The Rays of the Soul

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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.

Ten Benefits of Salawat

Habib `Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqāf

By Habib `Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqaf (may Allah have mercy on him and benefit us by him)

Whoever bestows abundant prayers upon the Prophet ﷺ will be guaranteed ten things:

1. They will receive what they ask for

2. They will die upon la ilaha illa Allah

3. They will see the Prophet ﷺ

4. They will have felicity in this life

5. Their children will be blessed

6. Their provision will be made easy

7. They will be protected from suffering in this life

8. They will be close to the Prophet ﷺ

9. They will receive the greatest type of care from Allah

10. Allah and the Prophet ﷺ will be pleased with them

May Allah Most High make us of those who send abundant salawat upon His Beloved ﷺ

The Night Journey with Habib `Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqaf

Extracts from talks by Habib `Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqaf (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him) on the subject of the Isra’ and Mi`raj.

The Ummah received great gifts from the night of the Isra’ and Mi`raj through the means of the Prophetﷺ . Whenever this night comes round, the Ummah continues to benefit from the legacy which the Prophet left behind which remains as long as Allah remains. It continues to receive gifts, blessings and mercy.

Allah says:

Transcendent is the One Who caused His slave to travel by night.[1]

He praised Himself knowing that mankind does not know the meaning or the reality of praise. He taught us how to praise Him with His praise and how to remember Him with His remembrance.

Allah chose to cause His slave to travel by night and also chose that His Prophet be born in the last part of the night. This is significant because the night is when lovers commune with each other. It is the time when the lover converses secretly with his beloved. This is why Allah said to His Beloved:

In part of the night pray, as an extra obligation for you. Soon will your Lord raise you to a praiseworthy station.[2]

Jibril was an angel but he was unable to ascend to the highest of places with the Prophet ﷺ . He was unable to withstand the intensity of the light in those realms. The Beloved  ﷺ was created from that light so he was able to enter those realms and he merely increased in light, in splendour, in beauty and in closeness. He reached two bow-lengths and even nearer. He was calm and was not shaken by the greatness of where he was.

When the Prophet ﷺ greeted His Lord, and His Lord responded, his Ummah was in his heart. He said:

“Peace be upon us and upon Allah’s pious slaves.”

The people of la ilaha ill’Allah must realise the greatness of this blessing, for through him, you were ennobled. He was the intermediary. In worldly affairs you often need someone to intercede for you or put a word in for you. We have the greatest intermediary. You were mentioned in the divine presence. Is it then fitting that someone ignores this immense blessing by falling into heedlessness or disobedience? If you have been mentioned in the highest realm, why would you wish to lower yourself to the realm of animals?

Every created thing longed to have its portion of Allah’s Beloved ﷺ . It was not until he made his Mi`raj that the heavens got their portion of him.

***

[1] Al-Isra’, 17:1

[2] Al-Isra’, 17:79

Who was Habib `Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqaf?

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Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) was asked,

Who was Habib `Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqaf?

Habib `Umar replied:

He was a complete and perfect heir of the Prophet ﷺ. His father and all his forefathers were representatives (khulafa’) of the Prophet and he inherited this khilafah from them.

He can be described as follows:

هم أقوام غذوا في المحبة من صغرهم

وعاشوا في مخافات و غابوا في فكرهم

They are people who were nourished with love from their infancy
They lived in fear of their Lord and were absorbed in reflection

Whenever he was wrongly treated he responded in the best of ways. Whenever people fell short in giving him his rights he overlooked it. He never found fault with anything or spoke badly about anything in his gatherings. However busy he was, he never neglected reciting and reflecting upon the Qur’an. He never fell short in striving to benefit people. He said:

“If someone comes to me in need, I cannot relax until I have done everything I can to fulfill his need.”

Imam al-Haddad summarizes the attributes of people such as Habib `Abd al-Qadir as follows:

و قد درج الأسلاف من قبل هؤلاء و همتهم نيل المكارم و الفضل
لقد رفضوا الدنيا الغرور و ما سعوا لها و الذي يأتي يبادر بالبذل
فقيرهم حر و ذو المال منفق رجاء ثواب الله في صالح السبل
لباسهم التقوى و سيماهم الحيا و قصدهم الرحمن في القول و الفعل

Our predecessors travelled the path before them and their aim was attaining merit and noble character

They rejected the deceptive dunya and never strove to attain anything of it. Whatever came to them they quickly spent.

The poor among them were free and the wealthy spent their wealth in the best of ways hoping for Allah’s reward

Taqwa was their garment and shyness was their attribute and the Most Compassionate was the One they sought in their words and deeds.

May we live according to their way.

