Abu Talhah Dawud bin Ronald Burbank and his Wife Have Died
(May Allaah have Mercy upon them both)
Abu Talhah Dawud Burbank and his wife passed away earlier today, Tuesday 1st November 2011 (5th Dhul-Hijjah 1432H) – may Allaah shower them both with His abundant Mercy.
(Their Janaazah will be prayed at the Haram Masjid in Makkah, after Fajr on Wednesday 6th Dhul-Hijjah, inshaa’Allaah)
The eyes shed tears, there is sadness and grief in the heart, but we only say things pleasing to our Lord. Indeed we are saddened by the passing away of our brother Abu Talhah, rahimahullaah and his wife (rahimahallaah).
“Innaa lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji’oon.”
“Indeed to Allaah we belong and to Him we shall return.”
Allaah, the Most Perfect and the Most High, said,
“And give glad tidings to the patient – those who, when afflicted with a calamity, say ‘Indeed to Allaah we belong and to Him we shall return.’ It is those who will be rewarded with blessings and mercy from their Lord. And it is those who are the guided ones.”
Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alayhi wassallam) said: “To Allaah belongs what He took, and to Him belongs what He gave. Everything is recorded with him for an appointed term..” (Ahkaamul-Janaa’iz of Al-Albaanee)
Both Abu Talhah and Umm Talhah were in a state of Ihraam, calling out the talbiyah wherein the Tawheed of Allaah, the sole right He has of worship is called out with an audible voice. The Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) stated on an occasion when a Companion died in a state of Ihraam:
“Wash him with water and sidr (lotus), and shroud him in two garments. Do not embalm or perfume him, and do not cover his head or face. He will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment making the Talbiyah.”
[Bukhaaree and Muslim]
They passed away in this month of Dhul-Hijjah on their way to Hajj in these, the most virtuous days in the world, as the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) stated – days in which righteous deeds are most beloved to Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Most Majestic.
The bus they were on caught fire, and both of them were killed in the fire. Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) stated:
“Death from burning is a Shahaadah (martyrdom)…”
[Declared hasan by Shaikh al-Albaanee in Ahkaamul-Janaa’iz, p.55]
I have known Abu Talhah and his family (Umm Talhah) for twenty years. He has been my teacher, my friend, my confidant, an adviser, a support for myself and my family throughout this time. In the depths of battles practically throughout the whole of the nineties he stood firm against the people of misguidance and bid’ah, translating material in clarification of the haqq and propagating the haqq, without any compromising or fearing the blame of the blamers. He stood firm against the Soofees, the Ash’arees, the Khawaarij and the Shi’ah – he translated the works of the scholars both past and present, making clear the path of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. He defended the honour of the scholars such as Shaikh Ibn Baaz, Shaikh Shaikh Al-Albaanee, Shaikh Muqbil bin Haadee and Shaikh Rabee al-Madkhalee when the partisans and the innovators in the West tried to dishonour and discredit them. He became a symbol and a sign of Salafiyyah in the West, and we do not praise anyone beyond Allaah, the Most High.
He translated scores of books of the Scholars, he translated ‘At-Tawassul’ of Shaikh al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah) and thereby clarified the belief of Ahlus-Sunnah in opposition to the grave worshippers and Soofees. He translated ‘The Reality of Soofism’ of Shaikh Muhammad bin Rabee al-Madkhalee (hafidhahullaah), he translated ‘The Explanation of the Three Principles’ of Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah), he translated ‘The Methodology of the Prophets in Calling to Allaah’ of Shaikh Rabee’ al-Madkhalee (hafidhahullaah), he translated ‘The Explanation of the Creed’ of Imaam al-Barbahaaree (rahimahullaah), and much more besides.
In the nineties, when the da’wah was in its infancy, many people left the Salafi Manhaj, preferring the paths of innovation – Dawud (rahimahullaah) saw them come and saw them go, but he would not join them in their opposition. Rather he would advise those who were once with us upon this path of Sunnah, he would show great concern for them so that they not become misguided. He would make du’aa for them, and then leave their affair to Allaah, and stop his association with them, only for the sake of Allaah. He would not compromise with them, nor praise those who opposed this blessed Manhaj. He was the first person to translate the rudood (refutations) of Shaikh Muqbil, Shaikh al-Albaanee and Shaikh Rabee’ against Jam’iyyah Ihyaa Turaath al-Islaamee – he stemmed and almost cut off their bid’ah in the UK by way of these translations (by the permission of Allaah). Allaah had blessed him with skills of translation that I have not seen equaled in the West, and Allaah knows best.
