riyada in arabic means "training" or "discipline". It was used by the arabs in relation to horse taming. Sufis refer to their discipline as "riyadat an-nafs": disciplining the soul / training the ego. Today, the word riyada has come to mean "sports". There is an Arabic proverb that says: "The purpose of sports (riyada) is not to win cups, but to discipline the soul". This blog is here to help me discipline my soul and train my body.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I had translated some written works on the sons of Ahmad ibn Idris and their descendants for the brothers at the forum dedicated to Ahmad ibn Idris's tariqa:


and decided that I might as well post them here as well. I also placed them into the menu on the right hand corner under "Idrisid Family Branches: East, West". East stands for the Arabian Peninsula (they were in yemen before moving to mecca). and West stands for North Africa and the Sudan.

Abd al-Aali and the Western Branch of the Idrisis

General Outline
The following is an excerpt from a book about the Sanusis, written by Abd al-Malik al-Libi, the student and companion of the great Mujahid, Ahmad al-Sharif al-Sanusi, the grandson of Muhammad ibn Ali al-Sanusi. Abd al-Malik accompanied his teacher when he left to Turkey and then to Medina and stayed with him until he died. Here is what he wrote, as quoted in a book by shaykh Saleh al-Jaafari:

The birth of Sidi Abd al-Aali was in 1246 AH in Sabya, and his father died when he was only seven years old, and he stayed after the death of his father for 10 years in Sabya, during which he memorized the Qur'an and some texts (mutoon).

Then when he reached the age of 17, the khalifa of his father in Mecca, mawlana al-sayyid Muhammad bin Ali al-Sanusi, called him to him, and so he went to him in Mecca in the year 1264 AH. [al-Sanusi] kept him with him and dedicated private lessons for him and private mashayekh from among the best of the ikhwan (brothers) until the year 1269 AH when the ustadh (al-Sanusi), may God be pleased with him, moved from the Hijaz to Burqa, one of the provinces of Libya, so he went with him and attached himself to him the attachment of the sincere murid until he benefitted from him and gained a great and plenty share of his uloom and his ma'aarif. And there became for the sayyid a great and high station among the ikhwan that no one comes near it, and the ustadh ordered him to teach lessons during his lifetime, and he himself would go and sit at his lessons with some of the ikhwan to check up on him, and he gave him ijaza in all that is fitting for him and from him in all the sciences and turuq, and made him his na'ib (deputy) and gave him ijaza in giving the awrad and in exhorting and guiding people. And like that he stayed in his company until he (al-Sanusi) died in Jaghboub in 1276 AH.

al-Sayyid Abd al-Aali stayed in Jaghboub a full year after the death of his shaykh, then from a previous authorization (idhn) and wasiyya (instructions/advice) from his father when he was alive, and with the approval of al-sayyid Muhammad al-Mahdi al-Sanusi and the elders among the ikhwan, he left from Jaghboub to Upper Egypt, calling unto God and guiding to Him and as a deputy of sayyid Muhammad bin Ali al-Sanusi in giving his tariqa until he reached "Zainiyya" in Upper Egypt, and there he established his famous zawiya and settled in it, and he married and had eight male sons, who became the branch of the Idrisiyya the House (Aal) of al-sayyid Ahmad ibn Idris in Upper Egypt and they are the blessed family whose light shone and whose goodness and benefits spread in these areas.

And the sons of al-sayyid Abd al-Aali are: al-sayyid Muhammad al-Sharif, al-sayyid Mustafa, al-sayyid Muhammad al-Ma'mun, al-sayyid Muhammad al-Sanusi, al-sayyid Muhammad al-Arabi, al-sayyid Muhammad Idris, al-sayyid Murtada, al-sayyid Abu al-Hasan, and al-sayyid al-Amin who died young.

Then al-sayyid Abd al-Aali died in the year 1294 AH at the age of 48 only, may God have mercy on him and be pleased with him, and make the baraka in his sons, al-saadah al-akhyar, and he was buried in the town of Dunqula [in the Sudan].

Abd al-Aali: Like Father Like Son

Fifteen days after Muhammad ibn Ali al-Sanusi became the disciple of Ahmad ibn Idris, the teacher said to his student: "You are me and I am you", meaning that they were now one and the same. Later, Ibn Idris' son will become the discple of al-Sanusi, who would one day say to him: "You are me and I am you". And thus, the son became like the father.

Another example of how they are similar comes from this text written by shaykh Saleh al-Jaafari in his book al-Muntaqa al-Nafees:

It has reached me that seventy notebooks were filled from the tafsir of al-sayyid Ahmad ibn Idris, may God be pleased with him, of one ayah in the sura of al-Ahzab, and it is the saying of God Most High, "the Muslim men and the Muslim women", and that he kept explaining "walladhee qaddara fa hadaa" (87:03) for three days from after the Asr prayer until sunset. And when they were astonished by that he said to them: If I stayed with you as long as Noah stayed with his people I would have given you a new explanation [of this verse] every day.

And the like of that happened to his son sidi Abd al-Aali, and it is that when he came to his town of Dunqula in the north of Sudan, he used to give lessons at night and in the day time. My father the hajj Muhammad Saleh al-Jaafari told me that he used to go with my grandfather shaykh Saleh Muhammad al-Jaafari, who was Ahmadi in tariqa, to visit sidi Abd al-Aali at his home. He said everytime we went to him we found him sitting with books around him, raising one to him and putting another one down.

And I was told by knowing people from that town that the sayyid used to comment on the Qur'an in the manner of the people of the maghreb, and the person who read the ayaat to him was the famous shaykh Abdallah Klamseed al-Danqalawi, may God have mercy on him. And the sayyid was once explaining God Most High's saying: "Blessed is He Who made the constellations in the heavens and made therein a lamp and a shining moon". (25:61), and when the shaykh read it to the sayyid, the sayyid explained it. Then one of the scholars came to shaykh Klamseed and said: Tomorrow, don't recite the next ayah, but read this same ayah that the sayyid explained today so we can see if he can give us a new tafsir of it.

So when the next day came, shaykh Klamseed read the same ayah and so the sayyid explained it with a new explanation different than the first and he excelled in it greatly. And when the third day came, it was the sayyid himself who read the same ayah and then gave us a new tafsir and excelled at it wonderfully (abda'a feeha ghayat al-ibdaa'). So the shaykh Klamseed kissed his hand and started crying. So the sayyid said to him "what makes you cry, our brother shaykh Abdallah?" so he said: "Ya sidi, I cry because you came to our town when I was already old, and I used to wish that I was still a strong young man that I can receive this knowledge." So the sayyid said to him, "If I stayed with you as long as Noah stayed with his people I would have given you a new explanation [of this verse] every day."

