Imām Sayyid Muḥammad Murtaḍa al-Zabīdī Ḥusaynī Naqshbandī (1145-1205 AH) was an illustrious scholar and master of many sciences. He was a Sayyid by descent and from a prominent family of Sayyids in Bilgram, India. He was born and raised there in 1145 AH, and later moved to Yemen. Finally, he settled in Cairo, Egypt, where he lived to the end of his life. He died in Shaʿbān 1205 AH in a plague.
He had received authorization in the Naqshbandī Path from multiple masters. His first chain of transmission of the Naqshbandī tarīqah is as follows: He received this noble spiritual path and was perfected in it by
- Shaykh Yāsīn ʿAbbāsī, who was a deputy of
- Shaykh Abū-ʿAbdullāh Muḥammad Yaḥyā ʿAbbāsī, who was a deputy of his uncle
- Shaykh Muḥammad Afḍal ʿAbbāsī, who was a deputy of
- Shaykh Abū-ʿAbdullāh Muḥammad Ḥusaynī Kālpawī,
- Sayyid Abu al-ʿUlā Ḥasanī Akbar-Ābādī, who received it from his uncle
- Sayyid ʿAbdullah,
- Khwāja ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq
- Khwāja Muḥammad Yaḥyā,
- Khwāja ʿUbaydullāh Aḥrār (806-895 AH)
- Mawlānā Yaʿqūb Charkhī
- Khwāja ʿAlāʾ ad-Dīn ʿAṭṭār (d.804 AH)
- Khwāja Muḥammad Bahāʾ ad-Dīn Naqshband al-Bukhārī
He did not preach or spread a particular tarīqah. He had acquired numerous different ijāzā’s of the many Sufi tarīqahs of that time, amounting to about 127 different transmission chains (salāsil). However, it seems that his first spiritual journey was in the Naqshbandī tarīqah, and he also wrote a treatise on this tarīqah titled “Al-Manḥ al-ʿAliyya Fī Ṭarīqat as-Sāddat an-Naqshbandiyyah”.
A book has been written in English on his life and biography and personal achievements by Stefan Reichmuth: The World of Murtaḍā Al-Zabīdī: Life, Networks and Writings (published in 2009).