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اللهم صل على سيدنا محمد الفاتح لما أغلق والخاتم لما سبق ناصر الحق بالحق والهادي إلى صراطك المستقيم وعلى آله حق قدره ومقداره العظيم

Your questions

Question: For the recitation of Djawharatul-l-kamal, what is the difference between 11 beads and 12 beads given that the Djawahiru-l-Ma'ani mentions 11 beads? Also, what should a new comer who joins the Tariqa chose? Or are they the same?

Answer:

Regarding the clarifications requested on the subject of Djawharatul-l-kamal and the exact number to be recited, a short historical summary is necessary.

Above all, we should know that during Seyyidina’s lifetime (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret), he and his companions recited Djawharatul-l-kamal 11 times, and it is in fact this number which is written in the Djawahiru-l-Ma’ani (which was written about fifteen years before he passed away).

Later, towards the end of his life (in 1815), this was rescinded and replaced by 12 recitations of Djawharatul-l-kamal. Thus, little by little, all the disciples, who had been informed of the change, recited it 12 times instead of 11, but because the disciples were spread over numerous countries, the news of the abrogation took time to reach the Muqaddam.

In the case where certain people today recite it 11 times, this has an historical link with Sheikh Ahmed Hamahullah (may ALLAH be pleased with him).

He was born in 1883 in Kamba Sagho, Mali. His father was a scholar from Tichit in Mauritania and his mother was a Fulani from Mali.

He became a controversial Master of the Tariqa: several events are the reason for this:

- He was recognised by those around him (his entourage) as a holy man and as a scholar by certain dignitaries of that time.

- He was also known to be a resistance fighter during colonisation. At first he was affiliated to the Tariqa Tidjaniya through a chain which went back to Sheikh Omar Futiyu Tall (may ALLAH be pleased with him), and then he re-affiliated himself through Sidi Mohamed Ibn Abdallah (dead in 1909) who had arrived from Tuwat in Algeria and had settled in Nioro in the Sahel in 1900. According to sources close to Sheikh Hamahullah (may ALLAH be pleased with him), Sidi Mohamed Ibn Abdallah had been affiliated by the hand of Sidi Tahar Buteyba (may ALLAH be pleased with him), a great companion of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret).

Sidi Mohamed Ibn Abdallah gave the transmission of the Tariqa having 11 recitations of Djawharatul-l-kamal instead of 12 such that Sheikh Hamahullah (may ALLAH be pleased with him) had received it through Sheikh Omar Foutiyou Tall (may ALLAH be pleased with him). Sheikh Hamahullah had criticized the fraudulent practice of the 12 recitations as being contrary to the teaching of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret).

This event gave rise to a serious and disproportioned conflict between the Tidjani disciples of different affiliations. This conflict brought about offensive words and unjust behaviour towards Sheikh Hamahullah (may ALLAH be pleased with him) and his disciples, which are forbidden by the Tariqa in particular, and Islam in general. At present, in the face of these events, three different opinions have developed regarding the recitation of Djawharatul-l-kamal which are as follows:

1. The opinion which upholds that the only true recitation of Djawharatul-l-kamal is the 11 recitations (and the 12 recitations are “tolerated”). This is the minority opinion of certain zealous Muqaddam affiliated to the branch of Sheikh Hamahullah.

They argue that, on the one hand, this is the number written in the Djawahiru-l-Ma’ani, reference book for the Tariqa, written by the famous Khalife Sidi Hajj Ali Harazim (may ALLAH be pleased with him), and on the other, they highlight the esoteric precedence of the mystical value of the number 11. Therefore, for them, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani himself (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) did not repeal the 11 recitations. The addition of the twelfth bead was a gratuitous act from certain companions and Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) had tolerated this act without fully adhering to it.

