Category Archives: Habib Ali al-Habashi

Selected Salawat: Seeking to be at One With the Messenger ﷺ

Habib Ali al-Habashi (may Allah have mercy upon him and allow us to benefit from him) teaches us to use this prayer to seek the pleasure of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ and to ask that our actions and intentions be so connected to the Prophet that they are at one with him. Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz placed this prayer in his Hadrah Badriyyah.

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وسَلِّمْ على سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ ، صَلاةً تُرْضِيكَ وتُرْضِيهِ ، وتَنْطَوِي بِها أَعْمَالي ونِيَّاتي وحَرَكَاتي وسَكَناتي فِيه

Allahumma salli wa sallim `ala sayyidina Muhammad salatan turdika wa turdihi wa tantawi biha a`mali wa niyyaati wa harakaati wa sakanaati fih

O Allah, bestow Your prayers and peace upon our Master Muhammad, prayers which allow us to attain Your pleasure and his and cause my actions, intentions, movements and stillness to be enveloped in him.

Selected Salawat: Prayers Which Bring Life to My Soul


This prayer upon the Prophet ﷺ was composed by Habib Ali al-Habashi (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him)

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وسَلِّمْ على سَيِّدِنا مُحَمَّدٍ ، صَلاةً تَحْيَا بِها رُوحِي و تَنْشَطُ بِها جَوارِحي و يَقْوَى بِها قَلْبِي و يَسْرِي سِرُّها في أَوْلادِي و أَهْلِي و أَصْحَابي و أَكونُ بِها سَعِيداً مَسْعوداً

Allahumma salli wa sallim `ala sayyidina Muhammad salatan tahya biha ruhi wa tanshatu biha jawarihi wa yaqwa biha qalbi wa yasri sirruha fi awladi wa ahli wa ashabi wa akunu biha sa`idan mas’uda


O Allah, bestow Your prayers and peace upon our Master Muhammad, prayers which bring life to my soul, energy to my body and strength to my heart. May the secret of these prayers reach my children, my family and my companions and by them may I attain absolute felicity.

Understanding Commands and Prohibitions

Hb Ali Qubbah

Habib Ali al-Habashi (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him) discusses the meanings and implications of commands and prohibitions.

The commands which are found in the Qur’an and the Sunnah can be divided into that which is obligatory (wajib) and that which is recommended (mustahabb). That which is obligatory must be performed. Not performing it entails a punishment, while performing it entails a great reward and leads to the pleasure of the Lord. Performing acts which are recommended is a path which leads to the pleasure of the Lord and entering into the sphere of those who have drawn close to Allah, act with complete sincerity and love Him. Those who are wholeheartedly seeking Allah do not differentiate between actions which are obligatory and those which are recommended because all their efforts are expended doing that which draws them close to Allah and gains His pleasure.

Every act of obedience draws the servant to his Lord if he gives it its due, performs it as it should be performed, performs it is with a pious intention and desires only the pleasure of Allah in doing it. The purity of the servant’s actions and intentions is according to the purity of his heart.

Prohibitions can also be divided into two categories. The first is that which is forbidden (haram). Doing this entails a punishment and leads to the displeasure of the Lord. The second is that which is disliked (makruh). Leaving it entails a reward. Avoiding that which is prohibited is a huge obstacle which requires great strength and effort because what is at stake is being cut off from Allah. The more a person performs actions that are forbidden the further he is distanced from Allah.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was asked: “If someone has illicit sexual relations is he a believer while he is doing so?”

“No,” he replied.

“If someone steals is he a believer while he is doing so?”


This hadith implies that committing acts of disobedience causes the slave to be cut off from Allah. Thus the believer should be extremely careful to avoid that which may lead to his destruction, and extremely steadfast in this battle. If Allah knows that he is sincere, He will assist him with His own strength, and defend him from the scheming of his enemy and his troops. The slave must flee to his Lord in every situation.

