It is he who brought together the stations of knowledge and piousness, firmly anchored to the rope of the Sharia, the follower of the straightest path and the holder of the most rare and precious qualities: Sidi Muhammad el Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him), son of the Hidden Pole Sidi Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret).

He was born in Bussemghun in 1212 of the hegira and his mother was the honourable lady Mabruka. He took the Tariqa from our master Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) but according to our information, he was not authorized to transmit the noble wird. However, Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) gave him his authorization for certain special evocations. Sidi Muhammad El Kebir ((may ALLAH be satisfied with him)) has never named a Muqaddam and those who claimed to have been appointed by him have no basis for their claim.

He is among those who survived Seyyidina Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) along with his brother Sidi Muhammad El Habib As-Seghir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him), for although Seyyidina Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) had many children, both boys and girls, most of them died in Fes. Among them was a daughter, Sayda Fatima, who was buried in the cemetery of Bab El Ftouh near the town.

Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) took great care of both him and Muhammed El Habib (may ALLAH be satisfied with him), watching over them with his approval and he directly requested the guaranty of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) for them. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) announced to him that they would receive the supreme secret and that they would be his heirs after his death. Indeed, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said: “The Prophet has given recommendations concerning my son Sidi Muhammad El Kebir and his brother, Sidi Muhammad El Habib. He has guaranteed them Knowledge of ALLAH and has also guaranteed them great blessings.”

In the course of his lifetime, he (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) married both of his children and he drew up the marriage contract himself in the presence of the elite among his great companions.

Before his death, Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) express several wishes, including the wish that, following his death, his companion Sidi Muhammad El Ghali (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) would perform the funeral prayer, although he was not present because he was traveling. Another of his wishes was that the custody of his two noble children would be entrusted to his great companion and recently appointed Caliph Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) with the mission to bring them back to their homeland in Ain Madhi. In fact, Seyyidina Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) has said: “Nothing but the desert is suitable for my sons.”

When Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) left this worldly life, the Pole Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him), accompanied by some of his companions that were from the desert, wanted to take the children there, but they were so happy in Fes that they refuse to follow him, and decided to stay in Dar el Miraya, their dwelling in Fes.

Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) could not force them and so he left. Then, on leaving the town, he instructed his men, of which there were about two hundred, to stop and to lift up their hands. Then he supplicated ALLAH: “I request ALLAH that the Sultan repossess Seyyidina’s house (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) so that his children will become tired and wish to leave the country. Then he concluded his supplication and they resume their journey to Ain Madhi.”

Subsequently, according to the decree of ALLAH, the following incident occurred: Sidi Muhammad El Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) went down one of the roads in Fes on the back of a mule that belongs to his noble father. He was seen by Mulay Ibrahim, one of the sons of the Sultan Suleiman, who said to him: “I want you to send me this mule so that I can ride it and look at it because I like it.” Then I will return it to you. Sidi Muhammad El Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) had understood his real aim, and that in reality it was just a ruse to get hold of the mule and so he did not send it to him. ”

So, the Sultan’s son was upset and he sent a letter to his father who had retired to Marrakech, informing him that Seyyidina’s children (may ALLAH be satisfied with them) wanted to leave the country, so he asked his father what was to become of Dar Miraya once they had left it empty. The Sultan (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) instructed his son to give the house to a Sherif who was a member of his family and Mulay Ibrahim received this reply on the day of El Eid El Adha. Then, Mulay Ibrahim sent a message to Seyyidina’s children (may ALLAH be satisfied with them) informing them that they should leave the house immediately, that very day, on the pretext that the house needed some maintenance.

Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) had predicted before his death that this house would always belong to them. It is mentioned in the book El Ifadat-al-Ahmediya that he had said (in the sense of his words), on the subject of Dar Miraya: “This dwelling is our family’s perennial heritage.” Indeed the house was later bought back by a disciple of the path and offered to Seyyidina’s noble descendants (may ALLAH be satisfied with them).

Seyyidina’s children (may ALLAH be satisfied with them) went with all their possessions to the blessed Zawiya. In this uncomfortable situation, they began to feel cramped. In this way, they waited for Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) so that they could leave with him to Ain Madhi. When finally he came back and wanted to take them with him, they were prevented by the companions of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) who lived in Fes, and who could not bear to see the only descendants of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) leave. The situation seemed to have reached a dead end to such an extent that the only solution was to bring the case before the prince of that time, Mawlana Sultan Suleiman (may ALLAH be satisfied with him). He left the choice to the children of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH be satisfied with them) whose decision was final for both of them wished to return to Ain Madhi.