The Scholars loved and praised him and spoke highly of him, and were saddened at his passing away as has been narrated from Shaikh Muhammad bin Haadee, Shaikh Rabee’, Shaikh Muhammad al-Anjaree, Shaikh Ahmad as-Subay’ee and Shaikh Falaah bin Ismaa’eel. In fact, Shaikh al-Anjaree (hafidhahullaah) called me himself seeking news about Abu Talhah and his wife – he made du’aa for them and praised them for their nobility and virtues, and then he made du’aa for their children and ended by giving me some valuable advice.
Shaikh Muqbil (rahimahullaah) heard of the excellence of Dawood and wrote a tazkiyyah for him nearly fifteen years ago! Shaikh Abdus-Salaam Burjiss Aal Abdul-Kareem (rahimahullaah) used to sit with us and advice us with the importance of knowledge and adhering to the Salafi Manhaj – he loved the company of Abu Talhah as did Shaikh Muhammad bin Haadee upon their several visits to Birmingham. There has not been a time that I have met with Shaikh Muhammad bin Haadee except that he would ask about the welfare of Abu Talhah. I recall back in 1999 when I was in Kuwait sitting in a gathering of mashayikh and they had heard that one of the children of Abu Talhah had become ill – they spoke well of him and made du’aa for his child. Then they asked me to convey their salutations to him. When Shaikh Abdus-Salaam Burjiss (rahimahullaah), a former judge and scholar of Riyadh, would visit us from time to time in Birmingham along with Shaikh Muhammad bin Haadee, he would bring gifts – he knew the shyness of Dawud, and would ask me to pass the gift to him on his behalf.
He started teaching regularly in the mid 90’s upon the advice of Shaikh Muhammad al-Anjaree. This was after Shaikh al-Anjaree saw that the people of partisanship had left us and scattered, and we were few in number who remained upon the Sunnah and Salafiyyah. So Shaikh al-Anjaree encouraged him to step up and teach the people what he possessed of knowledge and call the people to Salafiyyah. So we set up classes, and only a handful sat in those duroos of ours in the early days – as this was in the era of the split from JIMAS and after Ihyaa Turaath (with the help of Suhaib Hasan and Green Lane) had poisoned many of the people with their hizbiyyah. But Abu Talhah persisted and continued not flinching from the immense task ahead of him. Shaikh al-Anjaree requested from me to remain close to Abu Talhah, to support him, encourage him and strengthen him in his determination.
Slowly but surely the numbers grew, the da’wah spread, the opposers were silenced, the truth became clearer and clearer. The da’wah of the scholars took root, wal-hamdulillaah. Abu Talhah would teach from the well-known books, such as ‘Kitaabut-Tawheed’ of Shaikh ul-Islaam Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahhaab, ‘Al-Aqeedatul-Waasitiyyah’ of Ibn Taymiyyah, ‘Riyaadhus-Saaliheen’ of an-Nawawee, ‘as-Saheehah’ of Shaikh al-Albaanee and many others. With these efforts and the efforts of others, and by the Grace of Allaah, Birmingham became a destination for Salafis in the UK, an island of Salafiyyah in this land. People traveled and moved with their families to Birmingham. The scholars heard of the efforts being made and when asked about the da’wah in Europe, they would praise the efforts of the brothers in Birmingham at ‘Salafi Publications’, and encourage co-operation with them (such as Shaikh Muqbil) and even living amongst them, if one could not migrate to a Muslim land (such as Shaikh Ubaid, Shaikh Falaah and Shaikh al-Anjaree). We worked collectively and tirelessly in disseminating the Salafi da’wah: Abu Talhah, Abu Hakeem, Abu Iyaad (and others), and there is no doubt regarding the prominent and exceptional role Abu Talhah (rahimahullaah) played in conveying this da’wah over the last 20 years.
