Sulaymān Ibn Nāsir Ibn ‘Abdillāh Al-‘Ulwān was born and raised in the city of Buraydah in the province of Al-Qasīm, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in the year 1389 H. He was one of nine sons; three older brothers and five younger. Shaykh Sulaymān began his studies in the year 1404 H. when he was fifteen years old, in his third year of middle school. Upon completion of middle school, he spent no more than fifteen days in high school before deciding to leave the institution and completely enter the study of the Sharī’ah sciences and Islāmic knowledge, by studying from the scholars and reading and reviewing their books. He was married in the year 1410 H. and has three sons, the oldest of which is ‘Abdullāh, who is nine years old.
During his early days, he demonstrated an impressive ability to memorize and showed a very deep understanding of the writings of the various sciences of the Sharī’ah. And from the origins of his exclusive studies, Shaykh Sulaymān has spent most of his days in reading, memorizing and reviewing the books of knowledge.
Initially, he focussed upon the writings of Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Al-Qayyim, the Imāms of Najd, Ibn Rajab, the Sīrah [Prophetic Biographical Accounts] of Ibn Hishām and “Al-Bidiyāh Wan-Nihiyāh” of Ibn Kathīr. And he would review with the scholars, depending on their areas of expertise. He used to visit four different scholars daily; one after Fajr, another after Thuhur, another after Maghrib and another after Ishā’. And he stayed upon this routine day in and day out, except for Fridays, until he began studying from all the schools of Fiqh [Mathāhib] and the selected opinions of Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Al-Qayyim and Ibn Hazm may Allāh be be merciful to them. When asked about how much time he spends in reading, memorizing and reviewing, the Shaykh responded, “A little more than fifteen hours per day.”
In the year 1410 H., he began giving lessons in his home and in 1411 H. he began giving lessons in the Mosque during the week after Fajr, Dhuhr and Maghrib, except on Fridays.
This has been summarized from the short treatise entitled, “Safahāt Min Hayāt Fadhīlat Ash- Shaykh Sulaymān Ibn Nāsir Al-‘Ulwān”, [Pages from the Life of the Virtuous Shaykh Sulaymān Ibn Nāsir Al-‘Ulwān], prepared by Abū Muhammad Yūsuf As-Sālih. As well as things added by the translators that have happened to the Shaykh since the publishing of his above mentioned biography.
When he traveled to Al-Madīnah, he sat with Shaykh Hammād Al-Ansārī, who issued him the license [Ijāzah] to teach the Six Books [of Hadīth] as well as “Musnad Ahmad”, “Muwatta’ Imām Mālik ,”the two Sahīhs of Ibn Khuzaymah and Ibn Hibbān and the two Musannafs of ‘Abdur-Razzāq and Ibn Abī Shaybah. He also issued him the license of the Tafsīr of Ibn Jarīr and “Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr”. And in grammar, “Al-Alfiyyah” by Ibn Mālik and many of the books of jurisprudence [Fiqh]. And during this visit, he heard the Shaykh narrate the Hadīth, “The Most Merciful [Ar-Rahmān] has mercy upon those who show mercy [to others].” And this was the first Hadīth he heard with the chain of narration,
From the scholar’s lips, extending all the way back to the Messenger of Allāh صلى وسلم عليه .اهللاThis took place on 18/8/1413H. Later, he traveled to Makkah and sat with the scholars there and received similar licenses to teach in the other books of the Sunnah, Tafsīr and jurisprudence.
He returned to giving his lessons in the Mosque, offering lessons in the books of Hadīth, which included:
- Sahīh Al-Bukhārī
- Jāmi’ At-Tirmithī
- Sunan Abī Dāwūd
- Muwatta’ Mālik
- Bulūgh Al-Marām
- ‘Umdat Al-Ahkām
- Al-Arba’īn An-Nawawiyyah [An- Nawawī’s Forty Hadīth]
He also gave lessons in the classification and terminology of Hadīth [Mustalah Al-Hadīth] as well as their defects [‘Ilal], jurisprudence, grammar and Tafsīr. And from the lessons, which he gave from the books of belief [‘Aqīdah], were:
- Al-‘Aqīdah At-Tadmuriyyah
- Al-‘Aqīdah Al-Hamawiyyah
- Al-‘Aqīdah Al- Wāsitiyyah of Shaykh Al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah
- Kitāb At-Tawhīd ”of Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdil-Wahhāb
- Ash-Sharī’ah from Al-Ājurrī
- As-Sunnah by ‘Abdullāh Ibn Ahmad
- As-Sunnah by Ibn Nasr
- Al-Ibānah by Ibn Battah
- As-Sawā’iq and An-Nūniyyah both by Ibn Al-Qayyim.
