HIS CHILDHOOD

In Ain Madhi, a small village a few kilometers from Laghouat, located in the Algerian desert, there was a humble traditional earthen dwelling. In this humble dwelling, lived a young wife who, in a corner of this house and with all the courage for which the women of this region are known, gave birth to a son that she named Ahmed. It is thus that in 1150 of the hegira (1737/38 ad) came into this world Seyyidina Ahmed Ibn Mohammed Ibn Mokhtar Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret).

This isolated place, far from the turmoil of the cities, had already been reputed for many years for its great scholars and their piety. The renowned Sheikh Abdallah ibn Mohammed El Iyachi (dead in 1090 of the hegira) who passed through the village, mentioned it in his book Rihlata. He also met Sidi Ahmed, the great grandfather and namesake of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) who he described in laudatory terms as “great scolar”.

Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani’s father (may ALLAH be pleased with him), Sidi Mohammed ibn Mokhtar, was a scrupulous, loved and respected scholar. Firmly grounded in the Sunna, he practiced evocation a great deal and taught in the field of exegeses and the Hadith. He appealed to the people and urged them to do good, for the Sake of ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted), inciting them to practice the Sunna, combatting all innovation, without fearing harm from others. Sometimes he received the visits of Spiritual entities (Rouhani) who offered to satisfy his needs. He refused their offer and turned away from them saying: “Just leave me with ALLAH. I wish for no other tie than his. I have no need of you.” And so they left him. He was strongly attached to ALLAH and had in his home a room dedicated to evocation. He was also from a lineage of numerous scholars and realized saints.

We could mention, for instance, the great great grandfather of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him), Sidi Muhammad who was the first to settle in Ain Madhi where he married a woman from the tribe of Banou Toujine. He was also a great scholar who had in his home a room dedicated to spiritual retreat in which no other than him had the right to enter.

He used to veil his face when he left his house to go to the mosque and remained veiled until his return to his place of seclusion. When Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was asked for the reason why he used to veil his face in front of the people, he answered: “This may be because he had attained a certain degree of sainthood. Indeed, the consequence of this degree of sainthood was that all those who looked at him would not be able to look away for even a moment and would risk dying. He held this particularity for twenty-three years, that is to say, the characteristics of those who had acquired seventy-two categories of mohammedian knowledge. It is for all these reasons that he voluntarily veiled his face.

Seyyidina Ahmed (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was brought into the world by the pious and pure lady Aicha (may ALLAH be pleased with her), daughter of Sidi (Mohamed Senoussi Tidjani Madaoui). Furthermore, it is from his mother's family that he gets his name. She was a pious and devoted woman with rare and precious qualities. She spent most of her days and nights evoking ALLAH and praying upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). She was a caring mother overflowing with love and mercy. She also had several other children, both girls and boys, who died at a young age. She accepted these ordeals with resignation and faith in the divine reward. So, of all her children, only a girl named Roqaya, then Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) and finally a boy named Muhammad but whose was nicknamed Ibn Omar, because he was learned in the domain of knowledge and Quran, survived.

Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was of sherifian descent, that is to say, his genealogy went back as far as the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), through Seyyidina Ali and Fatima (may ALLAH be pleased with them) via their son Hassan (may ALLAH be pleased with him). However he did not rely on hearsay or on what was inscribed on his genealogical certificate, until he had himself the opportunity to question the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) during a vision in an awakened state. Indeed, he said (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret): “I questioned the Master of Existence concerning my ancestry, was I a Sherif or not? Regarding the tribe of the town where I was born and who claimed to be of sherifian descent, what was the truth? He (peace and blessings be upon him) answered: “Certainly you are my son, certainly you are my son, certainly you are my son”, he repeated it three times and added: “Your ancestry, through Hassan, son of Ali is authentic.”

It is only following this confirmation that he introduced himself in his letters by the name of “Ahmed ibn Mohammed Tidjani el Hassani”. As for the inhabitants of his village, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said nothing concerning them and did not confirm the authenticity of their ancestry.”

In fact, Seyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) did not share his origins with them, because his ancestor had only settled among them incidentally. Consequently, their only genealogical link is through the women. So he was linked to them because his ancestor had settled in this village. His grandfather, Sidi Salim, hails from the tribe of Abda near the town of Safi, on the Atlantic coast of Morocco.

Thus, it is in this atmosphere of faith, knowledge and sainthood that Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was born. Admittedly, he grew up in a humble home but it was the crucible for a family that was very attached to the Quran and the Sunnah.

The education of the holy child was entrusted to the prominent and prestigious Muhammad Ibn Hamu Tidjani (d. in 1162 of the hegira) under whose guidance he memorized the whole Quran at the age of seven. He was a pious man who taught children. He received his education from Sheikh Sidi Issa Buakaz el Madaui Tidjani who was himself a pious men well known for his sainthood and who also taught children. He revealed that he had seen The Lord, the Most High, in a dream, reciting the Quran to him from beginning to end, in the Warsh version, then The Lord said: “This is the way it was revealed.”

Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) learned islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) according to the school of Imam Malick (may ALLAH be pleased with him). He studied different treatises such as Khalil, the Risalat, the Muqaddima by Ibn Ruchd and Lakhadari with the Knower of ALLAH, the scholar sidi Mabruk Buafiya Madaui Tidjani. Sidi Mabruk died in 1166 of the hegira.

From an early age, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) distinguished himself by his intelligence and piety, as well as his virtues and his modesty. He was diligent in his studies and had surprising willpower. He finished everything he began and completed everything he started. No task, however difficult, frightened him and no obstacle could turn him away from his objective, until he had attained the pinnacle. His awareness and understanding were divine and far surpassed what could be acquired by apprenticeship and learning. During his lessons, he outdid all the other students in the complex issues of jurisprudence, without ever having read books nor heard anything on these subjects. People of his village and those from the surrounding desert as well as the scholars came to benefit from his knowledge. Although, he was only a young man, he taught and gave fatwa in various fields. The aura of his personality fascinated all who contemplated him and portended an extraordinary destiny.

One day when he was still a child, arriving home, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) found a meal called “Lafet” made from salted and cooked turnips that his mother had made for him. But, with the exception of one particular variety, he did not like turnips so annoyed he went out. He met his neighbor Sidi Gurid (may ALLAH be pleased with him), a man of virtue who possessed Knowledge. After questioning him on the reason for his irritation, he invited him home for food. Entering his home, he said to his wife: “We have an important guest, please prepare “rfiss” which was a dish served on special occasions in Ain Madhi. She prepared it but was curious to know the identity of this mysterious important guest. She peeked discreetly to see this remarkable person, but she saw only the young neighbor, Sidi Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him). So, she exclaimed: “What! Your important guest is only Ahmed?! He answered: “Keep quiet! You have no idea of the magnitude of his destiny”.

On another occasion during his childhood, when he came out from the classroom, he saw a great light which appeared in front of him and reached as high as the sky. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) suddenly appeared in front of him and encourage him, saying “Persevere because you are on the right path”.

He was so terrified that he ran to seek refuge in the house of his maternal aunt which was close by. She covered and comforted him while preparing bread for him. Her name was Jurkhum. Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) loved her intensely and considered her like a mother. Later, he revealed that she was a saint and that all the requests expressed on her tomb whether good or bad, were inevitably granted, to such an extent it became necessary to hide the location of her grave to the common people. Until this day this place is unknown in Ain Madhi.

Often, the young child used to dream of his own destiny. Indeed, he saw himself on a throne administering and commanding to a multitude of creatures. He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said: “When I was still a child, I saw a royal throne that seems to have been prepared for me and on which I sat. I had a huge army that I commended to meet requirements just like a king.”

In another dream, He saw the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) riding a horse in Ain Madhi and Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was close behind him. He wished to request something of him, but he preferred to wait for the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to dismount to be more comfortable.  

When the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) dismounted, He went into a field and started to pray. Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) wanted to join him and pray with him but he only joined him in the second cycle of the prayer (rakat). He understood through this dream that he would only achieve his goal during the second part of his life which was represented by the second rakat.

He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) related another dream: « I appeared as a king and people pledged allegiance to me. An uncountable crowd was with me. They prepared a Caliph throne and a royal robe for me on a rooftop. When the time came for Dhohr prayer, I wanted to ordain someone to lead the prayer for us as was my habit in reality, then I thought and said to myself: “Khalif should be the one who leads the prayer.” I stepped forward and led the prayer until the end. When I told this to one of my beloved, I said to him: “I believe that ALLAH The Exalted wants the station of Pole for me.”

At the age of puberty, his father arranged his marriage and Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) continued to live in the family home with his parents that he cherished tenderly.

However, a tragic event would link Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani’s destiny (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) to that of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). In 1166 of the hegira (1752/53), when he was only 16 years old, his mother and father died on the same day during a plague, leaving him orphaned. He was taken in by his maternal aunt. Despite the suffering of the separation, this ordeal did not affect his morale. He continued his studies in the village with even more determination. After a year of marriage he freed his wife from the bond of marriage. Indeed, he was so absorbed in his search for knowledge that he could not pay her the attention that he considered necessary. He believed that his priority was to attain the genuine fear of ALLAH in conformity with the words of ALLAH: “It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear ALLAH.” (Quran S35, V28)

HIS QUEST

In 1171 of the hegira (1757/58 ad), at the age of 21, motivated by an unquenchable thirst, he left Ain Madhi for Fes, the famous city of knowledge and notably its renowned Mosque-University Qarawiyine.

This city was frequented by great masters and saints. Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) undertook to visit them in order to benefit from their spiritual teaching as well as their blessings (baraka). Indeed, He thought that frequenting Sufi Masters would be a means to perfect the demands of the Law, both exteriorly and interiorly. On this subject, he said (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret): “Know that Sufism signifies conforming to the commandments, forsaking prohibitions, both exteriorly and interiorly, going as far as His Satisfaction and not stopping at your own.”

Day by day, the knowledge that he acquired from the Universty Masters increased. He attended all the circles of teaching in Quarawiyine and, in addition, he attended those held in other mosques and zawiya. He was particularly attracted to the knowledge of the Hadith. Later, he would say:
“Knowledge can be divided into four categories:
- Knowledge that hardens the heart: jurisprudence and rigidity towards it
- Knowledge that brings ostentation: this is knowledge of grammar and all things related
- Knowledge that brings renunciation of this world: this is the knowledge of history and all things related
- Knowledge that illuminates the heart: this is acquaintance with the Hadith (prophetic words) and all that derives from it.

Certain specialists also taught him the knowledge of the recitation of the Quran.

He had the ability to memorize everything he heard for the first time. In this way, he knew by heart many books of jurisprudence (Fiqh) entirely such as the Mukhtassar of Sheikh Khalil, the Tahdhib Al Baradha'I, and also the Sahih Boukhari, Muslim, and the Muwatta of the Imam Malik (may ALLAH be pleased with him) He also obtained all the diplomas (qualifications) giving him the right to teach all the Muslim knowledge of his time. However, his thirst was still not quenched. His endeavors, his fear of ALLAH, his modesty, his love for the truth and his aversion for the false demanded respect from all.

During these years, Sheikh (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was affiliated to six different paths and met great awliya (saints) without, however, taking their paths.

