Al-Aqeeda as-Sughraa

The al-Aqeedat as-Sughraa / Umm al-Baraaheen This concise work is one of the most important of books on the science of Divine Unity composed by Shaykh as-Sanusi. the Shaykh received the text in a dream vision taken from the Guarded Tablet written in ink made of white pearl. This is an indication of the universal acceptance of this work as a source book for the science of Divine Unity. The as-Sughraa is a beneficial abridgement of all the doctrines of belief regarding the science of Divine Unity of GOD that obligatory for every responsible person know and believe.

Shaykh as-Sanusi begins the book by citing the prerequisite judgment of reason by which one can know GOD; and ends the book clarifying that the most fundamental way that a servant can know GOD is by drowning himself in the remembrance of the two divine testimonies of LAA ILAHA ILLA ALLAH MUHAMMADUR RASUULULLAHI until it intermixes with his blood and body leaves its impact upon the heart and secret.

Shaykh al-Mallali said about the importance of the as-Sughraa: “It is among the most significant books composed upon doctrines of belief (aqaa’id). No book on doctrines of belief equaled it either by those composed before it or after it.”

Among the miracles regarding this work, the Umm al-Baraaheen or the al-Aqeeda as-Sughraa, is that he once observed the Guarded Tablet in his sleep; and it was said to him: "Choose from it whatever you want." Then he thought to himself that he would choose that with which he can instruct humanity and by which they can attain an excellent ending. He then sought it out and the only thing he found was this book (meaning the as-Sughra); so he chose it.

It is said that he was shown it in a cylinder of the Throne written with ink made of pearl; and then memorized it.

Among his miracles associated with his al-Aqeeda as-Sughraa also is that one day he was sitting with some of his disciples studying the as-Sughraa, when a sudden movement was seen scurrying towards the Shaykh. Some of his disciples became frightened and fled; while others were too ashamed to flee the presence of the Shaykh. When the movement reached the Shaykh, they discovered what seemed to be a snake. It came near the feet of the Shaykh, opened its mouth and the Shaykh wrote something and cast it to the snake. Then the snake returned to where it came. His disciples then asked: “Was that a snake?” He said to them: “That was not a snake. It was an envoy from the djinn who came in order to study this book, due to its melodiousness.”

Shaykh as-Sanusi composed a commentary upon the as-Sughraa which he called Sharh as-Sughraa. He then composed a commentary upon that commentary called Sharh Sughraa as-Sughraa. His chief disciples Shaykh Muhammad ibn Umar al-Mallali and Shaykh Ahmad ibn Aghadir both composed commentaries upon the as-Sughraa.

One of the signs of the importance that the as-Sughraa played in the intellectual life of scholars in the Muslim world is the amount of times this work was commented upon by scholars inter-generationally and across vast regions of the Umma. For example, Shaykh Abu’l-Abbas Ahmad ar-Raashidi [d. 951 A.H.] Shaykh al-Hassan ibn Mahdi az-Ziyati al-Maghari [d. 992 A.H.] composed marginal notes on the as-Sughraa. Shaykh Abu’l-Abbas Ahmad al-Manjuur [d. 995 A.H.] composed his famous al-Hashiyya al-Kubra upon the as-Sughraa. The immense ascetic of Sus al-Aqsa, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Mahdi ad-Diriy al-Jaraari [d. 1006 A.H.] composed a concise commentary upon the as-Sughraa. The reformer of the 10th century hijra, Shaykh Ahmad Baba ibn Ahmad at-Timbukti composed a detailed commentary upon the as-Sughraa when he as captivity in Merrekesh. Shaykh Ahmad ibn Muhammad ar-Rahwani composed his al-Ghaneema al-Kubraa Bi Sharhi alAqeedat ‘s-Sughraa. The immense saint of GOD originally from the city of Djenne, and who settled in the city of Timbukti, Shaykh Muhammad Baghyuyu ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr al-Wangari also composed a versification of the as-Sughraa of as-Sanusi, which became famous throughout the Bilad as-Sudan.

In the 18th century C.E., Shaykh Abdullahi Dan Fodiyo composed a versification of the as-Sughraa and his brother, the famous Shehu Uthman Dan Fodiyo composed a work defending the ideas of Shaykh as-Sanusi, in his work called Kitaab Rujuas-Shaykh as-Sanusi An at-Tashdeed Fee at-Taqleed. Shaykh Abdullahi Dan Fodiyo pointed out in his Ida an-Nusuukh that the works of the Shaykh Muhammad ibn Yusef as-Sanusi were among the fundamental books of doctrines of belief studied and taught throughout the Bilad as-Sudan. He said: “I also took from him (Shehu Uthman Dan Fodiyo) the science of Divine Unity (at-tawheed) from the books of Sanusi, their commentaries and from other works. It was rare that a book of tawheed made it to our country and I knew about it that we did not copy it from him.”

In short, the as-Sughraa of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Yusef as-Sanusi, along with his companion works: the al-Wustaa, the al-Kubraa and his commentaries upon them were the most important works on the science Divine Unity (tawheed) and scholastic theology (ilm ‘l-kalaam). The Sankore Institute of Islamic-African Studies is honored to present to the reader this edited and annotated copy of the Umm al-Baraaheen (the Mother of Proofs) or al-`Aqeedat ‘s-Sughraa (the Small Doctrine) of the Qutb the Knower of Allah, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Yusef as-Sanusi al-Hassani at-Tilimsani.

Shaykh Muhammad Shareef bin Farid
Saturday, 26th Sha`baan, 1444 (3-18-2023)
Bamako, Mali