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The Narratives of Tijani [Kitab Shamail Tijaniya]

al-Qadi Abu'l-Abbas Sidi Ahmad bin al-Iyyachi Skirej

TRANSLATED from THE ARABIC by MOHAMED BOKRETA

Within the context of profoundly spiritualising revival of Tijani Sufism that the Ahmedi- Mohammedi-Ibrahimi-Tijani - Tariqa was leveraged in the life and career of the Shaykh, al- Allama, al-Faqih, al-Qadi, Abul Abbas Sidi Ahmed b. al-Iyyachi Skirej al-Khazraji al-Fasi (d. 1366/1940). Shaykh Sidi Ahmed Skirej’s association with the Tijaniya proved to be the sparkling prowess in the regeneration of the order. Almost 300 in number, the Shaykh's eye- opening books, poems and letters have underdisputedly cheered the conditions which have come to foster the Tijani tradition throughout the Muslim world. The Shaykh has been always in the front side of any religious compilation; an attribute rarely found elsewhere within erudite circles. He was in Prophetic tradition, jurisprudence, literature, history and poetry a genuine pioneer and it is because of that that he entered with a determination and a full- fledged confidence the arena of different science topics. His quench for knowledge-seeking is beyond comparison as he was extremely affectionate of research and innovation while possessing the important and main authorised sources and references of all sciences in the form of a large home library incomparable in terms of the richness and diversity of its rare manuscripts. The Shaykh was then just a very dexterous penman with the aim to serve people from all different ranks and in that he entered in their hearts joy and pleasure. The present manuscript, the Shamail Tijaniya, which describes some genuine unidentified attributes and narratives of Sidna Shaykh Ahmed Tijani (may Allah be pleased with him), is, however, one of the Shaykh Skirej’s unfinished manuscripts for different reasons mainly motivated by the lack of time, presuming meanwhile that if the Shaykh had the necessary spare time he would certainly have gone to the end. Had this work been terminated though it would have been a great feat in this Ahmedi-Mohammedi-Ibrahimi- Tijani - Tariqa . This is mainly because no other manuscript has earnestly tackled the subject with the present manuscript’s objectivity. While Shaykh Skirej’s choice of this manuscript emanates from his deep awareness that such work is direly needed for the many companions and confidants so as to closely know their candid Shaykh. In this context, we must point out to the great Tijanite publications of al-Khalifa Sidi Ali Harazem Berrada, i.e. Jawahir al- Ma'ani and Risalat al-Fadl, but, unfortunately, and due to his early death in 1218/1803 in Madina Munawwara, an important period of the life of Sidna Shaykh Tijani (may Allah be pleased with him)was left out without being duly compiled specially the one related to his Shamail. That was the reason that impelled Shaykh Skirej to take the hard task of continuing the unfinished work and the sublime march of introducing Sidna Shaykh’s Shamail. But much to our sorrow and chagrin his contribution was put to an end with his sudden death in Marrakech in 1366/1940 but still all efforts are to be increased to complete the hard task in spite of the difficulties of this wide ocean knowledge. (A famous rhetoric adage, “What we cannot take the whole of it; we should not leave the whole of it”, this very translation by the sharif Sidi Mohamed Bokreta al-Hassani is a modest effort in this direction.) Granted, Shaykh al-Qadi Sidi Ahmed Skirej had made a very thorough and deep insightful survey and narration regarding Sidna Shaykh’s Shamail but he was also a qualified person in view of his erudition and exegesis to carry out this shortcut distinguished study. He

was so knowledgeable of the special qualities of Sidna Shaykh Tijani (may Allah be pleased with him) and hereby unveiled much of all the slightest details vis-à-vis his blessed way of life. His rare and gifted skills and calibres made him eligible for carrying out the happy outcome of this great manuscript -may Allah bless him for this good deed towards the great Ummah of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) and to its high profile future generations. Still it is noteworthy to stress again that the deep acquired knowledge of Shaykh Skirej renders the issue more relevant; on top of that his effective association in Fez with his own master Sidi Ahmed ibn Mohammed Abdellawi (d. 1328/1913) -who was himself the pupil of Sidna Shaykh’s son the moonlight Sidi Mohammed al-Habib (d. 1269/1854) and Sidna Shaykh’s direct successor al-Qutb al-Kabir Sidi Ali b. Aissa Tamacini (d. 1260/1845)- who made the manuscript a successful one. Indeed, during his entire brilliant life Shaykh Skirej venerated Sidna Shaykh’s Shamail and knew how to advocate the companions and confidants to exercise their baraka. Once, he said,

Our master’s legacy is full of brilliant endeavours, Blessed are those who can see his traces! Enough for those who have not seen him, Glad tidings for the next day’s saving!

