His Eminence Sheikh Al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz
Director of Dar Al-Mustafa
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His Eminence Sheikh Al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz
Director of Dar Al-Mustafa

HE Sheikh Al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz, a 39th-generation direct descendant of the Prophet ﷺ, stands as one of the foremost scholars, spiritual guides, and preachers within the Islamic tradition today. His prominent position in the Ba Alawi Tariqa further extends his influence over hundreds of millions of Muslims around the globe.

Birth: 27 May 1963 (Age: 61)

Source of Influence: Preachers & Spiritual Guides, Scholarly, Lineage: Lineage

Influence: Millions of traditional Muslim followers globally

School of Thought: Traditional Sunni, Shafi'i, Ash'ari, Ba'Alawi Sufi Order

Status: Featured in current year

Influence

Director of Dar Al-Mustafa

HE Sheikh Al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz, a 39th-generation direct descendant of the Prophet ﷺ, stands as one of the foremost scholars, spiritual guides, and preachers within the Islamic tradition today. His prominent position in the Ba Alawi Tariqa further extends his influence over hundreds of millions of Muslims around the globe.

 

The Ba Alawi: The Ba Alawi, derived from “Banu Alawi” or “the clan of Alawi”, have called the Hadramaut region in Yemen their home since 4th century Hijri (CE 930) when a member of the Prophet’s family emigrated there. The Ba Alawi lineage has since produced exceptional scholars and devout individuals, celebrated for their efforts in propagating and revitalizing Islamic teachings, anchoring their approach in Imam Al-Ghazali’s renowned work, the Ihya Ulum Al-Din. They have played a pivotal role in spreading and reviving Islam in various regions, including the Malay Archipelago (Malaysia and Indonesia) through the revered Wali Sanga (the Nine Saints—eight of whom were from the Ba Alawi), in various regions of India such as Kerala and Gujarat, in East Africa in the 20th century through figures like Habib Umar bin Sumayt and Habib Ahmad Mashhur Al-Haddad and in general with Habib Abdul Qadir Al-Saqqaf. Habib Umar continues this legacy on a global scale, with tours that extend to the USA, Australia and Europe.

Dar Al-Mustafa: Following the unification of Yemen, Habib Umar founded Dar Al-Mustafa in 1993—a centre dedicated to traditional Islamic scholarship. It is grounded in three fundamental principles: acquiring knowledge from qualified sources through an authentic chain of transmission; purifying the soul and refining character; and engaging in dawah, the call to faith through the dissemination of beneficial knowledge. This institute started with 30 hand-picked students by Habib Umar and thousands have now graduated from it. Students from all corners of the world enrol in the institute, and upon their return to their home countries, they take the role of influential educators, often by establishing their own educational institutions. In 2001, a sister institution, Dar Al-Zahra, was inaugurated, expanding religious instruction to females. Since then, additional branches have been established not only across various parts of Yemen but also in Southeast Asia. Two other nearby religious institutions which are closely linked to Dar Al-Mustafa are the Rubat Tarim (est.1886) and Al-Ahgaff University (est.1995).

Popular Presence: Habib Umar is extraordinarily active and frequently conducts gatherings both domestically and internationally. In 2023, a tour of Indonesia attracted over 700,000 attendees at his events.  His online presence is facilitated through Muwasala, an organization established by his students. He has a social media following of over 3.5 million and his videos have collectively garnered more than 100 million views. His influence extends even further through his esteemed reputation within the Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Islamic organization, which boasts a staggering membership of over 90 million. Within this organization, Habib Umar is a reference point for all matters related to religious affairs. His monthly online readings to this vast community reinforce his influence in the Islamic world. Many of Habib Umar’s students have risen to prominence as distinguished teachers in their own right and extend his influence further, like Habib Ali Al-Jifri, Habib Kadhim Al-Saqqaf and Habib Muhammad Al-Saqqaf who established Al-Erth Al-Nabawi (the Prophetic legacy) satellite channel which broadcasts Habib Umar’s daily classes as well as being a platform for an array of traditional scholars.

 

Scholarship: Habib Umar ranks among the world’s preeminent Muslim academics and scholars. His role as a signatory of “A Common Word Between Us and You” has helped to foster understanding between Muslims and Christians. He has authored a number of works that have been translated into several languages. They include Al-Dhakhirah Al-Musharrafah, a compendium of essential knowledge for every Muslim, three concise hadith collections, and a summary of the third quarter of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum Al-Din. Furthermore, his compositions for the mawlid, Al-Diya’ Al-Lami’ and Al-Sharab Al-Tahur are recited at gatherings worldwide. He is the recipient of the King Faisal International Prize for Islamic Studies (2016) and the Sheikh Zayed Award for Human Fraternity (2021), but worth far more than any award is the testimony of many that Habib Umar precisely emulates the character of the Prophet, both in religious practice (ibadah) and human interaction (mu’amalah).

 

Quotes

“A true Muslim is like rain, wherever it falls, it will benefit.”

Statistics

15  is the age at which he started teaching and doing dawah.

1993 the year Dar Al-Mustafa was founded