Amongst the paths to which he was affiliated, was that of the famous well-known Pole and Hassani Sherif Mawlana Tayeb ibn Muhammad (may ALLAH be pleased with him) from Wazzan. He was, in fact, the first master that Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) encountered. When Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) made his acquaintance, he said: “I have heard that you have been blessed with a great gift.” Moulay Tayeb (may ALLAH be pleased with him) asked: « And what is it, to which Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) replied: “He who sees you will enter Paradise.” Tayeb (may ALLAH be pleased with him) confirmed: “Yes indeed but I’m not the origin of this gift.” Seyyidina may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret asked him: “Who is the origin of it?” and he answered: “It is Sheikh Tha’labi. He who sees him and he who sees who has seen him, and he who sees he who has seen he who has seen him and this up to the 7th or the 8th or the 12th person, will enter Paradise. As for me, I saw he who has seen he who saw him.” So Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said to him: “Testify for me that I saw you.” and Mulay Tayeb said: “I testify that you have seen me.” Later, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) also received this gift personally, directly from the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) but it was even more complete.

Sidi Tayeb (may ALLAH be pleased with him) transmitted to him the tariqa Wazzaniya also called Taybiya Chadiliya which is a branch of Jazouliya. It has a large following in Morocco and Algeria and then spread to other areas towards Egypt.  When Moulay Tayeb ibn Mulay Mohamed (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was raised to the position of Khilafa, the Tariqa Wazzania benefited from great notoriety to such an extent that it was renamed Tariqa Taybiya. He also gave to Seyyidina may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret the title of Muqaddam and so granted him the authorization for the litanies, but at that time he systematically refused this title because his elevated aspiration left him neither the time nor the desire to dedicate himself to it. He also encountered the knower Sheikh Ahmed Saqli (may ALLAH be pleased with him) who was one of the pillars of the Tariqa Khalwatiya, but Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) did not affiliate himself to his path. He said afterwards: “Later, I learnt that, in fact, he was a pole”.

In Fes, he also took the tariqa of Abdelqader Djilani (may ALLAH be pleased with them) through he who was giving the authorization for it there.

Then he took the Nassriya Tariqa from the Wali Muhammad ibn AbdAllah Tazani also known as “Rifi” (may ALLAH be pleased with him).

Also, in Fes, he took the path of the Pole of Sidi Ahmed El Habib ibn Muhammad (may ALLAH be pleased with him) also known as El Ghamary, from he who held the authorization. In addition, this great Pole, who had already passed on, came to Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) in a dream and gave him a Name to evoke.

In Taza, he also took the path of the Wali, the malamati Sidi Ahmed (may ALLAH be pleased with him) – dead in 1204 -- who transmitted a Name to him saying: “You need retreat (khalwa), solitude and zikr and be patient until ALLAH grants you the (spiritual) opening because you are going to have an immense station.” Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) disagreed, so he (may ALLAH be pleased with him) said to him: « Stick to the practice of this zikr and be constant in it, without retreat nor solitude. Even this way, ALLAH will grant you the opening.”

Having assimilated, the teachings and the secrets of the great masters that he (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) met and attained the expected spiritual degrees, his thirst and desire for ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted) urged him ever further.

Certain great saints had announced that he would attain degrees that he was not expecting. This was the case during his meeting with the great Wali endowed by spiritual unveiling Sidi Muhammad ibn el Hassan el Wanjali (may ALLAH be pleased with him) – dead in 1185 -- in Djebel Zabib. Even before Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) had said a word, he asserted that he would reach the same degree as Sidi Abu el Hassan Chadhili (may ALLAH be pleased with him), great Sheikh and Pole of his time, and then he revealed other secrets to him.

In Fes, one day, he met the Wali Sidi 'Abdallah ibn Sidi 'Arbi ibn Ahmed from Auled Ma'an el Andalussi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) – dead in 1188 -- who was the Pole of the Tariqa Shadiliya. After talking with him and when they were about to take their leave, he exclaimed three times to Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret): “ALLAH seizes by your hand!”

His departure from Fes was precipitated by a meeting with a Sheikh who was among the people endowed by the spiritual unveiling who encouraged him to return to his home town. He assured that his opening would only occur in that region of the desert. On the way, he halted at different zawiya and met numerous men of God. From Ain Madhi, he went to El Bayadh Sidi Sheikh where the famous Pole Abdelqader ibn Muhammad, descendant of Abu Bakr Siddiq (may ALLAH be pleased with him) and commonly known as Sidi Sheikh was buried. He stayed there for five years worshipping and teaching, occasionally going to Ain Madhi.

In 1181 of the hegira, when he was only 31 years old, he went to Tlemcen where he taught the exegeses and the hadith for several years, all the while dedicating himself to adoration and contemplation.

He was loved and respected by the scholars for the compliance of his acts together with his vast knowledge and wisdom.

To those who questioned him on the identity of the outstanding erudite who had transmitted such vast knowledge to him, he answered (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret): « I did not receive this knowledge from one person alone but from all those that I have met.” His increasing notoriety and his brilliant prodigies drew a growing population towards him. Some came to benefit from his knowledge while others came to benefit from his blessings, considering him as a Sheikh. But he refused categorically any title or claim and blamed them for this, saying to them: “Note that we are equal regarding the mutual benefit. None has more merit than another and granting me the title of Sheikh is but a bad innovation.” Indeed, he feared the pretention of calling himself a Sheikh without beforehand having received the specific authorization.

Here in Tlemcen, Seyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) saw the great Wali and Pole of his time, the Gawth Sidi Abu Madian (may ALLAH be pleased with him) in a dream in an assembly saying: “I will give whatever he requests to whoever gives me something.” He gave the impression of someone preparing to offer a banquet and who invited people to participate in the expenses. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) said to him: “I will give you four mathaqil (currency unit) and guarantee me the Qutbaniya el ‘Oudhma”. He replied: “Yes, I give you my guarantee and you will not die before having received it.”

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) went towards him to submit his payment but then he woke up. After sunrise, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) went to the mausoleum of the Ghawth and on arrival said to him: “Master, here are forty Awqiya as I had promised you, I give them to you. However, I am going to give this money to the poor and the reward will be attributed to you.” He gave away the money to the destitute and one of them said: “I wanted to offer a wedding banquet but I had nothing. So yesterday, I implored  the help of ALLAH through the intermediary of Sidi Abou Madian, and certainly this is his help, may ALLAH be satisfied with him.”

Another event would confirm this dream. Indeed, one day, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) met a man well known for seeing spiritual entities in an awakened state, who told him what he wanted to know. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) asked him: “I have hidden something in my heart, tell me what it is.”

The man questioned the Ruhani and they told him that Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) was referring to the Qutbaniyya. Then, he noticed the presence of somebody mysterious next to the spiritual entities. This stranger said to them disapprovingly: “Who permitted you to speak of this?” The Ruhani answered: “This request comes from him (Seyyidina)” The mysterious character retorted: “It is I who guaranteed this Qutbaniya to him in Tlemcen before his departure, and he will not die without having attained it. Do not intervene regarding this matter, neither you nor any other.” Actually, this stranger was Sidi Abou Madian el Ghawth (may ALLAH be pleased with him). The man who had the ability to speak to the spiritual entities had never seen Seyyidina before and did not know him.

In 1186 of the hegira, at the age of 36, after many endeavors, he felt the need to accomplish his pilgrimage and to visit the Master of Existence (peace and blessings be upon him). During his travel, he encountered other great figures such as Sidi Mohamad ibn 'Abderahman el Azhari (may ALLAH be pleased with him) in the area of Zwawa, near Algiers, from whom he took the Khalwatiya-Rahmaniya path. This great Master who had a growing influence in all the Algerian regions, had himself taken it directly from the great Sheikh of the Khalwatiya, Sheikh Al Azhar, Sidi Sidi Mohamad ibn 'Abderahman el Azhari (may ALLAH be pleased with him).

Then Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) continued his journey as far as Tunisia where he met certain Awliya including the Wali Abdsamad Rahaoui  (may ALLAH be pleased with him), who was himself under the authority of the Pole of the region and Seyyidina requested to meet him. However, Sidi Abdsamad Rahaoui (may ALLAH be pleased with him) told him that the Pole met no one except four people. Sidi Rahaoui (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was counted among these four exceptions, but these meetings only took place during the nights of Mondays and Fridays. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) gave him a gold coin (mahboub) to offer to the Pole on his behalf. In return, he received the good news that he was loved in the following terms: “He who is loved has sent a golden coin. (El Mahboub ba'atha-l-mahboub)”

In Tunisia, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) saw the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who said to him: “Invoke to obtain the Knowledge, or whatever you desire and I will say “Amine” to your request.” So Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) invoked and the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said “Amine” (so be it). Then he recited the Sourate “Wa douha” and he reached the verse that states: “And your Lord will give you (all i.e. good)”, the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stared at Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) with his noble gaze and then completed the recitation of the Surate.

Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him) stayed for one year in Tunisia, between the towns of Tunis and Sousse. He taught diverse domains of Knowledge as well as the Hikam of Ibn ‘Ata ALLAH (may ALLAH be pleased with him). Ascertaining the extent of his knowledge, the Emir of Tunisia sent him a message requesting him to settle in Tunis to teach the noble knowledge and equally attend to religious matters. For this, he would provide a dwelling, a considerable salary and a professorship at the famous university of Zaiytuna.

When Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) received the letter of the Emir, he did not say a word. The next day, he fled and took the boat to Cairo, in Egypt. Due to a dream, he had the earnest intention of meeting the famous Wali, the majestic Master, the Muhadith and the perfect Knower, Sidi Mahmoud El Kurdiyu (may ALLAH be pleased with him) who originated from Irak. One of the particularities of this noble figure was to have met several times Al Khadir (may ALLAH be pleased with him) and obtained numerous benefit through his intermediary.

During his first encounter with Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret), as if to confirm the fact, Sidi Mahmud (may ALLAH be pleased with him) said: “You are loved by ALLAH, both in this world and the next.” Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret): “How do you know that?” to which he replied: “From ALLAH”. Then Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) said to him: “When I was in Tunisia, I saw you and I told you: “I am completely made of steel”. And you answered: “Yes! It is thus and will change your steel into gold.” When Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) recounted this, Sidi Mahmud (may ALLAH be pleased with him) answered: “Yes, it is as you had seen.”

Several days later, Sidi Mahmud El Kourdiyu (may ALLAH be pleased with him) questionned Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) about his ambition. Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) replied: “It is my ambition to reach the degree of the supreme poles (El Qutbaniya el ‘Uzma).” The famous master (may ALLAH be pleased with him) gave his confirmation, saying: “O my friend, the Most High has far more in store for you.”

Sidi Mahmud (may ALLAH be pleased with him) received The Tariqa Khalwatiya directly from the great Sheikh Sidi Muhammad El Hafni (may ALLAH be pleased with him).  He recounted to Seyydina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) the circumstances of his meeting with this noble figure and also with Sheikh Mustapha el Bakri (may ALLAH be pleased with him). So he mentioned a conversation between himself and Sheikh Mustafa el Bakri (may ALLAH be pleased with him) who once asked him: “O Mahmud, I see no sign (trace) of opening in you, maybe you are evoking another wird with our litany?” Sidi Mahmud answered this question in the affirmative. Sidi Mustafa (may ALLAH be pleased with him) turned to Sidi Muhammad el Hafni () saying: “Why are you giving him our authorization for our wird when he has a different litany?” Sidi Mahmud el Hafni replied: “O Master, seeing that he did not wish to forsake this litany, I thought that a mixture of black and white is better than completely black.” Sidi Mustafa (may ALLAH be pleased with him) spoke to Sidi Mahmud el Kurdiyu (may ALLAH be pleased with him) again, saying: “O Mahmud, spend the night on it, and tell me what you see.”

