Shaykh Muhammad AlShareef A Friend & Mentor, A Visionary Extraordinaire, & A Nation Builder
Channel: Yasir Qadhi
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proud of the death is always around us. Every single few days somebody passes away.
Two days ago we gave a quarter and talk about death because of the death of one of our community members. And a few hours ago, a very near and dear friend of mine and a share and a die. We got the news that he just passed away suddenly, without any medical history and that is our dear friend and Sheikh Mohammed Sharif. Allah Mohammed, the founder of a Maghrib Institute. He was at the prime he was my age, and just literally out of nowhere, just collapsed. And that said Chinese Genesis tomorrow. So I wanted to I'm still to be honest, I'm still in shock. So I apologize if my words aren't coming out fully formed, but I wanted to just share some memories that I had of him and also
the impact that he left because I really believe and I think history is going to show that his impact and his legacy will be felt for many, many generations. Starting Muhammad Sharif was accepted University of Medina one year before me, and him and me were of the first batches of born and raised Western Muslims before us in the 70s. The Medina University was founded in the 60s is relatively recent, no Westerners went in the 60s, in the 70s, a number of converts heard of it, and they went on hamdulillah many of them are famous now. You know, Dr. Bill Phillips, and Dr. A number of famous you know, people of that era have come. But generally speaking, born and raised Muslims here didn't
go they didn't the fad, or the custom of going and studying overseas wasn't common. For Allah bless me in 1994, I applied to the rest of Medina. And when I got accepted there, Muhammad Sharif was one year senior to me. So he was ahead of me by one year. And he was the first Arab American out of Canadian to graduate, I was the first dc American to graduate from St. Medina. So we became very close friends, he became my mentor over there, we would meet almost every day, he was in a different college, he was in the College of Sharia, I ended up in the College of Hadith. But you know, at that time, Medina was a small university and all of us Westerners, we would we would be together,
socialized together, you know, I bought my wife there, he had his wife there. So the married students were even fewer. So we became very good friends throughout my course of the study over there. And I always found him to be a humble, decent, caring, loving person always interested in always helping other people out. And I remember vividly, one day probably 9097, or something I don't remember the exact year, we were walking back to our respective colleges. And he said to me, you know, I have a vision.
When I go back to America, I want to teach this knowledge to the people back there. And I want to have an institute that will take that knowledge and somehow teach the youth of that generation of our, you know, the next generation. And I is looking at him pro how you're going to teach this knowledge over there. People have to come here to study because No, that's my vision. I want to teach Islamic knowledge to the Muslims of the West. And subhanAllah that vision of his as an undergraduate, he kept it and had it. He went back. I continued on to the masters. I did my I was doing my graduate. And I heard that he founded this a Muslim Institute, right 2001 2002 He was in
Maryland, Virginia, Maryland area, and he founded it over there. Now Al Maghrib Institute and I was with it for 15 years, I've now moved on to the Islamic State of America, but it's still a part of my I love it immensely. They're all friends of mine. 15 years I was the Dean I was a part and parcel of it. What was unique about Margaret and Margaret Institute was the first Institute the first to understand that our knowledge that we studied in the madrasa is not the exact same copy paste that I need to teach the kids of America, our youth are not going to become odema via these Halaqaat if they want to become a Roma, they have to go with Zara or Medina or Donald bloom, but there's got to
be a middle we cannot keep them jaw hidden. And they're not all gonna go to Al Azhar. So what has to be done? We have to synthesize, bring the techniques of the West and water down the advanced academics of the east and merge it together. Up until that time and I speak to all of those above the age of 40 Go back to pre 911 Halaqaat of the masjid go back to Howard
used to be in those days write your local share with utmost respect to that generation, most of whom did not speak English. And five, pretty much all of them did not speak English, five people, seven people gathered, doing some advanced book written 600 years ago that was in back in the 90s. Or in Urdu or in Arabic, there was no English halacha if it was just a few people after fajr and start Mohamed Sharif had this vision that we need to break from that old mold. If we want to preserve academic Islam, we want to preserve the deen that we need to find something that will bring our youth and teach them in a manner that perhaps the elders won't like but we're not interested in the
