Excerpted and abridged from Al-Imam Al-Muhaddith Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad bin Ahmad bin ‘Abd al-Latif al-Sharji al-Hanafi al-Zabidi’s (d.893 ah)(rahmatullah alayh) blessed work dealing with the lives of the awliyaa of Yemen: “Tabaqat al-Khawass, Ahl al-Sidq wa al-Ikhlas (Ranks of the Elect, The People of Truth and Sincerity)” (pg 391-393).
(Al-Imam al-Sharji al-Zabidi is the author of the famous: “mukhtasar sahih al-Bukhari, al-tajrid al-sarih li ahadith al-Jami’ al-sahih),
Al-Faqih, Al-Wali, al-Imam, Abu Bakr bin ‘Ali bin Muhammad al-Haddad al-Hanafi al-Zabidi (rahmatullah alayh) (d. 800 a.h.) (author of the famous “al-Jawharah al-Nayyirah, sharh mukhtasar al-Quduri”)
He was, may Allah (subhanahu wa t’ala) benefit us by him, a great scholar and jurist, a worshipper, an ascetic and a man of scrupulousness. He expended his efforts in the fields of knowledge and action and was humble, ascetic in his food and drink, garments and all his affairs, possessing complete scrupulousness. He initially studied with his father, al-Faqih ‘Ali bin Muhammad al-Haddad (rahmatullah alayh) in the village of ‘abbadiyyah from amongst the villages of the valley of Zabid. Later al-Faqih Abu Bakr al-Haddad moved to the city of Zabid and completed his study of Fiqh with al-Faqih ‘Ali bin Nuh and al-Faqih Ibrahim bin ‘Umar al-‘Alawi and others. Many students graduated in Fiqh under his tutelage and his most famous students are his son al-Faqih Ahmad and al-Faqih Muhammad bin ‘Umar bin Show’an and my father (i.e. the father Al-Imam Abu al-‘Abbas al-Sharji) Ahmad bin’ Abd al-Latif (rahmatullah alayh) and al-Faqih al Humam al-‘Alawi, and al-Faqih al-Siddiq bin al-Burhan and many others whose number cannot be enumerated.
And his teaching was filled with barakah, he had many students and was forebearing with them to the extent that one of my teachers told me, may Allah t’ala have mercy upon him, that al-Faqih Abu Bakr used to teach day and night about 15 lessons and he would not become tired nor find it tedious. And he produced great writings in the mazhab of al-Imam Abu Hanifah (radhiy Allahu t’ala anhu), the likes of which no-one from the Hanafi Ulama in Yemen has produced since the earliest times until the present day in terms of their number and benefit. Amongst these are his two commentaries on al-Muhtasar al-Quduri, a small commentary (Al-Jawharah al-Nayyirah) and a large commentary (Al-Siraj al-Wahhaj), and sharh al-Manzumah al-Nassafiyyah, Sharh al-Manzumah al-Hamiliyyah, and Sharh Qayd al-Awabid and others, to the extent that his writings reach around 20 volumes in the Hanafi school. He also wrote a beautiful, beneficial tafsir (10 volumes) whose size is like the Wasit of al-Wahidi.
He produced all this, while being engaged in worship, fasting, standing in prayer at night, teaching and other activities, being preoccupied with his family and poverty, because he would eat from what he earned by his own hands. He would transcribe books and sell them in the Mazhab of Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) and tafsir and hadith and other than that. And when he would finish a book people would rush to purchase it from him at the highest of prices seeking barakah by it, despite the weakness of his script. But a book would not leave him except that it had been thoroughly checked so that it would not require another comparison with its original. And he would sometimes copy for a wage. And from amongst our books are many in his handwriting may Allah (subhanahu wa t’ala) benefit us by it.
And from what is narrated regarding his scrupulousness is that one of the leaders came to him with a purse of 1,000 dinars of sadaqah from the ruler, al-Malik al-Afdhal. So the Imam said: “I have no need for it, take it back to the sultan that he may spend it on the public interests of the Muslims”. So al-Tawashi said, “O my master, it is not possible for us to return it to the sultan”. So the Imam replied:” Then take it yourself, or do what you want with it”. And when al-Tawashi insisted with him, the Imam entered his home and locked the door. Al-Tawashi narrates that he heard the Imam say from inside,“rather it is you who are delighted at your gift.” And many stories of this nature are related about him and if it were not for fear of protraction I would have narrated many of them, but this amount is sufficient, InshAllah t’ala. He was, may Allah have mercy on him, full of admonition to those who sat with him and studied with him, and none was able to make mention of the worldly affairs in his presence, nor the private affairs of the people.
He passed away in the year 800 AH and was buried in the graveyard of bab al-qurtub of the city of Zabid and his grave is famous there and is visited for blessing and the fulfilment of needs. And I have seen countless people journeying to him and mentioning that they do not seek his grave in fulfilment of a need except that it is fulfilled by Allah. And I am one of those who have found that on numerous occasions, and all praise is due to Allah Lord of all the worlds, may Allah benefit us by him Amin.
And it is related that when he was buried, al-Shaykh Abu Bakr bin Hassan was the first to arrive and he stood in front of the people and said at the top of his voice: “My heart has spoken to me by way of inspiration from my Lord that whosoever stands at the grave of al-Faqih Abu Bakr, even the length of time it takes to milk a sheep, that person will enter jannah”. And I heard that from numerous people who heard al-Shaykh Abu Bakr bin Hassan say it.
And one of the rulers built a beautiful masjid near the grave of al-Faqih Abu Bakr al-Haddad and his age on the day he passed away was 80, he had lost his eyesight shortly before his death, may Allah have mercy upon him.