Our Liege-Lord Sayyidi, the Greatest Qutb, the Lion, the Qutb of the people of his time, the Savior of Captives. Our Lord Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi al-Husayni bin ‘Ali bin Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Abi Bakr bin Isma‘il bin ‘Umar bin ‘Ali bin ‘Uthman bin Husayn bin Muhammad bin Musa bin Yahya bin ‘Isa bin ‘Ali bin Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Muhammad bin Muhammad bin ‘Ali al-Ridha bin Musa al-Kathim bin Ja‘far al-Sadiq bin Muhammad al-Bakr bin Zayn al-‘Abideen bin (al-Shaheed) Sayyiduna Husayn bin Fatima al-Zahra, the Mistress of all women of the world, daughter of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah be pleased with her, and with all of them.
In 596 H, he was born in the city of Fez. At seven years of age he moved to Makkah after he had a dream in which he heard his father saying, “O Ali, move from this country to Makkah. You will have a great future there.”
He studied the Qur’an with the readers of the time. He possessed a courageous heart, and was called al-Badawi because of his stuttering. When the divine gifts came to him, drowning him in complete absorption in Allah, his life completely changed. He shunned the company of people; held to silence, and communicating only through gestures. (one line left out).
His state continued to grow until he became as he is known. In his sleep he saw three times someone saying, “Stand and go to place of the rising sun. If you reach there, then go to the place of the setting sun. Then travel to Tanta, for surely this is your place, O young man!” This was in Shawwal, 633 H.
He went to Iraq where he was welcomed by its Shaykhs, both living and dead. He took on the blessed Sufi Kharqa through the permission of Shaykh Bari who received it from Na‘im al-Baghdadi who in turn received it from Shaykh Ahmad al-Rafa‘i, may Allah be pleased with all of them.
He took bay‘ah from Shaykh Ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Naysaburi, from whom there are a chain of seven shaykhs who received bay‘a from al-Imam Dawud al-Ta’iy who received it from Habib Allah al-‘Ajami who received from the Master of the Tabi‘een, al-Hasan al-Basri, who received it from Sayyiduna ‘Ali, may Allah illumine his face, who received it from al-Mustafa, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
He was a big Qutb, he could cause his murids to grow in ma’rifa by just looking at them. If he gave one of his murids a special look he would raise him to the Maqam of al-Shuhud. He used to fast continually for forty days, then break his fast. In most of his states he would stare upward to the sky with eyes of burning coal, shouting continuously.
He was called the one with the two veils, for he always wore two veils. He was tall with thick legs, full arms, and a big face. His complection was between white and brown.
His Noble Sayings
Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
The fuqarā are like olives, among them are the big and small, and he who has no oil; and I am his oil. Meaning, whoever is truthful (şādiq) in his poverty, pure as the oil, living according to the Book and the Sunnah, then I am his help in all matters, providing for his needs in this world and the next—not by my power and strength but by the barakah of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace).
O Abd al-‘Al, beware of love of this world, for it corrupts the righteous deed as vinegar corrupts honey. Know, ‘Abd al-‘Al, that Allah said: “Surely Allah is with those who possess taqwa and those who do good” (16:128).
‘Abd al-‘Al, be concerned with the orphan, cloth the naked, feed the hungry, honor the stranger and the guest, perhaps then you will be among those whom Allah accepts.
‘Abd al-‘Al, you must do dhikr abundantly, and beware of being among those who are heedless of Allah the High. Know that every raka‘ah at night is better than a thousand in the day.
The best of you in character is he who has the most belief in Allah the High. Evil character corrupts good deeds like vinegar corrupts honey.
‘Abd al-‘Al, this way of ours is built upon the Book, the Sunnah, şidq, purity, loyalty, bearing injustice against oneself, and fulfilling the promise.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Al said: While serving the Shaykh for forty years I never saw him distracted from the worship of Allah for an instant. One day I asked him about the reality of poverty in the way of the sacred law (al-faqr al-shar‘ī) and he said: According to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) the faqīr (in Allah) has the following 12 signs: (1) he is an ‘arif bi llah (i.e., having direct knowledge of Allah); (2) he is obedient to Allah’s commands; (3) he holds to the Sunnah of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace); (4) he is always pure; (5) in every situation he is pleased with Allah; (6) he is certain of what is with Allah; (7) he is despairing of what is in the hands of mankind; (8) he bears [patiently] with hardships; (9) he hastens to fulfill Allah’s command; (10) he shows compassion for mankind; (11) he is humble before people; (12) he knows that Shaytan is his enemy according to what Allah the High says: “Surely, the Shaytan is your enemy, so take him for an enemy” (35:6).