Shaykh Skirej also saw that the narration of Sidna Shaykh Tijani (may Allah be pleased with him) as one of the best means to raise the high standard of ethics among the young Tijani students and deepen the brotherhood links between the Tariqa members. He was very fond of Sidna Shaykh (may Allah be pleased with him) to such extent that no one can reach this stance except those who are likewise as God fearing and trusty persons. To further illustrate, once in a visit to Oran (“Wahran”; eastern Algeria) to a Tijani companion, he observed a left shoe (balgha) of Sidna Shaykh Abul Abbas Ahmed ibn Mohammed Tijani (may Allah be pleased with him and imbibe us from his essence and presence, amin). The Shaykh wore it in his proper feet as a blessing gesture then as a poetically gifted man he went on,

By God whereupon a noble Master whose companion has ever won him, How I am praised with servitude though homage is intended for him.

That a day has passed without his encounter the mark of his bang is felt,

  • I swear by his love I accept no other than his fastidious scent. If I couldn’t have early kissed his feet underneath, Today I have put on his shoe in my feet. Upon his gracious steps my eyes enjoy and concentrate, And still I yearn for my sought aspiration and fate. Certainly in this life and in the Hereafter,

  • I would be safe and well looked after,

Yes through the intercession of my noble master, And the blessings of his litanies that nectar, For the sake of their bases and spirits, From the yawning exuberance of his divine, furtive secrets.

Another time, and once being in the house of his close Fasite friend, the great scholar Sidi al- Haj Mohammed ibn Ahmed Bennani Kala (d. 1341/1926), Shaykh Sidi Ahmed Skirej remarked an old pair of Sidna Shaykh’s spectacles (may Allah be pleased with him), so he put them on his nose then he cried out,

Having observed with insightful manifestation,

Until I have realised a true revelation. Surely I have never flavoured such spectres, From the deep secret behind these spectacles. And since I have put them on my snout, I have seen with their sight a man of my sight.

Once upon a time, al-Allama Bennani Kala showed him a board on which the Quranic chapter of “Rahman” was handwritten by Sidna Shaykh Tijani (may Allah be pleased with him), so Sidi Ahmed Skirej took it as a sign of blessing and resorted to this poetry,

By Allah a board that is the ecstasy of my desires, And great are its secrets plain to the ogles. Its lights have radiated the spectators, And eliminated all the eyes’ troubles. Perfectly designed with the Master’s hands, Verses from the Holy Quran easily glanced. Glad tidings to whom the chapter of Rahman is drawn, He has been rewarded God’s assistance at dawn, It is a great provision to whom he could afford it under bonfire, And to whom he could touch it in a bid to reaching this great desire, Blessed is the handwriting of Sidna Abul Abbas, His magnificent words as true pearl of necklace!

Verses of the Burda poem
Verses
of
the
Burda
poem

handwritten by Sidna Shaykh

Kitab Shamail Tijaniya

The Shaykh, al-Allama, al-Faqih, al-Qadi, Abul Abbas Sidi Ahmed b. al-Iyyachi Skirej al- Khazraji al-Fasi have said:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful. Peace and Blessings be upon our Holy Prophet Sidna Mohammed, his Household and Companions. Praise to Almighty Allah who made the coronation of acceptance to the special servants of His Presence and had entered from His Door the ones that sided with truthfulness of servitude. They are the men, the most knowledgeable towards their Lord they have full of hope. They sat on the care’s chairs, surrounded by mantles made of mercy. Garments of sainthood have been bestowed upon them for what they were designated of His sincere and complete love. They sold their souls to Almighty God, widespread are their chests. To whom He is pleased with their deeds, God’s bounties were sat for them. Thereby their favourable pleasure of divine proximity is always present with continuity.

So they enjoyed in His Presence the taste of blending, And no one could forget the limpid taste of reaching. So they became dignified with desire and blessing, In the presence of adherents and decorum.

Almighty Allah has overflowed upon them with the wine of union lifting the veil from their sight. And so they become divine liaison and a mean for mediation in every occasion. Truly Allah’s confidants and without hesitation the best mean for exploitation. However the Seal of Sainthood is the most gracious of all the pure saints for he inherited from the Holy

Mohammedian Presence (peace and blessing be upon him) the ever exclusive, complete appearance and spiritual caliphate.

The Seal Ahmed Tijani is ascending, Towards the highest, glorious scale and towering. He is the axis of generosity and bounty, The Seal of Prophets had given him a high degree.

