Thursday, September 11, 2008


Dowra Sharings: 4 - Habibs & Hababas

Each place has it's own vocabulary and when seen through the lens of diversity, it helps you appreciate the richness that exists in this world.

Hopefully this post will ensure minimal confusion when using these terms in future writings.

Habib means Beloved.
God's Greatest Beloved, al-Habib al-A'zam, is one of the Prophet's names.

Al-Habib came to be the title of the Husayni sharifs [descendants of the Prophet] of Hadramawt, the Ba-Alawi Seyids, from the 11th century of the Hijra onwards.

The female equivalent of Habib is a Hababa.
I recall the giggles when I first heard that term in mid-June as I telephoned students of the Habaib [ie the collective]. A Hababa is not just a title for a woman, rather an honorific and symbolic term of description. Both terms are used, not to indicate a mere blood relationship with the Prophet Alaislam, but to enable us to formulate an appropriate conduct whilst in their presence.

A good book for introductory reading which highlights a historical context of the Habaib is this one here


It also introduces the genealogy which is very important so one can truly appreciate the background of the Habibs and Hababas.

Here is a little bit of information about 3 of the teachers who we learnt from.


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