as follows:
There are ten euphemisms for divorce, plus six more,
So learn them with the intention to understand.
We have included this poem in the document archives found on this website, along with a comparison deed and Sheikh Saleh’s personal stamp from the manuscript.
Yet another of Sheikh Saleh’s poems (may Allah have mercy on him) is in praise of the book Dalil Al-Taleb li Nail Al-Mataleb, authored by Mer’ai Bin Yusuf Al-Maqdesi Al-Hanbali (15), in which he says:
Whoever desires a book of fiqh that compiles all the issues,
and is sufficient for the Seeker of Knowledge—
Review what I have said, my friend—
And derive the fruits of Dalil Al-Taleb.
See the Arabic-language version of Sheikh Saleh’s biography to view the above poems in their original format.
His Death and Progeny
Sheikh Saleh Bin Saif Al-Ateeqi moved with Sheikh Muhammad Bin Fairouz to Basra and settled in Al-Zubayr. He had three sons, Abdullah, Abdul-Aziz, and Abdel-Rahman. His son Abdullah became a scholar, and his father gifted him with beneficial books, including two books authored by Jalaluddin Al-Suyuti: Al-Wasail ila Ma’rifat Al-Awail (Document No. 12), and Ghayat Al-Muram fi Fadhl Al-Salah ‘ala Sayyid Al-Anam (mentioned above).
Sheikh Saleh Bin Saif died at the end of Safar of 1223 AH and was buried in Al-Zubayr Bin Al-Awwam Cemetery (may Allah have mercy on him). After his death, his sons moved to Kuwait, where their relatives lived. Among his descendants was Abdul-Latif Bin Abdullah Bin Sheikh Saleh Al-Ateeqi—not to be confused with Abdul-Latif Al-Ateeqi, who was one of the most prominent merchants of Kuwait of his time, and well-known for his feeding of the poor and giving in charity, especially during the great famine known as “Al-Hailak” (Utter Destruction) that took place in Kuwait from 1285 to 1287. Abdul-Latif Bin Abdullah also owned a shop endowment in Souk Al-Kuwait (Document No. 13).
One of Sheikh Saleh’s sons, Abdul-Aziz Bin Saleh, had a son of his own (Abdullah), who purchased Jakhour Al-Thaqib, a place in Kuwait endowed for the purpose of ritual sacrifice on Eid Al-Adha and serving meals, for Shama Bint Dhahi. The endowment was then transferred to his household in the town of Al-Zubayr in 1276 (16). Abdul-Aziz also had a daughter named Hussah Bint Abdul-Aziz Bin Sheikh Saleh, who owned a home endowment in Kuwait (17).
Another of Sheikh Saleh’s sons was Abdel-Rahman Bin Saleh, who established a shop endowment in Souk Al-Kuwait (Document No. 13).
Other descendants of Sheikh Saleh include Munira Bint Abdel-Rahman Bin Saleh Al-Ateeqi, who settled in Makkah Al-Mukarramah and married Muhammad Bin Ali Bin Abdel-Rahman Al-Madhaifi Al-Adwani. According to a document dated in 1306 AH, Munira owned an endowment in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, in Shi`b Bani `Amir, near Ziqaq Al-Hamam (18).
1. That the family’s lineage can be traced back to “Al-Ateeq” (Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq) is an established fact that has been narrated in a continuous chain, as documented in the “Al-Ateeqi Family Tree” book printed in 2002.
2. A manuscript of the book Al-Iqna’ li Talib Al-Intifa’ in the Abdul-Aziz Al-Babtain Library in Kuwait (catalogued as Manuscript No. 794), the last page of which is a comparison deed in which the writer records his name (and thus confirms his lineage) as Saleh Bin Saif Bin Hamad Bin Muhammad Al-Ateeqi.
3. Muhammad Bin Abdullah Bin Humaid “Al-Suhub Al-Wabilah ‘ala Dhara’ih Al-Hanabilah,” edited by Bakr Bin Abdullah Abu Zaid and Dr. Abdel-Rahman Bin Sulaiman Al-Uthaymeen. 1996 AD, Al-Resala Institute.
4. Uthman Bin Sanad “Saba’ik Al-‘Asjad,” Bombay edition, India.
5. Abdullah Bin Abdel-Rahman Al-Bassam “’Ulama’ Najd fi Thamanyat Quroun,” Al-Nahdha Al-Haditha Library and Press -1998.
6. His work as a teacher was mentioned in Al-Suhub Al-Wabilah. We have confirmed the name of the school in which he was teaching (Al-Masri School) from multiple documents from Al-Ahsa. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Muhammad Al-Masri was the headmaster of the school, which was founded and endowed by the philanthropist Abdullah Bin Hasan Al-Farisi.
7. Saba’ik Al-‘Asjad, Ibid.
8. These manuscripts are in the Library of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Awqaf.
9. Sharh Diwan Ibn Al-Muqarrab Al-Uyuni (issued in print). This piece of information was transmitted by Muhammad Bin Abdullah Aal Abdul-Qader in Tuhfat Al-Mustafid fi Tarikh Al-Ahsa, and cited from Sheikh Hamad Al-Jasir.
10. Saba’ik Al-‘Asjad, Ibid.
11. One of them is Tafsir Ibn Khazin, which is catalogued as Manuscript No. 408 in the Library of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Awqaf. The other is Tafsir Al-Baghawi, which is available in the same library. This work of poetry has been mistakenly attributed to other contemporary scholars who quoted it from him.
12. Abdullah Bin Abdel-Rahman Al-Bassam, Ibid.
13. A manuscript document from the collection of the Library of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Awqaf.
14. A manuscript document from the collection of the Library of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Awqaf.
15. Muhammad Khair Ramadan Yusuf “Al-Ghurar ‘ala Al-Turar,” Dar Al-Basha’ir Al-Islamiya, Beirut 1425, pg. 113.
16. An ownership and endowment document dated in 1324 on which the stamp of Mufti of Al-Zubayr, Abdullah Bin Abdel-Rahman Al-Hamoud, appears, copy donated by Brother Walid Al-Thaqib. The document contains the text of another document dated in 1276, and authenticated by Sheikh Ahmed Bin Uthman Al-Jami’, head judge of Al-Zubayr at the time.
17. A Kuwaiti court document, dated 21 Shawwal 1373 AH (June 22, 1954).
18. A legal document from Makkah Al-Mukarramah, a copy of which is kept under the custodianship of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Awqaf.