From the Letters of Shaykh Ahmad al-Tijani (RA): On Patiently Bearing Afflictions


Photo at Zawiyah and Maqam of Shaykh Ahmad Tijani, Fez, Morocco.

Translated by Sidi Talut Dawood

Among that which he wrote to the Lead Jurist of Sala

After invoking the name of God and blessing and peace upon the Messenger of God, may God bless him and give him peace; after praising God as He deserves, he said, may God be pleased with him.

To Proceed:

Your letter has reached us and we have read it. And we have understood what your the meaning of your address to us. You asked in it about our state and the state of our companions. Know! That we are, and all praise is due to God, in a state of good upon good. And to Him belongs the praise and thanks until He is pleased with what He is pleased with. But, what has affected the general body of Muslims has affected us and our companions also.

But, all praise is due to God in every condition. And we ask God, Great and Glorious, that he enclose you and us with His grace in this world and the next. And that He treat us with His utmost perfect generosity and openhandedness, present and future, forever and perpetually. And (we ask) that He be for us and for you Protecting, Helping, Assisting, and Strengthening. And in every state of, be it comfort or difficulty, that He grant you and us complete, perpetual and mighty well-being, as well as shielding us, with well-being, from lamentation. Indeed He is capable and powerful to do that.

What I counsel you to, and upon it depends your wayfaring and your action, is that you attach your heart to God as much as possible. And prepare your heart to remain firm (when confronted) with the enactment of the Divine Decree. And do not accustom yourself to being impatient with the command of God. For indeed that is a disaster for the slave in this world and the next. However, if the affliction becomes harsh for you, and the decree too difficult to deal with, then take refuge in God, the Exalted. And take your place at the door of His grace. And ask from Him, by His complete grace, relief from what has wearied you, and to lift from you the extreme trial. And increase your humble entreaty and your sincere supplication of God, the Exalted, in that.

Let that be, from you, in the condition of the one whose heart is completely detached from all else besides God, being completely detached from any concerns, like the condition of a woman who is advanced in age, having only a single child, who is then taken from her hands so that they may cut off his head, so she seeks a means of approach to God, and also to the people to remedy what has befallen her. In that condition, indeed she does not have any concern other than her son. And her heart does not incline towards any matter- be it this world or the next. Whoever, in this condition, and in this manner, flees toward God, the Exalted, when an difficulty descends and becomes unbearable, and calls Him by His name “al-Latif” as much as he can, relief will rush towards him in a very short amount of time. However, if he is not in that condition, it will be delayed for him.

And beware of being engrossed in seeking the world to a point which causes you to transgress the limits of God, which He had set in His Sacred Law, and thereby bringing disaster upon yourself, from which you will not be able to flee to God. And take lesson from his saying, may God bless him and give him peace, in the “Sahih”:

“Verily, the Holy Spirit had inspired in my heart that a soul would not die until its provision had been exhausted. So fear God and act with dignity when seeking something. And do not let the delay of something carry you to seek it by disobeying God. For, indeed, what is with God is not obtained except by obeying him.”

This is the sea in which we see all people being drowned and destroyed, except who God protects by His Grace.

Then be warned! Again be warned! Do not flee to God, the Exalted, from every difficulty. For by that, being impatient with God will become a habit and you will not benefit from your life. Instead, you should alternate. With one, you should be steadfast with the command of God and not seek relief. The next time you should ask God for relief. For the one who who takes to this mode of behavior with God, the doors of eternal felicity are opened for him. And in this life, he will be established in the “goodly life” described in His saying, Blessed and Exalted:

{Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life} [al-Nahl, 97].

What we have mentioned is sufficient. May the peace and mercy of God be upon you.

That is the end of what our Master, may God be pleased with him, conveyed to us, from his memory and his utterances. May God bless our Master Muhammad, his family and companions, and greet them.