A Tribute to Shaykh Muhammad Ayyub – the great Qari of our generation!

I am writing this article to pay a tribute to Shaykh Muhammad Ayyub ibn Muhammad Yusuf ibn Sulaiman Umar (محمد أيوب بن محمد يوسف بن سليمان عمر‎), the great Qari of our generation, whose services to the book of Allah shall be remembered always.


Shaykh Muhammad Ayyub was born in 1952/1953 (1372 Hijri) in Makkah, Saudi Arabia and died on Saturday, the 16th of April 2016 (8 Rajab 1437 Hijri) in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. His father was a poor man whose family had migrated from their native land of Burma to Makkah to flee from the oppression that was carried out against the Muslims of Burma. Shaikh had a very harsh childhood with his elder brother working for the family, when his father was imprisoned in Burma. He used to attend his Quran classes in Makkah daily by traveling through the undeveloped roads of those times. There were no tunnels in the mountains during those days and he would travel on foot from his home to Masjid, climbing up the slopes and going down the slopes of the mountains. He mentions this in one of his rare interview that the path that he took to his Quran classes everyday would have wild dogs and other desert creatures on it. This truly showed the dedication with which Shaykh learnt the book of Allah.

He completed memorizing the Quran in 1965 (1385 hijri) under Khalil ibn Abd ar-Rahman al-Qari in Makkah. After completing his primary education in 1966 (1386 hijri), he moved to Madinah, where he completed his intermediate and secondary education at an Islamic school, graduating in 1972 (1392 hijri). He then enrolled in the Faculty of Sharia at Jamia Islamia (Islamic University of Madinah), receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1976 (1396 hijri). Then he specialized in Tafsir and Uloom al-Qur’an (Quranic exegesis and sciences of the Quran), receiving a master’s degree from the Faculty of the Holy Qur’an and Islamic Studies. He received a doctorate from the same faculty in 1987 (1408 hijri). [Source: http: // www .hudaelislam. org/ar/moh.ayub/moh.ayub. htm]

Besides studying at school, he also studied under several other Islamic scholars in Madinah, in subjects including tafsir and its related sciences, the fiqh of the four madh’habs, hadith and hadith terminology, and usul al-fiqh. [Source: http: // mdayyoub. com/nabda. html]

With age, he showed remarkable tendency of excelling in Qiraat of Qur’an. His esteemed teacher, Shaykh Khaleel-ur-Rahman, was highly impressed with him and considered him on a high standard. As was expected from such sheer dedication, Shaykh was offered the position of Imaam in Masjid Quba in the year 1990 (1410 hijri). Shaykh Abdul Azeez as-salih was the head of imams in Prophet’s Masjid and the praise of Shaykh Muhammad Ayyub’s beautiful voice and excellent Qiraat reached him. He had heard that this man was a newly appointed imam in Masjid Quba. So he summoned Shaykh Ayyub to one of his gatherings in which he requested him to recite Qur’an. Shaykh Ayyub, though was surprised, recited Quran naturally, in the most eloquent way, leaving everyone in that gathering amazed. This gathering took place during the start of Ramadaan that year. Shaykh Abdul Azeez as-Salih immediately said to him that he would be leading the Taraweeh in Masjid un Nabawi that year. Shaykh Ayyub was dumbstruck at that moment and later he prepared himself for it.

In 1990 (1410 hijri), he was appointed as the Imam of Masjid un Nabawi. He narrates about his first night in the Mihrab of Rasuallah (sallahu alahi wa salam)’s Masjid. He said how his heart was racing and his hands were trembling with the fear of the greatness of that place and in remembrance of those who stood in that place before him. He said his heart was gripped with fear thinking whether he could do justice to that position and whether he could fulfill his responsibility or not. With such a condition, Shaykh Ayyub gave a remarkable performance in leading Taraweeh for 20 rak’ahs alone. This was done only by one other Imam of the Haram, Shaykh Ali Jabir. Shaykh Ayyub was a close friend of him and also offered salat ul janazah over him.

Below: A rare video shows Shaykh Ayyub leading Taraweeh in Masjid un Nabawi in 1990 (1410 hijri)

Until 1417 Hijri, Shaykh continued to lead Tahajjud and Taraweeh in the Prophet’s Masjid, after which he was removed. Later he spent few years as an Imam in Masjid Quba and other Masajids. He also taught tafseer at Jamia Islamia (Islamic University of Madinah) until his retirement in 2014. Shaykh Ayyub also traveled extensively on Dawah tours to India, Senegal, Turkey, Pakistan & Malaysia teaching Qur’an, Aqeedah, Fiqh and Arabic language.

