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A Sufi Legacy in Tunis: Prayer and the Shadhiliyya

  • Richard J. A. McGregor (a1)


In the following article, I present an account of the legacy of the famous saintly mystic Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili (d. 1258). The parameters of the study will be narrowed geographically to Tunis and thematically to prayer. Tunis played an important role in the formation of the saint's ṭariqa (mystical order or brotherhood, pi. ṭuruq), and the city today still has a branch of the brotherhood and a number of sacred sites. The theme of prayer as used here includes prayer texts and a wide variety of activity, from popular devotions to spiritual discipline. As will become clear, this is a central element in any discussion of the ṭariqa's organization, ritual, and literature. In addition to the brotherhood and the sites, there is a Tunisian edition of the only recordedcompositions of the saint, his prayers—known as aḥzāb (sing, ḥizb). This study will thus reflect the saint, his brotherhood, and the use of the aḥzāb as integrated elements of the living Shadhili legacy in Tunis. This presentation will go beyond the usual academic treatments of Sufism, which rarely enter the modern period and are concerned mostly with the larger Sufi treatises. I hope not only to bring to light the importance of some lesser known liturgical and ritual practices, but also to begin to appreciate the “lesser tradition,” as it were, of Sufi prayer texts.



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1 Nibrās al-atqiyāʾ wa dalil al-anqiyāʾ (Tunis: Al-Maṭbaʾa al-ʿAṣriyya, 1964).

2 See Louis Gardet, Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd ed., s.v. “Dhikr.” Gardet's discussion relies heavily on Ibn ʿAṭāʾ Allah al-Iskandarī (d. 1309) and his Miftāḥ al-falāh wa misbāḥ al-arwāḥ (Cairo: Mustafā al-Bābī al-Ḥalabī, 1961). Further, some interpretations of Islamic ritual prayer do not recognize sources beyond the Qurʾan; Goitein, S., Studies in Islamic History and Institutions (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1968), 8788.

3 Michel Gilsenan, in his sociological account of the Ḥāmidiyya-Shādhīliyya and the Demerdāshiyya Khalwatiyya of Egypt, passes over prayer recitation to get to the more spectacular dhikr ceremony. His discussion of dhikr covers thirty pages, while prayer recitation is disposed of in one sentence: “In a more limited and immediate way [than dhikr], the recitation of certain litanies and sections of the Quran prescribed by the founder of the Order (the ḥizb or wird) fulfills the function of preparation for the dhikr proper and establishes the appropriate psychological ‘frame’ for its performances.” Gilsenan, Michel, Saint and Sufi in Modern Egypt: An Essay in the Sociology of Religion (Oxford: Clarendon, 1973), 156. I quote this not to imply that Gilsenan's observations are inaccurate but, rather, to show how a student, because of the accounts already written, might not look closely at recitation. For a similar treatment, see Rinn, Louis, Marabouts et khouan (Algièrs: Adolphe Jourdan, 1884), 99.

4 These include works solidly within the Shadhili ṭarīqa; al-Fāsī, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muhammad, Sharḥ ḥizb al-barr (Cairo: Maktabat al-Kulliyya al-Azhāriyya, 1969);al-Bannānī, ʿAbd al-Rahmān, Sharḥ ḥizb al-kabīr (Tunis: Bibliothèque Nationale, MS 2417);al-ʿAjīlī, Sulaiman, Al-qawl al-munīr fi sharḥ al-ḥizb al-kabir (Cairo: Dār al-Kutub, MS). They also include works from further afield: Dihlawī, Shah Walī Allah, Sharḥ ḥizb al-bahr (Delhi, 1890).

5 al-Iskandar, Ibn ʿAtāʾ Allāh, Laṭāʾif al-minan, ed. Maḥmūd, ʿAbd al-Halim (Cairo: Maktabat al-Saʿīdiyya, 1974). See also Geoffroy, Eric, “Laṭāʾif al-minan d'Ibn ʿAṭāʾ Allāh Iskandarī, essai d'analyse d'un texte hagiographique” (DEA thesis, Aix-en-Provence; 1989).

