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Hazrat Sultan Shaikh Syed Ahmad Al Kabeer Ar Refaie (1119-1182) was born on a Thursday in the first half of the lunar month of Rajab in district Hasen, in the Vasit province of Iraq. When he was seven years old, his father Syed Sultan Ali passed away in Baghdad. From then on his maternal uncle Syed Mansur ar Rabbani al Betaihi took him into his care and educated him.
The maternal part of Hazrat Ahmad Refaie 's family goes back to Hazrat Imam Hussain & Hazrat Imam Hasan, the sons of Hazrat Ali (R.A). On the paternal side his lineage goes back to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
Hazrat Ali (R.A), the master of the community, husband of Hazrat Bibi Fatima and the father of Imams, a cousin of the prophet. Hazrat Imam Hussain, Imam of Muslims, the chief of the Momins (believers in Islam) who were tried and afflicted with various troubles and calamities, the Shaheed-e-Karbala.
Ahmed Ar Refaie learned the
Qur'an from Shaikh Abdus Sami al Hurbuni in Hasen, where he was born, and by the
age of seven he had committed it all to memory. (The title Shaikh before a name
indicates a sufi teacher.) That same year, after his father died, his maternal
uncle Mansur ar Rabbani al Betaihi moved with his family to the region of Dikla.
There he sent his nephew to Abul Fadl Ali al Vasiti, who was an expert in the
canon law of Islam, a commentator on the Qur'an, and a great preacher.
Ahmed Ar Refaie was twenty years old, Abul Fadl Ali al Vasiti, who was the
Shaikh of Wasit province and his teacher, awarded him a sehadetname (teaching
certificate) encompassing the sciences of canon law and permission to initiate a
dervish order, gave him the name "father of external and interior sciences," and
dressed him with his own dervish's cloak. His teachers and his shaikhs agreed
about the greatness of his rank and the superiority of his worth.
his book Sevad-ul-Ainein, the writer Imam Rafii narrates, "Shaikh Salih Yusuf
Abu Zakariya al Askalani, who was a great expert in the canon law of Islam, told
me: 'I had gone to Umme Abida to visit Shaikh Ahmed Al Kabeer Ar Refaie'. There
were more than one hundred thousand people around the guest house; some were
managers, scientists and shaikhs, and the others were the normal public. He gave
dinner to all of them and was very friendly to everyone. He started to preach in
the afternoon of a Thursday. In the audience were preachers from the province of
Vasit, as well as a religious community of doctors of Muslim theology of Iraq
and the important people of the province. One group asked questions about the
science of commentary on the Qur'an, another asked about subjects dealing with
the recorded sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, another asked about Muslim canon
jurisprudence, another asked about the disagreements between the different
religious opinions, and yet another group asked many questions about different
areas of science. Ahmed Ar Refaie answered more than two hundred questions, and
he did not get angry when he was answering the questions. I became embarrassed
because of the insensitivity of people asking the questions, and I stood up and
said, 'Is this not enough for you? He can answer every question about the
written sciences, without facing any difficulty, with the permission of Allah!'
Ahmed Ar Refaie smiled at my words and said, 'Abu Zakariya, allow them to
ask before I pass away. Certainly the world is a house from which we will
all depart. Allah changes all situations, all of the time.' All the public
cried at this answer. The crowd was perplexed and anxious exclamations were
heard. Forty thousand people became his students because of the spiritual
effect of his talk."