The Way of the Bani Alawiyah - At-Tariqah al- 'Alawiyah

(A translation of the Fatwah of Shaykh Abdurahmaan Balfaqih by Shaykh Ahmad Hendricks , with brief comments of clarification in brackets)

The Sayyid, the learned gnostic, Abdurrahman ibn 'Abdullah ibn Ahmad Balfaqih, may Allah, the Most High, be pleased with him, has given a clear and erudite reply about the nature of the 'Alawi Path, when he said: " Know, that the path of the Bani 'Alawi is one of the sufi paths which has as it's basis, strict adherence to the Quran and the Sunnah; the life and essence of this path is genuine spiritual poverty (sidq al-iftiqar) and the continuous vision that everything comes from Allah (ru'yah al-minnah). The practise of what has been written (i.e. the Quran, the Sunnah and the works of the 'Ulema of the ahli sunnah wa al-jama'ah) in a special way is emphasised. It is a path that seeks to develope all the noble and higher qualities, and rejects all the lowly and ugly character traits. It's outer is all the sciences and practises of the Din, and its inner, the realisation of the stations (maqamat) and states (ahwal). To jealously protect the secrets (i.e. the spiritual truths which are inspired into the souls of the saints through continuous 'ibadah and contemplation) from abuse and from becoming common-place is it's decorum (adab).

The exterior of the 'Alawi Way, is therefore, the knowledge and practises masterfully expounded by Imam Al-ghazali. And it's inner core is the realisation of the truth of things (i.e. from the start of ones inner journey which is normally acheived through knowledge, continuous remembrance [dhikr], and contemplation [fikr] ) and "divested tawhid" ( this is a term used by the Shadhiliyyah, and it refers to spiritual anihilation [fana]) expounded by the Shadhiliyyah. Their sciences are the sciences of the sufi masters. Their formalities is the efacement of formalities ( i.e. they avoid adopting symbols and colours well known in the other sufi paths, and lay greater emphasis on strict compliance to the sunnah). The object is to come nearer to Allah by every acceptible means.

The Sadah Bani 'Alawi endorse:

And finally the greater part of their discipline and practise was aimed at purifying the heart, and by strictly following the true path of guidance, exposing themselves to the fragrance of nearness to Allah, the Most High.

Note: The word Tariqat may be used in a general or specific sense .In its general meaning it describes the general ways and behaviours of a group of people and its specific sense it describes the sufi path, including the various stations and states i.e.commencing with Tawbah and ending in Fana.The above fatwah deals with the Tariqat of the 'Alawiyah in the general sense.

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