Imam Abdullah al-Haddad was the renewer of the 12th Islamic century. A scholar of the Islamic sciences, he was active in calling others to Allah. In this lecture, Shaykh Amin Buxton explores a letter written to a disciple of his who held a high position in an Indian royal court.
Leaders and Scholars
Shaykh Amin begins by taking us into the life of Imam Haddad. From a young age, he was drawn to remembrance of Allah, and would spend hours in prayer. He would have happily been a recluse, working on his relationship with the Divine, but he had a deep concern for the people around him. This led him to be a great figure in Islamic history.
The scholars, including Imam Haddad, had a complicated relationship with the leaders of their times. They were extremely concerned about not being corrupt or being influenced by wealth and power. Because of that, they would try their best to distance themselves from people of power. The tribe that Imam Haddad belonged to, the Ba ‘Alawi tribe, could have easily ruled over their part of Yemen, but they knew the dangers of that. In fact, one of the spiritual leaders of the Ba ‘Alawi, Faqih al-Muqaddam, broke his sword, saying “Our way is not the way of vying for power.”
However, when needed, the scholars would reach out to the leaders to advise them and guide them. This letter is such as example.
Imam Haddad’s Letter
Imam Haddad begins the letter by praising Allah for all His blessings, and by sending peace upon the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. He prays for the prince, whose name is Habash Khan, and praises him for the good things he is doing, encouraging him to continue his projects.
He then advises the prince about two matters:
The first matter is between a person and his Lord. Imam Haddad advises him to stay mindful of Allah, and remember Him with the tongue and the heart. He should also surrender his affairs to Allah, and seek His assistance in everything.
The second matter is between a person and the rest of Creation. Imam Haddad tells the prince to take care of his subjects, by extending both justice and kindness to them. Additionally, he should stop any oppression that may be occurring, while recognising the good actions that they do. He should also be regularly checking up on their well-being, while being patient if they mistreat him.
He finishes by praying that Allah helps the prince in all these affairs.