O brother gratify this elevated saint whose presence in the end of times has occurred without most of people’s awareness. O brother venerate this elevated saint whose initial spiritual manifestation has appeared to the ancient generations in every corner they made their litanies and thanksgiving. Glory to Allah who made him out of His Wisdom the herald of the entire predeceasing imams!

He obtained from the Chieftain of the Universe what was top of wishes, Who has bestowed upon him the far-reaching of triumphs. Satisfaction’s crown was atrophied upon his skull, And with his Grandfather he has appeared; thus becoming the Seal. Glory to Almighty Allah who Himself took care of all his affairs and matters and grew him up underneath the banner of Mohammedian eye-glance so as to complete his education and absolute authorative sainthood. He is the pole of creation and generosity belongs to his dominion, Immersing the universe great consideration. Surely he has magnificence through his stature, Beneath his feet lie the rest of saints.

Sidna Shaykh Mawlana Abul Abbas Ahmed ibn Mohammed Tijani (may Allah be pleased with him) has reached the aim of great Poleness and that what is under Prophethood. As such he is after the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) and no one could ever reach this higher stance. May all the peace and blessings be upon the best of all prophets, the one whose attributes are beyond the eloquent tongues reach, and (upon) his noble household and the companions. In the meantime I was so eager owing to my affection to this Ahmedi essence and Mohammedian presence to write about Sidna Shaykh’s attributes (shamail) and narratives (manaqib) as a guidance and remedy to the loyal community. What impelled me to do this succinct summary was intended for those lovers of Sidna Shaykh (may Allah be pleased with him) as such attribute is a proof of attaining the desired objective and through it intercedes the possession and gaining the fruit of total achievement regarding the sublime attributes and narratives of Sidna Shaykh (may Allah be pleased with him), which are discussed in various sections of this paper.

In each sections of his attributes, You will find but secrets and enlightenments. Verily the believer’s hearts are quickly healed, I mean the good-jammed ones not the hallow.

I have called this treatise The Shamail Tijaniya hoping that it will be of good use to the brothers, and from Almighty Allah I seek help and guidance to those who delimit the attributes of Ahl Allah and are still in doubt.

Those who rebuff and grow up in denial and lament not, Surely their belief and faith shall be ripped off. How many have exhaled in refutation, And lost salvation in their failure.

And this why it is incumbent to take care about some Muslims who have not yet tasted the credence’s flavour of Ahl Allah to wish them repentance for what they have committed toward Allah’s sheltered men without knowledge. And very few who discretionarily cared about this noble objective. Thus we seek Almighty Allah’s roads of safety for all of us in this life and in the afterlife and may He multiply the rewards of those who behave as such.

Objectives of the Manuscript

Know that the aim behind this compilation is the narration of the states of Sidna Shaykh (may Allah be pleased with him) from his birth until he passed away along with remarks on a number of his attributes through the manners of his narratives and secrets.

My heart is full-time engaged in his verve and reverence, Tallying how much I got from his qualities and radiance.

What should be said here is that although I have not personally met Sidna Shaykh (may Allah be pleased with him), I still got all these relevant and useful details from those who have seen him and met him and have accompanied him and specially who were closer to him. However, I base this treatise in particular on what I have learned in person from our Shaykh, the knower by Allah, the guider to Allah in secret and public, the father’s spirit, Sidi, Moulay Ahmed Abdellawi (d. 1328/1913), while deeply probing on all the manuscripts, handwritten letters and expositions emanating from Sidna Shaykh’s close companions. Indeed I have attained huge volumes of valid, handwritten epistles and notes recording Sidna Shaykh’s extraordinary qualities and secrets as well as that of his special companions. No wonder, some people will object to me by saying, “how can you trace back the eulogies of Sidna Shaykh while you have never saw him nor did you meet him?” Therefore I will only respond through these lines,

I’ve indicated on what I had trusted in, For surely I do possess much gin, It is up to the upset to accept such case, Since I do not need his admittance.

Thus I have structured the book on diverse divisions to loosen the chests of confidents and constrict the egos of the envious that observe deceit in what is the spring of veracity.

Description of his Grey Hear

Sidna Shaykh (may Allah be pleased with him) had a gorgeous and shining face and his white hair gained over his black hair. Such state has genuinely pleased and satisfied him as he always wished to meet his Lord on the above state, referring to the poet’s lines,

When slaves grey in their king’s service, They set them free an honour their independence. You are more entitled to do so with your generosity,

O Lord free me from fire for I have greyed in your slavery.