Abd al-Aali and His Son

So wrote shaykh Saleh al-Jaafari about his teacher Muhammad al-Sharif and his father Abd al-Aaali:

This shaykh of mine has secrets, karaamaat, nafahaat, and wonderous and strange matters. His secret is hidden, yet he is famous. His zahir is batin, and his batin is zahir. He has a cutting sword, and a brilliant light. He inherited from his grandfather and his father many states, and obtained much of their barakaat.

One day he was walking behind his father in the town of Dunqula in the Sudan and the people were crowding around them, with kisses and glorification. So he thought to himself, "Will I, when I reach this age of my father, receive the same respect and honor that he is receiving now?" So his father sidi Abd al-Aali turned to him and said to him: "And more than this, oh Muhammad". And it was as he said.

Guiding His Son's Disciple
From the autobiography of shaykh Saleh al-Jaafari:

"Before coming to the Azhar, someone from our town (Dunqula) came and brought with him the first volume of al-Nawawi's commentary on Sahih Muslim. So I borrowed it from him and began studying from it. So I saw (in a dream) sidi Abd al-Aali al-Idrisi on a chair and next to him travel provisions, and I heard someone saying: "The sayyid wants to travel to Egypt, to the Azhar". So I went and greeted him and kissed his hand, so he said to me with sternness (hidda): "Knowledge is taken from the chests of men, not from books", and he repeated it. So I woke up from my sleep, and God inspired me to travel to the Azhar, and I was allowed even though it was full, and I attended the lesson of the muhaddith shaykh Muhammad Ibrahim as-Samaluti, who was teaching Nawawi's commentary on Sahih Muslim, and I heard him read the hadith: “There is no Hijra after the Conquest [of Mecca], but only Jihad and sincerity of purpose. And when you are asked to set out [in the cause of Islam] then go”.

Ibn Idris' Descendants: The Eastern Branch

The following is an excerpt from a book about the Sanusis, written by Abd al-Malik al-Libi, the student and companion of the great Mujahid, Ahmad al-Sharif al-Sanusi, the grandson of Muhammad ibn Ali al-Sanusi. Abd al-Malik accompanied his teacher when he left to Turkey and then to Medina and stayed with him until he died. Here is what he wrote, as quoted in a book by shaykh Saleh al-Jaafari:

"As for the sayyid Muhammad al-Qutb, he was 36 years old when his father died, and lived after that another 52 years. And sayyid Muhammad al-Qutb left only one son, and that is sayyid Ali bin Muhammad bin Ahmad. His age at the death of his grandfather, may God be pleased with him, was only 4 years as he was born in 1250 AH. Then he lived 70 years after that, which he spent in worship of Allah and in calling to Him.

He was among the akabir of the saliheen and he is the one who established the Idrisi family in Sabya in Yemen and raised its prestige and spread the tariqa of his grandfather and revived his mention in the regions and the tribes, and he brought them together and they gathered around him and followed his call (da'wa).

And he, may God have mercy on him, had three male sons, and they are: al-sayyid Muhammad bin Ali al-Idrisi who established the Idrisi emirate in Yemen, and al-sayyid Hasan bin Ali al-Idrisi, and al-sayyid Ahmad bin Ali al-Idrisi.

As for al-sayyid Ahmad, he grew up and died before marrying and left no kids.

As for al-sayyid Muhammad, he was occupied at first in seeking knowledge in Sabya then went to Mecca to seek knowledge, then moved to the Azhar where he finished his studies and obtained a great share of sciences and excelled in them. Then he went from Egypt to Jaghboub and from there to Kafra where the imam al-sayyid Muhammad al-Mahdi al-Sanusi was staying and visited him there and stayed with him for a while and took from him. Then he went back to Upper Egypt and visited his cousins the Aal of al-sayyid Abd al-Aali al-Idrisi in Zainiyya. In the year 1323 AH, he went back to his birthplace Sabya before the death of his father (Ali bin Muhammad al-Qutb), and his return was because of an urgent call from his father and from the murids and lovers of his father and the shaykhs of the tribes. After his return he stayed with his father about one year and a half then his father, may God have mercy on him, died, and he took the place of his father in calling to God and in guidance.

The Turks (Ottomans) in Jeezan and Asir and al-Hadida were jealous (of his fame and importance) and wanted to capture him and send him to Istanbul the center of the Caliphate, but the people of Tihama all together were able to stop them from doing that, and they fought the Turks until they kicked them out of that area, and they made him their leader (amir), and with that the Idrisi Emirate was established and expanded until the mountains of "Fifa" in the area of Najran, and until al-Hadida from the direction of the coast of Yemen, and until near al-Qunfudha from the direction of the emirate of Mecca and until Asir, and the Imam of Yemen and the Amir of Mecca were bothered by the Idrisi Emirate.

And sayyid Muhammad bin Ali al-Idrisi remained in his position of leadership (fil imaara) for 14 years then died in 1341 AH. And he left behind four sons and they are the saada Ali bin Muhammad, Abd al-Wahhab bin Muhammad, Abd al-Aziz bin Muhammad, and Muhammad al-Hasan bin Muhammad.

And their eldest al-sayyid Ali took the emirate after his father and stayed in it for three years until he relinquished it to his uncle al-sayyid Hasan bin Ali bin Muhammad al-Qutb.

And sayyid Ali bin Muhammad (bin Ali bin Muhammad al-Qutb) is still alive but he is ill, may God cure him, and he has a son that he named Muhammad al-Mahdi. And sayyid Muhammad al-Mahdi has progeny.

As for sayyid Abd al-Wahhab bin Muhammad, he died without any sons, only daughters. And the same with sayyid Abd al-Aziz. As for sayyid Muhammad al-Hasan bin Muhammad, he is alive and is the baraka of his brothers and has a good (salih) progeny, may God bless them.

We now return to sayyid Hasan bin Ali bin Muhammad (al-Qutb) bin Ahmad [ibn Idris], may God be pleased with him. He took the emirate after his nephew al-sayyid Ali relinquished it, and he stayed at it for seven years then the emirate faded away after matters that would take too long to explain. And al-sayyid Hasan and the entire Idrisi family in Yemen moved to Mecca and they are now living in it.