Habib Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqaf

Habib `Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqāf

His Lineage

He is al-Habib `Abd al-Qadir bin Ahmad bin `Abd al-Rahman bin `Ali bin `Umar bin Saqqaf bin Muhammad bin `Umar bin Taha bin `Umar bin Taha bin `Umar bin `Abd al-Rahman bin Muhammad bin `Ali bin Shaykh `Abd al-Rahman al-Saqqaf bin Shaykh Muhammad Mawla al-Dawilah, bin `Ali Mawla al-Darak, bin `Alawi al-Ghayur, bin al-Faqih al-Muqaddam Muhammad, bin `Ali, bin Muhammad Sahib Mirbat, bin `Ali Khali` Qasam, bin `Alawi, bin Muhammad Sahib al-Sawma`ah, bin `Alawi, bin `Ubaydullah, bin al-Imam al-Muhajir il-Allah Ahmad, bin `Isa, bin Muhammad al-Naqib, bin `Ali al-`Uraydi, bin Ja`far al-Sadiq, bin Muhammad al-Baqir, bin `Ali Zayn al-`Abidin, bin Husayn al-Sibt, bin `Ali bin Abi Talib and Fatimah al-Zahra’, the daughter of our Master Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets .

His mother was Sayyidah `Alawiyyah bint Habib Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Jifri.

His Life

Habib `Abd al-Qadir was born in Say’un, in 1331 (1912). Habib `Ali al-Habashi, in the final years of his life, named him and gave good tidings of the future that was awaiting this child. He was given the best of upbringings by his father, the great scholar and caller to Allah, Habib Ahmad. If he was late even by a few minutes for the hizb of Qur’an after Maghrib in Masjid Taha,1 his father would give him a hard time that night. “How can you prefer anything over your Lord, His Book and His House?” he would ask him. “The thing which delayed you – will it be of any benefit to you in the throes of death or in the next life? Will it be with you in your grave?” He memorized the Qur’an in his early years and began the pursuit of knowledge at the hands of his father and the Mufti of Hadramawt, Habib `Abd al-Rahman bin `Ubaydullah al-Saqqaf, as well as Habib Muhammad bin Hadi al-Saqqaf. Amongst his teachers were the Imams of his time, Habib `Alawi bin `Abdullah bin Shihab, Habib Ja`far bin Ahmad al-`Aydarus and Habib `Abdullah bin `Umar al-Shatiri.

He began teaching publicly in Say’un while still in his youth and students of knowledge flocked to benefit from him. However, due to the mounting persecution that scholars received at the hands of the socialist regime in South Yemen, he left the country in 1393 (1973), going first to Singapore and then Indonesia. He then headed to the Hijaz, and settled in Jeddah. He established gatherings of knowledge and remembrance in his house in Jeddah attended by numerous scholars and visitors.

He made trips to various countries calling to Allah and visiting the scholars and Muslims in those places. Amongst the places he visited were Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, the Comoros Islands (where he visited Habib `Umar bin Sumayt in the company of Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad) and East Africa. He visited North Yemen and returned to visit Hadramawt after the unification of North and South Yemen, but did not resettle there.

He was loved by all those that came into contact with him. He had immense concern for every member of this Ummah, regardless of their race or rank and he would stop at nothing to attend to people’s needs and deal with their requests. Countless people benefited from his knowledge and from his gatherings, which were gatherings of connection to Allah, His Messenger and his inheritors. It is a great blessing that a number of those gatherings were video recorded.

In his call to Allah, he became the target of much abuse but in every situation he only responded by doing that which Allah loved. He harmed and abused no-one in response. His life resembled that of Imam al-Bukhari, who said: “I hope to leave this life without Allah taking me to account for back-biting a single Muslim.” Those who had harmed him in the past would visit him in Jeddah and be treated in the same way as old friends and brothers – he would honour them and fulfil their needs.

He said, “If someone comes to me in need, I cannot relax until I have done everything I can to fulfil his need.”

He advised people to read the following formula in times of difficulty:

اللهُمَّ صَلِّ وسَلِّمْ على سَيِّدِنا مُحمِّدِ بِنْ عَبْدِ الله القائِمِ بِحُقوقِ الله ماضَاقَتْ إلا فَرَّجَهَا الله

“O Allah, bestow prayers and peace upon our Master Muhammad the son of `Abdullah, the one who fulfils the rights of Allah. No difficulty arises except that Allah removes it.”

People renowned for their hatred of Habib `Abd al-Qadir and his methodology could not help falling in love with him and becoming his staunch supporters. On numerous occasions, people openly abused him but never once did he respond or defend himself. He would fulfil the right of every single person; the only right he would ignore was his own. As Allah says: Repel (evil) with that which is better. Then he who was an enemy to you will be like an intimate friend.2

One day, a businessman gave Habib `Abd al-Qadir a bag containing a million Saudi Rials. He took the bag and drove around Jeddah distributing the money. He would say to his driver: “In that apartment there are a group of widows – give them this.” Within a few hours, he had distributed it all. He shook the bag to make sure that it was empty and then said: “O Allah, bear witness.”

