Umar bin Hafiz was born in Tarim, Hadhramaut, Yemen, and raised in a household that possessed a tradition and lineage of Islamic scholarship and righteousness by his father. His father was Muhammad bin Salim bin Hafiz, a Habib and mufti of Tarim, a pious caller to Islam, scholar, and a martyr of the communist uprising.
He is a Sayyid and a Hafidh and was reared in a pious fashion, in the care of his father, in an environment of knowledge, faith and virtuous character.
From an early age he studied the sciences of the pure Sacred Law including: the Qur’an, Prophetic Tradition (Hadith), Jurisprudence (Fiqh), Creed (Tawhid), foundations of Sacred Law (Usul al-Fiqh), the various disciplines of the Arabic language, and the knowledge of Spiritual travel from the scholars of Hadramaut. His father was the Mufti of Tarim. At the age of 15, Bin Hafiz began to teach, while continuing to study and receive lessons.
Resides: Tarim, Yemen
Current Occupation: Shaykh
Education: Hifz, Islamic Studies
Preferred Subject: Tassawuf, Islamic Studies
Notable Teachers: Al-Habib Muhammad bin Abd-Allah al-Haddar, Al-Habib Abdul Qadir bin Ahmad al-Saqqaf, Al-Habib Ahmed Mashur al-Haddad, and Al-Habib Attas al-Habashi.
Later, he enrolled at the Ribat of al-Bayda’, where he began studying the traditional Islamic sciences under the tutelage of Al-Habib Muhammad bin Abd-Allah al-Haddar, as well as under the Shafi‘i jurist and scholar Al-Habib Zain bin Sumait. Habib Umar was given permission to teach soon after.
He then studied under the mufti of Ta‘iz, al-Habib Ibrahim bin Aqil bin Yahya. He also studied under Shaikh al-Habib Muhammad al-Haddar, who gave him his daughter’s hand in marriage. Habib Umar then travelled to the Hijaz (the two Sacred Precincts) and studied several books with scholars, including Al-Habib Abdul Qadir bin Ahmad al-Saqqaf, Al-Habib Ahmed Mashur al-Haddad, and Al-Habib Attas al-Habashi.
He took license to narrate from the chains of transmission in Hadith and in other sciences from the narrator of connected chains, Shaykh Muhammad Yasin al-Faddani and Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki, as well as other scholars.
After returning to Tarim, Habib Umar established Dar al-Mustafa, an Islamic educational seminary.
Dar al-Mustafa for Traditional Islamic Studies was founded in 1414 AH (1994). It is based on three objectives: the first being learning the sciences of the Sacred Law and related sciences from those who are apt to impart them with connected chains of transmission; the second purifying the soul and refining one’s character and the third conveying beneficial knowledge and calling to Allah, Mighty and Majestic. Students and visitors continue to flock to it from all around the world.
Some of his prominent students include Shaykh Ibrahim Osi Efa, Shaykh Abdul Karim Yahya and Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, and the late Habib Munzir Al-Musawa.
Dar al-Zahra’ was opened in 1422 (2001) to provide learning opportunities for women as well. A number of branches of Dar al-Mustafa have since been opened in Hadramawt and South East Asia. A branch has been opened in the Yemeni capital, San`a’, and older ribats have also been revived, such as the ribats of al-Shihr, Mukalla’ and `Aynat. Dar al-Mustafa and its branches continue to grow and receive students from all corners of the earth.
He established al-Ra`fah Foundation in 1418 (1998), which sponsors students of sacred knowledge, teachers, orphans and widows and assists the poor and needy in the Hadramawt region. When severe floods struck Hadramawt in 2008, al-Ra`fah played a key role in relieving the suffering of those who lost their homes and property.
Habib Umar has an intense concern to raise religious consciousness in the City of Tarim. He has established many gatherings, the most important of which is the weekly Monday gathering, which is conducted in the town square of Tarim and is attended by hundreds of the city’s inhabitants. He also has made countless visits to the various regions of Yemen and has conducted many lectures in Yemeni universities, institutes and organisations.H
In 2006, Bin Hafiz met with Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri; they exchanged knowledge on Islam, and he also received an Ijazah (certificate to teach) of Hadith from Tahir-ul-Qadri.
Habib Umar has made numerous journeys summoning to Allah and spreading knowledge of the Sacred Law to various lands, including: the Gulf States, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Mali, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, the Comoros Islands, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Spain. He has connected to the chains of transmission of the scholars of these regions. He has also participated in many Islamic conferences.
Habib `Umar joined with the world’s leading Muslim scholars to sign ‘A Common Word,’ a document that aims to build bridges between Muslims and Christians. In 2008 he attended the ‘Common Word’ conference chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Cambridge University, and delivered a speech on the need to facilitate inter-faith dialogue. He is currently promoting the use of permaculture to revive agriculture in Hadramawt and elsewhere.
In 2011, Bin Hafiz toured the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States for outreach purposes and da’wah (calling others to Islam)
Habib`Umar’s students can be found throughout the world calling people to Allah. Many have opened their own institutions.
Habib`Ali al-Jifri has made numerous expeditions around the world and established the Tabah Foundation in Abu Dhabi.
Habib Kazim al-Saqqaf, Habib Muhammad`Abd al-Rahman al-Saqqaf and Habib Husayn al-Saqqaf are well known for their efforts calling people to Allah.