He continued teaching Quran at Haram daily until he passed away. His students narrate that despite his sickness, he would turn up daily without fail. He would listen simultaneously to multiple students and at the same time correct each one of them. This is something which only an expert in the field of Quran can do. Generally we see Quran teachers listening to not more than two students at a time. But Shaykh went beyond this.

Praising him, Shaykh Mishary Rashid said “He was the Mustafa Ismail of the Arabian Peninsula, in that he was far more influential in shaping the recitation of many reciters and imams of masaajid in that region than anyone else”. He said this in one of his shows on biographies of modern day Qurra. (source: Ilmfeed .com)

Sheikh Ayyub is highly honored in the world of Qurra, who is respected and loved by Quran reciters from around the world. He was a master of Hijazi style and thus had great impact on the reciters of Saudi Arabia. Today, he is widely imitated even in the two Harams with Imams such as Shaikh Abdullah Johani, Sheikh Bandar Baleela, Shaykh Ahmad Talib Hameed and Shaykh Khalid Al-Ghamidi demonstrating that they are deeply influenced by him.

Shaykh carried sadness in his heart that he was removed from the position of Imam of Masjid un Nabawi. In one of the interviews of Shaykh Ayyub, when asked about his future wish, he replied that he hoped to be given one last opportunity to lead salah in Prophet’s Masjid before he dies. His dua was answered by Allah and he was appointed back for one last time to lead Taraweeh salah in the last ramadaan of his life in 2015 (1436 hijri). I was fortunate to attend this Taraweeh behind him, alhumdulillah!

Below: Shaykh Ayyub appointed back as Imam of Masjid Un Nabawi in 2015.

After a long struggle with illness, Shaykh Ayyub breathed his last on Saturday, the 16th April 2016 (9th Rajab 1437 hijri), during the fajr time, leaving millions of his loved ones shocked around the world.  His Janazah was offered in Dhuhr in Masjid Un Nabawi and he was buried in Baqi, Madinah.

Above: The Funeral (janazah) of Shaikh Muhammad Ayyub (rahimahullah)

In a whatsapp audio that I received on 17th April 2016, Shaykh Anees-ur-rahman Azmi (Hafidhuhullah) said that “It seems that Dr ayyub (rahmatulla alay) realized & felt that his last moments were drawing near. One of our trusted companion sent the recording of Salat-ul-Ishaan which was led by (the night before his death) him. In the first rakah, he recited ‘Izash shamsu kuwwirat’ (surah takwir) and went into ruku after reciting half the surah. In the second rakah, he recited ‘Alam nashrah laka’ (surah sharh). When he reached the ayah ‘fa iza faragta fansab, wa ila rabika fargab’ {translation: So when you have finished [your duties], then stand up [for worship]. And to your Lord direct [your] longing.}, my heart immediately said that he has completed his duties and he must go to Allah. This was the last surah that he recited in salat-ul-Ishaan. Such a great Qari has left this world. May Allah have mercy on him, may Allah accept his services. Some pious slaves of Allah realize before their death that they are going to die, so they tend to do something or say something that indicates it. Maybe even he realized this and hence he recited ‘Alam nashrah laka’. Wallahualam” (End Quote.)

Below: Audio of Shaykh Anees ur rahman on Dr Ayyub’s death

Shaykh Muhammad Ayyub (may Allah have mercy on him) was a man who spent his entire life in service of Qur’an & its sciences, from the early age until the final moments of death. What a man he was and what a great inspiration he is for our Ummah!

May Allah grant him the highest level in Jannah! Ameen!

–  By Abu Isaam Imran Ali

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  1. AsSalamualikum. After reading this article, I am lost with words.. What a honour & dedication.. From Burma to Makkah. The struggles & acceptance, had I not read this I would of not known or could have shared. We hear the scholars, Qaris that depart this world, but you never hear much else except the position.. This article has summarised in such length with the main points of The Honourable Shakyh life story that will touch millions of hearts & minds.. This is what people today need to hear, read.. As migration of muslims & struggles we are facing today. May encourage others not to lose hope… While reading every sencetances, I was feeling the doors of mercy had been opening , all the struggles our Honourable Shakyh was facing, but yet continued. My tears rolled up, reading the statement of His last duties while leading the salat & reciting from Surah Inshirah.. .. Indeed shakyh was honoured, humbled loved by honourable respected ulemas.. Professionals of such nature… & this article has helped us to know Him much greater than just another Respected Shakyh… A great Thank you to the Shaykh Abu Isaam for sharing this… Ameen to the dua you had made at the end..

