Archive for May, 2010
I was lucky to visit Maqam of Shaikh Ahmad Al Badawi Al Shareef Raliyallahu Anhu as part of my quest in exploring virtues of past great Islamic Scholars and Shaikhs. This great Shaikh was destined by Allah to migrate to Tanta, Egypt and spread light of Islamic faith with his exemplary spiritual behaviors and deep knowledge and practices of Sufi theology (تصوف). He is the one who unveiled Badawiyya Sufi order (طريقة) to attract people and guide them to correct believes and practices of Islam.
He is amongst Aqtabul Arbaa (الأقطاب الاربعة) as explained in my previous post about Shaikh Ibrahim Al Dasouqi Raliyallahu Anhu. Allama Abdul Wahab Al Shaarani Raliyallahu Anhu has written many mysterious events in the life of Shaikh Ahmad Al Badawi Al Shareef Raliyallahu Anhu in his book Tabaqat al Kubra (طبقات الكبرى). He started writing about this great Waliyullah by saying that “Being famous in all part of the earth is sufficient as a proof for his knowledge and greatness, but we just mention some of his positions for seeking blessings – tabarruk (تبرك)”.
He was born in Fez, Morocco in 596H as youngest boy in a Shurafae family (شرفاء– Offspring of Rasoolullahi Sallallahu Alihi Wasallam – also called Ahlul Bait). His great grandparents had moved to Morocco during ruthless rule of Hajjaj bin Yousuf while many members of this most blessed family in the world were being killed by Hajjaj’s atrocious military. When our Shaikh was seven years old his father Shaikh Ali Raliyallahu Anhu saw a vision to move to Makkah al Mukarrama.
He then set for journey to Makkah with his entire family. Whichever dwelling area they pass they got utmost respect and greetings and so it took them four years to reach Makkah. Upon reaching Makkah they were heartily welcomed by Surafae there and accommodated them in their community. In 627H Shaikh Ali Raliyallahu Anhu departed from this world. He is buried in Jannah al Muallah where many people used to pay visit. There onwards his eldest son Al Shareef Hasan Raliyallahu Anhu took care of the family.
Al Shareef Hasan says “Ahmad was the strong hearted among us and he was a courageous horse rider as well. Because of his strong character we called him Badawi (Bedouin – called for people live in remote desert villages). Once he happened to become a Waliyullah his character changed and liked solitude and reduced talks. In 633H he heard a voice in a dream thrice calling “Seek for a place where sun rises and go there; once you have reached there seek a place were sun sets and then move to Tanta which is your destination oh young man!”
He then traveled to Iraq and visited many holy places there. He had vision of great Aqtab Shaikh Abdul Qadar Al Jeelani Raliyallahu Anhu and Shaikh Ahmad Kabeer Al Rifaee Raliyallahu Anhu who told him “We have been given keys of Iraq, India, Yemen, Rome, East and West. Choose whichever key you desire. He then replied them: I don’t wish to take keys from you. I won’t take the key except from The Fattah (one of Allah’s 99 names)”.
He visited many Maqams in Iraq like the ones of Adiyy bin Musafir and Hallaj Raliyallahu Anhuma. He then set to move to Tanta though the people there objected. There he heard another call in his dream telling “Oh Ahmad! Move to Tanta. Stay there and guide there men and heroes Abdul Aal, Abdul Wahhab, Abdul Majeed, Abdul Muhsin and Abdurrahman”. So in 634H in month of Ramadan he traveled to Egypt and later reached Tanta.
Upon reaching Tanta he stood over roof of one local Shaikh’s house for 40 days without eating, drinking and sleeping. Then he got down and walked towards Feesha. He was followed by children among them was Abdul Aal. Sayyidi Ahmad asked Abdul Aal Raliyallahu Anhu to bring an egg to cure pain in his eye caused by his long stay over that roof. Abdul Aal went to his mother and asked for an egg. She replied “I don’t have anything”. Abdul Aal when returned without egg Sayyidi Raliyallahu Anhu Ahmad asked him to bring an egg from silo (drain storage pot). When his mother opened the silo for her amazement she found it is filled with eggs! She gave one from it to Abdul Aal to offer to Sayyidi Ahmad Raliyallahu Anhu.