And for sayyid Hasan noble sons, they are sayyid Ahmad bin al-Hasan, sayyid Muhammad al-Sharif bin al-Hasan and sayyid Ali bin al-Hasan, and these sons have sons of their own, May God bless them.

And these are the branch of the Idirisi saada in Yemen, may God benefit [people] with them and make them a blessed tree of virtue and prosperity until the Yawm al-Deen.

Monday, February 26, 2007

More on Ibn Idris

for those who are reading this blog for the sake of shaykh Ahmad ibn Idris' teachings, you should sometimes check my other blog http://nuruddinzangi.blogspot.com/

i update it very rarely these days because most of my reading is in arabic, and the point of that blog was to copy passages that are important to me to the site. But sometimes i may translate some things. Anyway, I do have some things on Ahmad ibn Idris sprinkled around in there.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Path of Proofs and the Path of Illumination (2)

[From a letter written by Muhammad ibn Ali al-Sanusi]:

For him who wants our way of proofs (tareeqatnua al-burhaaniyya), we have ordered what our teacher [Ahmad ibn Idris] has ordered all of the brothers: To stick to reading the likes of: Sahih Bukhari and the Muwatta [of Malik] and the Buloogh al-Maraam [of Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani] in Hadith. And the Risaala of Ibn Abi Zayd in Fiqh. And reading the seven Sufi treatises, which are[1]: the Raa'iyya [of Abu al-Abbas Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Khalaf al-Qurashi], the Haa'iyya [of al-Ghazali?] and al-Mabaahith al-Asliyya [of Ibn al-Banna al-Sarqasti], which are purely on sulook (travelling the path); al-Fadliyya [of Khidr al-Bilani?], al-Hatimiyya [of Ibn Arabi], al-Raslaniyya [of Raslan al-Dimashqi], and al-Fusus [of Ibn Arabi] which are purely on Gnosis (irfan). And the barzakh between them is the Hikam of Ibn Ata'Allah al-Sakandari... For it is not permissable for anyone to embark upon anything without knowing God's ruling on the matter and its proof. For in the first two are more than 1600 and 1700 sahih hadiths that cover all matters, and in the Risala [of Ibn Abi Zaid] about four thousand hadiths as well, 600 of which in the wording of the Prophet and 3400 in their meaning.... As for the seven books mentioned, they are the quintessence of that which is related to the station of ihsaan and that which leads to it from the two stations that come before "Worship God as if you see Him, for if you do not see Him then He sees you." You will find your share in that according to your capabilities.


And stay away from those who tell you that only little religious knowledge is needed (man yuzhidukum fil ilm), and have no knowledge of what the best of the [Sufis] are like. For they are in two groups: ishraaqiyya and burhaaniyya. As for the former, their habit is that of purifying their souls from disturbances, and guiding them towards al-Haqq so that they are granted gnosis and secrets without learning or studying, in the way of: And have taqwa of Allah and Allah will teach you (Qur'an 2:282). As for the latter, their habit is the following of the commandments and the avoidance of that which is forbidden, and acquiring the four sciences that are: Knowledge of the Essence and the Attributes, Fiqh, Hadith, and the aalaat (the sciences like grammar, logic, and rhetoric that are necessary tools for the other sciences), as is shown by al-Shadhili and Zarruq, may God be pleased with them.

And the tariq of our ustadh (teacher) [Ahmad ibn Idris] may God be pleased with him combines them both. So he who wants the ishraaqiyya travels on its path, and he who wants the burhaaniyya travels upon its path, and it is the one that dominates [our teacher's] states because it is the best of the two paths, in that it was the dominant state of the Prophet peace be upon him and most of his companions.

1. The authors of the works are not mentioned, as they are supposed to be known among the Sufis. If there is a question mark then it is because I am not aware of who wrote it and filled in the blanks based on internet searches.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Path of Proofs and the Path of Illumination (1)

From the servant of His Lord the Sublime, Muhammad ibn Ali al-Sanusi al-Khattabi al-Hasani al-Idrisi, to his brother in Allah...

May peace be upon you, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings and His Greetings and His ridwan.

My brother: What is required of us all is the iqama[1] of that for which we were created, like binding oneself to those things that make servanthood a reality (muhaqqiqaat al-uboodiyya), and the avoidance of the disastrous [actions/thoughts] that contest God's Lordship (munaazi'aat al-ruboobiyya), by filling our zahir with manners in the exact following (mutaaba'a) of the actions and sayings of His greatest servant and the most luminous of those that He chose, peace and blessings be upon him. And in the filling of our batin with the awareness/witnessing (muraaqaba) of Allah exalted be He in all our movements and stillnesses, so that we do not do or say except what we know will make Him satisfied with us, and leave all that is other than that. And we purify our religion from unnecessary disturbances and the noticing of others, so that He is before our eyes in every scene in all that is seen and witnessed, and we witness Him in that witnessing until the viewer is lost in the witnessed. You are with the worlds so long as you do not witness the Fashioner of the worlds, but if you witness Him then it is the worlds that are with you.

And the path to that is to bind oneself to obedience, and to hurry to the performance of supererogatory good deeds as done by the Prophet ('alaa sunan al-nabi wal nahj al-Mustafawiyy), as in: "My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with supererogatory acts so that I shall love him. When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk. And if he asks something of Me, I shall surely give it to him".

And there is no path to that path except by [either] entering the gate of religious knowledge (al-ilm al-shar'i) in hadith and tafsir and fiqh to the utmost degree upon which were the salaf and was inherited from them by those who came after them, and this is the way of the complete ones, based on evidence (burhaan) and plain sight, and this is the best of the two ways and the most complete of the two groups.

Or by entering from the gate of striving (mujaahada), and undergoing the hardships and sufferings of going against one's desires (mukhalafat al-nufoos), and the tasting of misery, and adhering to doing one's adhkaar during the night and at both ends of the day, until the lights are kindled in the heart of the dhaakir (the one remembering Allah) and his batin and zahir are enlightened by it, as in: "'Light, When it enters the heart, the breast expands for it and enlarges'. It was asked, 'And is there a sign of this, oh Messenger of Allah?', and he said, 'The shunning of the abode of illusions, attending to the abode of permanence, and preparing for death before it comes.'" And he receives learning (al-uloom) from Him, by Him, and for Him, and is no longer in need of a teacher in all that is related to Him, by way of "And have taqwa of Allah, and Allah will teach you" (Qur'an 2:282). And God never takes an unlearned man as a wali except that he teaches him. For knowledge (ilm) is not the abundance of narrations, but a light that God places in the heart of whoever He wishes.[2] And this is the way of illumination (ishraaq).

