بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

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

Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani

May ALLAH be satisfied with him

Among his great companions was the great scholar of his time and guide for the people, the Sheikh el Islam, bearer of the banner of religious science and particular knowledge, defender of the Tariqa Al Ahmediya and protector of its honour, Cheikh Abou-l-Ishaq Seyidina Ibrahim Riyahi Tounsi (may ALLAH be pleased with him).

At first, he was a member of the Tariqa Shadhiliya. When the Caliph Sidi Ali Harazim (may ALLAH be pleased with him), very great companion of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) first arrived in Tunisia in 1211 of the hegira, he met Sidi Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) and became acquainted with him. Then, he stayed with Sidi Ibrahim Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) at the madrassa where their friendship developed. Sidi Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) witnessed numerous prodigies of Sidi Ali Harazim (may ALLAH be pleased with him) and heard him speak of Seyyidina’s (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) virtues and of his Tariqa. He wished to enter this Tariqa Muhammadiya, and he was preoccupied by this idea. The man who had initiated him in the Shadhiliya and who was one of the great men of God, whose spiritual opening was evident, advised him clearly to take this Tariqa. And so he complied with this advice.

Before meeting Sidi Hajj Ali Harazim (may ALLAH be pleased with him), he had had a dream in which he received the good tiding of the imminent acquisition of a station among the stations.

When he met the Caliph, he told him of this dream. The Caliph commented on a part of the significance of this dream and promised to complete his explanation later. He invited him to join the Tariqa which he did.

Among the events that have been related, concerning Sidi Harazim’s stay with Sidi Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) in Tunisia, is this:

One day, the Caliph said to him: “I wish to perform the zikr in the house. Do not allow anybody in until I have finished”. Then he went inside, and Sidi Ibrahim Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) stayed in front of the door. He waited for so long that he lost hope of seeing him come out and became weary. So he entered the room to see what Sidi Ali Harazim (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was doing and found the room empty.

He wondered what could have happened, and repeated to himself that everybody was aware that the Sheikh Ali Harazim (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was in his house. He exclaimed: “Ah! If only I knew what to answer when they asked me what has become of the Sheikh! Ah! If only I knew where he has gone!” He worried all day. And then, while he was sitting outside the front door, the Caliph came out. Sidi Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) asked: “O Master! Where were you?” The Caliph answered: «Indeed, when he who holds the Knowledge pronounces the Supreme Name of ALLAH (Ismu ALLAH el A’dham), he melts and then having finished his zikr he returns to his original state. » 

This was what had happened to Sidi Ali Harazim (may ALLAH be pleased with him) and Sidi Ibrahim (may ALLAH be pleased with him)’s love for him accrued.

Once, he received the following blessing:

Sidi Ali (may ALLAH be pleased with him) woke him and said: “Get up and ask ALLAH The Exalted whatever you want because this is the time for fulfilment of prayers.” He got up and began to write his requests. ALLAH answered his prayer and gave him what he desired. He was among those whose requests were granted: when he desired something, he obtained it. His spiritual power was elevated and distinguished and was not satisfied with futilities.

He wrote a book which was a rebuttal of the criticism and blame faced by Seyyidina’s (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) Tariqa. He also composed a magnificent poem praising the sublime qualities of Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) which was written with such love that it left no one indifferent. Upon hearing it, the great companions Sidi Arbi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) felt a presence and said: “Whoever wrote the poem, wrote it out of absorption in the presence and the love of the Sheikh. Never has a poem so much glorified as this one. You are my children, so you should know that ALLAH will remove the difficulties of every person who reads it. It should be read alone and without doubt one’s wishes would be granted.”

It has been said that reading this poem is beneficial for removing misfortune and for relieving the heart and it was written on that which used to cover Seyyidina’s tomb (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret). Among the blessings that Sidi Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) received from the Caliph Sidi Ali (may ALLAH be pleased with him) is an evocation in his own hand writing providing for all needs in this world and the next.

Sidi Abdelawi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) recounted the circumstances in which the two men met.

When Sidi Ali Harazim arrived in Tunisia, he went into the mosque where a great Sheikh used to teach the noble knowledge. Sidi Ibrahim Riyahi was among the students attending this lesson. It was decreed, when Sidi Ali Harazim (may ALLAH be pleased with him) arrived at the mosque before the lesson, he sat down beside Sidi Ibrahim Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with him). They talked together and Sidi Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) questioned the Caliph Harazim concerning his situation and what had motivated his journey to Tunisia. Sidi Harazim informed saying: “It is indispensable that you enter the Tariqa of Knowledge. I came here solely for you and the proof of what I say is that your Sheikh will not be coming to teach today.” It was Sidi Riyahi’s (may ALLAH be pleased with him) first meeting with Sidi Harazim (may ALLAH be pleased with him) and he was surprised at what he heard from him and by his states (may ALLAH be pleased with him).

He said to him: « If the Sheikh does not come today, this is surely because your position must be of great importance as much among the elite as among the ordinary people. Because of this, you will receive from me my total generosity.” That which the Caliph predicted came to be. Sidi Ibrahim Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) became attached to him and invited him to spend his stay in Tunisia with him at school, and Sidi Harazim (may ALLAH be pleased with him) accepted. Since this time, blessings from all sides are bestowed upon his family.

Sidi Ibrahim (may ALLAH be pleased with him) greatly benefited from the knowledge, the secrets and lights of Science of Sidi Harazim (may ALLAH be pleased with him). One day, the Caliph announced: “You must go to Morocco as ambassador, you must meet the prince there and such and such thing will occur.

