One of the contemporary shining lamps and jewels of guidance of this ummah is shaykh Muhammad al-Hassan al-Amin Walid al-Didu al-Shanqiti. Here is a link to his website: http://www.dedew.net/
Here a short biography:
The shaykh was born in the year 1963, towards the end of the month of October, in the Mauritanian desert province of Abu Telmit. He started his education in the basics of the Arabic language and Islamic studies at the hands of his father, grandfather, and his parents’ uncles. He learned from his father both the Warsh as well as Qalun variants/narrations of the Qira’ah of Nafi’, along with the basics of Uloom al-Quran, and completed his Quranic education at the age of seven, in a period of a little over two years. He was given authorization (Ijazah) in over 40 disciplines by his grandfather, whom he stayed with until the latter’s death in year 1982. He learned at his side the arts of teaching, preaching, and impromptu poetry.
He has Ijazah in all of the ten recitations of the Quran, as well as the major books of Hadith such as the two Sahihs of Bukhari and Muslim, the four Sunan, Imam Malik’s Muwatta, Mustadrak Hakim, Imam Ahmad’s Musnad, Darimi, Bayhaqi, Darqutni, etc. He has committed many of these books to memory.
He received Ijazahs from scholars of various schools and orientations, from all the major centers of learning in the Muslim world (Egypt, Syria, India, Morocco, countries in the Arabian Gulf, Yemen, etc.), and from some of the most famous names of the past century, such as Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah, Shaykh Hamud al-Tuwaijeri, Shaykh Abdullah Siddiq al-Ghumari, Shaykh Muhammad Abu Sunnah, Shaykh Abul Hasan Ali al-Nadwi, etc. (Wow! This list includes the seniormost Ash’ari/Sufi, Maturidi/Deobandi, Salafi/Wahhabi, and Azhari/Ikhwani scholars of the 20th century!)
He holds a PhD in Fiqh and Usool al-Deen, and is currently the director of the Markaz Takwin al-Ulama (in a town with an unpronouncable name) in Mauritania. He is among the seniormost scholars (ilm-wise) and leading fuqaha of our times. All of his duroos, along with knowledge, focus on matters of the heart. He is the author of several published and unpublished works, including explanations of the basic texts in all of the Islamic disciplines. He is a very humble man, and from his small town in the sub-Saharan desert, he is playing an important role in changing Muslim societies the world over.
See also the following link for more info on the shaykh, may Allah preserve him: http://forums.almaghrib.org/showthread.php?p=327602
On the website of Hanbali Text Society (http://www.htspub.com/) the following is said about him (under the heading Contemporary scholars):
“One of the sons of Imaam Muhammad al-Amin ash-Shanqiti, Imaam Muhammad ibn al-Hasan is from Mauritania and spent much of his adult life being educated in the Arabian Peninsula. He has a firm and solid foundation in the Maaliki madhhab but also holds intimate knowledge of the Hanbali madhhab, the dominant fiqh of the Peninsula.”
A lecture in Arabic on iman by the shaykh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCETDl-HF_Y
Here’s an English collection of links (mainly from bro Suhaib Webb’s log) with fatawa by shaykh Muhammad al-Hassan al-Amin Walid al-Didu al-Shanqiti:
– Following another creed than the salaf shirk?
– On al-Albani’s classification of hadith
– Wisdoms and rulings for Ramadan
– Ramadan rulings for Women
– Ramadan rulings for Women in light of al-Qawa’id al-Kubra
– Books to study for the advanced student of the Maliki school
– Understanding the First Principle of Fasting, the Intention
– How can we strengthen our faith?
– Thoughts on the Splitting of the Ummah
– Melodious voice and khushu’