He was among the elite and the best of his time. He was learned. His high spiritual aspiration was manifest in his generosity and kindness. He received knowledge and secrets from Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) and benefited from his lights. In this way, He took the essence from the Shari’a, and the contemplation from the Haqiqa. In the Tariqa, he sat in the holy Tidjani presence on the mat of inner circle. Thus, he absorbed both knowledge and deed. Seeing the Baraka of the Sheikh (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret), and feeling deep affection for him, Sidi Ahmed Bannani (may ALLAH be pleased with him) took the Tariqa directly from Seyyidina even before his own father.
It is said that one day, he fell and bruised both his legs. With great sadness, the people took him home. His father, Sidi Mohamad went to fetch the doctors who included the famous Bissantissi. Bissantissi applied a plaster cast and instructed him to lie down and refrain from all movement, advising his father to take care that he remained thus, for fear of losing the use of his legs. Sidi Ahmed Bannani (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was afflicted because he thought that the doctor’s advice was very difficult to follow, and so he begged for Help from ALLAH through the intermediary of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret). Due to the intense pain, he fell drowsy. He saw Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctifiy his precious secret) accompanied by a man to whom he said: “O Ali, prepare some medicine for him.” He placed his blessed hands on Sidi Ahmed Bannani’s (may ALLAH be pleased with him) legs and said to him: “Take my hand, stand up and walk.” Then, he felt the freshness of relief and was sure that Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) had healed him through the famous Wali, doctor of Awliya, Moulay ‘Ali Boughaleb (may ALLAH be pleased with him). The pain subsided. He moved his legs and wanted to stand up.
Those who were present feared for him, but he paid no attention to them. Using a walking stick, he got up. Informed of his intention to get up, his father rushed to his side to prevent him. But he found him feeling no pain. He wanted to scold him for disobeying the doctor’s orders and Sidi Ahmed (may ALLAH be pleased with him) told his father about his vision. His father, Sidi Mohammad (may ALLAH be pleased with him) calmed down and knew for sure that Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was present as was (tout comme) the manifestation of his bakara. The doctor was surprised by this sudden recovery because he had not thought it possible. He realized that this was one of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani’s (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) prodigies. Thus, Sidi Ahmed Bannani (may ALLAH be pleased with him) fully recovered. This is one of the reasons that led Sidi Ahmed’s father to take the Tariqa from Seyyidina.
Sidi Ahmed Bannani (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was very attached to Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret). Since he had met him, except in case of necessity, he spent most of his time in his company at the Zawiya. He had access to the opening of doors of Knowledge and also to secrets from the Lordly Spiritual Opening overflowing from The Holy Muhammadian Presence that Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) transmitted. Although he was highly intelligent and possessing of crystal clear knowledge, when he discussed a verse or a hadith with Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), he was astonished and amazed by the depth of words that emanated from the ocean of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani’s (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) seccrets. It was related that he said: “Sometimes, in the presence of Seyyidina, I understood nothing of his infused spiritual irrigations or of the knowledge and spiritual openings that he manifested, and find myself to be barbaric.”
Once, he went on pilgrimage, and during his journey, he met a group who had the spiritual opening in the Tariqa Ahmediya and while he was traveling through the Hijaz with one of his traveling companions, he passed nearby a place where he had been told of the presence of the tomb of Sidi so and so, one companion. He approached the tomb with the intention of obtaining the Baraka (it is not prohibited for the Tidjani disciple to visit the Prophets (peace be upon them), the companions, and the brothers on the Tidjaniya path). Having accomplished his visit, he had travelled a certain distance when somebody informed him that the tomb was not that of a companion but that of a wali.
He was affected by this, and felt bound to return to apologize to the wali as if he were alive, saying: “O Wali! I visited thinking that you were a companion. Since this is not the case, I retrace my steps regarding both content and form. I have no desire to receive an influx through your intermediary as a result of this visit. If I had known that you were not a companion, I would not have visited you for fear of breaking with my path.” He spoke these words softly, thus showing the respect that is due to the awliya, presenting excuses worthy of a sincere disciple with respect to the pact of the Shouyoukh.
Then, he returned to the caravan and informed them of what he had done. In this way, he was at the origin of a teaching for the brothers who were in his company who observed not only words but also deeds. Sidi Ahmed Bannani’s (may ALLAH be pleased with him) attitude in this situation is proof of his sincerity regarding his dedication to the covenant with his Sheikh on the path, because on Tidjani path, visiting awliya from other path is prohibited. It is well-known that this is a cause of a rupture in the irrigation that comes from the Sheikh to the disciple. It could be answered that he could have simply formulating the intention to retrace his steps which would have been sufficient and so there would be no need to return to the tomb or, he could have refrained from retracing his steps because in reality he had not visited this particular wali, given that he had visited him thinking that he was a companion: therefore his visit does not constitute a prohibited visit.
What is the secret that motivates his conduct? The answer is that he did this in order to emphasize to the Tidjani disciples present the illicit character of visiting awliya other than the companions because in such circumstances some of them may have thought that it was authorized. Thus, his deed has highlighted the prohibition of such visits in the eyes of each and every one.