Adabiha of the Tijani Dzikr

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from Mabadi al-Ishraq wa al-Isʼad fī ma li at-Tijani min al-Idzkar wa al-Awrad by Shaykh Muhammad Nazhifi (r.a.), and translated from the Arabic by Sidi Talut Dawood.

As for its etiquettes, adabiha, there are twenty-two.  Among them are five which precede the utterance of the dzikr.  The first is repentance, at-tawbah.  That is, the slave abandons whatever is not meant for him, in word, in deed and in desire.  The second is complete cleanliness from ritual impurity and filth.  The third is silence and stillness.  The fourth is seeking spiritual assistance from the spiritual will, himmah, of the shaykh, in the heart, when initiating and during the spiritual exercise.  That is because he is the escort, and the best of escorts in the journey to Allah (s.w.t.).  And this is one of the most important etiquettes.  Even if he calls upon his shaykh for help with his tongue when he has a need, it is permissible.  The fifth is knowing that seeking assistance of the shaykh is in reality seeking the assistance of the Prophet (s.a.w.), since the Presence is One.

Among the adabiha are twelve to be observed while performing dzikr, fi hal adz-dzikr.  The first is sitting in a pure place with one’s legs folded, or like the sitting in swalah.  The latter position is preferred.  The murid faces the qiblah if he is alone, or they sit in a circle if not.  The method of sitting in a circle is with them alternating stances; the one who begins sitting like the sitting in prayer and the last with his legs folded.  This is followed by placing one's hands on one’s knees.  And then there is perfuming the place of dzikr, the body and the mouth and doing away with bad odours, since the place of dzikr is not free of angels and believing jinn.  They do not approach bad odours.  When they depart from the place of dzikr, the spiritual assistance departs.  This has been witnessed by spiritual experience.  Another adab is the donning a clean, lawful, perfumed robe.  It is important that the place be dark.  Even if there is a lamp in it, it should be put out, even if it is the only one and being used.  This is on the condition that one can.  Then there is the closing of one’s eyes, since this assists in illuminating the heart.  For by that, one cuts off the avenues of the physical senses.  By their being cut off, it opens for him the spiritual senses.

The seventh is the keeping the image of his shaykh before his eyes, in whatever way he can.  And that is the most confirmed of etiquettes.  It is very important to have sincerity.  This is equal for the inner and outer being.  The ninth adab is pure devotion.  That is, that the action should be purified from every blemish.  So one should not seek the world, nor the hereafter, reward, nor high status.  One should only remember Allah (s.w.t.) out of love for Allah (s.w.t.).  One must practice dzikr with a perfect concentration.  The meaning of the dzikr must be present in the heart with every utterance.  And that one should listen, during the dzikr, to his heart, keeping the meaning present, until it is as if one’s heart is the rememberer and he is the one listening.  The final adab is the expelling of everything from the heart other than Allah (s.w.t.) by ‘Laa ilaha illa Allah’, enabling the tahlil to impact the heart and flow to the limbs.

There are five adabiha to be kept after finishing the dzikr.  The first involves silence and sitting still, keeping the dzikr present by keeping up with it in ones heart, taking advantage of what proceeded from the dzikr.  Maybe it will furnish the murid with a Blessing in the blinking of an eye and he will be Provided in a moment what thirty years of struggle would not have provided him with.  And this Blessing could be abstinence, piety, the patient bearing of injury, unveiling, love or more than that.  Then, if one is quite and still, the Blessings will encompass all of his affairs so it is incumbent upon him to wait as much as is possible.  If not, he should leave.  The second is vigilance with respect to Allah (s.w.t.) until it is as if he is directly before Him.  The third is that he gathers all of his senses so that not even a hair on him should move, like the state of the cat when it hunts a mouse.  The fourth is that he restrains himself repeatedly until the benefits encompass all of his affairs.  That is because that is the easiest way to illuminate his insight, remove the veils, and to cut off the insinuations of the nafs and Shaythan, since when he restrains himself and hinders his senses, he becomes like a dead person.  And Shaythan does not seek out the dead.  The last is to never drink water following the dzikr, nor during it.  That is because dzikr is a fire which brings lights, manifestations, blessings, and the longing on account of the instigation of the One remembered.  Drinking water puts out every fire.  At the very least, one should be patient for half an hour.  And whoever can wait longer is better, to the point that the sincere one almost does not drink, except under extreme circumstances.


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