He was both careful and fearful of Allah’s conning (makr) and had such emotional heart while at the same time very heartfelt, listening and taking into consideration all advices. Also he always pointed out the useful matters to his audience and in his gatherings with his disciples he only preached the high Islamic values stressing the need for the younger disciples to have such a great respect to older ones and likewise this respect will only boost a mutual understanding within God’s satisfaction towards both ages. So it an imperative advice that all Tijani’s brothers should be moral abiding towards their respectable Shaykh from that it is obvious that even those who are not familiar with the Tariqa should have a respect towards those grey hair bearers. It is said that they found in the throne of Bilkis (Wife of Prophet Sulayman peace upon him; the queen of Yemen) written,

Hard years are coming forward, When the wiser will be haunted. The younger will disrespect the older, And the ignorant will quiet the knower.

It was duly narrated by Sidna Shaykh’s close and lucky companions that they were competing and racing in view of getting’s the Shaykh’s hair remnants during his hair cut and warmly greeting the barber who had the honour to be so close to the Shaykh’s body. So getting the Shaykh’s hair remnants has a significant meaning to the Tijani’s disciples it is like a booty for them so as to seek a needed blessing, and while it was reported that some loyal disciples are still keeping the Shaykh’s fallen hair in a bid to get the blessing and for our case we are still blessed with some of the Shaykh’s hair but we must warn our dear brothers about certain calumnious and misguided people who falsely purport to have the Shaykh’s blessed hair while it is indeed fake hair.

Description of his Hair-Dying

It is an undeniable fact that as part of the Prophetic tradition (Sunna) of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), Sidna Shaykh and in accordance with such teachings used to imitate and genuinely follow the Sunna, by dying his hair as well as his beard and consequently he urged his followers to act likewise. Such gesture and initiative was to set an example for his followers to implement in their hearts the love of the Prophet’s acts and deeds.

Description of his Eye Mascara-making

As mentioned earlier, the Shaykh was a strict follower of the Mohammedian Sunna and had always advised his followers and disciples to act accordingly, such move among his disciples impel them to race and compete each other on the best way to accomplish such good acts and relevant deeds. However the wise Shaykh in certain manner concealed some of the Sunna to himself, for he knew that if it was revealed, it will surely make some of his followers ostentatious in regards to the noble Sunna. It is for this reason that it was reported that Shaykh Zarruq (d. 899/1484) advised that three of the prophetic traditions should be left out in this period of time: donkey-riding, provisions-hoarding; and ring-wearing. It has been noticed that hair dying and mascara- (kohl) making were falsely understood by the general people as to the real aim behind such Sunna. For this very reason some of the close companions of the Shaykh left out this Sunna in fear of being ostentatious. Nevertheless, and

despite such facts, the Sunna should be followed in spite of some flaws that emanate from some people as it has been known through the long Mohammedian tradition: “Whoever revived a Sunna, he is to be rewarded twice, first through his revival of this Sunna and secondly through the reward of those practising it until the Day of Judgment.”

Description of his Clothing

Sidna Shaykh used to wear a camel hair made dress in some occasions while in certain occasions he wore a cotton gown arranged through his neck and not lied upon his shoulders and putting the other end of the gown upon his head when he does not want to see people’s faces especially during the passage of women attending preaching sessions. Sidna Shaykh’s mantle (barnus) colour was a white one and he also possessed another camel hair woven one, and it is commonly known within the Arab tradition that mantle-wearing is an old tradition that of the salaf as-salih (i.e. the first three-centuries generations of Islam). It is reported that Imam Malik said: “I have heard Abdullah Ibn Abi Bakr saying, ‘I have met people during our times while wearing two pieces of cloth: a mantle for his going and another one for his return’”. Al-Qadi Abul Walid ibn Ruchd had the mantle described as, “A piece of cloth opened at the front and it is worn on internal clothing in times of winter and rain, moreover Sidna Shaykh used to have a cover cloth while tighten with a belt so as to remain fixed on his shoulders, such piece of cloth was of high quality, and it is obvious that Sidna Shaykh used to wear cotton clothing while saying that whoever has not enjoyed cotton wearing has indeed deprived his body of such blessing”.

