Question: I am not able to perform the zikr using both presences, that is to say: the presence of the visualization of the guide and the presence of the meaning of the recitation, so which one should be emphasized?
In this case, at the beginning of the zikr, one should establish the presence of the guide and one should be aware of his irrigation. Then, one should seek to penetrate the meaning of the recitation inasmuch as we are able. If we are not able to understand, then we should listen carefully to the words of the recitation. If we are able, from time to time, we can include the presence of the guide, and if we are unable to do this, we can establish his presence at the beginning as we have said previously.
Through constant practice, we will be able to reap the lights of the recitation and inner understanding, which will strengthen us and allow us to get the presence of the guide from time to time. Then, we will get the two presences together.
Subsequently, we will progress from the presence of the guide to the presence of the image of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and more: that is to say the constant contemplation through the heart of his noble image (peace and blessings be upon him), and thereafter even more.”
Sidi Arbi ibn Sa-ih (may ALLAH be pleased with him), eminent scholar of Morocco who was aquainted with the companions of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) and who was affiliated to the Tariqa by their intermediary said:
"The requisite conditions for the perfection of the litanies include being conscious of the presence of the guide, and that we are sitting before him drawing his irrigation. This should be put into practice from the beginning of the zikr until the end. He who is not able to visualize perfectly should try his best from the beginning and then return to the visualization according to his capacities and possibilities. This presence should be practiced by visualizing his physical aspect, for he who has seen him. Otherwise, he should visualize the image of his perfection cloaked in fear and reverence. This visualization should be accompanied by utmost decency.The other condition is to be as aware as possible of the meaning of our recitation, if we are able to understand it. If not, we should listen carefully to our diction while reciting the zikr. The perfection of this condition is reciting distinctly (tartil)."