The occasion of the birthday of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi brings along with it the celebration of his inheritance from Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib and Shaykh Muhammad al-Faytouri by the idhn of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, and His Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallim, as their confirmed successor in the Qadiri-Shadhili-Darqawi tariqah.
It is the annual opportunity for his fuqara to join him in praise of Allah and His Rasul, expecting from Him, subhanahu wa ta’ala, a filling of the hearts with lights, forgiveness and a raising of their stations in respect of His pleasure and a heightening of His Rasul’s love and concern for them.
There is nothing to be done but to be there, and once there, be there again. This whole gathering is about Presence which is coupled with absence. There is only the Present Who can never be absent, or rather His absence is an illusion of the presence of other-than-Him.
The Mawsim does not change anything; rather it is the moving from the valley of the mundane to the top of the mountain of detachment from habit, so all that changes is the position of the viewer; and what a view!
Its taste is akin to the blessed month of Ramadan, when the Muslims come together for ‘ibadah in anticipation of the blessed Night of Power, and what a blessing when these two occasions are close to each other as they enhance our experience of them, one lighting up the other.
When we arrive we bring the preceding year with its efforts and lassitude. When you come to the presence of sayyidina Shaykh it is best to come empty because what appears at this time is pouring and filling; the analogy explains itself. The one full of him/herself will leave with what they brought; the one who comes with nothing will leave enriched, and what is given is more precious than anything already in our possession.
Whatever your plans or activities relating to your everyday however elevated or plain they may be, can only be increased or put right by this journey; time spent visiting your Shaykh is time spent in the light, before the mirror, so sincere effort can but benefit and in like measure selfish motives will be exposed.
When you contemplate this journey be reminded of the words of sayyidina Shaykh, “It is never about time or money.” I am reminded of a time when I was young and the Shaykh asked me on the day before the fuqara were due to leave for the Mawsim of Shaykh ibn al-Habib in Morocco whether I was leaving the next day. I replied that not unless the means drops from the sky; “Where else is it going to come from,” he said. This struck my heart and put me in a corner out of which there was only one route. The doors of my heart opened and I was on the plane the next day.
It has an element of Hajj, in that all present have travelled for a single purpose and shared activity. That first Jumu’ah Salah brings the fuqara together who have not seen each other for a year or even longer, and after the satisfaction of attending a real Jumu’ah comes the seemingly endless hugging of dear brothers and sisters and the realisation that time and distance have no meaning for us. It is the first glowing of lights as hearts connect in love of each other and what brings them together.
This is the light of the Rasul in the presence of our blessed Shaykh, his slave in every way and our reminder of ‘hareesun ‘alaykum, bi ‘l-mumineena ra’ufur raheem’.
The night of the Mawsim, with all the collective longing and expectation of the gifts of Allah fills the room as we sing and listen and most importantly watch our hearts. What a spectacle! Ignore it; this is not what you came for; return to your concentration, sing with the People; watch your heart that you may witness. Abandon all hope and fear; there is nothing you can do; what will come to you is in Allah’s gift and Allah gives in withholding as well as overflowing. Forget everything and everyone and remember only Allah; this is the night that will inform all of your approach to Him as by the Shari’ah the Hajj makes plain the reality of our existence.
The obligations of the Shari’ah turn us towards our effort to re-establish Islam in our time and where to continue from here. You will wonder after these profound gatherings whether you are returning home or leaving it. Wherever you will go you have been burdened with gifts, so give out from them and hold nothing back so that you may return next year, empty, pleasing and well-pleased, if Allah wills.
“The pleasure of life is only in the company of the fuqara
They are the sultans, the masters and the princes”