Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy

Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy (لشيخ د. محمد النينوي)
Title Shaykh & Doctor
Born 1966 (age 4950)
Aleppo, Syria
Nationality Syrian-American
Ethnicity Qurayshi Iraqi Arab
Era Modern
Region North America
Occupation Islamic scholar, Imam, Author
Religion Islam
Denomination Sunni
Jurisprudence Shafi'i[1]
Creed Ash'ari[2]
Alma mater Al-Azhar University
Sufi order Shadhili

Muhammad ibn Yahya ibn Muhammad ibn Sa’id ibn Muhammad ibn Ali al-Ninowy (born 1966) is a Syrian-born world renowned American Muslim Islamic scholar. He is the Founder and Director of Madina Institute, Inc. and its global affiliates, the Madinan Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, and Planet Mercy.


Al-Ninowy was born in Aleppo, Syria. He is a Sayyid, a descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad,[3][4] through his grandson Husayn ibn 'Ali by way of Musa al-Kadhim. His family descends from the southern Iraqi village of Ninowa, where Husayn ibn 'Ali was martyred in a partial area which is also known as Karbala.[5]


He began his study under his father, Sayyed Yahya (RahimahuAllahu Ta'ala), and many of the senior scholars of Aleppo at the time, memorizing the Qur'an and acquiring knowledge in many Islamic disciplines, such as Aqidah, Hanafi/Shafi’i Fiqh, Usul, and Ihsan. He particularly specializes in the fields of Hadith and Tawhid.

Besides graduating from the Faculty of Usul-ud-Din at Al- Azhar University, Shaykh Dr. Muhammad delved further into the fields of Hadith and Ihsan under the tutelage of many of the foremost scholars worldwide, who resided in Syria, Hijaz, Morocco, Egypt, and others.

Shaykh al-Ninowy has established a global network of Madina Institutes which all strive to carry the same message: love for all, malice toward none. Shaykh Muhammad focuses on reviving the call to Deen (Way of Life) with a Back to Basics approach i.e. the Qur'an and Authentic Sunnah, in addition to teaching tolerance, peace and compassion. Shaykh Muhammad is the founder and senior-in-residence scholar of Madina Institute, Inc. (a masjid and seminary) in Duluth, Georgia since 2012. He has authored many books in the science of Tawhid, Hadith, and Usul, some of which are being translated into English and published, such as: The concept of Bid’a and its application, Nisf-Sha’ban virtues in the authentic Sunnah, Hadithi commentary on the Shama’il of Imam Tirmidhi, Explanation of the Nukhba Text in Hadith sciences, Explanation of the Al Fiyyah in Hadith terminology, Hadithi commentary on Imam Nasa’iy’s Khasa’is, Expressing Delight for the Birth of the Light, and many texts which are yet to be published.

In addition to his education in Islamic Studies, Shaykh Muhammad al-Ninowy also holds a bachelor's degree in Microbiology from the University of Illinois and a Doctor of Medicine degree.

Shaykh Muhammad continued pursuing Islamic knowledge from many great scholars who resided in Makkah, Madina, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Jordan and went on to study at Al-Azhar University at the Faculty of Usul-u-Deen, specializing in Hadith (PhD). He also holds a Doctor of Medicine degree and a bachelor's degree in Microbiology from the USA.

Methodology of Shaykh Muhamamad bin Yahya al-Husayni al-Ninowy

General Methodology:

Believes and practices the methodology of Ahlus Sunnah in Usul, Hadith sciences and Ihsan (Tazkiyah/Tasawuff/heart-purification).

Theological Methodology and Approach (Manhaj):

Believes in the absolute prioritization of the Divine Texts (Qur'an and Authentic Sunnah) over any and everything. Then, Ijma’ and Textually evidenced Qiyas (aqyisatu-l illa al-mansus alayha).

The Qur'an and Sunnah are revealed by The Most Compassionate, Creator of All, and no other entity or text can be as unconditionally loving, forgiving, compassionate, and inclusive. We are all His after all.

Fiqh and Aqidah:

Practices the Shafi’i Fiqh, an Athari-based approach to Maturidi/Ash’ari school in theology (such as the approach of Imam Ibn Hajar’s as manifested in his Tawhid section in Fat’h-ul-Bari). But believes in absolutely NO Taqlid (imitation) in issues of Tawhid whatsoever, so wherever the Nass (Textual evidence) leads, that’s where the direction is.