Description of his Turban

Sidna Shaykh’s turban was according to trustworthy sources from the well known Lamtayyeb clothing, such clothing is a rarity now this cloth is made of 10 yard hard clothing rolled on red cap underneath another white cap which end is held through a pin, such way of turban setting is an old tradition and habit of the Prophet’s Descendents (sharifs or Ahl al-Bayt). I was so blessed to have that great honour of putting one of the rope used by Sidna Shaykh on my head then around my neck in the presence of some of the brothers among them Sidi al- Haj Mhammed ibn Madani al-Kabaj. This honourable man was a close companion of the Shaykh and a devout disciple and as a result of his great attachment to the Shaykh he became reached the state of jadb (foolness in God) towards the end of his life, thus he died in 1333/1918. And in this circumstance I went with a poem in a dialogue with Sidna Shaykh:

My rope on yours is still steady, Despite those seeing it as wobbly. From you I was offered the best of bequests, With such a bounty from the most generous. You set me near to you in public and in secrets, And gave me all desired yearnings and graces, Oh Master Ahmed ibn Salim, oh support, Whoever seeks your refuge is secured, oh protector. I have rolled up my head with the rope you operated, All the elegance of such has heightened. Being assured of the glee surrounding me and it, In the very secret that I have attained from it. This is according to my belief in you, My rope is surely being tightened to you.

By Allah’s sake do not cut the rope that links both us, Oh Master, take care of me in all moments, Certainly I reached a veiled position from population, Save you in this life and in the next formation. Are you not the Imam of Allah’s community, And with you Allah has ended up sanctity, I long for you in both conceptions, Towards faced foremost obstructions. And surely I will gain more than expectation, From your generous sea that unveils trepidation, Verily the Chosen Prophet has given you a certification, After you have been offered your known position, May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, And upon his family and companions and those who venerate him.

Description of his Shoes

Sidna Shaykh used to wear the Fasite high-quality Masshita-shoes. Since the companions of the Shaykh were constantly requesting his shoes for baraka, Sidna Shaykh was usually wearing new ones. Seldom had Sidna Shaykh wore old shoes in his ingoings and outgoings. I had the blessing of wearing Sidna Shaykh’s left shoe during a meeting in the house of our beloved Shaykh Ibn Al-Haj Mohammed Ibn Madani al-Kabaj (“The great jurist Sidi Ahmed ibn al-Haj Mohammed Madani al-Kabaj”) Furthermore I had a second blessing in the form of Sidna Shaykh’s right shoe in his uncle’s premises Sidi Mhammed al-Kabaj; in this context I have dedicated poetry which is detailed in Rihla al-Wahraniya (Book of The Journey of Oran).

Description of his Rosary (Sub’ha)

Sidna Shaykh had a rosary for his daily litanies of the kind called al-Yusr; made of a tree that had dark seeds and a very beautiful scent. Sidna Shaykh has only used this kind of rosary and nothing else, and this, Allah Knows best, for two reasons: First, because it has a pleasant odour and since Dhikr is also a pleasant deed, therefore he joined pleasant over pleasant. Second, the al-Yusr-rosay brings glad tidings (al-faal al-hassan) and the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) did always like glad tidings. The number of rosary’s beads was of one hundred, and since then all Tijani’s rosaries are to have one hundred beads.

Description of his Food

Sidna Shaykh had always insisted that all things are to be beneficial once they are ripe and mature, and since he never bought food except what was good for eating. Sidna Shaykh used to eat only once a day, that time was about 10 a.m. in the morning. His favourite meal was the couscous specially made with different spices mixed with dates (of tamr al-Majhul) and vegetables. Sidna Shaykh used to eat so little; only some few mouthful (i.e. luqaymat), the rest was dispersed among the disciples. Also Sidna Shaykh used to cook the meat likewise while using dates instead of sultanas (zabib). The Muqaddam Sidi Tayyeb Sefyani (“Grandson of the great Muqaddam Sidi Tayyeb Sefyani who died in 1259/1844) informed me that the Muqaddam Sidi Moussa Ben Mazouz (“Hassani”; d. after 1244/1829 in Fez) complained to Sidna Shaykh his deep sleep and his incapacity to pray at night, so Sidna Shaykh advised him to reduce his daily food. Sidi Moussa through a hard trial managed at

last to pass this obstacle by putting into practise the Shaykh’s precious advices and became accustomed to such diet and turned to be a very pious man looking well after his litanies and night prayers.

Consumption of Meat (al-Lahm)

Sidna Shaykh used to eat from only what was a fat one. He abstained from eating skinny animals nor did he buy it. Sidi al-Arbi al-Achhab al-Fasi (d. before 1230/1815) who was in charge of the daily shopping for Sidna Shaykh’s whole family was therefore ordered to purchase fat quality meat.

