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Tariqah Syadziliyah & Tariqah Ba’alwi

In the rich tapestry of Sufism, various tariqahs (Sufi orders) have emerged, each with its own lineage, teachings, and practices. Among these, the Tariqah Syadziliyah and the Tariqah Ba’alwi stand as profound embodiments of spiritual devotion and enlightenment.

Originating centuries ago, these tariqahs have traversed continents, leaving indelible marks on the hearts and minds of countless seekers of truth.

In this exploration, we delve into the origins, teachings, and connections of the Tariqah Syadziliyah and the Tariqah Ba’alwi, shedding light on their foundational principles, spiritual practices, and shared aspirations towards divine closeness.

Tariqah Syadziliyah
  • Founded by Imaam Abu al-Hasan al-Syadzili (1197 CE), also known as Ali bin Abdullah bin Abdul Jabbar Abu al-Hasan al-Syadzili, with lineage tracing back to Hasan bin Ali bin Abi Thalib, and therefore, to Sayyidah Fatimah, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad .
  • Abu al-Hasan al-Syadzili was born in Ghumara, northern Morocco, in 573 H (1197 CE).
  • His spiritual education began in childhood under the guidance of his parents and continued under the guidance of prominent scholars, including Abdu al-Salam bin Masysy (628 H / 1228 CE).
  • Seeking solitude, he withdrew to a cave in the village of Syadzilla, Tunisia, where he devoted himself to worship through prayers, fasting, remembrance (dzikir), and recitation of the Quran.
  • Despite his seclusion, he maintained connections with the local community, periodically emerging to deliver sermons, teach, and engage in discussions with other scholars and Sufis.
  • Although Abu al-Hasan al-Syadzili did not leave written works on Sufism, his teachings, prayers, messages, and biography were later compiled by Syaikh Ibn Athaillah al-Sakandari (1309 CE), preserving the legacy of the Syadzili path.
Central Pillars/Principles:

The Syadzili path, founded by Abu al-Hasan al-Syadzili, also emphasizes similar principles as Tariqah Ba’alwi:

  1. ‘Ilm (Knowledge): The pursuit of spiritual knowledge, inner wisdom, and understanding of divine truths.
  2. ‘Amal (Practice): Applying the acquired knowledge through acts of worship, remembrance (dzikir), and ethical conduct.
  3. Wara’ (Guarded Piety): Avoiding doubtful matters and maintaining a high moral standard.
  4. Khauf (Fear): Developing a healthy fear of Allah, recognizing His greatness and accountability.
  5. Ikhlas (Sincerity): Seeking Allah’s pleasure without any hidden agendas.
Tariqah Ba’alwi

The Tariqah Ba’Alwi (also known as Tariqa Ba’Alawiyya) is a Sufi order centred in Hadhramaut, Yemen, but it has spread across the Indian Ocean rim due to the Hadhrami diaspora. The term “Ba’alwi” refers to the Alawi lineage, which traces back to Muhammad bin Ali ‘Alawi (1255 CE). The Ba’alwi tariqah is part of the broader Thariqah ‘Alawiyyah (Alawi path).

  • Founded by al-Faqih Muqaddam As-Sayyid Muhammad bin Ali Ba’Alawi al-Husaini (died 653 AH / 1232 CE), with lineage tracing back to Husain bin Ali bin Abi Thalib, and therefore, to Sayyidah Fatimah, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad .
  • His spiritual lineage traces back to Abu Madyan, a prominent figure in the Shadziliya tariqa chain.
  • The members of this Sufi path are primarily sayyids, whose ancestors hail from the valley of Hadramaut in southern Yemen, though it is not limited to them.
  • The name Ba’Alawi refers to the grandson of Sayyid Ahmad al-Muhajir, who was the first descendant of Husain (Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ grandson) to be born in Hadramaut and bear such a name.
  • The ‘Alawi sayyids of Hadramaut are his progeny, and their descendants have spread far and wide to various regions, including the Arabian Peninsula, India (especially in the state of Kerala along the Malabar Coasts), the Islamic Maghreb (North and West Coast of Africa), and the countries of the Malay Archipelago (such as Malaysia and Indonesia).
  • They propagate Sunni Islam of the Shafii school and follow the Ba’Alawi Tariqah of Sufism.
Central Pillars/Principles:
  • According to al-Habib Zain bin Ibrahim bin Sumaith, there are five central pillars in the Ba’Alawi Sufi path:
    1. ‘Ilm (Knowledge): This refers to spiritual and esoteric knowledge, including understanding the deeper meanings of Quranic verses, Hadith, and the inner dimensions of faith.
    2. ‘Amal (Practice): Practical application of the acquired knowledge. It involves living according to the teachings, rituals, and ethical principles of Islam.
    3. Wara’ (Guarded Piety): Being cautious and avoiding doubtful matters. It implies maintaining a high level of moral integrity and avoiding anything that might compromise one’s faith.
    4. Khauf (Fear): Fear of Allah resulting from deep recognition and awareness of His presence. It motivates believers to avoid sinful actions and strive for righteousness.
    5. Ikhlas (Sincerity): Devoting all acts of worship and obedience solely to Allah, seeking His pleasure without any ulterior motives.
Influence and Connection with Tariqah Syadziliyah:
  • The Ba’Alawi Sufi order is linked to the Madyaniyya Sufi order and the Kubrawiyyah.
  • It is also influenced by the Qadiriyya tariqa.
  • The founder, Muhammad al-Faqih al-Muqaddam, received spiritual transmissions from these various Sufi paths.
  • Despite the tribal conflicts in Hadhramaut during his lifetime, al-Muqaddam advised the Sayyid descendants to abandon arms and wars, emphasizing religious and moral values instead.
Similarities of Tariqah Syadziliyah & Tariqah Ba'alwi
  • Both paths emphasize the importance of knowledge, practice, and sincerity.
  • They encourage adherents to be mindful of their actions, avoiding anything that may compromise their faith.
  • Fear of Allah and awareness of His presence play a significant role in both paths.

While each tariqah has its unique lineage and practices, the shared focus on knowledge, piety, and sincerity connects them in their pursuit of spiritual growth and closeness to Allah.

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