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Flagships of Sufism : Abul Hassan Al-Shadhiliy


Abul Hassan Al-Shadhiliy was born at the end of the sixth century of the Hijri calendar [593 H.] in the town of Ghamara close to the town of Sabta in Morocco and hails from the Moroccan tribe of Omran

He received the Tariqa/ path [code of conduct] from Shaikh Abdul-Salam who received it from Shaikh Abi Madyan Sho'aib who in turn received it from Sidi Abdul-Qader Al-Jiylani may Allah be pleased with them all. He was succeeded in his Tariqa/ path by Sidi Abul Abbas Al-Morsiy may Allah's mercy be upon him

In his youth Abul Hassan Al-Shadhiliy was instructed by Imam Abdul-Salam Bin Misheish in Morocco, and had a profound effect on his life in terms of both practicality and on his Sufi path/ way of being. He then travelled to Tunisia and to Mount Zaghwan, where he worshipped in seclusion

Al-Shadhiliy was known for his raised fortitude, his humility, his eloquence, as he was known as well for his moderation in food and drink and in clothing as well as pleasant appearance, as he says: As for comfortable clothes, eating delicious food, and drinking cool water, turning towards them does not entail losing favor with Allah if they are received with thanks to Allah

Al-Shadhiliy also says: do not exceed in abandoning Dunya/ [the lower swift finite material world] such that you are overcome by its harshness, or that your parts whither away such that you would return to embrace it, after exiting its grasp by fortitude, thought, will and motion. Thus Know Allah then be as you will

Al-Shadhiliy was 'Alim/ 'scholar' adept in sciences and 'Arif/ 'possessing knowledge'; well-versed in the outwardly sciences, encompassing their subtle arts such as; hadith and tafsir and fiqh and grammar, tasrif, language, logic, wisdoms and mannerisms. As for the sciences of knowledge of Allah Most High, he is the Qutb/ 'magnate'/ pole of their grindstone and their morning sun

Shaikh Makeenuddin Al-Asmar says of him: People are called to the bab/ 'door' of Allah and Abul Hassan Al-Shadhiliy [may Allah be pleased with him] enters them to Allah's presence

Shaikh Abul Hassan was one of those who did well along with the Ulamaa/ scholars that were with him in preparing Muslims spiritually to face the enemy at the battle of Mansoura in which Allah rewarded Muslims with a resounding triumph.

The former Grand Shaikh of Azhar Abdul-Halim Mahmud says of him

He is the grandest Qutb/ magnate/ 'polar power of knowledge of Truth', the most-known flagship, the most prominent mountaintop, of most noble, central and high standing. He is the clear rising full moon of clear evidence, who needs no introduction nor explanation, who's value is known throughout the world, and who no two can disagree on his Ghawth status/ 'ability to aid the needy of any kind of help Allah willing'
His path is a curative serum to the dis-eases of worshippers and his Zikr/ 'inspired prayers'/ 'remembrance' is a mercy to every caller. His secret flows through the horizons, and by his merits and discoveries travelled first and last crowds of riders and companions. Spent his life in worship, and was approached for aid by the peoples of happiness. And (may peace be upon him) was in knowledge an extreme, and in abandoning materiality at its end, Allah coupled him with both honors: that of clay and that of faith, and has scored the benevolence of realized certitude

His meeting with his Shaikh Sidi Abdul-Salam bin Misheish (Allah The Most High's mercy upon him)
Sidi Abul Hassan Al-Shadhiliy says: when I entered Iraq I met with the righteous Shaikh Abi Al-Fath Al-Wasiti, and saw none in Iraq like him, and i asked him about the Qutb, so he told me you ask for the Qutb in Iraq when he is in your country, go back to your lands and you will find him. So I returned to Morocco until i met with my teacher the Shaikh and Waliyy/ 'receiver of love and nearness to Allah' 'Aref/ 'he who has knowledge of Allah', Sideeq/ 'truthful in the Eyes of God', Qutb/ 'Magnate'/ 'pole of Truth', Gawth/ 'rescuer of people' Abi Muhammad Abdul-Salam bin Misheish Al Sharif Al Hassani/ 'descendant of Imam Al-Hassan' (may Allah be pleased with them)

