Shaykh Zain ul Aqtab Siddiqi
HIS EMINENCE SHAYKH ZAIN UL AQTAB SIDDIQI
Shaykh Zain Ul Aqtab Siddiqi’s grandfather was central to the history of the Ahle-Sunnah wal Jammat of the Indo Sub-continent in the 20th and 21st Century. In a time when Ismail Dehlvi had begun to import Wahabi doctrines and the rise of the false Prophet Mirza Qadiani and other sectarian deviations, it was necessary to consolidate the fortress of beliefs (Aqaa’id) that were core to the ethos of the Ahle-Sunnah wal Jammat. He debated Mirzai Ulema and is the only one in history to have not only defeated them (13 in number) but also to have had this victory documented and acknowledged by them in writing. With Wahabi Ulema he debated extensively to ensure that elements of khawaarij based thinking could not infiltrate the ranks of the Ahle-Sunnah wal Jammat. With the Shia, there was a dire need to counter a movement that had made it its goal to de-sanctify the status of the Noble Companions (Rizwanullah Alaihee Ajmaeen). As well as debating with the above he was also the author of comprehensive texts that enunciated his position from the Qur’an and Sunnah. He was renowned to lecture for hours and then spend the whole night pleasing his Lord.
Shaykh Zain Ul Aqtab Siddiqi’s father, Shaykh Abdul Wahab Siddiqi came to the shores of the British Isles in 1973. When he observed western life first hand he was convinced that the challenges that lay ahead of Ummah settling in western orientated countries was far different to the challenges in the East. He was particularly interested in the quality of leadership of the Ummah that would shape the way Muslim’s were guided in leading their lives.
The problem with imported Scholars from the East was six fold. Firstly and foremost they could not speak English and even if they could, such English was not of a calibre that they could comfortably converse with the common English speaker. Secondly, because they were void of secular education they could not relate to modern concepts and address them from an intellectual perspective entrenched in the Qur’an and Sunnah. For example seldom could/can such Ulema deliver a detailed discourse on concepts of Marxism, fascism, liberalism, feminism and democracy in the manner described. This ostracised a key elements within the Ummah and jeopardised the prospects of da’wah to an audience that could have proved instrumental in expanding the parameters of appeal to Islam in the West.
Thirdly, such Scholars could not logistically reach out to a wider audience. Their reach was limited to those who attended Masjids, which in the early days of Muslims settlement in the Europe, was very little. The majority had inherited a system of Imamat that reflected the concept of priesthood in Christianity. They were chained to Masjids under the auspices of an employment contract, which not only marred their independence but also marginalised many of the talents that they had at their disposal. How intellectually demanding can: teaching children the recitation of the Qur’an; leading the five prayers; performing funerals; conducting marriages and delivering a 20 minute speech on Jumma be for someone who has studied the Sciences of the Qur’an and Sunnah for 7-10 years? He was of the view that the knowledge, which they had acquired, had to be disseminated through other more innovative forums.
Fifthly, having grown up in the East such Scholars could not empathise with key aspects of Western lifestyles that were needed when dealing with areas of conflict. The reality was that most of them adhered to their culture consciously or subconsciously in their mannerisms, practices and orientations. Accordingly they could not relate to those who were settled in western orientated countries in an effective manner.
Finally, the majority of Scholars were void of real Tasawwaf. At best for them Tasawwaf was just aesthetic dogma. The absence of Tasawwaf created a dry aura around these Ulema whose da’wah was entrenched in advocating the practice of Deen out of sheer obligation to do so.
Shaykh Abdul Wahab Siddiqi (Rahmatullah Alaih) dealt with the above dilemmas by proposing that the such imported Scholars had limited impact and what was needed was the creation of Ulema, born and bread in these countries, educated in Deen to the highest levels but also contemporaneously educated in a secular discipline to ensure a career that would emancipate them from the chains of Imaamat and serve The Deen to audiences both who populated the Masjids and those who did not. Such Ulema would not depend on Masjids for remuneration and would have independence in their ability to preach. Such Ulema would also be armed with Tasawwaf so that the style of the Awliya could be imported to their mannerisms in private and public life and Da’wah.
To manifest these ambitions he created the Hijaz College which, set in 64 acres of English countryside, provided the perfect platform. Hundreds of graduates from this institution were and are being produced to serve the Ummah.
Today his Mizaar, the first Mausoleum in the history of Europe serves as a reminder of his contribution to the Ummah as well as an icon to remind the Ummah of the role of Awliyaa in expanding and fortifying the faizaan (spiritual and intellectual blessings) of Nabuwwat.
Shaykh Zain Ul Aqtab Siddiqi is essentially a product the thinking of his father Rahmatullah Alaih. Having been taught under direct auspices of his father Rahmatullah Alaih in the Sciences of Deen, he read Law at undergraduate level in London and then an LLM at Staffordshire University. He is currently practicing as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court and Senior Partner in Saints Solicitors LLP, and has a speciality in Family Law, Will and Probate, civil litigation and Immigration Law.
He has provided expertise evidence in cases with an Islamic Law dimension to the Supreme Court in civil cases as well as to the Crown Court in complex criminal cases.
He speaks 7 languages and has taught Islamic Law and Theology for last 15 years at Hijaz College and The Suyuti Institute in Manchester. He has taught many Ulema and his speciality is in the areas of Adaa’id, Tasawwuf and Usool Tafseer. He has extensively travelled the globe over the past 19 years and lectured to diverse audiences in Canada, America, Europe, Africa and the South Pacific, which includes Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Whether he lectures to audiences of a few or a football stadium he talks passionately entrenching all thoughts religiously in Qur’an and Sunnah.
He has a following of Mureeds (spiritual disciples) throughout the world but prefers to engage more with mureeds who aspire to Sulook (the Sacred Journey in the quest of The Lord and His Beloved Sallallahu Alaihee wa Sallim and Beloveds Alaihimurahmah.)