Abdallah Bin Bayyah

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Abdullah bin Bayyah
Title Shaykh
Born 1935 (age 79–80)[1]
Timbédra, Mauritania (then French West Africa)
Era Modern era
Region Saudi Arabia
Religion Islam
Denomination Sunni
Jurisprudence Maliki[2]
Movement Sufi[3]
Website http://binbayyah.net/english/

Abdallah bin Mahfudh ibn Bayyah (born 1935[1]) is an Mauritanian professor of Islamic studies at the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.[4]

He is a specialist in all four traditional Sunni schools, with an emphasis on the Maliki Madh'hab. Currently he is the President of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies.[5] Bin Bayyah is involved in number of scholarly councils including The Islamic Fiqh Council, a Saudi-based Institute, he was also the Vice-President of International Union of Muslim Scholars.[6] from which he resigned mid 2013.[7] He is also a member of the Dublin-based European Council for Fatwa and Research, a council of Muslim clerics that aims at explaining Islamic law in a way that is sensitive to the realities of European Muslims.[8]

Early career[edit]

Bin Bayyah was born in Timbédra in a household with an Islamic environment in which he studied all of the Islamic sciences. He began his formal studies with his father, the judge Shaykh Mahfoudh; meanwhile, he studied Arabic with Shaykh Mohammed Salem bin al-Sheen, Quran with Shaykh Bayyah bin al-Salik al-Misumi.[9][better source needed]

In his youth, he was appointed to study legal judgments in Tunis. On returning to Mauritania, he became Minister of Education and later Minister of Justice. He was also appointed a Vice President of the first president of Mauritania.[4] He resides in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and teaches Islamic Legal Methodology, Qur'an and Arabic at the King Abdulaziz University. He is fluent in Arabic and French.[10] Hamza Yusuf serves as his translator.[10]

Islamic Law[edit]

Bin Bayyah is said by some Sufis to be a scholar of uṣūl al-fiqh (Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) today and have competency in all four Sunni juridical schools. Some Muslims look upon him as one of the symbols of moderation and centrism. The West, and especially Western government, has taken his views and fatawas as an source and reference for Muslim minorities living in those countries. His viewpoints are characterized by seeking to adapt Islamic legal theory to the realities of the contemporary age, which enable him to find solutions to the emerging obstacles in the path of the modern Muslim, which has earned him much criticism from orthodox Muslims.[9]

Amman Message[edit]

Bin Bayyah is one of the signatories of the Amman Message, which gives a broad foundation for defining Muslim orthodoxy.[11]


Bin Bayyah is a promoter of Tasawwuf (Sufism).[12] He believes that Tasawwuf (which he defines as the seeking of perfection through the love for and longing towards meeting Allah) needs to be revived in the Islamic Ummah and restored as an Islamic science.[12] He also asserts, contrary to orthodox Islam belief, that various Sufi practices - including the use of dhikr beads, Tawassul (requesting the deceased for Allah's intercession), Tabarruk (deriving blessings from the relics of the deceased), and visiting the graves of the Awliya - all have a "solid basis in Islam."[12] Bin Bayyah asserts that although Sufis strive to attain Ihsan, the highest level of faith in Islam, it is only attainable once one has mastered the first two levels of faith, Islam (the focus of jurists) and Iman (the focus of theologians).[13]

Bin Bayyah states: "That space of overflowing love, light, passion, insight, transparency, transcendence, and spirituality must have some container and some action to exist within and by. Actually, it is the inseparability and interdependence of the body and the soul. There must be a discipline with its own rules and terminology to represent such perfection aspired to by the highly-determined. That discipline took various names such as “sermons”, as used by Al-Bukhari, and “asceticism”, as in early Sunnah. Eventually, it was agreed to be named “Sufism”, just as the discipline of Shar`i rulings was called Fiqh."[13]


Shaykh Bin Bayyah was quoted by President Barack Obama during his speech before U.N security council 2014.[14] He was ranked amongst the 500 most influential Muslims from 2009 - 2013.[15]


  • The Craft of the Fatwa and minority fiqh, 2005.[16]
  • A dialogue about human rights in Islam, 2003.
  • Ideological opinions (فتاوى فكرية)
  • Amaly al-Dalalat (Usul alfiqh), 2003.
  • Terrorism: a Diagnosis and Solutions
  • The Discourse of Security in Islam and the Culture of Tolerance and Harmony
  • Fatwas and Reflections
  • A clarification on the various legal opinions pertaining to financial transactions
  • The Benefits of Endowments
  • Evidence for those suffering from illnesses on the immense Divine award that awaits them
  • Aims and their Proof

Responsibilities and positions[edit]

  • Director of the Global Center for Renewal & Guidance, UK
  • Member of the European Research & Fatwa Council, Ireland
  • Deputy President of the International Association of Muslim Scholars, Beirut
  • Member if the Association of Indian Jurists, Delhi
  • Member of The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Jordan
  • Member of the Counsel of Jurists attached to the Organisation of Islamic Conference, Jeddah
  • Member of the Specialist Panel presiding over the Prince Naif ben Abdul Aziz prize for Prophetic Traditions and Islamic Studies
  • Member of the Muslim League’s International High Council of Mosques, Mecca
  • Member of the International Aid Organisation of Kuwait
  • Member of the Lecturing Staff at the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah in which he is a lecturer
  • Member of the High Council in the Centre for Studying the Aims of Sharia, UK

Medals and awards[edit]

  • Awarded the King Abdul Aziz Medal with the Rank of Distinction
  • Awarded the Jordanian Medal First Degree
  • Awarded the King Abdullah II of Jordan Prize for Scholars and Callers to God, Jordan
  • The Degree of the Organisation of Islamic Conference with Distinction, and others
  • Awarded the Chinguetti Prize for the Category of Islamic Studies for his book “A Dialogue from Afar”[17]

See also[edit]

Prominent students[edit]


  1. ^ a b John Gallagher, Eric D. Patterson, Debating the War of Ideas, p 51. ISBN 0230101984
  2. ^ Gerhard Böwering, Patricia Crone, Mahan Mirza, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, p. 347. ISBN 0691134847
  3. ^ Washington Institute: "Sufism: An Alternative to Extremism?" by Sarah Feuer March 11, 2015
  4. ^ a b John Gallagher, Eric D, Debating the War of Ideas, p 51. ISBN 0230101984
  5. ^ "Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies". 
  6. ^ Members list (Arabic)
  7. ^ (Arabic)
  8. ^ List of Members of the European Council for Fatwa and Research
  9. ^ a b ar:عبد الله بن بيه
  10. ^ a b Imams Online: "Abdallah bin Bayyah" retrieved September 20, 2015
  11. ^ Bin Bayyah's official reply to Amman Message
  12. ^ a b c ISRA News: "Abdallah Bin Bayyah" retrieved September 19, 2015
  13. ^ a b The Official Website of His Eminence Abdallah Bin Bayyah: "Sufism in Islamic Shari`ah" retrieved September 20, 2015
  14. ^ "Prominent Muslim Sheik Issues Fatwa Against ISIS Violence". September 25, 2014. 
  15. ^ "500 Most Influential Muslims". December 8, 2013. 
  16. ^ Gerhard Böwering, Patricia Crone, Mahan Mirza, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, p 347. ISBN 0691134847
  17. ^ Bin Bayyah's Biography

External links[edit]