Etiquettes For Reading The Burda


I remember having read a while back something relating to the etiquette’s to be observed whilst reciting the Qasidat al-Burda.  I came across the following  in Allamah al-Kharputi’s commentary entitled Asidat al-Shuhdah p.3-4:

“A number of conditions are necessary in order for it to be read in the correct manner, and also in order for it to be effective in that which it is recited for.

The first of them is to perform wudu.

Second is to face the direction of prayer (qibla).

Third is precision in the correct pronunciation of the words and their irab.

Fourth is that the one reciting is knowledgeable of its meanings, because supplications are not effective if the reciter is not knowledgeable of their meanings, as was indicated to by Ali al-Qari in the introduction to his Hizb al-Azam

Fifth is its recitation is poetic form because it was authored as a poem not prose.

Sixth is memorizing it.

Seventh is that the reciter has permission to recite it from its people.

Eighth is that it is recited with the salat upon the Prophet (Upon him be peace), but it is necessary that it be with the salat which was recited by Imam al-Busiri which is:

مولاى صل و سلم دائما ابدا
على حبيبك خير الخلق كلهم

Not other than it, for if not then it will not effective as is reported by Imam al-Ghaznawi, that he would recite this qasidah every night in order to see the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in his sleep.  He was not fortunate enough to see this vision, so he complained of this to a complete Shaykh (Shaykh Kamil), and questioned him about its secret.  The Shaykh replied that perhaps you do not pay close attention to its conditions.

He replied that “Ofcourse I pay close attention to them”, so the Shaykh contemplated and thereafter said, “I have found its secret, and it is that you do not send salat with the salat which was written by Imam al-Busiri, for he would send salat upon him (upon him be peace) with his words:

مولاى صل و سلم دائما ابدا
“على حبيبك خير الخلق كلهم

Shah Waliullah And His Link To The Ba-Alawi’s


Please find below a brief article which I have finally had the chance to publish now.  As many of you will be aware, recent years have seen the growing popularity of the Ba Alawi order in the West, more specifically amongst young people whose background is from the Indian Subcontinent.  Muslims from the Indian Subcontinent have traditionally been linked to the more widely spread Indian orders such as the Naqshbandi, Chishti, Qadiri and others (keeping in mind the Ba Alawi link to the predominantly Shafi south of India)..  Thus the recent rise in numbers of spiritual aspirants adopting the Ba Alawi way may be regarded by some as a shift from the more established Indian orders.

I was therefore interested to find that Shah Waliullah al-Dihlawi in his ‘Al-Initbah fi Salasil al-Awliyah’ makes mention of his link to the Ba Alawi order.  The relevance of this link becomes all the more significant in light of the fact that many if not all of the chains of narrations for hadith in the Indian Subcontinent link back to Shah Waliullah.  I remember a scholar describing this widespread scholarly link along the lines of, “Shah Waliullah is a tree, the branches of which are in all the houses of India’.

We could perhaps say that the Ba Alawi scholarly link to the Indian Ulema has existed for some time, but that aspects of it have only recently emerged generations later with children of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent.  The information contained in this article might also interest those scholars who have graduated from Madaris, and whose isnad links to Shah Waliullah, and might have been unaware of this link.

I would like to thank Sidi Amin Buxton for his valuable help in suggesting corrections for the translation, unfortunately the edition of the Intibah that I obtained appears to be an old Indian edition filled with scribal errors.  I would also like to thank Sidi Tahseen Khan for his help in locating a copy of this work.  Note:  I have tried to correct this passage as much as possible, including the dua in Arabic, however this still requires some attention.


Shah Waliullah al-Dihlawi said in ‘Al-Intibah fi Salasil al-Awliyah’ (p. 127) onwards:


The Madyaniyyah Order has many branches.  Amongst them very famous in Morocco is the Magharibah branch and in Hadramawt the Aydarusiyyah branch from the line of Sayyid Abdullah Aydarus Kabir.  This needy one is connected to each of them.”

Shah Waliullah mentioned some of his chains, and then went on to say:

“This needy one received this order from Shaykh Abu Tahir

From Shaykh Ahmad al-Nakhli al-Makki

From Sayyid Abd al-Rahman bin Ali Ba-Alawi the student of Sayyid Abdullah bin Alawi al Haddad and his son-in-law

From Sayyid Abdullah bin Alawi al Haddad whose nisbat in the tariqah is to Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi who moved to Makkah

From Sayyid Abdullah bin Ali…

From Shaykh bin Abdullah al-Aydarus who is buried in Ahmadabad

From his father Sayyid Abdullah bin Shaykh

From his uncle Sayyid Abu Bakr al-Aydarus from Aden

From his father the Qutb, Sayyid Afif al-Din Abdullah al-Aydarus the senior figure to which the Aydurusiyyah branch is attributed

From his uncle Sayyid Umar al-Mihdar

From his father Sayyid Abd al-Rahman bin Muhammad Saqqaf

From his father Muhammad bin Ali Mawla al-Dawila

From his father [Ali bin Alawi]”

Shah Waliullah after citing a chain of this order said (p.134):

“We have copied this Aydarusiyyah chain (silsilah) and corrected many of the unclear names from ‘Al-Nafahat al-Qudsiyyah fi al-Khirqah al-Aydarusiyyah’ by Sayyid Abd al-Qadir al-Aydarus and from ‘Al-Mashra al-Rawi fi Aal Ba-Alawi’ by Muhammad Shilli.”