Abu Talhah (rahimahullaah) continued and never stopped calling the people to the aqeedah and the manhaj and the fiqh and the akhlaaq and the adaab of the Salaf – not for one moment have I known him to be upon anything other than that. He was firm upon the Sunnah, not compromising – if he knew something to be the haqq, he would hold to it with his molar teeth. Though he lived far from the Masjid, he would still walk miles to reach the Masjid as-Salafi, hoping for the reward from Allaah and a removal of sin for every step that he took, rahimahullaah. I would ask him, “Dawood, why do you not learn to drive?” He would respond, “No thank you, I’m fine walking,” and we would laugh. He would not carry a mobile phone, and had no interest in having one, as he knew it would occupy him away from “more important matters”. He would rarely travel out of Birmingham for da’wah, and on several occasions he would seek our advice before traveling. He was a loving and caring husband and father, with a beautiful sense of humor. He was full of information, and we would talk for hours sometimes about the Deen and worldly matters of interest, but never was he lewd or foul ever. He was conscious of time and being on time and not wasting time. In the trips to visit the Mashayikh of Saudi Arabia, I would share the hotel room with him, we would talk for hours about the affairs of da’wah – sometimes he would disappear, and we would not see him for hours – then he’d reappear clutching bags of books that he had picked up at some obscure bookshop in Makkah or Madinah, then he’d sit down flicking through them for hours. He’d return to the UK, quite often with overweight luggage! We’d have fun discussing the various scenarios to expect at the airport when our bags are weighed. He would say, “Well if Abu Hakeem can get away with it, so will I… inshaa’Allaah!”. In 2001 before Hajj, Abu Talhah called me and said, “I’ve got some news.. I’m going Hajj, inshaa’Allaah.” I replied, “Maashaa’Allaah Dawood! Excellent news!” He said, “Would you like to come along?” I responded, “Love to Dawood, but can’t really afford it right now. Maybe next year.” So he said, “I will arrange the tickets.. just say yes.” I said, “I don’t want to put anyone through difficulty.” He said, “So you’re coming, inshaa’Allaah.” I said, “Yes! Inshaa’Allaah.” Generous and giving till the last, rahimahullaah. It was the most enjoyable and memorable Hajj I have performed. We stayed in some strange apartments (!!), and never left each others side throughout the nearly four weeks, and we used to often recall that Hajj (and reminisce and smile) – that we performed alongside several other brothers: Abu Amaan, Abu Hammaad, Jamaal ad-Deen, Abu Abdul-Kareem, Maqsood, Abdul-Hameed and others. After that Hajj, there was never a time that Abu Talhah went to Makkah and Madinah except that myself, Abu Hakeem and Abu Iyaad accompanied him.
He was from the founders of al-Maktabah as-Salafiyyah and a pillar of its early success, as his translations and research were an invaluable part of the da’wah. It is amazing looking back at where we began in the early 90’s and how much we have gone through – and all praise is due to Allaah – that Salafiyyah has tens and thousands of adherents now in the UK, and to think that Allaah had decreed Abu Talhah (rahimahullaah) to be a leading figure in that call, and we praise no one beyond Allaah. My brothers and sisters, make no mistake, he (rahimhullaah) remained steadfast till the last.
I invited him to my home only a few weeks ago, him and his family and his children. They spent the day with us till just before Maghrib. We spoke about the early days of the da’wah when we were isolated, yet stood firm and we spoke of the duroos in those days, classes that were based around the manhaj of tasfiyyah and tarbiyyah. How the people abandoned us, prevented us and how the Mashayikh stuck by us and would advise us, and then we would return back ‘re-charged’ and enthused with energy, walhamdulillaah, Shaikh Muhammad bin Haadee, Shaikh Rabee’ and Shaikh al-Anjaree being the most instrumental in encouragement! May Allaah bless and preserve our mashiyikh.
We spoke of the sittings with the scholars, when Abu Talhah, Abu Hakeem, Abu Iyaad, Hasan as-Somaalee and myself would go regularly to Saudi Arabia and sit with the scholars; the hajj and ‘umrahs that we made together – happy times and tough battles, memories that we cherished dearly. And how we have grown into middle-age upon this da’wah, and how many scholars have passed away; and how old the living ones have become. We spoke about Shaikh Rabee’ (hafidhahullaah) a lot, and Abu Talhah expressed how much love he had for the Shaikh, and how angered he is at those who speak ill of him, and of Shaikh Ubaid and Shaikh Muhammad bin Haadee (whom he loved greatly). We spoke about natural health and issues related to natural medicine, as he was a proponent of natural foods and healthy living. He loved our brother Abu Iyaad and would praise him often for his efforts in the da’wah and his translations, and in bringing to the forefront the importance of Prophetic medicine and healthy living by eating healthily. We spoke in this visit of his to my home about where to get hold of organic and raw food, we exchanged websites of organic suppliers – his sons sat, listened and participated in our discussions with polite and useful comments, showing the excellent tarbiyyah of the parents upon their children. We spoke for hours, in the pleasure of each others company.