So choose for yourself which of the two paths you want for reaching God for it is a true path, and do not dare to leave both of them and attempt to travel a path other than them in negligence with those who are unmindful and are engrossed in the created worlds, absentminded. For it was said [by the Prophet]: "He who prostrated while his heart was preoccupied with something then his prostration is to what was in his heart".

And it was also said [by the Prophet]: "He who loves a thing becomes its slave. Wretched is the slave of the Dinar, wretched is the slave of the Dirham, wretched is the slave of embroidered cloak and the silk garment. May such a person perish and relapse, and if he is pierced with a thorn, may it not be removed."[3]

And in the Aphorisms [of Ibn Ata'Allah al-Sakandari]: "When you love something, you are its slave. And He does not like for you to be a slave to other than Him."

And never ask a recompense for your works either sooner or later, or see that there is any influence by you on that action, so that you become one who subscribes partners to the Creator of Power and Destiny. For sincerity has different levels: The level of sincerity for the normal people is to not seek praise or a good reputation, and the level of sincerity for the elect is to not ask for recompense or a high station, and the level of sincerity of the elect of the elect is to disavow having any ability or power, and this is the level of the complete ones among the people of Futuwwa. And above that is the level of the complete ones of the testifiers to the Unity of God (al-muwahhiddeen), for they do not see themselves in these matters of His, recognizing their shrinking in the presence of the One they witness, and their non-existence in their existence. They give everything its due as per the Muhammadan manner, by way of the inheritance of [certain states]. May God grace us with the Prophetic inheritance and the [Muhammadan] gnosis (al-irfan al-Ahmadiyy al-Mustafawiyy). He is capable of that, and is the one worthy of granting that. Wassalam

1. The word iqama means to make something stand, like erecting something. The shaykh of al-Sanusi, Ahmad ibn Idris, explains the word in such a context thus: "And aqeemu the Salaat and give the Zakat...(Qur'an 2:110): [Allah] Exalted be He used the term aqeemu and did not say "pray", and that is because prayer is like the body and khushoo' (the submission, humility and reverence of the heart) is its soul. So if there is khushoo' and presence with al-Haqq then [the prayer] is standing (qaa'ima), for a thing does not stand unless it has a soul, and if it did not have a soul it would be lying there, thrown, with no soul to make it stand, nay it cannot even move." - Ahmad ibn Idris, al-Iqd al-Nafees.

2. "Knowledge is not the abundance of narrations but a light that God places in the heart" is a saying of Imam Malik.

3. The last part of this hadith is in arabic a short clever rhyme, and should therefore not be taken too literally. The point is to understand the general meaning while keeping in mind that the specific words were probably chosen for the rhyme.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Edited some things

What I had said about ibn idris' view of dhikr gatherings was very misleading so i just edited that to make it more accurate. i'm talking about the Muhammadan Sufism and Mutaba'a post.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

New Post

I have written a new post on Thursday the 15th, continuing the history of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya from the late 15th till the late 16th centuries. But since I had tried beginning it earlier and had saved it as a draft, it appeared before the post on eating and spirituality entitled 5:93. So those checking the blog might have missed it because it appears under it, so I thought I would write this to let people know. There is also a link to it in the right sidebar under the tariqa muhammadiyya series. This article was supposed to be longer and discuss more people but I need to first take out the needed book from the library, so inshalla I will complete it later and discuss other figures important to the Tariqa Muhammadiyya through different lines.

Then inshalla there will be a post about Ahmad ibn Idris's criticism of the madhaahib and how that compares to the view of al-Sha'rani (mentioned in the latest post of mine). And inshalla I will also try to write a post about Hakim al-Tirmidhi's criticism of Qiyas (the main tool of ijtihad) because it's relevant.

Oh and inshalla I will post something short about the attacks of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya movements on smoking.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


"There is no blame on those who have imaan (alladheena aamanu) and do good works for what they eat, if they have taqwa and imaan and do good works, then have taqwa and imaan, then have taqwa and ihsaan; and Allah loves the people of ihsaan." (Qur'an 5:93)

This is perhaps the most curious verse I have come across. And it's hard to translate because in arabic the words for imaan, ihsaan, and taqwa are used in verb form, which you cant really do in English, so I had to settle with "having imaan", "having ihsaan", "the people of ihsaan", etc.

Anyway, here's what the teacher (ustaadh) Ahmad ibn Idris says,

"[Allah] repeated the word ittaqoo (verb form of having taqwa) three times,and aamanu three times, and said at the end: wa ahsanu (verb form of having ihsan) once. In other words, those who have imaan and do good works are not blamed for what they eat of tayyib (wholesome, pure, nutritious, safe) food, then whenever they eat, it will increase them in imaan and taqwa. And if the eating of tayyib food is with the intention of strengthening the body for obedience, it will increase you in imaan and taqwa. This [was revealed] because some of the companions [of the Prophet] forbade the eating of animal fats [for themselves] while others forbade marriage so that they could give all their time for worship. Then He, exalted be He, said: "then they have taqwa and ihsaan", so ihsaan is equal to having taqwa and imaan together. [Then he quotes the hadith of Gibreel on islaam, imaan, ihsaan]. So if ihsaan is equated to having taqwa and imaan, then he becomes a wali for God has loved him, and if God has loved him, He has become the hearing with which he hears, the seeing with which he sees, and the tongue with which he speaks, as befits His Majesty, glorified and exalted be He. ...."

In other words, while some people might think eating meats or fats is not good for spiritual purposes, if one eats with the intention of getting stronger so that one can be better at obedience to Allah (and obedeince takes many forms such as worship and work, helping others, jihad, and many things that require energy), then this will in fact increase their level of imaan and taqwa and bring them closer to becoming awliya! As the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, while there is good in both. Cherich and guard those things that benefit you, trust in Allah and seek His help."

Of course eating very little food and cutting out meats or fats can be helpful in specific times, but is not necessary at all times. For example, Ahmad ibn Idris has this to say on preparing to enter the khalwa, after outlining a certain procedure that some shaykhs have recommended for the novice as a way of reducing his food intake:

In any case, he may follow this procedure or he may simply reduce his food as much as he can. What is desirable is moderation in reducing one's food, in accordance with the words of the Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, "The best of things are those in the middle". And decreasing the amount one drinks is more certain than decreasing one's food. Some have said, "Eat whatever you wish, but do not drink." And the secret of that is that to leave drinking will cause a decrease in food. This is why Abu Yazid al-Bistami said to his nafs one night when it felt too lazy to do his wird: "By God I will not give you water for a year [if you do not do the wird], which will cause you to eat less, and you will have less energy for worship."