During the night, he saw the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in a dream, accompanied by Sheikh Mustafa on his right and Sheikh Qassiri on his left. Moreover, he had received his previous wird from Sheikh Qassiri. The well beloved Prophet (may ALLAH be pleased with him) said to him: “O Mahmud, abandon the path of Qassiri and take the path of Bakri for your opening is in his hands.” On waking, he informed Sidi Mustafa (may ALLAH be pleased with him) who replied: “O Mahmud, why are you embarrassing us in front of your Sheikh?” Sidi Mahmud complied with the order of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Taking leave of his Sheikh, who supplicated God on his behalf, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) left Egypt and traveled by sea to the holy city of Mecca. He arrived there in the month of Shawwal in 1187 of the hegira and made contact with its men of God. There again, he had an encounter of capital importance with a leading figure, the famous Sheikh Sidi Ahmed ibn AbdAllah el Hindi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) who was forbidden visitors.

So he sent a letter to Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) through his servant in which he announced: “You are the heir to my knowledge, my secrets, my gifts and my lights.” When Sidi Ahmed ibn AbdAllah el Hindi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) wrote this letter, he said to his servant: “This is the one that I have been waiting, he is my heir.” The servant exclaimed: “I have been in your service for eighteen years and today a man has arrived from the Maghreb and you tell me that he is your heir.” Sidi AbdALLAH (may ALLAH be pleased with him) said to him: “I was waiting for no other than him and I have no part in this decision. ALLAH, in his Mercy, choses who He wants. If I had any part in this decision, I would have chosen my son long ago and long before you.

So he transmitted all his knowledge, secrets and lights to Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) and then entrusted him with the education of his only son. He wrote to him: “By the right that ALLAH has granted me over you, I ask you to take care of my son.” He then announced that his soul would be reclaimed on the twentieth of the month of Dhul Hijja, and this was indeed what occurred. After his burial, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) called his son and confined himself with him. At that time, he transmitted the secret to him, in compliance with his vow regarding the instructions of the Sheikh. Among that which Sidi AbdALLAH (may ALLAH be pleased with him) transmitted to Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) was a great secret that he had to accomplish for seven days following which he would have had the opening. However, this was on the condition that he spoke to no one and that he isolated himself, but Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) refused to accomplish it because of these conditions.

When Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) prepared to leave for mount Arafat, he wrote to Sidi AbdALLAH el Hindi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) a letter asking him to see him  in order to benefit from his blessed vision.

He answered (may ALLAH be satisfied with him): “I am not authorized to meet anyone, but you will certainly meet the Pole after me and this will suffice you.” He was referring to the great saint and supreme Pole (Qutb Jami’), the Ghawth Sidi Muhammad ibn AbdelKarim Samman (may ALLAH be pleased with him) --dead in 1775 ad/ 1189 of the hegira. He also announced, as others had done previously, that he would attain the degree of Sheikh Abu-l-Hassan Shadhili (may ALLAH be pleased with him).

Having accomplished the precepts of the Hajj, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) went to Medina Munawara in order to pay a visit and contemplate at the tomb of his noble ancestor, our well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) with all the propriety and respect shown by the Knowers. Then, indeed, he met the famous Pole of marvelous prodigies Sidi Muhammad ibn AbdelKarim Samman (may ALLAH be pleased with him). His way is the quintessence of three eminent paths: the Khalwatiya, the Qadariya and the Shadhiliya. He revealed the secrets and the powers of the great men of God to Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret), and he wanted him to enter a spiritual retreat for three days in order to complete his elevation. However, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) had to decline his proposition for certain reasons. He gave him his permission for all the Names and revealed to him that he was in fact the Supreme Pole of this time (Qutb Jami’) and added: “Ask whatever you want” and Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) submitted his requests to which Sidi Muhammad ibn AbdelKarim Samman (may ALLAH be pleased with him) replied fully.

After Medina Munawara and the visit of the holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)’s tomb, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) returned to Cairo to visit Sidi Mahmud (may ALLAH be pleased with him) who was happy to see him again. He asked him to visit every day.

During this further stay, Sidi Mahmud el Kurdiyu (may ALLAH be pleased with him) submitted several different problems exposing various topics and asked him to resolve them. The scholars of Egypt were astonished at his answers which unraveled all kind of complexity without any ambiguity in the different domains of knowledge. Sidi Mahmud el Kurdiyu (may ALLAH be pleased with him) awarded him with a (ijaza) diploma of authorization in the Hadith including the different Sahih in a chain linking him back to the Imam Bukhari as well as the Sunan and other works. Before his departure, he also transmitted the path of Khalwatiyya to him, issuing him a diploma authorizing him to initiate, educate and train his disciples to this path. However, as usual, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) was reticent and refused the fact of initiating and educating disciples. Sidi Mahmud el Kurdiyu (may ALLAH be pleased with him) reassured him saying: “Be satisfied with transmitting the authorization and I will take responsibility for the rest.” And this, he accepted.

FATH EL AKBAR – THE EMERGENCE OF THE PATH

During the same year that he accomplished his pilgrimage, in 1188 of the hegira, he finally returned to the Maghreb and settled in Tlemcen. Here, he met the first of his future disciples, the great scholar Sidi Muhammad ibn Mechri (may ALLAH be pleased with him). He transmited the Tariqa Khalwatiya to him and appointed him to lead the prayer, because Seyyidina (may Allah be pleased with him) did not like to take this responsibility. Sidi Muhammad ibn Mechri (may Allah be pleased with him) remained his faithful companion until his death in 1224 of the hegira.

During this time in Tlemcen, certain people came to visit Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) to take him as a Sheikh and to put themselves in his hands. However, he would say to all those to whom he gave authorization: “We are just companions, and there is no Sheikh between us.”

In 1191 of the hegira, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) undertook a journey to Fes to pay a pious visit to Mulay Idriss (may Allah be pleased with him). Passing through Oujda, he met one of his greatest companion, Sidi Hajj Ali Harazim (may Allah be pleased with him) who had joined a caravan going to Fes and he met Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) who introduced himself to him. Sidi Hajj Ali Harazim (may Allah be pleased with him) had seen him in a dream two years previously, and he knew that he would become his companion but he had forgotten. After spending two or three days together, through his prodigy of unveiling, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) reminded him with accuracy of his dream. So his travelling companion was impressed and Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret): “Know that this encounter is all I wished for, praise be to ALLAH.”

Upon reaching Fes, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) settled here for a while in order to visit the tomb of Sidi Mulay Idriss (may Allah be pleased with him). During this time, he also transmitted the Khalwatiyya path to Sidi Hajj Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) and taught that which ALLAH had revealed to him of the knowledge and the secrets of the Sunnah. When the moment to return to Tlemcen came, and having bade farewell to Sidi Hajj Ali Harazim (may Allah be pleased with him), he instructed him: “Hold tight to the covenant and to love until you attain spiritual opening.” Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) also announced that he planned to leave Tlemcen for another place that ALLAH would choose for him, because his spiritual state could not be in accordance with this place where he found himself to be in a tightened spiritual state.

So he (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) returned to Tlemcen, and stayed there for some time, until his growing reputation came to preoccupy the Bey Muhammed ibn ‘Uthman who undertook to intimidate all those who came to him (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) and particularly since he was at the head of a great army in order to attack the cities of Laghouat and Ain Madhi. Thus, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) went towards the desert in 1196 of the hegira and stayed in the ancestral village of Bussemghun.

This ksar is named after a Pole who resided in the city where he is buried. Some say that forty Poles lived here and that Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) would have been the fortieth. From there, he went to visit certain virtuous Awliya in the town of Touat, with whom he exchanged knowledge and secrets, particularly with the Knower Sidi Muhammed ibn Fudil (may Allah be pleased with him). Then he returned to Bussemghun.

It was in this very village, when he was 46 years old, that Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) received his most precious and most majestic prodigy. When he (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) had withdrawn, as was his habit, in one of the rooms of his house, in broad daylight, he experienced his Great Opening. At this very moment and during the awakened state, the noble Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) came to him.

In his awakened state, the Master of Existence (peace and blessings be upon him) announced to him: “From now on I will be you Initiator, your Master, no other human being can claim to be your initiator. Consequently you must abandon everything that you have previously taken from all the paths. Nobody will be able to reproach you for anything for it is I who will be your intermediary with ALLAH and also your help.”

He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) became the custodian of the spiritual path of the beloved Prophet himself (peace and blessings be upon him), the “mother path”, i.e. the quintessence which encompasses all the other paths. It is the Tariqa Ahmediya, Muhammadiya, Ibrahimiya, Hanifiya which contains immense blessings never obtained within the other paths, in the same way that the community of the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has blessings never obtained by any other community before Islam. This is because this path originates and receives its irrigation from the Seal of the prophets and the messengers. Sheikh Muhieddine ibn Arabi (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Awliya follow in the footsteps of the prophets. Each wali is following in the footsteps of a prophet.”

Thus, each Sheikh drinks from the spiritual source of one of the prophet of ALLAH. Of course the highest spiritual station for the Shouyoukh is that which drinks from the highest station of the prophets which is without doubt that of the Seal, our Master Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). He is the mother source and the origin of all spiritual sources. So Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) went from a spiritual chain encompassing numerous masters back to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) over several centuries, to a single, unique and precious chain linking him directly to him (peace and blessings be upon him).

The merits of the path of the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Caliph Sidi Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) are countless.

The well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) the wird that he should transmit containing the lights of his particular station and then he dictated the inherent conditions of his path. He (peace and blessings be upon him) also granted him the litanies of which the content was secret that had been specifically reserved for him, as well as their implementation.

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said: « I recite no evocation if it has not been planned and specified by the Messenger of ALLAH.”

Among the immense gifts that he receives for himself (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) as well as for his disciples, is a prayer upon the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) called Salat Fatihi.

Although he had learned and had accomplished this prayer before receiving directly from the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), in reality Salat Fatihi and its merits had been reserved for his time. Thus, he, his disciples and those who have received the authorization alone can benefit from the extent of its special merits. He said: “I was performing Salat Fatihi from the time of my return from pilgrimage until I reached Tlemcen, because I had come to know the merits that it contained. Indeed, a single recitation of Salat Fatihi is equivalent to the recitation of 600 000 other prayers as it has been stated in Ouird Jouyoub. Its author narrated that it had been mentioned by Sidi Muhammad El Bakri Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) who was a Pole and who had said: “Any person who has recited it even once and who does not enter Paradise, may He catch me and bring me before ALLAH on the Day of Judgment.” And so I evoked it continually until I left Tlemcen for Bussemghun.

Then, I noticed another prayer that was the equivalent of 70000 recitations of Dalail El Khayrat so I abandonned Salat Fatihi and concentrated entirely on this prayer because of its blessings. Then, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordained me to continue Salat Fatihi and I asked him what were its merits. He told me that a single recitation of Salat Fatihi was equivalent to all the glorifications of all creation as well as all the formulas of evocation and supplication be they large or small.

He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said : Salat Fatihi is a divine act (i.e a divine blessing) that leaves no room for human reason… Suppose there were a hundred thousand communities and each one comprised a 100000 tribes and that each tribe comprised 100000 men and that each one of those men lived 100 000 years and recited 100 000 prayers on the Prophet –other than Salat Fatihi- every day. Suppose now that we gather together all the rewards of all these communities of all this time. They would not be equivalent to the reward that comes from the evocation of one single Salat Fatihi.

He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) also received another special prayer upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) known as Djawharatul Kamal, whose majestic formulation is a concentrate of the knowledge of the Muhamadian Reality. Its merits and secrets are numerous. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) mentioned in a letter: “Know that ALLAH has graced us with immense generosity by the gift of the prayer called Djawharatul Kamal. Indeed, for all who recite it twelve times having performed complete ablutions, and then say: “This is a gift for you O Messenger of ALLAH”, it is the same as visiting the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in his Rawda Sherifa --a place in the mosque of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), in Medina, called the heavenly garden-- and the same as visiting all the Awliya that have ever lived since the exile of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) until the accomplishment of this dhikr. Note, may ALLAH have mercy upon you, these great favors, these invaluable precious stones that ALLAH The Generous has given us and of which all other peoples were deprived […]”

The well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gave him several specific recommendations and advice concerning the code of conduct to follow: “Remain in this Tariqa, without withdrawing from the world nor ceasing relationships with others men until you attain the spiritual station that is promised to you, keeping your state, without excessive discomfort, nor difficulty, nor excessive worship. From now on, renounce all the Saints.”