Obedience of the Heart



Habib Ali al-Habashi (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him) teaches us to seek for our hearts to be in the highest of states. Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz recommends reciting this awesome supplication regularly:

اللَّهُمَّ أَوْصِلْنِي إِلى حَالةٍ لا يَعْمَلُ فِيها قَلْبِي مخُالَفَةً ، ولا يَهَمُّ بِها

ولا تُقَارِفُ فيها جَوارِحِي مَعْصِيةً

وبَلِّغْني إلى مَقامٍ لا يَفْتُرُ فِيهِ قَلْبِي عَنْ طَاعَةٍ لَكَ ، مَرْضِيِّةً لَدَيْكَ ، مَقْبولَةً عِنْدَكَ

ولا تَنْفَكُّ جَوارِحي فِيهِ عَنْ عَمَلٍ صَالِحٍ خَالِصٍ لِوَجْهِكَ ، مَقْبولٍ لَدَيْكَ يا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمين

‘O Allah, raise me to a state in which my heart does not commit any acts of disobedience, or even thinks of doing so, and to a state in which my body parts do not commit any acts of disobedience. Raise me to a station in which my heart remains constantly in acts of obedience to You, which are pleasing to You and accepted by You; enable my body to continue to perform pious actions sincerely for your sake which are accepted by You, O Most Merciful.’

Striving to Attain True Slave-Hood


Advice from Habib Ali al-Habashi (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him)

I counsel you by Allah to do your utmost to consistently perform extra acts of worship, especially the sunnah prayers before and after the compulsory prayers. Beware of leaving them. Give life to your night by rising to pray in it and give life to your day by fasting during it. Perform extra acts of worship in abundance for it is the means of attaining Allah’s love: “My slave continues to draw close to Me with extra acts of worship until I love him.”

This love leads to the slave attaining the greatest form of representation of Allah [on the earth] such that his attributes merge into the attributes of Allah, as the end of the hadith testifies: “When I love him, I become the hearing with which he hears, the sight with which he sees..” So drink from this pure spring and don this ample cloak. Strive to remove the faults of your lower self which prevent you from being accepted.

Travel to your Lord in a state of lameness, humility and brokenness. Do not witness your own actions, but say with your tongue and your heart: “What am I and what are my actions?” The one who understands the verse: He is but a slave upon whom We have bestowed Our blessings[1] will be safe from the false claims of his lower self. Had it not been for Allah’s immense generosity, no-one would have witnessed or attained anything. A person’s actions are merely an expression of their slave-hood. Allah’s gifts [are not bestowed in proportion to a person’s actions but] are purely from His bounty and generosity.  Witness your shortcomings, however high your state is. Be a slave to Allah and not your desires. Recite litanies in abundance: a portion of the Qur’an, the litanies of the earlier scholars and the litanies of the heart. You gifts you receive are according to the litanies that you recite.

[1] Al-Zukhruf, 43:59

Intentions for Travelling

Advice on travelling from Habib `Ali al-Habashi (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him)

Habib `Ali says that travelling is in reality leaving behind one’s base nature to attain lofty stations in the proximity of Allah.

He then calls us to act upon the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ:

سَافِروا تَصِحُّوا سَافِروا تُرْزَقُوا

“Travel in the land, and you will be blessed with good health; travel in the land and you will be provided for.”[1]

Firstly, he says, we should intend by travelling obeying the command of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ to travel. We should then intend seeking provision – not merely material provision, but also spiritual provision – knowledge, guidance and light – which distinguishes man from animals. We should seek good health for our bodies, but more importantly we should seek to be healed from attachment to this world and other diseases of the heart.

We should also intend visiting the pious in the place to which we are travelling and seeking their blessings (barakah), for in every town there is a group of the people of truth, who protect that town; we should intend calling people to Allah (da`wah) and benefiting people with what knowledge we possess and teaching the ignorant and seeking in all of this the pleasure of Allah.

Beware of being cut off from Allah by being distracted by the adornment of the lands to which you are travelling and by seeking base pleasures as the peoples of those lands do. Be like someone who is merely passing by.

If you are deciding whether or not to do something, such as travelling, then bring the Chosen One ﷺ to your heart, consult him and then go with whatever your heart settles upon. If you find any of the pious then consult them too.


 Prayer for Travelling

Habib `Ali recommended repeating this prayer often, especially when one is travelling:

اللهُمَّ إنِّي في قَبْضَتِكَ حَيْثُما كُنْتُ فَلاحِظْني بِعَيْنِ عِنَايَتِكَ حَيْثُما كُنْتُ

“O Allah, I am in Your complete control wherever I am, so bless me with Your complete care wherever I am.”