  2. Sheikh ayyub was truly an inspiration to us all. We would have never come to know about his achievements had you not written about him. Excellent tribute! May Allah reward him with jannah.

  3. A very good tribute and honor to sheikh ayyub and his struggle to learn the book of Allah. He contributed so much for the deen and his contributions are well described by abu issam. May Allah give him highest place in jannah! and May Allah reward you immensely!

  4. Subhan’Allah! What an inspiration for young people like us. May Allah grant him the best place in Jannah AL Firdauth. Very well written, brother Imran.
    Jazak’Allahu khair

  5. جزاك الله خيرا

    Thanks for sharing the life of a great being.

    May Allah forgive him, accept from him and admit him to His mercy, to His jannah. Aamin.

  6. The best part of article was the struggle of Shaykf Ayyub in his studies. .his efforts and his determination.
    He has left for us a great example.
    His first experience of leading the salah at mihrab of Rasul Allah saw..
    Subhaanallah. Standing at place where Rasul Allah saw stood once and the best of this Ummah.
    The power of Duaa
    Allah fulfilled his wish of leading his last prayer at masjid nabawwi.. and the selection of the surah WA ILAA RABBIKA FARGHAB
    May Allah forgive him and grant him highest place in Jannah and unite us with Saaliheen..
    May Allah Bless Abu Issam for giving us such valuable information. .we would be devoid of it otherwise.

  7. SubhanAllah, may Allah reward Sheikh Ayyub immensely. I was not aware of so much detail about him. JazakAllahu Khair for writing this tribute. May Allah help us to walk the path of Pious Predessors and those who follow their path … aameen.

  8. Subhanallah. A big loss for the world indeed. Jazakallah for this tribute and may Allah grant him the highest place in Jannah.

  9. Allah SWT grant him jannatul firdaus Aameen😭I❤️Him for the sake of Allah may Allah make me meet him in hereafter Aameen . I❤️His recitation of the Quran and all his good work may Allah reward him . Aameen Sumaameen “☝🏽️😆


    innalillahi wainna ilaihi rajiun,what a great lost,sheikh was a great scholar and world best qur’an reciter and so we called him SHUGABA AYUBEEY (leader ayyub),to show he has uncountable loved ones,we have a islamic school that there qira’at is he’s and i lead the group,further more sheikh is just gifted from Allah,i have NEVER seen or hear a beutiful and cool voice in so too we called him FARIN TSOHO(white old i.e he is old but his voice is not old),as i received this shocked new,i dont know what to do because i have made promise that insha Allah am going to come to his place even ones before he or i pass away but subhanallah He Who Created him loved him most,we pray to Allah ta ala to gramt him with jannat firdaus and protect his generations amin.Abu isaam may Allah reward you in this humble effort of your’s amin.PLEASE WHAT ABOUT HIS FAMILY (HIS CHILDREN).?

  11. انًًًّا لله و انًًّااله راجون May Allah forgive him and grant him highest place in Jannah ,,, indeed it’s a great loss for ummah , May Allah preserve his teachings and make it ongoing sadaqa for him.Sheiks like Ayyub have truely dedicated their lives in gaining knowledge with so much hardship so we can benefit from it , May Allah reward him immensely .
    Very nice article , had no ideas about his achievement specially the part when sheikh studied Quran with such a hardship ,bought tears to my eyes .Jazak Allah khair for sharing !!

  12. Ya Allah grant him highest place in Jannah. Ameen

  13. Really a great loss for Ummah. we loss such a personality whose struggle become a lesson for Ummah and his dedication is not forgettable will b remembered ever and ever Insha Allah. May Allah ( swt) accepts his deeds and reward him highest plase in Jannah.
    Thanks to Brother Abu Isaam for writing such type of tributes and aware peoples, may Allah (swt) increase his knowledge and help him to describe his deeds in the way of our Honorable Profit Muhammad (saws).

  14. Why he was removed from the post

  15. Serious question…Why Sheik Muhammed Ayyub was removed as imam in Masjid nabavi

  16. I dont know what to say but Jazkallah khairan khatheera for sharing this. He was one of those I wanted to pray behind when I would go to the land of Nabi S.A.W.W. In fact, he was on top of that list. I was deeply saddened on his death. May Allah accept his efforts and grant him high ranks in jannah and unite us there with Nabi S.A.W.W ameen.

  17. May Allah reward you for your intentions and make us meet him in Jannah!

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