Al-Shadhiliy (may Allah be pleased with him) said: when I arrived to him he was living in a cave in Ribata at the top of a mountain, so I bathed in an 'eye of fresh water' at the foot of the mountain washing myself of my knowledge and deeds and ascended to him a faqir/ 'impoverished and devoid of myself' and found him descending upon me when he saw me he said welcome Ali bin Abdullah bin Abdul-Jabbar, and recited my lineage to the Prophet of Allah SAAWS, then told me Ali you came up to us impoverished of your knowledge and deeds and thus received from us the riches of the dunya/ 'swift lower world' and Akhira/ 'the lasting end world', which astonished me. So I stayed with him days until Allah opened my insight

After the conclusion of Sidi Abul Hassan's stay with his Shaikh Sidi Abdul-Salam bin Misheish, he said to him as he was leaving: Ali travel to Africa and stay in a town called Shadhilla, and from there you will move to Tunis, where you will be persecuted by the sultanate, and from there you will travel to the land of Al-Mashriq/ 'East' and there you will inherit the Qitaba/ 'become the magnate/ pole of Truth'

Abul Hassan moved to Shadhilla and experienced the crowding of people around him, and set to journey to Mount Zighwan at the outskirts of Shadhilla, where he freed his time to worship and Mujahada/ 'persevering against the self' for a long time, until he moved to Tunis. There many of the righteous crowded around him, followed by an increase of Murideen/ seekers who seemed to grow in number everyday, until the multitude gathered around him, striking jealousy in thwart of a man named Ibn Al-Baraa, who was stationed as a judge. Ibn Al-Baraa slandered the Shaikh before the sultan, yet Allah protected him. Then the Shaikh set to go to Hajj/ 'pilgrimage to Mecca' and on his journey was set to stay in Egypt, but this Ibn Baraa sent a message to the sultan there: this man arriving to you has disrupted our land for us and will do such to your land as well. Thus the sultan ordered the Shaikh's arrest in Alexandria. Thus Shaikh Abul Hassan spent days in Alexandria then left without any of the Wali/ 'governor's soldiers knowing of his departure and headed to the sultan in Cairo. There he requested entrance to the sultan, who said:How is this, when we had ordered his arrest in Alexandria. Thus he was admitted to the sultan, judges and emirs, and it became evident to them the truth of Imam Al-Shadhiliy from what they witnessed of his Karamat/ 'blessings that break norms', and thus the sultan wrote to the Wali of Alexandria with regards to this. Al-Shadhiliy (may Allah be pleased with him) then stayed in the Sultan's hospitality in the citadel for days until he left headed for Hajj then returned to Tunis, where he stayed as a caller and guide

At that time Shaikh Abul Abbas AlMorsiy arrived to Tunis, and once he met his Shaikh Abul Hassan and he laid eyes upon him he exclaimed: I only returned to Tunis for this young man- this young man being Shaikh Abul Abbas who accompanied Shaikh Abul Hassan and did not take leave of him until his passing, and was his successor after he passed

Shaikh Abul Hassan continued in Tunis till his departure to Egypt, arriving in Alexandria where he made a home, married and had children; of them Shihabbuddin Ahmad, Abu Abdullah Muhammad Sharafuddin, and from daughters Zainab and 'Arifat AlKhaiyr

Al Shadhiliy in Wadi Humaythira/ 'valley of Humaythira' in the desert of 'Aithab on his way to Mecca in the first days of Thi'l-Qi'eda (656 H.)


From the sayings of Sidi Abul Hassan Al-Shadhiliy (may Allah be pleased with him)

From his sayings (may Allah be pleased with him): if your Kashf/ 'unveilings' are not in line with The Book of Allah and Sunna of the Prophet SAAWS, then cling to The Book and Sunna and discard that which was revealed and tell yourself "Allah has guaranteed my protection through His Book and Sunna and did not guarantee it in Kashf, nor Ilham/ 'inspirations', nor Mushahada/ 'witnessings', with all's unified view not to act on Kash, Ilham, or Mushahada unless verified by The Book and Sunna.

And he used to say: whoever through knowledge did not become more impoverished to His Lord and humble to his slaves, is perished

And from his sayings: there are 3 reasons for Qabdh/ 'constriction'/ decrease of light in the heart; a sin committed, or dunya which has overcome you, or someone who is hurting you either yourself or your own. Thus if you sinned then istaghfir/ 'ask for Allah's forgiveness', and if dunya has overcome you then return to your Lord, and if you were at an injustice then wait and persevere, that is your remedy. And if Allah has not revealed the reason for Qabdh then stay yourself within flow of destinies for it is a passing cloud

And he also says: there is no greater than the karama/ blessing of true belief

And says: He who profited and rose in the fara'id/ 'decrees' of Allah has completed his mujahada

