About The Book
For over three centuries the text al-Risalah al-Jamiah has been used across the Muslim world as a ‘primer’ for people embarking upon the study of Islam and its key principles. This is a thorough yet concise manual, which navigates the reader carefully through the essential elements of Aqida, Fiqh (of the classical Shafi’i school of law) and Tasawwuf, making it an invaluable resource for people seeking knowledge, clarity and guidance.
The translation, accompanied by the original Arabic, has made this classical work even more accessible by being rendered into the English Language. Its style and manner makes it easy for the reader to follow the basic principles without any prior knowledge or reading of Islam.
About The Author
Al-Habib Ahmad bin Zayn al-Habshi Naf’anAllahu Bih (1069-1145 A.H) is most well-known for his sharh (commentary) on the ‘Ayniyyah of his Shaykh, Sayyidunal Imam al- Habib ‘Abdallah bin ‘Alawi al-Haddad Naf’anAllahu Bih (1044-1132 A.H). An ‘ayniyyah is a qasida (eulogy) all of whose verses end and rhyme in the letter ‘ayn. Mawlana al-Haddad’s ‘Ayniyyah consists of 140 such verses. We are fortunate that Sayyidi wa Murshidi al-Habib Ahmad Mash-hur bin Taha al-Haddad Naf’anAllahu bih (1325-1416 A.H) has left this biography of al-Habib Ahmad bin Zayn al-Habshi for posterity.
He was born in the year 1069 Hijriyya and grew up in the best ‘Alawiyya surroundings, and traces his line to al-Mustafa — the Prophet, upon whom be blessings and peace of Allah.
He worked hard in searching for ‘ilm from his very youth; learnt the Qur’an by heart and acquired various kinds of ‘ilm from the ‘ulamaa of his home area, except that he did not find everything he wanted in his town of al-Ghurfa. He travelled to Seyun and Tarim. Dates were his only provision. He used to frequent the ‘ulamaa and attend their darsas and pick up their priceless pearls. He attached himself to al-‘Arif Billahi ‘Abdalla bin Ahmad Balfaqih and studied under him many titles of Sacred Law and Gnosis. He also studied under as-Sayyid al-Imam Ahmad bin ‘Umar al-Hinduwan who gave him magnificent predictions about the future at the mountain path of the tomb of Prophet Hud, upon whom be peace. He had contacts with many of the ‘Ulamaa of Hadhramawt and Yaman and al-Haramayn (the Sacred Sanctuaries of Makka and al-Madina). He exhausted all the ‘ulum they had. And the last to whom he attached himself exclusively at the end was Qutb al-Irshad al-Habib ‘Abdalla bin ‘Alawi al-Haddad. He befriended him for about 40 years and received his infinite ‘ulum and gnoses, and he never ceased studying under him. In fact he died when al-Habib Ahmad was reading to him al-Muwatta of Imam Malik and Sharh as-Sunnah — the Commentary on the Sunnah — of al-Imam al-Baghwy. And he used to revere and venerate him and urge people to study under him.
He devoted his whole time acquiring both inner and outer ‘ulum. Therefore he said: After I was 70 years of age I had no other desire except ‘ilm. Indeed, he looked at about 100 books around him and said: “Were all these books to be destroyed, I would reproduce them from my heart.” He studied most of the highly regarded books of ash-Shafi’i and others on the subject of exegesis and the Hadith and instrumental subjects and recitations and medicine and mathematics and engineering, the ‘ulum of the Folk and Subtleties as you may well observe in his all-comprehensive Safinah which runs to 25 volumes.
Dedicated to the pursuit and promotion of knowledge from an early age, he was known not only for his wisdom and scholarship, but also for the establishment of mosques across the ancient region of Hadramaut. To this day his works remain as a testament to the calibre of his scholarship and rank among the Awliyaa. He died on 19th Sha’ban 1145H, on a Friday.
About The Translator
Shaykh Abdul Aziz Ahmed, qualified as a teacher from Leicester University in 1984, was born and raised in Nottingham, UK. He has taught in England, Scotland, USA, Africa and Saudi Arabia. His specialty is Special Needs and Language.
His Islamic Studies have taken him to various countries as diverse as Tunisia, Yemen, the Hijaz, Turkey and East Africa.
His teachers include the late Shaykh Habib Ahmed Mashur Al-Haddad (Jeddah), Shaykh Abdul Rahman Al-Kitamy (Kenya), Sidi Fethullah Gulen (Turkey), and Shaykh Abul Qasim ibn Zein Qayrawan (Tunisia). He also spent 10 years with Shaykh Mahmud Galal from Al-Azhar (Cairo).