[The preperation period before entering the khalwa] also requires avoiding the meat of all animals, whether land or sea animals, and anything that comes from them such as milk and fat, for these foods induce the carnal lusts for those who are young or those who are still strong among the elderly. Except honey, which is not avoided, for eating it cures the spiritual diseases if it is eaten with that intention, and gives one gnosis and lights, by the traces of revelation in it, as God says, "Your Lord gave revelation to the bees" (16:68).... until "Therein is a remedy for men" (16:69). Indeed the sweetness of the divine address became infiltrated into bees and has remained in their progeny who inherit it from generation to generation. They eat bitter things that become sweet in their stomach, as one observes. Thus therein is a remedy for men both physically and spiritually because its fundament is the divine address which is the Qur'an, the word of God. And the Qur'an is a remedy for what is in man's breast, and right guidance and mercy for the believers.[1]

Some of them do not avoid these foods until they begin the spiritual retreat... but [doing that in advance as preparation] is more perfect.

The eating of honey for its spiritual benefits was also recommended by al-Dabbagh, Samman, and Ibn Arabi[2]. Remember that the proper intention while eating honey (curing spiritual ailments) and food in general (increasing in strength for obedience), is key.

1. Ahmad Ibn Idris wrote his treatise on the khalwa more than once, whenever a disciple asked for it, and it differed each time with additions or subtractions in the words or explanations. Here I have combined parts of two different version of the treatise to give a more complete version. One version that I used was translated into English in "Two Sufi Treatises of Ahmad ibn Idris" by Bernde Ratdke, R. Sean O'Fahey, and John O'Kane. Oriens, vol 35, (1996), pg 143-178.

2. Ratdke et al.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya and Sha'rani's Circle

At around the 19th century, four major Sufi tariqas, all connected, called themselves the Tariqa Muhammadiyya. These, under their later names, were the Sammaniyya, Tijaniyya, Muhammadiyya-Naqshbandiyya, and the Ahmadiyya Muhammadiyya, each of which branched off into other similar tariqas. The movement itself began more than 50 years, if not up to a century, earlier, but without the name itself. The article "The Origins of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya traced the evolution of some of the most distinctive elements that are to be found in these future tariqas, until we saw most of the elements of Ahmad Ibn Idris' tariqa in the thought of Ibn Taymiyya's friend and colleague, Ahmad al-Wasiti (d. 1311). We ended our discussion with Abd al-Karim al-Jili, who was a famous commentator on Ibn Arabi during the late 14th and early 15th century (d. 1408).

We now continue to the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th century, with a group of Sufis living in Egypt in the circle of the famous Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha'rani (1493-1565), who explained and popularized the ideas of Ibn Arabi to the masses. Now it is important to note that here again, we are not talking about the Tariqa Muhammadiyya in its most complete form as it emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries. Sha'rani and his master Ali al-Khawwas, for example, had greatly different views on the madhaahib than for example Ahmad ibn Idris and his followers. But what we see here are two important features of the Muhammadan ways: 1) Constant tasliya on the Prophet as a means to see him, peace and blessings be upon him, and 2) Turning only to the Prophet for help and not for any wali, so that one depends only on Allah and his Messenger (pbuh).

Wrote al-Sha'rani,

So work my brother on polishing the mirror of your heart from rust and dust, and on purifying yourself of all impurities, so that there is not left in you a single trait that would keep you from entering the presence of Allah exalted be He, or the presence of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. For if you do a large amount of salaat and salaam on him, peace be upon him, then perhaps you will reach the station of witnessing him. And this is the way of shaykh Noor al-Deen al-Shooni, shaykh Ahmad al-Zawawi, shaykh Muhammad ibn Dawood al-Manzilawi, and a group of shaykhs from Yemen, for one of them does not stop praying upon the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him and doing it abundantly until he is purified of all sins and comes to meet him while awake whenever he wanted. And he to whom this meeting does not happen has not done a large amount of sending prayers and greetings upon the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him, the amount large enough for him to reach this station.

And I heard my master Ali al-Khawwas, may God have mercy on him, say: The servant does not reach perfection in the station of gnosis until he can meet with the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him whenever he wants.[1]

The above-mentioned Ahmad al-Zawawi (d. 1517) would recite the tasliya 40,000 times a day. He said to al-Sha'rani,

We recite the tasliya on behalf of the Prophet so often that he then sits with us while we are in a waking state (hattaa yaseera yujaalisunaa yaqzatan) and we keep company with him like the sahaaba did (nashabuhu). Then we question him about matters of our religion and about hadiths which are held to be weak in the opinion of our religious scholars. Subsequently we base our behaviour on his words. [2]

And as for the above-mentioned Noor al-Deen al-Shooni, he is believed to have been the first person to bring people together for the sole purpose of doing the tasliya over the Prophet. Before him, each person would have their own awrad (plural of wird) on the tasliya which they would do on their own. But al-Shooni created gatherings in which people came together to do this, and from him these gatherings spread to the Hijaz, the bilad al-Sham, Egypt, the Muslim West, and West Africa. Al-Shooni's daily wird consisted of saying the tasliya 10,000 times every morning and another 10,000 every evening, beside leading group gatherings in which they would pray over the Messenger peace be upon him for several hours. [3]

Ahmad ibn Idris used to say,

Each Prophet has an answered prayer, and each wali has with his Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, a granted request. When its time came, I asked him peace and blessings be upon him to guard my companions and grant them spiritual support from his own essence. So he said: "He who associates himself with you, I will not have anyone else be his guardian or guarantor, for I am his guardian and his guarantor."

And based on this granted request Ibn Idris would say to his followers, "We have transferred you to him who is better than us, since the assignment has been accepted. So turn to him and show your questions and needs to him." [4]

This is similar to the saying of al-Khawwas,

"All the doors of the awliya have been shut, and nothing now remains open except the door of the Messenger of God peace and blessings be upon him. So bring all your needs and problems to him, peace and blessings be upon him."

Al-Khawwas also said,

"The faqir is not completed in the door of the following of the Messenger of Allah peace and blessings be upon him until he becomes witnessed by him in every act and asks his permission in all his affairs from eating and clothing and coming and going, for he who does that has participated in companionship in the real meaning of companionship (sahaaba)."

