He is al-Habib al-`Allamah al-Shahid Muhammad bin Salim bin Hafiz bin `Abdullah bin Abu Bakr bin `Aydarus bin `Umar bin `Aydarus bin `Umar bin Abu Bakr bin `Aydarus bin al-Husayn bin al-Shaykh al-Fakhr Abu Bakr bin Salim bin `Abdullah bin `Abd al-Rahman bin `Abdullah bin Shaykh `Abd al-Rahman al-Saqqaf bin Shaykh Muhammad Mawla al-Dawilah, bin `Ali Mawla Darak, bin `Alawi al-Ghuyur, bin al-Faqih al-Muqaddam, Muhammad bin `Ali, bin Muhammad Sahib Mirbat, bin `Ali Khali` Qasam, bin `Alawi, bin Muhammad Sahib al-Sawma’a, bin `Alawi, bin `Ubaydullah, bin al-Imam al-Muhajir il-Allah Ahmad, bin `Isa, bin Muhammad al-Naqib, bin `Ali al-`Uraydi, bin Ja`far al-Sadiq, bin Muhammad al-Baqir, bin `Ali Zayn al-`Abidin, bin Husayn al-Sibt, bin `Ali bin Abu Talib and Fatima al-Zahra, the daughter of our Master Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets G.
Habib Muhammad was born in the village of Mishtah near Tarim in the year 1332 Hijri (1914 CE) and was brought up under the supervision of his noble father, the great scholar Habib Salim. Habib Salim taught his son the foundational sciences of the Din and then took him to Tarim to learn from the city’s scholars. His teachers were the Imams of the time. Among them were Habib `Abdullah bin `Umar al-Shatiri, Habib `Alawi bin `Abdullah Shihab al-Din and Habib ‘Ali bin al-Imam ‘Abdur-Rahman al-Mashhur, his grandfather on his mother’s side. Habib Muhammad also built a strong connection with the Knower of Allah Habib Ja`far bin Ahmad al-`Aydarus. He took knowledge from Habib Muhammad bin Hadi al-Saqqaf in Seiyun and Habib Mustafa bin Ahmad al-Mihdar in al-Gwayra. He travelled on numerous occasions to the Hijaz to take knowledge from its scholars, among them Shaykh Muhammad al-`Arabi al-Tabani, Sayyid `Alawi bin `Abbaas al-Maliki, Shaykh Muhammad Amin Kutbi and Shaikh Hasan al-Mashat.
The extensive knowledge which he obtained led to his appointment as Mufti of Hadramawt. His use of his time was legendary. A day and a night would not pass except that he had stood in prayer, recited a large portion of the Qur’an, made abundant dhikr, taught his students, visited someone, written something, given fatwa and seen to the needs of a Muslim. He would attend in one day up to 14 gatherings of knowledge and remembrance.
He had a great concern for conveying and preserving sacred knowledge, and authored a number of works in several sciences which are of great benefit to students. Among them are Takmilah Zubdah al-Hadith in the law of inheritance, al-Miftah and al-Nuqul al-Sihah in the law of marriage and Durus al-Tawhid in tenets of faith. He wrote small books to help beginners in the sciences of jurisprudence and grammar and al-Tadhkirah aI-Hadramiyyah which covers all religious knowledge that it is compulsory for women to know. He also recorded in several volumes the speech of Habib `Alawi bin `Abdullah Shihab al-Din and wrote a biography of Habib `Abdullah bin `Umar al-Shatiri, Nafh al-Tayyib al-`Atiri. He composed a number of poems as well as a beautiful Mawlid, named Al-Nafhah al-Wardiyyah which shows his intense love for and connection to the Messenger of Allah G. He also put the Mawlid of al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir into verse.
He had a passion for calling people to Allah and spreading knowledge, expressed by his constant visits to the towns and villages of Hadramawt. He journeyed to India and Pakistan where he took knowledge from the Hadith scholars there, and to Sudan and East Africa. He also visited Habib `Umar bin Ahmad bin Sumayt in the Comoros Islands.
A socialist government came to power in South Yemen in 1387 (1967) which attempted to eradicate Islam from society. Scholars were persecuted and religious institutions, such as the famous Ribat of Tarim, where Habib Muhammad himself studied, were forcibly closed. This did not, however, deter him from exerting all his efforts in calling to Allah. This did not, however, deter him from exerting all his efforts in calling to Allah and speaking out fearlessly in the defence of truth. He was required to register with the security forces on a daily basis so that they could check on his whereabouts. Thus on Friday morning on 29th Dhu’l-Hijjah 1392 (1973) he left his son Habib `Umar, then only nine years of age, in the mosque before the Friday prayer and went to register. He was never seen again.
The socialist regime thought that by abducting and killing Habib Muhammad bin Salim they would succeed in their mission but they failed completely. Their intention is to extinguish Allah’s light (by blowing) with their mouths but Allah will complete His light, even though the disbelievers may detest it. In 1410 (1990) the regime fell and North and South Yemen reunited, paving the way for a revival of the Din. Habib Muhammad’s work did not come to an end but rather was continued by his sons. Habib `Ali Mashhur remained in Hadramawt throughout this dangerous period teaching and preserving the way of his forefathers. He is currently the Mufti of Tarim. Habib `Umar spent ten years in safety in al-Bayda in the North of Yemen under the tutelage of his father’s companion Habib Muhammad bin `Abdullah al-Haddar. He then returned to Hadramawt to breathe new life into the religious life of the region. His tireless work led to the establishment of Dar al-Mustafa. Dar al-Mustafa is a centre for traditional Islamic learning based upon three foundations: knowledge (`Ilm), spiritual purification (Tazkiya) and calling to Allah (Da`wa). It continues to grow and receive students from all corners of the earth. Habib `Umar, like his father before him, is constantly travelling, spreading the pure methodology of his predecessors. All of the fruits that we now see are the result of the steadfastness and sacrifice of Habib Muhammad bin Salim. Dar al-Mustafa was opened in 1414 (1994) on 29th Dhu’l-Hijjah, the same date on which Habib Muhammad was abducted. Every year on that date Dar al-Mustafa celebrates its anniversary and along with it the life and achievements of this great Imam. May Allah grant him the best of rewards on behalf of this Ummah, benefit us by him and raise him to the highest station in the company of his grandfather the Messenger of Allah…