Abdul Aal could not leave Sayyidi Ahmad Raliyallahu Anhu after this incident and his mother couldn’t detach him even. When his mother complained about this attachment of his son with Sayyidi Ahmad Raliyallahu Anhu, he told he is my son from the day of horn of bullock! Then Abdul Aal’s mother remembered that heart breaking incident when his son was a toddler. He was accidentally stuck between horns of a bullock and nobody could dare to salvage him from the raging bull. Then a mysterious hand appeared and pulled him out of the danger. It was hand of Sayyidi Ahmad Raliyallahu Anhu from Iraq. So Abdul Aal’s mother got convinced about Sayyidi Ahmad Raliyallahu Anhu and let her son to be with him. Abdul Aal Raliyallahu Anhu became close associate of Sayyidi Ahmad Raliyallahu Anhu and first Khaleefa of Badawiyya Sufy order.
There are so many wonderful incidents in the life and even after wafat of Sayyidi Ahmad Raliyallahu Anhu. Great scholar Abdul Wahab Al Shaarani Raliyallahu Anhu has explained his own experience in the book Tabakat. This occurred almost 300 years after Sayyidi Ahmad Raliyallahu Anhu was passed away. He was once invited as a guest to Maqam of Sayyidi Ahmad Raliyallahu Anhu for a feast of Mulokhiyyah (ملوخية – a famous dish in Egypt). He traveled from Cairo to the Maqam and found people all over in Tanta have cooked Mulokhiyyah on that day! The same day he saw Sayyidi Ahmad Raliyallahu Anhu who has cooked some sweets to serve his guest. Shaikh Al Shaarani was then told to enter to a solo room with his young wife and consume her maiden head.
Many Awliya from all part of the world used summon at Maqam of Sayyidi Ahmad Raliyallahu Anhu to attend his moulid (special functions remembering and thanking Allah conducted on birth day) gathering every year and Shaikh Al Shaarani was a constant visitor there. Shaikh Al Shaarani says “In 948H I was late to reach the moulid gathering. Many Awliyas told me that in that day Sayyidi Ahmad Raliyallahu Anhu moved curtain of the shrine and told ‘Abdul Wahhab is slow and didn’t come!’ In another year I decided not to go. Then I saw Sayyidi Ahmad Raliyallahu Anhu in a dream asking ‘Are you going?’ I told ‘I have some ache’. He replied ‘Pain won’t stop lovers!'”.
Tanta is a city located in Cairo – Alexandria agricultural highway almost 90 km from Cairo and 110 km from Alexandria. I started after Friday Jumua prayer from Cairo traveling through eye-catching sceneries throughout the highway. (I have written on sceneries of Egypt in a previous post). When we turned to the diversion towards Tanta from the highway we asked a villager about Masjid of Sayyidi Ahmad Raliyallahu Anhu. His prompt and fluent answer indicated that he is a constant visitor there.
I could guess the love and respect people give to this great Shaikh and to his Maqam upon seeing the masses of public gathered there. It was very busy in and out of the Maqam as I could see many devotees offering visit with prayers. This is a place where they come to appeal about their hardship of life to get some relief, to unload burden of their heart to get some relaxation. Verily, Awliya Raliyallahu Anhum are greats who can cleanse sore feelings from hearts people who love and respect them, rectify falsehood from minds of men and guide them to truth!
May Allah accept our visit to this holy man who sacrificed in His path and reward us for this humble effort to publish a small passage about His Wali Raliyallahu Anhu. May Allah guide us to righteous faith and correct worship by virtue of this great Qutub Raliyallahu Anhu through him He had guided many people.Aameen!
Footprints of our beloved Rasoolullahi Sallallahu Alihi Wasallam implanted over a stone is kept in glass frame in one corner of the Maqam
Muqattam Hills is situated in east of river Nile extending towards new Cairo area. Though it is not so high, it has a peculiarity considering pseudo desert style of land in Cairo. This hill has some footprints in history as many cave like structures are seen on the sides of the hill. It is said to be solitary worship places of saints from Banu Israel (descendants of Prophet Yaaqoob Alihi Ssalam) who inhabited Egypt for some time.
It was Prophet Yusuf Alihi Ssalam (Son of Yaaqoob Alihi Ssalam) the first Banu Israeli who reached Egypt after being victim of treachery of his brothers. This wonderful string of events is explained beautifully in Quran in Surah (Chapter) Yousuf. Later Yousuf Alihi Ssalam rose up to become king of Egypt. He brought his parents and brothers after forgiving them.
There were confrontation between Banu Israel and original inhabitants of Egypt known as Qibtees (Coptic). Firouns (Pharaohs) from Qibti used to ill treat Banu Israel and give them hard works and kill their new born boys. This atrocity didn’t last long as Allah sent Moosa Alihi Ssalam and later destroyed Firoun and his military by drowning them in Red Sea.
