The Language of the Future
Sufi Terminology
by Murshid F.A. Ali ElSenossi

Sayyidi Ahmad al Badawi
Sayyidi Ahmad al Badawi (596AH/1200CE to 675AH/1276CE)

Sayyidi Ahmad al Badawi was born in Fes, Morocco, in the year 596AH/1200CE. His lineage traces back to Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hussayn. He spent much of his youth in Mecca amongst the Bedouins and would cover his face in imitation of them. From this he became known as al-Badawi, the Bedouin. During his time with the Bedouins he became renowned as a bold and daring horseman. Throughout his life Sayyidi Ahmad al Badawi was guided by instructive dreams or visions (manam). He spent time living an austere life and spent much of his time in worship in a cave outside of Mecca. He embarked on the spiritual path in earnest during his mid-thirties and initially became reclusive, devoting himself to extensive devotion. As a result of a series of visions, Sayyidi Ahmad al Badawi travelled to Iraq, visiting Sayyidi Abdul Qadir al Jilani and Sayyidi Ahmad ar-Rifa'i, and was initiated into the Rifa'iyya Tariqa. After touring Iraq he returned to Mecca until he was given another indication in a dream to travel to Tanta, in the Nile Delta, where he spent the rest of this life. When visiting the Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) in Medina, Sayyidi Ahmad al Badawi addressed him saying "If they say to me, you went and visited, what did you come back with of benefit? O most generous of all creation, what do we say in return?" He heard the blessed voice of the Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) replying "Say: We have come back with every goodness, and the branch has met and connected with its origin." Amongst his sayings are "beware the love of this world, for it corrupts the righteous deed as vinegar corrupts honey" and "this way of ours is built upon the Book, the Sunnah, truthfulness, purity, loyalty, bearing injustice against oneself, and fulfilling the promise." Sayyidi Ahmad al Badawi is the founder of the Badawiyya Tariqa, also known as the Ahmadiyya Tariqa, and he is recognised as one of the four major Poles (aqtab) within Sufism. He passed away in 655AH/1276CE in Tanta, Egypt.