Following this departure, the blessed body of Seyyidina Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was discretely exhumed by his children, some servants and some inhabitants of the Sahara on the 21st of the month of Safar in the year 1231 of the hegira, just over four months after his death. He seemed as if he was sleeping. His body was not rigid like the body of a dead person. He (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was placed in a deep wooden coffin which was not long enough to lay out the body and so it was necessary to bend his blessed body. Also, while his blessed body was being placed there, he was scratched by a nail and warm blood came out. This wooden coffin is still preserved in the great Zawiya of Fes. Then, they hid it in the Djiniyara road (not far from the Zawiya) awaiting the departure for the Sahara the next day or the day after that. On the night when Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) was removed from his tomb, he visited 50 of his companions in a dream and said to each of them: “I am preparing to travel.”

When they gathered in the blessed Zawiya the day following the exhumation, and all recounted the same vision, they understood that Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) had been removed from his tomb. They looked for him and found him in the street in question where he had spent the night with his children.

At this precise moment, Seyyidina’s companions (may ALLAH be satisfied with them) realized that the prediction that Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) had made before he died, wishing for his companion Sidi Muhammad El Ghali (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) to perform the funeral prayer for him, had been accomplished.

He was traveling when Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) passed away, but since this unexpected event had coincided with his return, he was able to perform the prayer for Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret).

When they put him back in the tomb, an indescribable fragrance emanated and the perfume was so intoxicating that it was feared that the people present would swoon. In addition, they noticed that the vegetation at his feet was luscious and glossy. It was as if he had just died. As a precaution, the inhabitants of Fes built something heavy and solid on his tomb.

Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) was able to depart definitively with Sidi Muhammad El Kebir and his younger brother ()may ALLAH be satisfied with them, leaving the disciples in tears and heart-broken by this separation behind them.

Sidi Muhammad el Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) had attained a high station in the knowledge of ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted) and the Pole Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) was himself at his service and personally took care of his affairs. When he ascertained the spiritual opening (Fath) of the son of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) and realized his great hidden power for spiritual governance, he was afraid and so he appointed several trustworthy people to take care of Sidi Muhammad El Kebir’s (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) affairs.

Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) moved to Tamacine and Sidi Muhammad El Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) stayed in Ain Madhi in the house of Sidi Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) with his brother Sidi Muhammad El Habib (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) and their family. They were respected by all and received numerous visits from both the elite and the common folk who wanted to benefit from their complete lights, and many people were able to benefit through their intermediary. Indeed, Sidi Muhammad El Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) was the intermediary in their covenant (with Seyyidina) and their guiding light. The impoverished found refuge in him and the rich sought his protection.

In the year 1240 of the hegira, following the instructions that Sidi Muhammad El Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) had received from Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), he left accompanied by his brother to accomplish the pilgrimage, probably by sea. In Egypt, they met a group of brothers. It is related that the Governor (Bey) of Algiers had written to the governor of Tunisia requesting that he capture them on their return from the pilgrimage. When they arrived in Tunis, the Bey advised him to go to Ain Madhi via the desert and warned him against the inhabitants of Algiers because his enemies were inciting all the governors of Algeria against him and his brother. The governor of Oran had written to the inhabitants of Laghouat, after having taken captive about four hundred of their people demanding that they hand over Seyyidina’s children (may ALLAH be satisfied with them) in exchange for the hostages. Among them was the son of Buchaiba and the son of Ahmed Lakdar (may ALLAH be satisfied with them), old companions of Seyyidina Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret).

The companions gathered to discuss the problem with Sidi Ahmed Lakhdar, Sidi Buchaiba, Sidi Ahmed ibn Salam (may ALLAH be satisfied with them). Although he had not been called, The Pole Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) was also present.

A companion was present at this gathering who, the previous night, had seen Seyyidina Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) in a dream saying to him: “Muhammad El Kebir is going East and Muhamad Es-Seghir is going West. Without having been informed by this companion of this vision, Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) said to him: “What did Seyyidina say to you last night?” This companion answered: “He said to me do this and do that.” Then, the Pole Hajj Ali declared to the gathering: “How can we give the sons of Seyyidina to the Turks to play with?” Then he ordered Sidi Muhammad El Habib (may ALLAH be satisfied with them) to leave for Bussemghun via the desert route, which he did. Meanwhile, the Pole Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) took Sidi Muhammad El Kebir to Tamacine and married him to his daughter. In this way, ALLAH protected them from Turks’ stratagem. Sidi Muhammad El Kebir stayed for some time in Tamacine and then he returned to Bussemghun.

He fought on the path of Truth to defend the oppress until he died a martyr  during the great battle in which three hundred of his companions and loved ones were also martyred on the plains of Ghriss near the town of Mascara in Algeria. 

