Spiritual Lineage of the Shadzili Darqawi Thariqa’

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is taken from “Spiritual Lineage of the Thariqa’” by Shaykh Nu Ha Mim Keller.

In Sufism, as in any serious Islamic discipline such as jurisprudence, fiqh; Qur’anic recital, tajwid; and ahadits, a disciple must have a master or shaykh from whom to take the knowledge, one who has himself taken it from a master, and so on, in a continuous chain of masters back to the Prophet (s.a.w.) who is the source of all Islamic knowledge.  In Sufi tradition, this means not only that the present shaykh has met and taken the way from a master, but that the master during his lifetime has explicitly and verifiably invested the disciple — whether in writing or in front of a number of witnesses — to teach the spiritual path as a fully authorised master, murshid ma’dhun, to succeeding generations of disciples.

Such transmission, silsilah, from an unbroken line of masters is one criterion that distinguishes a true or connected Sufi path, thariqa’ muttaswila, from an inauthentic or dissevered path, thariqa’ munqathi‘a.  The leader of a dissevered path may claim to be a shaykh on the basis of an authorisation given by a master in private or other unverifiable circumstance, or by a figure already passed from this world such as one of the righteous or the Prophet (s.a.w.), or in a dream, or so on.  These, as our shaykh notes, “warm the heart,” “yusta’nasu biha,” but none meets Sufism’s condition that a shaykh must have a clear authorisation connecting him with the Prophet (s.a.w.), one that is verified by others than himself.  Many lies are told by people, and without publicly verifiable authorisations, the thariqa’ would be compromised by them.

Our Shadzili thariqa’ has come from its prophetic origin through such a series of formal investitures, from master to master down to Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman (q.s.), who has inherited Shaykh Ahmad al-‘Alawi’s (q.s.) written authorisation to Shaykh Muhammad al-Hashimi (q.s.), witnessed with many others, Shaykh al-Hashimi’s (q.s.) authorisation to Shaykh Muhammad Sa‘id al-Kurdi (q.s.), as well as having Shaykh al-Kurdi’s (q.s.) written authorisation to himself.  Shaykh al-‘Alawi (q.s.) says, by way of introducing his own sanad or initiatic chain in a work printed by one of his disciples some thirteen years before his death: Since the school of the folk is the most painstaking of all schools in realisation, and highest of ascending paths in exactitude, it is obligatory for every person who belongs to them to make sure of his initiatic chain in the path in the fullest way.  For higher spiritual realities, haqa’iq, are not taken from just anyone who makes claims, but only after establishing in the thoroughest manner possible his lineal chain of authorization — as you shall see, insha’Allah, from this contiguous initiatic chain of transmission, the last having taken it from the first in unbroken succession back to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) — without the slightest doubt or suggestion of a doubt in a single pearl of its strand.  For whoever holds fast to the offshoot has take hold of the parent stock whenever lineal connection is established.

Because some of our shuyukh’s path was not completed without having met two or more shuyukh, we have noted whom they took as a second shaykh in numbered footnotes, as best we knew, and so have also detailed in sub-footnotes the chains of those in the main footnotes who joined between two or more preceding spiritual lines back to the beginning.  We have separated each level with lines drawn between them to perfect the benefit and seek the best way possible.  We must realise that most thuruq overlap and depend upon each other’s lines.

Whoever seeks brevity may confine himself to the chain at the top of the page, because it is easier to memorise and preserve, and is the main reliance of our thariqa’, as has reached us and as we have taken it from the peak of its glory and fruit of its cultivation, him of pleasing character and astounding secrets, our liege lord and master, Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib al-Buzidi (q.s.), the noble prophetic scion from Mostaganem, for it is from him that we have taken, and he taught us, and he authorised us.  And he took it from his teacher Shaykh Abu al-Mawahib (q.s.), our master Shaykh Muhammad ibn Qaddur al-Wakili (q.s.), who took it from our master Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Basha (q.s.) and from Shaykh Abu Ya‘za al-Mahaji (q.s.), who both took it from Mawlay al-‘Arabi ibn Ahmad ad-Darqawi (q.s.).  This is from Shaykh al-Qadiri’s (q.s.) Irshad ar-Raghibin.

This lengthy passage has been quoted in full for two reasons.  The first is Shaykh al-‘Alawi’s (q.s.) uncompromising insistence in the first paragraph on the importance of the connectedness of the initiatic chain through authorised shuyukh.  Our shaykh related that when Shaykh al-‘Alawi (q.s.) authorised Shaykh al-Hashimi in Damascus, he had the authorization stamped and certified by various government notaries in order that there should be no mistake as to its authenticity.

