Anwar al-Awlaki is a Muslim scholar of Yemeni heritage born in New Mexico. He served as an Imam in California, and later in the Washington, D.C. area where he headed the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center and was also the Muslim Chaplain at George Washington University. In 2004 he returned to his native Yemen where he taught at Eman university until his arrest in mid 2006. Imam Anwar was released from custody on the 12th of December 2007 having spent a year and a half behind bars. In his first interview since his release, conducted by former Guantanamo Detainee and cageprisoners spokesman Moazzam Begg, he spoke about the conditions of his detention and shared his reflections on his time in prison.
On September 30th 2011, Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone strike which was given the greenlight by President Barack Obama, this was the first instance in US history wherein the government had ordered the assassination of it's own citizen without due process. As expected, this caused great controversy within the political circles of the US, and this controversy only heightened when the US government refrained from giving any evidence regarding their claims that 'Anwar al-Awlaki was the head of external operations for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)' and Obama himself said, 'He took the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans...' Although evidence of this was flimsy at best, as researched by Jeremy Scahill in his documentary/film titled 'Dirty Wars'. Only two weeks later his sixteen-year old son Abdur-Rahman al-Awlaki, another U.S. citizen, was also killed by a US drone strike that hit a cafe in Yemen. The U.S., ofcourse, responded by stating that the cafe was attended by high-value targets affiliated with AQAP. Six years later, the Awlaki family suffered another casualty at the hands of the U.S., this time Anwar al-Awlaki's eight year old daughter, Nawar al-Awlaki was killed in a commando operation ordered by Obama's successor, Donald Trump, on the 29th of January 2017.
May Allah have mercy on Anwar al-Awlaki, his son Abdur-Rahman and his daughter Nawar. May Allah keep the Awlaki family steadfast and May he grant them the status of Shuhadaa, hanging from the Throne of Allah as green birds.
In an attempt to supress his voice and diminish his legacy, the U.S. legitimized the stances Anwar al-Awlaki had taken by making him a martyr (insha'Allah).
His Islamic Knowledge
In his own words:
Alhamdulillah I have had the chance to experience the various methods of gaining Islamic knowledge through studying directly under shuyukh in their general circles or privately. I have experienced the regular academic method of university study, studying by correspondence, and studying directly from books.
Studying under shuyukh in their general circles
I have attended the circles of the scholars of Makkah and Madina for a combined period of a few months and for a short while attended the circle of Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen.
Studying under shuyukh privately
In addition to an ijaza in Quran recitation according to the recitation of Hafs I have read and completed Sahih al Bukhari with Shaykh AbdulRahman Shumailah al Ahdal and he has given me ijazah to narrate Sahih al Bukhari from him through three high isnaads, one of them being the highest existing isnaad in the world. The other two he has received from his shuyukh in Makkah.
I have also read and completed Sahih Muslim and al Muwata by Imam Malik with Shaykh AbdulRahman and he has given me ijazah on both books.
I have studied al Minhaaj by Imaam Nawawi on Shafi fiqh with Shaykh AbdulRahman al Ahdal and Shaykh Hamud al Ahdal and received ijaza from both of them.
The above mentioned shuyukh have also given me ijazah to narrate through their isnaad the six books of Hadith, al Adhkaar by Imaam Nawawi, al Shifa by Qadhi Iyaad, and some other books in Shafi fiqh.
I have studied, traveled and lived with Shaykh Hassan al Ahdal and it was through him that I got to study with other scholars from this blessed family of scholars who are descendants of al Hussain bin Ali may Allah be pleased with them. They are based in al Marawa’ah in Tihama which is in the Western part of Yemen on the coast of the Red Sea and this is the land of the Sahabi Abu Musa al Ash’ari. He has given me a general ijaza in the six books of hadith, Buloogh al Maraam by Ibn Hajjar al Asqalani, Umdat al Ahkaam by al Maqdisi, al Minhaaj by al Nawawi, al Ghaya wal Taqreeb by Abu Shuja, and al Waraqaat by al Juwaini.
I have spent a short time with Shaykh Salman al Odah.