Islam reached Egypt during rule of second Khaleefa, Leader of Believers Umar bin Khattab Raliyallahu Anhu. Earlier Rasoolullahi Muhammed Sallallahu Alihi Wasallam had sent a letter to Muqouqis, king of Egypt through famous companion Hatib bin Abi Baltah Raliyallahu Anhu. Though Muqouqis didn’t embrace Islam, he received the courier of Allah’s Messenger with respect and returned many gifts. Rasoolullahi Sallallahu Alihi Wasallam had then prayed for Egypt and prophesied that Islam’s flag will fly in Egypt soon.
The whole of Cairo surrendered to Amru bin Aas Raliyallahu Anhu, governor of Khaleefa Umar. Only Jews at Muqattam Hills resisted the move saying that the hills belong to their ancestors. But Khaleefa Umar Raliyallahu Anhu ordered to buy the hills from Jews after paying its price.
Now we can see pawed and well maintained roads to top of hills. There are many housing colonies over the hills. There are some view points from where one can view the Cairo city and river Nile running spiraled across the city. When we reached over the top we saw many people waving their hands so as to park our car near them. They were agents of some local hotels who have booked the area with some plastic chairs. Our driver told that you can relax on those chairs and they will offer you food and drinks and finally some thick bill! So we parked the car little far from them and had some quick glimpse of the hill and the city underneath.
Allah has sent many Prophets (أنبياء عليهم السلام) to guide the mankind from darkness to light of faith. First Prophet was the father of mankind Adam Alihi Ssalam and the last Prophet was Muhammad Rasoolullahi Sallallahu Alihi Wasallam. All Prophet except Muhammad Sallallahu Alihi Wasallam was sent to a certain period and limited to a specific nation. Where as Muhammad Sallallahu Alihi Wasallam was sent to the whole Mankind and Jinn (جن).
Apart from limited number of Prophets Allah has chosen many devoted believers to guide men from disbelief to right path. These devotees have risen to this esteemed position by sacrificing themselves by acquiring profound knowledge about Allah, offering sincere worship to Allah with abundant non obligatory rituals and loving Allah and His Prophets with paramount love. These people are called Awliyau Allah (أولياء الله رضي الله عنهم أجمعين)
Awliyas follow Shareeah (شريعة) rules which are common for public and they attain significant knowledge in Haqeeqah (حقيقة) and setup or follow certain divine path (طريقة). My ignorance is inefficient to describe Awliyas and their concrete relation with Allah. Their mythology is commonly referred as Sufism (تصوف).
Sufi scholars rank Awliya into many levels. The topmost position is called Qutub (قطب). Meaning of this Arabic word is axis which indicates Awliya who attained this rank is the focal point of a group of devoted believers. There were four great Qutubs known as Aqtabul Arbaa (أقطاب الاربعة).
They are Shaikh Abdul Qadar Al Jeelani Raliyallahu Anhu, Shaikh Ahmad Kabeer Al Rifaee Raliyallahu Anhu, Shaikh Ibrahim Al Dasouqi Raliyallahu Anhu and Shaikh Ahmad Badawi Al Shareef Raliyallahu Anhu. All of them enlightened Islamic faith during their time while it was fading from believers. All of them had developed distinguished Tareeqa to nourish string of followers for many centuries after their departure from this world.
Shaikh Ibrahim Al Dasouqi Raliyallahu Anhu was born in 653 Hijra as 23rd grand son of Muhammad Sallallahu Alihi Wasallam through Husain bin Ali bin Abu Talib Raliyallahu Anhuma. He followed Shafee fiqh (مذهب) in Islamic jurisprudence. He climbed up to higher ranks in Tasawwuf and his words translated from his thoughts describe the superiority of this great man. Imam Abdul Wahab Al Shaarani have written detailed quoting of his writings and advices to his followers in the book Tabaqat al Kubra ( طبقات الكبرىaka Balwaqihul Anwar fe Tabakathul Akhyar – بلواقح الأنوار في طبقات الأخيار).
He departed this world to mercy of Allah at age of 43. But the amount of work he had done in this short span of life is immense. He is buried in Dasouq around 50 KM away from Alexandria and 60 KM away from Tanta (where Maqam of Ahmad Badawi Al Shareef Raliyallahu Anhu is situated). His Maqam is inside a beautiful Mosque which is filled with visitors most of the time.
We reached Dasouq enroute to Alexandria from Tanta during our return journey from Egypt. After visiting Ahmad Badawi Al Shareef Raliyallahu Anhu we asked route to Dasouq with one driver riding his full packed car. He told us to follow him and took us through some narrow roads overlooked by many eye-catching sceneries of Egyptian village life. He was driving very fast to take us to the destination before Esha prayers because the Mosque might be closed after Esha. He safely took us to Dasouq and invited us for dinner in his home displaying sincere hospitality of Egyptian villagers.