He is the Imam the Shaykh Abdul Fattah son of Sayid Ahmed son of Muhammad al-Qadi who’s lineage goes back to Imam Hasan from his father and back to Imam Husayn from his mother. He is Shafi’i and he adopted many character traits of the Emissary of Godﷺ . He is Shadhili in Sufi path and Shablangee in origin.
He was born (may God be pleased with him) in Shablanga in the end of the month of Safar in the year 1317 AH. Early on signs of rujula (spiritual manliness) manifested on him. In his days of youth he would spend time with elders and men of knowledge and listened to their opinions. He eventually became well known as the one with the decisive and final arguments while maintaining just and objective opinions. The elders and the Shaykhs even started seeking his council in their most important decisions and in their efforts of reconciliation.
This all happened along side his studies of the Noble Qur’an and Tajweed (the science of pronouncing and reciting the Qur’an as it was revealed to Prophet Muhammadﷺ). He persevered counseling and studying the Qur’an until God chose to pull him in His presence. He was commanded in a vision of the Emissary of Godﷺ to take the Sufi path of Abu Hasan al-Shadhili at the hands of the gnostic Sayyid Muhammad Abdul Wahhab al-Husafy. He consequently became the successor of the Shadhili Sufi order and called the people to God, guided them and instructed them.
The Shaykh Abdul Fattah al-Qadi held tight to God from his young age. He held tight to the Qur’an, which he mastered by memorizing it, understanding it and acting by it. He held tight to the Prophetic image that he loved so dearly in its dimensions of spirituality and good character. He took the Prophetﷺ as a role model that was as real and influential to him in the realm of senses as it was in the realm of meanings. He held tight to the image of the pious predecessors and their good conduct. He struggled, fasted, prayed and took to solitude sending his prayers upon the Emissary of Godﷺ. He struggled in these trying times until his ark, if we may, settled on the mount of Judy (the name of the mountain that Noah’s ark rested on at the end of the flood disaster) so he said in relief “praise be to God, Lord of the universe.” He consequently experienced openings and subsequent ease in his material life as he continued guiding men.
For his disciples, he was a teacher of good conduct, an instructor and leader who led them to God. He strove in life guiding others to God and was a shimmering planet in the heaven of the spirits whose light reflected on all his disciples. Truly his soul remains present in his distant students who gather today daily at the Qadi Mosque in Shablanga.
He (may God be pleased with him) has a book called “Kunuz al-Asrar” (The Treasure of the Secrets) where he gathered together the advice of the Prophetﷺ, supplications, verses of the Shadhili path and blessed prayers upon the Emissary of Godﷺ. These prayers were his litany and he used to read them several times a day. Whenever he was asked why he would read them several times a day, he replied “I recite them once for myself and the rest I recite on behalf of my children’s negligence.”
Shaykh ‘Abdul Fattāḥ al-Qāḍī was a Shādhilī Shaykh and adherent of the Shāf‘ī school of
law. He was born on the 2nd of Safar 1317 (July 8, 1899) in the village of Shiblinga in the
Qalūbiyya Governance in Egypt. He was a descendent of Prophet Muḥammad (Allah
bless him and give him peace) and came from a pious family that was known for
memorizing the Quran and teaching it to others. Following in this tradition, al-Qāḍī
memorized the Quran relatively quickly at a young age in the village kuttāb. He was
known to spend his time in worship and contemplation, rather than playing with other
children his age. Even though his father passed while he was very young, and very
similar to the early years of Prophet Muḥammad (Allah bless him and give him peace),
al-Qāḍī passed his time as a youth holding to his memorization, teaching other children
the Qur’an, and personal worship.
As al-Qādī grew up in Shiblinga, he was prone more and more to devotional acts. For
example, he was inspired to recite Surat al-Ikhlāṣ 12,000 times per day in addition to his
daily prayers and night vigils. A practice he kept for several years. When he was 30 years
old, he was inspired to transcribe the entire Quran, which he completed with Allah’s
grace in 25 days. Upon finishing, al-Qāḍī was overwhelmed and contemplated that the
Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) taught that whoever completes the Quran
has an answered supplication. He prayed for the benefit of the entire Muslim community,
and that Allah’s mercy descends on all of them. This hand written copy is kept in his
mausoleum in Shiblinga and is brought out during special occasions so that all may
benefit from its grace.