And similar to that is the saying of al-Shadhili (d. 1258), may God be pleased with him: "The truth of following (ittibaa') is to witness he who is being followed at every word and act." [5]

Thus the goal, and method, of making the Messenger of Allah one's guide and shaykh instead of any other figure, and of following him in every act and saying, and even of requesting his permission for every act and saying, can be seen with many awliya at the time of Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha'rani and his masters in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

We now arrive through this line at Ahmad Muhammad al-Dajani al-Qushashi (d. 1661), who took many chains of transmission that go back to al-Sha'rani, there being only two persons between them. And all the future Tariqa Muhammadiyya movements mentioned at the start of this article will be connected, in one way or another (and sometimes in multiple ways), to this Qushashi.

We end with this chain of intitation of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya as mentioned by Muhammad ibn Ali al-Sanusi:

And [I took the Tariqa Muhammadiyya] from each of my shaykh al-Jamal al-Ujaymi and al-Jamal and al-Attar from the grandfather of the first one, Abul Baqaa [al-Ujaymi] who said, "I was told of it by al-Safiyy al-Qushashi from his shaykh Ahmad ibn Ali al-Shinnawi from his uncle Abd al-Wahhab bin Abd al-Quddus from the shaykh al-Khawwas, may God be pleased with them, from the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him". I also took it with the above mentioned chain to the shaykh Ahmad ibn Ali al-Shinnawi from shaykh Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha'rani from shaykh al-Khawwas from shaykh Ibrahim al-Matbooli and he took from the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, as mentioned by al-Sha'rani.[6]

1. http://www.aljamaa.info/ar/detail_khabar.asp?id=4894&IdRub=22
2. Lawaqih al-anwar al-qudsiyya fi bayan al-'uhud al-muhammadiyya, Cairo 1321, 116. Taken from The Exoteric Ahmad ibn Idris, pg 17.
3. http://www.allah.com/download/ArabicDalail.doc
4. Saleh al-Jaafari. Al-Muntaqa al-Nafees, Dar Jawaami' al-Kalim, pg 86-87.
5. Ibid.
6. Muhammad bin Ali al-Sanusi, al-Manhal al-Rawiyy al-Rai'q, al-Majmu'a al-Mukhtara, Manchester: 1990, pg 50.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Muhammadan Sufism and Mutaaba'a

Qad 'alima kullu unaasin mashrabahum: And every group knew their drinking place (Q 7:160)

One beautiful spring day, the famous 18th century Sufi master Abd al-Aziz al-Dabbagh, who would become one of the most important figures in the history of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya, took his student al-Lamati to a garden and told him to look at all the different kinds of flowers and plants, how there were tens or hundreds of plants that differed in size, shape, color and scent. And al-Dabbagh likened these flowers to the awliya of Allah, in that they come in many different ways and forms, as different from each other as all these plants, yet they were all awliya nonethless, all on a straight path, and all chosen by Allah.

It is true that since the beginning of Islam, Sufism has taken many different forms: the intoxicated and the sober, the ascetic and the wealthy, the pietest and the metaphyicisian, the distinguished scholar and the malamati, and so on.

And so, Sufis could sometimes live in completely opposite ways that it would be hard to tell what they had in common. There also arose the idea of the mashrab, or drinking place. Each sufi had his mashrab, or source for his way. The mashrab could mean a different style, or a different disposition, for example. There is a common belief that besides the Prophet Muhammad, every Sufi had another previous Prophet or pious figure as his mashrab. Some of the more common mashrabs are those of Jesus and Moses, as well as earlier prophets such as Idris (Enoch), or any other. Some people's mashrab might be a companion like Abu Bakr or Umar, or Uways al-Qarni, who never met the Prophet in person but was instructed by him in spirit. One modern and widely-spread tariqa in the west is the Maryamiyya, which has the way of sayyiditna Maryam as their source, or mashrab. "And every group knew their mashrab..."

In previous articles, we have taken a look at the Tariqa Muhammadiyya and its origins[1], but we have not really discussed what a Tariqa Muhammadiyya really is. In other words, what makes a Tariqa Muhammadiyya a Muhammedan way, besides the name.

There are different common features of these movements, some present more than others, depending on the path. First and foremost, there is the idea of mutaaba'a. The word mutaaba'a is taken from the verb ittibaa, or following. The form mutaaba'a has been used as a distinct term in Sufism for the exact following and imitation of the Prophet Muhammad in every possible way. The second common feature is to turn to the Prophet (pbuh) for guidance, and to attempt to establish a direct relationship with the Prophet. Third is shying away from other authorities beside the Quran and the Prophet. This means a return to the Quran and Hadith and an emphasis on Ijtihad as opposed to taqlid, as well as a preference for direct instruction from the Prophet as opposed to reliance on a shaykh as intermediary between man and God. Fourth is constant praying and blessings upon the Prophet (tasliya), as a way to receive this guidance. In some of these groups, there is also preference for having only one tariqa as opposed to a multiplicity of turuq, although this is not a feature of all the Muhammadan ways.

Now we will focus on the most important aspect that is highly stressed in the Tariqa Muhammadiyya movements, and that is mutaaba'a.

In Sura 3 verse 31, the Quran instructs the Messenger of Allah thus:

Say: "If ye do love Allah, Follow me (ittabi'ooni): Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."

If we look at the Quranic commentary on this verse by al-Sulami, we find him quoting the following sayings:

"And it was said: Mahabba (Love [of Allah]), is following (ittibaa') the Messenger (pbuh) in his sayings and acts and manners, except in these things that were reserved only for him, because God has associated loving Him with his following."

"Sahl ibn abd-Allah [al-Tustari] said: The lover of Allah in truth is he whose exemplar in his spiritual states (ahwal), acts, and sayings, is the Prophet (pbuh)".

And al-Sulami himself says: "There is no arriving at the Highest Light for he who does not search for it through the Lower Light. And he who does not make the way to the Highest Light that of holding tight to the manners of the possessor of the Lower Light and his mutaaba'a, peace and blessings be upon him, has been blinded from both lights and clothed in the gown of self-deception".

From the above we can see that mutaaba'a is following the Prophet in everything from one's manners to his speech and actions to his spiritual states. Because of this, a new term has come for those who imitate the Messenger of Allah in every possible way, to distinguish them from those who possess different states than his, and that is Muhammadan Sufism. Obviously, being a Muhammadan Sufi would be of utmost importance to followers of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya, as it is supposed to be the way of the Messenger himself.

