This volume contains three concise treatises of the venerable Imām al-Ḥaddād. The first treatise, Mutual Reminding, distils the ethic and content of offering good counsel to one another. The chief elements of counsel, says the Imām, are Taqwā, an active fear and consciousness of God, and detachment from the material world. These elements connect with the topic of the second treatise, Good Manners, which discusses the manners recommended of the spiritual wayfarer as he or she takes the path to spiritual felicity. The third treatise, The Aphorisms, is a compilation of Imām al-Ḥaddād’s wise insights on a broad range of topics and includes the commentary of Shaykh Muḥammad Ḥayāt al-Sindī.
Imam Abd Allah ibn Alawi al-Haddad was born in 1634 CE (1044 Hijri). He lived his entire life in the town of Tarim in Yemen’s Valley of Hadramawt and died there in 1720 CE (1132 Hijri). In Islamic history, he was considered one of the great Sufi sages. He was an adherent to the Ashari Sunni Creed of Faith (Aqeedah), while in Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh), he was a Shafi'i.
He lived at Tarim in the Hadramaut valley between Yemen and Oman, and is widely held to have been the ‘renewer’ of the twelfth Islamic century. A direct descendant of the Prophet, his sanctity and direct experience of God are clearly reflected in his writings, which include several books, a collection of Sufi letters, and a volume of mystical poetry. He spent most of his life in Kenya and Saudi Arabia where he taught Islamic jurisprudence and classical Sufism according to the order (tariqa) of the Ba'Alawi sayids.
In spite of being a major source of reference among the Sunni Muslims (especially among Sufis), only recently have his books began to receive attention and publication in the English-speaking world. Their appeal lies in the concise way in which the essential pillars of Islamic belief, practice, and spirituality have been streamlined and explained efficiently enough for the modern reader. Examples of such works are The Book of Assistance, The Lives of Man, and Knowledge and Wisdom.