See also: Spiritual Chain Poles Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hussayn (4AH/626CE or 61AH/680CE) Sayyidi Abdul Qadir al Jilani (470AH/1077CE or 561AH/1166CE) Sayyidi Ahmad ar-Rifa'i (512AH/1118CE or 578AH/1182CE)
(Silsilat). The Spiritual Chain of each tariqa descends from the Holy Prophet Muhammad himself (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) down to the present-day Shaykh. It is through his attachment to the silsilat that the newly initiated murid has the means to travel to Allah under Divine Protection.
(Al Aqtab). These are the exalted friends of Allah around whom various realities of the universe turn. Every Pole (Qutb) is named by two names; firstly, through his essential perfection in manifesting the Name 'Allah', he is the 'Slave of Allah' ('Abdullah); and secondly, through his accidental perfection of being in a particular place during a particular era to fulfil a particular function, he is the slave of one specific Divine Name, e.g. 'slave of the Generous' ('Abd al Karim) or 'slave of the Merciful' ('Abd al Rahman). Even though the poles come together under the All-Comprehensive Name 'Allah', they are nonetheless ranked in degrees of excellence according to the Divine Name which has taken charge of them.
Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hussayn was born in Medina in 4AH/626CE. He was grandson of the Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace), son of Sayyiduna wa Mawlana-l Imam Ali and Sayyidatuna as-Sayyida Fatima Zahra. Next to the main door of his mosque in Cairo is a plaque which reminds all who enter that the Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) said "I am from Hussayn, and Hussayn is from me." Despite expectations of him to take a prominent political role, Imam al Hussayn shunned the grandeur of his genealogical status in favour of breaking bread with the poor and needy. While he suffered persecution at the hands of the political powers, Imam al Hussayn said "I will never give my hand like a man who has been humiliated, nor will I flee like a slave ... I have not risen to spread evil or to show off ... I only desire to enjoin good values and prevent evil." After three days of being denied water in the scorching desert heat, his oppressors attacked. Vastly outnumbered, Imam al Hussayn and his companions resisted the oppressors despite being fatigued, thirsty, and heavily wounded. Imam al Hussayn was the last to be slain and, while he was killed mercilessly, he dies holding firmly to his principles, that of instating an Islamic polity rather than unjust rulers.
Sayyidi Abdul Qadir al Jilani was born in the town of Na'if, in the Kermanshah Province of Iran, in the year 470AH/1077CE, during the last night of the month Sha'ban. His lineage traces back to Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hassan, on his father's side, and Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hussayn, on his mother's side. As a young man of eighteen, he set off for Baghdad to study Hanbali law and later came to be recognised as a noted scholar of Qur'an, Hadith, and religious law. On leaving for Baghdad, Sayyidi Abdul Qadir's mother sew 40 gold coins into his coat and instructed him to always speak the truth. On the way, his caravan was ransacked by looters and, upon coming upon the young man, asked him what he had on his person. On receiving information regarding the gold coins, the looters were so dumbstruck that they took him to their chief, who asked him the same question and received the same answer. After being urged to produce the gold coins and being informed that he could have kept them hidden, the chief of the bandits asked why the young man had be upfront about them and was informed of Sayyidi Abdul Qadir's mother's instructions. This response so moved the chief that he left the tribe of bandits and gave up looting. Despite his success as a scholar, Sayyidi Abdul Qadir initially retreated from public life and spent twenty-five years as a wanderer of the desert regions of Iraq. Eventually he returned to Baghdad, when he was in his fifties, and began to preach in public. His popularity within Baghdad grew quickly and to such an extent that it was difficult to adequate space to accommodate the people coming to listen to him. One day the reigning Caliph was shaken and became terror stricken from a tumultuous clamour. Thinking that it was an earthquake, the Caliph sought out the source of this noise only to find that it was from the sheer number of people, who had come to listen to Sayyidi Abdul Qadir, responding to him sneezing. On another occasion while giving a sermon, Sayyidi Abdul Qadir was struck silent due to a Divine inspiration. When he resumed he stated "this foot of mine is on the necks of all the saints of Allah." Those present took this as an order to bow their necks, as did all the saints of Allah who were not there, doing the same from where they were. On Sayyidi Abdul Qadir, Shaykh Ibn 'Arabi stated that he had reached a stage called "caliphate" from where he could exert influence on people and command them in the name of Allah (tasarruf). Sayyidi Abdul Qadir remained single until he received a sign from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) and from his four wives he had twenty two daughters and twenty seven sons. He treated all his wives equally, visiting them each daily, and, if one of them became ill, Sayyidi Abdul Qadir would do the housework, sweep the floor, fetch water, and cook for them. His numerous writings and sermons enjoy a wide popularity. Sayyidi Abdul Qadir is the founder of the Qadiriyya Tariqa and he is recognised as one of the four major Poles (aqtab) within Sufism. He passed away in 561AH/1166CE. His body was entombed within his madrassa in Babul-Shaykh, on the east bank of the Tigris River, in Baghdad.
Sayyidi Ahmad ar-Rifa'i was born in the Hasen Region of Wasit, Iraq, in the year 512AH/1118CE. His linage traces back to the Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) on both his father's and mother's sides. His cousin was Sayyidi Abdul Qadir al Jilani. Sayyidi Ahmad ar-Rifa'i memorised the Qur'an by the time he was seven and was so prodigious in his studies that he received permission to teach both the external and internal sciences of Islam by the time he was twenty. Sayyidi Ahmad ar-Rifa'i had a special passion for knowledge and especially passing this knowledge on to others, repeatedly encouraging them to "seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave." He was so committed to his students that he would not leave them with a gap in their knowledge and would provide everything for those committed to studying under him so that they were free from all distraction, even to the extent of providing for their livelihood. In order to assist his students, Sayyidi Ahmad ar-Rifa'i authored six hundred and sixty two books, though many of these are no longer available. During Hajj, Sayyidi Ahmad ar-Rifa'i visited the Prophet's mosque in Medina. After offering his prayers he greeted the Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) with "Peace be upon you, my ancestor," to which he received the reply "Peace be upon you, my descendant." On hearing this, Sayyidi Ahmad ar-Rifa'i requested that he be able to touch the hand of the Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) and a hand extended from the grave of the Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace), which Sayyidi Ahmad ar-Rifa'i kissed. This was witnessed by the many that were present, amongst whom was Sayyidi Abdul Qadir al Jilani. After the miracle of receiving the hand of the Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace), it is said that Sayyidi Ahmad ar-Rifa'i's greatest miracle was his integrity in religion, his steadfastness on sharia, and his adherence to the conduct of his righteous predecessors. Regarding this he said "the faqir is on the right path as long as he follows the sunnah, once he deviates he slips away from the right path" and "arbitrate every single saying and deed of yours according to the Islamic law of your Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace)." Amongst the supplications of Sayyidi Ahmad ar-Rifa'i, he would call on Allah, saying "O Allah, make my time inhabited by You, my inner self luminous with Your love, my eye contented by witnessing the effects of Your Kindness, my insight enlightened and informed by the shining lights of being close to You." He is the founder of the Rifa'iyya Tariqa and is recognised as one of the four major Poles (aqtab) within Sufism. Sayyidi Ahmad ar-Rifa'i passed away in 578AH/1182CE and his tomb is located near Tal Afar in northern Iraq.

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