Indeed we do find this term in the Tariqa Muhammadiyya literature. To take an example from Ahmad ibn Idris, in a letter that he sent to his disciple al-Mirghani, he called him "the most perfect of Muhammadan awliya, without doubt and without falsehood, as witnessed by the Messenger of [Allah]"[3].

Among the disciples of Ahmad ibn Idris was also Ibrahim al-Rashid, who spread the Ahmadiyya Muhammadiyya of his teacher, but after his death his followers split off and became known as the Rashidiyya. One of al-Rashid's succesors was Muhammad al-Dandarawi, who started his own Dandarawiyya order, it thus being a "descendant" of the Ahmadiyya Muhammadiyya, but having taken a very different form from its "spiritual grandfather" so that it lost many of the features of the Muhammadiyya turuq. However, being a Muhammadi Sufi was of central importance to the Dandarawis, so that their chant and moto was, and still is, "Allahu Akbar, we are the Muhammadans, and to God goes all thanks!".

Let us now look at the concept of mutaba'a and Muhammadan Sufism in more detail, through the sayings of Shams al-Tabrizi (d. 1247). Now Shams is not related in any way to the Tariqa Muhammadiyya movements, but since mutaaba'a and Muhammadan Sufism is the central theme of his teachings, they will give us great examples, which we will then compare to examples from the Tariqa Muhammadiyya.

When Shams Tabrizi joined the circle of Jalalludin Rumi and his students, he noticed that they had a great love for Abu Yazid al-Bistami. Now Shams considered Abu Yazid to be "one of the great ones", and whenever he mentioned "the great ones", he mentioned Abu Yazid. But at the same time, he was worried about their excessive love for him, and was worried that they would want to follow his way. This worried Shams because Abu Yazid had a different state from that of the Prophet, and thus he was not fit to be followed. Although he was a great Sufi, he was not a Muhammadan Sufi, and should therefore not be followed. This is akin to the great respect that Sufis have for majaadheeb or the Sufis who have been drawn to God but are in a state that keeps them from being aware of other people or of their own states, and thus they may never be followed as guides. In the same way, at least one Tariqa Muhammadiyya specified that its followers may not stray from the Sufism of Junayd al-Baghdadi, who represents the sober and scholarly Muhammadan Sufism. Abu Yazid, on the other hand, is one of the most famous examples of the "intoxicated" Sufis who are so intoxicated with the love of God that they do and say things that others may find questionable. Thus Shams says,

Since he was drunk, he said, 'Glory be to me!' If someone is drunk, he cannot follow Muhammad, who is on the other side of drunkenness. One cannot follow the sober in drunkenness."[4]

"They report that Abu Yazid didn't eat Persian melon. He said, 'I have not come to know how the Prophet ate persian melon.' I mean, following (mutaaba'a) has a form and a meaning. He preserved the form of the following. So why did he ruin the reality of following and the meaning of following? For Muhammad said, 'Glory be to You! We have not worshipped You as You should be worshipped!' Abu Yazid said, 'Glory be to me! How magnificent is my status!' If anyone supposes that his state was stronger than that of Muhammad, he is very stupid and ignorant."[5]

"The first words I spoke to Mawlana [Rumi] were these: 'Why didn't Abu Yazid cling to following (mutaaba'a)? Why didn't he say, 'Glory be to You! We have not worshipped You [as You should be worshipped]'? Mawlana understood these words completely and perfectly.[6]

Thus for Shams, only the Prophet should be taken as an example, and those who were different from him in state or in action should not be followed, no matter how great they are. Not only this, but Shams saw that any Sufi practice that is not found in the Sunna of the Prophet is an innovation bid'a that should not be followed. Unlike Wahhabis, he did not think that these innovations would lead one to Hell, but he still preferred staying away from them as they were not part of mutaaba'a. Thus he would say about the 40-day retreat, or khalwa,

[The forty-day seclusion] is an innovation in the religion of Muhammad (pbuh). Muhammad never sat in a forty-day seclusion. That's in the story of Moses. Read, "And when We appointed with Moses forty nights" (Qu'ran 2:5). [7]

These people who do the forty-day seclusion are followers of Moses- they have not tasted the following of Muhammad. Far from it! Rather, they do not have the following of Muhammad according to its stipulations. They have a bit of the flavor of following Moses, and they've taken that.[8]

In short, in those outward seclusions, the more they go forward, the more imagination increases and stands in front of them. But in the path of mutaaba'a, the more they go forward- reality upon reality, and self-disclosure upon self-disclosure!"[9]

Now Ahmad Ibn Idris, for example, would not have agreed with Shams on the matter of the khalwa, as he did approve of the khalwa and wrote a treatise on the way of entering it. For him, the khalwa was in fact following the way of the Prophet when he would go seclude himself in the cave. As the future reviver of the Ahmadiyya Muhammadiyya tariqa, shaikh Saleh al-Jaafari, would explain: The Prophet used to go into long seclusions in the cave of Hira, and this was done during the early days of Prophecy, as evidenced by the hadith of sayyida Aisha in Sahih Bukhari:

"The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah's Apostle was in the form of good dreams which came true like bright day light, and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him. He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family. He used to take with him the journey food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food..."[10]

Since the Prophet referred to these veridical dreams as the first form of Revelation, then he was a Prophet at the time (as a nabiyy in Arabic is literally one who receives revelations), and thus what he did at the time of revelation can be imitated by Muslims.

In any case, both Ahmad ibn Idris and Saleh al-Jaafari, as well as Sanusi, made very limited use of the "external khalwa", preferring instead the "internal khalwa", which is to be among the people, yet completely cut off by them in one's heart, through constant Witnessing. Thus they would recommend certain litanies that they said produced the same effects as the khalwa but even better.

Another criticism of a Sufi practice from the Tariqa Muhammadiyya comes from Abd al-Aziz al-Dabbagh, the teacher of Ahmad ibn Idris' own teacher al-Tazi. Al-Dabbagh was asked about the sufi hadra in which Sufis congregated to do dhikr and moved their heads in certain ways along with the dhikr. Al-Dabbagh replied that for every practice in Islam, we must ask ourselves if it was seen and confirmed as being done by the Prophet. If not, then by any of his successors or companions. If not, then by the generation that succeeded the companions, and if not, then those who succeeded the successors. If a practice is not found among any of the righteous people of these generations, then there is no good in it. The hadra, said al-Dabbagh, was not done either by the Prophet, or any of the four Caliphs, or any Companions, or Successors, or Successors of the Successors. It was only by the 4th generation of Muslims that this practice started, when some Sufi masters, by way of kashf, or unveiling, saw Angels doing dhikr, and some angels do dhikr with their entire bodies so that they move right and left, front and back. These awliya would lose themselves in Witnessing the Real, and because of a weakness in their states their bodies would move in imitation of the movement of the angels. Their followers only saw these external movements, which are the result of weakness in the states of these great awliya, and began imitating them and adding movements and instruments and occupied themselves with such externalities, especially after the death of these awliya. This then is how the hadra came about according to al-Dabbagh, and it brings no special benefit.

