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.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Smoking and the Tariqa Muhammadiyya

The great sufi masters of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya movements all spoke out against smoking and criticized it strongly. Here are some explanations on why they considered it to be haram.

We begin with Abd al-Aziz al-Dabbagh (d. 1719) because of his historic precedence and because the book of his teachings, al-Ibriz, is one of the most widespread and highly valued Sufis works today . He said, “Tobacco is forbidden (haram) because it harms the body, because those who smoke it have an addiction to it that keeps them from worship of Allah and cuts them off from it…and because the angels are hurt by its smell.”

His student asked, “But garlic and onions and the like have a bad odor and eating them is not forbidden.”

He replied, “If the right of the human and the right of the angel came into conflict, then the right of the human is given precedence because everything was created for the sake of humans, and therefore that which benefits humans is not forbidden even if it harms angels. And in garlic and onions are clear benefits, in contrast to smoking for it has no benefit….” (1)

Another great shaykh among the Muhammadiyya turuq was Ahmad Tijani (d.1815), founder of the Tijaniyya. He declared Tobacco to be forbidden based on the Prophetic tradition that “All that causes a state of weakness is prohibited”, and tobacco causes a state of weakness because of the smoker’s addiction and dependency.

Al-Tijani also demanded that smokers repent or they will not die a good death, and when one of his followers was dying, he started uttering vulgar words and was not able to say the Shahadah, despite having been a pious man of much worship. When al-Tijani found out that he smoked, he said that this was why he could not utter the Shahadah on his deathbed and that he must repent immediately.

Al-Tijani’s companions refused to give the litanies of the path to any seeker who smoked Tobacco, and if they found out that someone smoked they forced them to quit their litanies until they stopped smoking. (2)

Then came the student of al-Dabbagh’s student, the great scholar Ahmad ibn Idris (d. 1837). He was just as strongly opposed to smoking. When teaching a Prophetic hadith about Allah’s hatred for money squandering, he said,

And the greatest waste of money is in Tobacco. For I heard that in a previous year in which it was scarce, people used to buy it for 11 Riyals a pound. What mind does such a person have? Is there a mind behind this? No, it is far behind! Did he clothe he who has no clothes, or feed the hungry? And it doesn’t nourish or satiate…. And it causes illness: do you not see the chimneys of kitchens, how their shafts become blackened from the smoke that passes through them? So how do you think is the chest and throat of the smoker? Rust has piled up in them, so what benefit is sought from a person whose state is thus? For we have known many who quit it and became much happier, had lesser expenses, and their disposition came back to balance as they have told us; and they were able to sleep better, sleep being the source of man’s rest and mental stability. So what waste of money is worse than this waste?

And I was told by him in whose truthfulness I have no doubt, and in whose story I trust, that he saw the Prophet (pbuh) in his sleep and said to him: ‘Oh Messenger of God, is tobacco halal or haram‘? So he turned to Aisha who was next to him and said: ‘If she smoked it I would not come near her’. So he said, ‘Is it halal or haram’? He said, ‘If she smoked it I would not come near her’ three times. The man of the vision said, “I thought about saying to him: Did you forbid it in the Sharia? And if so, in which part of hadith? But I forgot because of the state I was in.”

So look at that which, had Aisha the mother of the believers smoked, the Messenger (pbuh) would have parted with her. What greater catastrophe is there than the separation of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and the Mother of the Believers, and what greater exposition of its prohibition than this? And he who has seen the Prophet (pbuh) in a dream has truly seen him, and he who has seen him in sleep is as if he has seen him in waking. (3)

Ahmad ibn Idris’ grandson Muhammad al-Sharif relates that a scholar asked Ahmad ibn Idris to help him see the Prophet (pbuh) in a dream. So when Ibn Idris saw the Prophet (pbuh) he said: ‘Oh Messenger of God, so-and-so wants to see you in his sleep’, but then the Prophet turned away from him. Then the next time he saw him he mentioned the same thing and the Prophet turned away from him again and it happened a third time. So Ahmad ibn Idris wondered why the Prophet turned away every time he mentioned this man, and the Prophet turned back toward him and said: “This man smokes, and I do not go to him who smokes.” Ahmad ibn Idris told this to the scholar the next time he saw him, which caused him to cry until he fainted. After this he repented for who he had been doing and God accepted his repentance and the Prophet visited him in his sleep for the sake of shaykh Ahmad ibn Idris.

Muhammad al-Sharif also relates about his father Abd al-Aali, Ibn Idris’ son, the following: A man came to my father and said, “This is the price of the wheat, and this for the fava beans, and this for the tobacco.” So Abd al-Aali said with anger, “subhanAllah brother! Who told you to plant tobacco on our land?” And he refused to take the money from the tobacco, and ordered the man to leave the land a whole year without any plant until it is purified.

