The Nasiri Supplication
by Shaykh Muhammad - Fatha - ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Husayn ibn Nasir ibn 'Amr ad-Dar'i al-Aghlabi (d. 1085 AH)
Buried in his zawiya in Tamagurt.
Praise belongs to Allah.
His student, the great scholar Sidi al-Hasan ibn Mas'ud al-Yusi (d. 1102 AH) says about him in al-Fihrist:
He was involved in many areas of knowledge such as fiqh, Arabic, kalam, tafsir and tasawwuf. He was a man of worship and of great devotion, scrupulous, and a zahid, a man who established the Tariqa and drank from the source of the Reality. May Allah have mercy on Him - as well as busying himself with the sciences of the people of tasawwuf and following the Path, he was not niggardly with outward knowledge regarding teaching, writing, recording and precision. May Allah benefit both groups through him. People from east and west kept his company and posterity benefited through him. He taught his murids through word and deed. His himma was lofty and his state pleasing. He had sound knowledge and illuminated insight as well as mastery and self-assurance. When he spoke his words were engraved on people's hearts.
Imam al-Yusi said: "It was reported to me that his teacher, Sidi 'Abdullah Husayn ar-Raqi (d. 1045 AH), who is not the Sidi 'Abdullah ibn Husayn al-Wamghari who is buried in Tamsaluht near Marrakesh, said to the fuqara', 'When the nafs of one of you asks for a drink of water, he should let it wait a time, not because there is any harm in drinking water, but so that the nafs does not become accustomed to speedy gratification in receiving what it wants.'"
Imam al-Yusi speaks a lot about his shaykh, Imam Ibn Nasir in his books, al-Muhadarat and al-Fihrist. Al-Yusi was not only concerned with Shaykh Ibn Nasir from the point of view of knowledge, but he was also concerned with him in respect of the science of the nafs and what it includes in the way of feelings and thoughts about life in this world and the Next World, and the different judgements of the times of night and day. So through all of that he was aware of his own astonishment and the astonishment of others respecting his shaykh's rectitude, gravity and certainty. Sometimes his Shaykh Ibn Nasir disclosed to him that which was transpiring in himself and he made it clear and explained it to him so that no uncertainty remained about it.
He stated that once when he was sitting before him he was wondering about how the shaykh had earned the wealth which he had used to get married, go on hajj, and buy books when the property of the zawiya was a waqf over which he had no right of disposal. Then the Shaykh turned to him and explained for him the normal means of earning and cultivation by which he had earned all of that. That was mentioned in a selection of what has been transmitted from the Lectures and Index of al-Yusi. As he revealed his actions to him, he explained to him what was right and wrong in them and guided him when he was afraid of him wavering or deviating from the Path. That is how al-Yusi, who was called "the Lightning-Bolt of Knowledges", bowed his head before Shaykh Ibn Nasir out of respect and esteem.
Shaykh Abu Salim al-'Ayyashi (d 1090 AH) said in his book, The Gift of the Close Friends, that Shaykh Ibn Nasir, may Allah be pleased with him, was scrupulous about following the Sunna in all his states, even in respect of his clothes and food, and in all forms of worship and daily life. In that he followed the path of other great righteous men such as al-Marjani, Ibn Abi Jamra, and Ibn al-Hajj. He went on hajj and to visit the Prophet twice, and on his journeys he met notable Imams. He transmitted from them and they took knowledge him as well. So his paths of riwaya were as extensive as his method in understanding was proficient.
There is no harm here if we digress to something which the Fihrist reports. When Imam al-Hasan al-Yusi and his son Muhammad went on hajj in 1098 AH, they did not take anything from the scholars of the Muslim lands where they travelled. It is said that that was because they did not find anyone with more knowledge than them so that they could take from them. One of the desires of the great Maghribi scholars when they go on hajj and to Madina is to meet other scholars in the Muslim lands and take knowledge from them and their reports do not omit any scholar in that.
So we recognise the scholarly position of al-Yusi from the fact that he did not take from anyone in his hajj journey and, therefore, we must, in turn, recognise the position of his shaykh Ibn Nasir before whom al-Yusi was so humble and with whom he studied and boasted of the fact that he was one of his shaykhs and whom he praised in his poem in dal which disclose clear divine opening which also appeared in his Nasiri supplication. The Mashishiyya prayer says:
If words are in the heart,
the tongue is a guide to what is in the heart.