Throughout this early period, al-Qāḍī developed a special devotional and spiritual
relationship with the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). One of his friends
Shaykh ‘Alī Fāyid gave him a hand written copy of Kunūz al-Asrār of the Moroccan
Shādhilī, Shaykh ‘Abdulla al-Khayyāṭ Ibn Muḥammad al-Hārūshī (d. 1175/1761), which
is a collection of famous prayers on the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him
peace) in four parts. Al-Qāḍī quickly transcribed the short book and immediately fell in
love with these blessed invocations. He would recite the entire book several times a day
for the rest of his life and said of them, “the fastest way to Allah is through the prayers of
Shaykh al-Qadi’s pious upbringing, coupled with his strong inclination for devotional
acts led him to a three-year period of on and off sessions of spiritual seclusion (khalwa),
which were given to him directly from Prophet Muḩammad (Allah bless him and give
him peace). The first seclusion was for nine days when al-Qāḍī established his routine of
fasting, strict dietary protocols, recitation of the Quran, recitation of Kunūz al-Asrār, and
the invoking of Allah through His different names. His second seclusion was for 40 days
during when, in addition to his routine, he wrote out the entire text of the creed of Imam
al-Sanūsī (d. 895/1490), and the legal text of Abu Shujā‘ (d. 593/1197) in the Shāf‘ī
school of law on a wooden plank used by students to commit texts to memory. He would
thereafter recite the creed and fiqh texts as part of his daily invocations. His third seclusion was also for 40 days, followed by a seclusion of 90 days. His fifth and final
seclusion was for one month.
Over this three-year period, al-Qāḍī’s’s popularity grew and word spread fast through the
countryside of his saintly qualities. People came from near and far to seek his guidance,
prayer, and instruction. In particular, Shaykh Muḥammad ‘Abd al-Wahhāb al-Huṣṣāfī (d.
1368/1949) heard of this and sent for al-Qāḍī to visit him in Damanhūr. During this visit,
al-Huṣṣāfī gave al-Qāḍī formal permission (ijāza) with an unbroken chain (sanad) back
to Prophet Muḥammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) to guide people according
to the Shādhilī Sufi Way. While there was no disputing al-Qāḍī’s spiritual stature and
saintliness, al-Huṣṣāfī emphasized that formal instruction and induction into the Sufi way
must follow the protocol of formal permission as inherited from the pious ancestors (alsalaf al-ṣāliḥ)
While the main instruction of the Shādhilī way is to initiate students by teaching them the
invocation of the supreme name (Allah), al-Qāḍī observed that people’s spiritual
aspirations had dwindled significantly and that a middle step was needed to bring people
back to the remembrance of Allah. He therefore would induct people by first using the
seven foundational Divine Names (uṣūl) of ‘Abd al-Qādri Jilānī (d. 561/1166) and the six
additional Divine Names (furū’) established by the later Shādhilīs. Part of his spiritual
instruction was a great belief and respect for Prophet Muḥammad (Allah bless him and
give him peace). He used to recite the birth celebration (mawlid) of the Holy Prophet
(Allah bless him and give him peace) of Shaykh al-Walīdī and emphasized in his lectures
the importance of correct belief regarding the Prophet’s place and honor in the Islamic
intellectual and spiritual paradigm. He also taught absolute adherence to the Sharī‘a as
enshrined in the Sunnī schools of law and to hold to the practice and habits of Prophet
Muḥammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) no matter what. He would encourage
his students to adopt Sunna practices that people had forgotten as a way of reviving the
Islamic moral tradition. Above all, he taught the importance of etiquette and that religion
is nothing more than one’s conduct in public and private, and that proper etiquette is
needed in all matters.
Although Shaykh al-Qāḍī did not leave much written material, his legacy has been in the
hundreds of luminaries he left behind that have continued to impact the Muslim world
and beyond. Of particular note are:
1. Dr. Ḥasan ‘Abbās Zakī (d. 2014) who was the keeper of Shaykh al-Qāḍī’s secret
and the only one to receive written permission directly from Shaykh al-Qāḍī.
2. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Jalīl Qāsim (d. 1998) who is the compiler of al-Qāḍī’s teachings
and his first successor.
3. Dr. ‘Abd al-Ḥalīm Maḥmūd (d. 1978), who served as Shaykh al-Azhar from
4. Dr. Ali Gomaa, the former Grand Mufti of Egypt
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattāḥ al-Qāḍī died on the 16th of Dhul Q‘ida 1383 (March 30, 1964) and
is buried in Shiblinga.