Category Archives: Contemporaries

Seek Forgiveness and Confound the Devil!

Habib Muhammad al-Haddar reminds us of the greatness of seeking forgiveness and how this confounds the Devil.

The Prophet ﷺ said: “The one who keeps seeking forgiveness is not regarded as a persistent sinner even if he were to return to the same sin seventy times a day.”[1]

All praise belongs to Allah for the blessing of seeking forgiveness (istighfar). Even if you were to keep committing a sin seventy times but you sought forgiveness, your Lord is All-Forgiving. The main thing is you seek forgiveness with your tongue and your heart. If the Devil tries to outdo you by sending you astray, outdo him by seeking forgiveness more. Continue reading

Habib Ahmad, as described by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad describes Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad:

Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad was widely acknowledged as among the leading scholars and spiritual masters of the twentieth century. He was born in a town in Hadramawt, in southern Arabia. At an early age he committed the Quran to memory and spent most of his time in the relentless pursuit of the various branches of religious knowledge. He dedicated his life to teaching and spreading the word of Islam. He died in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 1995. Continue reading

The Legacy of Habib Muhammad bin Hafiz

Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) reflects on the legacy of his father, Habib Muhammad.

On a Friday, on the 29th of Dhu’l-Hijjah in 1392 (1973) I went out with my father to the Friday prayer. I came back from the prayer with only his scarf. He had disappeared.

But in reality who disappeared? Those who abducted him or him?

Do you not see him? Do you not see what he left behind? Do you not see his dawah?

His blessed body disappeared and he attained the honour of martyrdom in the path of his Lord.

But what remains is his legacy, his memory, his dawah, his concern, his words, what he built and what he gave.

He is a member of this ummah whose blood is connected to the blood spilt by Hamzah, the Lion of Allah and His Messenger. Hamzah did not disappear. Hamzah reached the pinnacle of honour and nobility. He is the ‘Master of all the Martyrs’ in Allah’s sight (may Allah be pleased with him). After him came the martyrdom of al-Husayn which we remember in Muharram.

The Scholar Who Worked as a Waiter

One of our teachers was Habib Muhammad bin Alawi al-Attas, a scholar and a true worshipper. He was known as ‘al-Zabidi’ because he spent some years studying with the scholars of Zabid (once a great centre of knowledge in Yemen). During his time there he chose to work as a waiter in a restaurant, not because he needed the money, but in order to refine his lower self (nafs): running round taking people’s orders, bring this, do this..

We visited him in his home in Huraydah at the end of his life with a group of scholars: among them Habib Mashhur bin Hafiz, Habib Umar bin Alawi al-Kaf, Habib Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Shihab and Habib Salim al-Shatiri. 

He said: “Last night someone saw the Prophet ﷺ in this very room.”

May Allah have mercy upon him – a scholar who knew the importance of refining the nafs.

Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him) during his commentary on Ihya Ulum al-Din, Dar al-Mustafa, 28th Dhu’l-Qa’dah 1440.

Times with Habib Muhammad al-Haddar: Reminiscing

In an emotional talk, Habib Umar bin Hafiz reminisced about time spent with his shaykh and mentor, Habib Muhammad al-Haddar. He recalled as a young child seeing him in the company of his father, the shahid Habib Muhammad bin Salim bin Hafiz.

Habib Umar then described meeting Habib Muhammad al-Haddar in his Ribat in al-Bayda. Still a teenager, Habib Umar had left the oppression of South Yemen and was planning to seek knowledge in the Hijaz. Habib Umar was yearning to visit the Prophet ﷺ and spend time in those blessed places, but Habib Muhammad assured him that the spirit of the Prophet was with him in al-Bayda. Continue reading

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman Ba ‘Abbad

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman bin Abdullah Ba ‘Abbad hailed from a tribe which has long been known for knowledge and piety in Hadramawt. The Ba ‘Abbad tribe traces its lineage to Sayyiduna `Uthman bin `Affan (may Allah be pleased with him).

His first teacher was his father, Shaykh Abdullah, who later directed him to Habib Umar bin Hafiz to complete his spiritual instruction. His in depth legal training came at the hands of Habib Abd al-Qadir bin Salim Rawsh al-Saqqaf, Mufti of Hadramawat. He also took knowledge from Habib ‘Abd al-Qadir bin Ahmad al-Saqqaf and the other great scholars of his time.

Although still young in years, many people benefited from his wisdom and witnessed his beautiful character both in his home town of al-Ghurfah and in Yemen, the Middle East and South East Asia.