Later, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said: « Indeed, we have taken from numerous Shouyoukh, may ALLAH be satisfied with them, but ALLAH has decreed that none of them would lead me to my goal. Thus, our chain and our Master in this path go all the way back to the Master of Existence (peace and blessings be upon him) and ALLAH has also decreed that our opening as well as all that we obtain would only be realized in his hands. No other Shouyoukh hold sway over us. And that is sufficient.”

Although until now he refused the role of Sheikh, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) became the beloved Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) representative in the transmission of his path. As soon as he became the noble depository of this heavy burden, he was filled with the sentiment of fear but also of hope so as to be a cause of salvation for the members of the community of the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). So he made it known to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who confirmed this and revealed: “You are the door to Salvation for all who disobey and bring harm upon themselves.”

Infused with the same state of mind, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) wrote his requests for assurance to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), for himself and his companions, as follows: “I request, by the grace of our Master, the Messenger of ALLAH, assurance for me and all those ones that I and every living person among them die in Islam and Faith. I request that ALLAH the Most High preserve us from His Chastisement, from fear, apprehension and fright, from all evil, from the moment of death until we are established in Paradise and also that He forgives me and them for all our previous sins and all those yet to come. I request that ALLAH The Most High shades us with His throne on the Day of Judgment and that ALLAH The Most High leads us to drink at the pool of our Master The Messenger of ALLAH (peace and blessings be upon him). I request that our Lord admits us to Paradise without judgement or punishment, in the first group to enter and that our Lord establishes all in the Iliyine of Firdaws and Adnane Paradise. I also request the Messenger of ALLAH for assurance from ALLAH The Most High that everything that has been mentioned in these notes for myself and all my companions be granted and that ALLAH grants both me and them all that I have requested here and its entirety, by a promise of Him that enable us to achieve everything that has been mentioned in this letter.[…].”

This document was then delivered to the blessed hands of the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in an awakened state, not in a dream. He (peace and blessings be upon him) replied: “Know that I assure all the requests contained in this letter, with an infallible promise to you and them, until you are all with me in the highest degree of Iliyine. I confirm this commitment, without fail, for all your requests. Peace be upon you.”

During the time that he had spent in this region, Seyyidina (may Allah be pleased with him) first resided, from 1196 to 1199 of the hegira, in the small neighboring village of Chellala Gueblia and then, from 1199 to 1213 of the hegira, in the Ksar of Bussemghun. The remains of the places where he used to isolate himself for spiritual practices are still to be found in Chellala. In fact, it is here that he received the prodigy of vision.

Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) related: « It was during this famous year that the prodigy of vision was granted to me. » He was asked to explain what was the prodigy of vision and he (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) replied: “The Messenger of ALLAH (peace and blessings be upon him) said to me: “He who sees you on Fridays and Mondays will enter Paradise without Judgment and without chastisement.””

Then Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) added: “I was in Chellala when a man came to ask me: “We heard say that he who sees you on Friday or Monday will enter Paradise without Judgment and without chastisement. Is this true?” “It is the truth” I replied. He asked me: « Even he who sees you is changed (altered)? » I asked him: “Did he see me?” He answered me: « Yes » So I said : « Then he will also be admited. »” Then Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was asked about the meaning of the word “changed” and he answered: “It is a person who lacks rectitude.” ”

Over the years, he (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) received initiation directly from the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as well as the order and authorization to call people to this path. To his surprising mastery of common knowledge, an ever increasing divine knowledge was added. So then came a period of propagation that lasted thirteen years, in this region and elsewhere, through certain companions including Sidi Muhammad ibn Mechri (may Allah be pleased with him) and Sidi Mahmud Tunsi (may Allah be pleased with him). People came from far and wide to benefit from his Baraka and from that amanah with which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had entrusted him. All villages and tribes came to receive affiliation from him ((may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret)), whether they were virtuous people or bandits who had come to repent and to be reformed by the grace of his lights. Thus, the knower Sidi Muhammad ibn Fudeel (may Allah be pleased with him) who he had known at Touat, came for affiliation to the Tariqa. Other Awliya from Oued Souf (in East Algeria, close to Tunisian border) did likewise.

In 1201 of the hegira, when Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was visiting Ain Madhi, a group of ten people come from Oued Souf to see him. Nine of them came from the village of Guemar and the tenth from Tazghout, a place close to their village. Their guide was one of Seyyidina’s disciple, Sidi Muhammad Sassi (may Allah be pleased with him) who had been affiliated to him three years before. When they set out, Seyydina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) enjoined them to build a zawiya in Guemar. Upon reaching home, they did their best to realize Seyyidina’s instruction.

They agreed upon a location in Tazghout. The following year, they again visited Seyyidina who asked them: “Have you built the Zawiya?” And they replied:”Yes we have”. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) then asked them: “Where?” to which they replied: «In Tazghout ». Seeing Seyyidina’s insistence that the Zawiya be built in Guemar they said to him: « Tazghout and Guemar are like one single town.” Seyyidina answered: “ALLAH and His Prophet refuse the zawiya to be built elsewhere than East of Guemar”. Finally, on the orders of Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), Sidi Mahmoud Tounsi (may Allah be pleased with him) joined them in order to designate the desired place and thus in 1204 of the hegira, the first zawiya in the history of this noble Tariqa Tidjaniya was constructed in Guemar.

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) often traveled to Ain Madhi to visit his family, and also to Taza to see one of his young and yet so devoted and pious companion, Sidi Muhammad ibn Arabi Damraui (may Allah be pleased with him). It was, in particular, he who, in the beginning, served as intermediary between the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret). Indeed, because of his great modesty, Seyyidina was not able to speak in front of the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and forgot everything. Finally, Sidi Muhammad ibn Arabi Damraui (may Allah be pleased with him) settled in Bussemghun, then in Ain Madhi where he passed away in 1204 of the hegira.

The same year, on the occasion of Eid el Adha in Ain Madhi, another young man, equally meritorious, originating from Tamacine, came to visit him accompanied by the group from Guemar. His name was Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may Allah be pleased with him), and upon meeting Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), he observed in him a dimension much larger than that which the ordinary and elite could perceive. He decided to offer his life to this man who exuded this special emanation of Divine proximity, by devoting himself at his sides and leaving wife and children behind him with no regret.

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) knew that he would confine the responsibility for the tariqa to him after his death, and the good tidings concerning him were numerous. So, after some time, he sent him home to prepare his destiny, saying to him: “When you return in peace to Tamacine, busy yourself with extending your house and prepare a place for prayer and zikr. Reserve also places for visitors and increase construction of buildings, for you will attain an objective such that people will come to see you from far and wide. Do not fear any restriction from the Throne Holder, seek the help of ALLAH for this.”

His companion Sidi Hajj Harazim (may Allah be pleased with him) came frequently from Fes to visit him and was astonished to observe the depth and breadth of his lordly knowledge which increased from one visit to the next. He contemplated the effect of divine effusions in him and was amazed by his face that lit up and his speech that charmed those who listened with knowledge imperceptible even for the most awakened minds. Those who came to him with doubt and uncertainties left having met him with certainties and conviction. Sidi Hajj Ali Harazim (may Allah be pleased with him) also assumed the role of intermediary six months after the death of Sidi Muhammad ibn Arabi (may Allah be pleased with him) on the authorization of the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

In Bussemghun, two of Seyyidina’s young sons, Sidi Ismail and Sidi Mukhtar (may ALLAH be pleased with them), died at a young age. Another son, Sidi Muhammad el Kebir (may Allah be pleased with him) whose mother was the pious lady Mabruka, a freed servant that Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) had married, was also born here. He also married Mubarika (M’barika) another of his freed servants. He particularly appreciated their piety and devotion. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said: “Blessed is the house where Mabruka and Mubarika are.”

This order expanded considerably and rapidly, fanning the jealousy of certain people and provoking concern for the Turkish authorities of the time who impose unjust laws. Once again, Seyyidina’s destiny would resemble that of the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Just as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had to leave Mecca and go into exile in Medina, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was forced to leave Bussemghun and go into exile in Fes. So, the seventeenth of Rabi’ el Awal in the year of 1213 of the hegira, he prepared to set out accompanied by his family via the village of Figuig, identical ksar to that of Bussemghun. He was accompanied by Sidi Hajj Ali Harazim (may Allah be pleased with him) and Sidi Muhammad ibn Mechri (may Allah be pleased with him). On this sad occasion, the inhabitants of Bussemghun, men, women and children wanted to abandon their beautiful village and follow him, but Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) consoled and requested them to stay. Then he (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said to them: “You have my entire approval, whatever your situation, O people of Bussemghun. May ALLAH grant you his approval.”

On this subject, the following verses were proclaimed:
“On the seventeenth day on the month of Rabi’ el Awwal, 1213 of the hegira, Bussemghun cried
The loss of the breath of the Pole Tidjani who, of all creatures, is without doubt the perfect irrigator,
Fes rejoiced in the arrival of Tidjani
On the sixth of Rabi’ Thani, the same year.”

Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) left his homeland, that was suffering the oppression and the unjust law of Turkish authorities at that time, to go to the famous town of Fes, the sanctuary of knowledge, governed according to the Divine Law (Sharia). He took with him the precious legacy of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): The Tariqa Ahmediya, Muhammediya, Ibrahimiya Hanifiya.

They reached Fes on the six of Rabi Thani and Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was sixty-three years old. On the first night, his pack animals slept in the great courtyard of the magnificent University-Mosque of Qarawiyine. People criticized and objected saying that they would soil the place with their urine and their excrements. However, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) solemnly promised that this would not occur. This seemed impossible to them, by the next day, they were surprised to see that indeed no animal had soiled the courtyard which was nothing short of a prodigy.

Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was welcomed into the parents’ house of his faithful companion Sidi Haj Harazim (may Allah be pleased with him). Rapidly, the magnitude of his particular knowledge, the depth of his teaching and the authentic manifestations of his prodigies would conquer more and more hearts. The teaching that he offered sometimes at the Diwan mosque and sometimes at Qarawiyine mosque was greatly sought after. This simple man whose  facial features were weathered by the harsh climate of the desert intrigued the inhabitants of Fes and its scholars with their delicate and elegant appearance. Style shortly gave way to content and the scholars of Fes had no choice but to bow before the extent of his particular knowledge and the perspicacity of his meditation.

In the three dimensions of religion, that is to say, Islam, Iman, Ihsan, he excelled in his mastery, his understanding and practice. Because of this, those who came across him and had the opportunity to examine his words and deeds were filled with admiration before what they considered to be living manifestation and realization of the prophetic teaching. One day, one of the greatest scholars in Fes, whose assembly was attended by people who came from far and wide, Sidi Abdrahman ibn Ahmed Chinguiti (may Allah be pleased with him), descendant of Abu Bakr Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) scolded a pupil who lacked respect towards Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) saying: “Hush! My child, I swear by ALLAH, the One whom there is no deity worthy of worship except He, that I know no greater scholar than him in this world.”