Umm Talhah (rahimahallaah) was a caring and careful mother – a joyful character who loved her children and cared immensely for the Sunnah and its implementation in the home. A day before she left for Hajj, she rang our home and spoke to my wife about how she was so overjoyed that Allaah, the Most Perfect and Most High, had given her another opportunity to perform Hajj, this endeavour for Allaah’s sake. May Allaah unite these two loving parents with their children once more in the highest and most noble company, in the highest level of Jannah.
Wallaahi, my brothers and sisters, I have do not know of anyone in the West more meticulous in acting upon the Sunnah than Abu Talhah – he would know fine details of how the Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) walked, talked, ate and behaved and he would follow him in that precisely. He was from the shyest of the people, from the most humble and with the least concern for the world and its glitter. I do not say this out of flattery for anyone, nor to raise a person above his level, but rather from my truthful knowledge of him. And this is something that was witnessed by Shaikh Muhammad bin Haadee, Shaikh Falaah bin Ismaa’eel and Shaikh al-Anjaree amongst others. They would mention this to us about AbuTalhah (rahimahullaah) in his absence and praise his humbleness. Myself and Abu Hakeem have heard this from our mashayikh.
There is no doubt that we are saddened at the loss of our brother and his wife, especially those of us in the arena of da’wah! My brothers such as Abu Hakeem, Abu Iyaad, Hasan as-Somaalee, Kashiff Khan, the Shoorah of al-Maktabah as-Salafiyyah (Abu Junaide and Abu Fudayl) and others, may Allaah preserve them all, as well as those who attend the duroos and frequent the Masjid – all have expressed their sadness at the departure of this beloved brother and his wife. Myself and Abu Hakeem have received calls and messages from all across the UK, and the USA, Canada, KSA, Kuwait, the Caribbean, and Sri Lanka (to name a few) mentioning their sadness at the loss of our brother and sister – yet we utter only those words which please our Lord, the Mighty and Majestic.
O Allaah! Forgive Abu Talhah and forgive Umm Talhah, elevate their position amongst the guided ones, and raise good successors for them from their offspring. Forgive us and them, O Lord of the worlds, expand and illuminate their graves, for them both. Allaahumma Ameen!
Abu Khadeejah ‘Abdul-Waahid Alam
A man who defended the Sunnah.
FACT: Abu Talhah translated Shaikh Muqbils’ refutation on Abdullaah as-Sabt of Ihyaa Turaath in 1997.
FACT: Abu Talhah translated Shaikh Muqbil’s refutations on Suhaib Hasan and al-Hidaayah in 1997.
FACT: Abu Talhah translated Shaikh Rabee’s first critique of Suhaib Hasan and Turaath in 1997 after Hajj.
FACT: Abu Talhah translated sections from Shaikh Rabee’s ‘Jamaa’ah Waahidah Laa Jama’aat’ in refutation of the head of Ihyaa Turaath, Abdur-Rahmaan Abdul-Khaaliq in 1998.
FACT: Abu Talhah translated portions of Shaikh Abdus-Salaam Burjis’s ‘Mu’amalaat al-Hukaam’ in refutation of the Qutubees and those who called for revolt and revolution in the mid to late 1990’s.
FACT: Abu Talhah prevented any amalgamation with Muhammad Suroor after he had read ‘as-Sunnah’ magazine of this takfeeree in the early nineties, and found it to be in contradiction to the Sunnah!
FACT: Abu Talhah translated portions of the book ‘al-Qutubiyyah’ in refutation of the Qutubees such as Safar al-Hawaalee and Salmaan al-Awdah who were attacking the major scholars.
FACT: Abu Talhah translated the fatwa of Shaikh Ibn Baaz (rahimahullaah) calling the authorities to prevent Safar and Salmaan from delivering lectures, classes and their tapes from being distributed.
FACT: Abu Talhah translated many of Shaikh Rabee’s refutations against Syed Qutub and al-Mawdoodee; ‘Manhaj al-Anbiyah’ is point and case.
FACT: Abu Talhah translated Shaikh al-Albaanee’s refutations on Ihyaa Turaath and Abdur-Rahmaan Abdul-Khaaliq.
And much more besides. Documented in his own handwriting, rahimahullaah.