Ahmad Ibn `Ajiba:
Regarding Our Supports
on the Sufi Way up to the Prophet MHMD

Know - may God lead you on the way of realization and lead you, and us, on the road to success! - that there is no way to travel the Sufi path, especially if one is aspiring toward unveiling (kashf) and realization (tahqîq), without constant and complete obedience and submission to a "realized" (muhaqqiq) shaykh, a spiritual guide (murshid) joining together esoteric truth (haqîqa) and exoteric law (sharî`a). For the spiritual path is perilous and the slightest deviation from the road that is laid out results in missing the goal by a great distance.

Abû l-Hasan al-Shushtarî [1] expressed it this way: "He (that is, the aspirant) cannot do without placing his affairs in the hands of someone who will command him [to do good], forbid him [what is evil], and watch over him. For the way is perilous: few are the travellers and many are those who cut short the road. Often, the traveller believes himself to be in the middle of the road when he is already turning his back on his goal. It has sufficed that he deviate by the distance of a finger, and he is already off the path and lost. The way is narrow, in truth, for him whose soul, following anchored habits, wishes to dispose freely of a body (badan) that it is called to leave. The demon of this road knows well its stations and stages."

The author of the `Awarif [2] has said: "The general goal is companionship (suhba); if the aspirant has found the companionship [of a shaykh], one can expect that he will attain the best."

Abû Yazîd is reported to have said the following: "He who, has no master has Satan as his master."

Al-Daqqâq [3] said: "The tree that grows by itself, without having been planted, grows leaves but no fruit. If it does grow fruit its fruit is not like the fruit of trees that have been planted.

Abû `Amr al-Zajjâjî [4] said: "Nothing will come from the man who has no master, even should he have visions of the invisible."

Ibrâlhîm Ibn Shaybân [5] said: "A man, even if he has gathered in all the sciences and spent time in all circles, will not attain the station of men unless he follows the discipline of a shaykh, an imam, or an educator of good counsel. Moral reform (taSHîH al-mu`âmalât) could not be conferred upon anyone who has not been under the watchful eye of a master and censor who has pointed out to him the faults in his behavior and the defects in his soul."

Shaykh Abû l-`Abbâs al-Mursî [6] said: "He who has not had a shaykh on this path [the Sufi path] will not be able to make his neighbor happy. Even were he endowed with great intelligence and a submissive soul, such a man, if he is satisfied with what the master of erudition (shayh al-ta`lîm) teaches him, he will not reach the perfection of him who places himself in the hands of a master educator (shayh al-murabbî). The soul is always covered with thick veils, strongly inclined to associate [illusory realities with God], and it is inevitably left with the stains of futility (ru`ûnât). This state cannot totally cease unless one places oneself in the hands of a third person, and if one places oneself under the person's authority and power. Such is also the case for those for whom God has reserved special graces, whom He has taken and attracted in His Presence: those individuals will not attain the function of spiritual guide (mashyaha), despite how far they have progressed."
   Our shaykh al-Bûzîdî said: "He Who does not take great men (al-fuhûl) as companions remains bogged down by illusion (mawhûl)."


1 - Abû l-Hasan al-Shushtarî , an Andalusian traveller on the way and poet

2 - `Awârif al-ma`arif ("The Benefits of Knowledge"), a treatise on Sufism by Shihâb al-din Abû Hafs `Umar al-Suhrawardî

3 - Abû 'Alî al-Daqqâq, d. 412 /1021, was al-Qushayri's Sufi master, as well as his father-in-law.

4 - A Sufi from Nishapour; in Baghdad he was the disciple of Junayd, and spent a number of years in Mecca, where he died in 348 / 959-960 (according to Qushayriyya).

5 - "The Master of his age" (Qushayriyya); he was the disciple of Ibrâhîm al-Hawwâs, who died in Rayy in 291/904.

6 - The successor to Imam Shâdhilî, who died in 694/1296 in Alexandria. He had as disciples Ibn `Atâ' Allâh and Shaykh al-Bûsîrî.


quoted from:

The Autobiography of a Moroccan Soufi: Ahmad Ibn `Ajiba; ed. Jean-Louis Michon; Fons Vitae; usa; pp. 101-2
available at waobooks.co.uk, x L 20120703

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latest update: 2012-07-05


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