His contemporaries were in agreement that he was truly their Imam. Habib Ibrahim bin `Aqil bin Yahya said of him:

جَمَعَ الإِلهُ مَحَاسِنَ الأَوْصَافِ

فِي الغَوْثِ عَبْدِ القَادِرِ السَّقَّافِ

أَحْيَا بِهِ المَوْلَى عُلُومَ كِتَابِهِ

وَبِهِ اسْتَقَامَتْ سِيرَةُ الأَسْلافِ

لَقَدْ تَرَبَّعَ فِي رَبِيعِ مَقَامِهِمْ

فَهُوَ الخَلِيفَةُ دُونَ أَيِّ خِلافِ

Allah placed all praiseworthy qualities in the ghawth, `Abd al-Qadir al-Saqqaf

Through him, the Lord gave life to the knowledge of His Book; through him, the way of the predecessors remained upright

He was firmly established in the stations that they held, so he is thus the Khalifah, (their successor), without any debate.

When Sayyid Salim bin Abdullah al-Hamid requested counsel from Habib `Abd al-Qadir, he wrote the following:

After praising Allah and sending blessings upon the Messenger of Allah, he advised him to hold fast to taqwa of Allah. He said that, “The people of taqwa are of varying levels and taqwa itself has no end, since it is in reality a divine outpouring which people receive according to the readiness of their hearts. Those who have attained these stations are with the people with their physical bodies but with Allah with their hearts and souls.

So be avid, my brother, to reach these realms in which you witness the greatness of Allah’s signs. This is to be achieved through inward and outward purity and protecting one’s limbs from committing acts of disobedience. If the slave uses his limbs in the service of his Lord, Allah will protect him from the Devil: Truly you (Iblis) have no power over My slaves.3

Fulfil the rights of your parents, your relatives, your spouse, your children, your neighbours and all the people of la ilaha ill’Allah. Observe the prayer, for in the prayer you give greetings to all the pious slaves of Allah. Thus whoever neglects the prayer, neglects the rights of all the people of la ilaha ill’Allah. Perform the sunnahs and the adhkar pertaining to the prayer, because every pious action entails a specific reward and a specific divine gift and connection. If the slave pleases his Lord through serving Him, seeks to draw close to Him by obeying His commands and realises that he is a slave whose role it is to stand at the door, Allah will enshroud him with the cloak of His love and bring him close until He says: “I become the hearing with which he hears, the vision with which he sees…”

Seek constantly the descent of Allah’s mercy through calling upon Him in a state of brokenness and lowliness, as nothing is more conducive to bringing forth His mercy than the slave’s recognition of his own weakness, and Allah is more merciful to His slaves than a mother is to her child.

You are required to fulfil the rights of Allah and the rights of His slaves and this is only possible, firstly, by seeking the assistance of Allah and, secondly, by organising your time so that you give every individual his or her right. Fulfil the rights of the people of la ilaha ill’Allah by attending funerals, visiting the sick and assisting the helpless. Treat them in the best possible way, as you would love to be treated, because mercy entails mercy and “those who show mercy are shown mercy by the All-Merciful.”

Habib `Abd al-Qadir continued calling to Allah in the Hijaz, traveling between Jeddah and the Sacred Sanctuaries, spreading the knowledge and mercy that he had inherited from his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah . Towards the end of his life, illness confined him to his house but did not prevent him from receiving numerous visitors. In spite of the immense amount of work he would perform, he would never allow the week to pass without completing the recitation of the Qur’an. This was because the love of the Qur’an had been so deeply infused in him from his childhood.

 

His Death

He finally responded to the call of his Lord before Fajr on 19th Rabi’ al-Thani 1431/ 4th April 2010, a month short of his hundredth birthday. The funeral prayer was the same night in the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah and he was buried in the Ma`la Cemetery in the proximity of his mother, the Mother of the Believers, al-Sayyidah Khadijah al-Kubra and his companions on the path, Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad and Habib Muhammad al-Haddar. May Allah shower him with mercy and raise him to the highest of ranks in Paradise. May we continue to benefit by this great Imam.

1 It is the tradition in the mosques of Hadramawt for people to gather after Maghrib to read a portion of the Qur’an together in a group. Masjid Taha was established by Imam Taha bin `Umar al-Safi (died 1007), Habib `Abd al-Qadir’s ancestor and the first of the `Alawi Sayyids to settle in Say’un.

2 Fussilat, 41:34

3  Al-Hijr, 15:42

Image courtesy of Sayyida Khadija `Umar al-Saqqaf