Letter from Seyyidina Ahmed Tidjani (May Allah sanctify his precious secret) to Hachim ben Ma’zuz (May Allah be pleased with him)

The following is one of what he wrote to one of his beloved among the merchants of the city of Fez.

After the mention of the Name of Allah and the peace and the blessings on our Master the Messenger of Allah, By the praise of Allah, exalted be He,

[…] I ask Allah – exalted be His greatness and exalted be His perfection – that He acts towards you with His favor and His approval in this world as well as in the hereafter. I ask Him to look upon you with the eye of His satisfaction, His help, His love, His succor, His protection, His assistance, His support in all your states. May He suffice you against the evils that day and night bring, in all that may oppose the fullest joy.

Then, as for what you complained about in your letter in relation to giving your money to beggars, the fact that this bothers you and your inability to repel them in the face of their insistence, know, my brother, that in this situation you are harming yourself, according to the Law and human nature.

Regarding the Law, Allah the Most High mentioned in His Holy Book, congratulating His servants particularized by His nearness:

“Who, when they spend, are neither prodigal nor stingy but stand in the middle ground.” (Sura 25 Al-Furqan, verse 67)

And He said – may He be exalted:

“And spend in the way of Allah. And throw not yourselves by your own hands into destruction.” (Sura 2 Al Baqara, verse 195)

And He said – may He be exalted – to His Prophet, His Messenger, His Beloved and Chosen (peace and blessings be upon Him):

“And do not make your hand [as] chained to your neck or extend it completely and [thereby] become blamed and insolvent.” (Sura 17 Al Isra, verse 29)

And He said – may He be exalted:

“So give your close relatives their due, as well as the poor and the needy traveler […]” (Sura 30 Ar-Rum, verse 38)

And He said – may He be exalted:

“[…] And do not spend wastefully. [26] Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful. [27]” (Sura 17 Al Isra, verses 26 and 27).

The prohibition of squandering and wasting money, and the obligation to preserve it, is something the community is unanimous about, and we know of no divergence on this subject.

You have most certainly heard the words of the Holy Qur’an: “The false does not reach him [from any side], neither from the front nor from behind.” (Sura 41 Fussilat, verse 42). So all that’s left for you to do is listen, obey and follow.

Also, do not rush into donations (in money) until you fall into the waste that Allah has forbidden, nor withhold your hand until you fall into avarice, for this is a thing forbidden in Law and nature. Rather, choose between the two attitudes of stinginess and wastefulness, i.e. the golden mean. Give for Allah according to what your means allow, and what your family expenses and unforeseen events require. Give also according to your income from business and other sources of sustenance.

Whoever possesses fifty quintals of what is common among you and has a large family to support, let him then give for Allah every day the equivalent of one mithqal, it will be enough for him and he will owe nothing for his money (in the Hereafter). If he gives two mithqal, then he has given a lot, but if he exceeds these two mithqal, then he has wasted. This does not apply to one, two or three beggars who come to you hungry, begging for a morsel of bread to feed themselves; in this case, it is not permissible to turn them away. If the number of three is exceeded, then there is no blame on you if you do not give. But if the number increases further, tell them: “May Allah make it easy for us and for you.” If one of these people insists, invoking the Face of Allah the Most High as well as the Face of His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), then give him the equivalent of an ouqiya (unit of measure) or two, and do not worry about anything else.

Consider well these limitations and take care not to waste your money, for through it you protect your faith in Allah the Most High. It has been reported in the hadith khabar that, among people, there are some whose faith can only be achieved through material prosperity. If such people become poor, they fall into disbelief.

You may have heard stories from the greatest of the Awliya about how they gave so much money that they had nothing left in their possession, and you may want to follow their example. You should know that only someone who is ignorant of the particularities of each era, as well as the rules of the law and its fundamental bases, can recommend such a thing. Pay no attention to this kind of individual and do not worry about him, for he is one of Shaytan’s soldiers. The Awliya in question are immersed in the ocean of The Oneness in the hands of the True One – may He be exalted. Nothing but Him is in their hearts, and they turn to no one but Him in every situation. Hence, the holders of this station possess great assistance from the True One – may He be exalted – who will never leave them bereft of any good. On the contrary, He sends them money from all sides, whether people are satisfied with it or not.

In spite of this, they rely on clear proof from the True One – may He be exalted – and they know, through the knowledge directly transmitted to them by Him, that all He wants from them is their stripping away of this world until they have nothing left. When the need for money intensifies in the trials of fate, He allots them strength in patience, acceptance and certainty, so that they do not feel the discomforts of need. The holders of this station cannot be blamed for spending all they possess in an instant.

As far as you and your fellows are concerned, you possess nothing of these forces. Consider, then, the station where Allah has placed you, do not exceed its limits and rather manage its uses. Do not seek to set yourself up in the stations of the People of Particularity, for you do not possess their power nor their certainty. It was said in a proverb: “The ant cannot carry the load of a camel.” If the ant wishes to carry the camel’s load, then it will have overstepped the nature of things and will not be able to achieve its goal.

Shaytan has hidden tricks against wealthy people. If he sees that one of them is pious and carries out his Lord’s orders according to his abilities, avoiding causing harm to others, being very involved in several pious affairs, and if he sees him in this situation at ease with his money, not at all disturbed, then the cursed one presents himself to him with his devious ruse. He then directs people to him to ask for money, and makes him fear in his heart that he will turn them away. Shaytan says to him in his heart: “If you reject these, then Allah will be displeased with you or He will deprive you of His blessing.” He gradually instills these ideas in him, with the aim of making him lose his money so that he loses his religion and faith in the process. Shaytan acts in this way continuously until he spends his entire fortune.

Once all his wealth has been squandered, trouble sets in his heart. He wants to spend in the same way he did when he was rich, but he can’t find a way to do it. Then his family disturbs him, urging him to give them the large share he used to give them. If he is unable to provide it, they will end up harboring discontent, hatred and animosity towards him. As a result, he will be plunged into a state of increasing tightness and anger, unable to find a moment to invoke his Lord or to obey Him in any of His commands. In this state, he may even abandon the obligatory prayer. This situation will prompt him to borrow money so that he can spend it as usual. It won’t be long before he falls into hardship and misfortune, unable to pay his creditors on time and sinking into total ruin. He loses his religion, his reason, his life in this world and the hereafter all at once. Herein lies Shaytan’s aim, enticing him to spend lavishly for Allah without restriction. Beware of this ruse!

And all we have told you about it is enough. […]

Zawiya Tidjaniya El Kubra of Europe