elders. And so he founded a small group Institute. And he said, and this was revolutionary at the time, he had so much pushback, so much criticism. He said, we're going to hold classes, not in the masjid, in the college campuses, where the youth go where the students are, we're gonna hire out academic halls, we're gonna make PowerPoint slides handout professional presentations, like they would incorporate like they would in any and he started charging for that this was the biggest, you know, heresy at the time, a Stanford a law, you're going to charge for him. He goes, No, it's not for him. It's for the people to appreciate that they have to come on time, and they're getting
something that is worth more than they're paying for. The problem comes when things are free, people take it for granted. When things are free, people take it for granted. He had the mentality of the Western world. And he said you know what, this isn't to produce aroma. We're not going to produce Messiah by weekend seminars, but our youth need to learn Islam. And we have to make the academics entertaining and lively and bring in you know, quizzes for them to understand do PowerPoint slides do certain types of activities in the class make them feel good to be Muslim? It was a little bit of they call it edutainment, education and intente entertainment. Now. Traditional Kodama booked a star
for Allah. Will law here I remember vividly so many Roula would say you're charging and not just this. They're not in the masjid. They're sitting in classrooms, they're writing on their laptops, what type of elements this how can you write on laptops, you must go back to paper pen for example. The mentality was like that, but Subhanallah the test of time. Within a few years, this institute changed the dynamics of Dawa, we saw I saw with my own eyes, the very critics had to adapt these tactics. The very people who criticized began offering lessons in college campuses charging, doing the same thing because numbers spoke success. There was nothing like a mortgage Institute for at
least a decade until the competitors came in and others came along at Hampden and others good competition is good. In that interim period. We had not hundreds, not 1000s Not even 10s of 1000s hundreds of 1000s of Muslims across the western world studying intense lessons in Al Qaeda in fiqh in Durban Sulu in Islamic history in tafsir, I myself by the blessings of Allah personally, I myself have taught over 100,000 people that's 100,000 people in these not one our 100 cars no two weekend seminars are full weekend seminars, intensive classes you go into a lot of detail 15 years I taught across the globe in Australia in Europe across the country in America chapters opening up and for
the first time our youth those in college because we targeted college kids even to anybody can come but it was called Youth we targeted we want them to come people began to flock that finally somebody's teaching Islam in a way it makes sense to us we bring in examples from modernity the fifth books have many examples that don't make any sense every every data room graduate knows this right? If the rat falls in the world, what are you going to do like you have to change these examples Okay, bring in something relevant bring in the activities that the person understands. And our staff Mohamed Sharif understood this point and he didn't care about the critics because no I'm
not worried about the elders their Iman is Qatada I'm worried about the next year by the way he's spoken to his wife is this I'll make it easy for good friend of my wife as well. Subhanallah so he married you know, Pakistani this Canadian DC so he spoke to two people to depot as well. MashAllah humble. So he would say the elders Eman is pukka don't worry about that. But these youth who's going to cater to them. And if you listen to a lot of my talks, I always say the same thing. I say the exact same thing. Right? The board knows this. I keep on telling the board. I don't care about the criticism of the elders. I want the youth to come let the elders criticize me. I don't want it to be
let them criticize me. I want the youth to come I want the masjid to be back with the next generation. That's what I told the board when
They hired me. I said, I'm not you have to have a closed ears to the elders because I'm not catering to the elders. I want our youngsters to love this Deen to feel proud of this Deen. And if you want me to do that, I'm not going to speak the language of what some of the clerics do, I'm going to speak differently and inshallah you've seen me for three years how I have been in this community, much of that I owe after Allah subhana wa Tada to my mentor who started Muhammad Sharif, much of that I owe, he mentored me, he gave me that vision and idea, and I'll be honest, I mean, he has now passed away some Anila you know, may Allah forgive him. Subhan Allah is just
at the time, honestly, I was a bit of a critic of his when I was in Medina, at the time was like, What are you doing, man? This is not the way even I was old school. You some of you who know me back in the day, even I was old school. He said, Just come back. And I was a graduate student at the time, right. So I heard the success I listened to his no CDs were coming out at the time. By the way, he also revolutionized Islamic CDs, the first person to make professional CDs, put Yanni nice images on them, sell them like you know, billboards is the one stop, he did the replication, the Islamic he wanted the youth to feel professional quality, he hired professional AV artists to make
