Exhortations from Sidi Ahmed Tijani (may ALLAH sanctify his precious secret)

In the Name of Allah, and peace and blessings upon the Messenger of Allah.

Here is advice intended for those who seek to apply it to themselves, and our Lord’s advice is encompassed in the words of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) who said: “Religion is good advice”. The Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) said: “To whom, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: ” To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, all believers as well as the elite.”

The first of these advices is the fear of Allah, apart from Whom there is no divinity, as Imam ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) advised his children when he said to them, “O my sons, I exhort you to fear Allah the Exalted in secret as well as in public, to speak honestly in satisfaction as well as in anger, to be just to friend as well as to foe, and to be moderate in wealth as well as in poverty.”

Next, take refuge in Allah and rely on Him in the face of the embrace of any distressing situation, and bind your heart to Him (may He be exalted) as much as the station to which you are bound allows. It requires a reverent reserve towards Him (may He be exalted and glorified) as defined by the Prophet’s (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) saying: “Have towards Allah a true reverent reserve.” They said, “We have this respectful reserve, may Allah be praised.” He said: “What you say about it is not like what I say about it, because respectful reserve consists in preserving the head and what it contains, in safeguarding the belly and what it gathers, in remembering death and its trials, in forsaking the finery of this world for the one who aspires to the Hereafter. Whoever accomplishes all this then possesses a genuine respectful reserve towards Allah.”

This restraint mentioned by the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) concerns the common people. The reserve of the Truthful, on the other hand, concerns the spirit that leads the servant, out of reverential fear of the Majestic, to bow his head [before what is nevertheless authorized].

Some Knowers say:

“I long for it, but lo! When it manifests to me,

I bow my head in reverence!

Not out of fright! But out of reverential fear!

And also to safeguard His beauty!

So I turn away from him, patiently enduring,

While I long within for even the shadow of His specter!

Surely death is in His withdrawal.

And life par excellence is in His approach.”

A certain Knower also said (may Allah be pleased with him):

“Glory be to Him who, even if one were to prostrate oneself before Him while laying one’s eyes

Over thorny points as well as fiery needles,

That would not cover the hundredth of His benefits!

Nor the tenth of that hundredth, or even the thousandth!”

Then he recited more verses and disappeared from the crowd. This was during the ‘Arafat gathering. I then asked people about him and was told that he was Abu ‘Ubeda Al Khawwas, who had certainly not raised his head towards the sky for forty years out of modesty towards Allah. This is, without a doubt, the modesty of the Knowers.

On the other hand, getting closer to Allah by letting go of all attachments, crossing obstacles, abandoning all forms of slackness, uncertainty or reflection, all this must not be done for the sake of some good or as a ruse against Allah, but only in order to meet the requirements demanded by the magnificence and great majesty of God, and out of love for His essence. However, this will depend on one’s station and degree.

Whoever has been tested by opposition to one of these criteria, let him return to Allah, humiliating himself, imploring His forgiveness, lowering himself with disdain, acknowledging before Allah his powerlessness and weakness. He must then remain with Allah in an attitude of submission and need, in destitution and helplessness, fearing in his heart the trouble of His unpredictable assault or a separation from Him through the effect of His hidden stratagem.

We must impose upon ourselves, for His sake (glorified and exalted), pleasure and submission in the face of everything that arises, without any disturbance or vacillation, without even expressing the desire to see it fade away, unless it is the work of the nefs. Let us hasten to repent in all that may have arisen as an action in opposition to the Law, for it is not permitted to persist in endorsing it. Even if one does not know that this is a command from Allah, there is no excuse for forsaking repentance.

Let us also perform actions, at certain times, to benefit Allah’s servants with what we hold in our hands, not all of them but the closest ones, from one to the next, without excess or negligence. Our concern must be to respect the rights of our brothers in the Tariqa, rights which we cannot delay, but which we must on the contrary always respond to without desertion.

Every sensible person must have a time when he isolates himself with his Lord, moments which he must not postpone, just as those when he sits with his brothers in the way of Allah in view of a reminder, a teaching or a profit in knowledge which he does not possess, without excess or negligence. Let us take advantage of the most propitious moments to isolate ourselves with Allah, such as in the middle of the night, when people are asleep, until dawn, as well as after the subh prayer until the time of the douha, and after the ‘asr prayer until the ‘icha prayer.

One must work with common sense, reconciling what can be done without weariness with what can be allowed as rest to our nafs without laziness, in accordance with the framework of action of the Prophetic saying: “Religion is ease. If a person wants to compete with religion, it will defeat him. Instead, follow the wise path of the golden mean, move gently towards perfection and be optimistic. Help yourselves in this by your comings and goings to the mosque in the morning, in the evening and in the late hours of the night.” And his words: “This religion is unshakeable, enter into it with gentleness and do not make the worship of God hateful to your souls. Whoever does not spare his mount will not be able to keep it and will not travel long distances.” And his saying: “Take from deeds what you are capable of, for Allah does not grow weary until you grow weary”.

Let us beware of meetings and places where we learn knowledge that lead us to hold sway over the common people or influence in the affairs of state. Anyone who acts in this way will succeed neither in this world nor in the hereafter. On the contrary, his only concern should be to look after what concerns him particularly and personally. And he must not imply, regarding what he brings to his brothers, that he is the most worthy, but must on the contrary consider that he himself cannot do without this moment.

Imam Malek (may Allah be pleased with him), when asked about the pursuit of knowledge, said: “It’s a good thing, but know what you have to do from morning to night, and do it”. He insisted on the individual duties ordained by Allah and which it is not possible to abandon.  Whoever turns away from them under the pretext of seeking knowledge has ruined his life here in this world and in the Hereafter. And his word is true.

You have only Allah – glorified and exalted -, so do not turn away from Him for another, and do not seek assistance other than from Him, nor a pretext to turn away from His door, nor any refuge other than Him in the face of difficulties, distress and misfortune. Do not cease to express gratitude for the abundance and succession of His blessings. The situation in this area corresponds to the words of Abu-l- ‘Abbas Mursi, who said:

“The servant’s moments are divided into four, without a fifth:

– Either you find yourself in a moment of ease, and then the True One requires you to show gratitude.

– Either you find yourself in a moment of difficulty, and then the True One requires you to show patience.

– Or you find yourself in a moment of disobedience, and then the True One requires you to show repentance.

– Or you find yourself in a moment of obedience, and then the True One requires you to show hope.”

The classifications mentioned include all the moments in which the servant finds himself, as mentioned in the saying of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “He who receives and is grateful, who is tried and is patient, who is unjust and asks forgiveness, who is oppressed and forgives”; then he was silent until some members of the sitting asked him, “What then do they have as a reward, O Messenger of God?” He said, “These have security; and they are the well-guided.”

He means (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) by “have security”, that they are safe from Allah’s punishment in the Hereafter and well-guided in this world, while considering, for each of the things mentioned, that it is done sincerely for Allah, without it being mixed up with other things. And this advice concerns veiled people […].

As for the one who has attained pure Knowledge, until he becomes firm in it, he will act according to his time, state and station. His manifestation does not imply information about his state, nor does it dissociate him from his situation with Allah.

Wa salam.

May prayer and peace be upon our Master Muhammad and his family and Companions.

Text from the book Djawahiru-l-Ma’ani

Research and translation by Zawiya Tidjaniya El Kubra of Europe