I wanted to take photos of Umi Khadijah and pictures of habaib adorning the room reserved for ladies but she politely declined. Being the only girl in the family, it's understandable that her father allowed all her siblings to have their photos taken except her. Habib Ali is a strict father and very particular about adab (manners). Up until four years ago, Habib would attend to people's requests for healing. They would be asked to write down their situations on a piece of paper which was to be pasted face down on water bottles. There were times when Habib Ali would call Umi to help him figure out some of the illegible handwritings but he covered up the paper with his hands and only revealed the few words that he could not read. Habib Ali would remind Umi that 'people trusted me with their personal problems, not you. This is amanah (trust) for me to keep.'
Umi recalled the year when her mother Sharifah Allawiyah passed away. Sharifah was 35 and Habib Ali was 36. When people asked him to remarry, he said, 'even before my wife died I had already made a pledge that I would not marry again, so I wish to keep to my words.'
Umi was indeed kind to want to share stories about her father. We were grateful to be given such a warm welcome. She had made du'a for us not once but three times while we were there. When I candidly asked if Habib had any old tasbeehs, she went searching around the house and came back with two tasbeehs for us. Alhamdulillah!
From Sister Nora, the wife of one of Habib Ali's grandson, we learned about Habib Ali's diet. He neither eats beef nor chicken, she said. Habib would only eat fresh mutton. He would not eat anything that has been frozen. The same applies to eggs, so the family gets their eggs supply from the local village. Habib Ali is also particular about the person who cooks for him and she's glad that she's among the preferred ones.
I must say that we were well entertained and very happy to get to know the wonderful women of Habib Ali's family. At one time Umi Khadijah had squeezed my hands and with so much warmth and love in her eyes she said, 'we will meet again InshaAllah!'
Bi-iznillah, by the permission of Allah, we shall visit you and your family again O Habib Ali, O jewel in the crown. It did not matter that we ladies did not get to speak to you in person for we believe you could hear all our whisperings and all the Fatihah and al-Ikhlas presented to you from the bottom of our hearts. May Allah s.w.t grant you good health and a long life for you are a mercy to all who know you and all who may not be aware of your presence. In any case we do not know what your real worth is in the eyes of Allah. All we could do is pray so that we derive much benefit from your barakah and emulate the qualities of zuhud, waraq, aleem, abid and areef in you, bi-iznillah.