Ahmad al-Muhajir

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Aḥmad Al-Muhājir
Native name أحمد
Born Aḥmad
873 CE
Died 956 (aged 82–83)
al-Husaisa, Yemen
Resting place al-Husaisa, Yemen
Residence Yemen
Nationality arab
Ethnicity Arab
Citizenship Yemenite
Occupation Islamic scholar, teacher
Known for Forefather of
Ba 'Alawi sada
Religion Islam (Sayyid, BaAlawi)
Parent(s) Isa (father)

Ahmad al-Muhajir (Arabic: أحمد المهاجر‎‎, Aḥmad al-muhāǧir, Arabic pronunciation: [ɑhmɑd ɑl muhɑːdʒiɽ]; 260-345 AH or 873-956 CE)[1] also known as Al-Imām Aḥmad bin ʻIsa was an Imam Mujtahid and the progenitor of Ba 'Alawi sada group which is instrumental in spreading Islam to India, Southeast Asia and Africa. He was the son of ‘Isa the son Muhammad the son of 'Ali al-Uraidhi[2] who was the fourth son of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq, a fifth generation descendant of Ali bin Abu Talib and Fatimah bint Muhammad, the daughter of Muhammad.

Early life[edit]

His full name is Aḥmad ibn Isa Ar-Rumi ibn Muḥammad An-Naqib ibn 'Ali al-Uraidhi ibn Ja'far al-Sadiq ibn Muhammad al-Baqir ibn Ali Zayn al-Abidin ibn al-Husain ibn Ali bin Abu Talib. According to another history, he is thought to have been born in 241 Hijrah (820 CE).[3]

Imam Aḥmad grew up under the supervision of his parents in an environment surrounded by scholars and living examples of prophetic character. He memorized the Qur'an and then mastered the sciences of the sacred law until he reached the rank mujtahid. He also had his own hadith collection (musnad) and was held in great esteem by Imam Al-Tabari.


Al-Imam Aḥmad bin Isa is called al-Muhâjir (emigrant) because he left Basra, Iraq during the Abbassid Caliphate that was headquartered in Baghdad in the year 317H (929 CE). His inner sight allowed him to witness the calamities and tribulations that would take place in Iraq. He realized the greatness of the sacred trust that he was carrying in his loins.

Aḥmad bin Isa left Basra with his wife, his son, Abdullah, (who preferred to be known as Ubaidillah) and his grandsons from Ubaidillah (Jadid and Basri, both were born in Basra). With them also was Sharif Muḥammad bin Sulayman, the grandfather of the Ahdal family and Sharif Aḥmad al-Qudaymi, the grandfather of the Qudaymi family, and a group of 70 people. He left his other three sons Muḥammad, Ali and Hussein in Iraq to take care of their wealth and property.

He first went to Madinah and Mecca, and then from Mecca to Yemen in around 319 H. He migrated at a time when there was much internal strife, bloodshed and confusion in Iraq, where a large number of the descendants of Muhammad were persecuted for political reasons by the ruling Abbasids and also because there was turmoil due to revolt against Abbasids ruling by members of the Qaramita.[4][5]

He set out for Yemen in 319 H with his party and eventually reach Hadhramaut, while Aḥmad al-Qudaymi settled in northern Yemen and Sharif Muḥammad bin Sulayman in Tihama on the Red Sea coast. He first settled in the village of Jubayl and then Hajrayn. Next he traveled to the village Qarat Bani Jushayr and finally settled in al-Husayyisah near Seiyun.

Later life and death[edit]

Imam al-Muhâjir arrived in Hadhramaut at a time when an offshoot of the Kharijite sect called Ibadiyyah held political power and had widespread influence throughout the valley. He persevered in the spreading of Islamic truths until he almost single-handedly removed the Ibadi sect from Hadhramaut without ever taking up arms against them.[6]

He died in 345 H or 956 CE (another version said he died in 307 H or 924 CE) in al-Husaisah, a town between Tarim and Seiyun, Hadramaut. His shrine stands on a hill and is among the first shrines that visitors to Hadramaut pay their respects to when visiting the area.[7]

School of thought[edit]

There is a controversy about what Madhhab followed by Aḥmad bin ʻIsa. Most ulama (Islamic scholars) have the opinion that he was a sunni imam. Some other ulama such as Imam ʻAbdurraḥman bin ʻUbaidillah al-Saqqāf, Habib Ṣaleh al-Ḥamid, and Sayyid ʻAbdullah ibn Ṭāhir al-Ḥaddād (brother of Habib Alwi bin Thahir al-Haddad, Mufti of Johor) and some others contend that he was a Shi'a follower.[8][9][10]

Habib ʻAbdullah bin Ṭāhir al-Ḥaddād narrated: "Verily I tend to say that al-Muhâjir is follower of Imamiyah, because the Shafi'i Madhhab entered Hadhramaut long after his migration".

Habib Abdurrahman bin Ubaidillah al-Saqof emphasized that al-Muhâjir was not Sunni Shafi'i in fiqh (jurisprudence) nor Ash'arite in aqidah (theology).[11] As Imam Aḥmad bin Isa is a Mujtahid, he does not need to follow any madhhabs.