We have used the expression “zealous Muqaddam” because, in order to win the argument, they do not hesitate to rewrite history without justification, with the sole aim of appearing more enlightened and better guided. For example, in the book written by Aliyune Traore “Sheikh Hamahullah, man of faith and resistance fighter”, there is a clear demonstration which makes the adepts of the twelve recitations appear to be passive and complacent with regards to the colonial presence.

This implicated the highest dignitaries of the Tariqa, that is to say: Sidi Muhammed El Habib, son of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret), who lived in Ain Madhi, and Sidi Hajj Ali (may ALLAH be pleased with him), official Caliph of Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) who lived in Tamacine, going as far as fabricating a fictive exile in Fes of Seyyidina’s son including the dates. Inversely, the advocates of the 11 recitations are described as heroes of the resistance to the colonizers.

In fact, this opinion is not only inadmissible, but also reprehensible because the argument is not based on any authentic proven fact. The only reference was a so-called “oral tradition” which had never been mentioned by any of Seyyidina’s companions (may ALLAH be pleased with them) or by any other scholars of the Tariqa who had frequented them.

It should not be necessary to remind you that, unfortunately, unfounded far-fetched stories abound in the Tariqa, as do false texts containing words that Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) never even said that damage his dignity as well as that of the Tariqa. The scholars of the Tariqa have adequately warned against trusting and peddling them.

Seyyidina  Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) answered “yes” when he was asked: “if a person could lie about him” and so he gave the following golden rule: “When you hear something that is attributed to me, weigh it on the scales of The Shari’a. If it complies with the Shari’a then take it, and if not, reject it.”

In Ifadat-al-Ahmediya, Sheikh Mohamed El Hafidh Misri Tidjani (may Allah be pleased with him) commented:

«This means that the only understanding of the words attributed to him and that should be retained is that which follows the Sunna, because any comprehension that does not follow the Sunna, does not have the proper meaning. This applies if it is established that these words are really his. If it is not established that they are his, they should be entirely rejected.”

Likewise in the tariqa, it is a duty to refer to the authentic words of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret), of his companions (may ALLAH be pleased with them) and of the scholars in the Tariqa who followed them, in order to establish a true opinion.

In fact, those who hold this point of view wish, at any price, to assert their opinion despite all the genuine proof to the contrary that could be presented. They would not take this proof into consideration because this would be the same as depreciating the value of Sheikh Hamahullah (may ALLAH be pleased with him) to the advantage of his adversaries and opponents at that time. Therefore, you will remark that we are far from the neutral and impartial character of a seeker of Truth.

In addition, paying tribute to stories that have no basis is no way to honour Sheikh Hamahullah, because they are not in compliance with the practice of Seyyidina’s companions (may ALLAH be pleased with them) and his descendants -- in the past and the present -- because this would imply that they would have voluntarily modified that which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had entrusted to Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) in terms of essential litanies of the practice of his own Tariqa.

In the same way, it is inconceivable that Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) would have authorized even the slightest modification of any of the Prophet’s litanies without his permission (peace and blessings be upon him) or that he would have allowed modification without objecting.

This proves the lack of awareness of Seyyidina’s respect and total submission to his beloved Master, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Seyyidina who, out of love for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), could not remain silent when confronted with the slightest infringement of even a single Prophetic Sunna, would never have authorized his disciples to change, in his presence, a wird that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself had entrusted to him.

It is written in the book Ifadat-l-Ahmediya that, during the zikr in assembly, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) heard some of the disciples modifying the pronunciation of the formula « Lê ilêha ila Allah » and so exclaimed: “What is this? What is this? « Lê ilêha ila Allah ! » « Lê ilêha ila Allah ! » If he did not remain silent faced with this bad pronunciation then, how could he knowingly remain silent faced with an addition to the Prophetic teaching?! This also proves they lack of knowledge of the education of Seyyidina’s companions that were with him like a dead body in the hands of the person who washes it.

Regarding the fact that it is the number 11 which is written in the Djawahiru-l-Ma’ani, this is because this modification was made more than ten years after Sidi Hajj Ali Harazim (may ALLAH be pleased with him) had written it. It is neither the only change nor the only modification to have been made.

