Al-Shaykh Al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi(RaliyaAllahu Anhu)
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