And on the subject of Taqwa/ 'avoidance of that which does not please Allah' he says: there is no Taqwa for the lover of dunya/ the lower swift material world, taqwa is for those who turn away from it

As for the truth of zikr/ remeberance he says: it is what calms the heart with peace and soundness, and sublimates one to the truths of the clouds of lights of the veils of light of Allah, leaving behind the Zikr/ 'remembrance' and all else to the Mazkour/ 'He Who Is Remembered' (Allah Subhanu Wa Ta'aala)

Abul Hassan Al-Shadhiliy says: in my travels in the beginnings i encountered some hesitance: should I stay in the wilderness and wasteland to devote my time to obedience and the forms of zikr, or should I return to the cities and homes to accompany the scholars and righteous? And I was prescribed a certain Waliyy/ 'one who is loved and neared by Allah' at the top of a mountain and thus ascended to him. Yet I only arrived at night, so I said to myself: I shouldn't enter to him at such an hour, then I heard him say from inside his cave: By Allah there are people who have asked you to succumb Your creation to them, and You have succumbed your creatures to them, and they were content with that from You, Dear Allah I ask you that Your creatures turn away from me such that You Are my only refuge

So I said to myself: O' self look at what sea this Shaikh is pouring from. So I said to him: how are you Sidi?

He said: I complain to Allah the coolness of satisfaction and letting go, as you complain the heat of workings and choice

I said: Sidi as for my complaints of the heat of workings and choice, that I have tasted and am now in, as for your complaint of the coolness of satisfaction and letting go, why is that?

He said: I fear that it's beauty may distract me from Allah

I said: Sidi i heard you last night say: "By Allah there are people who have asked you to succumb Your creation to them, and You have succumbed your creatures to them, and they were content with that from You, Dear Allah I ask you that Your creatures turn away from me such that You Are my only refuge."

He smiled at me and said: my son, do not say: succumb to me your creation, say: O' Lord Be for me, you see if He is for you, would you miss anything?

From the instructions of his Shaikh Abdul-Salam bin Misheish to him

Abul Hassan says my teacher instructed me and said: do not move your feet except where you hope to reach Allah's favor, and do not sit except where you mostly are safe from sins, and do not accompany except those who would aid you on obedience of Allah, and do not favor except those who increase your certainty, and how few they are

And he said: Escape from people's good more so than you run from the bad/ ill of people, for their ill harms you in body, and their goodness befalls your heart. And that you should be afflicted in body is more favorable than to be afflicted in the heart

And he said: Two sins that rarely can be countered by one's many good deeds; anger at what Allah has decreed, and being unjust to his creatures. And two good deeds that rarely can be countered by one's bad deeds: comfort in Allah's affliction/ decree, and forgiving Allah's creatures

And he said: the best of deeds are four followed by four: Love for Allah, comfort in Allah's decree, disinterest in dunya, and placing your faith in the workings of Allah, performing Allah's decrees, avoiding what Allah has forbidden, and patience to what is not meaningful, and being watchful of all distractions

And he said: he who possesses four things will be sought by creation; and they would enrich you over all else; Love for Allah Most High, being rich with Allah and needing only Him, truth and certainty. [being truthful in your subjugation and worship and certainty in the decrees of Lordship (And who is a better judge than Allah to those who are certain)]

And he said (may Allah be pleased with him): return from defying your Lord makes you Muwahid/ 'at one with His wishes and believing in His status', acting on the cornerstones of Shari'aa makes you a Sunni, gaining both makes you Mutahaqqiq/ 'certain'/ 'perceiver of Truth'

On the truth of Sufism he says: Tasawof/ Sufism is exercising the self to subjugation and worship, and returning it to the decrees of Lordship, thus the sufi sees his presence as dust in the wind, neither there, nor not there, he is as he is in the Knowledge of Allah

And he said: fear Allah a kind of fear that would protect you from everything, and focus the gaze of belief and you shall find Allah in everything and close to everything and encompassing everything

And he said: Allah Allah, Al-Nas Al-Nas, (place Allah before your eyes before dealing with people), cleanse your tongue from speaking of them, and your heart from idolizing them, maintain your Jawarih/ 'senses and abilities that can harm Allah's creatures', perform Allah's decrees, and that would complete Allah's Wilayya/ dominion over you and selecting you to be loved and near, and do not speak of them except through the truth of Allah's right over you, and that would complete your avoidance seeking Allah's favor

عن الكاتب

حسن بن أحمد

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2016