Descendants and status[edit]

At first the term Alawi is given to all descendants of Ali ibn Abi Talib, both of his al-Hasan and al-Husayn. Later, to distinguish the descent of Alwi bin Ubaidullah, the title Aal Bani Alawi is then used.

The Sayyids from the family of Bā 'Alawi sada of Yemen trace their descent to Aḥmad al-Muhâjir through his grandson, Alwi "Shahib Samal" ibn Ubaidillah.[12] Some of the Nine Saints of Java or Wali Sanga in Indonesia in some traditions are claimed to be descendants of him as well.[13] Alwi son of Ubaidillah or also known as Alwi al-Awwal (The first Alwi) was the first of his descendants to be born in Yemen (one version says he was born in al-Husaisa, another version says he was born in Sumul)[14] The word in Ba 'Alawi sada is a strict Hadhrami term meaning the descendants of.[15].

Currently, descendants of Imam Aḥmad through Alwi ibn Ubaidillah spread out mostly in Yemen, Africa, Southeast Asian countries (mostly in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, some in Singapore, South Philippines and a few in Thailand), and South Asian countries (Pakistan and India). Some of the prominent descendants of Imam Aḥmad are Imam Muhammad al-Faqih al-Muqaddam in the 13th century, Sayyid Abu Bakr Al-Aidarus (saint) of Tarim and Azmatkhan in India, Sunan Ampel and Raden Saleh in Indonesia in 15th century, Imam Abdullah ibn Alawi al-Haddad in the 17th century, Haidar Abu Bakr al-Attas (former prime minister of Yemen), Habib Umar bin Hafiz of Tarim, Habib Ali al-Jufri of Jeddah in 21st century. Some of his descendants in Indonesia, among others, are Sayyid Abdullah Al-Aidarus, Habib Ali Kwitang, Ali Alatas, Alwi Shihab, and Hamid Algadri.

Imam Aḥmad al-Muhâjir is an Imam Mujtahid, which means he is regarded as a primary source for rulings on religious matters.

See also[edit]

Tomb of Aḥmad al-Muhâjir



  1. ^ Abdullah bin Muḥammad Bakutsair. Rihlah al-Asywaq al-Qawiyah. p. 34. 
  2. ^ Morton, Shafiq. "A History of Wahabi Desecrations in the Holy Land of al-Hijaz". Notebooks from Makkah & Madinah: A modern journey to Islam’s two Holy Cities. Archived from the original on 12 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  3. ^ Sayyid Ali bin Hasan al-Attas. al-Qirtas fi Manaqib al-Attas. 
  4. ^ "Persecution of the Shia by the Abbasid kings". Retrieved January 12, 2014. 
  5. ^ Abu’l-Faraj Ali ibn al-Husayn al-Isfahani. Maqatil at-Talibiyyin (hardcover). Lebanon: Dar al-Fajr. p. 366. 
  6. ^ Amin Buxton (2012). Imams of The Valley. Western Cape, South Africa: Dar al-Turath al-Islami. 
  7. ^ "Ali al". Habeebsab. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Abdurrahman bin Ubaidillah al-Saqof. Nasim Hajir fī Ta’kid Qawli ‘an Madhhab al-Imam al-Muhājir. 
  9. ^ Muḥammad bin Aḥmad As Shaṭiri. Adwar Tarikh Hadramaut. 1. p. /56. 
  10. ^ Shaleh al-Hamid. Tarikh Hadramaut. 1. pp. 323–325. 
  11. ^ Shaleh al-Hamid. Op.cit. 1. p. 325. 
  12. ^ Ho, Engseng (2006). The Graves of Tarim: Genealogy and Mobility across the Indian Ocean. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24453-2. 
  13. ^ van den Berg, Lodewijk Willem Christiaan, 1886. ''Le Hadhramout et les colonies arabes dans l'archipel Indien. Impr. du gouvernement, Batavia.
  14. ^ "Alwi Bin Ubaidillah". Benmashoor. July 11, 2014. 
  15. ^ "ALWI-UBAIDILLAH-12". Retrieved July 12, 2014. 


al-Aṭṭas, Syed Hassan bin Muḥammad. Umar bin Abd al-Rahman. Singapore. 
Freitag,Ulrike (2003). Indian Ocean Migrants and State Formation in Hadhramaut: Reforming the Homeland. BRILL. ISBN 978-9004128507. 
Ho, Engseng (2006). The Graves of Tarim: Genealogy and Mobility across the Indian Ocean. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24453-2. 
Berg, Lodewijk Willem Christiaan van den (1886). Le Hadhramout et les colonies arabes dans l'archipel Indien. Batavia: Imprimerie du gouvernement. 
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Al-Masyhur, Abubakar al-Adeni Bin Ali. الابنية الفكريه. 
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Al-Sagof, Abdurrahman bin Ubaidillah. Nasîm Hajir fi Ta’kid Qauli ‘an madzhab Al Imam al-Muhâjir. 
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Al-Syathiri, Muḥammad bin Aḥmad. Sirat As-Salaf min Bani Alawy Al Husainiyin. 
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External links[edit]

  • Ba`alawi.com Ba'alawi.com | The Definitive Resource for Islam and the Alawiyyen Ancestry.