Shaykh al-Badawi also known as the Shaykh of the Arabs traces his lineage back to Imam al-Husayn (may God be pleased with him). His ancestors traveled from the Hijaz to the western lands of Islam in the year 73 AH during the Umayyad reign when the tyranny of the emperor al-Hajaj ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafy overwhelmed the Alawites. The family settled in the city of Fez, Morocco for centuries. In the sixth century AH, the Shareef Ibrahim, the grandfather of Ahmed al-Badawy, married the niece of the Sultan and she gave birth to their son Ali, who in turn married a young girl of high status named Fatimah al-Maziniya who gave birth to six sons the last of them to be known in Egyptian history as the gnostic, the beloved and lover Ahmed (may God be pleased with him), who was later nicknamed al-Badawi.
He (may God be pleased with him) and his family immigrated to Mecca and on the way, passed by Egypt settling there for five years before moving on. Soon after they arrived in Mecca in 609 AH his father passed away and was buried at the graveyard al-Mua’lah in Mecca.
al-Badawi remained in Mecca studying in the circles of knowledge and became known amongst the people as an excellent horseman. His talent was such that there was no horse in Mecca or Medinah that he didn’t master. His brother Hasan said about him “there was no equestrian in Mecca or Medina more courageous than my brother Ahmed.” So he was given the nickname “father of the young brave men.” In Mecca, al-Badawi lived a life of meditating, observing and remaining truthful to the religious truths, keeping far from sins or disobedience against the sacred law. A life filled with good character, praiseworthy demeanor and continuous fasting. He was constant in his night vigil until he eventually stayed the whole night praying. He took to solitude in the mountain of Abu Qoobays and eventually took the path of the Sufi at the hands of the Shaykh Biry, one of the students of Shaykh Abu Na’eem, a companion of the Sayid Ahmed al-Rifa’ee (may God be pleased with all of them).
al-Badawy devoted his time to worship and to a meticulous study of the works of two spiritual leaders from Iraq: Ahmed al-Rifa’ee and Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (may God be pleased with them). His interest in their works reached such heights that in 634 AH, he traveled alongside his brother Hasan to Iraq. They visited Baghdad, the city of al-Jilan, then Um Ubayda, the city of al-Rifa’ee, where it was said that he received his first openings of divine illuminations. He was then instructed to travel to Egypt where he arrived in the year 637 AH in the city of Tandta (Tanta). The instruction he had received was to “go to Tandta for thy will settle there and raise up men and champions.” So he went to Tanta and stayed in the home of the Shaykh Rakeen al-Tajir for twelve years. After his death, al-Badawy moved to the chambers of Ibn Shaheet where he remained for the 26 years before his death. al-Badawi used to pray in the Masjid of al-Boosa also known as Masjid al-Baheeya in the thirteenth century AH after the Shaykh Muhammad Ahmed al-Baheeya who was buried there.
Presently this location falls on the graveyard of the Mosque al-Ahmady. During this period al-Badawi established a school lofty in it’s principles and structure. Giving birth to noble men in character and spirit whom would travel to the four directions of the world as testimonials of the noble legacy of their teacher al-Badawi. An example of this legacy is the famous partaking of his students in the battle against the crusaders of King Louis XI. Another example is the immense number of followers that adhered to his Ahmedeyya Sufi order, which had a profound influence on the history of Egypt. This is particularly visible in the rhetoric style used in his litanies and his counsel to the rulers of his time. Notice his bold statement to the caliphate Abdul ‘Aal:
“My boy, I advise you to be conscious of God in secret and in public. You must adhere to the Sunnah and congregation in all times. O Abdul ‘Aal be cautious about becoming engulfed in the love of this world. For it spoils the righteous actions like vinegar spoils honey. Know that God said in His preserved book, “Truly God is with those who are conscious of Him and those who act as if God sees them.” O Abdul ‘Aal be gentle with the orphan, cloth the naked, feed the hungry, be hospitable to the stranger and guests so that you may be accepted by God…Know that every unit of prayer at night is better than one thousand units during the day. O Abdul ‘Aal, the best of you in character are those with most faith in God.”
He (may God be pleased with him) used to counsel his disciples to be tolerant, generous, gentle, patient, pious and willing to learn from others. He illustrated that one of the trademarks of the pious has been highlighted by Imam ‘Ali (may God be pleased with him) which are:
“Knowledge of God, being cautious of his commands, holding tight to the Sunnah of the Prophetﷺ, constant cleanliness, contentment with God in all situations, being certain that all is with God and to not despair by what people do or have. To tolerate the harms of others, to take initiative to carry out God’s commands, to be gentle and humble towards people and knowing that your only enemy is Satan.”
The prayers in fond memory of the Prophetﷺ that al-Badawi left for his disciples were explicated by Abdul Rahman al-Ardaroos in his book “Fath al-Rahman” and its most important excerpts are the “Prophetic Tree Prayers” that read:
“In the name of God most beneficent Most-Merciful. O God pray and send peace and blessing on our Master Muhammad, the original tree of illumination…” The most famous prayer is called “The Prayers of Lights” which reads “O God pray and send prayers and blessings on the light of lights and the secret of secrets…”
Shaykh al-Badawi returned to his Lord (may God be pleased with him) in the year 675 AH.
The Shaykh al-Sayyid Ahmad Al-Badawi was a Muslim saint and founder of the Badawiyyah Tariqah. He was born in Fez, Morocco in 596 AH and died in Tanta, Egypt in 675 AH. He was noted for his ascetic behavior, and was credited with many karamat
Many false stories have unfortunately also been attributed to him, including by those who claim to be Sufi teachers.
