Wednesday, January 31, 2007

al-Madani and Ibn Idris

Muhammad Zafir al-Madani wrote:

"My honored guide and father, Shaikh Muhammad Hasan Zafir al-Madani, left Medina about AH 1222 (AD 1807) and went as far as Morocco in search of a way by which he might attain to God, and he took guidance from many Shaikhs ... Then God brought him together with his Master, the Standard- Bearer of the Shadhili tariqah in his day, Sidi Mawlay Al- Arabi ibn Alimad ad-Darqawi. His meeting with him was on Safar 23rd, A.H. 1224, in the Darqawi Zawiyah at Bu-Barih in Bani Zarwal, two days' journey from Fez. He took the path from him, and his heart was opened under his guidance, and if it be asked who was my father's Shaikh, it was Mawlay Al-Arabi ad-Darqawi.

"For about nine years he was his companion. ...Then Mawlay Al-'Arabi said to him one day, in great earnestness: 'Go to thy home, Madani. Thou hast no longer any need of me'; and on another occasion he indicated that he had reached the end of all perfection, and said to him: 'Thou hast attained unto that which is attained to by the perfect among men,' and he told him to go to his native town, the House of the Perfumed Shrine, and when he bade farewell to him, he wept and said: 'I have made thee the instrument of my credit with God and a link between me and His Prophet'.

"He went to Medina, and stayed there with his family for three years, and every year he joined the Pilgrims on Mt Arafat and then returned to Medina where he visited continually the Shrine of the Prophet, spending his time turned towards God, steeped in contemplation, in utter detachment. ...And he said: 'During that time I met with the perfect Shaikh, the Gnostic, Sidi Ahmad ibn Idris. I found him on a most exalted footing as regards following the Wont of the Prophet, and I so marveled at his state that I took initiation from him for the blessing of it.'

"During his stay in Medina he was asked for spiritual guidance by some who were seeking a Master but he made no response to them out of pious courtesy to his Shaikh until he heard a voice from the Pure Shrine which said to him: 'Be a remembrancer, for verity remembrancing profiteth the believers'. He said: 'I quivered and shook at the sweetness of that utterance, and I understood it to be an authorization from the Apostle of the All-Bountiful King'. So he obeyed God's command and transmitted initiation to various persons in the city of the Prophet ...and returned to his Master Mawlay Al-'Arabi ad-Darqawi ...and remained in his presence for some months. Then Mawlay Al-'Arabi died, and my father set out once more for Medina ... and when he reached Tripoli the eyes of some of its people were opened to the excellence of his virtues and the fullness of his spiritual realization, so they took initiation from him. Then the number of his disciples increased and the brotherhood became famous and men associated it with him, and on this account it was named Al-Tariqat al-Madaniyyah and it is a branch of the Shadhili Tariqah. "


- Martin Lings, A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century: Shaikh Ahmad al-Alawi: His Spiritual Heritage and Legacy. Chapter: Seen from Within. Taken from