Thursday, May 17, 2007

Politicians Need Shaykhs

By Souad Ziane - EChorouk Al Yaoumi - Algiers, Algeria

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Zaouias (Sufi spiritual schools) are guiding people in their daily life.

People seek advice and guidance from the Shaykhs of these schools before they get married, when they want to embark on any change in their lives.

When people face a disease which doctors cannot cure, the Zaouias are solicited.

One of the Shaykhs we met in this region of Tlemcen, namely Shaykh Sari who told us a fantastic story about one of the most famous folk music singers in the region, El Ghafour, who was very ill in the 1990s but he met Shaykh Sidi Benaouda Ibn Nemamcha who advised him of isolating himself from the others and do the Secret Dhikr (Supplication to God.)

The Singer did and he recovered from his disease. “Go and meet the singer, he is Tlemcen’s Nightingale, as Bouteflika said, told Sheikh Sari, who was a witness when President Bouteflika met the Shaykh and Commander of the Hibri Sufi Path, Sidi Belkaid.

The Hibri Sufi path is one of the most famous paths in western Algeria. There are other “sub-paths” like the Mencahoui and the Ben Yeles paths.

Locals say the Hibri is the mother of all the Sufi paths in the region.

The traditional hidden Zaouias have changed as the network is now represented by an association called “The Algerian Association of Zaouias” and Shaykh Sari who has been accompanying us all along the trip is the Secretary General of the regional sub-office.

He said “our task is hard as we are a intermediary between the administration and the citizens,” “We receive so many complaints that we created reception days for citizens who wants a referee in issues related to housing, labour etc..” said Shaykh Sari.

“The local authorities received ten requests from citizens to open 10 Zaouias” said Mr. Sari who added “The role of the zaouia is important that opening one institution of this kind means the closure of a prison” Shaykh Sari continued speaking about the very “tolerant Islam preached in zawias,” “It is far from the Salafi Djihadi way”.

The salafi way to teach Islam has been very popular during a period of time, when the salafi preachers accused us of being the state’s religious representatives in the area.

“We have been through hard times and we could not speak”. Now the mureeds (followers) are so numerous that Shaykh Sari said the Sufi paths would be a tool in the “fight against the Salafi Djihadist” said Shaykh Sari.

Speaking about the national figures on the zaouias, Shaykh Sari said “There are at least 9,000 zawias” and more than “4 million mureeds - or followers”. Other Zaouias don’t request an official activity agreement form the Religious Affairs Ministry, and you can count them among us path-wise” said Mr. Sari.

About politics and the legislative elections, Shaykh Sari told us the Zaouias decided to back the National Liberation Front (FLN) because in this “We are supporting a humble man,” “And humbleness is part of the Sufi traditions, because the Sufi thinks power is only in God.”

Backing the FLN is backing President Bouteflika for the Zaouias.

“Backing President Bouteflika is backing the son of a former Moqadem or leader of the Hibri path.” “I remember when President Bouteflika was young, Shaykh Al Hibri put him on a special stone and told his father the young boy will be an important man in the future” said Shaykh Sari.

The Zaouias have become powerful in political decisions since President Bouteflika has been touring the country and visiting every Zaouia in any area he visited.

The spiritual role of this religious institution is so strong among citizens and mureeds that every politician who wants to go on a successful election race needs to have the benediction of the Shaykhs.

During our tour of the region, we covered the Labour Minister Tayeb Louh’ campaign in the Tlemcen area. The men payed a visit to the Al Achaachi Zaouia, one of the sub-paths in the Hibri Sufi tradition.
[picture: Shaykh Sidi Belkaid (on seat), Commander of the Hidri Sufi Path ]
[More than 18 million Algerian citizens are expected to go to the polls on Thursday May 17 to participate in the legislative elections. ]

4 comments:

Asadullah said...

Assalamu alaikum

Shaikh Al-Habri, rahmatullahi alaihi, never met President Bouteflika. I know this for a fact, as I am a faqir in this Tariqa. Shaikh Al-Habri, rahmatullahi alaihi, died around 1915. The photo of Shaikh Muhammad bil Qa'id, rahmatullahi alaihi, was related to President Bouteflika. The Tariqa known as the Habri-bil Qa'id Tariqa is, as you alluded, somewhat hidden and unhearlded among non-members. Shaikh Abdul Latif bil Qa'id is now the Shaikh of the Tariqa. His home Zawiyya is in Oran. Shaikh Metwalli Sha'rawi, rahmatullahi alaihi is in the photo wil Sayyidna Shaikh bil Qa'id, rahmatullahi alaihi. The Tariqa has at least 8,000 fuqara, most in Algeria and Eastern Morocco. We do have a few Zawiyya's in Europe, a few on the Arabian continent and in America.

Wa Salam
habrifaqirmkrlsewo

Anonymous said...

Salam aleikoum
Just to say this tariqa is the light for every one who get the chance to meet Sidi Shaikh Abdul Latif bil Qa'id. I said this as I am also a faqira.. the light of god is living in this man, and I hope for a long time inch'allah...

Asadullah said...

Assalamu alaikum Anony,ous,

Alhamdulillah, it is always nice to see another faqir/faqira from this great Tariqa. Mabruk!!! Are you in Algeria?

Wa Salam
habrifaqir

Anonymous said...

Salamaleikoum
I am leaving in France but I am an Algeria by origin. It is with a great pleasure to hear about others faqirs/faqiras from this beautiful and magic tariqa !! Our path is a light for every body !!! I am new, I took the "ward" till dec 2006. And you are from where ?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Politicians Need Shaykhs
By Souad Ziane - EChorouk Al Yaoumi - Algiers, Algeria

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Zaouias (Sufi spiritual schools) are guiding people in their daily life.

