Umm Al Sa’ad of Alexandria
When asked about her students Umm Al-Sa’ad said:
“I remember every one of them, there were some who received Ijaaza in one of the recitations, and there were some (and they were very few) who received ijaaza in all ten recitations. They are the ones who received an ijaaza with a special seal that I have that I always keep with me, I never give it to anyone no matter how much I have trust in them.”
The happiest days for Umm Al-Sa’ad are the days of khatma, when she would grant a student an ijaaza, even though she has experienced this day over 300 times! She keeps a copy of every ijaaza, the most recent one being to a sister in the recitation of Qaloon from Nafi’.
On the day of khatma, a waleema is normally done, or a tea party with sweets. The student who is receiving the ijaaza normally gives a gift to the Shaykha; a jilbab, a ring, golden earrings, all according to what they can afford. As for the most beautiful gift that the Shaykha received was a Hajj and Umrah trip accompanied with being hosted in Saudia for an entire year! The best part of the trip, after the hajj and umrah, was that she reviewed the Quran, and granted ijaazas in all ten recitations to students from all over the world; Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, Chad, Afghanistan…
The most beloved of those ijaazas that she granted was to a student from Saudi Arabia who received it when she was seventeen years old!
And from the most interesting things that Umm Al-Sa’ad recounts is that some of the wives of her students became jealous and fearful that she might “snatch” their husbands. Especially since their husbands would continually speak about their Shaykha with pride and endearment. To the extent that some of the wives would accompany their husbands to the class to ensure that their fear had no real cause, for the Shaykha was old and blind!
“And some of the men hesitated to recite to me considering that I’m a woman, and some refused, but Shaykh Muhammad Isma’eel (the most well known shaykh of the Salafi Da’wah in Alexandria) gave a fatwa that they could when he learned of my age, and he sent his entire family to me to recite to me!”
When she was asked about the closest student to her, she replied “My husband, Shaykh Muhammad Fareed Nu’man.”
Shaykh Muhammad Fareed, who- before his death some years ago-was the most well known recitor on Alexandria radio. He was also the first one to receive an ijaaza from Umm Al-Sa’ad.
She said about the story of her marriage,
“I was not able to keep my promise to my Shaykha Nafeesa. He used to recite to me the Quran in all ten recitations, I became comfortable with him, and he was like me in that he was blind and memorized the Quran at an early age. I taught him for five years, and when he finished he asked me for my hand in marriage and I accepted.”
She was married to him for forty years and had no children.
But she had students who were huffadh and recitors of the Quran, so all praise is due to Allah.
She commentated on that saying, “Alhamdullilah, I feel like Allah chooses for me the good always. Maybe if I had children I would have become busy with them and neglected the Quran or forgot it.”
This is part III of the Umm Al Sa’ad series. For the original article in Arabic and to see Umm Al Sa’ad, click here.