The Renewal (tajdid) of Imam al-Haddad

Masjid al-Fath

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

Imam al-Haddad is known as the ‘renewer’ (mujaddid) of the 12th Islamic century. What form did his renewal (tajdid) take?

Imam al-Haddad brought about a general renewal and a specific renewal. He brought about a general renewal by giving life to the meanings of the religion in the hearts and the lives of its adherents. This was the promised renewal which the Prophet ﷺ informed us would take place every century. He brought about a specific renewal by explaining the spiritual path of his predecessors and making it easy for those who wish to travel it. He placed everything that a wayfarer on the path needs – whether it be the Ba Alawi path specifically or any Sufi path – in two of his books: ‘Good Manners’ (Adab Suluk al-Murid) and ‘The Book of Assistance’ (Risalat al-Mu`awanah).

On Priorities in Choosing Whose Company to Keep

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

Should we give priority to keeping the company of people who are on the same path or those who remind us of Allah?

You should strive to keep the company of those who remind you of Allah but at the same time give those who are on the same path their rights. Their rights are that you check up on them, help them as far as you able to and pray for them. It is not our way to avoid keeping the company of anyone as long as there is benefit in that and no harm.

On Permission to Read the Books of Imam al-Ghazali

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

Do we need permission to read the books of Imam al-Ghazali?

The books of Imam al-Ghazali are extremely beneficial and are quick to rectify and illuminate the heart. It is said that the early Ba `Alawi Imams praised two things to a great extent: the books of Imam al-Ghazali and the visit of the Prophet Hud (peace be upon him). This shows that there is a general permission to read the books and there is no fear for the person reading it.

 

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.

On Attaining the Attributes of the Great Imams and Visiting Them

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

Does someone have to visit Tarim in order to attain the attributes of the great Imams of the past?

This is one of the means to do so but what is required above all is complete determination and true focus on the path regardless of where you are in the world. The only time when it is compulsory to travel is to perform Hajj (if it is incumbent upon you) or to seek knowledge which it is compulsory for you to learn. Travelling to visit the pious, to visit blessed places and to seek other types of knowledge is recommended. In general travelling is permissible, unless it is undertaken for something that is forbidden, in which case it is forbidden. The Prophet ﷺ informed us that the Jewish scholar told the man who wished to repent to leave a land inhabited by evil people and to travel to a land inhabited by pious people. He informed us that Allah showed mercy to him due to his proximity to the land of the pious. This shows the merit of going to the places where the pious reside.

On Ba Alawi Terminology: Imam, Shaykh and Habib

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

 

The early scholars of the Ba `Alawi Way are often known as ‘Imam.’ Then they became to be known as ‘Shaykh.’ In latter times they became known as ‘Haba’ib.’ What is the reason behind this?

This relates to the era in which they lived. When the term ‘Imam’ was widely used in the Ummah, that term was used. Then when the concept of the Shaykh of Tariqah   became widespread, they used that term. They then increased in number and some of them had reached the rank of ‘Imam’ or ‘Shaykh’ and some had not, so the term ‘Habib’ was used to include all of them. The word ‘Habib’ means the one who is loved for Allah’s sake. Love for the relatives of the Prophet ﷺ is a requirement. Allah says to the Prophet: Say: I do not ask any reward from you for this (conveying the message) other than love for (my) kinsfolk.[1]

 

[1] Al-Shura, 42:23

On People Not Connected to the Tariqah Attending Gatherings

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)

We have a weekly gathering in which we read adhkar of the Ba `Alawi Tariqah. Is it fine for people who are not connected to the Tariqah to attend?

It is fine for everyone who loves good and everyone who wishes to benefit to attend. Attending these gatherings is not restricted to those who have entered this Tariqah. One of the objectives of the Tariqah is benefiting people. Even non-Muslims may attend if it is likely that they will benefit as long as they do not show bad etiquette and do not cause people to have doubts.

Those who should not attend are those who criticise or have doubts about what is taking place in the gathering. This is to protect them from becoming confused and from committing a wrongdoing by condemning the people in the gathering. It is also to protect the people that attend the gathering from becoming confused and thus not attending.

 

On Seeking Spiritual Assistance from the Ba Alawi Imams

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).

How do we seek spiritual assistance from the Ba Alawi Imams?

We do this by loving and revering them for the sake of Allah, regularly reciting some of the Qur’an or some adhkar and donating the reward to them, reading their biographies and sharing what you have read with your family.

Your portion of assistance depends on how truthful you are, the greatness of your perception and the degree to which you emulate them.

Books which clarify the Path

Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).

 

Which books would you recommend reading to gain an understanding of the Path?

 

The books of Imam al-Ghazali, Imam al-Nawawi, and Imam al-Haddad are good for acquainting newcomers with the Path. The Path is to act on what is in those books and to combine between strengthening one’s faith and performing pious deeds. ‘The Book of Assistance’ by Imam al-Haddad, for example, practically defines the Path.

The definitions of the Tariqah which can be found in the early prints of the Khulasah are sufficient. If someone is looking for more detail they can read Habib Zayn bin Ibrahim bin Sumayt’s book, al-Manhaj al-Sawi or the introduction of Habib `Aydarus bin `Umar al-Habashi’s `Iqd al-Yawaqit al-Jawhariyyah.