Consumption of Turnip (al-Laft)

Sidna Shaykh was very fond of the so-called mahfur turnip (the digged one) while he detested the baldi one (literally, home-made). Sidna Shaykh’s companion Sidi Ahmed al- Filali (“Sidi Ahmed ibn Abdessalam Filali Wadghiri”; d. 1285/1870) reported that one day he entered into the Shaykh and informed in a conversation that he just had a good lunch with Sidi al-Haj al-Kabir Lahlou (d. 1277/1266). Sidna Shaykh in a bid to know in an exact manner the gist of the issue went on to ask him what was that “good meal”? Sidi Ahmed replied that was the “Duwwara” (variety meat) along with baldi turnip, to which Sidna Shaykh responded: “May God curse it and curse its praiser”; i.e. the one who praise it to people that they get harmed. From that time the Muqaddam Sidi Tayyeb Sefyani gave up eating the baladi turnip until he passed away.

Consumption of Artichoke (al-Kharshuf)

Sidna Shaykh used to like the artichoke and he would prefer it to other vegetables. Sidna Shaykh disliked though the so-called “qanariya” artichoke.

Consumption of Cabbage (al-Mukawwar)

Sidna Shaykh liked very much the eating of cabbage and especially the one called “al- Mukawwar”.

Consumption of Courgette (al-Gar’a)

Sidna Shaykh was very fond of the courgette known in Fez as “slawiya” he had advised that this kind of vegetable reduced the heat and does not hurt the body and cures the feverish persons. On the way of cooking courgette, Sidi al-Arbi ibn Sayeh (d. 1309/1894) recommends peeling the vegetable out from inside and outside, steam or cook it with little water, then take its juice and add it a little musk. This recipe is to be very beneficial for feverish persons with Almighty God’s Will. Cooking courgette with meat is also excellent in case it is cooked with onions and parsley while adding cumin; it is certainly a delicious meal.

Consumption of Aubergine (al-Badinjal)

Sidna Shaykh warned against the use of the aubergine to ease the difficulties of urine, instead he recommended a plant called “bssibssa” (fennel) very well known among the people of Fez. The plant should be boiled in water then cooled then it is ready for drinking, as surely it renders the body active and full of energy.

Consumption of Tar (al-Qatran)

Sidna Shaykh liked very much the odour of the tar and used it in his drinking mug, and he used to praise it to his companions in view of its great benefit. Sidna Shaykh used to say:

“Had not the tar being in Fez for smelling its nice odour, its people would have gone away with obesity”. It was reported on the attributes of Sidna Shaykh that once a man who had swallowed poison was brought to him, quickly Sidna Shaykh recommended the tar on the man’s chest, and by the Will of Allah the man was cured and had recovered from poison swallowing.

Consumption of Water

Sidna Shaykh had always preferred the spring water over the river water this because of its purity, and just because of the sun when it rises over this water all day long and consequently he advised his companions to drink from the spring water, while river water as it is known is more damaging to the health because of its contents of filth and therefore its avoiding is certainly more secure.

On Fever

Sidna Shaykh used to say that fever has always been hot in the inner of the body while it is cold on the outer. Sidi al-Arbi ibn Sayeh (d. 1309/1894) went through an experiment that consisted of a feverish person who used to be cured by means of a kina rod which is to be dropped in boiled water and stirred until foam appears, then poured into a glass of water ready for the feverish person to drink, by the Will of God the patient will totally recover from such fever.

On Music

No wonder that for any person, who has a good taste, to accept the soul reacts to music and the listening to Sufi music (sama’a). This was and still a controversial issue as to whether listening to music is licit or illicit? This is not our topic of discussion but we are to talk about how Sidna Shaykh listened to music. It was reported once that Sidna Shaykh was listening to a Sufi poetry. The Shaykh was so moved by the poetry that has asked for any possible present musicians in the gathering. That occurred in Ramadan. The party continued for nine days. They used the poetry of Ibn al-Farid in the first day. (Al-Allama Skirej notes in the biography of Sidi Abdellhaqq al-Jabiri in Kashf al-Hijab that Sidna Shaykh used to orchestrate sama’a sessions in his Fez residence where the dexterous al-Jabiri chanted Sufi tunes with the instruments of al-‘uud [Arabic guitar], violet and so-called rubab [a Fasite violet]).

On the glorification of the Divine Names & Verses

It goes without saying that Allah’s Beautiful Names (al-Asmae al-Husna) and verses of the Holy Quran are part of the Islamic faith and those who neglect such fundamental issue will surely be doomed to failure. Sidna Shaykh used to warn those who throw papers that contain the Names and verses of Allah into dustbins are certainly unbelievers. On this account it is wisely recommended for those who write papers with Allah’s Names to carefully lay them upon suitable and clean places. Also it should be borne in mind that none of Allah’s Names

should be buried with a person even though the person has left a will; for such a will has no value and certainly is a perversity. Sidna Shaykh used to remind people and make great emphasis that, “Whoever bury with a dead person a Name of Allah or a copy of the Quran becomes a disbeliever because most certainly the dead person will at the end become but blood and pus”.