The same applies regarding authorization to visit the Saints, which was allowed for those who were dead, but not for those who were alive. Thus it is written in the Djawahiru-l-Ma’ani. Later, this prohibition was also applied by Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) to the dead Saints at the risk of losing affiliation as all the scholars of the Tariqa well know. Nevertheless, this modification was not reported in this book. There were also other cases of modification…

Undoubtly, the Djawahiru-l-Ma’ani is a reference for the followers of the Tariqa for its sublime commentaries on verses of the Quran, and Prophetic hadiths and also for its clarifications of the difficulties encountered by the scholars and the masters. However, in certain areas, the commentaries and any modifications which have been made must be taken into account.

For this reason, the scholars of this Tariqa Tidjaniya advised the reading of Boughiya El Moustafid written by Sidi ‘Arbi ibn Sa-ih (may ALLAH be pleased with him) because it is a reliable and precise commentary of Djawahiru-l-Ma’ani, taking into consideration events that took place after it was written.

In the same way that, in order to understand the Quran and the hadiths of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), Muslims should consult the scholars, because the scholars have learnt what has been abolished and what has not, what has a specific character and what has a more general character, and all other subtleties of knowledge that are necessary in order to understand correctly, likewise followers of the Tariqa should consult the Boughiya El Moustafid in order to understand Djawahiru-l-Ma’ani.

Concerning the esoteric value of the number eleven, it should be made quite clear that the knowledge concerning the esoteric and mystical properties of Arabic figures and letters is used in order to refine (affine) understanding, but not to abolish facts and deeds relative to practices that have been confirmed by Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) or his companions (may ALLAH be pleased with them). Therefore, this argument cannot be used as proof.

Lastly, in the case of the mysterious muqaddam Sidi Mohammed ibn AbdAllah hailing from Touwat, (even if he held a general diploma in the Tariqa, known as Ijaza Mutlaq and Itlaq which authorized him to appoint as many muqaddam as he wished, and to give permission to recite essential and non-essential litanies), this does not give him the right to legislate and confirm that the recitation of the 11 Djawharatul-l-kamal is authentic and that the recitation of the 12 Djawharatul-l-kamal is an innovation, which goes beyond his role of Muqaddam. In fact, any muqaddam, khalife or even descendant of Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret), depends entirely on Seyyidina and their role is only to represent him, to serve him, and to follow his teachings.

Imam Sukeyrj (may ALLAH be pleased with him) said: « In the Tariqa Ahmediya Tidjaniya, whatever particular degree a muqaddam may have attained, he is but a representative of Seyyidina and has no other specific distinction.» (Rafa’ Niqab)

Considering Seyyidina’s unique spiritual station, how could this be otherwise? Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) said:

« My station with ALLAH in the hereafter is such that no other Awliya (Saints) can attain it, and whether he is of great or small worth, nobody can even approach it. Among the Awliya (Saints/plural of Wali), after the time of the companions (of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)) and until the trumpet is blown, not a single one will be able to attain our station.” (Rimah)

Once, Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) what was the reason for all the merits and the blessings contained in this path, and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) answered: « It is because of you”. The Prophet also said: “You are the door to success for all the disobedient that are connected to you.” (Djawahiru-l-Ma’ani)

As Sheikh Omar Foutiyou (may ALLAH be pleased with him) said so well: “The merit that is granted to those who follow relies entirely on the merit that is held by he who is followed.” (Rimah)

Therefore, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) alone is entitled to confirm whether there is innovation or not. We remind you that the modification from 11 to 12 times was made during Seyyidina’s lifetime (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret), about a year before his passing. During this time, the Wazifa was recited with 12 Djawharatul-l-kamal.

After his death, every official « Sheikh Zawiya » and Imam that were appointed at the great zawiya of Fes continued to practice exactly as had Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) during his lifetime. The companions never asked why the recitation had been modified from 11 to 12 because they were just emulating Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret)’s deeds, exactly as he had performed them himself.