I have benefited considerably from the scholars I met in the US during the 90’s, a time in which there was a great influx of scholars in America.
And last but not least, I have benefited and continue to benefit from the Shaykh whom I trust his deen and know him to be a scholar who does not fear in the sake of Allah and is willing to stand up for the truth, Shaykh Hussein bin Mahfoodh. He is a friend whose relationship with me extends over the years. Until this day, I consult with him on the various important aspects of Sharia that I am presented with and I have continued to benefit from his knowledge and wisdom over the years. I have accompanied him and traveled with him and consider him to be one of the best scholars that I have come to know.
Regular academic university study
In 2002 I was given permission from the administration of the University of Eman in Yemen to attend any class at any level and I took advantage of this and attended classes in Tafsir and Fiqh for a period of a few months. I have also benefited from the teachings of Shaykh Abdul Majid al Zindani the Rector of the University.
Studying Sharia by Correspondence
I studied for two years through correspondence with the Islamic university in France. I lost interest and discontinued my studies with them because I reached the conclusion that it was not a proper method of disseminating Islamic knowledge. This was in the mid 90’s so things must have changed now in the field of correspondence study due to advances in technology.
Studying from Books
After receiving the basics from the scholars and the keys of knowledge, learning from books is a lifelong practice of the seeker of knowledge.
In addition to the ijaza’s I have mentioned above I have a general ijaza in Quran, Sciences of Quran, Hadith, Sciences of Hadith, Tafsir , Fiqh, Usool Fiqh and Arabic from:
Shaykh Hassan Maqbooli al Ahdal
Shaykh Hussein bin Mahfoodh
Shaykh AbdulRahman Shumailah al Ahdal
Shaykh Hamud Shumailah al Ahdal
- The Battle of Hearts and Minds
- The Dust Will Never Settle Down
- Dreams & Interpretations
- The Hereafter – 16 CDs - Al Basheer Productions
- Life of Muhammad:Makkan Period - 16 CDs - Al Basheer Productions
- Life of Muhammad:Medinan Period 18 CDs - Al Basheer Productions
- Lives of the Prophets (AS) – 16 CDs - Al Basheer Productions
- Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (RA): His Life & Times - 15 CDs - Al Basheer Productions
- Umar ibn al-Khattāb (RA):His Life & Times - 18 CDs - Al Basheer Productions
- 25 Promises from Allah to the Believer - 2 CDs - Noor Productions
- Companions of the Ditch & Lessons from the Life of Musa (AS) - 2 CDs - Noor Productions
- Remembrance of Allah & the Greatest Ayah - 2 CDs - Noor Productions
- Stories from Hadith — 4 CDs - Center for Islamic Information and Education (CIIE)
- Hellfire & The Day of Judgment - 1 CD - Center for Islamic Information and Education (CIIE)
- Quest for Truth: The Story of Salman Al-Farsi (RA)- 1 CD - Center for Islamic Information and Education (CIIE)
- Trials & Lessons for Muslim Minorities - 1 CD - Center for Islamic Information and Education (CIIE)
- Young Ayesha (RA) & Mothers of the Believers (RA) - 1 CD - Center for Islamic Information and Education (CIIE)
- Understanding the Quran - 1 CD - Center for Islamic Information and Education (CIIE)
- Lessons from the Companions (RA) Living as a Minority - 1 CD - Center for Islamic Information and Education (CIIE)
- The Story of Ibn Al-Akwa: Mashari Al-Ashwaq - A Lecture in 15 Parts
- Allah is Preparing us for Victory - A Lecture in 2 Parts
- The Quran: The Book of Tolerance
- Surat Taha - Short Talks after Fajr 2 Parts
- Giving & Investing in the Hereafter
- Goodly Word, Goodly Tree
- Revivers of the Message
- The Truth of Suleiman (AS) & Magic / Magic, Jinn & Freemasons
- Tolerance: A Hallmark of Muslim Character
- Trust in Allah but Tie Your Camel
- Brutality Towards Muslims - Khutbah
- The War on Islam - Khutbah
- Story of the Bull - Khutbah
- The Constants of Jihad - A Lecture in 6 Parts