The Connoisseur Imam: Saleh bin Said Al-Ismaili The Lost Jewel


There are many characters who were aggrieved in history. We may know nothing about them, but maybe we knew about some of the scattered topics that we find within the folds of the books. One of these unique figures, who are not well known nor given their due esteem in history, is Sheikh Saleh bin Said Al-Ismaili, "the Lost Jewel". Dear reader, here is a brief summary of this unique figure.


He is the Sheikh, Islamic jurisprudent and judge Saleh bin Said bin Muhammad bin Ahmed bin Qassim bin Salem bin Ahmed bin Muhammad bin Imam Ismail

Here we can find his lineage to Al-Ismaili as it is lined to Imam Muhammad bin Ismail.

He was the brave and just Imam Sheikh Saleh bin Said a worthy successor to his ancestor; Imam Muhammad bin Ismail the courageous and noble judge who righteously revolted against falsehood.

His life from birth to death:

Sheikh Saleh bin Said was born in the province of Al-Suwaiq at Al-Hisn suburb in the second decade of the 13th century AH. His father, Sheikh Said bin Muhammad, was a judge and Ruler of Al-Suwaiq at that time.

He was characterized by good courteous moral character since his birth and followed routes of the glorious excellence until he took the high prestige among the members of the tribe. When his father died, he replaced him and was appointed as the judge of Al-Suwaiq.

Sheikh Saleh had a prominent leading role in the establishment of State of Imam Azzan bin Qais. In recognition of his role and efforts in the establishment of the State, his knowledge and virtues among the Imams at that time, Imam Azzan bin Qais approved his appointment as a judge and ruler of Al-Suwaiq.

When the State of Imam Azzan bin Qais fallen, the relationship between Sheikh Saleh and the new state deteriorated and he expressed his desire to be exempted from office and the judiciary and he was exempted but continued in the judiciary wherever he traveled. However, people resorted to him even after his dismissal from office because of his good morals.

Sheikh Saleh traveled to many areas in Al-Suwaiq and owned lands and farms until he settled in Al-Suyah area. He was also known to be a trader and producer of sugar, which he exported after being squeezed and processed to the State of Bahrain.

At the end of his life, he traveled to East Africa and owned orchards and lands and was also known as a trader at the time. He kept traveling between Oman and Zanzibar until he passed away in 1345 AH.

His family and relatives:

The family of Sheikh Saleh was known by profluent knowledge and wisdom in dealing with situations and events. The family was also famous for good reputation and unique generosity. Therefore, the family produced unique figures and it is sufficient to remember Imam Muhammad bin Ismail, their grandfather.

  1. His grandfather is Sheikh Muhammad bin Ahmed. He was the judge and the ruler of Al-Suwaiq at the reign of Al-Ya'aribah dynasty. He compiled several books and died before the State of Imam Azzan bin Qais.
  2. His brother is Sheikh Muhammad bin Said and he was a judge and ruler of Al-Buraimi, before the stated of Imam Azzan bin Qais. After the fall of the Imam, he traveled to East Africa and took judiciary there and died drowning in the sea.
  3. His brother is Sheikh Nasser bin Said. He traveled to East Africa and became a judge and ruler in Zanzibar then he returned to Oman where he died after the decline of trade in Zanzibar.
  4. Hamoud Bin Saleh who lived in Al-Suwaiq and he was best known for rare generosity where people from everywhere headed to him. He assumed the presidency of his tribe until he died. There are many great other relatives of him, may God bless them all.

His education:

Sheikh Saleh received his education by his father, Sheikh Said bin Muhammad and other scholars of Oman. Sheikh Abu Nabhan may be one of his teachers from whom he received his education and knowledge, as he was one of the contemporary scholars at that time. Due his intense eagerness and interest in knowledge, Sheikh Saleh toured the four corners of the world seeking for learning. He traveled to Iraq, the Levant, Hijaz, Egypt and the Morocco until he met Al-Qotb who was a great scholar as he received knowledge and graduated with huge and profluent knowledge in various branches of science.

After this long journey seeking for knowledge, he established a school from which scholars and imams were graduated and many students flocked to Sheikh Saleh's school from all over the world. Some of these scholars are:

Sheikh Noureddine Al-Salemi, who started his education march at Sheikh Al-Ismaili. When Sheikh Saleh wanted to ravel to East Africa, Sheikh Al-Salemi cried and Sheikh Saleh said to him "Do not cry, I will send you to Al-Rustaq and wrote a recommendation for him letter to Sheikh Rashid Bin Saif Al-Lamki. Then, Sheikh Al-Salemi went to Al-Rustaq to continue his way in learning after he learned a lot from Sheikh Al-Ismaili's profluent knowledge.

Imam Salim bin Rashid Al-Kharusi who took office after that.
Sheikh Nasser bin Rashid Al-Kharusi who played the prominent role in helping both his brother Imam Salem and Imam Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Khalili to take office.

Sheikh Brik bin Salmin Al-Ghaferi who took over the rule of Al-Dhahirah before Imam Azzan bin Qais and many others.

Sheikh Al-Ismaili produced a great huge library containing various books in all branches of science but it was doomed to extinction.

Sheikh Saleh was very careful to keep his library. We may mention here only one example of this. Sheikh Muhammad bin Dhiab Al-Shahuma sent him a letter from Al-Dhahirah asking to borrow some of his books. He replied to him with a very delicate apology and included in it beautiful rhymes that read:

You, who desires to borrow my books, the borrowing of my books is a shame

My only beloved in this world is my book, have you ever seen a beloved is borrowed


This is a brief biography of our Sheikh Saleh Bin Said Al-Ismaili. Hopefully, it may add something new in the history of the great tribe of Al-Ismaili. Our Sheikh have done great achievements and established a good and solid base of knowledge. So, we call the youth to go back to their ancient great history and get inspired by the rich and marvelous lessons from the ancient ancestors to participate actively in building the great Islamic civilization.

We pray to God to bless and forgive Sheikh Saleh bin Said Al-Ismaili and his parents and rest his soul in peace.