Shukr’l-Waahib

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Regarding This Selection

This is a review and examination of the Shukr’l-Waahib al-Mufeeda’l-Mawaahib (Showing Gratitude to the Benefactor for the Divine Overflowing Given to Those He Favors) by one of Black Africa’s leading mystics, Shaykh Abd’l-Qaadir ibn Mustafa. I first came upon this metaphysically luxuriant poem in the month of Ramadan in the year 1406 A.H. (May 1986) while residing in the home of one of the author’s great grandchildren in Maiurno, Sennar, Sudan, my teacher Shaykh Muhammad Bello ibn Shaykh Abd’r-Raaziq ibn Shaykh Uthman ibn Shaykh Abd’l-Qaadir ibn Mustafa. He showed it to me one night after the tawaareeh prayers and requested that I read it.

He said that his paternal uncle, Shaykh Abd’r-Rahman al-Ya`bana ibn Uthman told him that this poem was a summary of all the exoteric and esoteric sciences which were bequeathed to the Fudiawa in general, and to his immediate family in particular as it reached its pinnacle with his great grandfather, the historian, the Amir, and mystic, Shaykh Abd’l-Qaadir ibn Mustafa. This divine overflowing (fayd ilaahiy), as the author called it, was bequeathed to him from his erudite and saintly mother Sayyidat Khadijatu bint Shehu Uthman ibn Fuduye`, and her brother, his maternal uncle the saintly Shaykh Muhammad Sanbu ibn Shehu Uthman ibn Fuduye`.

It overflowed from these siblings from their spiritually magnetized mother, the mystical, pious and learned wife of the Shehu, Iyya Gharka A`ishatu Ghabindu bint Shaykh Muhammad Sa`d ibn Abdullahi ibn Muhammad ibn Sa`d ibn Muhammad Ladan ibn Idris ibn Maasiran, who received it from her husband, the Shaykh of all the Shaykhs Shehu Uthman ibn Fuduye`. The Shukr’l-Waahib is a tantalizing glimpse of all the essential mediated and unmediated sciences bequeathed to humanity within the epistemology of Islam.

The poem not only gives a depiction of the depth of erudition of African Islamic traditions but it also gives us an indication of the extent of the crime which was committed against the purveyors of these intellectual and esoteric traditions as a result of the trans Atlantic slave trade and European colonialism in Africa.

The Shukr’l-Waahib by the Shaykh Abd’l-Qaadir ibn Mustafa, is evidence that there was a conscious preservation and transmission of a canon of knowledge and metaphysics which constituted a collective and communicative memory that encompassed the broadest realm of Islamic epistemology and mysticism. This inter-generational historical consciousness consisted of three integral factors without which it could not and cannot persists:

[1] knowledge (`ilm);

[2] saintliness (wilaayat); and

[3] sovereignty (khilaafa).

Each of these factors supported one another in a symbiotic liaison which gave birth to a rearward and forward looking spiritual and secular government which saw itself as the herald and final link to the appearance of the Seal of the Muhammadan Saints (al-Mahdi) and the heavenly descent of the Seal of the Universal Saints (Jesus the son Mary).

Shaykh Dan Tafa condensed all of these sciences into sixty seven verses. He divided the poem into seven sections:

An Introduction followed by six chapters:

Chapter One: Mentioning What I Recieved From the Shari`a Sciences

Chapter Two: Mentioning What I Recieved From the Elemental Sciences by Means of Textual Transmission and Other Than That

Chapter Three: Mentioning What I Recieved From the Sciences of Spiritual Realities

Chapter Four: Mentioning What I Recieved in the Sciences of the Awliyya Which Are the Sciences of Secrets According to the Path of the Sufis

Chapter Five: Mentioning What I Recieved in the Sciences of Secrets As Well. However, Outside of the Path of the Sufis

Chapter Six: Mentioning What I Received in the Sciences of Secrets that I Have Received from the Sciences if the Greatest Unveiling Which No One Except Us Have Craved for, and Which None Will Disclose Except the Muhammadan Seal, who is the Mahdi, upon him be peace.

The Shukr’l-Waahib was composed as a form of praise and gratitude to Allah for this blessing, since continuity and persistence in all its domains are dependent upon giving thanks and praise. The author indicated this in a couplet which I believe is the secret (sirr) of the poem where he said: So, all praises are due to Allah who by means of His praise * Has completed and perfected in us the righteousness of His divine support. What this reveals is that the foundation of the three treasures: knowledge; saintliness and sovereignty that were given to the entire Fudiawa which would guarantee their persistence, revolves around being in a constant state of praise (al-hamd) and gratitude (as-shukr).

Allah ta`ala assisted me to compose a commentary upon this illuminating poem which I called `Ilaawat’l-Muttaalib fee Shukr’l-Waahib al-Mufeeda’l-Mawaahib (The Increase of the Aspirant in Gratitude of the Benefactor for the Divine Overflowing Given to Those He Favors)

al-hamdulillahi wa shukrulillah wa shukrulillah wa’l-hamdulillahi

Shaykh Muhammad Shareef bin Farid al-Qaadiri

Zawiyya Shehu Uthman ibn Fuduye`

Yirimadio, Bamako, the Republic of Mali

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Read the commentary: `Ilaawat’l-Muttaalib fee Shukr’l-Waahib al-Mufeeda’l-Mawaahib (The Increase of the Aspirant in Gratitude of the Benefactor for the Divine Overflowing Given to Those He Favors) By: Shaykh Muhammad Shareef

Regarding Shaykh’s Commentary 

This is a review and examination of the Shukr’l-Waahib al-Mufeeda’l-Mawaahib (Showing Gratitude to the Benefactor for the Divine Overflowing Given to Those He Favors) by one of Black Africa’s leading mystics, Shaykh Abd’l-Qaadir ibn Mustafa (d. 1864 C.E.) In this work I attempt to explain the etymology of the exoteric and esoteric terms utilized by Shaykh Dan Tafa in his poem Shukr’l-Waahib.

My commentary is based upon what I recieved from several of the shuyuukh with whom I read this text, Shaykh Muhammad Bello ibn Abdullahi, Shaykh Abu Bakr Basambu, Shaykh Umar Ahmad Zaruuk and Shaykh Bello Abd’r-Raaziq. From the time that I first received this poem in May of 1986 from one of the author’s descendents, Shaykh Bello ibn Abd’r-Raaziq ibn Uthman ibn Abd’l-Qaadir ibn Mustafa, it was my intention of writing about it.

It was not until arriving in China safely that I was able to begin this work. This was prompted by a study of three fundamental works by Wang Tai Yu, the foremost Muslim mystic and scholar of China, which I found in the library of Tsingwa University in Beijing, China. There was a clear parallel between the mystical ideas of Imam Wang Tai Yu and Shaykh Dan Tafa which I found amazing especially in the light of the new Sino-African accord emerging at the time. It was on my repatriation to Africa that I was able to complete this study within the social environment from which it was originally produced.

 

Shaykh Muhammad Shareef bin Farid

Zawiyya Shehu Uthman ibn Fuduye`

Yirimadio, Bamako, the Republic of Mali

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