Encounter: Shaykh Salih and Shaykh al-Madani

A Meeting of Two Giants in the Azhar, 1955

“Our shaykh, sayyidi Muhammad al-Munawwar al-Madani, may Allah preserve him, related to us on Saturday the 12th of May, 2012 in the Madaniyya Zawiya in Qaseebat al-Madyooni, saying:

When we were on the way to Hajj in 1955 with our shaykh, my father sayyidi Muhammad al-Madani and a group of fuqara, we arrived at the city of Cairo, awaiting the boat that would take us from the Suez Canal to the port of Jeddah. We went to the noble Azhar mosque to pray our Dhuhr and Asr prayers. The imam of the five prayers there at the time was the shaykh, the pious scholar (literally: the scholar who acted upon his knowledge) sayyidi Salih al-Ja’fari (may Allah most high have mercy on him). He led us in the Dhuhr prayer and then he gave a lesson, as he usually did, and then led us in the Asr prayer. After finishing the prayer, we went out to the courtyard of the Azhar mosque and the fuqara sat around the shaykh my father sayyidi Muhammad al-Madani for a lesson. After a short while, shaykh Salih al-Ja’fari came out and found the Madaniyya fuqara – in the most beautiful image, their beards shining and their turbans awe-inspiring – circling around their shaykh sayyidi al-Madani. He sat next to the shaykh my father and spoke about the Messenger (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). When the gathering became most pleasant and the drink most sweet, shaykh al-Ja’fari looked at my father, and requested from him, with the gentleness of the knowers of Allah: How about we recite some poems of praise for the Prophet?

Shaykh a-Madani and his fuqara responded with the right manners of the sincere ones, and shaykh Salih al-Ja’fari began to recite his poems – as he has a collection of poems – and after two poems he recited the poem “The people of Allah have won.” The fuqara of the Madaniyya Tariqa followed him as they all knew it by heart.

Shaykh al-Ja’fari whispered to sayyidi al-Madani, saying, “This poem is for a Tunisian shaykh called sayyidi Muhammad al-Madani. You know it?”

Shaykh al-Madnai smiled and said, “This weak slave sitting in front of you is shaykh al-Madani himself.”

After the poem ended the two men hugged each other warmly and he greeted all the fuqara and gifted them something to drink. We would meet after that every day in the courtyard of the Azhar mosque after the Asr prayer for three or four days until it was time to travel by boat from the Suez Canada to the port of Jeddah for Hajj.

N. Al-Madani (may Allah forgive him) says: I heard this very story from sayyidi al-hajj Hasan al-Zaynah around the year 1990, and he was from among those who were present in this blessed event, may Allah perfume all their graves.”

Muhammad al-Madani

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