6 This work is one of the earliest and most comprehensive expositions on dhikr; IbnʿAṭāʾ Allāh, Miftāḥ al-falāḥ. See also Khoury-Danner's, M. A. translation, “The Remembrance of God in Sufism: A Translation of Ibn Ata Allah's ‘Miftah al-Falah’” (Ph.D. thesis, University of Indiana, 1988), forthcoming from Islamic Texts Society as Key to Salvation.

7 A work dealing with the divine names of Allah: Al-qasd al-mujarrad (Cairo: Al-Maṭbaʿa al-Miṣriyya, 1930). See Alāaḥ, Ibn ʿAṭāʾ, Traéte sur le nom Allāh, trans. Gloton, M. (Paris: Deux Oceans, 1981).

8 A collection of mystical aphorisms: Ḥikam Ibn ʿAṭāʾ Allāh (sharḥ al-shaykh Zarrūq), ed. Maḥmūd, ʿAbd al-Ḥalim (Cairo: Dār al-Shaʿb, 1985).Danner, Victor has translated al-Ḥikam as The Book of Wisdom: Sufi Aphorisms (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1973). For a good introduction to the whole Order, see also Danner's, “The Shādhiliyya and North African Sufism,” in Islamic Spirituality: Manifestations, ed. Nasr, Seyyed H. (New York: Crossroads, 1991), 30.

9 Douglas, Elmer H., “Al-Shādhilī, A North African Sufī, According to Ibn Al-Sabbāgh,” Muslim World 38 (1948): 257.

10 al-Ṣabbāgh, Ibn, al-Ḥimyarī, (Muḥammad ibn Abī al-Qāsim), Durrat al-asrār wa tuhfat al-abrār (Ḥijāza Qiblī-Qūṣ Qināʾ: Dār Āl al-Rifāʿī) and The Mystical Teachings of al-Shādhilī: Including His Life, Prayers, Letters, and Followers, ed. Rabiʿ, Ibrahim M., trans. Douglas, Elmer H. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993). See also A. Hofheinz's forthcoming review in Die Welt des Islams. Cornell, Vincent J., in “Mirrors of Prophethood: The Evolving Image of the Spiritual Master in the Western Maghreb from the Origins of Sufism to the End of the Sixteenth Century” (Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, 1989), 423, 461, labels the biographical tradition from Ibn ʿAṭāʾ Allāh as the Egyptian tradition and that from Ibn al-Ṣabbāgh as the Maghribi tradition. Cornell is currently working on a study entitled “Abuʾl-Hasan al-Shadhili and the Origins of the Shadhiliyya.”

11 See Mackeen, A. M. Mohamed, “The Rise of Al-Shādhiī,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 91 (1971): 483, for the various dates of birth.

12 Ibid., 479. For more on this period, see Kably, Mohamed, “Pouvoir universel et pouvoirs provinciaux au Maghreb dans la premié re moitifé du XIIIè siècle,” Revue du Monde Musulman et de la Mediterranée (1993–1994), and Vincent J. Cornell's forthcoming The Dominion of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Mysticism.

13 A zāwiya is usually a small Sufi center under the control of an independent shaykh that often includes the tomb of a saint. For more on Abu Madyan, see Cornell, , The Way of Abu Madyan (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1994).

14 Nwyia, Paul, Ibn ʿAṭāʾ Allāh et la naissance de la confrérie shadhilite (Beirut: Dar el-Mashreq, 1990), 19.

15 Quṭb: the “pole” or central figure among mystics or in a hierarchy of saints.

16 al-Ṣabbāgh, Ibn, Durrat al-asrār, 28, and Douglas, , “Al-Shādhilī,” 269.

17 al-Ṣabbāgh, Ibn, Durrat al-asrār, 34.

18 Trimingham, J. Spencer, The Sufi Orders in Islam (Oxford: Clarendon, 1971), 49. In “Mirrors of Prophethood” (p. 426), Cornell argues that at this point in time al-Shadhili was a member of the Rifaʿiyya.

