The Tijaaniyah muslim sect which is based on the tenets of Sufism is one of the largest religious sects in Ghana and Africa as a whole. It is widely practised worldwide. However the concept of Sufism which the Tijaaniyah strongly upholds is often misunderstood or unappreciated to say the least.
It is against this background that Brother Al-Amin Al-Hassan(Image Inset: Al-Amin Al-Hassan (left) with Sheikh Abdul Malik Ibrahim Niass (right), son of Sheikh Ibrahim Niass of Kaolack) expounds the concept of Tijaaniyah Sufi Islam.
Sufism itself is an Islamic mysticism that emphasizes introspection and spiritual closeness to God. Sufism is a spiritual dimension which focuses on meditation and chanting sessions (to enable one’s heart to open).
The Tijaaniyah Sufi order forms part of other Sufi orders globally, all generally premised on the values of:
1: Istigfaar(seeking forgiveness from Allah)
2: Swalaatu alaa Nabbiyi(blessing the name of the Prophet)
3: Laa ilaaha illah Llaaha(reaffirming Allah’s oneness)
These values are all grounded in ahaadith and the Quran. But why they resonate with Sufism is that they are done as litanies (awraad) in dedicated committed forms.
Sheikh Ahmad Tijaani (RTA) described Sufism as carrying out the Divine command and avoiding that which has been prohibited externally and internally with regards to what pleases Allah.
Clearly, this is achieved through azkaar (remembrances) and awraad(litanies).
For earthly benefits, well, it should be understood that Sufism is a sort of ‘overtime’ type of servitude. It is done in addition to a Sufi’s Islamic religious obligations.
Benefits include that, by understanding and achieving closeness to God one loses the earthly focus and rigidity in faith. Sufi’s are generally content and tolerant of views.
As a brotherhood, there’s a great sense of community among Sufis, as they seek to help one another and extend service to communities in which they live.
Religiously, Tijaaniya is completely in conformance with Shari’a Muhammadiyyah; anything more is not. So adherents of Tijaaniya Sufi Islam are the first to subscribe to Shari’a Muhamadiyyah, as Mawlaanaa Sheikh Tijaani himself declared: if you hear something from me measure it against Shari’a. Anything in conformity, use it; anything at variance, ignore it( paraphrased).
Commitment to daily litanies and remembrances (zikir) of Allah give benefits in being close to Allah; the continual search for self and Allah leads to upholding Islamic values and hence, better as a Muslim.
Sufis, with continuous incantation of Istigfaar(penitence) are better positioned to gain Allah’s forgiveness.
Reciting Swalaat to the prophet in Sufism is seen as Allah’s commamd (Quran, 33:56) especially in the Tijaaniya order. How else to benefit than do exactly in multi folds that which Allah has commanded, and doing it as a lifelong commitment in the view that, as human, you can’t count your sins, and so your seeking of forgiveness must be perpetual.
As for what Sufis aspire in the hereafter, they generally reserve that to Allah. If they seek closeness to Him and He grants it, He surely won’t forget them here and on the day of judgment. That’s why Sufi practices are over and above prescribed routines.
Allah knows best, and and may He grant us further appreciation of His knowledge.
Article Submitted By: Brother Al-Amin Al-Hassan – (Bradford – UK)
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