He contributed significantly to the renewal of traditional Islam in Hadramawt and students came from far and wide to study in the institute which he established and directed, Ribat al-Is’ad, in his hometown, al-Ghurfah.

Those who attended the annual visit to the Prophet Hud (peace be upon him) will remember his powerful speeches in the mosque established by his illustrious ancestors, Masjid Ba ‘Abbad. He was always a voice of reason and moderation and helped to maintain unity among the tribes of Hadramawt. He expended all his efforts to prevent bloodshed during the current conflict in Yemen.


Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman was killed in a car crash in Oman on 12th Muharram 1440 / 22nd September 2018. May Allah raise his station and the station of Hasan bin Muhammad Ba ‘Abbad, who died alongside him, and bless their loved ones with patience and contentment. His loss comes after the loss of his younger brother, Shaykh Muhammad, also a promising young scholar, in recent years. May Allah enable his youngest brother, Shaykh Ma’ruf to continue to carry the banner of the Prophetic legacy.

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Habib Abbas al-Saqqaf

As the year 1439 came to a close, the Ummah lost one of its great men, Habib Abbas bin Muhammad bin Ali al-Saqqaf, the most senior of the Ba Alawi scholars in Singapore.

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Habib Abbas was born in Singapore in 1923. He studied the Islamic sciences with the principal scholars of the city, including two great jurists: Shaykh Umar bin Abdullah al-Khatib and Qadi al-Shihr Habib Shaykh bin Abdullah al-Habashi. He then taught at a variety of places around Singapore.

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The great caller to Allah, Habib Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqaf, indicated that Habib Abbas should establish gatherings of knowledge in his house and it duly became a focal point where the scholars and students of Singapore would gather.

The most frequented and well known of these gatherings was on Saturday morning in which the mawlid of Habib Ali al-Habashi, Simt al-Durar, was recited and a lesson in tasawwuf would be delivered. Any scholar visiting Singapore would make a point of visiting Habib Abbas. He passed away on 29th Dhu’l-Hijjah 1439, 10th September 2018.

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Let us heed his oft-given advice: always be humble, show respect to your elders and show respect to all, regardless of whether they rich or poor, beggars or government ministers.

May Allah raise Habib Abbas to the highest of stations and allow his legacy to live on.

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Method of Seeing the Prophet ﷺ – Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad

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Sayyid Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad narrates that his grandfather, Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him), gave permission for the following to be recited in order to see the Prophet ﷺ.

Recite this verse of the Burdah of Imam al-Busiri followed by any prayer upon the Prophet ﷺ. Repeat this ten times:


نَعَمْ سَرَى طَيْفُ مَنْ أَهْوَى فَأَرَّقَني

وَ الْحُبُّ يَعْتَرِضُ اللَّذَّاتِ باِلأَلَمِ

Na`am sara tayfu man ahwa fa arraqani

Wa’l-hubbu ya`taridu’l-ladhdhati bi’l-alami

Yes, a vision of the one I love came to me by night, and I could not sleep,

Oh, how love hinders the tasting of delight with its suffering

A second method Habib Ahmad mentioned was to go bed on Thursday night in a state of complete purity and to recite the same verse of the Burdah once followed by this prayer upon the Prophet ﷺ seven times:


اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ على سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ حَبِيبِ الرَّحْمَن وسَيِّدِ الأكْوَان الحاضِر مَعَ مَنْ صَلَّى عَلَيْهِ في كُلِّ زَمَان ومَكان

Allahumma salli `ala sayyidina Muhammadin habibirrahman wa sayyidi’l-akwan al-hadir ma` man salla `alayhi fī kulli zaman wa makan

 O Allah, bestow Your blessings upon our Master Muhammad, the Beloved of the All Merciful, the master of all creation, the one who is present with whoever bestows prayers upon him in every time and place.

Habib Abdullah bin Shihab

Habib Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Alawi bin Shihab al-Din was born on 13th Ramadan 1352 (1933). He immediately came under the eye of his grandfather, the great imam of Tarim, Habib Alawi, and he developed a very strong attachment to him. From an early Habib Alawi would take his grandson with him to Masjid Surur to recite the Qur’an long before Fajr.

