Monday, February 8, 2010

The Aim & Spirit of Awrad

IMAM ABDALLAH ibn ALAWI al-HADDAD (Allah have mercy on him) (d.1132 Hijri) said,
‘The aim and spirit of awrād is presence with Allah.
Aim for it; you will reach it only if you travel the road that leads to it, which is performing the external activities and striving to be present with Allah during them. When you persevere in this you become immersed in the lights of Proximity, and the sciences of gnosis emanate upon you, at which your heart becomes wholly intent on God and presence becomes its nature and well-established quality.’ Risalat ul-Mu‘awanah   Tarim, Hadramaut,  Yemen
(Note: wird (plural: awrad) is any regular routine of worship, such as prayer, remembrance (dhikr), supplication (dua), fasting, and so on. One can also consider regular routines of religious study and reading to be a wird.)
Imam 'Abdallah al-Haddad 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, and gnostics. 

Imam al-Haddad's writings 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, many of which are abbreviated adaptations of Imam al-Ghazali's monumental Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya 'Ulum al-Din). 

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.


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