Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah’s influence is derived from his scholarship and preaching. Uniquely, all of the different sects and schools of Muslims respect him as a scholar. A testament to this is the notable fact that whilst he is not a Salafi, the Saudi government promulgates his fatwas as authoritative. He is an instructor at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah and is the Deputy Head of the Union of Muslim Scholars having previously been a Judge at the High Court of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the Head of Shari‘ah Affairs at the Ministry of Justice.
Bin Bayyah was raised in a household famous for its scholars, and his father Sheikh Mahfoudh Bin Bayyah was the head of the Conference of Mauritanian Scholars established after the country’s independence. Bin Bayyah studied in the Mauritanian centres of learning known as Mahadhir, in which all the sacred sciences were taught including: jurisprudence, legal theory, syntax, language, rhetoric, Qur’anic exegesis and its auxiliary sciences, and the science of Prophetic Tradition.
As a member of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy or Al Majma’ al Fiqhi of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Sheikh Bin Bayyah is at the forefront of the legal arm of a dynamic organisation with a permanent delegation to the United Nations.
Having written numerous texts, Sheikh Bin Bayyah’s scholarly explorations have gone global through speaking engagements that draw crowds of tens of thousands. He has spoken at length about the endurance of the Islamic legal tradition and also written extensively on rulings for Muslims living as minorities in foreign lands, or fiqh al aqaliyaat.
In June 2013, Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah visited the White House where he met with senior advisers and aides to President Obama. He called for the protection of the Syrian people and the Muslim minority in Myanmar. Also, he met with Bill Gates during the Global Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi in April 2013.
“If I asked for people to die for the sake of God, I would have them lining up at my house. But when I ask people to live for the sake of God, I can’t find anyone.”