The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) mentioned the merits of Yemen in a number of hadith. See Blessings of Yemen.
The Valley of Hadramawt, in which Tarim is situated, has a number of special qualities. Many of its people accepted Islam in the time of the Prophet. While some tribes in the region wavered upon the death of the Prophet, the people of the city of Tarim remained loyal to Sayyiduna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and pledged allegiance to him as soon as he was instated. For that reason he made three supplications for the city and its people. He asked Allah to protect the city from destruction, to bless it with abundant water supplies and to bring forth in it abundant righteous people.
Since members of the blessed Prophetic household settled in the Valley in the fourth century of the Hijrah, it has been a centre of sacred knowledge and the attainment of spiritual perfection. For that reason it has been said that while the Hijrah (migration) of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was from Makkah to Madinah, the migration of his progeny was to the Valley of Hadramawt.
The establishment of Dar al-Mustafa represents the latest chapter in this long and blessed tradition. It was established by the caller to Allah, Habib Umar bin Hafiz in 1414 (1994). It is built upon three foundations: seeking sacred knowledge (`Ilm), spiritual wayfaring (Suluk) and calling to Allah (Da`wah). Habib Umar subsequently established Dar al-Zahra in 1418 (1998) to impart this Prophetic methodology to women.
Dar al-Mustafa has run a Dowra or summer course every year since 1415 (1995). Since only a few people will be able to study long term in Dar al-Mustafa or Dar al-Zahra, the Dowra was set up to give more people the opportunity to receive a portion of the Prophetic methodology upon which the Dar was established. Students will have the opportunity to take knowledge from teachers are the direct descendants of the Messenger of Allah and have the strongest chains of connection to him. They are ready to impart this knowledge to anyone ready to receive it and then take it back to illuminate their communities.
The programme takes place over forty days. This time period has special properties which are mentioned both in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. If someone is consistent in doing something for this period, it is likely to become a firm habit.
Goals of the Dowra
To increase in knowledge of Allah and certitude
To purify the lower self and attain noble character traits
To honour our covenant with Allah and to seek to benefit His slaves
An overview of the Program
The month of Ramadan will already have begun when the Dowra begins.
The program starts in the early hours of the morning at which time students eat suhur (pre-dawn meal), pray tahajjud and finish with prayers and litanies before Fajr.
After Fajr prayer Habib Umar will usually teach a general lesson. After praying the duha prayer at sunrise there is time for students to rest.
Habib Umar teaches his rawhah lesson at Asr. Students congregate before Maghrib to remember Allah and then to break their fast and pray Maghrib.
After some time to rest and eat, everyone gathers to pray Isha and then Tarawih. The Tarawih prayer is followed by a gathering of qasidahs in praise of the Prophet (peace be upon and him) and prayers.
Following this there will be a lesson or a meeting with one of the scholars or a visit to some of old mosques and houses in Tarim.
The Dowra will continue for around a week days after Eid al-Fitr. It is the tradition in Tarim to fast the six days of Shawwal immediately after Eid so the daily program will resemble the Ramadan program.
Although it sounds like all work and no fun, students do get to relax with nasheeds, visitations to the Haba’ib and significant landmarks, not to mention the visitation of the Prophet Hud (AS). Please see Activities for details of visitations and trips.
Students do not necessarily have to have had experienced past Dowras or deen intensives nor have a background of knowledge etc. We are purely expecting students to have a desire and strive for exhorting themselves for the duration of this intensive program, thus he/she gains as much benefit for themselves and the communities they are to return to. However good educational background and references will be to your advantage.
As Habib Umar constantly mentions, students receive according to their level of sincerity, intention and endeavour. In this short period they can receive the same amount as someone who has been in Tarim for several years, whether this is in the realm of knowledge, spiritual gain and closeness to Allah, or purification of one’s lower self. Tarim is a place that has many jewels and secrets that cannot be obtained elsewhere. By doing your utmost to follow the Dowra program you can obtain these jewels.