Attempts to practice a Text (Qur'an/Sunnah)-based approach to Tasawuff/Tazkiyah/Sufism.

(Tasawuff of Ahlul Hadith; such as al-Hafidh As-Suyuti, Imam an-Nawawi, and the like).

Hadith sciences:

Prioritizes the Six Books of Sunnah (al-Kutub as-Sittah) over the rest. Out of the six books, Muslim and al-Bukhari are the most prioritized and authentic, and out of both, the Ahadith which al-Bukhari and Muslim agreed upon. Utilizes the methodology of Muhaddithin in Jar’h and Ta’dil, Rijaal, and ilal. Believes that Hadith is the most honorable knowledge after the Book, and ought to be prioritized as such. Strongly against propagating weak Ahadith except in rare circumstances coupled with full disclosure. We have enough authentic Ahadith preserved, to suffice us from narrating weak ones, Alhamdulillah. The Manhaj in Hadith is that of the rules established by the great Imams of this knowledge such as Imam ash-Shafi’i, Muslim, Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Ibn Hibban, Ibn Hajar, and the like.

Prophetic Succession: The 4 righteous Khulafa (al-Khulafa’ ar-Rashidun) and beyond:

No clear-cut or definitive(Qat’i) Prophetic command for post-Prophetic succession was left. Shura and election led to the selection of the first righteous Khalifa; Sayyiduna Abu Bakr as-Siddiqq over the entire Ummah, followed by Sayyidina Umar, followed by Sayyidina Uthman, followed by Sayyidina wa Mawlana Ali. This (30 year) era of Khilafa Rashida (Righteous Prophetic Succession) combined the leadership of both; the Sahaba and Ahlul Bayt, and was a great era. Yet they (the 4 righteous Khulafa) themselves had a standard which they were obligated to adhere to and follow: the Book and authentic Sunnah. They did so at the best of their knowledge and capacity, and exhausted their abilities and efforts to follow the Qur'an and Sunnah until they departed, so may Allah Ta’ala shower them with His Mercies and be pleased with them all.

Practices the “Sukut” on judging the intentions/objectives/ends of the Sahaba (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with them all) during the times of tribulations as per the understanding of Ahlus Sunnah which is consistent with the Qur'an and authentic Sunnah. Participates to the known Ahlus Sunnah position that Sayyidina Ali was the righteous Khalifah, and had the truth with him during his 6-year Khilafah, but throughout all, Husn-Dhann (good thinking) of all the honorable Prophetic companions must be prioritized. Finally, we need to learn from our history not re-live or remain hostage or stuck in history.

Believes that al-Hasan did the absolutely righteous thing (Shar’i mandate) by accepting the agreed-upon temporary recusal of himself from the executive leadership of the Ummah to Mu’awiyah (a Sahabi), to prevent further bloodshed and Fitna. And believes that al-Husayn did the absolutely righteous thing (Shar’i mandate) by standing up in words, actions, and -more importantly- self, to the tyrant Yazid to prevent further bloodshed and Fitna. (yazid is NOT a Sahabi, rather considered to be a Fasiq to say the least, but only Allah Ta’ala knows best).

The Honorable Sahaba and Ahlul Bayt:

Shaykh al-Ninowy believes in the great honor of all the Sahaba (Prophetic companions- may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with them all), all and every one of them, for the simple fact: the honorable vision and companionship of the best of the creation -sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam- that Allah Ta’ala granted them. Equally so, the honorable Prophetic household (Ahlul Bayt). Attempts to speak about both (The Sahaba and Ahlul Bayt) as equally as possible to bring about a lacking balance with respect to the Seerah and figures of the Salaf of Ahlul Bayt from our authentic Ahlus Sunnah sources and point of view. The Sahaba and Ahlul Bayt (Ahlul Bayt is a term which includes our mothers; the honorable wives Ummahaatul Mu’minin, may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with them all) have carried this Deen to us, struggled, and we can benefit from knowing them, their life, principles and ways, without going extreme in either camp. i.e. not neglecting the Sahaba, nor neglecting Ahlul Bayt, but striking the Qur'an/Sunnah demanded balance. Both; the Sahaba and Ahlul Bayt are commanded to follow the Book and Sunnah themselves. Loving them both and learning from and about them both, is important. This is because of the clear Prophetic directive; Muslim narrated in his Sahih, where the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, said: I am leaving you behind me two heavy weights: the Book and Ahla Bayti. One must realize that the Book mandates and institutionalizes the Sunnah, which is also Wahi. Hence, no separation in that sense whatsoever, and a disbelief in the Book is a disbelief in the Sunnah and vice versa. This authentic Hadith in effect states that the Qur'an and Sunnah combined together constitute the first and heaviest weight (responsibility) left to us, and holding on to them will save us from misguidance, as Prophetically stated.