He grew up under the care of his father, Habib Muhammad. As a young boy, he was blessed to recite the Fatihah to Habib Abdullah bin Umar al-Shatiri. In his youth he studied in the Ribat of Tarim and under the scholars of the city. Among his teachers were Habib Muhammad bin Salim bin Hafiz, Habib Umar bin Alawi al-Kaf, Shaykh Mahfuz bin Salim bin Uthman and Shaykh Fadl Ba Fadl.

Habib Alawi (right) and his son Habib Muhammad (left)

He performed hajj twice and took knowledge from the scholars of the Hijaz. He kept the company of Sayyid `Alawi bin `Abbas al-Maliki and was blessed to enter with him the Hujrah al-Sharifah, the blessed resting place of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ .  He also visited Egypt and took from the scholars there.

Habib Alawi passed on leadership of religious affairs in Tarim to his son, Habib Muhammad and when Habib Muhammad died while calling to Allah in 1400, Habib Abdullah continued in his footsteps. He emulated his predecessors perfectly in everything he did. For nearly forty years he presided over gatherings of knowledge and remembrance such as the Madras of his ancestor, Shaykh Ali bin Abu Bakr al-Sakran and the weekly mawlid in Masjid Surur. When the Habaib of Tarim were assembled he would lead them in prayer. He led countless funeral prayers and always accepted wedding invitations. In his final years he was physically unable to lead the prayer and preside over gatherings but the stream of visitors who came to his house in al-Nuwaydarah continued as it had throughout his life. Every visitor was greeted with a beautiful smile and left spiritually uplifted.

Habib Abdullah (right) with his father Habib Muhammad (left)

He finally departed from this life on Sunday night, 17th Jumada al-Akhirah 1439 / 5th March 2018. Before his janazah prayer on the morning of Tuesday 19th Jumada al-Akhirah, Habib Mashhur bin Hafiz spoke, saying that the huge crowd that had assembled was proof of the station of Habib Abdullah and the love that people had for him. Habib Umar bin Hafiz then spoke, recalling the janazah of Habib Abdullah’s father, Habib Muhammad. The janazah had such a profound effect upon people’s lives that it caused many to change their approach, leave acts of disobedience and focus on preparing for the next life. Habib Umar reminded the crowd of the countless occasions on which Habib Abdullah spoke and how his words moved people’s hearts. He asked who will follow in his footsteps and move people’s hearts with words filled with light? Will it be people who spend their time looking at forbidden images on their phones day and night? Habib Umar called for a return to the methodology that Habib Abdullah embodied. It was said that the one who missed out on studying did not miss out on worship and the one who missed out on worship did not miss out on correct etiquette. In other words, many people devoted their lives to studying the Islamic sciences and those who did not engaged themselves in worship. Those who did not engage themselves in worship were at the very least people of good etiquette (adab) with their Lord and with the creation.

May Allah reward Habib Abdullah for his service and allow his way to be preserved.

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Habib Umar bin Hafiz with Habib Abdullah and his son, Habib Ahmad.

Habib Aydarus bin Sumayt

Habib Aydarus bin Abdullah bin Sumayt was born in Tarim, Hadramawt in 1355 (1936) and for many years was the imam of Masjid al-Mihdar, one of the city’s main and most historic mosques. He was a spiritual guide and healer and was much loved by the people of the city. There was hardly a person in Tarim nor a visitor to the city who did not go to his house next to Masjid al-Mihdar in order for him to read over them or see to their needs. He had immense humility and would never turn anyone away.

On Friday 14th Jumada al-Akhirah 1439 / 2nd March 2018, Habib Aydarus  was martyred in shocking circumstances in Tarim, Hadramawt. On that morning, after he had prayed fajr in the mosque with the congregation, as was his custom, a man knocked on his door claiming that he was sick and asking Habib Aydarus to read verses of the Qur’an over him. After welcoming him in, Habib Aydarus asked him to wait while he finished praying Salat al-Duha. He went to another room and began praying. The man then went in and shot him and he died on his prayer mat in front of his wife. This act of treachery and brutality bore all the hallmarks of the Khawarij of our time.

His death is reminiscent of the death of Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattab, who asked to die as a martyr in Madinah, and also of the death of Sayyiduna Uthman, who died in his own home. Who would have thought that Habib Aydarus would die as a martyr in his own home in Tarim? The Prophet ﷺ  also told us that the one who dies on Friday will be given the reward of a martyr and will be protected from the punishment of the grave.

 May Allah raise his rank and give ease to his family and loved ones.

Habib Aydarus sitting in Masjid al-Mihdar with his son, Habib Abu Bakr on one of those Ramadan nights.