That refers to the contents of their selves which Allah makes appear on their tongues. If someone contains a secret, Allah makes him wear its cloak.
The person who compiled the selection quotes Abu Salim al-'Ayyashi as saying, "As for tasawwuf, he took from his shaykh Sidi 'Abdullah ibn Husayn ar-Raqqi. When his death was near, he left him in the care of his brother in Allah, Sidi Ahmad ibn Ibrahim. When, in turn, his death drew near, he commanded him to care for the madrasa and zawiyya and to marry his widow." That happened.
He himself undertook to teach the sciences of Arabic to his children because he considered their instruction to be part of 'ibada. He taught the book at-Tashhil in grammar by Imam Ibn Malik (d. 672 AH). He had memorised it. It is said that the copy which he read is still extant in the Tamagrut Archives.
Part of the refinement and intelligence of Shaykh Ibn Nasir was that he became aware that the scholar Sidi Muhammad ibn Sa'id as-Susi al-Mirghiti (d. 1089 AH) who lived in Marrakesh and wrote al-Muqanna' on the times of the prayer had the idea that the people of the Nasiri zawiyya were giving the adhan of Maghrib before the time. The zawiyya had a minaret but the adhan was often given from a high hill nearby. So Shaykh Ibn Nasir suggested to his guest Sidi Muhammad ibn Sa'id that they climb the minaret at the time of sunset. When they were relaxing in the gathering, Shaykh Ibn Nasir said to his guest, "Perhaps it is the time of Maghrib." Almost as soon as the other said to him, "Yes," the mu'adhdhan of the zawiyya, the uncle of Ahmad ibn 'Abdu'r-Rahman gave the adhan. Shaykh al-Mirghiti used to say after that that the uncle of Ahmad ibn 'Abdu'r-Rahman knew the times of the prayer like he knew his own sons.
Allah gave Shaykh Ibn Nasir to the people of his time and he made the Deen firm in them and revived the Islamic Shari'a through him. The students of the Nasiri zawiyya made journeys and excursions among the tribes of the Sus and all the regions of the south there termed to be part of the people of the qibla. It is borders of the desert now. The first of their goals was to guide people and to found schools, mosques and Nasiri zawiyyas where there was devotion to 'ibada and dhikr, especially the prayer on the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on Thursday nights and Friday mornings. The people were intent on doing them in the thousands. That included all circles, including groups of blind men who occupied themselves with it from the morning prayer until the time of Duha. The prayer they used was: "Allahumma, salli 'ala Sayyidina Muhammad wa 'ala alihi wa sahbihi wa sallam." The baraka of that appeared in that land in the abundance of water and the spread of inhabitation and crops.
He did not confine himself, may Allah be pleased with him, to establishing zawiyyas in the Sus region. Indeed, his area of influence included the centre and the west, Marrakesh, Casablanca, Settat, Ribat, Sale and Fes. And it was his zawiyya in Fes which became the fountainhead of national awakening which was the reason for the liberation of the entire Maghrib from French colonialism. The scholar Sidi Muhammad Ghazi al-Maknasi, who was the first Maghribi ambassador to Saudi Arabia, used to go there and used it as a free madrasa. His brothers among the noble students of the Qarawiyyin went there, and they used to meet them to study and discuss and we do not need to pursue this.
Shaykh Ibn Nasir instituted a hizb in the Sus region known as the "Hizb of the Shaykh" which is attributed to him, may Allah be pleased with him. It is the famous hizb which is recited in a group morning and evening in many mosques, although this shaykh used to cancel the hizb on Thursday nights and replace it with Surat al-Kahf in since there is a sound hadith that if anyone recites this sura on Thursday night, Allah will preserve him until the end of the week. He also cancelled the Friday morning hizb and replaced it with Surat Yasin, ad-Dukhan, al-Waqi'a, al-Mulk, al-Insan, al-Buruj and about five thousand prayers on the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. This was for the students involved in teaching and learning. As for the fuqara' and the murids, sometimes they did ten or twenty thousand prayers on the Prophet on Friday night and morning. Those replaced hizbs exceeded the period of a normal month and so the whole Qur'an was completed in about 35 days. In this way the conclusion of the Qur'an always coincided with a Sunday night and always began on Monday morning. That was to take advantage of the benefits of the sound hadiths and what the Shaykh saw of the baraka entailed in reciting of those suras at those times. Would that this hizb had spread everywhere!
