Shaykh Sharawi

Sayyida Nafisa was born in Makka on 11 Rabiul Awwal 145 H. She married at the age of 16, and traveled to Egypt in 193 H. Imam Shafi`i studied under her, and his custom was to visit her before he lectured and on his way home at night. He normally prayed taraweeh in her mosque every Ramadan. He studied hadith under her. If he happened to be sick and unable to visit her, he would send a student to ask her to pray for him. On such occasions, she lifted her hands and beseeched Allah to cure him, which would inevitably be granted.

In his will, Imam Shafi`i, who died in Rajab 204 H., requested that Sayyida Nafisa pray janaza over him. His coffin was placed in front of her home in Fustat. Sayyida Nafisa then ordered Abu Yaqub al-Buwaiti to conduct the funeral prayer over him, while she followed him in prayer.

On Tassawuf and Sufi Orders

We asked Imam Metawalli Sha’rawi about the meaning of tassawuf and the Sufi orders. He said, “At-Tassawuf is the essence of religion. It has been mentioned by the Prophet (s) as the station of excellence (maqam al-ihsan).”

Allah (swt) described the people of tasawwuf, saying to the Prophet (s):“And keep yourself content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires and whose affair has become all excess.” Surat al-Kahf, verse 28

An explanation of this verse published in Madina explains, “The true servants of Allah are those whose hearts turned to Him morning, noon, and night and who seek not worldly gain but Allah’s … presence and nearness. Even if they are poor in this world’s goods, their society gives far more inward and spiritual satisfaction than worldly grandeur and worldly attractions.” Thus we see that Shaykh Sha`rawi’s understanding goes back to the concept of zuhd (abstention from worldliness), a focus on the afterlife and perfecting one’s character.

“In Egypt there are many tariqats (paths, sufi orders). One is the tariqat al Ahmadiyya or al-Badawiyya which goes to back to Ahmad al-Badawi. Another is the Burhaniyya, which relates to Sayyid Ibrahim al-Dusougi, a great wali of Egypt. Then there is the tariqat al-Shadiliyya which is related to Abul Hassan al-Shadili, and there is tariqat al-Rufai’yya which relates to the Sayyidi Ahmad al-Rufai. There is the tariqat al-Naqshbandiyya, which traces its roots to Bahauddin Naqshband. I belong and took initiation in the tariqat al-Baaziya, Ashab al-amaim al-khadra, “people of the Green Turbans” related to Sayyidina al-Baaz, Abdul Qadir al-Jilani.

On His Noble Lineage and Following a Shaykh

I said, “We never heard of this Sufi order before. What is it” The Shaykh replied, “That Sufi Order only includes within its ranks the descendants of al-Hassan and al-Hussain, known as al-Ashraf.” I was stunned. As the shaykh had been speaking, he suddenly stopped and went into a deep and peaceful dhikrullah, chanting the names of God for some time and tears fell from his eyes. That was the first time that Shaykh Shar`awi had ever revealed the secret of his lineage–that he is a descendant of the Prophet (s).

He then gave me a photo of a man wearing a green turban to be used with this interview. He revealed the secrets that no one had ever heard, neither from among his students, nor from among the millions of common people and intellectuals from around the world who love him and his explanations of Qur`an and the teachings of Islam.

I asked him, “Whose picture is this” Shaykh Sha’rawi spoke of the honor to follow the man in the picture, a Sufi shaykh, saying, “He is the spiritual teacher and shaykh of the Sufi order al-Baaziyya. His name is Shaykh Ahmad al-Saud.” Though I had been attending the shaykh’s lectures all of my adult life, I never heard that he carried such a distinguished lineage, nor that he followed a Sufi shaykh.

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