Shah Waliullah immediately thereafter wrote:

“Shaykh Abu Tahir narrated to us from Shaykh Ahmad al-Nakhli who said: I was given permission to recite this prayer (du’a) after each of the five prayers by Sayyid Abd al-Rahman bin Ali Ba-Alawi the student of Sayyid Abdullah al-Haddad and his son-in-law from his Shaykh Sayyid Abd al-Rahman bin Alawi al-Haddad Ba-Alawi (u: Sayyid Abdullah bin Alawi al Haddad) which is:

يا الله يا لطيف يا رزاق يا قوي يا عزيز أسئلك تألهاً بك و استغراقا فيك و فنائك عمن سواك و لطفاً شاملاً جلياً و خفياً و رزقاً طيباً هنيئاً و مريئاَ و قوة في ايمان و اليقين و صلابة في الحق و الدين و عذابك يدوم و يتخلد و شرفا يبقى و يتأبد لا يخالطه تكبر و لا و عتو و ارادة فساد في الارض و لا علو انك سميع قريب و صلى الله على سيدنا محمد و آله و صحبه و سلم

I say: Sayyid Abdullah al-Haddad has an anthology of poetry which is extremely fine and eloquent, it is predominantly regarding good counsel and spiritual travelling (suluk).  I was handed some of its odes (qasaid) by his grandson Sayyid Abdullah al-Aydarus wal Aydarusi.

I say: I was informed by a group from the noble Aal Ba-Alawi from amongst them Sayyid Abdullah bin Jafar Mudhar (u: Mudbar) that the noble Aal Ba-Alawi generation to generation continue to advise the reading of ‘al-Ihya’, its memorisation, acting upon that which it contains and continuity upon its awrad.  Their madhab in belief (aqaid) is the madhab of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, their school in law is the Shafi school and their madhab in spiritual travel (suluk) is steadfastness upon that which is in ‘al-Ihya’, and Allah knows best.”

Placing The Hands In The Prayer: Ibn Taymiyyah


I came across this interesting discussion on where the hands should be placed in the prayer.  It is from Allamah Ibn Taymiyyah’s commentary on Imam Ibn al-Qudama’s Hanbali fiqh matn entitled ‘Al-Umdah’.  Reading it I reflected back on how interesting it would have been to have had access to this back in the 1990’s when we were desperately looking for material in defence of the Hanafi position of placing the hands under the navel.

I was unsure of how to translate the last line of this discussion, thus it is omitted, however it does not change the meaning of the passage.  There was also a typo (as far as I can tell) which I have corrected when translating.

Allamah Ibn Taymiyyah said p.67 onwards:

“And he places them both below his navel, or below his chest without either of them being disliked.

The first [placing the hands below the navel] is superior in one of the narrations from him [Imam Ahmad], which was chosen by al-Khiraqi, al-Qadi and others.  It is reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and al-Darqutni from Abu Juhaifah that he said:  Ali (Allah be pleased with him) said,”From the sunnah is the placing of the hand upon the other hand below the navel”.  And this [placing right hand over the left] is mentioned from the hadith of Ibn Masud from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and was relied upon by Imam Ahmad.

And Ibn Battah relates from Abu Hurayrah (Allah be pleased with him) that he said, “From the sunnah is that he place his right hand in the prayer below the navel”.  And a companion if he says ‘sunnah’ it is applied to the sunnah of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).  And because this is far from the placing of hands upon the chest [takfir] which is disliked.

And in the other (narration) below the chest is superior which was chosen by a group of our companions due to that which is related by Jarir al-Dabbi who said,”I saw Ali grasping his left with his right on his wrist above his navel”, it was reported by Abu Dawud.  And Qubaysah bin Hulb relates from his father that he said:  “I saw the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) placing these on his chest.” And Yahys bin Saeed placed his “Right hand over the left above the joint” reported by Ahmad.

The third narration:  They are both equal, it was chosen by Ibn Abi Musa and others due to the conflicting narrations in regards to it.

As for placing them both on the chest it is disliked, as was stated.  Abi Ayub reports from Abi Mashar that he said, “It is disliked to make takfir in the prayer” and he said, “Takfir is to place the right hand upon the chest in the prayer”…”

Who Is Superior: Letter From Maqamat-e-Mazhari


Reading through the Maqamat-e-Mazhari the following caught my attention.  The extract below is taken from a letter where Shaykh Mazhar Jan-e-Janan was questioned regarding whether Shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani or Shaykh Ahmad al-Sirhindi was superior (Allah be pleased with them both).  I hope to update this draft at a later point inshAllah. The letter is found on pg.441-442 of the work, it states:

“Letter Seven

After Praise (Hamd) and Salutations (Salat)  please find from a response from the needy one Jan-e-Janan .  I received your request for attention, in which you asked that who had attained greater superiority from between the Qayyum Rabbani Mujaddid Alf Thani [Shaykh Ahmad al-Sirhindi] and Mahbub Subhani Shaykh Abd al-Qadir Jaylani (Allah be pleased with them both)?

Makhdum! Superiority is of two categories, partial and absolute.  It is clear that your question is not regarding partial superiority, and absolute superiority is based solely on closeness to God.  Its relation is to the inward and the intellect has no role in it…it is also clear that both saints blessed existence came after the revelation of the Quran, Sunnah and consensus, and these three sources of the sacred law are silent regarding this matter.   Spiritual unveiling (kashf) is open to error, and is not a proof upon an opponent.

The statements of the murids are not relied upon because murids have love for their Shaykhs which reaches the level of excess.  Nor do we see any person of spiritual unveiling (kashf) who can fully comprehend the perfections of both these saints and can give a definitive answer on the absolute superiority of one of them.  Therefore the best means of safety is to resign the matter to the Divine Knowledge and these useless discussions should be avoided.   And one should hold the belief of the excellent qualities of both these saints…”