Habib Esa bin Abdul Kader bin Ahmad Al-Haddad was born in 1870 and returned to the city of his pious forefathers, the blessed city of Tarim, in 1874 for studies. After completing his studies in Tarim, Habib Esa traveled to Indonesia to settle the affairs of his father before returning to Tarim yet again. Following the latter stint in Tarim, Habib Esa traveled to Singapore to set up an office at 13 Armenian Street; he represented his father in establishing a trust in Singapore for the Rubaat of Tarim, a prestigious institution of Islamic learning, with the As-Sree and Al-Juneid families. Because of his honesty and religious practices, the Arabs and non-Arab traders trusted him; they hand over their financial affairs and their properties to him for either wealth management or as endowments [wakaf] in the path of Allah [fisabilillah].
Habib Esa traveled frequently to Mekkah and Madinah, for ibadah and ziyarah. In one of his visits to Madinah, he met the young erudite scholar, Shaykh Umar bin Abdullah Al-Khatib, whose family he knew well. Shaykh Umar had left Tarim to avoid being appointed as a judge [qadhi]. Habib Esa invited Shaykh Umar to follow him to Singapore. Together with Habib Abdul Kader bin Abdul Rahman Al-Junied, they traveled to Jawa before arriving in Singapore.
Habib Esa was known to be meticulous in his dealings and this was evident in his will; he directed his trustees and his administrators to return investments entrusted to him back to their rightful owners. Habib Esa returned to Tarim in 1925 with his sons, Alwi (7), Muhammad (5), and Ali (3). He passed away in the district of Hawi on Sunday, 29th Rejab 1354 [27th October 1935]. He was buried the same day he passed on in Zanbal cemetery, behind his forefather, Imam Abdullah bin Alawi Al-Haddad.
Habib Esa’s devotion to Imam Al-Haddad was reflected in the intention [niyyat] of his wakaf; amongst them :
- to provide the maintenance for the mosques of Imam Abdullah Al-Haddad at Hawi, Masjid Al Awabin, and Masjid Hajirah
- to provide for the poor in Hawi, Tarim
- to look after Imam Al-Haddad’s maqam at As-sageefah
- to support Rubaat Tarim and its students
In the Salsila of the Habaib, Habib Esa is known as “Alalamah Dunia wa Din” meaning the learned of this life and the religion.
His brothers, Habib Ahmad and Habib Abdullah continued his good works.
They were all chancellors [munsibs] of the family of Imam Al-Haddad.