“He is Muhammad ‘Abdullah al-A’zami, Abu Ahmad, (also known in the academic circle as Muhammad Diya’ al-Rahman al-A’zami), born in the year 1362 H – 1943 M, completed his undergraduate studies at the Islamic University of Madinah, and obtained his masters degree from King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz University – Makkah branch – which later became Umm al-Qura University, and obtained his doctorate degree from al-Azhar University, Cairo, and was appointed as a professor at the faculty of hadith at the Islamic University of Madinah, and he was appointed to several academic and administrative positions, including at the Muslim World League in Makkah, and he became the dean of the faculty of hadith at the Islamic University of Madinah until he retired, after which he became completely free in doing research and writing, the most important being authoring “al-Jami’ al-Kamil fi al-Hadith al-Sahih al-Shamil”. He was appointed as a teacher at the Prophet’s Mosque by the decree of the Head of the Prophet’s Mosque Affairs in 22/2/1435 H.”
The shaykh was born into a Brahman family, which is the elite of the Hindus. He was raised a practicing and fervent Hindu. He had been taught to despise Muslims and he never had a Muslim friend. Brahmans weren’t supposed to touch someone who was not a Brahman. He was taught to completely separate and isolate himself except in his Brahman caste. He was accepted in university in India and lo and behold, he was assigned a Muslim roommate.
He didn’t know what to do between hatred, revulsion, and loathing. He decided to give him da’wah and convert him to Hinduism. He decided that he needed to study this man’s religion. He began reading the Qur’an and then read about the life of the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). He was fascinated by the life of the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and asked how he could find out about the life of the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and was told to read the books of ḥadīth. This was in the 1950s in India. He asked, “What is ḥadīth?” They told him ḥadīth is what the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said. He asked for the books, and they said they are all in Arabic. He asked where he could study Arabic, and they told him that he needed to go abroad and study in university, and in order to do that, he needed to be a Muslim in order to be accepted to study Arabic. He decided that Islam made a lot of sense, so he accepted Islam so he could go and study Arabic and these ḥadīth.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he was told there was a university that had just opened in Madinah. He was told that he should apply there so that perhaps they would teach him Arabic and he could study ḥadīth. He applied as a new Muslim convert and was accepted amongst the first batches. He was the first Hindu convert to be accepted to Madinah.
He studied there and caught the “galaxy of stars” (Shaykh Bin Baaz, Shaykh al-Shinqiti and other big names). He graduated top of the class. He went to Shaykh Bin Baaz and said that he wanted to study more. Shaykh Bin Baaz told him that they were a new university and only had a bachelor’s program, so he would have to go somewhere else to study. He asked where he could go, and the shaykh said that the only university at the time was al-Azhar University in Egypt.
He went to al-Azhar in the 60s after getting his bachelor’s in Madinah. He became one of the first graduates of Madinah to get a Master’s and PhD from al-Azhar. His PhD is called “In Defense of Abu Hurayrah.” In the 60s they were trying to attack the character of ḥadīth by attacking Abu Hurayrah. He was such a well-known personality that he was then hired in Madinah to become a professor. When the process started that you had to be a Saudi to be a professor, the shaykh wrote a personal letter to the king to give him Saudi citizenship. Shaykh Muhammad got Saudi citizenship.
In 1973/74 they opened up the faculty of ḥadīth, and his PhD was in ḥadīth. He started as an assistant professor in the college of ḥadīth. Over the next twenty years, he raised his ranks and was the senior ranking professor in the college of ḥadīth and became the dean