February 16 1333h / 1916, the Sheikh is 97yrs old from the Hijri calendar which is 94 years old from the Gregorian calendar. He was born in Cairo, He lived in Riyadh, Ahsaa, Madinah, Makkah and now lives in Jeddah.
Sheikh Muhammad Al-Banna speaks about where he grew up:
Sheikh Muhammad Al-Banna says:
“However, where I lived the atmosphere was not good since there were a lot of misconceptions of the Sufees. They would make takfeer (call disbelievers) those that affirm Allaah’s Attributes. I used to study in the schools and usually the madhab of Abu Haneefah and Imam Shaf’ee. My father was Shaf’ee and mother Hanafee.
I Followed the methodology of the Salaf due to this reason; My father being Shaf’ee used to see that touching a women breaks one’s ablution and my mother being Hanafee saw that a man touching a women does not break one’s ablution. My father used to get upset when he was going out to pray if my mother touched him. He used to have a towel between him and her hands so they wouldn’t touch.
Then, I said to myself that Islam is one. I started thinking about this and how it could be this or that. I went to one of my uncles who was religious and complained to him that Islam is one and my father says this and my mother says that. He gave me a book of the four madhabs and confused me even more.
While I am in this state, Allaah willed that in the year 1936 CE I think, I graduated… My father used to be strict with us concerning the prayers. I used to pray and this was rare in many of the youths at that time in Cairo. There was a person, the same age as my father who was a poet, writer whose name was Muhammad Arnus, a friend at work. He wrote some books on poetry. He saw me pray and said I will pray with you. We would pray and then we would read Zaad Al-Ma’aad by Ibn Qaiyum together.
I became to love reading. I would go and buy books. If Allaah wishes good for someone, He shows him the way. Near Azhar University there was a small bookshop, the book seller Sheikh Muneer Dimishqui (who was on the correct methodology) advised me which books to read after I complained to him of not knowing what to read. He would give me those authentic books. Every month, I used to buy books with 50 coins. Whatever Salafi book there was he gave it to me to read. I was good at reading. My memory was very good (mashaallaah). (Initially), I used to like this group Jam’eeya Shar’eeah. Sheikh Muhammad Ameen Khattab Al-Kabeer, also married one of my relatives. Their prayer was very good (according to the Sunnah) so I always prayed with them.
I used to attend a mosque at 10th street. Jam’eeya Shar’eeah mosque, the person responsible was Sheikh Ali Helwa. He used to teach on Wednesday evening I think. I used to attend his lessons. He used to say that the person who says that Allaah is above the sky is a disbeliever!! Allaah is neither above nor left nor to the right!! Asha’ree, Matureedi belief. From the books that I read that was given to me by Sheikh Muneer Dimishqee was Ibn Khuzaimah’s book ‘Tawheed wa ithbaat sifaat rab’ and in there, I remembered the hadeeth of Mu’awiyyah Ibn Hakam As-Sulamee (the hadeeth of the slave girl). So I said to him (Sheikh Ali Helwa) that you say disbeliever but the Messenger said, “Free her as she is a believer.” So I got thrown out of the mosque for speaking the truth against this person misguiding the people. They called me Wahhabi and said you are from the Jamaa’aah of Sheikh Haamid Faqhi. I heard this name for the first time and I thought he must be good if they are speaking against him. I decided to meet him. Alhamdullillaah, Allaah showed him to us and from then on I learnt from him and other Salafi scholars at a young age until I became one of the callers for Ansaarus-Sunnah Al-Muhammadiyyah in Egypt. I was with Sheikh ‘Abdulrazzaq Al-‘Afifi, Sheikh Muhammad Khaleel Al-Harras and others. Then Allaah made it possible for me to teach in Riyadh from Sheikh ‘Abdulrzzaq Al-‘Afifi’s recommendation to Sheikh ‘Abdulaziz Bin Baz rahimahum Allaah. ”
Sheikh Muhammad Abdulwahhab Marzooq Al- Banna said:
“I used to study a lot and be with some of the scholars such as Sheikh ‘Abdulrazaq Al-‘Afifi (former deputy of elder scholars for Fatwa and research in Saudi Arabia) and Sheikh Muhammad Khalil Al-Harras (who graduated from Azhar University and has many beneficial books such as the explanation to ‘Aqeedatul Wasitiyyah). I was born into a religious family. The famous Sheikh Ahmed Shakir (the scholar of Hadeeth who explained Ba’ith Al-Hatheeth of Ibn Katheer and checked Musnad Ahmed) was also around me, he is the husband of one of my aunts.”
Sheikh Muhammad Abdulwahhab Marzooq Al- Banna said:
“Sheikh Rabee’ Ibn Haadee Al-Madhkhalee(1) the best of them, Sheikh Muhammad Amman rahimahullaah was also good, Sheikh ‘Abdulrahman ‘Abdulkhaaliq was a good Salafi but he later followed the way of Ikhwaanul Muslimeen as did ‘Umar Ashqar though to a less degree.”
Sheikh Muhammad also told me that he taught Sheikh ‘Abdulmuhsin al-‘Abbad in the institute in Riyadh when it first opened in the 1370’s hijri.
