Sidi Arbi El Ashhab (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was a pious wali of sincere love, astonishing prodigies, elevated worth and holder of immense praise. This master was among the elite of the companions of Seyyidina (may ALLAH be pleased with him). He was among the nearest ones and contemplated by all with great affection. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) trusted him with all his important and special affairs so much so that he did not leave Seyyidina’s doorstep without authorization.

Once, Seyydina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) called him when the latter was in the toilets, so he hurried out without taking the time to wash. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) asked him: “Why do you not take the time to wash with water?” He answered: “O Sidi! I can change my clothes and wash them but I do not want the Sheikh to change what he thinks about me.” He was subject to spiritual states. Another time, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) called him when he was on the roof. Without hesitation, Sidi Arbi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) jumped of the roof, but he immerged unscathed. Seyyidina forbade him to do such things.

On another occasion, Sidi Arbi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) crossed a road in Fes on his ways to Seyyidina’s house. He was bringing eight loads of coal destined for the daily cooking in Seyyidina’s household. Each time, he crossed a road, some of the nosy people of Fes said scornfully: “This coal is used by Sidi Ahmed Tidjani for alchemy and elixirs.” Sidi Arbi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) did not reply. He joined Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) who was in his house with a group of companions. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) asked him: “O Sidi Arbi! What did those people say to you?” So he repeated their comments. Then, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said to him: “We request ALLAH to forgive them.”

It is not true that Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) practiced alchemy, but many people credited him with this art because of the great wealth that he possessed despite his tremendous expenses. Unable to see where his wealth could come from and noticing distillery utensils and other instruments, they peddled this unfounded accusation about him. In reality, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) used all of this equipment for the extraction of therapeutic oils used in the treatment of certain diseases. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) discretely gave oil to the merchant Hajj Taleb Benjaloun which he used to heal sick pilgrims. Actually, people thought that the merchant donated medicine that he had bought abroad, until one day he told them that it was in fact Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) who gave it to him.

Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) held Sidi El Ashhab (may ALLAH be pleased with him) in great esteem, and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself recommended that he take great care of him. Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said about him: “He is of me and I am of him, I love him so much that no sin could change anything.”

He accomplished ten thousand Salatoul Fatihi each day and accompanied Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) both during his travels and in residence for twenty years.

Here follows a letter that Seyyidina had sent through his intermediary:

« After praise to ALLAH, the Exalted, Sanctified are His Names, Immense are His Nobility and Majesty; may the peace of ALLAH, His Mercy and His blessings be upon you; from he who loves you, Ahmed ibn Muhammad Tidjani, the following:

Praise be to ALLAH, The Owner of blessings through which you are well and in good health.

We beseech ALLAH to grant you His Approval and submission to Him regarding what He has predestined for you. May He accept you through His Grace and Approval both in this world and the Hereafter. May He hold your hand whenever you stumble and may He grant you access to the highest level, ahead of those that he has blessed with His love, with His favours, and with His prodigies. May he inscribe you among the people of the Iliyine in the vicinity of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Ameen.

We had sent advice through the intermediary of our beloved Sidi Arbi El Ashhab in which you will find help for this world and for the Hereafter. Receive them favourably and put them into practice. You would be spared the fatigue when enduring the troubles and sadness of this world. Submit every situation to He who controls them. He does with them as He wishes and as He chooses. Show mercy to each other and help each other to do good and to be pious. Do not help each other to commit sins and demonstrate aggression. Be sure that, one day, you will have to leave, naked, just as your family and your money. Inevitably, the day will come when the amanah must be given back. So, do not be jealous, and do not argue. Be servants of ALLAH, brothers. He who loves his brother in ALLAH because he is a believer should take his hand and help him, because this is the fruitful transaction, the elevated degree, the approved path and pure and honourable virtue […].

When he passed away, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said of him: “Oh such an excellent partner, such an excellent companion, such an excellent trusty!” He attended his funeral and after the burial, some of the elite among the companions of Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) came to offer their condolences. One of them said to him: “O Sidi, even if he is dead, we are here and we are all the same as him.” Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) replied: “There is nobody like him and nor can they be.” With this, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) bears witness to the respect that he has for Sidi Arbi El Ashhab (may ALLAH be pleased with him).

Sidi Arbi El Ashhab (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was buried near Bab Ftouh (One of the gates to Fes), and during the burial, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) came to lean in the shade of an olive tree which was renowned among the disciples of Fes, because people came here to take blessings. It is said that whosoever suffers from back pain should lean against this tree and he will be healed, with the permission of ALLAH.

On this subject, Imam Sukeyrj (may ALLAH be pleased with him) said: “Once, I was attending a burial near the tomb of Sidi Arbi and I asked about this tree in order to understand. A jurist critically and excessively replied (and we were a large group sitting there in the shade of that tree): “Whatever result we may obtain (through its blessing), it is the duty of the scholars of the Tariqa Tidjaniya to order for this tree to be cut down, in the same way that the tree of the covenant of (God’s) approval was felled so that it would not be adored.””

So, I answered: « This comparison is invalid and useless. As a matter of fact, is-it not recognized by both the ordinary man and also the elite among the people of the Sunna that seeking blessings from the tracks that have been left by the virtuous ones is praiseworthy and in no way to be feared, for ordinary Muslims, their faith cannot be corrupted by this act. What is the value of your opinion over that of all others? I think that, by speaking in this way, you seek only to prove your knowledge. What then can be said of other tracks that have been left by Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) which, based on your opinion, one should fear more that it would become an object of adoration, such as the cave of Hira where the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stayed, or the black stone or all the other places of pious visit? According to your reasoning, these places should be the first to be destroyed and to disappear.

The man in question received the disapprobation of the rest of the group and went away hanging his head (in shame).

Note: The companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) were particularly fervent in their pursuit of blessings. Some of them drank the blood or the urine of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), they collected his spit and spread it on their own skin, and drank the water from his ablutions. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gave them his hair when he cut it, and so on. There are many authentic stories on this subject.

It was related by Bukhari that AbdALLAH ibn Mess’ud (may ALLAH be pleased with him) had said: “For us, the Divine signs were a blessing when you think that they are a threat from ALLAH. One day, we were traveling with the Messenger of ALLAH (peace and blessings be upon him). Water was scarce and so he (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Find me a small amount of water.” They brought him a vessel containing a little water. He put his hand in the water and said: “Come to the blessed purification and the blessings of ALLAH.” I saw the water ran between the fingers of the Messenger of ALLAH (peace and blessings be upon him) and we heard the food glorifying ALLAH as we ate it.

It is related by Tabarani that Ja’far ibn Abdallah ibn El Hakam had said: “Khalid ibn El Walid had lost his chechia at the battle of Yarmuk and said: “Find it!” They found it, but it was very shabby. Khalid said: “the Messenger of ALLAH (peace and blessings be upon him)” had performed a Umra and so he had shaved his head. The Muslims rushed to get the hair from the side of his head, and I took the head from the front of his head and put them in this chechia. Every time I fought a battle wearing it, I have been victorious.”” El Haythami said: “This was related by Tabarani and Abu Ya’la and the chain of transmission is authentic.”