19 Douglas, , “Al-Shādhilī,” 259.

20 Literally “solitude” or “retreat.” For more on the concept of khalwa and its development among the Shadhiliyya, see Bannerth, Ernst, “Dhikr et Khalwa d'après Ibn ʿAṭā:ʾ Allāh,Mélanges de I'lnstitut Dominicain d'Études Orientales 12 (1974). More generally, see Hermann Landolt's “Khalwa” in Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd ed.

21 al-Ṣabbāgh, Ibn, Mystical Teachings, 16, 2223, and Douglas, , “Al-Shādhiī,” 260. Douglas's reckoning of “shortly after 1227” is not supported by the Durrat al-asrār and is incompatible with 1228, the date established earlier, as the date of arrival in Tunis. Also, Douglas did not point out, or did not realize, that al-Shadhili had lived at some point in Tunis as a youth.

22 Mackeen, , “The Rise of Al-Shādhilī,” 484.

23 Ibid., 485. See also Brunschvig, Robert, La Beréirié orienlale sous les Hafsides (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1947), 2:323.

24 Brunshvig, , La Berbérie orienlale, 2:323. For more on the Maghrib and sainthood, see Touati, Houari, Entre Dieu et les hommes: lettres, saints et sorciers au Maghreb (Paris: Editions de l'EHESS, 1944), and Hammoudi, A., “The Path of Sainthood: Structure and Danger,” Princeton Papers in Near Eastern Studies 3(1994).

25 ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya fī al-maʾ'āthir al-Shādhiliyya (Cairo, 1961, and Tunis, 1986), and ʿAmmār, Sālim, Abū al-Ḥasan al-Shādhilī (Cairo: Matbaʿa Dār al-Taʿlīf, 1952). Sālim ʿAmmār is a modern writer; Brockelmann's, CarlGeschichte der Arabischen Literatur (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1937–49) sup. II, 462, 1000, describes Ibn ʿAyyād as a little-known writer on al-Suyūṭī. For more on sources, see P. Lory, “Al-Shadhili,” in Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd ed..

26 Some of the works of this Tunisian tradition are Manāqib al-maghāra al-Shādhiliyya (Tunis: Bibliothéque Nationale, MS 3506[2]) and Manāqib Abī al-Ḥasan al-Shādhilī (Tunis: Bibliothèque Nationale, MS 419). For a list of some of these companions, see Māmī, Al-Bājī ibn, “Nazra ḥawla al-turab wa baʿḍ amākin al-dafn al-ukhra bi madīna Tūnis,” Revue d'histoire Maghrébine 33 (1984): 12, n. 11. I have been unable to consult Karoui's, H. “Le Revanche des marginux: les manāqib des compagnons d'Abul-Hassan Shādhilī,” table ronde: “Mémoire en partage mémoire en pièces …” Paris, Editions de l'EHESS, 1989, inédit.

27 Meaning Sayyid Abū al-Ḥasan al-Shādhilī. Māmī, Al-Bājī ibn, “Naẓra ḥawla al-turab,” 12, identifies the small mountain upon which the zāwiya rests as jabal al-tuba.

28 Literally, ḥaḍra means “presence” and is the Sufi term for a group gathered for prayer recitation and dhikr. Ḥaḍra can also be an annual investiture meeting. See Rinn, , Marabouts, 84.

29 In the hadith of Ṣaḥīh al-Bukhārī (19.14), we read: “[Muḥammad said] Our Lord … descends every night to the nearest heaven when the latter one-third of the night remains, [and] says, Is there anyone who calls upon Me so that I may accept of him, who asks of Me so that I may grant him, who seeks forgiveness of Me, so that I may forgive him?” Translation by Ali, Muhammad, A Manual of Hadith (New York: Olive Branch, 1988), 178. The Qurʾan also mentions night prayer (73:6) and its division into thirds (73:20).

