Shaykh Yusuf Abu Sneina
Shaykh Yusuf ‘Abd al-Wahhab ibn Mahmud Abu Sneina is undoubtedly a fortunate, honoured and blessed individual for he is the Imam and Khatib of al-Masjid al-Aqsa (Jerusalem). Al-Masjid al-Aqsa was the original qibla of the Muslims, the sacred place where Allah’s beloved Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) addressed and led all previous prophets in congregation and began his mi’raj (ascention) towards Allah (most high).
Ibn Maja (ra) in his Sunan relates the hadith in which the noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has said, “Journeys are made to three mosques; al-Masjid al-Haram, my mosque and al-Masjid al-Aqsa.”(Sunan Ibn Maja, 6, 1474) The beloved Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also informed his Companions of the du’a made by Sulayman (as) after building the Bayt al-Maqdis in which he asked Allah (most high) that he who solely comes to this mosque for the worship of Allah (most high), all his sins are forgiven as the day his mother bore him. (Sunan ibn Maja, 6, 1473)
Moreover, Anas ibn Malik (ra) narrates that the blessed Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stated that a person who prays one prayer in al-Masjid al-Aqsa shall receive the reward equal to praying fifty thousand prayers. (Sunan Ibn Maja, 6, 1478)
What a great feat must it be then to serve as an Imam and lead all people in prayer in this sacred mosque for a quarter of a century. This accolade belongs to none other than Shaykh Yusuf ‘Abd al-Wahhab ibn Mahmud Abu Sneina who is not only the Imam but has also continuously delivered the khutba in al-Masjid al-Aqsa.
Shaykh Yusuf Abu Sneina was born on 12th August 1958 in the holy city of Jerusalem. From 1978 to 1981, he studied and completed his BA (Hons) in Hadith from Madina University where he had been blessed to study in close proximity to the Prophet’s Mosque. Upon his return in 1981, he was assigned as the Imam of al-Masjid al-Aqsa and in 1990 was also assigned as the Khatib. In the year 2000, he completed his MA degree from the University of al-Quds ash-Sharif in Jerusalem. In addition to being Imam and Khatib, Shaykh Yusuf Abu Sneina is a renowned scholar, teacher and academic, and gives regular lectures and durus in the sacred al-Masjid al-Aqsa. Shaykh Yusuf Abu Sneina has also the privilege of leading the tarawih prayers during the month of Ramadan in al-Masjid al-Aqsa for the last twenty five years.
Shaykh Yusuf Abu Sneina met Shaykh Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada inside al-Masjid al-Aqsa in December 2000 when Shaykh Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada travelled to Palestine. Since that initial acquaintance, both have formed a close relationship based upon the love of Allah (most high). In 2001, Shaykh Yusuf Abu Sneina came to the United Kingdom for the first time and chose to stay at Jamia Al-Karam. During his stay, he gave regular lectures to the students of Jamia Al-Karam and also delivered his first public speech at Jamia Al-Karam on the occasion of the Urs gathering of the late Diya’ al-Ummat, Justice Shaykh Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari (ra). In his speech he remarked, “I can appreciate the greatness and legacy of Diya’ al-Ummat (ra) by simply observing the works and achievements of his students worldwide, and especially respected Shaykh Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada.” Shaykh Yusuf Abu Sneina has also written a forward to Shaykh Muhammad Imdad Hussain Pirzada’s manual on Hanafi fiqh, Imdad al-Fiqh fi’l-‘Ibadat.
Shaykh Yusuf Abu Sneina is an extremely humble, sincere and generous person who has been blessed with great knowledge and wisdom. It is a great honour and privilege for him to grace us with his presence in this unique conference. May Allah (most high) grant him a long and healthy life so that he may continue to serve Islam. Amin.