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A Short Biographical Sketch of
Rady Allahu 'Anhu
(1044 - 1132 A.H)

By: Dr. Mostafa Al-Badawi

The Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him and upon his family, prophesied that in every century God would raise up amongst his nation a man who would renew its religion. Imam 'Abdallah al-Haddad was the renewer, or Mujaddid, of the twelfth Islamic century. He was renowned, and deservedly so, for the breadth of his knowledge and his manifest sanctity. The profundity of his influence on Muslims is reflected by the fact his books are still in print throughout the Islamic world.

He was born in Tarim, in the hills of Hadramaut, one of the southerly regions of the Arabian peninsula, and grew up in an environment where the accent was upon piety, frugality, erudition, and an uncompromising thirst for gnosis (ma'rifa). His lineage is traced back to the Prophet, may blessings and peace be upon him, and his family, through Imam al-Husayn. His illustrious ancestors, the 'Alawi sadat, had for centuries produced generation after generation of great scholars, gnostics, and summoners to the Straight Path.

Imam al-Haddad's writings, if we except a few short treatises, and his volume of poetry, are mostly concerned with establishing within his readers the firmest possible foundations for faith and certainty. He recognised the signs of his times and of the times to come, and observed how people were drawing away from religion, exhibiting a reluctance to study and a diminishing inclination to seek spiritual growth. He therefore endeavoured to produce concise, clear, and uncontroversial texts. His concern for brevity is manifest throughout his books, many of which are abbreviated adaptations of Imam al-Ghazali's monumental Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya 'Ulum al-Din). Ghazali had himself been the renewer of the sixth century.

Imam al-Haddad died on the eve of the seventh of Dhu'l-Qa'da, 1132 A.H. having spent his life bringing people to their Lord through his oral and written teaching, and his exemplary life. He was buried in a simple grave in the cemetary at Tarim.

Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi

Al-Madina al-Munawwara
Ramadan 1408

Source: Imam Abdallah ibn Alawi Al-Haddad, The Book of Assistance, The Quilliam Press, London, 1989, p.vii-viii.

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