Then Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Al asked him about reflection, tawbah, dhikr, love of Allah (wajd), şabr, zuhd, īmān, and his shaykh and teacher, Ahmad al-Badawi, answered him in such a way that it quenched the fire of rancor, comforted the ill, and demonstrated Allah’s knowledge (of all things). These words, known to the nobles of knowledge and the Sufis, were found scattered about, but the Sayyid revealed their reality, exposing them with purity and clarity. He said the following about the above mentioned technical terms:
Reflection (tafkīr): Reflection upon Allah’s creatures and His creating not upon His essence, for surely thinking cannot encompass Him.
Tawbah: Its reality is regret for wrongs committed, abandonment of disobedience, asking for Allah’s forgiveness with the tongue, resolve not to return to the disobedience, and purity of heart. This is the tawbat al-naşuĥ (sincere tawbah) to which Allah orders us in His Mighty Book: “O you who believe, turn in repentance to Allah a sincere turning” (66:8).
Dhikr: The reality of dhikr is that it is with the heart not by the tongue only. Dhikr with the tongue without the heart is shallow. Remember Allah with a heart that is present and beware of being distracted (ghaflah) from Allah, for surely it causes the heart to become hard.
Wajd: Wajd is when the dhikr of the Real, la ilaha illa hu, increases so that a light is cast into the heart from Allah’s presence, until the skin thrills, and there is longing for the Beloved, la ilaha illa hu. The murīd clings to wajd and attaches himself entirely to Allah. When the wajd increases and he becomes distracted in passionate love so that it becomes excessive, then the murīd reaches the high rank of spiritual elevation.
Patience (şabr): It is pleasure with the hukm (ruling) of Allah and submission to His command. It is when man rejoices in misfortune just as he rejoices in good fortune. Allah says: “And give good news to the patient, who when a misfortune befalls them, say: surely we are Allah’s and to Him we surely return” (2: 155-156).
Zuhd: Zuhd is opposing the nafs by leaving worldly desires; and leaving the seven doors of the permitted in the fear that one may fall into the prohibited.
Īmān: Īmān is the most precious thing; he who has the most belief (īmān) has the most taqwa. When the character (akhlāq) of the murīd is good, his īmān increases; the best of you in character is he who has the most belief in Allah.
When imparting counsel to his khalifah, ‘Abd al-‘Al, Shaykh al-Badawi said: Don’t rejoice over the misfortune of any of Allah’s creatures or utter words that slander or defame. Never harm someone who has harmed you. Show concern for someone who has wronged you. Do good to whoever has done you evil and give to whoever has withheld from you. Do you know who is the true, patient faqīr? I said: Please, continue to give me what is beneficial. Shaykh al-Badawi continued: He is the one who when he gives he doesn’t ask to be thanked. And when the patient man losses his patience because of Allah’s hukm (ruling; i.e., He causes events to occur that break the faqīr’s patience), he acts according to the Book and the Sunnah.
The following words transmitted by Sayyid al-Bakri are the ultimate expression of the secret of Shaykh al-Badawi’s great spiritual nature: He who has no knowledge (‘ilm) will have no worth (qīmah) in this world or the next. He who has no forbearance (ĥilm) will find no benefit in knowledge. He who is without generosity (sakhā’) will have no portion of his wealth. He who has no sympathy and concern (shafaqah) for mankind will find no intercessor to plead his case (shifā‘ah) before Allah. He who has no patience (şabr) will obtain no success and goodness in his affairs. He who has no taqwa (godfearingness) has no station (manzilah) with Allah. And he who is deprived of these six qualities has no place in the Garden (Jinnah).