Before his growing popularity, certain people felt jealous of him and frequently denigrated him. More than anything else, they wished for him to be chased out of Fes and began strategies aiming at accomplishing this evil scheme. Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) paid no attention for he knew that it is by and for ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted) that he had reached there and that He was the only one who could chase him out. One day, the Sultan at that time Mawlana Sultan Suleyman (may Allah be pleased with him), grand guardian of the orthodoxy of religion and himself a great scholar, began to show interest in Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret). He questioned influential people around him about Seyyidina, but these people were among the plotters and criticized him for fear that the Sultan would invite him to attend his prestigious assembly of scholars. This assembly brought together only the greatest shcolars in the kingdom and took place before the Sultan himself. So however ALLAH decreed the presence, at that moment, near the Sultan, of one of the most famous and reputable scholar of Fes and his Qadi, Sidi Abdelqader ibn Chaqroun dead in 1219 of the hegira. He defended Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret). He listed his merits and particularities of his knowledge to such an extent that the Sultan became impatient to meet him. He also wished to shed light on the rumor claiming that he was the direct depository of the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and also his disciple and that he saw him in awakened state.

So, he invited him to join the scholars who formed the elite in all fields of knowledge and to take his place in this congregation. During the exegesis of the Sourate Nas by one the most prestigious specialist in the field, the Sultan asked Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) for his opinion on the different statements and explanations that were being so brilliantly presented. But Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) refuted certain words despite the objection of the speaker and presented a clear and substantiated commentary with ample proof.

At first, the noble assembly was speechless and astonished before such prowess and exclaimed: “By ALLAH, this is indeed the brilliant Truth!” How could a man coming from the desert effortlessly compete with and even surprise such an exceptional gathering of great scholars and leading figures? After his departure, the Sultan was so full of admiration that he said to those still present: “You know the degree and majesty of Sidi Ahmed Tidjani’s outer knowledge. Now know that in terms of hidden knowledge, he is the mother, the father and their children at the same time. What do you think?” They answered: “These words are true. Truth has manifested devoid of any falsehood and all are able to see the Truth clearly.”

Then, Mawlana Suleyman (may Allah be pleased with him) knew with certainty that the rumor claiming that Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) saw the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in a awakened state was true and he requested him persistently for a chance to meet the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also. Despite his warnings regarding the impossibility of bearing such an encounter, the Sultan insisted until Seyyidina yielded and gave him the conditions that needed to be met. According to his wishes, on the day of the meeting, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) stayed with him to keep him company, but Mawlana Suleyman was unable to bear the intense light preceding the manifestation of the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and he fainted before such radiance. Upon awakening, he felt even more respect towards Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) and asked his authorization for affiliation to his Tariqa that had been entrusted to him by the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

The Sultan wished fervently for Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) to settle in Fes and offered him a beautiful dwelling known as the “dwelling of mirrors” Dar Miraya who was among his possessions. Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) hesitated and at first he declined the Sultan’s offer, fearing that his house was part of the common heritage of the crown. The well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) authorized him to live there and in exchange every month he would give the equivalent of the rent in bread to the poor and this for as long as his stay in this house would last up until his death. This is what he did.

Previously, this house had belonged to the Pole Mulay Tayeb ibn Muhammad (may Allah be pleased with him) who was buried in Wazan. The Sultan (may Allah be pleased with him) had bought it from the inheritors with his personal fortune that he himself had inherited. He had renovated it and offered it to a noble person of Fes. The lawyers at that time had witnessed this transaction, accomplished by means of his personal wealth and it was clear that he preferred to use his own resources. During the outbreak of plague in 1213 of the hegira, the noble to whom it had been offered died. The Sultan (may Allah be pleased with him) shrewdly understood that the monetary value of the house would be of more benefit to his inheritors than the building itself and so he offered to purchase it from them. After that, it remained empty for some time until he gifted it to Seyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret).

Two months after settling in Fes, that is to say, at the beginning of Shawwal, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) ordain Sidi Hajj Ali Harazim (may Allah be pleased with him) to compose this famous book known as Djawahirou-l-Ma'ani. Sidi Hajj Ali Harazim (may Allah be pleased with him) had been taking notes whilst attending Seyyidina’s teaching as had had other companions. He had started to compile them in a book. However, at that time, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), because of the intensity of his modesty, instructed him to destroy all the notes and and throw them away. So Sidi Hajj Ali Harazim (may Allah be pleased with him) complied with his instruction. Then the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) intervened and ordered him to restore it and reassured him thus: “This is my book and it is I who wrote it.” So again, Sidi Hajj Ali Harazim (may Allah be pleased with him) collected the notes of certain companions that were still available and this work was completed one year later in the month of Dhul Qada in 1214 of the hegira

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) validated and certified its content whilst he was at the Diwan mosque. The work received the title of “Djawahiru-l-Ma'ani wa Bulugh al Amani fi Faydhi Sidi Abu-l-'Abbas Tidjani” (The quintessence of understanding and the accomplishment of all hopes through the effusion of Sidi Abu-l-'Abbas Tidjani). This noble book is a concentrate of both subtle and vast knowledge dealing with dogma, exegesis, hadith, jurisprudence, sufism as well as education and other disciplines that forever quench those who thirst for knowledge.

In this house, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) bestowed initiation and education on his disciples. He taught and explained the Quran and the prophetic tradition to a growing number of students of which an impressive number of scholars, perfect awliya and spiritual masters. Many among them were descendants of the well beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

Seyyidina (may Allah be pleased with him) lived in his house together with his family and several servants to whom he was extremely attentive and showed clemency and kindness to them. Although he himself wore clothes of average quality, he gave clothes of best quality to his servants. He provided for their needs with care, even more than if they had been servants of the king himself. This consideration was noticeable and so when other citizens came across them, they deduced: “That is surely one of Seyyidina’s servants.” For the same reasons, he never liberated nor dismissed a servant who had lived so pleasantly in his house. Indeed, he feared causing harm to them. Regarding this, he said: if we dismissed this servant, he would lose the benefit that he used to enjoy with us and thus we would be the cause of his distress.”

One day, while walking in the streets of Fes, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) noticed some badly dressed slaves, who appeared to be unhealthy and their clothes shabby, although it was the middle of winter. So he said: “It would not be pleasing to ALLAH that the masters of these servants would even smell the scent of Paradise.”

When he (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) wanted to liberate servants, which he frequently did in large numbers, he purchased them and then having established the sales documents, he immediately drew up the acts of liberation without them entering his home.

Then he provided to each freed slave with a sum of money so that he would be able to begin a new life. One day, in this way, he freed twenty-five people. On another occasion, in the space of one day, he acquired seventeen slaves that he liberated immediately.

One day, a man who was among a group of liberated slaves, asked: « Where is he who bought and then liberated me? » Seyyidina was informed of this and said: « Bring him to me ». When he came before him (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), this recently liberated slave asked: « Is it actually you who liberated me? Seyyidina said yes. The person declared: « I give myself to your service ». And Seyyidina accepted his request. As a result of his company and his sincere service to Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), he obtained vast spiritual favours and in particular the possibility to see the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) appeared in front of him, he would say: « Know that I am Muhammad ibn AbdALLAH, Allah’s messenger. This servant was actually the well-known Sidi Boujama (may Allah be pleased with him) who, like all of Seyyidina’s servants had received the Tariqa from his hands and obtained the opening of the doors to sainthood.

Also among Seyyidina’s servants were Sidi Bilal, Sidi Mess’ud, Sidi Baraka, Sidi Mehdi, Sidi Salim Seghir, Sidi ‘AbdAllah…

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was so attentive to their wellbeing that he married each of them to one of the female servants of the household and this preoccupation included the domestic animals, for he never left a male or a female without a partner. He warned his disciples on this matter saying: « The man who owns a servant that he does not want, but does not allow her to marry someone else, may just as well put aside his rosary, nothing connects us anymore. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was gentle and lenient with their mistakes, mindful of repairing their errors with justice when required. Once, one of his young servants hit someone and broke his tooth. The affaire was brought before the Judge who told them: « Seyyidina has more right than me to judge this incident and so I urge to go and see him. » The official took them both and entered Seyyidina’s house. Seyyidina took out fifty-two big riyals saying to the victim : « Take this and if you want more, you will have more ».

But he refused and said: « I forgive him for you ». Seyyidina repeatedly requested him to accept and each time he answered: « I forgive him for you. » until finally he accepted two riyals and gave them to the official. Then they returned to see the judge and informed him of the situation. The judge exclaimed: « May ALLAH be satisfied with Seyyidina who is most fitting to bring justice. Then he instructed the man to go to the judicial officer and registered the transaction and to address the receipt to Seyyidina, who following this incident did not admonish him.

Daily provisions of Seyyidina’s household were considerable to the extent that people who did not know him thought that these provisions were intended for several households. He stocked commodities for a whole year: cereals, oil, honey and fruits in sufficient quantity for all his family and his guests, so as to offer abundant meals with generosity and magnanimity. His aim was to satisfy them and to shower upon them the blessings of their Lord, and not with a view to luxury and refinement. He sometimes said that if it was not for his consideration for them and his willingness to put himself at their level of understanding, by protecting them from the desire to own that which belongs to others, he would have no provision. He himself took one meal per day in the middle of the morning. He ate a little and gave the rest away.

He provided for the needs of his guests, the weak and the needy in search of ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted) among those who kept his company, and in addition to this, those whose expenses he covered, and all those who came to his house.

He provided for the needs of countless people. Speaking of ALLAH’s blessing on him (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), he once said: « If I wanted to provide seventy thousand households, then, no doubt, I would have done it. »

A full load of wheat hardly sufficed for two or three days, and when large delegations of visitors attended there was no way to quantify. Despite this, he never worried however many visitors he had. It was his habit to satisfy people of his household before offering to his guests. On the other hand, if he had reserved a dish for his guests and there was not enough for his family, he never failed to prepare more for them. Indeed he was careful not to favour one duty over another. If any food remained, he looked for someone to finish it immediately. If he sent food outside that had been intended for his guests and that they had not finished, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) gave the rest as alms. In this way, none of the food that he offered for the sake of ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted) came back to his house.

He spoke about giving and receiving. He emphasized that this should be performed solely by ALLAH and for ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted). He also stipulated that giving and receiving for any other than ALLAH would result in misfortune. Then he (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) claimed: “Whosoever gives me something for my own sake will only reap misfortune.”

One time, he was questioned on the reason why he frequently refused donations whereas the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself accepted them and he said: “Before, donations were donations, but these days they become bribes.”

One day, a man came to him (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) and said : « O my Master! I offer you this part of my money, out of love for you and as a ransom.” Seyyidina accepted his offer and held it in his hands. Then, the man whispered in his ear: “O my Master, please do this and that for me!” Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) replied: “Take back your money!” and he refused.

It was his habit to give alms both day and night. Every week, he distributed wheat to the needy in the area, of which the weak, the orphans, the widows, all the destitute according to their situation. In the same way, in the early morning of the festival of Eid, he used to give away bread to the children on his doorstep. He did the same for all those among his companions who were unable to provide for themselves and help them financially. He spent fortunes and considerable donations far more than any rich merchant and this was only a glimpse of the many signs and prodigies of ALLAH and Muhammadiyan blessing among those inherited from the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). People who were afflicted by the disease of doubt spread the rumour that he was using alchemy and when they saw the huge pile of coal needed to provide for the household, they claimed that he was transforming it into gold.

So Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may Allah be pleased with him) was constantly caring to all. Whether they were townsfolk or Bedouins, he considered them like his own children, or like his brothers or like friends. Even the animals received their part of his generosity, for every evening he sent one of his servants out to feed the neighbourhood cats.

When the treasurer of the household passed away, his children came to return a considerable sum of gold that Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) had entrusted to their father. He refused to take it back and offered all of it to them saying: “Your father, may ALLAH have mercy upon him, stayed with us for many years. Keep this money for you, it is of no importance.”

