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.
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?
body disappeared and he attained the honour of martyrdom in the path of his
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.
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.
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. Habib Umar duly spent the next ten years in al-Bayda and made visits to Makkah and Madinah. Habib Muhammad had already reached the hearts of the people in the region of al-Bayda, and this is where Habib Umar began teaching and calling to Allah.
Habib Umar said, almost holding back his tears: “We are unable to repay him in any way. We are unable to repay his mercy, his kindness, his compassion, his noble character, his teaching, his guidance, his gaze and his love. But Allah will take it upon Himself to reward him on our behalf the best of rewards, and to reward his family, his children, those who love him and the people of his town.”
Dar al-Mustafa, 8th Rabi al-Thani 1440 / 15th December 2018
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman bin Abdullah Ba ‘Abbad hails 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Habib Umar bin Hafiz with Habib Abdullah and his son, Habib Ahmad.
We have lost another of the men of Allah. On Friday 14th Jumada al-Akhirah 1439 / 2nd March 2018, Habib Aydarus bin Abdullah bin Sumayt was martyred in shocking circumstances in Tarim, Hadramawt. On that morning 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.
Habib Aydarus was a spiritual guide and healer and was much loved by the people of Tarim. 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. He was born in 1355 (1936) and for many years was the imam of Masjid al-Mihdar, one of the main and most historic mosques in Tarim. That morning he had prayed fajr in the mosque with the congregation, as was his custom. May Allah raise his rank and give ease to his family and loved ones.
Habib Salim was born in Tarim in 1359 (1940). He was the youngest son of the great imam, Shaykh al-Islam, Habib `Abdullah bin Umar al-Shatiri, who passed away when Habib Salim was only two years old. Habib `Abdullah said of Habib Salim that he would live long and be a ‘sultan’ or leader in knowledge. He later become known as ‘Sultan al-Ulama’ or ‘leader of the scholars’.
In his youth he took knowledge from the great scholars of Hadramawt in his time: Habib `Alawi bin Shihab, Habib Muhammad bin Salim bin Hafiz, Habib Ja`far bin Ahmad al-`Aydarus, Habib Umar bin `Alawi al-Kaf and Shaykh Mahfuz bin Salim bin Uthman.
He also spent four years of intense study in Makkah at the hands of scholars such as Sayyid `Alawi bin `Abbas al-Maliki, Shaykh Hasan Mashat and Shaykh Muhammad al-Fadani. He would take twelve lessons every day in a variety of different sciences.
He then spent 15 years in Aden teaching and calling people to Allah. Due to his popularity, the Socialist government tried to ban him from teaching and then tried to kill him. One of its militia members ran him down with his car, but Habib Salim survived and returned to Tarim two months later. He continued teaching in Ribat Tarim until the Socialist authorities abducted him and subjected him to the worst types of torture. After being released, he moved to the Hijaz and began teaching in Ribat al-Jifri in Madinah alongside Habib Zayn bin Ibrahim bin Sumayt. He made periodic expeditions to different countries calling to Allah.
As soon as the Communist regime in South Yemen fell, he returned to Tarim. Along with his brother Habib Hasan, he reopened the Ribat which the authorities had closed and started teaching once again. Students from different parts of the world flocked to the Ribat to study. When Habib Hasan passed away in 1425 (2004), Habib Salim became the principal of the Ribat.
He was renowned for his reminders in public gatherings which were filled with humour, references to the great imams of the past and warnings against a whole range of misdemeanours. His knowledge was encyclopaedic and his memory was photographic.
Habib Umar bin Hafiz would make a point of attending his public lesson, known as Madras al-Ribat.
In his final years he was forced to leave Tarim for medical treatment and the deterioration of his health made it impossible for him to return. He split his time between Abu Dhabi and the Hijaz.
He passed away in Jeddah on Friday evening, 1st Jumada al-Akhirah 1439 / 16th February 2018. The funeral prayer was prayed in Jeddah the following day and then again in the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah and he was buried in the Ma`la Cemetery.
Habib Salim spent his life steadfastly serving Islam. Countless people benefited from his knowledge and wisdom. May Allah continue to benefit us and reward him on our behalf.
Habib Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqaf (may Allah have mercy on him and benefit us by him) explains how we are affected by the spiritual state of those around us.
Every person has rays which emanate from their soul. You receive these rays when you come close to them or sit in their presence. Each person’s rays differ in strength according to the state of their soul. This explains how you become affected by sitting in the presence of great people. They are people who follow the way of the Prophets in their religious and worldly affairs. When they speak, they counsel people. Their actions guide people. When they are silent they are like sign posts which guide people along the path, or like lighthouses whose rays guide ships. Many of them speak very little, but when you see them or visit them you are affected by them. You leave their gatherings having been enveloped in their tranquillity. Their silence has more effect than the eloquent speech of others. This is because the rays of their souls enter you.