good quality CDs back in the day, you would record on the cassette recorder in the 80s and 90s. And then distribute that, no, he wanted top quality, we would go to studios to record lectures to be given, distributed and sold the way professional, you know, CDs are sold again that visionary, right. So back in even my stage early stages, I was somewhat critical. I remember vividly, I was in graduate studies in Medina, he visited to do hydro Amaura. One year, this would have been 2000 2001 or something. I was in masters and he had come back, he had started that hour. And I remember we had a nice conversation, invite him over to my house. And then I brought up some points of disagreement
Mohammed, why are you doing this and that you know, some of the small points when you're hardcore and fanatical Wallah, he 10 years down the line, I apologize to him, I should even I said, Mohammed, remember the time you came to my house, I criticize you for one to three points. Now that I'm active in the Dawa, and I see the reality, I find that I'm doing exactly what you did. What I criticize you for I'm doing that now. Because you see, a lot of times our clerics, some of them, many of them. They're not really in tune with society. And that's why they sometimes do or say things that we just find disconnect from Mohammed should have understood that I need to connect with the next
generation. And by the way, even before going to Medina, he had memorized the Quran in Canada, he was a half with in Canada. And he was very active in Mina Mi Na, he was one of the main, you know, pioneers of Mina back in the 80s and 90s. And he was active and producing CDs for Mina, if again, for those of you that are 40 Plus, you know what Mina is, if you go back and find some of those CDs, you will find a pre Medina, Mohamed Sharif on them, he was actually active in the in that stage. My point is that Subhan Allah, this is the visionary that came back, he started this institute, I joined it and Hamdulillah you know, it changed me it changed him. We all you know, continue that
legacy. And throughout the years Subhanallah I always found him to be genuinely concerned about the future of the Ummah about figuring out what is the best way to preserve this theme in the next generation. And at the prime of his and he moved to Dubai, by the way, because just like me, a lot of us are like this, he wants, you know, the best of both worlds, right? He wants mashallah the facilities, and then he's of the West were born and raised in America, but he wants the Islamic environment. So he said, you know, Dubai, if I want the Western type of thing, the cuisine and whatnot, that's there. And if I want the Halaqaat and you know, the Masjid that's there as well. So
he chose to live there, like a type of mini Hijra. So he moved there 10 years ago, and Hamdulillah you know, he was living a comfortable life there giving that will online, I logged on to his Facebook to discover his last message was five hours ago, subhanAllah five hours, you had small video about you know, keeping up with the futon and you know, whatever test Allah sends you rise up to that you can listen to on on his Facebook five hours ago, meaning maybe 10 hours from now, but when I logged on was five hours old Subhanallah and then he was out with his children, and he just collapsed. And that's it. Yeah, and brain, you know, hemorrhage or whatever, whatever it I don't
know the technical term, but Danny alone was down. And that was complete, unexpected, no history of any disease. And this is the reality. You know, last few days, we lost our younger beloved here today, you know, age means nothing. The angel of death, age means nothing. And so we turn make a lesson from this, that panela who knows who is next, and we also make the offer or those that have moved on. And we see one thing with our brother Bella with Muhammad Sharif, the legacies they leave behind the legacies and I want to say something on a final note Subhanallah
you don't appreciate people until they're gone.
That's a fact. You don't appreciate how much they meant to you until the long, no longer a part of your life. So look around and those that are there, appreciate them, appreciate them, hug them hug your family members, thank them be a part of their lives because Allah knows how long we have. You know, so we ask Allah Subhana Allah to forgive our brother Muhammad Sharif and all our loved ones. We ask Allah subhana wa Tada to allow all the work that he has done to be sadaqa jariya for him, and we ask Allah azza wa jal to allow us to be inspired by every single one of our family and friends that has moved on that we live better lives may Allah subhanho wa Taala allow the best days of our
lives to be our last days may Allah Allah Our best actions to be our last actions may Allah subhana wa Tada our allow our legacies to be blessed and fruitful legacies. May Allah subhanho wa Taala allow lots of people to miss and make dua for us when we leave. And we seek refuge in Allah that when we leave, people are happy at our debts. We want people to make dua for us when we pass away so we ask Allah azza wa jal to make our legacies vast and large and to make the acceptance in people's hearts large and to allow his muhabba to be written amongst his servants in this world era we ask for your hope and the hope of those who have hope for you you're a bright for us loop in this world
era love us and allow your righteous servants to love us and do not allow us to return to you except that you are contented satisfied with us or so the law was settled by Muhammad and while he was on the edge American was set on why they come to law here Baraka.
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