He considered everything he possessed as a deposit from ALLAH for which he was responsible and he used to say: “Money is the exclusive property of ALLAH! I am but his treasurer, compelled to manage and administrate His Wealth.

He encouraged his disciples to be generous saying to them: “Among the best voluntary deeds a servant can accomplish is daily alms, however little.” He was extremely discrete and most of the time he did not want the beneficiaries to know that he was the author of the donation. Often, he would assign someone to convey it, instructed him to say nothing on this matter. This attitude intended to preserve the needy and to uplift his aspiration. In this way, he would give thanks to his Lord and would not be attached to the person through whom ALLAH had sent this gift.

Each and every one of his companions had at one moment or another, benefited from his donations, gifts, favours and blessings. In every act, every word, every impetus of the heart, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) carefully purified their intention. Once in an assembly, Seyyidina said: “He who loves me for ALLAH The Most High and his messenger may love me thus, as for he who loves me for his own interest, then, by ALLAH, and there is no other God but Him, I have nothing more than an ordinary man, and nothing else.” Then Sidi Muhammad El Ghali (may Allah be pleased with him) seized the opportunity to kiss his foot while he was distracted saying: “Welcome to this ordinary man thanks to whom his companions have surpassed the greatest Poles.” Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) replied: “That is true but what is this to ALLAH?”

For himself and his family, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) judged according to the Sunnah, he made it his reference for each and every act and state. He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) used to say: “All good comes from following the Sunnah, and all evil comes from disobeying it.”

In his house, no act disrespectful of the Sunnah was committed. He turned his family away from all the customs and innovations that were fashionable at that time. Similarly, when he noticed behaviour that was not in accordance with the Law, he informed the person concerned or scolded him if he had done it deliberately, saying: “Is this what we are taught by the Sunnah?”

One day, someone came to greet him and once in Seyyidina’s (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) presence, threw himself on the floor to kiss the ground in an act of veneration. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said to him: “You have just committed and act of disbelief.” You must say: “I affirm that there is no God other than ALLAH and that Muhammad is the Messenger of ALLAH.”

In all his exhortations and everything that he wrote, he reminded the necessity to follow the Sunna, as per the following advice: “I advise you to fear ALLAH both interiorly and exteriorly and to follow the Sunnah whether it is near or far or exceptional, in words and deeds and to take the Sunnah for authority in each situation […].”

For those who follow him, at all times, he left the following golden rule: “Weigh the words that are attributed to me on the scales of the Sharia. Accept what is in conformity and reject what is not.”

He received immeasurable strength, accomplishing prophetic actions, equal to the abundance of his lights and the intensity of his state which is the very origin of the Knowledge. “As for knowledge, the method of accessing it is to follow the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) in all his words, acts, states, characteristics, observing the Divine Rights in public and in private, accomplishing everything sincerely for ALLAH, with no alteration from things of this world or the Hereafter. All this should be accomplished solely in order to exalt ALLAH and magnify Him, with approval [“on the mat of approval”] and submission, relying on Him, counting on Him (may he be glorified) for everything, turning to Him for everything.”

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) once spoke about the case of a group of well-known innovators who dishonestly claimed to be Sufis, saying: “ALLAH has prescribed for them deceit in this world and Fire in the next.”

Through his spiritual state and his words, he made sure to eliminate pretention and curiosity and constantly oriented people in this way.

He accomplished all the obligatory and voluntary deeds, including the best of them, without any distraction or negligence. He was careful to perform the prayers at the appropriate time and in congregation, attentive to the perfection of the bow and the prostration. He accomplished them sublimely, in the most perfect manner peacefully, with serenity and properness towards ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted), like the prayer of all respectful knowers. One day, a scholar came to meet him and when he arrived, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was performing the prayers with his companions. He was so fascinated/captivated by their manners and attitude that he said: “By ALLAH, certainly, this is the prayer of the pious ancestors (Salaf Salih) that is no longer to be found.”

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) advised : « Be extremely careful not to fall into perdition into which careless people who do not pay attention to the perfect performance of their prayer fall.”

He was especially vigilant regarding sincerity while performing deeds and more particularly the prayer. One day, in a desert village, during the Friday prayer, because of Seyyidina’s presence in the ranks, the presiding Imam extended the recitation considerably. When the Imam had completed the prayer, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) asked him: “Is this the way you usually pray?” He replied: “No.” So Seyyidina said to him: “You should begin your prayer again.” And so he did.

To illustrate the evil side of receiving a salary in return for leading the prayer, or any other pious deed such as the Azan, bearing witness, teaching knowledge, and issuing legal pronouncement (Fatwa), Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said: “There was an Imam who used to receive a salary for the prayer and gave it to the poor as alms. When he died, the questioning angels came to him but he remained petrified and voiceless, not knowing what he should answer to them and it seemed to be inevitable that he was on the point of undergoing terrible hardships. At this critical moment, a good looking person appeared to him and dictated the answers. Then, when the two angels left, he asked: “By ALLAH, who are you?” The person answered: “I am your pious deeds.” So the Imam said: “Where were you?” and the person replied: “It is because you received a salary for your role as Imam.” The Imam answered: “I swear by ALLAH that I did not use it for myself one single time in my whole life, I gave it as alms.” So the person explained to him: “Know that if you had used it, you would never have seen me.””

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) once said: “Even if I was offered everything I wanted, I would not have accomplished a single prayer in return for a salary.”

He who knew Seyyidina’s state did not dare to stand next to him in the prayer line for fear of disturbing him. He often incited people to celebrate the prayer on time in congregation and also encouraged them to remain awake at night to perform adoration, especially its last part (in the pre-dawn). He insisted on this matter and motivated them to put into practice the following advice: “This is the moment when mercy descends and it is in this period that the opportunities for salvation arise. He who ALLAH awakens during this period of time is certainly invited to benefit from His Mercy. ”

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was kind-hearted and showed clemency to all Muslims, and smiled at everyone he met. Each and every person felt himself to be closest to him because of his consideration, his kind words and thoughtful attitude to such an extent that the unfortunate person meeting him forgot his sadness which disappeared in his presence.

He encouraged sincere love and brotherhood, warning against verbal pretention, saying: “A hunter caught three partridges. He tied two up and sacrificed the third and began to pluck it. Now a disease caused his eyes to weep. One of the partridges looked at him and said to the other: “This poor man’s heart has softened for us, maybe he will release us.” The other one answered: “How do you know that?” And it replied: “I have just seen him crying” So the other one said: “Look at what he is doing with his hands and do not look at his eyes.””

He gave of himself without counting and put himself at his family’s service, accomplishing every task however difficult. He also did not like to be treated differently and considered himself equal to others. He used to say: “Maybe ALLAH will grant us His Mercy along with all Muslims.”

Once, somebody praised him, saying: “You see the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in an awakened state and you said this and that…” Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) answered: “Indeed, that is true. However our aspiration to be Muslim never ceases, and by ALLAH, we have not yet truly tasted Islam.”

A famous poet from Tlemcen also wrote him a letter containing a laudatory poem. He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) hastened to answer the following: “Know, O Sidi, I am far from the praise with which you have honoured me. By ALLAH, and there is no other divinity than Him, we have none of that. ”

I even consider myself drowning in the ocean of disobedience and ignorance. But, ALLAH the Highest has taken hold of me with His Grace and His Mercy without which they would be no bigger loss than ours. As for you, may ALLAH reward you for your kind thought towards us.

He recognised the right of people over him, and on this matter, he (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said: “We have never been able to entirely offer their rights to those that we know, and this we would never be able to do.”

He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) also said: « The true believer perceives the rights of creation over him and observes that he has no right over others. »

His behaviour towards those whose intention was to harm him, was to forgive them and to hold no grudge. He found excuses for them all the time watching them with the eye of Truth. He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) used to say: “When I see people I consider that they are subject to the unfolding of ALLAH’s decrees, so I forgive them.” Indeed, these reproaches are the consequences of a lack of contemplation of the order of the instruction coming from ALLAH which is undoubtedly accomplished. ”

He had so much compassion towards them that he sent a letter to the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) through the intermediary of the noble Muhammad ibn Arabi Damraoui (may ALLAH be pleased with him) in which he expressed the following request: “In the name of ALLAH The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful and may be the prayer of ALLAH be upon our Master Muhammad and his family. O my Master, I beseech your total protection for ever and eternally from your anger for all those who hate me, or for all those with whom I have been angry and for all those who are irritated with me, or with whom I could be irritated because, my dear Master, I’m very afflicted by your anger towards these people because of me.” The well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) answered him through the intermediary of Sidi Muhammad ibn Arabi Damraoui (may ALLAH be pleased with him): “Know that I will only be angry with he who insults you, you and Tidjani, wishing for your downfall. On the Day of Judgement, I will show anger for he who does this or who demonstrates hostility towards you. As for he who loves you, he is among the people of Salvation. He will be the first for whom I will intercede on the Day of Judgment and he will not be judged […]”

When one of his companions complained about an injustice caused by another, he appeased this disagreement and encouraged indulgence and forgiveness. He also encouraged him to concentrate on himself and whatever concerned him. Indeed he disapproved of the obstinate self-protection of certain people; similarly he disliked those who spent their time slandering. He also reproved the ingrained brutality and insensitivity of some people. One day, somebody misappropriated a thousand riyals belonging to him (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) and as a result, this person was humiliated by the companions of Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) because of this. So Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) took a leaf of paper and wrote: “Praise be to ALLAH, Ahmed ibn Muhammed Tidjani, certifies himself that he has taken so and so as a beloved which no sin can break, and no deed can separate whatever he may have done.” Then he gave this to the person who was the object of the mockery who became the envy of all present.

Undoubtedly, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) always sought to be discrete and proned to discretion and reserve. He gave himself up to oblivion and detachment, paying no attention to the creation whether it rushed towards him or, on the contrary, it showed him total indifference. He avoided meeting distinguished men and holders of authority and warned against seeking their company, saying: “Indeed, this is one of the test of religion.” He disliked intensely being known except by he who was sincere and whose visit was solely for the Sake of ALLAH. In this case, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) wished him well, encouraged and advised him. Among the examples of his renunciation of honours was his categorical refusal to meet certain governors who had requested his presence.

Among the evident characteristics of his inner propriety with regards to His Lord and Master The Most High, manifested in all his words and deeds, was that he left all decisions to ALLAH. And he demonstrated this to such an extent that when he invoked ALLAH for himself or on behalf of another about a case for which the outcome was unknown or unsure, his invocation consisted in requesting the general good from ALLAH.

He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) often said: « I invoke solely with my tongue, as for my heart, it is submitted to ALLAH.”

He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) also used to say: « I desire nothing! I ask for nothing! Do as you wish! And decree what you want!

He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) asserted: « Indeed, with my tongue, I’m only satisfying the request of the creatures and nothing more, so as not to break their hearts.”

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) taught his companions that what ALLAH chooses for his servant was certainly preferable to that which the servant would choose for himself. »

Concerning the invocations stipulated by the Revelation and the exhortation, disapproval, proximity and connection to ALLAH that they contain, or those that encompass the qualities of servitude such as the manifestation of great need, adulation, supplication, submission to ALLAH The Glorified, and those that concern the request for repentance, pardon, mercy, acceptance of all that comes from ALLAH The Highest, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) incessantly recited them verbally and wholeheartedly saying: “Indeed, the choice is none other than ALLAH’s, because its accomplishment is ordained by the Revelation.” He often repeated this invocation: “May ALLAH accept you through His Grace and Approval.”