Finally, Muhammad bin Ali al Yamani, the great grandson of Ahmad ibn Idris through his other son Muhammad al-Qutb, was once invited to the house of a man in Dunqula, Sudan. He accepted the invitation. Before that day came, he passed by the store of the man who invited him and saw him selling tobacco so he said: “subhanAllah brother, you sell tobacco? Your food is haram and I withdraw my acceptance of your invitation”, and he did not go to his house. (4)

There are many more examples from other turuq and other shaykhs, but these shall suffice to show how serious of a sin smoking was considered for these Muhammadan Sufis: It annulled your permission to recite the path’s litanies, it kept the Prophet (pbuh) away from you, it made any money made from it haram, and therefore your food and that which you bought with your money haram, and it prevented you from every Muslim’s greatest wish: husn al khatimah, sealing one’s life with a good end.

And think about this: If tobacco makes the land on which it is planted impure, then what of the body that inhales it?


1. al-Lamati, al-Ibriz min Kalam Sidi Abd al-Aziz al-Dabbagh, Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyya, pg 260-1.

2. sufi.forumup.co.uk/post-2201-sufi.html

3. Ahmad ibn Idris. al-Iqd al-Nafees, Cairo: Dar Jawami’ al-Kalim, pg 60-1.

4. Saleh al-Jaafari. al-Muntaqa al-Nafees, Cairo: Dar Jawami’ al-Kalim, pg 93.

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Anonymous Qais said...

I don't know how I have come across your blogg, but your section on Tariqah Muahmmadiyah has kept me awake for many nights now. May Allah Ta'ala reward you for posting the blessed teaching of our Mashaykes, especially the teachings of Syiduna Abdul Azeez Ad Dabbagh [Rahimahullah.

May I ask, are you actually following any tareeqah at the moment?

Please view this site when you have time, www.zawiyah.org , this site belongs to brothers and sisters who follow Tareeqah Muhammadiyah. They are based in UK. If you would like to know more about them, then please don't hesitate to contact them at info@zawiyah.org
wa alaiakumassalaam


November 3, 2007 at 4:08 AM

Blogger Silencer said...

wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

thank you brother qais. inshaAllah i will try to write a post about sidi al-Dabbagh soon, and inshalla I will visit him in march or april. The Ibriz is one of the most incredible books anyone could read.

I did check out the zawiyah.org site, i only found out about it last week when i noticed i was having lots of visitors who were discussing this site. It is interesting and I downloaded a beautiful song from there.

Yes I am following the Jaafariya Ahmadiyya Muhammadiyya. It was established by the Azhari shaykh Saleh al-Jaafari (his lineage goes back to Jaafar al-Sadeq), and he was responsible for publishing and spreading all the teachings of sidi Ahmad ibn Idris throughout Egypt, the Sudan, Libya, and other places. They now have centers in many countries like Bahrain and Malaysia. I will talk about it later inshallah but I have been busy with my studies, and most of my books are back home in Jordan. But since I have the Ibriz at least I might try to write something or translate some sections.


November 3, 2007 at 8:36 AM

Anonymous Qais said...

Assalamaulikum brother dont know ur name

can you send me more info about Tareeqah Jaffriyyah Ahmadiyah Muhammadiyah, like who is the current Master , what are the stages of purification. How did you get to know about this tareeqah, what made you follow this tareeqah ratehr then sheikh Nuh for example?

Our teacher had indicated to us that Sheikh Salih Jaffar [rahimahullah] was such you have stated.

I do apologise, i know you are busy, just really nice to the teachings of such great people!!!!!


November 4, 2007 at 10:00 PM

Blogger Silencer said...

Wa alaykum assalam brother qaim,

i prefer not to mention my real name on this blog, so on the internet i call myself Nuruddin Zangi. Maybe inshaAllah one day we will meet and I will tell you my real name.

are you living in london? and can you read arabic? because if so, i can give you better information about the tariqa and the shaykh, or even mail you some books. I also plan to go to london in january or february inshaallah, so i can meet you and give you books or info.

but for now i will try to summarize a bit:

When I came to cairo, a professor I know lent me a book which included a chapter on the concept of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya, and a chapter on sidi Ahmad ibn Idris. Right away I fell in love with his teachings and I knew that he was my shaykh, and I started to get all books about him. One of these books mentioned that an Azhari shaykh in cairo called Saleh al-Jaafari had worked for years on publishing and spreading the teachings of Ibn Idris, so I was able to contact people from the tariqa and get more information.

I discovered that shaykh Saleh was a great shaykh in the Azhar- he lived in it for 50 years, never leaving it except for Hajj/Umra/ or visiting the Ahlul Bayt who are burried in cairo, etc. He was always there for anyone who has questions, even when all other shaykhs were on vacation, so the people started to say that "Shaykh Saleh is the Azhar" or "The Azhar is Shaykh Saleh."

He was sometimes the Imam of the Azhar, but he was most famous for his Friday lessons, which everybody loved so much. He was loved by everyone in Egypt- the devout and the sinner. Everyone loved him, and they found healing in his Friday lessons.

