Foreword by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
Two paths to God exist for the people of this world, the path of salvation and the path of sanctification. For those who seek more than the minimum, who desire more than the average man, who want and yearn for intimate knowledge of their source and ultimate destiny, sanctification allows them that possibility. The Prophets are sanctified souls that are specially prepared by their Lord, not only as a vessel of divine knowledge but also as the means of conveying it to others. For the men and women who take from them and come after them heeding their call, it is through the path of sanctification that the prophetic path is continued in this world for others to walk the path of salvation. Without sanctified souls in the world, the path would eventually be lost, and those seeking salvation destroyed. For those who the saints call, sanctification is a process that continues throughout one’s life on earth and is finalized with a purified soul that is content and ready to return to God in a sanctified state. These souls are then able to act as milestones for those on the path of salvation. They inspire us and direct us to strive on and keep the goal of God’s presence in our hearts. Imam al-Haddad was such a soul. He, through his own teachers, tended to his soul and journeyed on the path of sanctification in order to realize the true alchemy of the hearts, turning the self from a base element, susceptible to corruption, into pure spiritual gold, free of the corrosive elements of this world.
This book, while a biography of one of the greatest saints in Islamic history, is more than that. It is a book of alchemy itself, filled from start to finish with the science of tasawwuf, which is and has always been the heart of the Islamic tradition. It was written by a practitioner of the outward science of psychology and the inward science of the nafs or soul, which, in the path of salvation, works to confine itself to the laws of the sacred order as articulated by the prophets, and, in Islam’s case, by the last and final messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him), and, in the path of sanctification, works to move through the well-established states and stations of the wayfarer until true knowledge of God is realized.
Dr. Badawi was a student of a direct descendant of Shaykh ‘Abdallah al-Haddad, Habib Ahmad Mashshur al-Haddad, who those of us fortunate enough to have known him personally consider a realized spiritual master and sanctified soul, and none can sanctify save God. Habib Ahmad Mashshur was an antidote for the insanity that accompanies so much religious imbalance in our times. Just as his ancestor, the subject of this book, brought renewal and light to the Islam of his time, today’s masters maintain that same light in a time that might be referred to as ‘the endarkenment’. This book is a compelling testimony to the spiritual power and influence of the sanctified soul on the world. It is, perhaps more importantly for us, a step toward reintroducing the desperately needed path of sanctification. If there was ever a time that saints were needed, it is this time.
-Shaykh Hamza Yusuf