According to the famous Muslim writer al-Sayyid Muhammad Murtada al-Zabidi (d. 1205 AH), the full genealogy of al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi is Ahmad ibn `Ali ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr ibn Isma`il ibn `Umar ibn `Ali ibn Uthman ibn al-Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn Musa al-Ashhab ibn Yahya ibn `Isa ibn `Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn Ja`far ibn `Ali al-Hadi ibn Muhammad al-Jawad ibn `Ali ar-Rida ibn Musa al-Kazim ibn Ja`far al-Sadiq ibn Muhammad al-Baqir ibn [Zain al-`Abidin] `Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Fatimah, daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah shower blessings and peace upon him and his family members.
Al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi was the youngest of the seven children of al-Sayyid ‘Ali. His siblings were al-Hasan (the eldest, born in 583 AH), Muhammad, Fatimah, Zainab, Ruqayyah, and Fiddah.
Even from a young age, al-Sayyid Ahmad was already known as al-Badawi (the bedouin) as he liked to cover his face, imitating the behaviour of the desert dwellers.
And while he was still living in Fez, al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi was brought by his brother al-Sayyid al-Hasan to meet a Sufi shaykh by the name of `Abd al-Jalil ibn `Abd al-Rahman al-Naisaburi, who recognized the spiritual talent of the young boy and gave him initiation into the Sufi path.
In 603 AH, al-Sayyid ‘Ali heard a voice in his dream telling him to migrate to Makkah al-Mukarramah. So he took his family, including the seven year old al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi, to move to Makkah al-Mukarramah. The journey took approximately four years. They stopped at several places including Cairo, which at that time was under the rule of al-Sultan Sayfuddin al-`Adil al-Ayyubi.
When they finally reached Makkah al-Mukarramah, they were warmly welcomed by the leaders of the shurafa’ (descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah shower blessings and peace upon him and his family members).
In Makkah al-Mukarramah, al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi studied and memorized the Quran. He also attended lessons on al-Hadith and on al-Fiqh based on the madhhab (school of thought in Islamic jurispudence) of al-Imam al-Shafi’i.
After being introduced to the world of Sufism, al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi would spent a lot of his time in spiritual seclusion. One of his favourite spots was on Jabal Abi Qubais, which is located near Masjid al-Haram.
In 633 AH, in a vision, al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi was spiritually visited by al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (d. 561 AH) and al-Shaykh Ahmad al-Rifa’i (d. 578 AH) who invited him to visit their tombs.
The next day, al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi left Makkah al-Mukarramah and set out to visit the tombs of the righteous ones in Iraq, accompanied by his elder brother al-Sayyid al-Hasan.
Before they reached Umm ‘Abidah, the resting place of al-Shaykh Ahmad al-Rifa’i, al-Sayyid al-Hasan decided to go back to Makkah al-Mukarramah for he missed his family. Al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi continued his journey alone and met with many adventures including defeating the enchantress called Fatimah near Umm ‘Abidah.
In one of the most misquoted anecdotes, it was related that while al-Shaykh Ahmad al-Badawi was in Iraq, he was offered by al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani and al-Shaykh Ahmad al-Rifa’i [in their spiritual forms] the keys to the spiritual kingdoms of Iraq, Yemen, India, Iconium, and all the Muslim lands in the East and the West, for the keys were in their hands.
Al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi politely declined. According to one version of the story, al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi said that he would only take the keys from the hand of the Prophet Muhammad himself, may Allah shower blessings and peace upon him and his family members.
After visiting the tombs of the pious ones in Iraq, including that of his ancestor al-Imam Musa al-Kazim, and receving further spiritual illumination after spending some time in meditation there, al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi headed home.
Back in Makkah al-Mukarramah, al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi reported to his brother al-Sayyid al-Hasan on the offer of the keys to the spiritual kingdoms by the two spiritual poles al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani and al-Shaykh Ahmad al-Rifa’i.
Al-Sayyid al-Hasan told his younger brother, “Verily, inviting people to the path of Allah is the key to goodness. What al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani and al-Shaykh Ahmad al-Rifa’i had wanted was that you follow their path in inviting people to God. And their path is none other than following the Quran and the Sunnah. This is the true path (tariqah) in Islam.”
Al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi concurred with and appreciated the explanation given by his elder brother al-Sayyid al-Hasan.
In the month of Ramadan 634 AH, al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi received a spiritual command asking him to migrate to Tanta, Egypt. Without delay, he left Makkah al-Mukarramah and departed for Tanta.
After reaching Tanta, al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi stayed at the home of a trader by the name of Rukain (also known as Ruknuddin) ibn Shuhait.
Al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi was very well received in Tanta. Many people came to visit him, for they benefitted from his presence and his teachings, and also from the barakah that flowed through him.
It was reported that al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi once said, “The spiritual paupers (al-fuqara’) are like the olive fruit. Among them are the great ones and among them are the small ones. For those who do not possess “oil”, I will be their “oil”. I will aid them in all their affairs and I will also help them overcome their difficulties. Not on my own efforts and strengths, but through the barakah of the Prophet, may Allah shower blessings and peace upon him and his family members.”
After the death of al-Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi in Tanta, his followers came to visit his tomb regularly. Today, three special annual festivals are celebrated in his honour, the centre of which are held at the mosque bearing his name. The largest of these festivals is very popular and is attended by up to three million people from all walks of life in Egypt [and some parts of Sudan].
In the Pics The Tomb of Al Sayyid Ahmad al-Badawi Ra the Great Sufi in Tanta, Egypt at the time of Mawlid Celebration
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