Credit goes to Shaykh Ibn Nasir and his students for what we can see to this day of clear religious commitment in all the rural areas of the Sus. He also has the credit for heating the wudu' water in all the mosques in the towns and desert.
His Sufi tariqa is a branch, like the Darqawi tariqa, of the Shadhiliya tariqa which was founded by the Qutb Abu'l-Hasan 'Ali ibn 'Abdullah al-Ghamari ash-Shadhili (d. 656 AH at 'Aydhab in Egypt). Shaykh Ibn Nasir took the Nasiri tariqa from his shaykh, Sidi 'Abdullah ibn Husayn, who had it from Sidi Ahmad ibn 'Ali al-Hajji from Abu'l-Qasim al-Ghazi from Sidi 'Ali ibn 'Abdullah as-Sijalmasi from Shaykh Ahmad ibn Yusuf ar-Rashidi from Shaykh Abu'l-'Abbas Ahmad Zarruq (d. 899). As for the chain of Shaykh Sidi Zarruq to Abu'l-Hasan ash-Shadhili, it is well-known. It is that shaykh Zarruq took from Sidi Ahmad ibn 'Uqba, who took from Shaykh Yahya ibn Ahmad al-Qadiri from Sidi 'Ali ibn Wafa from his father Sidi Muhammad Wafa from Shaykh Da'ud al-Bakhili from Shaykh Taju'ddin ibn 'Ata'llah al-Iskandari and Shaykh Yaqut al-'Arshi from Sidi Ahmad ibn 'Umar al-Mursi, the khalifa of Abu'l-Hasan ash-Shadhili from him from the Qutb, 'Abdu's-Salam ibn Mashish, and so forth.
Whoever wants more details on the biography of Shaykh Ibn Nasir should Consult the Index of al-Yusi and his Muhadarat, Nashr al-Mathani, which is about the people of the 11th and 12th centuries by Sidi Muhammad ibn at-Tayyib al-Qadiri, and as-Safwa, on the reports of the righteous men of the 11th century by Sidi Muhammad as-Saghir al-Ifrani al-Marakkushi, the middle of the first part of Salwa al-Anfas by Sidi Muhammad ibn Ja'far al-Kittani, and The Inlaid Perals on the Righteous Men of Draa by Muhammad ibn Musa ibn Nasir (1179 AH).
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Nasir, may Allah be pleased with him, died in 1085 AH and was succeeded by good descendants whose excellence had appeared during his lifetime. That was due to the excellence of his good guidance and exemplary teaching. Sidi Muhammad, his eldest son who died in 1126, was a great scholar, as was his brother Sidi Ahmad, son of the Shaykh, who died in 1129. He succeeded his father in taking charge of the zawiyya by teaching and instructing dhikr through his appointment. He was the author of a popular "Nasiri Hijazi Journey" like Imam al-Yusi, Imam 'Abdu'l-Malik at-Tajmu'ti (d. 1118), Sidi Husayn ibn Muhammad ash-Sharhabili, the student of Sidi Ahmad, the son of the Shaykh, (d, 1152), and Imam Sidi Muhammad ibn 'Abdu's-Salam ibn 'Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Kabir ibn Shaykh Ibn Nasir, (d. 1239). He was the author of another Hijazi journey which is full of lessons in knowledge.
As for the qasida of Imam al-Yusi in which he praised his shaykh Ibn Nasir when he returned from one of his hajjs, Sidi Muhammad ibn Ja'far al-Kittani mentions it on page 264, part one of as-Salwa when he deals with Shaykh Ibn Nasir:
Important imams like the scholar al-Yusi studied with him. He praised him in his famous and unrivalled poem in dal which the people of literature compare to the poem in dal by al-Busiri in praise of Abu'l-Hasan ash-Shadhili and Abu'l-'Abbas al-Mursi. It has 300 verses and he wrote an excellent commentary on it. It is not easy to imagine anyone getting the better of Imam al-Yusi were it not for the esteem he himself held for the position of the shaykh.
