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During a recent majlis (gathering), I was asked to provide the ijaza (license) for the tahlil (the recitation formula of Divine unity) of Sidi Ahmad b. Idris by students present. Following the gathering, the kind host, Sidi Mehdi, requested that I provide the full reading of the tahlil in question, so that those who wished to recite it could recite it properly. It was a good opportunity to provide something of a short write-up on the tahlil in question.

The Arabic of the tahlil is:

لاَ اِلَهَ اِلاّ اللهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللهِ فِي كُلِّ لَمْحَةٍ وَنَفَسٍ عَدَدَ مَا وَسِعَهُ عِلْمُ اللهِ

The translation of this is: There is no divinity but God, Muhammad is the Messenger of God, in every glimpse of the eye and every breath, as numerous as all that is contained within the Divine knowledge.

The name commonly given to this tahlil is tahlil al-kabir; and the one who transmits this tahlil is Sidi Ahmad b. Idris.

Sidi Ahmad b. Idris, born in the precincts of the city of Fez in Morocco in Rajab 1163. A Hasani sharif, his full name and lineage Ahmad b. Idris b. Muhammad b. ‘Ali b. Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Abdullah b. Ibrahim b. Umar b. Ahmad b. ‘Abdul Jabbar b. Muhammad b. Yamluh b. Mashish b. Abu Bakr ibn ‘Ali b. Hurmah b. ‘Isa b. Salam b. Marwan b. Haidarah b. Muhammad b. Idris al-Asghar b. Idris al-Akbar  b. ‘Abdullah al-Kamil b. al-Hassan al-Muthanna b. Hassan al-Sibt b. ‘Ali b Abi Talib.

He is the eponymous founder of the Ahmadiyya Idrisiyya tariqa, whose lines of authority stretch through the great shaykhs of the Shadhuliyya, including one line that goes to Sidi Abdul Aziz al-Dabbagh, via Shaykh Abdal Wahhab al-Tazi. His spiritual lineage, of course, thus runs back to Sultan al-Awliya, Shaykh Abdal Qadir al-Jilani.

Of Dabbagh, Tazi and Ibn Idris himself, Sidi Muhammad ibn Ali as-Sanusi (d. 1859/1274), the eponymous founder of the Sanussiya tariqa wrote:

“All three teachers in this silsila (Dabbagh, Tazi and al-Fasi) took from and met the Prophet ﷺ, while awake and asleep and after their death, and in the last instance, none of them had any support except that of the Prophet ﷺ.”

Shaykh Salih al-Jaf’ari, ‘the light of al-Azhar’, the great Sudanese-Egyptian scholar and safe of the 20th century, and shaykh in the tariqa of Sidi Ahmad b. Idris, said of this tahlil, “It should suffice you as a proof of the virtue of this dhikr, the statement of the Prophet ﷺ, to Sayyidi Ahmad b, Idris after he instructed him in this noble dhikr: “I have saved it for you, o’ Ahmad. No one has received it before you. Teach it to your companions so that with it they will surpass those who came before.”

Our own lines to this particular tahlil go via several transmissions, including that of our own shaykh, al-marhum, Sayyidi Shaykh Seraj b. Hasan Hendricks, who was authorised as khalifa in the tariqa Ulama Makka of Sayyid Muhammad b. Alawi al-Maliki, the great muḥaddith and murabbi of the Hijaz, rahmatullah ‘alayhi. Shaykh Seraj and I wrote about the tariqa of Sayyid Muhammad’s tariqa in a book entitled ‘A Sublime Way’ (www.asublimeway.com), which he himself indicates as “Idrisi, Shadhuli, (Ba) Alawi.”

Other lines include the line of the noble Sanusiyya of Libya, which we took from Dr Nafa al-Sanusi, the grandson of the mujahid, Ahmad al-Sharif al-Sanusi, who was the shaykh of the great Libyan resistance leader, Umar al-Mukhtar; and the line of the Dandarawiyya of Ustaz Hasbi Hassan, the noted shaykh and scholar of Southeast Asia, who took the lines of the Idrisiyya from multiple lines of Malaysia, Singapore, Sudan and Egypt.

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The wird is: 

لاَ اِلَهَ اِلاّ اللهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللهِ فِي كُلِّ لَمْحَةٍ وَنَفَسٍ عَدَدَ مَا وَسِعَهُ عِلْمُ اللهِ

Sayyid Muhammad recommended reading it three times after all the five daily prayers, and said it was the ‘collected’ wird of all the awrad.

May Allah bless you and all of us.

القادرية الشاذلية

Post Author: hah