Ahlul Bayt -as Prophetically defined- in the authenic Hadith of Ummu Salamah are the four whom the Prophet-sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam- cloaked along with himself, namely: (Fatima, Ali, Hasan, and Husayn), and called them: Ahlul Bayt. No other PROPHETIC definition is available. The four are Sahaba as well, and when one examines their life and message, sees a striking resemblance to the Prophetic life and message, and an embodiment, prioritization, and an inseparability from the Qur'an and Sunnah -as indicated in another authentic Prophetic narration-, hence they are the second or lesser weight, as Prophetically stated. Ahlul Bayt in the wider meaning -as per the definition of Zayd in Sahih Muslim- includes the offspring of Ali, Abbas, Aqil, and Ja’far. Obviously the honorable Ummahatul Mu’minin (Allah be pleased with them all) are included as well, as stated earlier.

General Approach and Theological Vision:

In general, follows a Textual (Qur'an/Hadithi) approach and prioritization thereof in everything as much as possible. "Nothing is as comforting as the Book of Allah Ta’ala and the words of His Gift of Mercy to the worlds, sallalllahu Ta’ala alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam.

The objective is to prioritize the Book and authentic Sunnah again, and put them on top of the list and in the hearts again. To have Ta’lluq (heart attachment) with them directly so that nothing comes before them, and nothing should compete with them in allegiance, foundation, substantiation, direct practice or reference.

The emphasis on the authentic Sunnah is extremely important, to weed out the forged and very weak Ahadith and narrations, and to filter aside the weak ones. The view here is that, in general, any prioritization of weak narrations over stronger ones (Hasan and Sahih) is a sign of Hawa (following desires and ignorance), and should be immediately abandoned. May Allah Ta’ala help and facilitate for us to do so each and every time we slip."

The Imams of Ahlus Sunnah and their schools:

"Our faith is based on the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah only. We harp around these two, and proudly stand corrected based on them, any and every time Insha’Allah.

The great work of our Imams (such as Naasir-u-Sunnah al-Imam Abu Abdillah As-Shafi’i, al-Imam al-A’dham Abu Hanifah, and the like) are for Isti’naas (elucidation/expansion) not Ta’sis (foundation/substantiation). The Ta’sis is reserved only for the Book and authentic Sunnah. The elucidation/explanation of the Imams of Ahlus Sunnah, who combined profound knowledge and embodiment of the Qu’ran and Sunnah, such as Imam ash-Shafi’i, and Imam Abu Hanifah, is the Fiqh of Nass (Texts), which the student of knowledge needs to see and negotiate the multiple dimensions of the Texts, and is required for Tadarujj (gradual approach) in seeking knowledge."

Sufism or Tasawuff:

"Tasawuff (Sufism) is an innovated term (not found in the Qur’an/Sunnah), therefore it must be defined. Therefore, in general, Tasawuff (and its recent schools/orders) is good if and when it prioritizes the Qur’an and Authentic Sunnah, bound by them, trains people to be more aware of their Creator, loving Him, and propels them to maximize their potential to become Rabbani. Rabbani; externally in behavior, Rabbani; in essence, Rabbani; in positive contribution and unconditional compassion to all humanity, and Rabbani; in connection to ar-Rabb Ta’ala, The Creator of all. In another words, Tasawuff is a Deeni and a humane necessity if and when it means, reflects and is consistent with the Prophetic Sunnah in general, and the Prophetic definition of Ihsan -in specific-, and is bound by it. For Ihsan is not only part of the Deen, but the objective of it, as Prophetically indicated. This is because Islam leads to Iman, and Iman leads to Ihsan, and all 3 make up “the Deen”, as the Hadith of Jibril indicates. Thus the Deen is incomplete without Ihsan (Tasawuff/purification of the heart). Hence the obligation for seeking it."