When you reach your destination, first and foremost, you must visit our Master Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret). Stay as long as possible with him and leave his side as little as possible. Sidi Ibrahim (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was surprised to hear this prediction but he was sure that all would come to pass as it had been announced. According to ALLAH’s decree, Tunisia was afflicted by a famine in 1218 of the hegira and the people needed the provisions that had been stored by the Sultan of Morocco. The Turkish prince of Tunisia, Hamuda Pacha, instructed the famous scholar Sidi Salah El Kawache (may ALLAH be pleased with him) to intervene as acting ambassador with the Sultan of Morocco Mawlana Suleiman (may ALLAH be pleased with him). Sidi Salah El Kawache apologized that he was unable to travel due to his old age and the evolution of his sickness. So he introduced his student to the Prince, extolling his qualities and assuring him of the success. 

The prince Hamuda Pacha instructed Sidi Ibrahim (may ALLAH be pleased with him) to prepare for the journey and he departed for Morocco, and arrived safe and sound. Following Sidi Harazim’s advice (may ALLAH be pleased with him), he first went to Sidi Ahmed Tidjani’s house (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret). When he reached the front door, a servant opened it and asked him inquisitively: “Are you Sidi Ibrahim from the Tunisian?” He answered that he was indeed and she told him that Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) had informed her of his arrival and given her permission to allow him in directly.

In the house, he met a group of companions who had had the great privilege to meet Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret). Sidi Ibrahim Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was offered a cup of milk which he drank. At that moment, Seyyidina came out of his retreat room and greeted him. Then, he announced the passing of his teacher Sidi Salah…(may ALLAH be pleased with him) and revealed to him that he had himself attended the funeral prayer in Tunisia (by way of a prodigy) on Monday 17th of Shawal 1218 of the Hegira. When Sidi Riyahi’s (may ALLAH be pleased with him) visit was over, he went towards the Sultan’s apartments and was welcomed honourably and generously by his court. He regularly visited the Sultan until his request was granted and was able to return to Tunisia safely having accomplished his mission. The Sutlan of Morocco had become fond of him, frequently praised him, and regularly wrote to him.

Here follows the transcription of several passages from a letter that Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) sent to Sheikh El Islam of Tunisia (may Allah be pleased with him) :

“I give you my permission and authorization for the whole of the noble, blessed and vast wird, pay attention at to all that follows.

Waken your soul (Nafs) from heedlessness and do not comply with its debauchery because this matter is not futile, it is serious and important.

Follow the path of great effort, because punishments are harsh and miseries are many for the poor person who renounces his pact. Be sure of what you have, do not neglect what you have attained […]. Our Tariqa has been singled out by ALLAH with a specificity which places it above all other paths, words are insufficient to shed light on its truth. Only he who has been accepted by ALLAH’s grace can take refuge in this path. If ever the veil that conceals it was lifted, the great poles would have yearned for it like the shepherd in the desert yearns for the clouds.

Take care! Look straight ahead, do not be misled because all spiritual paths come from it. It is the source of all Turuq since the beginning of creation and until the blow of the trumpet on the Day of Judgement, as truly promised by the Master of Existence (peace and blessings be upon him).

I authorize (this) completely and entirely for all time without further modification, on the obligatory condition that you forsake all visits to the saints, with the sole exception of the visit to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his companions (may ALLAH be pleased with them).

Know that ALLAH, through His immense Kindness, has graced us with the gift of the prayer known as Djaouharatou-l-Kamel, because for whoever recites it twelve times with complete ablutions and says: “This is a gift for you, O Messenger of ALLAH” it is equivalent to visiting the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in his “heavenly garden” (rawda sherifa) and visiting all the awliya (holy men of God), since the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) exile until the accomplishment of this zikr.

Notice, may ALLAH have mercy upon you, these great favors, these gems of great worth that ALLAH The Generous has given us, and of which all other peoples have been deprived.

Our Tariqa is hidden from all but the Master of Existence (peace and blessings be upon him) who knows it and knows its worth. May ALLAH establish us and you also, among those who hold tightly to it and those who follow its path in life and in death, in peace, good health and security until we are established in the highest degrees of Paradise near to the Master of Existence (peace and blessings be upon him).

Beware and take heed! Refrain from laziness, from shame and from neglecting what we have ordered you to do, and from staying in the place of doubt and error (going astray). I advise you to fear ALLAH both interiorly and exteriorly and to follow the Sunna however far, however near, however exceptional in words and deeds, to be satisfied with ALLAH whether little or lots, to go towards ALLAH and pay attention to Him in all situation (inner states), to unattach yourself from all creatures, whether you are close to them or far from them, and to take the Sunnah as judge in all situation.

I recommend uprightness in all circumstances, in movement as in immobility, I advise patience and complete surrender to ALLAH on the condition that you abandon all that is not righteous. Patience in difficult times is close to peace. Praise Him for His blessings and request Him to grant you the straight path and all good, to take care of you as he has taken care of the elite among his beloved servants, those of high rank, the true ones (Siddiquiyya el ‘Adhma) and those of great sainthood, by the intermediary of the Chosen’s worth (peace and blessings be upon him), and may He take you under His care, may He suffice you, may He take you under His protection, may He immunize you against evil.”

Sidi Ibrahim Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) passed away on the 27th of the blessed month of Ramadan in 1266 of the Hegira at the age of 86. His tomb is in Tunis, may ALLAH be satisfied with him.

Research and translation by Zawiya Tidjaniya el Kubra in Lyon, France