30 This account was given to me by a member of the order, Zoubeidi, Mustapha (13 08 1992).

31 Gellner, Ernest, Saints of the Atlas (London: Weidenfeld, 1969), 8. The situation beyond the Maghrib is rather different. See, for example, Fernandes, Leonor, “The zawiya in Cairo,” Annales Islamologiques 18(1982).

32 Johnson, Pamela, “Sufi Shrine in Modern Tunisia” (Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, 1979), 65. For a more general survey, see Green, Arnold H., “The Sufi Orders in 19th Century Tunisia: Sources and Prospects,” Revue d'histoire Maghrébine 13 (1979).

33 On the typically conservative character of the Shadhiliyya, see Mackeen, A. M. Mohamed, “Studies in the Origins and Development of al-Shadhiliyya” (Ph.D. thesis, SOAS, 1966), 177. See also Cornell, , “Mirrors of Prophethood,” 465. Ahmed Bey (ruled 1837–55) was apparently a member himself, helping to carry the coffin of Shaykh Shādhilī ibn al-Muʾaddib in 1847; see Brown, Leon C., “The Religious Establishment in Husainid Tunisia,” in Scholars, Saints and Sufis, ed. Keddie, Nikki (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972), 83. See also Māmī, Al-Bājī ibn, “Naẓra ḥawla al-turab,” 33, n. 126.

34 Goldziher, Ignaz, Muslim Studies, 2 vols. (London: Allen and Unwin, 1967), 2:262.

35 Provansal, Danielle, “Phénomène Maraboutique au Maghreb,” Genève-Afrique 14 (1975): 62.

36 For a wider study of “sanctity” in the Maghrib, see Cornell, “Mirrors of Prophethood.”

37 Gellner, , Saints, 12, 70, and Trimingham, Sufi Orders, 89, maintain that being a sharif became a prerequisite to both religious and political claims of authority. This analysis is challenged in Cornell's, Logic of Analogy and the Role of the Sufi Shaykh in Post-Marinid Morocco,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 15 (1983): 77.

38 Hoffman-Ladd, Valerie J., “Devotion to the Prophet and His Family in Egyptian Sufism,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 24 (1992): 615–37.

39 Gellner, , Saints, 12.

40 A descendant of Muhammad through al-Ṣabbāgh, ʿAlī: Ibn, Mystical Teachings, 12;Ammār, , Abū at-Ḥasan al-Shādhilī, 30; and Provansal, , “Phénomène Maraboutique,” 63.

41 Because the women's attendance is regular and they can be heard inside, the argument could be made that they are in fact participants in a secondary way. For a short account of women's participation at this zāwiya, see Ferchiou, Sophie, “Survivances mystiques et culte de possession dans la maraboutisme Tunisien,” L'Homme 12 (1972). For a good account of the women at an ʿIsāwiyya zāwiya, see Johnson, , “Sufi Shrine,” chap. 4.

42 For specific examples of women's motives for shrine visitation, see Johnson, , “Sufi Shrine,” 114.

43 The clothing of a sick person may be brought to a sacred site such as zāwiya so that it may absorb some of the baraka. For striking medieval European parallels, see Brown, Peter, The Cult of the Saints (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), 88. On healing, see also Ferchiou, “Survivances mystiques,” and Johnson, “Sufi Shrine.”

44 Depont, Octave and Coppolani, Xavier, Les Confréries religieuses musulmanes (Algièrs: A. Jourdan, 1897), 450: wa man baddala aw ghayyara fī qawli nā al-miʿyāru amāma hu.

45 Murīd, meaning aspirant, disciple, or novice; and murshid, spiritual guide.

46 See Lings, Martin, A Moslem Saint of the Twentieth Century; Shaikh Ahmad al-ʿAlawī (London: Allen and Unwin, 1961), 83.

47 Cornell, , “Mirrors of Prophethood,” 444. Also, al-Ṣabbāgh, Ibn, Mystical Teachings, 109.

48 ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 84; al-Ṣabbāgh, Ibn, Mystical Teachings, 141.

49 My personal correspondence with , MustaphaZoubeidi, (3 03 1993). I have listed only the shortest section of the waẓīfa.

