Biography of the noble shaykh: Abdur-Rahman al-Barraak He is the noble scholar, al-Shaykh al-‘Allāmah, ‘Abd al-Rahmān b. Nāsir b. Barrāk b. Ibrāhīm al Barrāk. His Birth and Upbringing He was born in the town of Bukayrīyyah which is located in the region of Qasīm in the month of Dhul Qa’dah in the year 1352 H. His father passed away when he was only one year old, after which he was raised under the care of his maternal uncles and his mother. When he reached the age of five he travelled with his mother to Makkah under the care of his step-father, Muhammad b. Hamūd al-Barrāk. In Makkah he enrolled in al-Rahmānīyyah school in the second year of his primary education. At the age of ten, by the will of Allāh the noble shaykh was afflicted with an ailment in his eyes which resulted in the loss of his eyesight. His Teachers and His Studies After returning from Makkah to Al Bukayrīyyah with his family, he started memorizing the Qur’ān under the supervision of his uncle ‘Abdullāh b. Mansūr al-Barrāk and then under the supervision of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmān b. Sālim al-Kuraydis (may Allāh have mercy upon all of them). He completed memorizing the Qur’ān at the age of ten. Between the years 1364-1365 H, he began his pursuit for knowledge by attending lessons from various scholars and reading upon them. He read the majority of Kitāb al-Tawhīd and al-Ājurrūmīyyah to Sh. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz b. ‘Abd Allāh al Subayyal. Thereafter, he read al-Usūl al-Thalātha to Sh. Muhammad b. Muqbil. Once again, he travelled to Makkah around the year 1366 H where he remained for three years. During that time he read al-Ājurrūmīyyah to the Imām of the Grand Masjid in Makkah ,who at that time was Sh. Abdullah b. Muhammad al-Khulayfī (may Allāh have mercy on him). There he met a noble scholar who was one of the premier students of al-‘Allāmah Muhammad b. Ibrahim Āl al-Shaykh, Sh. Sālih b. Husayn al-‘Alī al-Irāqī, a friend of al-‘Allāmah Sh. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. Bāz. Shaykh Abd al-Rahmān al-Barrāk used to sit with him and benefit from his knowledge. When Sh. Sālih was appointed as principle of al-Azīzah school in al-Dalam, he desired Sh. ‘Abd al-Rahmān to accompany him, as an honour to him. Consequently, he accompanied him in order to study under Sh. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. Bāz. In Rabī’ al-Awwal of the year 1369 H, Shaykh Abd al-Rahmān enrolled in the fourth grade in the al-‘Āzīzah school where the most important benefit he acquired was learning the fundamental rules of Tajwīd. During the same year he travelled with a group of students together with Sh. Bin Bāz to Hajj. Upon returning, he decided to leave formal studies in school and began memorising different texts with the students of Sh. Bin Bāz. He also began attending the Shaykh’s lessons. He attended a number of duroos in which a number of texts were read to Sh. Bin Bāz including: al-Usūl al-Thalāthah, Kitāb al-Tawhīd, ‘Umdat al-‘Ahkām, Bulūgh al-Marām, Musnad Ahmad, Tafsīr ibn Kathīr, al-Rahabīyyah, and al-Ājurrūmīyyah. Afterwards, he remained in al-Dalam in the care of Sh. Sālih al-‘Irāqī and he learnt from him the science of poetic meter (al-‘arūd). In al-Dalam, he memorised al-Usūl al-Thalāthah, Kitāb al-Tawhīd, al-Ājurrūmīyyah, Qatr al-Nadā, al-Rahabīyyah, some of Alfīyyah ibn Mālik concerning grammar, and Alfīyyah al-‘Irāqī in the sciences of Hadīth. He remained in al-Dalam until the end of 1370. His time spent there had a great impact on his academic development. When al-Ma’had al-‘Ilmī was established in Riyadh in Muharram, 1371 H, he enrolled in its secondary school for its four year course, graduating in 1374 H. He pursued his studies further in the College of Sharī’ah in Riyadh, graduating in the year 1378 H. His teachers at al-Ma’had al-‘Ilmī and the College of Sharī’ah He studied under many teachers, the most prominent of whom include: al-‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. Bāz , al-‘Allāmah Muhammad al-Amīn al-Shanqītī with whom he studied Tafsīr and Usūl al-Fiqh, al-‘Allāmah Abd al-Razzāq Afīfī who taught them Tawhīd, grammar and Usūl al-Fiqh, Sh. Muhammad ‘Abd al-Razzāq Hamza, Sh. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. Nāsir al-Rashīd, Sh. ‘Abd al-Rahmān al-Afrīqī, Sh. ‘Abd al-Latīf Sarhān and many others. Whilst studying in the College, he used to take the opportunity to benefit from the lessons taught by al-‘Allāmah Muhammad b. Ibrāhīm Āl al-Shaykh in the masjid. Out of all of his teachers, the one who had the greatest personal impact on him was al-‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. Bāz from whom he benefited extensively in a period spanning over fifty years, starting in 1369 H until he passed away in 1420 H (may Allāh have mercy on him). Positions He Has Held Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmān Al Barrāk was appointed as a teacher at al-Ma’had al-‘Ilmī in Riyadh in the year 1379 H, where he remained for three years. He was then transferred to the College of Sharī’ah where he various Shar’ī sciences. When the College of Usūl al-Dīn was opened in 1396 H, he was transferred to the Dept. of and Theology and Contemporary Ideologies, and he was appointed to teach ‘Aqīdah in both colleges until his retirement in 1420 H. During this time, he supervised many graduate theses. Following his retirement the College desired to keep him on as a teacher but he declined. Sh. Bin Baz asked him many times to become to join in the work of Dār al-Iftā’ (in answering Fatwā questions) but he declined. However, his shaykh was satisfied when he finally agreed to oversee the Presidency of Iftā’ in Riyadh for the duration of the summer period when many of the shaykhs/ members of the committee travel to Taa’if. Out of shyness, Sh. ‘Abd al-Rahmān accepted Sh. Bin Baz’s request and performed this duty twice, after which he left it. After the death of al-‘Allāmah Bin Baz, the current grand mufti, Sh. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Āl al-Shaykh, once again implored Sh. ‘Abd al-Rahmān al-Barrāk to become part of the council for giving fatwā. Despite the Muftī’s adamant requests, he declined once again in order to devote his time to teaching and calling to Islām. His Efforts in Teaching and Spreading Knowledge Sh. Al-Barrāk has regular lessons in Masjid al-Khulayfi in the al-Fārūq District of Riyadh, where he is also the Imām. Most of his lessons are in this Masjid. In these lessons, dozens of books have been read to him in various disciplines such as Fiqh, Usūl al-Fiqh, Tafsīr, Usūl al-Tafsīr, Hadīth, Mustalah, Nahw, ‘Aqīdah and other sciences. In addition, he has some private lessons in his house for some of his closest students. He also holds other lessons in masājid across Riyadh. During summer vacations, he participates in teaching many intensive seminars. He has also given lessons for students of knowledge in Yemen, Kuwait, UK, Ukraine and other countries via telelink. Furthermore, he takes time out to answer questions that are sent to him from various websites on the Internet. His Worship He awakens every night without fail two hours before Fajr to perform late night prayers. He fasts every Monday and Thursday. He completes the recitation of the Qur’ān every 10 days. His students He started teaching from as early as half a century ago, and since then, many students have graduated under his supervision, the exact number being too great to count. From those students, many of them have become professors in various colleges of Islāmic sciences across the country while others have become judges and well-known callers to Islām. After Allāh (swt) facilitated some of the latest modern technologies, such as the internet, it has become possible for many students of knowledge to follow and benefit from his knowledge live via the website www.liveislam.net. The current Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia is also one of his students. Commanding