[1] Narrated by al-Suyuti

Showing Kindness to the Ahl al-Bayt

Ḥb.`Alī bin Muḥammad al-Ḥabashi
Advice from Habib `Ali al-Habashi (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him)

Allah!  I counsel you by Allah to show kindness to the people of the household (Ahl al-Bayt) of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. In doing this, you will attain great success, high ranks and the utmost felicity. To show kindness to them is to show kindness to their grandfather, and words cannot describe the merit of showing kindness to him ﷺ. So be someone that loves them, shows kindness to them and follows their guidance. Love them wholeheartedly and give them precedence over your own loved ones. If you see them do something which might cause you to have a bad opinion of them, then look for a good interpretation of that thing. Beware of verbally abusing them for doing so is like drinking deadly poison. To show enmity to them is to show enmity to the Messenger and to show enmity to the Messenger is to show enmity to Allah.

Keeping the Company of the Poor

Advice from Habib `Ali al-Habashi (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him).

You must show good character to all people. Through good character you may attain the stations of the people of immense truthfulness (al-siddiqun) and ascend to the highest levels of certainty. Be the most gentle and forbearing of people. Pardon those who wrong you and give to those who refuse to give you anything. If someone treats you badly, treat them well and forgive their wrongdoings however great they are.

Show compassion to the weak and needy and keep the company of the poor. Sit in their company without seeing yourself as superior to them, but rather see yourself as the lowest among them. If you see lice on their clothing then remove them. Eat with them regardless of the place in which they are eating.

Allah’s gaze is upon them and they are the means of attaining His mercy. They possess the most precious treasure and they will have the greatest status on the Day of Judgement. On that day, they will be in Allah’s presence. So be with them in this life and you will be considered one of them and you will be resurrected with them.

It is enough of an honor for them that the Truthful One ﷺ said:

“O Allah, allow me to live as a poor person, to die as a poor person and resurrect me along with poor people.”

Reflect upon his statement:

“Resurrect me along with poor people.”

This shows you how elevated their station is.

Prayers for our Hearts and our Homes


Habib `Ali al-Habashi (may Allah have mercy upon him and benefit us by him) teaches us to ask for the attributes which should reside in our hearts and in our homes.

Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz recommends reading these prayers:

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ مُسْتَقَرَّ العِلْمِ النَّافِعِ قُلُوبَنا، ومُسْتَقَرَّ أَرْبَابِهِ دِيارَنا

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ مُسْتَقَرَّ المَعْرِفَةِ بِاللهِ قُلُوبَنا، ومُسْتَقَرَّ أَرْبَابِها دِيارَنا

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ مُسْتَقَرَّ اليَقِينِ التَّامِّ قُلُوبَنا ، و مُسْتَقَرَّ أَرْبَابِهِ دِيارَنا

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ مُسْتَقَرَّ الوَرَعِ الحَاجِزِ قُلُوبَنا ، و مُسْتَقَرَّ أَرْبَابِهِ دِيارَنا

O Allah, make our hearts places where beneficial knowledge resides and make our homes places where those who possess it reside.

O Allah, make our hearts places where knowledge of Allah resides and make our homes places where those who possess it reside.

O Allah, make our hearts places where absolute certainty resides and make our homes places where those who possess it reside.

O Allah, make our hearts places where complete scrupulousness resides and make our homes places where those who possess it reside.

Habib Ali al-Habashi

His Lineage

He is al-Imam al-Habib `Ali bin Muhammad bin Husayn bin `Abdullah bin Shaykh bin `Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Husayn bin Ahmad Sahib al-Shi`b bin Muhammad bin `Alawi bin Abu Bakr al-Habashi bin `Ali bin Ahmad bin Muhammad “Asad Allah” bin Hasan al-Turabi bin `Ali 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 the knower of Allah and caller to Him, Sayyidah `Alawiyyah bint Husayn al-Jifri.

His Life

Habib `Ali was born in the town of Qasam, North East of Tarim, in 1259 (1843) at a time when his father, Habib Muhammad, was calling to Allah in the area at the order of his shaykh, Habib `Abdullah bin Husayn bin Tahir. It was Habib `Abdullah who named him `Ali. In 1266, Habib Muhammad moved to Makkah, where he became the Mufti of the Shafi`i school. Habib `Ali remained with his mother in Qasam where he excelled in the study of the Qur’an and the sciences of the Sacred Law until 1271, when they moved to Say’un. There he studied at the hands of Habib `Abd al-Rahman bin `Ali al-Saqqaf and Habib Muhsin bin `Alawi al-Saqqaf and others. He would also attend the gatherings of the great Imams, Habib Hasan bin Salih al-Bahr and Habib `Aydarus bin `Umar al-Habashi. In 1276, he travelled to Makkah and spent two years in the company of his father taking as much as he could from his knowledge and adab. He also took from Shaykh al-Islam, Sayyid Ahmad Zayni Dahlan and other great scholars of the time.