People seek advice and guidance from the Shaykhs of these schools before they get married, when they want to embark on any change in their lives.

When people face a disease which doctors cannot cure, the Zaouias are solicited.

One of the Shaykhs we met in this region of Tlemcen, namely Shaykh Sari who told us a fantastic story about one of the most famous folk music singers in the region, El Ghafour, who was very ill in the 1990s but he met Shaykh Sidi Benaouda Ibn Nemamcha who advised him of isolating himself from the others and do the Secret Dhikr (Supplication to God.)

The Singer did and he recovered from his disease. “Go and meet the singer, he is Tlemcen’s Nightingale, as Bouteflika said, told Sheikh Sari, who was a witness when President Bouteflika met the Shaykh and Commander of the Hibri Sufi Path, Sidi Belkaid.

The Hibri Sufi path is one of the most famous paths in western Algeria. There are other “sub-paths” like the Mencahoui and the Ben Yeles paths.

Locals say the Hibri is the mother of all the Sufi paths in the region.

The traditional hidden Zaouias have changed as the network is now represented by an association called “The Algerian Association of Zaouias” and Shaykh Sari who has been accompanying us all along the trip is the Secretary General of the regional sub-office.

He said “our task is hard as we are a intermediary between the administration and the citizens,” “We receive so many complaints that we created reception days for citizens who wants a referee in issues related to housing, labour etc..” said Shaykh Sari.

“The local authorities received ten requests from citizens to open 10 Zaouias” said Mr. Sari who added “The role of the zaouia is important that opening one institution of this kind means the closure of a prison” Shaykh Sari continued speaking about the very “tolerant Islam preached in zawias,” “It is far from the Salafi Djihadi way”.

The salafi way to teach Islam has been very popular during a period of time, when the salafi preachers accused us of being the state’s religious representatives in the area.

“We have been through hard times and we could not speak”. Now the mureeds (followers) are so numerous that Shaykh Sari said the Sufi paths would be a tool in the “fight against the Salafi Djihadist” said Shaykh Sari.

Speaking about the national figures on the zaouias, Shaykh Sari said “There are at least 9,000 zawias” and more than “4 million mureeds - or followers”. Other Zaouias don’t request an official activity agreement form the Religious Affairs Ministry, and you can count them among us path-wise” said Mr. Sari.

About politics and the legislative elections, Shaykh Sari told us the Zaouias decided to back the National Liberation Front (FLN) because in this “We are supporting a humble man,” “And humbleness is part of the Sufi traditions, because the Sufi thinks power is only in God.”

Backing the FLN is backing President Bouteflika for the Zaouias.

“Backing President Bouteflika is backing the son of a former Moqadem or leader of the Hibri path.” “I remember when President Bouteflika was young, Shaykh Al Hibri put him on a special stone and told his father the young boy will be an important man in the future” said Shaykh Sari.

The Zaouias have become powerful in political decisions since President Bouteflika has been touring the country and visiting every Zaouia in any area he visited.

The spiritual role of this religious institution is so strong among citizens and mureeds that every politician who wants to go on a successful election race needs to have the benediction of the Shaykhs.

During our tour of the region, we covered the Labour Minister Tayeb Louh’ campaign in the Tlemcen area. The men payed a visit to the Al Achaachi Zaouia, one of the sub-paths in the Hibri Sufi tradition.
[picture: Shaykh Sidi Belkaid (on seat), Commander of the Hidri Sufi Path ]
[More than 18 million Algerian citizens are expected to go to the polls on Thursday May 17 to participate in the legislative elections. ]

4 comments:

Asadullah said...

Assalamu alaikum

Shaikh Al-Habri, rahmatullahi alaihi, never met President Bouteflika. I know this for a fact, as I am a faqir in this Tariqa. Shaikh Al-Habri, rahmatullahi alaihi, died around 1915. The photo of Shaikh Muhammad bil Qa'id, rahmatullahi alaihi, was related to President Bouteflika. The Tariqa known as the Habri-bil Qa'id Tariqa is, as you alluded, somewhat hidden and unhearlded among non-members. Shaikh Abdul Latif bil Qa'id is now the Shaikh of the Tariqa. His home Zawiyya is in Oran. Shaikh Metwalli Sha'rawi, rahmatullahi alaihi is in the photo wil Sayyidna Shaikh bil Qa'id, rahmatullahi alaihi. The Tariqa has at least 8,000 fuqara, most in Algeria and Eastern Morocco. We do have a few Zawiyya's in Europe, a few on the Arabian continent and in America.

Wa Salam
habrifaqirmkrlsewo

Anonymous said...

Salam aleikoum
Just to say this tariqa is the light for every one who get the chance to meet Sidi Shaikh Abdul Latif bil Qa'id. I said this as I am also a faqira.. the light of god is living in this man, and I hope for a long time inch'allah...

Asadullah said...

Assalamu alaikum Anony,ous,

Alhamdulillah, it is always nice to see another faqir/faqira from this great Tariqa. Mabruk!!! Are you in Algeria?

Wa Salam
habrifaqir

Anonymous said...

Salamaleikoum
I am leaving in France but I am an Algeria by origin. It is with a great pleasure to hear about others faqirs/faqiras from this beautiful and magic tariqa !! Our path is a light for every body !!! I am new, I took the "ward" till dec 2006. And you are from where ?