Shaykh`Umar Husayn al-Khatib, through his teaching role in Dar al- Mustafa and through his travels, has benefited countless people. Habib`Umar’s students have also had a big impact in South East Asia. This is reflected by the thousands of people that attend the gatherings of the late Habib Mundhir al-Musawa (may Allah have mercy on him) in Jakarta.
- Only a knower of Allah can truly describe another knower of Allah. That said, anyone that spends time in the company of Habib umar will witness his complete emulation of his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah ﷺand also his emulation of his predecessors among the BaAlawi Imams. Whether it be in his acts of worship, in his dealings with people, in receiving his guests, in the words that he speaks or in his smile, his every action is an expression of his Prophetic inheritance. He shows utmost mercy to every creature and desires goodness and elevation for every human being. He invites non-Muslims to accept Islam, calls Muslims to increase in faith and to benefit others and he assists spiritual seekers on the path to Allah. His concern above all is the Ummah of our Master Muhammad ﷺ and playing his part in the renewal of Islam.
- Habib is a scholarly title given to an Imam/Shaykh within the Valley of Hadramawt, Yemen. Such a scholar can trace back his lineage to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through his grandson, Hussein.
- The surname “Hafiz” comes from his great grandfather’s name, a branch of the family of “Shaikh Abubakr bin Salim”, which is also the name of his paternal eighth generation progenitor.
- It doesn’t matter how many tasbihs you hold, or how many mawlids you attend, or how many shuyukh you accompany, or how many claims you make, or how many ijazahs you collect – if you look down on any believer and you have arrogance in your heart – you are a false claimant to this path. You’re not a person of Tasawwuf. Tasawwuf is nothing but good character and humility. If you think for a second that you are more pious than another Muslim because you do such-and-such action and you sit in the gatherings of so-and-so then you have destroyed your actions.
Habib Umar has many audio and visual publications as well as writings. Among them are al-Dhakirah al-Musharrafah, which contains personally obligatory knowledge for every Muslim, and three short hadith compilations, Mukhtar al-Hadith, Nur al-Iman and Qutuf al-Falihin.
His Qabas al-Nur al-Mubin is a summarised version of the third quarter of Imam al-Ghazali’s Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din and is an expression of his concern for curing the ailments of the heart. It also reflects the love and respect that the Ba`Alawi scholars have traditionally had for Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din.
A selection of Habib `Umar’s speeches and wisdoms have been collected in Tawjihat al-Tullab and Tawjih al-Nabih, and some of his khutbahs have been collected in Fayd al-Imdad.
Khulasat al-Madad al-Nabawi is Habib `Umar’s compilation of adhkar for the seeker to recite on a daily basis. It contains Prophetic invocations and the litanies of many of the great Imams.
His mawlid compositions, al-Diya’ al-Lami’ and al-Sharab al-Tahur are recited in gatherings throughout the world, as are his poems.
- Two collections of hadith: Selections from Shifa al-Saqim (al-Mukhtar min Shifa al-Saqim) and The Light of Faith From the Speech of the Beloved of al-Rahman (Nur al-Iman min Kalam Habib al-Rahman)
- Aid to Those Seeking the Pleasure of the Creator Through the Clarification of Noble Character (Is’af Talibi Rida al-Khallaq bi Bayan MaKaram al-Akhlaq)
- Advice to Students (Tawjihat al-Tullab)
- Our Traits (Khuluquna)
- Forthpourings of Favor from the Mercy of the Giver of Favors (Fa’idat al-mann min Rahamat Wahhab al-Minan)
- Directing the Intelligent to the Contentment of the Beneficent (Tawjih al-Nabih li-Mardat Barih)
- The Glorious Treasure (al-Dhakira al-Musharrafa)
- The Summary of Prophetic Aid, a book of invocations (Khuslasa al-Maddad al-Nabawi fil-Adhkar)
- Two mawlids, celebrating the life of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him): The Shimmering Light Mentioning the Birth of the Interceding Prophet (al-Diya al-Lami’ fi Dhikr Mawlid al-Nabi al-Shafi’) and The Pure Drink Mentioning the Life of the Fullest of Moons (al-Sharab al-Tuhur fi Dhikri Sirati Badri al-Budur)
- The Forth-pouring of Spiritual Aid, a Compilation of Sermons (Fayd al-Imdad)
- The Preacher’s Refinement (Thaqafat al- Khatib)
- A collection of poetry
Teachers:His father, al-Habib Muhammad bin Salim, the Mufti of Tarim, as well as virtuous, gnostic scholars such as: al-Habib Muhammad bin Alawi bin Shihab al-Din, al-Habib Ahmad bin Ali Ibn al-Shaykh Abu Bakr, al-Habib Abdullah bin Shaykh al-Aidarus, the historian and eminent scholar, al-Habib Abdullah bin Hasan Bil-Faqih, the historian and linguist, al-Habib Umar bin Alawi al-Kaf, al-Habib Ahmad bin Hasan al-Haddad, Habib Umar’s older brother, Habib Ali al-Mashhur, al-Habib Salim bin Abdullah al-Shatiri, the Shaykh and Mufti Fadl bin Abdul-Rahman Ba Fadl, and Shaykh Tawfiq Aman.