Sidi Abu Abdallah Mulay Zaki Madaghari (may ALLAH be pleased with him) was a unique scholar of his time. He was among those who were utterly stripped of all personal will and he was entirely obedient to Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) achieve his aim. He took the lordly path from him and drank from the Kawthar of his secrets. His father, Sidi Muhammad el Hachimi was a pious person who had seen the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in a dream giving him fruit. When he woke up, the fruit was in his hands and he ate it. ALLAH granted him three sons : Mulay Sadiq, Mulay Habib and Sidi Mulay Zaki Madaghari.
When Sidi Mulay Zaki Madaghari (may ALLAH be pleased with him) learnt that Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) used to recite the Basmala at the beginning of the Fatiha during obligatory and meritorious prayers and that he had instructed his companions to do the same, he went to see him. He had consulted all the Malikite books on this subject and went to Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) with the commentary on the Mukhtassar and other books that deal with the Basmala in the obligatory prayers.
He sat beside Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) with all his books and questioned him as follows: “O Sidi, it is more common in the Malikite School that this is disliked, what do you say about this?”
Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) answered: “The commentary on the Mukhtassar and other commentaries discuss this point in detail: so and so said this and so and so said that […]” citing each and every single reference in all of these books, word for word such that Sidi Mulay Zaki Madaghari was astonished. Once Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) had established the common disapproval in the Malikite School, Sidi Mulay Zaki Madaghari really wanted to know the reason why Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) voluntarily chose to do otherwise. Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said: “O Mulay Zaki, in this matter, I contradict the Malikite School, even if you disagree.”
On another occasion, Sheikh Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) said to him (or words to that effect): “I will not forsake the recitation of the Basmala linked to the Fatiha both in prayer and other recitation because of the hadith that states the merit of this and enhanced by ALLAH’s oath: “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that ALLAH (The Exalted) said: “O Israfil ! By My Power, by My Majesty, by My Goodness and My Generosity, to whoever recite BISMILLAH ARAHMAN ARAHIM linked to the Fatiha once single time, I Myself testify that I forgive him, that I accept his good deeds and wipe away his sins, that I will never burn his tongue in the Fire and that I will protect him from the chastisement of the Fire, the chastisement of the Day of Judgement and also against great fear.””
Note: If the people of The Truth realize the authenticity of a hadith as a result of spiritual unveiling then they put it into practice. The Illustrious scholar Imam Suyuti related in his epistle “Tawir el Halak […]” that a certain Wali who was attending a judicial assembly, declared to a jurist who had quoted a hadith that this hadith was not true. The jurist replied: “How do you know this?” The Wali answered: “From the Prophet who is standing next you and who said: “I did not say this hadith.”” Then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was disclosed to the jurist who saw him with certainty.
Here is a passage from a letter written by Sidi Ibrahim Riyahi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) discussing this subject and which is certainly beneficial:
“O you who let yourself be guided, that if you are among those who accept advice and seek to understand The Truth, know that we cannot limit the station or the spiritual state of the Awliya because this is not in the domain of that which is conceivable or that which can be weighed and measured. The believers can only surrender compliantly to their words and deeds. It is not possible to compare one Wali with another because their irrigation is as different as the Names of ALLAH (The Exalted). This is the reason why you may find a Wali who received irrigation from the Name “The All Merciful” (ArRahman) disagrees with the one who received irrigation from the Name “The Avenger” (Al Muntaqim); and the Wali who received irrigation from the Name “The Forbearing” (Al Halimou) disagrees with the one who received irrigation from the Name “The Subduer” (Al Qahhar), although they are all Awliya of ALLAH.
Knowing this, it is not possible to oppose any of the Awliya of ALLAH whatever his specificity as long as it is in conformity with the Law (Shari’a.). However, if it contradicts the Law, it is permissible to oppose it, but only if one is clairvoyant and has perfect mastery of the rules established by the Law and even if one observes certain things which do not contradict the Law.
Therefore, it is not authorized to oppose the words and deeds of the Awliya without knowledge because the Haqiqa is a shoreless sea and the Law (Shari’a) is a bottomless well.
Sheikh Muhieddine ibn Arabi (may ALLAH be pleased with him) said: “The Awliya walk in the footsteps of the Prophets (peace be upon them): each wali follows in the footsteps of a Prophet and it is not necessary for all the Prophets to have the same Law for secondary branches (Furu’) as long as they conform to the foundation of the doctrine. Likewise, the Awliya follow the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) compliantly even if their irrigation is dissimilar as we have mentioned previously.” Once this is understood, then only those who are ignorant of the Haqiqa and the Law would criticize the path of another Sheikh than the one they themselves are following
He who has been destined by ALLAH to be Qadiri will be, or to be Shadhili will be, or to be Rahmani will also be; but only certain paths are better than others. Therefore, we cannot oppose he who has been destined by ALLAH to follow a path of superior merit in the same way that we cannot oppose he who has been destined by ALLAH to follow a path of lesser merit.
Consequently, criticizing others in terms of the path that they are following is immensely ignorant and to do so without repentance to ALLAH is deserving of great punishment.
Concerning the particular criticism of one ignorant person about the path of the hidden Pole, our Master Sheikh Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret): this is due to his lack of knowledge of the stations of the Knowers. We would invite him to justify his criticism because if this criticism is based on what he has heard from some of the brothers regarding the fact that certain companions of Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) will be envied by the greatest Awliya on the Day of Judgement, it is baseless.
Indeed, ALLAH is The Holder of immense grace; this grace cannot be limited by anyone. ALLAH has also the authority to grant his blessings upon any of his creatures who are below the Prophets (peace be upon them) and the companions (may ALLAH be satisfied with them).
As for the criticism -- which an intelligent man would be ashamed to express—of the fact that the companions of Seyyidina (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret) recite the Basmala in the obligatory prayers, this demonstrates that the critic in question has not even smelt the scent of knowledge, that he has not consulted any books on jurisprudence and that he has never sat with the noble scholars who guide others in word and in deed. Had this been the case, he would have known that, when Sheikh Khalil qualified the recitation of the Basmala in the obligatory prayers as “Makruh” (disliked), he was not unanimously followed because it is stated in the Commentary of Qarafi, amongst others, that it is in fact recommended. How does he dare so ignorantly oppose us? If we had more time, we would have elaborated further on the subject but this is sufficient for those who follow the right guidance and enough to defeat criticism.”
In his commentary of Al Muwata, Imam Suyuti said: “Numerous hadith uphold the recitation of the Basmala and others do not, but both are valid. Indeed, sometimes the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) recited the Basmala and sometimes he did not; sometimes he recited it audibly and other occasions he recited it secretly. All of this implies the validity of these different cases.”