“Non-violence”, “Unconditional Compassion for all and Malice towards None” and other Principles :

Perfect in being imperfect. Believes in “Back to Basics” as far as Dawah for self and others. Strongly believes that Islam is based on a firmly non-violent message and love, and therefore tries to teach the peaceful, loving, inclusive, and compassionate message of Islam. Few things I have always said: Tradition must be distinguished from religion. Thinking, not just blindly following, is key. "Unconditional compassion is the foundational cornerstone of our Deen. Violence, whether verbal, intellectual, or physical, is contrary to the core Message of Islam. Islam came with the strongest message of non-violence ever. Violence is the language of the inarticulate. If you can’t articulate your opponent’s points as well as you articulate you own, then you haven’t even started. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Afford all human beings unconditional compassion, kindness, and dignity, regardless of background. If you are only good to those who are good to you, then what good are you?"

"Love Allah. Love People."[6]


Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya al-Husayni Al-Ninowy is the Founder and Director of Madina Institute, an Islamic seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, with campuses in Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Norway, Sudan, Malaysia, Mauritius, India, and Sweden. Dr. Al-Ninowy is considered to be a Muhaddith; a scholar of Hadith sciences. He has authored books in Usul, Creed, Hadith, and Sufi sciences. He has been a pioneer working on grass root levels to bring back Unconditional compassion and love as the central themes of religion, and has been the forerunner promoting non-violence among all people and religions worldwide.

He participates in many national and international conferences on Islam, world peace, and welfare of humanity.[7] He is the founding director of Madina Institute and been its foundation scholar since its inception.[8]

Al-Ninowy was also a professor of Anatomy and Physiology and has done extensive research in oncology (more specifically in breast cancer).

Al-Ninowy has recently launched The Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at Madina Institute USA, which is dedicated to continuing, "the Madinan School of Nonviolence and Peace as laid down in the Prophetic example, and to challenge global extremism, in both its violent and nonviolent forms."[9]

Madina Institute

Madina Institute aims to be a premier destination for Islamic education in which Muslims from all backgrounds can engage traditional Islamic teachings in a healthy and tolerant environment. In an age when Muslim communities are divided by ethnic, sectarian, and ideological factionalism, Madina Institute hopes to revive the values of love, compassion, and unity that rest at the core of our beloved religion. Our courses and programs will accomplish this by maintaining a commitment to the Qur'an and the Authentic Prophetic Way (Sunnah) while encouraging open dialogue, mature discussion, and free thinking.

Like Islamic educational institutions in the past, Madina Institute aims to serve the Muslim community’s spiritual, educational, and social needs.[10]

Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies

The Center for Non-violence and Peace Studies is an integral part of Madina Institute, a premier destination for Islamic education in which Muslims from all backgrounds can engage traditional Islamic teachings in a healthy and tolerant environment. The primary goal of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies is to continue the Madinan School of Nonviolence and Peace as laid down in the Prophetic example, and to challenge global extremism, in both its violent and nonviolent forms.[9]

Personal life

Al-Ninowy lives with his family in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.[4][7][11]


  1. "Islamic Belief الإسلام إسلام Aqeedah Tahawiyyah 1/8 :: Shaykh Muhammad Ninowy". AlhaqqDotNet. November 3, 2012. Retrieved December 3, 2013. At 28:52 he mentions he follows the Shafi'i school of thought (madhab), although he was raised as a Hanafi
  2. Halverson, Jeffry R. (2010). Theology and Creed in Sunni Islam. Pelgrave Macmillan. p. 152. ISBN 9781137473578.
  3. Halverson, Jeffry R. (2010). Theology and Creed in Sunni Islam. Pelgrave Macmillan. p. 152. ISBN 9781137473578.
  4. 1 2 "Prominent Shaykh to speak at Rochdale event". Manchester: Manchester Evening News. October 14, 2009. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  5. "Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya Al-Ninowy Al-Husayni - Biography". Al-Madina Masjid. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  6. "Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy | Madina Institute". Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  7. 1 2 "Shaykh Muhammad al-Ninowy". Gateway To Divine Mercy. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  8. "Muhammad Bin Yahya al-Husayni al-Ninowy". Al-Madina Institute. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  9. 1 2 "Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies | Madina Institute". Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  10. "About Us | Madina Institute". Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  11. "Learned Muslim scholar inspires". Manchester: Manchester Evening News. November 11, 2009. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
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