Sheikh Muhammad Abdulwahhab Marzooq Al- Banna was recommended by Sheikh ‘Abdulrazak Al-‘Afifi to teach in the educational institute in Riyadh when it first opened. This recommendation was given to Sheikh ‘AbdulAziz Bin Baz rahimahullaah and he agreed to it. After five years teaching in Riyadh, the Sheikh was moved to Al-Ahsa in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia to teach there at an institute for Islamic affairs for a further eight years. His Friday prayer gatherings were well attended and he clarified the methodology of the Salafus Saalih (Pious Predecessors) and expelled the false interpretations of some of the Shee’ah (2) who lived there. After some hardship with the people there, the Sheikh was called to teach in the institute of Islamic Affairs in Madinah for two years before being asked to teach in the Islamic University of Madinah, the same time as Sheikh ‘Abdulaziz Bin Baz, Sheikh Al-Albaani (his neighbour in Madinah) and Sheikh Muhammad Ameen Ash-Shanqeeti rahimahum Allaah.
After completing the teaching period of three years in the university, the Sheikh came to Jeddah and began teaching in many mosques. The Sheikh also had a chair in the Haram of Makkah as well as the Haram in Madinah where he taught for a period of time.
In his 80’s, the Sheikh used to stay most of his time in Jeddah until the latter part of his life where he spent many years living in Makkah and commuting to Jeddah to look over his mosque in the Safa district. However, due to recent illness, the Sheikh is now bedridden in his home in Jeddah at the age of 94 may Allaah protect him.
In Jeddah, he used to teach Usool ath-Thalatha, Kitaab Tawheed (20 tapes), ‘Aqeedatul Wasittiyah, Kashf Shubuhaat, The Six Principles (Usool Sittah), Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Saheeh Muslim, ‘Umdatul Ahkaam and many other books. The Sheikh always would answer questions with proof from the Qur’an and Sunnah in the understanding of the Companions. He strived his utmost to teach the people even if there were few people present and then would say if there are no questions then we will close the shop (of asking questions) and those present would laugh. He was very friendly and amusing mashaallaah and his presence was loved by the people in his mosque and locality.
The Sheikh, despite his old age, took care of his Mosque which he built on his own land next to his house in Jeddah. Initially, it was small and needed repairs but the Sheikh didn’t want to take money from the people to make it bigger as those who put money would stipulate the running of the mosque affairs. The Sheikh didn’t want the influence of the Ikhwaanul Muslimeen to take over the mosque so he was very cautious. Eventually, when the sheikh was able, he expanded the mosque size and since it was built had paid for the maintenance as well as the Imam’s wages. The Sheikh brought in an Imam who was upright in his belief and methodology. When, initially, another individual came to teach in the Mosque but was later found to be with the misguided Abul Hasan Al-‘Ma’rabi, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Banna asked him nicely to step down from teaching in the mosque as the Sheikh feared the influence of this individual over the congregation.
The Sheikh did not allow any fliers to be put in his mosque unless the speakers were known to be upon the Salafi methodology, adhering to the Qur’an, Sunnah in the understanding of the companions.
The Sheikh was upright mashaallaah, he would love for his brother what he loved for himself. He offered his home many times when we would come down to Makkah with the family. He offered to lend money to buy a car to brothers. The sheikh opened his house to strangers hoping that they be guided to the truth. He was very funny mashaallaah. I remember a man came up to the Sheikh in the Haram in Makkah and said to him, “I am Egyptian like you”, so the sheikh replied, “I am Muslim like you!” Another time, the Sheikh was asked by the congregation of his mosque why he doesn’t have a minaret in his mosque and the Sheikh replied that if he had one and it fell it might kill someone and then narrated that this actually happened to someone so he didn’t want to bear the burden. He then went on to say “show me proof from the Sunnah to have one and I will put one.”
He used to complete the Quran in three days. This is mentioned by the former Imam of his mosque who was studying with Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al-‘Uthaimeen rahimahullaah. Sheikh Muhammad Al-Banna continued to fast Monday and Thursday and three days of every month 13, 14, 15 in accordance with the Sunnah despite his old age. The Sheikh is very humble mashaallaah, he loves the students of knowledge and welcomes them as though they are his own children. Once, the Sheikh was called by a student of knowledge from the Islamic University of Madinah to visit him while he was in Jeddah so the Sheikh found out that the brother was very far and so he drove himself to pick him up and bring him home to serve (3).
The Sheikh always serves his guest before sitting and eating himself. This continued even up to his age (in those days) of 89 years. The Sheikh continued to make Hajj up to the age of 91.
The manners truly showed in his life mashaallaah, he would serve passers-by tea in the Haram when it was time to break his fast. People queued up for his strawberry milky tea and large dates. The Sheikh always invited guests every Thursday after ‘Isha to eat with him in his home in Makkah. A long day fasting and then not sitting until he served the last guest and would say eat and drink as this is a command from your Lord. Mashaallaah! He used to say give your stomach different colours (of food) and it will give you sides! After the meal, the Sheikh would sit with his guests and answer their questions while he offered them fruit. May Allaah protect and cure him. The last time, I saw the Sheikh (end of 1429), his eyes filled with tears as he asked Allaah for a good end, I pray he has a good end, Ameen. He would make lots of supplications to those he met, always greeting them with a smile and advised them with following the Sunnah. I do not praise him above Allaah’s praise and Allaah is the Reckoner.