The second reason is that in our times a popular biography of Shaykh al-‘Alawi (q.s.) had apparently confused the issue of Shaykh al-Buzidi’s (q.s.) disciples consulting with one another after his death as to who should succeed him as their shaykh, with the issue of there being anyone authorised as a shaykh by him at all, be it Shaykh al-‘Alawi (q.s.) or anyone else.  The book overlooked Shaykh al-Buzidi’s (q.s.) other authorisations to Algerian disciples that were public knowledge.  Another whom Shaykh al-Buzidi (q.s.) authorised besides Shaykh al-‘Alawi (q.s.), for example, was Shaykh Muhammad ibn Yallas (q.s.) of Tlemcen.  This is from Tarikh ‘Ulama’ Dimashq.  His authorisation and that of Shaykh al-‘Alawi (q.s.) were known to, among others, Shaykh al-Hashimi (q.s.), who had met Shaykh al-Buzidi (q.s.) as a child, and who moved to Damascus in 1911 with Shaykh ibn Yallas (q.s.), whom he relied upon as his own murshid in the thariqa’.

These men had too much respect for tradition, and too much knowledge of the path, to imagine that anyone could be a shaykh without authorisation from a master.  And if Shaykh al-Buzidi (q.s.) did not name a particular shaykh as his successor for the brethren in the West, the suggestion that Shaykh al-‘Alawi (q.s.) was “elected” as a murshid of the thariqa’ by popular consensus of disciples not only makes a lie of the spirit and the letter of his own words above, “he authorized us”, but contradicts the system of ‘ijaza in Islam from beginning to end.  It is a rather sweeping claim.  Shaykh al-Hashimi (q.s.) has said, “Whoever dares to be a shaykh without an authorisation is afflicted, deluded, and deceived, and it is to be feared that he will finish life outside of Islam (yukhsha ‘alayhi su’ al-khatima).  The Knower of Allah (s.w.t.), Mawlay ibn al-‘Arabi (q.s.), said this, as quoted by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Fasi (q.s.), in Ibtihaj al-Qulub.  This is because of the insolence to Allah it entails, and pretending to mediate between Allah (s.w.t.) and His servants, and to be a successor of His messengers in guidance and instruction.”  This is from Shithranj al-‘Arifin.

If all this is familiar enough to initiates, it is somewhat foreign to the modern mentality, and some authors, Islamic and Orientalist, have claimed that certain links of the Sufi chain of initiation, particularly early ones, are not contiguous, to which the ahadits expert Shaykh Ahmad al-Ghumari (q.s.) has replied in considerable detail in his ‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib Imam al-‘Arifin, establishing that the Shadzili-Darqawi line is fully authenticated, from Shaykh al-‘Arabi ad-‘Darqawi (q.s.) back to its prophetic origins, shaykh by shaykh.

The order’s spiritual line is thus from Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman ash-Shaghuri (q.s.), from Shaykh Muhammad Sa‘id al-Kurdi (q.s.), from Shaykh Muhammad al-Hashimi (q.s.), from Shaykh Ahmad al-‘Alawi (q.s.), from Shaykh Muhammad al-Buzidi (q.s.), from Shaykh Muhammad Qaddur al-Wakili (q.s.), from Shaykh Abu Ya‘za al-Mahaji (q.s.) and Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Qadir (q.s.), from Mawlay al-‘Arabi ad-Darqawi (q.s.), from Shaykh ‘Ali al-Jamal (q.s.), from Shaykh al-‘Arabi ibn ‘Abdullah (q.s.), from Shaykh Ahmad ibn ‘Abdullah (q.s.), from Shaykh Qasim al-Khaswswasi (q.s.), from Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah (q.s.), from Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Fasi (q.s.), from Shaykh Yusuf al-Fasi (q.s.), from Shyakh ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Majdzub (q.s.), from Shaykh ‘Ali al-Sanhaji ad-Dawwar (q.s.), from Shaykh Ibrahim al-Fahham (q.s.), from Imam Ahmad az--Zarruq (q.s.), from Shaykh Ahmad al-Hadhrami (q.s.), from Shaykh Yahya al-Qadiri (q.s.), from Shaykh ‘Ali ibn Wafa (q.s.), from Shaykh Muhammad Wafa Bahr asw-Swafa’ (q.s.), from Shaykh Dawud al-Bakhili (q.s.), from Shaykh Ahmad ibn ‘Atha’illah as-Sakandari (q.s.), from Shaykh Abu al-‘Abbas al-Mursi (q.s.), from Imam Abu al-Hasan ash-Shadzili (q.s.), from Shaykh ‘Abd as-Salam ibn Mashish (q.s.), from Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-‘Aththar az-Zayyat (q.s.), from al-Ghawts Shaykh Abu Madyan (q.s.), from Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.), from Shaykh Sa‘id al-Mubarak (q.s.), from Shaykh Abu al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali Yusuf (q.s.), from Shaykh Abu al-Faraj at-Tharthusi (q.s.), from Shaykh Abu Faraj ‘Abd al-Wahhab at-Tamimi (q.s.), from Shaykh Abu Bakr ash-Shibli (q.s.), from Imam Abu al-Qasim al-Junayd (q.s.), from Shaykh Sari as-Saqatti (q.s.), from Shaykh Ma‘ruf al-Karkhi (q.s.), from Shaykh Dawud ath-Tha’i (q.s.), from Habib al-‘Ajami (q.s.), from Shaykh Hasan al-Baswri (q.s.), from ‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.), from Muhammad the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).


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