The Unique Silsilah of the Tijaniyyah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is from Ustadz Fakhruddin Owaisi at-Tijani.  This a comment regarding a text authored by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller about the spiritual lineage, silsilah, in Sufism, Spiritual Lineage of the Tariqa’.  An edited copy can be found at Spiritual Lineage of the Shadzili Darqawi Thariqa’ on my blog as well.  He wrote specifically about the Shadzili Darqawi lineage.

What Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller said, is that there are two kinds of salasil, one authentic and the other inauthentic.  The first, muttasilah, goes back to the Prophet (s.a.w.) through living masters that have transmitted the thariqa’ before witnesses or by written documents.  The second one, munqathi, comes from a dead master or is said to be directly from the Prophet (s.a.w.) but cannot be verified and is considered inauthentic.  The question then is, would the Tijaniyyah be considered to have a silsilah munqathi according to this definition.

Shaykh Nuh praised al-Hajj ‘Umar al-Futhi (q.s.) and Shaykh ‘Ali ad-Daqar (q.s.), two great Tijani shuyukh, in his “Reliance of the Traveller”.  In no manner is he attacking the Tijani thariqa’.  Rather, he is mentioning a general rule of Sufism which is true, with certain exceptions.

Imam as-Suyuthi (q.s.) mentioned in his Ta'yid al-Haqiqah al-‘Aliyyah wa Tashyid ath-Thariqah ash-Shadziliyyah that there were awliya’ who took directly from the Rasul (s.a.w.) and said, “We have no shaykh but him,” meaning the Prophet (s.a.w.).

Furthermore, Shaykh Nuh was referring to is men who have never had any shaykh, training or authorisation and have simply started claiming wilayah or that they are shuyukh.  This is akin to these many new-Age pseudo-Sufis in the West.  Shaykhuna al-Khatm, Shaykh at-Tijani (q.s.) himself warned of such men and stated that whoever claims to be a shaykh without Permission will die in kufr.

In the case of Shaykh at-Tijani (q.s.), he made suluk in many thuruq and received complete ‘ijazah and idzn from his masters to guide.  He initiated some into the Khalwati thariqa’.  He was authorised shaykh murabbi when he met Sayyid al-Wujud Muhammad (s.a.w.).  The Jawahir al-Ma’ani mentioned his entire sanad in the Khalwati path, as well as the bisharah of his shuyukh that he superseded.  What he received thereafter from our Beloved Prophet (s.a.w.) was the confirmation of his maqam.

Shaykh Nuh himself wrote in that article, “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.”

Imam ash-Shadzili (q.s.) himself said, "Previously, I had one shaykh; now I have eight: four in Heaven and four on Earth.”  He then named the four archangels and the four Khulafah.  In the same manner as Shaykh Ahmad at-Tijani (q.s.), Imam ash-Shadzili (q.s.) progressed from his this-worldly shaykh to the eight shuyukh al-barzakhShaykhuna al-Khatm, Shaykh al-Tijani (q.s.) progressed from his worldly shaykh, Shaykh Mahmud al-Kurdi (q.s.), to Sayyid al-Wujud Muhammad (s.a.w.).

Imam ash-Shadzili (q.s.) received the Hizb al-Bahr from Sayyid al-Wujud Muhammad (s.a.w.), and Shaykh Ahmad at-Tijani (q.s.) received the wird.  In any case, veracity of the Tijani thariqa’ is apparent in the number of its adherents, the acclaim of its ‘ulama and the maqamat of its awliya’.


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