This leads to another opinion:

2. This opinion upholds that the 12 recitations are valid, and that the 11 recitations had been abolished and therefore no longer valid. Several eminent scholars of the Tariqa uphold this opinion among whom the well-known and reputed Master of the Tariqa, scholar from the Mosque of Qarawiyyine, Sheikh Idriss El ‘Iraqi (may ALLAH have mercy upon him) who was one of the Sheikh and Imam of the Zawiya el Kubra in Fes.

Among the arguments put forward, Sheikh Idriss El ‘Iraqi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) said he was in possession of a diploma drawn up and signed by Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be pleased with him) in which the necessity to recite 12 Djawharatul-l-kamal and not 11 was mentioned. Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was officially nominated by Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) as his successor at the head of the Tariqa Tidjaniya, and tutor for his two noble children. He was unanimously recognized as the Pole (Qutb), his merits are recognized, and there is no need to linger upon the depth of his excellence.

Among the arguments that confirms this abolition without ambiguity is the unanimous practice of the great companions of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) and pillars of this Tariqa, such as Mulay Mohamed ben Abi Nasr el Alawi, Sidi Hajj Abdelwahhab ibn El Ahmar, Sidi Mohamed El Ghali, Sidi Taïeb Sefiani, Sidi Ibrahim Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with them).

Thus, all of Seyyidina’s companions (may ALLAH be pleased with them) that outlived him, his two noble children, all of the Muqaddam who were appointed by Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) or by one of his great companions, all of the great renowned scholars of the Tariqa that came after the companions, from that time until now, have unanimously agreed that, towards the end of his life, Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) replaced the 11 recitations by 12.

All of them followed and accomplished his teachings, with the exception of the mysterious Muqaddam from Tuwat who had affirmed the contrary. None of them objected to the fact that 11 recitations are mentioned in the Djawahiru-l-Ma’ani because they all knew that Seyyidina had replaced the 11 recitations by 12, and had followed as usual.

Even if the information given by this mysterious Muqaddam of Tuwat concerning the 11 recitations was authentic, there is no doubt that the information concerning the 12 recitations is also authentic. In this case of two authentic and opposing sources, as is sometimes the case regarding prophetic words, the rule is to opt for the more authentic of the two. In this case, on the one hand, there is hearsay from a person who did not frequent Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) and did not know him, and on the other hand, thousands of well-known and undeniable sources of whom Seyyidina’s own children, the elite of the elite of his companions and the highest scholars of the Tariqa.

It is an easy choice for anyone who is not blinded by passion and who seeks only the truth.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the other muqaddam who had been authorized by Sidi Tahar Bouteyba (may ALLAH be pleased with him) from Tlemcen, all accomplish the recitation of 12 Djawharatul-l-kamal contrary to our mysterious Muqaddam from Tuwat who would have received the 11 recitations from the same companion.

Last but not least is the uninterrupted chain of Shouyoukh and Imam nominated in the Zawiya el Kubra of Fes, since the time of Seyyidina’s passing (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret), who are in charge of perpetuating the work and the authentic teaching of Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) such as it was at the time of his death.

This is the chain of guardians who have prevented innovation, which sometimes occurred in remote areas. Thus, the Zawiya Tidjaniya el kubra of Fes has always been a reference of authenticity for numerous scholars. Indeed, the chains of guardians are the particularity of our noble religion, which covers all fields of knowledge, and which guarantee the authenticity of information.

Firstly, here is the lineage of the Imams:

- From the construction of the Zawiya in 1215 of the hegira until his death in 1230, Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) led the prayers.

- Then, the majestic Sherif Sidi Tayeb Wadghiry, otherwise known as Sefiani, led the prayers until his death in 1259 of the hegira.

- Then Sherif Mulay Tahar, son of the great knower Mulay Muhammad ben Abi Nasr El Alawi led the prayers until 1300 of the hegira.