Good and Forbidding Evil Sh. al-Barrāk has tremendous efforts to his credit in enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and advising and writing to people in positions of authority, and in rectifying people’s relationships. He is known for warning against innovations and other forms of sin and deviation. He has many fatāwā and articles in that regard, and he has participated with some other mashāyikh in issuing various bayāns or advices to the Muslims at large. His concern for the Ummah and Its Affairs The Shaykh, may Allāh preserve him, has great concern for the affairs of Muslims of all over the world. He follows their news and he feels great sorrow and pain at the calamities that strike them. At times of hardship, he hastens to pray to Allāh for them and he invokes Allāh against their enemies. He also exerts his efforts in advising them and providing them guidance. The Scholars’ Praise for Him Sh. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. Bāz said: ‘He is a man oft-guided (by Allāh) to the truth’. And he used to have a very high status in the eyes of al-‘Allāmah ibn Uthaymīn (May Allāh have mercy on him). At the end of his life, when Shaykh al-Munajjid asked him who we should refer to for knowledge and fatwā after his death, he mentioned Sh. Sālih al-Fawzān and Sh. al-Barrāk. Al-‘Allāmah Abdullāh b. Jibreen and al-‘Allāmah ‘Abd al-‘Azīz al-Rājihī stated while clarifying a fatwā of the Shaykh: ‘We have the fatwa of our noble Shaykh, al-Allāmah ‘Abd al-Rahmān b. Nāsir al-Barrāk.... Then they went on to say: ‘and we know well the leading status of our Shaykh in the religion and his (lofty) status in the Ummah and the confidence of the Muslims in his knowledge and fatwā...’ They also described the Shaykh as an ‘great pious scholar (‘Ālim Rabbānī)’. When al-‘Allāmah Sālih al-Luhaydān (the former Chief Justice) was asked about the Shaykh, he replied, ‘‘Undoubtedly, Sh. Abd al-Rahmān b. Nāsir al-Barrāk is an outstanding individual from what I know in respect to his religion, knowledge, understanding and piety.’ Al-‘Allāmah Abdullāh al-Ghunaymān and al-‘Allāmah Abd al-Rahmān b. Sālih al-Mahmūd said concerning the Shaykh, ‘‘And that which we believe is that the Shaykh, may Allāh preserve him, is amongst the greatest people of knowledge and ijtihād in this era.’ Al-‘Allāmah Sālih al-Fawzān has also spoken in defense of the Shaykh’s verdicts on more than one occasion. And until now senior students and scholars, amongst them members of Hay’at Kibār al-‘Ulamā’, judges and lecturers in the universities attend the Shaykh’s lessons. His writings Although the shaykh is fully capable of authoring works in a number of diverse disciplines, he has preferred not to do so, dedicating all his time to teaching and answering questions. During the years the Shaykh has explained a large amount of books in his lessons. Many of these lessons have been recorded however, the majority of the lessons have not. The following is a list of some of the publications coming from the shaykh over the years: 1.A Commentary on Tadmurīyyah by ibn Taymīyyah 2.A Response Concerning Īmān and Its Nullifiers (Jawāb fil Īmān wa Nawāqidih) 3.The Muslim’s Stance Concerning Differing Opinions (Mawqif al-Muslim Min al-Khilāf) 4.Comments on the Aqīdah Mistakes in al-Fath al-Bārī (Al-Ta'līqāt 'Alā al Mukhālafāt al-'Aqadiyyah fī Fath al-Bārī) 5.A Commentary on al-Wasītīyyah (Tawdīh Maqāsid al-Wāsitīyyah) 6.Sharh al-‘Aqidah al-Tahāwīyyah 7.Tawdīh al-Maqsūd Min Nazm Abī Dāwūd 8.Notes on Nawawī’s Forty Hadīth (Al-Fawā’id al-Mustanbatah Min al-Arba’īn al-Nawawīyyah) 9.Comments on al-Qawā’id al-Muthlā 10.Sharh al-‘Aqīdah al-Dālīyyah 11.A Commentary on Kalimat al-Ikhlās by ibn Rajab There are many other works that he has written or explained and which are close to be being published as well. May Allāh bless Sh. al-Barrāk in his age and extend his life in obedience of Allāh and give him the ability to continue benefiting the Muslims. Allāh is the One Who Hears and Answers prayers.