His travels in da’wa
The Sheikh used to go out in travels with Sheikh Muhammad Nasr Deen Al-Albaani rahimahullaah. He says that those were the golden years. The Sheikh organized trips for the students which were intended to teach the students. The Sheikh after a long day teaching the students would sleep a little and then get up before all the students and wash their clothes and make them breakfast. The Sheikh has traveled to America, Japan, England,Germany and Morocco by the request of Sheikh Bin Baz rahimahullaah.
Those who praised him
Sheikh ‘Abdulrazaq Al-‘Afifi rahimahullaah, the deputy head of the former Shoura council under Sheikh ‘Abdulaziz Bin Baz rahimahullaah had asked for Sheikh Muhammad Al- Banna to be amongst the first lecturers to teach at the new opening of an educational institute in Riyadh.
Sheikh Rabee’ Ibn Haadee said in the month of Jumaada 2 1422 (September 2001) while visiting him, “Sheikh Al-Banna has been on da’wah Salafiyya for 60 years. Learn his manners for they will benefit you.”
Sheikh Taqui-Uddin Al-Hilaali rahimahullaah wrote a letter to Sheikh ‘Abdulaziz Bin Baz rahimahullaah making mention of the kindness and beautiful manners of Sheikh Muhammad Al-Banna when he visited him in Jeddah. These letters between Sheikh ‘Abdulaziz Bin Baz rahimahullaah and the scholars can be found in one volume published recently.
Those whom he praised
The Sheikh praised Sheikh Bin Baz rahimahullaah, Sheikh Al-Albaani rahimahullaah and Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al-‘Uthaimeen. He also praised Sheikh ‘Ubayd whom he met in the Haram of Makkah and Sheikh Muhammad said concerning Sheikh ‘Ubayd that those who speak against him are not grounded in knowledge (this was in the last meeting with the Sheikh last year).
He used to, in the past, praise ‘Ali Hasan and Abul Hasan Al-Misree but this changed towards the last part of his life when they cooperated with ‘Abdulrahman ‘Abdulkhaaliq’s Ihyah Turath group and fitnah befell them such that their stance concerning those who went astray were not correct. So Sheikh Muhammad Al-Banna used to advise people to ask Sheikh Rabee’ about their affair and was not happy with their cooperation and defence of those who strayed.
Sheikh Muhammad Al-Banna advised Abul Hasan Al-Misri to retract his errors in speaking ill of the Companions and told him to go to Sheikh Rabee’ and excuse himself for what he had spread against him. Abul Hasan Al-Misri did go to Sheikh Rabee’s house but raised his voice and disrespected Sheikh Rabee’ (I was present as it was just before the Friday Sharee’ah class of ‘Ajuree by Sheikh Rabee’). When Sheikh Muhammad Al-Banna found out he was very upset and advised the people not to sit with Abul Hasan Al-Misri and not to take knowledge from him for he said that he was arrogant and sees himself above the scholars. He likened his affair to ‘Abdulrahman ‘AbdulKhaaliq who went astray due to being raised by the people and given much money to make excuse for the astray Muslim groups and individuals to be considered from Ahlusunnah wal Jama’aah and not from the 72 astray groups who are threatened with the fire.
So I bear witness this is what the Sheikh was upon in the latter part of his life right up until I saw him last year in his Jeddah home 1428/29.
He mentioned about Sheikh Rabee’ that he is the Yahya ibn Ma’een of this era. About Sheikh Bin Baz rahimahullaah, he said he was the ‘Umar ‘Abdul ‘Aziz of this era in being just. Sheikh Al-Albaani he saw as the Ibn Taymiyyah of this era.
Sheikh Muqbil rahimahullaah also mentioned that he benefited from Sheikh Muhammad al-Banna.
 Sheikh Muhammad Al-Banna used to say that Sheikh Rabee’ Ibn Haadee was the Imam Yahyah Ibn Ma’een of this era meaning he was the one to refer to regarding the affairs of knowing the innovators and their misguidance. Sheikh ‘Abdulaziz Bin Baz rahimahullaah would write to Sheikh Rabee’ asking him concerning the affairs of individuals. Sheikh Muhammad Al-Banna had so much love and respect for Sheikh Rabee’ and would invite him to his house in Makkah regularly for dinner and would say, “I used to be Sheikh Rabee’s teacher but now Sheikh Rabee’ is my teacher.”
2. One of the first groups to split away from the main stream Islam such that they over praised the fourth caliph Ali, the cousin of the Prophet , and they said he should have been the first caliph. They accused all the companions of the Prophet as being apostates except some of the Prophet’s family.
3. The brother was Abu Hakeem Bilal Davis may Allaah protect him.