He was raised by the grandson of sidi Ahmad ibn Idris, and then spiritually by Ibn Idris himself, until the Prophet (pbuh) gave him authorization to start his own branch of the tariqa but he was ashamed to do so, so he laid down all the basics for it and described everything about it, but left things for his son to do it after he died, rahimahullah.

So when he passed away, his son shaykh Abdul Ghani who was teaching in Sudan, came to Cairo to head the order, and was so successful that the tariqa became the most well organized and exemplary tariqa in Egypt, and spread far and wide to Malaysia and Sudan and many countries all over the Islamic world.

The way of the tariqa is simple: there is no murshid to sit with and learn, and there are no specific levels of purification. There is only the promise of Rasul Allah (pbuh) to personally take care of all those who follow sidi Ahmad ibn Idris, and all those who read the salawat on the Prophet that were written by shaykh Saleh.

Therefore when you enter the tariqa, you are given three steps to take:

1- The Bidayat al-Tariq: you do ghusl with a certain prayer and a few more acts of worship that are the beginning of the path.

2- the Asas, or Foundation: this is a dhikr that you do 10,000 times, over a period of 1-3 months.

after these two steps, you finally enter the path, and you do step three:

3- the daily awrad, which are to read quran daily and the dhikr and salawat of the tariqa. the more you do the awrad, the closer your connection to shaykh Saleh and to the Prophet. If you dont do them, you are drawn further away.

That is why there is no need for a murshid. Even shaykh Abd al-Ghani tells us that it is shaykh Saleh who is the shaykh, not him. However if you have a dream or vision or something like that, you must tell it to shaykh Abd al-Ghani, but other than that, you just do your awrad by yourself every day. It is very simple. And you go to hadra twice a week, where you do dhikr with your brothers, which is beautiful.

and shaykh Saleh says,

"My may is the Quran, ilm, and taqwa, and praise of Rasul Allah, the effacer of dalal (going astray)"

So this is what makes this tariqa unique, its emphasis on praise of the prophet. Shaykh Saleh has many many volumes of poems in praise of the Prophet and we read them in the hadra after the dhikr.

He says,

"Oh lover of Rasul Allah (pbuh)- shall I not guide you to the closest path to bring you to him, without hardship or difficulty? It is the madee7 of the Prophet: to listen to them, and to sing them, with great love and a sound, good heart."

November 5, 2007 at 12:42 PM

Anonymous Qais said...

Brother Silencer,
I would love to meet you, but unfortunately i am going abroad to study next weeka and wont be back until summer. However, please do email me with materials about the sheikh, your tariqa and the books which you talking about.

I would also like to take this opportunity to also invite you to come to our zawiyah when you do come to the UK, we are based in Manchester. There are brothers who reside in London who can bring to our centre if you have transportation problems.

As for you falling in love with the teachings, indeed, verily indeed one should!!!!!!!!!!! These are not normal people, they are special servants of Allah, very special servants, that indeed Allah Azzawajal has truly favoured you if you get a chance to meet them or sit with them or follow them!!!!!!!!!

my email address is
koyes007 at hotmail dot com

you can even forward the detaisl to our zawiyah website, info at zawiyah dot org

where are you originally from?
where are you currently studying now? what exactly are you studying?



November 6, 2007 at 7:46 PM

Anonymous svend said...

Salaams and Allah barak fik for your wonderful blog.

Are you aware of any translations into European languages of either the Ibriz or al-Lamati's work on it?



March 3, 2008 at 9:16 PM

Blogger Silencer said...

salams, brother svend.

Lamati's work IS the ibriz, and i believe it was being translated by Bernd Radtke.

If you go to the following link: http://www.uga.edu/islam/sufismorders.html

and go down to Orders in North Africa, you will find a PDF file of an article he wrote a while ago about the Ibriz, in which he says he's going to translate it.

Now this was a long time ago. Last year, I asked another german scholar who's interested in the same sufis and he told me radtke's translation was almost complete. that was more than a year ago. so i dunno why we havent heard about it yet.

WAIT... THANKS TO YOU I just did a search on Amazon and it's finished! BUT it costs 250 dollars! So try finding it in a university library...


I decided to keep the words before the discovery so you can feel the excitement with me :P

March 3, 2008 at 10:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Silence I recommend you to write a book on Tareeqa Idrisia. You may contact me for the purpose: aminamjad@hotmail.com. The love of the Prophet (PBUH) is best taught in Tareeqa Idrisia (Silsila Idrisia). Shiekh/ Imam of the tareeqa Idrisia is based at the City of Multan in Pakistan since he moved from Hijaz (KSA) in late 80s.

The name of the Shiekh is Al-Sayyedi Al-Sheikh Al-Hafiz Ameen bin Abdur Rahman.

The address is 381-A, Shah Rukn-e-Alam Colony, Multan, Pakistan.

April 10, 2008 at 1:55 PM


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