The Susis divided it over the days of the week, and they used to recite a part of it with the regular hizb every evening as they do with the Burda of al-Busiri in the evening and his poem in hamza in the morning. There are none of his students who have not memorised these three poems by listening to them when regularly attending the recitation of the hizb. It begins:
He ascended the rosy mountains
between al-Lasab and Dhat al-Armad
Across from al-Jar' which is in the lowlands
are the graves of the men of the Hammad tribe.
There is an excerpt from it which praises the shaykh in which he says:
The Succour of people, Shaykh Ibn Nasir
by whom Allah helped the Shari'a of Ahmad.
He restored the radiant face of the Deen
and the radiance of the source of every unifier.
He established the roof of its structure which is above
all roofs over the unshakeable warners.
He removed doubt from every dark night
as well as misguidance, error and harshness.
Then he says to him:
Congratulations on the glory which is unsurpassed in time
from a hopeful riser and ascender
Congratulations on the treasure which was obtained before
by the paragons of the ascetic gnostics.
When such a treasure is obtained, youth ceases
and does not need any increase or provision.
Say to the one who tries that he has fallen short
because he tried to hold the Pleaides in his hand.
He ends it with his words:
The nights delight and enjoy your blaze
and the one connected to those who possess happiness is happy.
As for his supplication whose baraka we hope for in this preface, it is an indication of his state and the form of his thought. The adage goes: "They speak and are known." In it he directed himself to the way that a truthful Muslim must constantly put his trust in Allah and turn to him in hardships and matters of concern while maintaining the good adab of a slave and being humble to his Lord, since that is one of the things which which will bring about the response. All of that is expressed in strong firm expressions while at the same time it is simple and sweet in its order. This indicates that its author is conversant with lofty adab. Its expression is such that the listener supposes he may be able to come up with something similar but is then unable to achieve that, as so often happens with deceptive simplicity.
Look and see how he begins it by asking for the help of the One to Whose mercy the people of hardships and mishaps flee. That is Allah Almighty. He encompassed that flight by the mercy of Allah by preceding it with the 'jarr wa majrur' (preposition and its complement) to which they connected. It is known that putting the objective first proclaims its containment. This is like the words of the Almighty, "You only we worship and You only we ask for help." So it is as if he were saying,"O You to whose mercy is the only possible flight from concerns and hardships!"
Then he follows that with calling on the only One who can provide deliverance and protection for the concerned and in need, and the One who is the only source of refuge from things which are feared. When one is constricted, there is no one but Him who can be sought as a deliverer or reliever. It is well-known that when someone in dire need calls upon Allah, He removes from him what troubles him. Allah Almighty says, "He who responds to the oppressed when they call to Him and removes their distress." (27:62)
This is like what he said with elegant sweet words:
O You to whose mercy one flees!
You in whom the one in need and distress seeks refuge!
This verse alone embraces the meaning of the whole qasida and acts as a summary for it. If the one compelled devotes himself to Allah alone, he repeatedly calls on Him truthfully and sincerely after the answer because Allah has no need of hearing of the details. His knowledge of the state dispenses with the need for asking.
All the verses of the supplication are an example of excellent arrangement and a deep expression of complete trust in Allah Almighty. We see him praying for things in the Next World as he prayers for affairs in this world, and he proclaims that the Next World is the final destination in any case and that it is better than this one. He says:
O Lord, make it our habit to cling and devote ourselves
to the resplendent Sunna.
Confine our manifold desires to You
and grant us full and complete gnosis.
Combine both knowledge and action for us,
and direct our hopes to the Abiding Abode.
This supplication has been tried, tested and proven to relieve distress and to avert difficult situations, especially when they are societal and concern the affairs of all the Muslims. The people of Fez call it "The Sword of Ibn Nasir". They used to teach it to the pupils in the Qur'anic kuttabs and they used it to seek refuge with Allah, using various tunes, in the time of the French oppression and occupation of Morocco. That is the custom of the Muslims: to seek refuge with Allah Almighty in times of hardship. Your Lord says, "Call on Me and I will answer you." (40:60)
We ask Allah Almighty to make our end and the ends of the Muslims good and to place us on the path of the best of the Salaf of the Muslim Community and to fill our hearts with what pleases Him a d to be kind to us in all states. Peace.
Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah ar-Radani
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