However, the Shaykh was later prevented from offering lessons in the Mosque by the authorities due to undeclared reasons. During this period, Shaykh Ibn Bāz, may Allāh be merciful to him, made several attempts, from writing to the authorities and asking them to allow the Shaykh to resume his lessons in the Mosque. But these pleas were ignored time after time. And beforehand, Shaykh Ibn Bāz urged the Shaykh to remain patient and to continue giving his lessons. And he praised his books in a letter, which he wrote with the following text:
From ‘Abdul-‘Azīz Ibn ‘Abdillāh Ibn Bāz, to the respected son, the virtuous Shaykh Sulaymān Ibn Nāsir Al-‘Ulwān, may Allāh allow him to attain His pleasure and increase him in knowledge and faith [Īmān]. Amīn. As-Salāmu ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullāhi Wa Barakātuh, To proceed:
‘I have examined some of your writings and read some of what you have written in the refutation of Ibn Al-Jawzī and As-Saqqāf and I became very happy with that. And I praised Allāh –Glorified be He –for what he gave you from the comprehension of the religion (Dīn) and your holding steadfast to the predecessors’ beliefs (Salafī ‘Aqīdah) and teaching it to the students and refuting those who oppose it. So I ask Allāh to reward you with goodness and multiply your rewards and increase you in knowledge and guidance and make ourselves and you and the rest of our brothers, to be among His righteous slaves and His successful party (Hizb). Verily, He is the Guardian (Walī) of that and the One who is capable to do so. And we advise you with the fear of Allāh –Glorified be He – and putting forth all efforts in teaching the people in Sharī’ah-based knowledge and insiting them to act upon it and emphasizing the correct issues in belief (‘Aqīdah) and clarifying them to the students, as well as others, in your specific and general lessons. And encouraging the people, from the students and others, in reading the Noble Qur’ān often, while contemplating its meanings and acting upon it. And emphasizing the Sunnah of the Messenger which is confirmed from him, and the benefitting from it, because it is the Secondary Revelation and it is the explanation of the Book of Allāh and a clarification for that which might not be apparent from its meaning. May Allāh guide your steps and increase you in beneficial knowledge and righteous deeds and may He keep ourselves and you, steadfast upon the guidance and make ourselves and you, from His successful party (Hizb) and His fearful allies (‘Awliyā’) and from the callers to Him who are upon sure-sightedness (Basīrah). Verily, He is Generous and Bountiful.Wa As-Salāmu ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullāhi Wa Barakātuh
417/5/11التاريخ 840/خ :الرقم
The Head Cleric (Muftī) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the President of the Council of Senior Scholars and the Administration of Knowledge-Base Research and Legal Verdicts. #840‘ –dated 11/5/1417H.
The Shaykh was then allowed to give the lessons to the general public in the Mosques again on the date 6/3/1424H. after seven years of being prevented.
It was narrated that Shaykh Sulayman al-‘Alwan had completed memorization of the Qur’an by the time he was 18, and had memorized the texts of and studied the explanations of the following:
- Kitab at-Tawhid
- Umdat al-Ahkam
- Nukhbat al-Fikr
- Bulugh al-Maram
- al-Usul ath-Thalathah
- Mulhat al-I’rab
- Kashf ash-Shubuhat
As well as the six books of Hadith of al-Bukhari, Muslim, at-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah by the time he was in his twenties. See: ‘Imatat al-Litham fi Sirat ash-Shaykh Sulayman al-‘Alwan’
The Shaykh has also faced some opposition from his contemporaries regarding some of the jurisprudence related opinions he holds, such as the purity [Tahārah] of blood and alcohol [i.e. that they are not essentially filthy [Najāsah] and the permissibility of the sexual defiled one, reciting [but not touching] the Qur’ān, and other things of this nature. And one time, the Shaykh was imprisoned for a treatise he wrote concerning the innovation [Bid’ah] of holding congratulatory celebrations for those who complete the memorization of the Qur’ān, due to his opinion that these celebrations were not known at the time of the Prophet nore the time of his companions [Sahābah] nor the Imāms of those who succeeded them [Tābi’īn] nor the four Imāms. And this was one of the things that these generations could have done as there was nothing to prevent them from that except that the Messenger of Allāh وسلم عليه اهللا صلى said, “Whoever innovates something into this matter of ours that which is not from it, then it is rejected.” [Agreed upon, from the Hadīth of ‘Ā’ishah, may Allāh be pleased with her] So he was imprisoned along with others, who held the same opinion, in Riyādh, near the end of Thul-Hijjah in 1407, for eighteen days.
From the published books of the Shaykh are:
- Tanbīh Al-Akhyār ‘Alā ‘Adam Finā’ An-Nār [Reminding the Righteous, Concerning the Eternity of the Hellfire]
- At-Tibyān Fī Sharh Nawāqidh Al-Islām” [The Clarification Regarding the Explanation of ‘The Nullifications of Islām]
- Sharh Bulūgh Al-Marām [Explanation of Bulūgh Al-Marām]
- Ahkām Qiyām Al-Layl [Regulations of the Night Prayer]
- Al-Istinfār Lith-Thabb ‘An As-Sahābah Al-Akhyār [Calling to Arms in Defense of the Righteous Companions]
- Alā Inna Nasrullāhī Qarīb [Verily, the Victory of Allāh is Near]
As well as ten others. And from the yet-to-be-published writings, are:
- Sharh Al-Usūl Ath-Thalāthah [Explanation of ‘The Three Fundamentals]
- Sharh Kitāb At-Tawhīd [Explanation of ‘The Book of Tawhīd]
- Hukm As-Salāt ‘Ala Al-Mayyit Al-Ghā’ib [The Ruling Concerning the Prayers upon the Absent Deceased]
- Hukm Al-’Ihtifāl Bil-A‘yād [Celebrating the Various Celebrations [of others]
as well as four others.
The Shaykh was arrested again on the date 9/3/1425 at ‘Asr timefor unspecified reasons.
By the grace of Allāh, He was recently released and some of his latest recordings can be found online.
And may the Peace and Blessings of Allah, be upon our Final Prophet, Muhammad and his family and companions and those who follow them in truth until the Final Hour. And all Praise is due to Allāh, the Lord of all that exists.