As for Ahmad ibn Idris, his view was slightly different. For him, the Prophet had clearly praised the people who come together in a circle for dhikr, and "dhikr gatherings include any group of people who have assembled, either around a religious scholar (alim) who reminds them about worshipping God Most High, or to declare 'God is sublime' or 'There is no god but God' or to recite the Qur'an."[16] And since the Prophet of God has never said anything about the swaying back and forth in dhikr gatherings, or the coordinating of movements and voices, then it is certainly not forbidden, for everything about which the Quran and Sunna are silent is permissable. For how can someone be blamed or punished for doing something that no messenger has warned about? Of course, al-Dabbagh never denied their permissibility either. So while defending the dhikr gatherings and the movements involved in them Ahmad ibn Idris preffered a different type of dhikr gathering: the teaching of the Qur'an and Sunna. While he placed extreme importance on dhikr in the sense of supplications and prayers, as did the Messenger of Allah, he saw no need for Sufis to come together to do this when they can each do that in their spare time at home, if there was the option instead of meeting for the sake of sharing knowledge, which is superior.

One very famous hadith tells us that the Messenger of Allah once went to the mosque and saw two groups of people: one supplicating and praying to Allah, and another sitting together to learn the Qur'an. The Messenger (pbuh) praised both groups, saying that both are good, but that the ones "acquiring the understanding of religion and its knowledge, and are busy in teaching the ignorant, they are superior." Then he said, "Verily I have been sent as a teacher", and sat among them.[11]

Ibn Idris wanted to model himself after the Prophet in this, so that he spent all his public time teaching the Quran and Hadith. He devoted three daily sessions to teaching, and left the dhikr to be done in private at home. This was also modelled by shaikh Saleh al-Jaafari (d. 1995), in keeping with the way of Ahmad ibn Idris and the Prophet. He spent all his public hours teaching the Quran and Hadith, and set up schools that taught the Quran to hundreds, if not thousands, of students.

As for Ibn Idris' direct successor al-Sanusi, he did have his followers come together for two weekly hadras, but they consisted mostly of reciting the Quran, followed by some silent dhikr, without any movements or dancing or music.

Another form of mutaaba'a is related to miracles. The awliya of Allah are granted certain karaamaat, which is proven in the Quran and the Sunna. The Ahlul Sunna wal-Jamaa'a are in agreement that whatever has been granted as a miracle to a Prophet may be granted as a karaama to a wali, even brining the dead to life. The only major scholar to disagree with this was Ibn Taymiyya who held that the karaamaat of the awliya can not be equal to the great miracles of the Prophets such as raising the dead, for example. In any case, Shams discouraged the displaying of any miracles that produced acts not done by the Prophet,

"...we're Muhammadans. Someone wanted to fly above the Kaaba. Then he said, 'No, mutaaba'a, is better.' Praying on the roof of the Kaaba doesn't have that."[12]

In the same way, Ahmad ibn Idris discouraged paying any attention to the karamaat that God bestows upon the wali, saying that the greatest goal of the Sufi is to have perfect following of the Prophet and having the Quran as one's ethos khuluq, as with the Prophet:

As for these favours, they are as shadows that come and go. They are of no importance on the path to God Most High, except for those whose status is imperfect. For the perfect, his good fortune lies in having the Koran as his ethos (khuluquhu) as had the Messenger of God, may God bless and grant him peace. [13]

There are many more examples of mutaaba'a and we cannot go through them all, but this was just an example of this concept which is the most important tenet of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya movements. Now let us end this with quotes from Muhammad ibn Ali al-Sanusi, Ibn Idris' main successor,

And know that the way of the People [the Sufis], may God be pleased with them, is the following (ittibaa') of the Prophet (pbuh) in the big and the small, and the more that one increases in following the more he increases in perfection, for full perfection according to them is the fullness of following, or else he is not one of them or is considered by them to be lacking, for all their actions are weighed by the scale of the Shari'ah so that all that is part of it they follow and all that is not part of it, they reject.[14]

[The Tariqa Muhammadiyya] is based on the mutaaba'a of the Sunna in one's sayings and spiritual states, and on occupying oneself with the salaat on the Prophet at all times.[15]

1. http://riyada.blogspot.com/2007/01/origins-of-tariqa-muhammadiyya.html
2. Al-Sulami's tafsir of 3:31. http://www.altafsir.com
3. The Letters of Ahmad ibn Idris, pg 57.
4. Me & Rumi, pg 84.
5. Ibid, pg 82.
6. Ibid, pg 210.
7. Ibid, pg 147.
8. Ibid, pg 225.
9. Ibid, pg 88.
10. Sahih Bukhari. Vol 1, Book 1, hadith 3.
11. al-Tirmidhi.
12. Me & Rumi, pg 159.
13. O’Fahey, R.S. Enigmatic Saint, London: C. Hurst & Co., 1990. Pg 13.
14. Ahmad Sidqi al-Dajani. Al-Haraka al-Sanusiyya, pg 152.
15. Ibid, pg 142.
16. Ahmad ibn Idris. Risalat al-Radd 'alaa ahl al-ra'y.

Friday, February 02, 2007


I have added a section at the end of "Glimpses into Early Wahhabi Thought" that discusses the influence of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya reforms on the thought and ideas of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, showing that not only were the early wahhabis not opposed to Sufism, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab's teachers and colleagues were Sufi reformers that shared many of the beliefs of the Wahhabi movement. It is more than probable that he got a lot of his teachings and the inspiration for his reforms from them. I added a link to it in the "tariqa muhammadiyya series" group of links on the sidebar to the right, calling the link "Wahhabism and the Tariqa Muhammadiyya" (especially since it already discusses Ahmad ibn Idris to a large extent).

Many of the figures mentioned briefly in this article (such as al-Qushashi and Samman) will be discussed in more detail in later articles on the tariqa muhammadiyya.