He returned to Say’un in 1278, where he started teaching while still seeking knowledge at the hands of the scholars of the region. It was at this time that he was united with the shaykh at whose hand his greatest opening came, the Qutb Habib Abu Bakr bin `Abdullah al-`Attas. Habib `Ali spent around two years in Habib Abu Bakr’s company and said: “If I was given the choice between the bliss of Paradise and sitting in the presence of Habib Abu Bakr, I would choose sitting in his presence.” Habib Abu Bakr informed Habib `Ali that he would be like a magnet that pulled people’s hearts to Allah.

Habib `Ali then broadened his call to Allah, and Allah placed love for him in people’s hearts. He said: “I do not see a net more effective in capturing immense gifts and divine knowledge than calling to Allah.” Out of his sincerity, if he stood up to give a public speech, people would cry before he even opened his mouth. The mercy that he had for creation was such that he would not sleep before making tawbah on behalf of the whole Ummah and asking Allah to guide the scholars, teach the ignorant and pardon the wrong-doers. He said: “My hope in Allah is that He will not punish a single person who lives in my time, and this is not a great thing for Allah.” His great companion on the path, Habib Ahmad bin Hasan al-`Attas said of Habib `Ali: “Was he someone who prayed a lot or did not sleep at night or made an immense amount of dhikr? No. Rather, he loved his Lord and his Prophet Muhammad and his predecessors, so they brought him to them and ordered him to speak with their tongue and to call to Allah as the direct deputy of the Prophet.”

Along with his concern for the spiritual nourishment of the people, he also arranged financial support for numerous poor households. He had a great concern for students of knowledge and spent his wealth supporting them and his time educating them. In 1296, he built a Ribat or school in Say’un for students of knowledge, the first of its kind in Hadramawt. Students came from far and wide to study and live in the Ribat, which produced a large number of scholars and callers to Allah. A few years later, Habib `Ali built a mosque, Masjid al-Riyad, as an extension of the Ribat.

Habib `Ali is best known for his immense connection to the Messenger of Allah . On one of his visits to him in al-Madinah, the Prophet gave him the good tidings that his actions and the actions of his companions had found acceptance with Allah.

He established an annual gathering of mawlid in Say’un on the last Thursday of the month of Rabi` al-Awwal which up to 40,000 people attended, all of whom Habib `Ali provided with food and accommodation. The mawlid of Imam al-Dayba`i was recited in the gathering until in, 1327, Habib `Ali composed his masterpiece, Simt al-Durur, which he described as a “gift to those of later generations, for in it is an exposition on the state of the Prophet .” The fame and popularity of Simt al-Durur rapidly spread and it continues to be one of the most popular and widely read of all the mawlid compositions. In 1328, Habib Salih bin `Alawi Jamal al-Layl wrote to Habib `Ali, his shaykh, informing him of the impact Simt al-Durur was having in East Africa. On the island of Lamu Habib Salih built his own Masjid al-Riyad, and gathered great numbers of people to read the mawlid on the last Thursday of Rabi` al-Awwal, a gathering which continues to grow to this day.

Habib `Ali’s poetry, which reached six volumes, likewise found acceptance throughout the Muslim world. His collected prayers upon the Prophet are also evidence of his love and connection to him. One of his well-known prayers is:

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ مِفْتَاحِ بَابِ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ، عَدَدَ مَا فِي عِلْمِ اللَّهِ، صَلاةً وَسَلامًا

دائِمَيْنِ بِدَوَامِ مُلْكِ اللَّهِ، وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ

“O Allah, bestow prayers and peace upon our Master Muhammad, the key to the door of the mercy of Allah, to the extent of the knowledge of Allah, which continue eternally as the dominion of Allah continues eternally, and upon his Family and Companions.”

His speech was recorded by his students, among them his grandson, Habib `Umar Mawla Khaylah, whose compilation reached ten volumes.

His Death

He died in Say’un on 20th Rabi` al-Thani 1333 (1915). A great dome was erected over his grave to accommodate visitors and gatherings of knowledge and remembrance which continue to this day. His hawl, or annual commemoration of his passing, is a great event in the calendar of Hadramawt and thousands come to connect to and remember this great Imam. A similar hawl takes place in Solo in Java where a number of his progeny are buried. He left behind a number of children, the most celebrated being his son, Habib Muhammad, who succeeded him, and his daughter, Hababah Khadijah, one of the most pious women of her day.