50 Allāh, Ibn ʿAṭāʾ, Laṭāʾif al-minan, 186. For more on spiritual authority, see the introduction to Nwyia's Ibn ʿAṭā:ʾ Allāh.

51 Ibn ʿAbbād of Ronda: Letters on the Sufi Path, trans. Renard, John (New York: Paulist Press, 1986), 37.

52 Mackeen, A. M. Mohamed, “The Sufi-Qawm Movement,” Muslim World 53 (1963): 223. For an extensive discussion of sainthood and the quṭb according to Ibn al-ʿArabī, a contemporary of al-Shādhilī, see Chodkiewicz, Michel, Le Sceau des saints (Paris: Gallimard, 1986).

53 Accounts of members of this family may be found in Ḍiyāf's, AḥmadItḥāfahl al-zamān bi-akhbār mulūk Tūnis waʿahd al-amān, 8 vols. (Tunis: Tunisian Government Printing Office, 19631966), 7:156.

54 Depont, and Coppolani, , Les Confréries, 454. For short biographies of ʿAlī ibn al-Ḥajj Muḥammad ibn al-Shādhilī ibn ʿUmar Ibn al-Muʾaddib Bilḥasan (d. 1899) and his son Muhammad ibn ʿAlī Bilhasan (d. 1916), see Green, Arnold H., The Tunisian Ulama 1873–1915 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1978), 243.

55 For an account of these positions in the ʿIsāwiyya of Sīdī Hārī, see Johnson, , “Sufi Shrine,” 75. On these positions in other branches of the Shadhiliyya, see Mackeen, , “Studies,” 196, and Jong's, F. deṬuruq and Ṭuruq-Linked Institutions in Nineteenth-Century Egypt (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1978), 112.

56 Gilsenan, , Saint and Sufi, 176. Discrepancies in practice between groups of the same ṭarīqa are common. Shaykh Hassen Belhassen also stated that the brotherhood, in his lifetime, has never had official international contact with any other Shadhili group.

57 Ibid., 237.

58 Trimingham, , Sufi Orders, 188.

59 For an account of a number of different ceremonies, see Ibid., 181. On a more elaborate system of affiliation, see Rinn, , Marabouts, 249.

60 Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1st ed., s.v. “Ṣalāt.”

61 Constance Padwick, , Muslim Devotions (London: SPCK, 1961), 8.

62 ʿMaḥmūd, Abd al-Ḥalīm, Al-Madrasa al-Shādhiliyya (Cairo: Dar al-Kutub al-Hadītha, 1967), 191. See also p. 180, n. 1.

63 Published in Beirut by al-Maktaba al-Thiqāfiyya, it is one of numerous prayer books readily available in Tunis. There is no indication in the collection itself as to its origin or location of use, beyond the fact that it is printed in Beirut. It is probably used by a number of groups, as it contains Khalwati, Ahmadi, Rifaʿi, and Shadhili material. On the other hand, it may simply be intended for popular or non-brotherhood use.

64 This distinction applies to the terms only in their widest sense.

65 ʿMaḥmūd, Abd al-Ḥalīm, Al-Madrasa, 161. The first quotation is from Ṣaḥīḥ al-Tirmidhī (Kitāb al-Daʿwāt, bāb: 1). I have not been able to locate the second, but we find, “Lord, open up to me the door of your compassion,” in Ṣaḥīḥ al-Tirmidhī (Kitāb al-Ṣalāt, bāb: 117). For examples of duʿaʾ recommended by al-Shadhili, , see Allāh, Ibn ʿAṭāʾ, Laṭāʾif al-minan, 341.

66 ʿMaḥmūd, Abd al-Ḥalīm, Al-Madrasa, 162. This statement is based on Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (19.14).

67 ʿMaḥmūd, Abd al-Ḥalīm, Al-Madrasa, 163. The hadith is taken from Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (Kitāb al-Ṣalāt, no. 215).

68 ʿMaḥmūd, Abd al-Ḥalīm, Al-Madrasa, 164, and al-Ṣabbāgh, Ibn, Mystical Teachings, 103.

