Ayoob Essack, full name is Ayyūb ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Sulaymān Ishāq. He was born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in 1381 A.H./1961 C.E.
Qāri Ayyūb’s initial studies in Qur`ānic recital, fiqh, ˘aqīdah, amongst other Islamic sciences, were completed under the auspices of Sheikh Muhammad Yūsuf Mulla. It was also at his hands that at the age of fourteen, he had memorized the Qur`ān. During this time he completed his tertiary education. Thereafter he spent a year with Sheikh Ismā`īl Katrada revising the Qur`ān.
In 1978 C.E. he enrolled at Dār al-˘Ulūm Falāh al-Dārayn in Gujarat, India. Here he gained proficiency in the Arabic language, fiqh, tafsīr, hadith, philosophy, and so on. Under the expert tutelage of Qāri Anīs Ahmad Khān, at this madrasah, he studied tajwīd and qirā`āt. The books studied by him comprise of Urdu as well as Arabic works. They include Miftāh al-Qur`ān, Fawā`ide Makkiyyah, Khulāsah al-Bayān, the Muqaddimah al-Jazariyyah, al-Fawā`id al-Tajwīdiyyah.
Some of these books of tajwīd he also read and studied by Sheikh Muhammad ˘Abbās Dharamfūri. To both, Qāri Anīs Ahmad and Sheikh ˘Abbās, he read the Qur`ān in the narration of Hafs via the Shātibiyyah. Subsequently, he completed the study of the Shātibiyyah, the Durrah, and the Tayyibah, as well as reading the Qur`ān combining all the qirā`āt contained in these works to Qāri Anīs Ahmad Khan. He also read all the works of Qāri Anīs Ahmad in tajwīd and qirā`āt.
- Qāri Anīs Ahmad Khan – he read to him the seven qirā`āt via the Shātibiyyah, and the ten qirā`āt via the Durrah and the Tayyibah. He also read to him many books including Nihāyah al-Qoul al-Mufīd of Makkī Nasr Juraysī, Ghayth al-Naf˘ of Safāqusī, Ithāf Fudalā` al-Bashr of Ahmad al-Bannā`, the ˘Aqīlah of Imam Shātibī, al-Nashr of Ibn al-Jazarī, al-Wujūh al-Musfarrah of Mutawallī and many others.
The methodology adopted by Qāri Anīs in teaching these works were that a student read a portion of the book to him after which Qāri Anīs would explain all matters pertaining to the portion read regarding those issues upon which the qurrā` agree, those issues in which they disagree, the grammar of the verses, the opinions of various commentators and so forth. His manner of expression was clear so that the student could easily grasp all the discussions deliberated. Qāri Ayyūb spent eight years under the skilled training of Qāri Anīs, reading the Qur`ān to him firstly combining all seven qirā`āt via the Shātibiyyah, then the ten qirā`āt via the Durrah, and thereafter the ten qirā`āt via the Tayyibah. He subsequently received ijāzah in these qirā`āt, his written works and all the books read to him, as Qāri Anīs received ijāzah in them from his teachers before him.
- Sheikh Muhammad ˘Abbās Dharamfūri – read Miftāh al-Qur`ān, Fawā`ide Makkiyyah, Khulāsah al-Bayān and the Muqaddimah al-Jazariyyah. He also read the Qur`ān to him in the narration of Hafs via the Shātibiyyah.
- Sheikh Muhammad Yūsuf Mulla – learnt how to recite Qur`ān as well as completing its memorization by him. He also learnt his initial teachings of fiqh, Islamic history and so forth by him.
- Sheikh Ismā˘īl Katrada – revised the Qur`ān with him.
- Sheikh Ahmad Bemat – studied hadith and read the Sahīh of Bukhārī to him.
- Sheikh Abrār Ahmad – studied hadith and read the Sahīh of Muslim to him. He also read the first half of Tafsīr al-Jalālayn to him.
- Sheikh Shabīr ˘Ali al-Afghānī – studied hadith, and read the Jāmi˘ of Tirmidhī as well as portion of Ibn Mājah, and fiqh by him.
- Sheikh Dhū al-Fiqār Ahmad – studied hadith, fiqh, Sunan of Abū Dāwūd and the second half of Tafsīr al-Jalālayn to him.
- Sheikh Muhammad Ayyūb Surti – studied Arabic, fiqh and hadith by him. He also read the Shamā`il of Tirmidhī and sections of Mishkāt al-Masābīh to him.
- Sheikh ˘Abd Allah Patel – studied hadith and fiqh by him. He also read sections of Mishkāt al-Masābīh to him.
- Sheikh Muhammad Ya˘qūb Desai – studied Arabic grammar, sarf, hadith, fiqh, usūl, and tafsīr by him. He also read both Muwatta`as to him.
- Sheikh ˘Abd Allah Ismā˘īl Patel – studied Arabic by him. He also read sections of Sharh Ma˘ānī al-Āthār to him.
- Qāri Ayyūb received ijāzah and sanad from his teachers in all these books studied.
His current duties includes:
- The head of the faculty of Tajwīd and Qirā`āt at Dār al-˘Ulūm Zakariyyah in South Africa since 1408 A.H./1988 C.E.
- Travels extensively to many countries across the world, including India, Pakistan, Britain, Brazil, Chile, America, Canada, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mauritius, Reunion, United Arab Emirates and many others, in service of the Qur`ān.
- Director of Madrasah Tartīl al-Qur`ān in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Qāri Ayyūb has taught hundreds of students, not only in South Africa but across the globe.