As a matter of propriety, he never engaged discussion about the orientations that are relative to the Decrees of ALLAH, The Glorifed and The Most High, nor opposed whatever occurred, or ever hoped that something occurring would not. He considered this behaviour to be an opposition to ALLAH, and a lack of politeness towards Him. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) used to recount a well-known story about a king in times gone by as follows:
« A king had a young servant who was very dear to him and so his officers questioned him. Consequently, he wanted to demonstrate his superiority. He took out an immensely precious stone and ordered them to break it. All of them advised him to keep it. Then, he ordered the young servant to break the stone which he did there and then with no hesitation. Following this act, the king strongly scolded him, but the servant’s only reaction was to implore the king, saying: “O my lord! O my master!” At that moment, the Sultan said to the others: “As for you, first of all, I gave you this order and you sought to reason with me but if you had broken it and then I had blamed you, you would undoubtedly have contested me saying: “But it is you who ordered us to do it.” Whereas this servant obeyed first and implored me afterwards. That is why I love him.” And such was the inner propriety of Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret).

QOUTBANIYA EL 'OUDHMA - ACCESSION TO THE SUPREME RANK OF SCEAL OF SAINTHOOD

Thus, since his encounter with the Messenger of ALLAH (peace and blessings be upon him), in Bussemghun, He constantly followed his teachings and education throughout the following years in all circumstances until the day that had been announced and predicted so often during the course of his life, when he was raised up to the supreme rank of the Qutbaniya el ‘Oudhma, in the month of Muharam in the year 1214 of the hegira.

Sidi Hajj ‘Ali Harazim (may ALLAH be pleased with him) who was present at his sides for this prodigious event wrote a brief description. He said: “After the mention of the name of ALLAH and the prayer upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the praise, then, among the facts that I witnessed in the company of Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) on the night of Sunday the 12th Muharam in the year 1214 of the hegira, approximately one and a half hours into the second part of the night, occurred Seyyidina’s elevation to the station of Grand Caliph.

This happened on month Arafat (near Makkah) shortly before dawn. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) took my hand and we walked a few steps (prodigious steps) and we arrived at Mount Arafat. No one else was present with Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) except his Caliph (that is to say himself). At this moment, a green light descended from the True like an enormous lamp until a sort of green chechia was posed upon his head. He has worn it ever since and this is the sign that he has been raised to his specific station.” Then, they left mount Arafat and returned in as short a time.

One of the characteristics of this station is the gift to the Pole of the Supreme Absolute Name of ALLAH, which is the particular name of the Divine Essence, and this protects him against the dispossession that is so much feared by the knowers and awliya.

Preceding this consecration and despite an exemplary path worthy of the greatest heirs of the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and in spite of the good tidings from the greatest knowers and masters, he was saddened because he did not feel up to his aspiration. He said (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret): “I have wasted my life without benefit.” When he said this to his faithful companions Sidi Muhammad ibn Mechri (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), he answered: “How could be you sorrowful when since the very beginning you have received confirmation that you would attain the Qutbaniya el ‘Udhma?” He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) replied: “That is true but I saw nothing in myself that could reassure me until I received the Absolute Supreme Name.” Sidi Muhammed ibn Mechri (may ALLAH be pleased with him) asked him: “Is this the one that you received from so-and-so or such-and-such?” Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said: “No, this is the one that has been given to me by the Master of Existence who informed me of its great worth.”

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) explained that the Pole is the supreme representative of ALLAH the Most High, his absolute emissary for the entirety of creation, globally and in all its detail, in each most infinite particle. He is in charge of the accomplishment of the True, in total inner and outer servitude.

Indeed, it is through him that each one of his servants is able to glorify ALLAH, to adore Him and prostrate before Him, and it is also thanks to him that the other secret orientation took place. In other words, the pole is to all creatures that which the soul is to the body. This strength comes from the secret of the Supreme Name and the flux of this Name in the whole universe. It is through this Secret that he obtained audience at the divine high court, wholly respectful of that which he owes Him and at all times fulfilling all the rights inherent to the sublime manifestations of the Names, Attributes and Essence of ALLAH. It is to the Pole that ALLAH manifested Himself through His Reality, because he is the veil, by delegation of Muhammadian Reality, between divine reality and the whole of creation. ALLAH irrigates him with the knowledge of pre-existence and infinite pre-eternity and he is the depository of the divine Law (Shari’a) in ever age.

Hence, no veil could ever come between him and the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). In every part of the visible world where the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) moves, this perfectly stable vision of him is never hidden from the Pole of Poles.

The station of Supreme Pole is unique to each era and has different degrees: all those who have attained it are not equal. The highest level is the sceal of degrees (Khatm al Maqamat) that ALLAH grants solely to His chosen one among the Muhammadian Pole. Several Supreme Poles have attained the seal of degrees of the Supreme Qutbaniya during and for their time, but only one of them attained this degree for all times and this is the Great Sceal of Muhammadian Sainthood.

The holder of this unique station could only appear in Fes because it is in this holy city that the continuous emanations of his essence that had been sensed and encountered by Sheikh ibn ‘Arabi el Hatimi (may ALLAH be pleased with him), were to be found. In particular, he declared: “The Sceal of Muhammadian sainthood belongs to an occidental man of noble origin. He is present at this time, I met him in Fes in the year 595 of the hegira.” I noticed that the sign characterizing him was hidden from his servants by ALLAH.”

Following this, Sheikh ibn ‘Arabi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) wrote a book on the subject of the exceptional characteristics of the Seal of Muhammadian Sainthood entitled « 'Anqaou Maghreb fi khatmi Aouliya wa Chams el Maghreb » specifying his Kuniya (nickname) was Aboul Abbas. This kuniya is used by Arab writers and poets preceding the name “Ahmed”. He also explained that the Seal of Muhammadian Sainthood would be tested by a great number of his detractors just as was the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was tested by the hypocrites. Obviously, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) achieved two unique stations in the spiritual hierarchy of the saints in this city: that of the Khatmiya (The Seal of the Saints which closes/seals definitively the degrees of sainthood) and that of Katmiya which he attained on the 18th day of the month of Safar in the same year. He is the spiritual intermediary between the prophets and the awliya.  

Here is an explanation of Sidi ‘Arbi ibn Saih (may ALLAH be pleased with him) who was one of the great scholars and renowned knower of the Tidjaniya tariqa.

« As for the Khatmiya: this is a station above all other stations of sainthood. There is no other station of sainthood above this. The holder of this station is the irrigator of all the saints (awliya) and each and every one of them draws only from his ocean and obtains lights only from his source. 

So he is the one who irrigates all the saints and this even before, as well as after, his relative existence was extracted from his real existence, in the same way that all the prophets are irrigated by the Master of Existence even though their relative existence preceded his.

This is because the irrigation comes from his reality as he (peace and blessings be upon him) has said: « I was already a Prophet when Adam was between water and clay”, that is to say that he was already a Prophet working in the spirit world, aware of his prophetic mission.

Thus, the spirits of the prophets were irrigated in that world by his perfect and sanctified Ahmediyan Reality when they themselves were not conscious of their prophecy and were unable to act. He was certainly already prophet in the knowledge of ALLAH.

The same applies to /goes for the Muhammadian heir of perfect inheritance. He was already a wali working in the spirit world and aware of his station of sainthood, whereas the other awliya only became aware of their sainthood after having attained it in this world, having obtained their body and their relative existence, henceforth characterized through him.

The katmiya signifies that its holder possesses a hidden reality, characterized by that which constitutes the summum of saintly qualities. This reality is known by no other than ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted), his Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and by the holder who was himself informed by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Indeed, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) narrated: « He told me that I was the hidden Pole: this came directly from him to me in an awakened state and not in a dream.” Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was asked: “What does the hidden pole mean?” and he (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) answered: “He is the one that ALLAH has hidden from all His creatures up to and including the angels and the prophets, with the exception of the Master of Existence (peace and blessings be upon him) who knows him and his situation.”

Then Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) asserted that he himself held all that has been obtained by the awliya with regard to divine perfections and who gathers them together […]. »

Similarly, regarding his station, (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) had revealed, as instructed by the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): “The poles are to me what ordinary people are to the poles.”

Thus Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) is at the top of the spiritual ladder and above him are only the prophets and the companions of our generous Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). He is the hidden pole who will be revealed to all the saints on the Day of Judgment through a voice claiming: “O people gathered here! Here is the guide through whom you have been irrigated since the beginning of creation and until now. ”

He explained as follows the role of the hidden pole: « Every saint drinks and is irrigated only from our ocean, from the time of creation, until the day when the trumpet of the last judgement will be blown.”

He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) also said: « All the fluxes that emanate from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) are gathered by the essences of the Prophets and all that emanates and arises from those essences are gathered into my essence and from me it is divided among all the creatures, from the beginning of the world until the day when the trumpet will be blown. I have also received particular knowledge from the Prophet without any intermediary.”

In one of his letters, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) wrote: “By his Grace and Kindness, ALLAH The Most High, may He be glorified, has granted me – although I have no merit (before Him) – that which he has not granted to any other Shouyoukh nor anyone else after us. This was decreed by Him in Pre-existence, praise and profuse gratitude to Him: “And ALLAH gives His Blessings to whom He wills without account.” (Surat 02, verse 212)

These words were stated with the intention of offering the disciple the possibility to understand the importance and the worth of the blessings that ALLAH has granted to the owner of this spiritual degree, attained by no other saints, and thus to be grateful to ALLAH.

ALLAH, The Glorified, The Exalted, said: “And proclaim the Grace of your Lord” (Surat 93, verse 11)

In the same way, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has said: “I was already a Prophet when Adam was between water and clay.”

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also said: « I will be the first to be resuscitated on the Day of resurrection. I will be the orator before the gathering of the resuscitated and the bringer of the good tiding when they have lost hope. Without any pretention, I hold the banner of praise to God. I will be the first to ask and to obtain intercession. I will be the first to knock on the door of Paradise and to receive authorization to enter and I will enter with the impoverished believers. Without any pretention, I am the most meritorious of all the children of Adam with my Lord.”

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said: « These two feet of mine are on every nape of the neck of each wali.”

His eminent companion Sidi Muhammad El Ghali (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) pointed out that Sidi Abdelqader Djilani (may ALLAH be pleased with him) had said something very similar to which Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) answered: “He was perfectly right but he was referring to the awliya of his time. As for me I am saying that these two feet of mine have never ceased to be on the nape of the neck of each wali.”
Concerning the role and the degree of Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), Sidi Muhammad El Ghali (may ALLAH be pleased with him) said: « All of the saints receive the influx of the Prophets through his intermediary without being aware of it.”

THE BUILDING OF THE BLESSED ZAWIYA OF FES

Before the blessed Zawiya was built, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) and his companions gathered in the corridor in front of the door to his house and sometimes in certain mosques to perform the Wazifa together. Then, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordain to Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him) to build the blessed zawiya and for that he should choose the best and most pure location.

Seïdina Ahmed Tidjani (qu’Allah sanctifie son précieux secret) inspecta une ruine se trouvant dans un quartier nommé Dardas et qui, de nos jours, porte le nom de Blida. Il s'agissait d'une ruine où il y avait un grand figuier. Cette ruine était si effrayante que personne n'osait y entrer seul à l'intérieur. Il est dit, qu'à certains moments, il était possible d'y entendre des voix dont l'écho pouvait être assimilé à une assemblée récitant du Dhikr. C'était également le lieu de visite des Majadhib (Les ravis en Dieu). Le célèbre Majdhoub Sidi Lahbi (qu’Allah l’agrée) accolait son oreille sur la porte et disait aux passants : « Venez écouter le Dhikr ». Seïdina (qu’Allah sanctifie son précieux secret) a choisi donc cet endroit qu'il acheta avec son argent, pur et licite.

Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) visited a ruin in a quarter known as Dardas and which is nowadays called Blida. In the ruin, there was a large fig tree. This ruin was so scary that nobody dared to enter it alone. It is said that at certain times, it was possible to hear voices of which the echo sounded like a gathering reciting the zikr. The Majadhib also visited this place. The renowned Majdhoub Sidi Lahbi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) put his ear to the door and said to the passers-by: “Come and hear the zikr.” So Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) chose this place and purchased it with his own personal and lawfully acquired funds.

When Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) decided to begin the construction, certain people of Fes gathered to prevent him and brought the matter before the emir Maoulana Souleïman (may ALLAH be pleased with him), the emir of the believers. He (may ALLAH be pleased with him) had witnessed the prodigies of Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), and consequently, not only did he ordain the construction but in addition he sent two pouches of money and all the necessary for this undertaking. Seyyidina refused this gift and sent it back (return it) to the Sultan explaining that he had no need of it and said: “The matter of the Zawiya is taken care of by ALLAH directly.” Nonetheless, the noble Sultan insisted that he keep the pouches of money and so Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) accepted them but refused to use them for the expenses of the Zawiya and gave all the money to the poor and the needy.

The construction of the Zawiya began the 4th of Rabi’ el Awwal in the year 1214 of the hegira (1799 ad).

At the beginning of the construction, Seyyidina forbade access and then, accompanied by some of the elite among his companions, he engraved the greatest of Supreme Names on the stone and just after it he wrote: “O my God I beseech you, O my Master by the Truth of the greatest of Your Supreme Name, to protect my companions from Qaf to Qaf.” Then he instructed for it to be buried in the foundation of one of the pillar which has since be known as the golden pillar.

During the work, Seyidina was informed that some of the construction workers, who hated him, were wasting the building material by exaggerating the quantities. The intention was to generate supplementary expenses and sabotage the completion of the construction. Seyyidina paid no attention to their actions as if he had seen nothing. When certain companion, who had also noticed this, questioned Seyyidina about this situation, he answered: “Let them do it, because by thinking that they are deceiving us, in truth, they are being of service to us, and the Zawiya is taken care of by ALLAH Himself.” With every increase of their action, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) became more joyful and spent even more. The well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) instructed four of the companions to supervise the building of the blessed Zawiya of Fes. They were not to leave it, except in case of need or necessity for the full duration of the construction.

When the Zawiya was built, the majdoub Sidi Lahbi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) said: “Fes, and especially Dardas, has been reinforced.” Later, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) bought the surrounding land and among his acquisitions was a house which belonged to a woman. When this lady was solicited by people jealous of Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) seeking to prevent her from conceding anything to Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), he compensated her generously. The Prophet instructed (peace and blessings be upon him) that she should be largely compensated and he (peace and blessings be upon him) said to Seyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret): “I want nobody else to take ownership of this place.”

It is said that ,once, when Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was sitting in the blessed Zawiya with some companions, he stood up, and so did they, then Seyyidina stood on the doorstep and looked out to the left and to the right then he smiled and returned inside the Zawiya. His companions asked the reason for his smile to which Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) replied: “I was looking at the size of the Zawiya and its extent to the left and to the right. It will expand on the right as far as Djiniyara road and on the left as far as Larandja Mosque and it will have eight doors.” Since this prediction, the Zawiya has been extended more than four times because of the ever increasing number of those who joined the Tariqa and, on the right, it has reached the road in question, and already has three doors.

It should be known that this blessed place has merits that place it above any other Zawiya. Speaking of its merits, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said: “If the great knowers knew the merit contained in this Zawiya, they would come and erect their tents here.” Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) would often speak of the worth of the Zawiya, encouraging people to come and pray here. He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said: “The prayer in the Zawiya is accepted without any doubt.” Among the particularities of this blessed Zawiya is the fact that it is forbidden to burry anyone here through respect and in order to preserve its purity. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) strongly emphasized this point going as far as to say: “He who is buried in the Zawiya will be devoured by Fire.” It should be known also that five wells were dug in the Zawiya, there was also a library belonging to Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) and a room where he prepared medicinal potions from plants.

In the year 1215 of the hegira, Seyyidina’s second son, Sidi Muhammad Seghir (may ALLAH be pleased with him), commonly called “Muhammad el Habib” was born. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) lost other children in Fes of which a boy, Sidi Khalifa, and a girl, Sayda Fatima. In the face of trials (ordeals) and difficulties that even well anchored mountains would be unable to bear, his patience and tolerance were uncheckable; regarding the spiritual attitude and the propriety of the elite, he used to say: “The great one (the man of God) sees the divine gift coming from far away. He prepares the most beautiful the most attractive finery and embellishments with which he welcomes and adorns it. Then this returns to ALLAH in the most perfect of situations.” So, the terms “the most attractive finery and embellishments” express acceptance, approval, patience, and the most beautiful propriety required by the adab, in accordance to that which is station allows him to accomplish and realize. As for the term “divine gift”, this expresses great misfortunes and physical diseases, effusions that correspond to his station.

In his household, diseases roamed incessantly, night and day, to which he himself, and the children and other members of his household fell victim. His conduct served as an exhortation for those who came to complain to him, he comforted them and advised them patience, explaining to them that this temporary abode had only been created with a view to trials and tribulations.

In his eightieth year, in 1230 of the hegira, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) knew that he had reached the end of his life, as he had been informed by the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). However, one task remained to be accomplished, that of marrying his two noble children. He instructed one his closest companion: “Call our friends tomorrow and if ALLAH wishes, you will arrange the marriage between Muhammad el Kebir and my brother’s daughter Fatima.” You will represent me for both of them. Likewise, call Sidi Ahmed ibn Mussa Turki and his sister Hasna. You will conclude her marriage to Sidi Muhammad Seghir. Sayda Fatima was the daugher of his younger brother Sidi Muhammad.

She lived in Fes with her uncle as his ward. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) has also welcomed into his home and taken responsibility for Sayda Hasna following the death of her father who was one of his special companions.

Only a few days after this happy event, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was affected by a disease that would bring about his death. He asked for the Daliya of Boussairi to be brought to him, but this poem could not be found in Fes. So Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) ordained some of the elite among his companions to go to the town of Meknes. When they found it and brought it back, Seyyidina instructed them to read it to him. After the reading, he did not speak to anybody.

Three days before passing away, during the night, he called for two of his greatest caliph Sidi Mahmud Tunsi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) and Sidi Hajj Ali ibn Hajj Issa Tamacini (may ALLAH be pleased with him) who had come to visit him. He requested them to be accompanied by the illustrious Muqaddam Sidi Tahar ibn AbdSadaq (may ALLAH be pleased with him) and Sidi Ahmed ibn Suleiman Tazghuti (may ALLAH be pleased with him) and one other person.
He announced his imminent departure and Sidi Hajj Ali (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was moved: “I am your servant, I have become attached to your company, and I cannot bear to be separated from you. Your words are heavy and terrible and they break my heart.” He broke into tears before Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) who answered him: “Why are you crying. This verdict is inevitable and it is impossible for any creature to escape it. Be patient and your patience comes only from ALLAH. Be strong in yourself. I have established you as my lieutenant and substitute. I make you heir to my secret and I have delegated to you all my instructions concerning my children, my wives, my servants, my companions and my beloved among the people of the path. Our Lord will sustain you for this, may He be glorified and exalted.” He also said: “Our concern (Tariqa) is transmited from living being to living being and you are my lieutenant for this when I am gone.”

Finally, he ordained them on that day that the following day, without delay, they should go from Fes to the Mount Zabib. In this way, Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be pleased with him) received his direct inheritance (khilafat) and an unlimited diploma, contrary to that which he had been authorized so far. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) wrote this by his own blessed hand, as well as his instructions concerning his children and all the people of the path.

On his penultimate day, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) asked one of his companions: “Bring me five companions to spend the night with me” but he changed his mind and specified: “I cannot do without my servant girl tonight and it is inappropriate to encourage promiscuity between men and women.”

He also asked them to bring him the poem of Imam Ghazzali (may ALLAH be pleased with him), he put it under his pillow the day before his passing as Imam Ghazzali (may ALLAH be pleased with him) had done. Here are the first verses of this poem:
Ask the brothers who have seen me dead,

Who have wept and have sorrowfully recited the funeral litany for me

Is your sorrow for he who has gone

Or for he who remains present among you

Do you truly believe that I am this corpse ?

No, by God ! This dead body is not me.

In this shape, this body

Was my clothes, my tunic for a while.

I am a pearl enclosed in a shell

Which was for me a prison to which I was accustomed.

I am a bird and this is my cage

I have flown and this body has stayed behind to perish

I give thanks to ALLAH who has freed me

And who has built an abode for me on high

Before today I was dead among you

I have relived and I have removed my shroud

Today I talk with the noble assemblies

And I see the truth with my own eyes.

I am standing before the well-guarded tablet

On which I read and I see

All that was, all that will be and all that is imminent

Because of the intensity of what was descending upon him, in the penultimate moment of his life, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said: “ALLAH, ALLAH, the light is burning my heart.” He repeated it all through the night. Then, as dawn (Fajr) approached, Seyyidina turned towards the people present and said: “The Prophet and the four Khoulafa are present, then rise and leave.”

Only a few of the elite remained with him. Only one hour later, he performed the Subh prayer, and laid down on his side and requested a glass of water. After drinking, he laid down once more and left this world. It was Thursday the 17th of Shawwal in 1230 of the hegira (1815 ad). He was 80 years old. The news of his death spread everywhere and even the djinns believers were to be heard conveying their condolences following his departure.

The funeral washing was accomplished at his home by three of his companions coming from the desert, among the first, Sidi Sidi Ahmed ibn Souleïman Taghzouti, Sidi 'Ali ibn Hanich el Guemari and Sidi Tahar ibn Abdsaddaq el Guemari (may ALLAH be pleased with them).

The funeral prayer took place in Qarawiyin in the presence of an impressive number of scholars, pious men, saints and emirs. The prince of all believers, Mawlana Suleiman (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was unable to attend, for he was in Marrakesh at that time. The Qadi of Fes, the illustrious Sidi Mohammed ibn Mohammad ibn Ibrahim Doukali el Khayyat (may ALLAH be pleased with him) performed the funeral prayer upon the blessed body of Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret). It was an intensely emotional moment and tears were abundant. He was buried in the garden next to the walls of the blessed Zawiya. Later on, as the Zawiya was extended, this parcel was included within it.

Following his departure from earth to the luminous abode, the light that he had inherited from the well beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never ceased to spread. It continues to fill the heart of the people of bliss, throughout countries and continents, welcoming the most desperate, purifying hearts and souls, orientating those who err in their search for The Truth.

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) reassured one of his companions eaten by the pain of the separation, by appearing to him after his death. He said to Seyyidina: “O Sidi, you have gone and left us.” Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) answered: “I am not absent and I have not left you: this is but a passage from the earthly to the luminous abode (Nuraniya).”

Here is a glimpse of the portrait of Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) by the poor slave of ALLAH, Muhammad El Mansur El Muhieddine Tidjani, may ALLAH preserve him:
Although he was most humble, the fine features of his radiant face, his fair complexion and princely appearance are the demonstration of his high lineage. Emulating the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in all his deeds and in all circumstances, from his beard sprinkled with resplendent white hairs, flowed a mysterious light. Rich by God, asking nothing of anyone, he was honoured with the blessing by which he relied solely on God. He unveiled that which was authorized and hide all that could disturb the mind. By Taha, his master and companion, just as the sun and the moon, none could ever separate these two seals of the same family in the love that they have for Him.