69 ʿMaḥmūd, Abd al-Ḥalīm, Al-Madrasa, 163.

70 Statement attributed to al-Qushayrī (d. 1072), but I have not been able to locate it in his Al-Risāla al-Qushayriyya.

71 ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 192.

72 Trimingham, Trimingham, ,Sufi Orders, 201. He calls this dhikr al-awqāt. See Padwick, , Muslim Devotions, 12, for a useful contrast between the afʿāl and the adhkār of the prayer rite.

73 al-Ṣabbāgh, Ibn, Mystical Teachings, 162, and Maḥmūd, ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm, Al-Madrasa, 139: “Praise be to Allah, I seek Allah's pardon, there is no power and no strength except in Allah.” For more examples, see Allāh, Ibn ʿAṭāʾ, Laṭāʾ if al-minan, 340.

74 ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 3; see also al-Ṣabbāgh, Ibn, Mystical Teachings, 222.

75 ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 191.

76 ʿMaḥmūd, Abd al-Ḥalīm, Al-Madrasa, 180.

77 Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam, s.v. “Wird.”

78 Elboudrari, Hassan, “Ethique d'un saint et fondateur maghrébin,” in Modes de la transmission de la culture religieuse en Islam, ed. Elboudrari, H. (Cairo: Institut français d'archéologie orientale, 1993), 276.

79 These three uses are discussed in Trimingham, Sufi Orders, 214.

80 Manbaʿal-saʿādāt, 9. I have not been able to find the significance of these numbers. Perhaps they are some numerical equivalent to the prayer itself.

81 Ibid., 82.

82 ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 82, and al-Ṣabbāgh, Ibn, Mystical Teachings, 137.

83 ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 82.

84 From the root wẓf, the basic verbal meaning is “to assign” or “to impose.” For its use as “daily office,” see Padwick, , Muslim Devotions, 22.

85 ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 82.

86 Najā, Muṣṭafā ibn Muḥyī al-Dīn, Kashf al-asrār li-tanwīr al-afkār (n.p., 1978), 6.

87 This anecdote is presented to stress the orthodoxy of Mashīsh's thinking. It is not a condemnation of wird and waẓīfa; rather, the shaykh would appear to be stressing the fundamentals of religion to an adept who has overstepped the boundary of his spiritual station.

88 Ibid., 6. Bashīsh is an alternative spelling for mashīsh.

89 Faqih Abderrahman Ez Zaoudi, quoted in Blochet, Edgar, “A Propos du Ḥizb,” Revue du Monde Musulman 14 (1911), 112. According to Duncan B.MacDonald Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd ed., s.v. “Hizb,” ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī was the first to use the term in the sense of a supererogatory prayer.

90 Edouard Michaux-Bellaire as quoted in Blochet, , “A Propos du Ḥizb,“ 111.

91 ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 191;see also the translation in Padwick, , Muslim Devotions, 23.

92 Padwick, , Muslim Devotions, 23, claims there is in effect no difference between the two terms.

93 ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 191.

94 Manbaʿal-saʿādāt, 255. I have not been able to confirm Muḥyi al-Dīn ibn al-ʿArabī's (d. 1240) authorship of this prayer.

95 Waugh, Earl, The Munshidīn of Egypt (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1989), 59.

96 Michon, Cf. Jean-Louis, “The Spiritual Practices of Sufism,” in Islamic Spirituality: Foundations, ed. Nasr, Seyyed H. (New York: Crossroads, 1991), 281. On al-Shadhili's position against samāʿ (audition), see al-Ṣabbāgh, Ibn, Mystical Teachings, 148, and Allāh, Ibn ʿAṭāʾ, La ṭāʾif al-minan, 160. On this issue in a wider context, see Pouzet, Louis, “Prises de position autour du samāʿ,” Studia Islamica 57 (1983).

97 ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 270, and Danner, , “Ibn ʿAṭāʾ Allāh: A Sufi of Mamluk Egypt” (Ph.D. thesis, Harvard University, 1970), 89.

