A quarterly specialized journal
The Message Of Folklore from Bahrain To The World

Tijaniyyah followers and their role in preserving security and stability in contemporary Morocco

Issue 60
Tijaniyyah followers and their role in preserving security and stability in contemporary Morocco

Said Al Ash’ari 


For many people in Morocco, Algeria and other parts of Africa, the Tijaniyyah Sufi tariqa (order or path) is the most well-known and widely practised Sufi tradition. The Tijaniyyah tariqa, which was founded by Ahmad al-Tijani, Abu Al-Abbas bin Muhammad bin Al-Mukhtar bin Ahmad Salim al-Tijani, attracted a large number of followers in Algeria, spreading rapidly and inspiring fear in the Ottoman Beys, who considered its rising popularity a challenge to their power in the southern provinces. They fought it, sending several campaigns to Aïn Madhi. Sheikh Ahmad fled to Fez as a result.

Like other Sufi orders, the Tijaniyyah tariqa relies on Dhikr, prayer and the recitation of Tijani wird (a sequence of holy phrases). Some of the rituals start after Asr prayer (afternoon prayer) with the “Gem of Perfection”, which distinguishes this tariqa because its followers believe that Sheikh al-Tijani received it directly from the Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, and that the soul of the Prophet descends through the Istighfar (asking God for forgiveness) and the Tahlil  (a form of dhikr that involves praising God by saying la ʾilaha ʾilla -llah) followed by a prayer for Muhammad called the Ṣalātu l-Fātiḥ (Prayer of the Opener). It should be noted that Sheikh Ahmad al-Tijani called his method by a number of different names including Muhammadiyah, Ibrahimiyya, Ahmadiyya and Tijaniyyah, as it is known.

Tijaniyyah followers believe that God has given them a special rank, that they will be safe from torment, and that they will enter Paradise with the first group with the Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace. Abu al-Abbas, Sheikh Ahmad al-Tijani said, “And I asked him (meaning Prophet Muhammad), may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, for God to forgive all the past and future sins of everyone who takes Dhikr from me, to reward them due to his grace rather than their good deeds on the Day of Resurrection, to not hold them accountable for anything, to keep them safe from God’s punishment from the moment of death until they enter Paradise, and to enter Paradise without judgement  or punishment with the first group. I asked that they all be with me in Illiyin (literally, upper world heaven), next to the Prophet.”

Tijaniyyah tariqa has stayed true to the spiritual foundations and elements of Sheikh Ahmad al-Tijani. It focuses on sanctifying, honouring and glorifying him, and it has kept his style of recitation, dhikr and prayer alive all over the world. 

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