Some of his enemies sought to discredit him by claiming that he was only interested in taking hold of the power of the dead governor. In reality, the only reason that compelled him to go to war was the call for help from the people of Mascara and the neighbouring tribes against the injustice of the Turkish governor, Muhammad Bey, who imposed exorbitant taxes upon them as he had done in Ain Madhi. Sidi Muhammad El Kebir helped the people to pay these unfair debts in order to protect them from the governor’s bad treatment and had often express the wish to fight him but Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) had always opposed this.

He only went to war after having repeatedly heard the call to defend the weak during a spiritual retreat in the village of Shelalla, near Bussemghun. He consulted the wali Sidi Belqacem (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) as well as his brother concerning this situation and they gave their approval for him to answer this call. He raised an army comprised of his near and dear and people from Bussemghune and the Sahara.

Sidi Belqacem (may ALLAH be satisfied with them) suggested to him to leave half of his army with Sidi Muhammad El Habib (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) and to take the other half to fight, in case ALLAH decreed that they should all died during this confrontation. He also encouraged Sidi Muhammad El Habib (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) to bid his brother and the people accompanying him an ultimate farewell and revealed to him: “The outcome has already been established, and we are all under the inevitable domination of His Manifestation, we can only conform to the decision that ALLAH has decided to accomplish. Know that only four members of this group will return home alive.”

Thus, in 1242 of the hegira (1827 ad), Sidi Muhammad el Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) set off, accompanied by the section of the army that was entirely formed of men from Bussemghun. When he reached the oppressed people, the Bey sent a huge army and at the moment of the confrontation, the people turned against Sidi Muhammad El Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) and all but four men who were able to take the sad news home died martyred.

The population of the village of Bussemghun was reduced to its women and children, until the children grew up because all its men had died in the battle. The destiny of Sidi Muhammad El Kebir was similar to that of the grandson of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), our Master Hussein, son of Ali (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) and just like him, the sacrilege of the oppressor went as far as beheading Sidi Muhammad El Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) and taking his noble head as a trophy. This act sealed the destiny of the Turkish authorities in the country and brought down the wrath of ALLAH upon them.

Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) had alluded to this event that would befall his noble son. Indeed, one day when he was leaving Ain Madhi on a walk, Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) saw Sidi Muhammad El Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) in front of him. He stared at him in surprise and, still looking at him, shook his head and said: “Huwari” and sighing from the bottom of his heart. At that moment, everyone felt the immense sadness of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) and understood that Sidi Muhammad el Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) would have the same end as the Saint Sidi Huwari (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) who had also been betrayed in the same circumstances.

In the face of this excessive injustice and oppression by the Turkish regency of Algiers, Seyyidina Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) invoked God against them: “As He confiscated Andalusia, may ALLAH also confiscate this before their very eyes.”

At the time of this tragic event for the son of Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret), someone said to the Khalife Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him): « O my master, Mulay, the son of the Sheikh has gone (that is to say he is dead), Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) replied : “And I tell you that consequently the Turks will leave the whole country.”

When the Pole Sidi Ali Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) was informed, he reproached the companions of Seyyidina (may ALLAH be satisfied with them) for having let him leave and he added that they should even have cut the girth of his saddle (of his mount). The companions replied that if Sidi Muhammad El Habib (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) wished for vengeance, they would be at his side at any price. Thus, Sidi Hajj Ali Tamacini was witness to the sincerity of their love and said: “ALLAH may order people to do certain things which subsequently turn against them because ALLAH’s order is a predestined decree.”

It is also said that when the Pole Sidi Hajj Tamacini (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) heard the news he began to cry like never before, and for three days, he neither ate nor drank nor attended the Wazifa. He only left his home for the obligatory prayers and spoke to no one. He cried so much that his eyes swollen. After three days, he left his house and took place in the gathering with the brothers and overwhelmed by a sublime state, he proclaimed three times: “Indeed when my Lord begins, He begins at the head”, emphasizing the word “head”. At that particular moment, his companions did not understand to what he was alluding: but as it turned out, in the same year that Sidi Muhammad El Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) was killed, occurred the famous incident of the “fan” between the Dey Hussein and the consul of France Mr Pierre Deval. In fact, following the misunderstanding with him, the Dey slapped the French representative with his fan. This diplomatic incident was the pretext used by the French for a military offensive against the Turkish authorities. This offensive began with the blockade of the port of Algiers in 1242 of the hegira (1827 ad). Three years later, they took hold of Algiers, the “head of the country” where the Dey resided. He capitulated the same day. In this way, more than three hundred years of Turkish governance in Algeria finally ended.

The wrong caused to Sidi Muhammad El Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) was the spiritual cause for this historical overturning. Therefore the order of ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted) was a predestined decree.

Sidi Muhammad El Kebir (may ALLAH be satisfied with him) left only two descendants, his daughters, Lalla Fatima and Lalla Roqayya, who was later buried in the tomb that had been prepared for her noble father in Ain Madhi since his noble body had not been found after the battle.