On His Sharifian Lineage

The scholar Sidi Mohammed ibn al-Mishri (“Sbai”; d. 1224/1809 in Ain Madhi) has mentioned in his book Rawdh al-Muhib al-Fani (The Bliss of the annihilated lover),

His noble lineage goes to Mawlana al-Hassan ibn Ali (may Allah be satisfied with both of them) and a certainty about his sharifian decency is wholly proved from all corners, as Sidna Shaykh once asked the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) about the reality of his lineage and that of the people of his village. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) answered him: “You are my son, you are my son, you are my son”. As for the people of his village, the Prophet was just silenced about their lineage. Since that daylight encounter with the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), Sidna Shaykh went on to spread his sharifian claim.

Sidna Shaykh’s sharifian lineage is liked to the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) through his father Mohammed ibn al-Mokhtar, ibn Ahmed, ibn Mohammed, ibn Salim, ibn Abil Eid, ibn Ahmed, ibn Ahmed, ibn Ali, ibn Abdellah, ibn Abbas, ibn Abdeljabbar, ibn Idriss, ibn Idriss, ibn Ishaq, ibn Zayn al-Abidin, ibn (the Gnostic) Sidi Ahmed, ibn Mohammed Nafs- Zakiya, ibn Abdellah al-Kamil, ibn al-Hassan al-Muthanna, ibn al-Hassan Sibt, ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib and our Chieftain Fatima Zahra -Daughter of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him).

His Children

Sidna Shaykh left ten children (six sons and four daughters). As for the male children: Sidi Mohammed al-Habib al-Awwal, Sidi al-Mokhtar, Sidi Khalifa (he died in a younger age in Fez), Sidi Ismail (he also died in a younger age in Abi Samghoun) and Sidi Mohammed al- Kabir (d. 1238/1823), and Sidi Mohammed al-Habib (d. 1269/1854). As for the female children Sidna Shaykh left Lalla Saadia, Lalla Zaynab, Lalla Fatima, Lalla Aicha, so after Sidna Shaykh’s death only two male children were alive Sidi Mohammed al-Kabir and Sidi Mohammed al-Habib, the rest of his children all died during his life. [In his commentary on this section, the al-Allama Sidi Mohammed Erradi Genoun may Allah outstay his lifetime comments,

Sidi Mohammed al-Kabir ibn Abil al-Abbas Tijani was born in the village of Abi Samghoune. His mother is Sayida Mabrouka. He died as a Martyr with more than 300 persons from Abi Samghoun against the Bey’s Turkish forces near the city of Mascara (Mu’askar, western Algeria) in 1238 /1823. The great scholar Ben Mohammed al-Alawi Chinquiti described this battle in his book Rawdh Shamail Ahl Al-Haqiqa” (The Narratives’ bliss of the truth’s community): Then Sidi Mohammed al-Kabir went to Mascara where the Turks were settling and during the fighting Sidi Mohammed al-Kabir fell as a martyr with more than 300 men from Abi Samghoun. In the aftermath of this battle, the Turks beheaded Sidi Mohammed al-Kabir. Sidna Shaykh Tijani was aware through the kashf (foresight) about

his son’s fate. That is why he implored Almighty Allah that the Turks will meet the same fate as that of the Andalusians in Spain.