- Then Ahmed ibn Ahmed Kala Bannani led the prayers until 1306 of the hegira.

- Then Hajj AbdSalam Kanun led the prayers until 1326 of the hegira.

- Then Sherif Ahmed Khayyat led the prayers until 1365 of the hegira.

- Then Sheikh Idriss El Iraqi (May ALLAH have mercy upon him) led the prayers until he resigned for personal reasons.

Secondly, here is the chain of the Shuyukh of the Zawiya el Kubra of Fes:

 

Machayikh de la Zaouiya El Koubra de Fès :

After Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret), Sidi Abu Ya’za, son of Sidi Hajj Ali Harazim was nominated until his death in 1273 of the hegira

- Then Mulay Tahar El Alawi was nominated until his death in 1300 of the hegira

- Then, Sidi Ghali, son of Sidi Musa ibn Mazuz, was nominated until his death in 1316 of the hegira.

- Then, Sidi Mulay Tayeb, son of Sidi Ahmed, son of Sidi Tayeb Sefiani, was nominated until his death in 1357 of the hegira.

- Then Mulay Ghali Sefiani was nominated until his death in the month of Rajab in 1367 of the hegira

- Then Sheikh Idriss El Iraqi (May ALLAH have mercy upon him) was nominated until he resigned for personal reasons.

This function is now assumed by Seyyidina’s descendants (may ALLAH be pleased with them).

 

3. The last opinion -- which is the one which we personally uphold- maintains the authenticity of 12 recitations, but does not invalidate the 11 recitations and tolerate this.

This opinion is instigated in order to avoid the marginalisation of a part of our brothers on the path and in order to appease untoward tension and conflict that had arisen between disciples of this same path. In fact, it is the least harmful option. Indeed, this discrepancy between 11 and 12 recitations does not, under any circumstances, justify the violation of the sacred character of a Muslim.

Given that, on the one hand, the 11 recitations had indeed been performed in the Tariqa at some time, and that on the other hand, even though it was due to a lack of information, some people thought that they should performed 11 recitations in order to prove their conformity to the teaching of the path, because of this intention it is preferable to tolerate the accomplishment of the 11 recitations. Having said this, this point of view is not an invitation to choose indifferently between the 11 and the 12 recitations, because the disciple is duty-bound to learn on the path in order to follow the most authentic instructions.

In addition, the sole concern of the educated disciple is not to take a partial position relying on his own choice, that is to say thinking that if he chooses to perform 11 recitations, this would show his support for Sheikh Hamahullah (may ALLAH be pleased with him), and on the contrary, by performing 12 recitations, he would be opposing him. This kind of attitude is incompatible with the pure teaching of this prophetic path. For us, there is no doubt that by reverting to the practice of the 11 recitations, the only concern of Sheikh Hamahullah (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was to comply with what he thought to be the most authentic at that time, according to the mysterious muqaddam of Tuwat. He would not have hesitated to change his point of view today and to revert to the 12 recitations if he had come to know that this was the last deed of his beloved Master Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) before his death.

He was not following a blind passion dominated by the need to be right. In fact, his only concern was to be as faithful as possible to he who had been chosen to be the custodian of this blessed Tariqa Ahmediya, our Master the Hidden Pole, holder of the unequalled station unreachable by any Wali (Saint person) until the end of Time, Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret).

Unfortunately, these days, few people have a sincere love towards Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him and sanctify his precious secret) so much so that they have no hesitation in happily complying with his teaching without allowing pride, partiality, arrogance, tribal customs and other aberrations to intrude, which has nothing to do with the teachings of the great masters such as Sheikh Hamahullah (may ALLAH be pleased with him), nor with those who want to travel towards ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted).

Dear brother, I hope to have been as clear as possible, receive our greetings and we remind you that you may contact us at any time for any questions.

Text of Zawiya Tidjaniya El Kubra of Europe, in Lyon, France