98 Manbaʿal-saʿ ādāt, 109.Qaṣīda is a pre-Islamic form of poetry.

99 Waugh, , Munshidīn, 104.

100 Dermenghem, Emile, Le Cult des saints (Paris: Gallimard, 1957), 305.

101 Padwick, , Muslim Devotions, 25. See also Fahd, Toufic, La Divination arabe (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1966).

102 Ḥirz al-jawshan (Tunis: Matbaʿa al-manār) (containing Ḥizb al-baḥr, Ḥizb al-barr, and Ḥizb alnaṣr). The symbolism of a coat of mail is reinforced by the fact that one must carry the booklet in one's breast pocket while in public for it to be effective as an amulet.

103 Ibid., 2–3. See also ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 253, for a discussion of the power of a ḥirz and its limitations in the face of divine will.

104 Qurʾan is from the verbal root qaraʾa—“to recite,” “to read.” Note that qirāʾa (pl. qirāʾ āt), meaning “recitation” and often referring to the various traditions of Qurʾanic recitation, is from the same root. For further discussion, see Graham, William, Beyond the Written Word; Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 99.

105 Ibid., 80.

106 Ibid., 114.

107 Ibid., 111.

108 Allāh, Ibn ʿAṭāʾ, Miftāḥ al-falāḥ, 4.

109 Ibid., 9. Translation from Khoury-Danner's Remembrance of God, 55.

110 Allāh, Ibn ʿAṭāʾ, Miftāḥ al-falāḥ, 5.

111 Ibid., 7.

112 Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd ed., s.v. “Dhikr.”

113 Trimingham, , sufi Orders, 204.

114 Bannerth, , “Dhikr et Khalwa,” 87.

115 Ibid., 68.

116 ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 175.

117 Allah, Ibn ʿAṭāʾ, Miftāḥ al-falāḥ, 28, and ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 175.

118 Cf. Gilsenan, , Saint and Sufi, 161–63, 169.

119 This is not to deny their other uses, either as individual recitations at times of crisis or as part of wird duties. For the second, see Maḥmūd, ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm, Al-Madrasa, 191, and ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir alʿaliyya, 190.

120 As with the ʿIsāwiyya. See Brunei, Rene, Essai sur la confrérie religieuse des ʿAīssāoūa au Maroc (Paris: Librairie Orientaliste, 1926), 93.

121 It is not my intention here to deny the importance of dhikr, but at Sidi Belhassen, the power and significance of the aḥzāb recitations overshadow dhikr asmāʾ Allāh. According to my preliminary research, this situation is unusual among the Sufi orders.

122 As further evidence of the significance of recitation, 1 was told by Shaykh Belhassen and other important individuals that these summer recitations are the most important gatherings for the brotherhood.

123 The framework and terminology of this analysis rely partly on Waugh, , Munshidīn, 79. See also Elboudrari, , “Ethique d'un saint,” 279. I leave any deeper typological analysis to specialists in the psychology of religion.

124 Najā, , Kashf al-asrār, 126. Ahmad ibn Idris claimed that his prayers and litanies were given to him by Khidr in the presence of the Prophet; Rex S. O'Fahey, , Enigmatic Saint: Ahmad Ibn Idris and the Idrisi Tradition (Evanston, 111.: Northwestern University Press, 1990), 4.

125 Najā, , Kashf al-asrār, 25.

126 Ibn ʿAbbād of Ronda, trans. Renard, 176.

127 Brown, , Cult of the Saints, 61. St. Augustine wrote, “Let us take the benefits of God through him [the saint], our fellow servant” (Sermon 319.8.7).

128 ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 128.

129 Waugh, , Munshidīn, 9.

130 ʿAyyād, Ibn, Mafākhir al-ʿaliyya, 84. See also p. 154. The importance of a spiritual guide and proper spiritual association (ṣuḥba) is asserted by many Sufi thinkers.

131 Waugh, , Munshidīn, 8.

132 Rinn, , Marabouts, 93.

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International Journal of Middle East Studies
  • ISSN: 0020-7438
  • EISSN: 1471-6380
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