Salam, I found the following biography of the author of ‘It-haf al-Talib’, namely Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Mulla al-Ahsai. The interesting thing about it is that it was published in India quite some time ago, and reminded me of some of the links between the people of al-Ahsa and the Indian Subcontinent.
The first time that we met Sayyid Ibrahim al-Khalifah, an elderly Saudi man came into the room, Sayyid Ibrahim told me that he could speak Urdu/Hindi, I smiled back politely not expecting much, to my surprise the elderly gentleman proceeded to speak very clear and grammatically correct urdu/hindi. Puzzled I asked where he had learnt it, and he replied that he lived in India with his father who traded there, he spent a number of years living in Bombay, and was sent back home to al-Ahsa at the outbreak of the second world war!
I met other al-Ahsa people who mentioned their family members who were buried in India due to their passing away whilst working there, this was all before the Saudi ‘Industrial Revolution’ which turned the flow of workers in the opposite direction.
As for the hanafis, then one of the Scholars of the al-Mulla family whom I’m not sure if is still alive (he was in a comatose state when I was in al-Ahsa last year), namely Sheikh Abdullah bin Abd al-Rahman al-Mulla. He was born in the year 1330 (nearly 100 years ago), he studied with the scholars of al-Ahsa, then proceeded to study in India at Dar al-Ulum Deoband. It is said that his certification from Dar al-Ulum Deoband makes him the first Saudi to gain a university degree.
Sheikh Yahya al-Mulla’s father, Sheikh Muhammad al-Mulla had some students from the indo-pak subcontinent. Once when I was with Sheikh Yahya he went to his room and returned with an urdu translation of the short text by Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Mulla entitled ‘Wasilah al-Talab’. He added that a student of his father who had returned back to pakistan had translated it, I didnt note down the Sheikhs name, but I was told that he had passed away.
I also discovered that one of the fastest growing tariqahs in pakistan, namely the Idrisi’s, whose Sheikh resides in Pakistan itself was the murid of Sheikh Muhammad al-Mulla.
These are some brief comments, and are by no means exhaustive, the picture below is of the cover of the biography of Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Mulla published in India.