Sidi Ahmed Skirej documents in Rafa’a an-Niqab vol.1, page 239, “It was reported to me by a trusty person that Sidi Mohammed al-Kabir ibn Sidna Shaykh when he entered the khalwa (seclusion) in Abi Samghoune, he heard a voice calling him to stand up firmly and to fight the invaders in Algerian territory, as such he consulted Sidi Belkacem al-Annabi Tunsi. Sidi Belkacem responded in an advise to Sidi Mohammed al-Kabir that truly he was on the right path and must carry on, still he should divide the fighters in two distinct groups one will remain in Abi Samghoun with the younger brother Sidi Mohammed al-Habib, so did Sidi Mohammed al-Kabir by following the terms of Sidi Belkacem’s advise and there was a last farewell between the two groups as well as with Sidi Mohammed al-Habib and Sidi Mohammed al-Kabir.” Sidi Mohammed al-Kabir left only two daughters after he was martyred. They are Lalla Ruqayyaa who married her cousin Sidi Ahmed ibn Sidi Mohammed al-Habib well known as the son of Zahra the Abyssinian. After his death she married his brother Sidi Ahmed ‘Ammar. Lalla Ruqayyaa died in 1309/1894, while the second daughter Lalla Fatima married Sidi Mohammed, son of the venerated Shaykh Sidi al-Haj Ali Tamasini (d. 1260/1845). Sidi Mohammed al-Habib had two sons. Of them Sidi Ahmed Ammar who died on the 18 th of Dul Qi’ada 1314/1899. He was buried at the Kourdan Palace and then relocated to Ain Madhi where he was buried close to his father Sidi Mohammed al-Habib. As for the female children Sidi Mohammed al-Habib left fourteen daughters among them: Lalla Aicha, Lalla Halima, Lalla Mama, Lalla Mbarka, Lalla Khadija, Lalla Kaina, Lalla Khadija al- Kubra, Lalla Bira, Lalla Um Kalthum, Lalla Hafsa, Lalla Yamina, and most of them were married to the sons of the pole Sidi al-Haj Ali ibn Aissa Tamasini.]

his son’s fate. That is why he implored Almighty Allah that the Turks will meet the

The wagon of Sidna Shaykh Tijani put on the tombs of his grandchildren for baraka

His Servants and Slaves

Sidna Shaykh had many slaves both male and female. He was so good to them. Sidna Shaykh used to buy slaves in bulk and free them for the Face of Almighty Allah. One day he bought around 25 slaves and freed them all. Sidi al-Arbi ibn Sayeh (may Allah be pleased with him) documents,

Sidna Shaykh had the tendency to purchase many slaves and treat them extremely good. They were taken care of much better than those of kings. However, Sidna Shaykh never freed slaves who resided with him in his house. He once said, “If any of the slaves loses the welfare he is enjoying in our house, then we have been the causes of such evil”. Sidna Shaykh when he decided to free some slaves it was on the spot after buying them and straightaway they are given their freedom. He used to give ten weights of money (mathakil) for each freed slave and likewise and in one case he freed seventeen slaves on such way. Once and much to Sidna Shaykh’s dismay one freed slave came along Sidna Shaykh and said, “Was it you who gave my freedom?” “Yes”, responded Sidna Shaykh. Then the freed slave replied again: “O master I want to remain with you”. This freed slave while serving Sidna Shaykh reached a high profile stance in terms of spirituality and God fearing position. He was seeing the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) in daylight. He declared his sight in public and often quoted: “I am the Prophet Mohammed ibn Abdellah”. (This slave is the famed Sidi Boujam’a) All the slaves of Sidna Shaykh (may Allah be satisfied with them) had the privilege to take the honourable Mohammedian wird. His has all the male slaves married to the female slaves. Sidna Shaykh among his daily occupations was of great care to them. Before going to sleep he made sure that he locked the outside doors and before Dawn prayer he used to wake them up letting them sufficient time for small and big ablutions (ghusl) before making all together the congregational prayer.)

Among Sidna Shaykh famed slaves the names of Sidi al-Haj Boujam’a, Sidi Masoud, Sidi Billal, Sidi Baraka, Sidi Mahdi, and Sidi Salem Saghir and others. (Sidi Ahmed Skirej reported in Kashf al Hijab, page 15, “Once Sidna Shaykh looked at the deplorable states of some people’s slaves and servants; shabby in their clothes, skinny were their bodies, he said, ‘By Allah those slave’s owners have not tasted the scent of Islam’. He also reported that Sidna Shaykh had disliked the slaves to remain unmarried. Days before his death he declared:

“The one who owns a female slave without letting her getting married or selling her, he must give up my company and have nothing to do with me”.

His Death

Sidna Shaykh’s death occurred early on Thursday the 17 of Shawal 1230 (1815). After the Shaykh performed the Subh prayer, he laid down on his right side while he asked for a glass of water then he returned to his bed. At that time his blessed soul went up to its creator. The funeral ablutions were carried out in his home at Dar Lamraya. An abundant number of eminent scholars, notables and princes, in addition to the residents of Fez took part in the funeral. The great scholar Sidi Abu Abdullah Mohammed ibn Ibrahim Dukkali led the funeral prayer at the Qarawiyyine mosque. People were rushing and trying hard to have that great honour of holding the blessed coffin of Sidna Shaykh and it was a scene full of deep emotions where tears and sorrows constituted the landmark of this great event. Sidna Shaykh was buried in his blessed Zawiya.

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