The master Abdelwahab Banis (may ALLAH be pleased with him), the perfect knower and pious wali was one of the elite of the companions of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), and also among those whose Spiritual Opening was such that Seyyidina declared: “You are to me what Ibn Um Maktum (may ALLAH be pleased with him) (famous companion who was also afflicted with blindness) was to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).”
He was well devoted to his religion that he maintained eagerly, always occupied with performing good deeds with great effort, determination and perseverance. He was blind but saw with his heart’s eye. Indeed, it was he who had heard spirits exchanging condolences upon the death of Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret). He was returning from the Subh prayer, which he had performed in a mosque neighbouring Seyyidina’s home. While he was walking on the road, he heard the spirits talking to each other. Of this, he said: “When I heard this, I wanted to clarify, so I went to Seyyidina’s house and found that his blessed spirit had just left his body.”
Among the many things that have been said of him is the following: “I heard Seyyidina saying: “If you notice that someone is carrying tobacco on his person when he is in the Wazifa gathering, you should send him out.”” Sidi Arbi ibn Sa-ih (may ALLAH be pleased with him) related that Sidi Abdelwahab Banis (may ALLAH be pleased with him) had told him: “The Muqaddam authorization that Seyyidina assigned me concerning the transmission of the wird is conditioned by the fact that I am forbidden to give it to users of these impure substances, whether nasally, orally or smoking.” The Muqaddam Sidi Tayeb Sefiani (may ALLAH be pleased with him) also said that he had read the title of Muqaddam and the conditions of transmission of Sidi AbdelWahab Banis (may ALLAH be pleased with him), in the following terms or words to that effect: “He must not give the wird to users of these impure substances, whether nasally, orally or smoking. This applies equally to the use of hashish, tobacco and opium. On the other hand, he can transmit to a person that consumes intoxicating beverages, because it is possible to hope that this person could repent, whereas most of the others do not repent for their misdeeds.”
Sidi Tayeb Sefiani (may ALLAH be pleased with him) also said: “I noticed that this condition concerning the transmission of the litanies was exceptional, except in the case of Sidi Ibrahim Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) who also did not gave the Tariqa to a user of tobacco.”
When the Muqaddem Sidi Tayeb Sefiani (may ALLAH be pleased with him) went to Tunisia to settle some matters, he was invited by some brothers. Some people present at the gathering, praised Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) and the Tariqa. Aspiring to join, they declared: “The scholar Sidi Ibraim Riyahi forbade us to enter the Tariqa because we use and smoke tobacco. He has conditioned our entry in the Tariqa by the fact that we renounced, but we are unable to stop.” Then Sidi Tayeb said to them: “If you are determined to take this Tariqa, then, even if you use tobacco, I will give it to you.” He transmitted the noble path to them and they felt immense joy. Then, when they left the house, they threw away their matches, exclaiming: “No good can come from these things that have prevented certain Muqaddam to transmit the Tariqa to us.” They swore a solemn oath to ALLAH never to use them again.
The Sherif Sidi Mussa ibn Ma’zuz (may ALLAH be pleased with him) personally excluded any person carrying tobacco on their person from the Wazifa gathering. Regarding tobacco, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) declared: “Consumption of tobacco is forbidden and this prohibition originates in the following words of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): “Anything that provokes a state of weakness is forbidden.” Tobacco is taken into account in this hadith because of the addiction that it leads to.” On another occasion, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) also said (or words to that effect): “A person who does not repent for his consumption (here we are speaking of tobacco and other similar substances) will not have the best of death.”
Sidi Hajj AbdelWahhab ibn El Ahmar (may ALLAH be pleased with him) said that, one day, one of Seyydina’s servants was seriously ill. When he was in his death throes, he uttered vulgarities and he was incapable of saying the declaration of faith even though it had been repeated to him. The brothers were surprised at this and some of them declared: “How can this happen to this servant when Seyyidina is alive?” They went to report the incident to Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), who said to them: “Ask his wife about what he used to do.” When they questioned her, she described his numerous religious qualities, his steadfast obedience to his Lord with the exception that he consumed tobacco. Upon hearing this, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be pleased with him) confirmed: “This is because of this repulsive herbs. Go to him and ask him to repent to ALLAH.” So they went to the servant and told him what Seyyidina had said. He repented and was finally able to pronounce the testimony of faith before his spirit left his body.