My grandmother passed away yesterday.
I seek your prayers for God to forgive her of any wrongdoing and to have mercy on her soul.
Her father was from Tareem, Hadhramout and so was her husband. Before I moved here, I was reading a number of academic literature about the Hadhrami Diaspora and my interest then was largely and perhaps purely on academic social studies. One key text was Graves of Tarim by Dr. Ho Eng Seng.
Ho writes remarkably in his introduction about the conception of graves in this tradition. About how it travels far, across eras and is indeed very much alive. And then I started to look at the collection of poetry, or the Diwan of Imam al-Haddad. That was enough to know I needed more and it was just Arabic I didn’t understand then.
His poetry is the most quoted by generations of scholars here. The books he wrote have become the most widespread and has formed circles of gatherings around the world today especially Book of Assistance. His two collections of litanies are the two most famous that have come out of this tradition – Wird al-Latiff and Ratib al-Haddad.
After being awake from hours before dawn, she would listen to a voice recording of Wird al-Latiff an hour after sunrise while going back to sleep. On my last trip back, this section would be the closing of our early mornings together and she’d invite me to join in. Once I started reading audibly and was told to go away. I deduced that her regiment didn’t include an additional annoying accompanying voice.
Orphaned young, as a child during the war, her maternal grandfather took the large family from Singapore and they left, trekked through the forest in Johore to seek refuge in a house there. Others followed suit under his leadership. This is the background to the man who founded the blessed school Madrasah al-Junied. Every night with only one candle in the house, with over a hundred people he would lead them reading Ratib al-Haddad together, said my grandmother.
She would grow up marrying someone from the descendant of Imam al-Haddad. Both of their paternal grandfathers, were two of the four Founders of the famous school, Rubat Tareem. Most of what I just mentioned people don’t know about perhaps because she in and of herself contained many qualities and deeds.
In her eighties she still took the effort to visit family, friends and acquaintances. Her home was always open to visitors which were plenty and regular. Despite her age, her home gained a reputation as many elders one after another, stayed there for an extended period to recuperate after medical treatment – although nothing compared to the care for her own mother who lived up to a very old age.
To the right from where this photo was taken is the al-Junied section of the graveyard in Tareem where Fatimah binti Abdul Qader bin Abdul Rahman bin Ali bin Omar bin Ali al-Junied BaHarun al-Jamalullail would have been buried.
I seek your prayer, dear reader, that she be accorded the companionship in the Hereafter with the Most Beloved One of the Creator for indeed nothing can be greater.