The Shãdhili order is one of the greatest Sufi orders in the world of Islam. It is renowned for its adherence to the prescriptions of the Shari’a, its insistence on sacred knowledge, its moderation and its emphasis on the principle of gratitude. The legacy arid achievements of many of its early masters are well known. There are also many contemporary Shadhi1i Sufi masters who can easily be compared, in their influence and achievements, to their early predecessors, yet very little is known about them. Recent works on Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi and Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Ajiba have slightly rectified this state of affairs, but more work is needed on the Shadhiliyya and its masters.
There are moreover very few works in European languages that deal with the Shädhili method of spiritual training. The present study tackles both concerns. The life and works of the great Algerian Shadhili master Muhammad aI-Hãshimi (1881- 1961) are exposited and his method of spiritual training is amply explained. The details of this spiritual method will help to explain, albeit indirectly, how the Shadhilis try to accede to the ‘kingdom of heaven’ while, at the same time, leading a
harmonious and peaceful existence with their fellow Muslims as well as with the rest of the world.
The teacher and guide of souls, Muhammad ibn al-Hāshimī was born to pious parents, both prophetic scions who traced their lineage back to al-Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī radīallahu `anhu, in 1298 A.H. in the town of Sabdou, which lies in the vicinity of Tlemcen, one of the main cities of Algeria. His father was one of the city's scholars, and a judge therein. When he died, he left behind him young children; the Shaykh was the oldest of them.
Other Books on or about Shadhili Order
The Tariqa ash Shadhiliyya is a Sufi order founded by Abu-l-Hassan ash-Shadhili. It is the most popular Sufi order in North Africa and some of its followers have made great contributions to Arab and Islamic literature, including Sheikh Ibn 'Ata Allah, author of the Hikam, and Shaykh Ahmed Zarruq, who was the author of a commentary on the Risala of al-Qayrawani (a standard work in Maliki Islamic jurisprudence) and a commentary on the Hikam. He also wrote extensively on Sufism and law. Another is Sheikh ibn Ajibah who wrote a commentary on the Qur'an. Members of the tariqa have also contributed tremendously popular literature expressing love of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace and blessings, including the famous Sheikh al-Jazuli, author of the Dala'il al-Khayrat (probably the most famous complilation of prayers and praise of the Prophet), and Sheikh Busiri, author of the most famous poem praising the Prophet Muhammad, the Qasidah Burdah, or the Poem of the Mantle. Many of the sheikhs of al-Azhar University in Egypt have also been followers of the Shadhili tariqa.
The Hamadiyya Shadhili branch is the most popular. The Darqawi Shadhili branch is found mostly in Morocco and the Alawiyya (no connection to the Turkish or Syrian Alawi or Alevi groups) is found mostly in Algeria but now also in Syria, Jordan, and France amongst French North-Africans. The British Muslim convert Martin Lings wrote an extensive biography of the founding Sheikh of this branch, Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi, entitled ' A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century: Shaikh Ahmad al-Alawi.