What is Tariqah Alawiyah?

Habib-ZaynThe question “What is Tariqah Alawiyyah?” was posed to Al-Habib Ali Zainal Abidin bin Abu Bakar Al-Hamid at Majlis Al-Hadyun Nabawi on 3 June 2015. The following is our translation and paraphrasing of Al-Habib Ali’s answer:

Before answering the question proper, we would have to set out what a tariqah is.  A tariqah is to the science of tasawwuf what a mazhab is to the science of fiqh. It is a wasilah (means) to arrive at Allah’s pleasure in regards to matters of the heart and, just like the mazhabs in fiqh, tariqahs are principled on the Qur’an and the Hadiths of Rasulullah ﷺ.  Imam Junayd Al-Baghdadi further expounds this by saying – if you see someone walking on water or floating in the air whilst his actions are not aligned with the Qur’an and the Sunnah, he is nothing but a liar.  Hence, a true tariqah is represented not by miracles that its leaders and/or adherents perform rather, it is represented by the alignment of their daily actions to the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

There are many turuq (plural for tariqah) and they typically take on the name of their founders – Shadzili, Qadiri and Idrisi, to name a few. It is said that Tariqah Alawiyyah took its name from ‘Alawi bin ‘Ubaydullah bin al-Imam al-Muhajir il-Allah Ahmad bin ‘Isa, a sufi alim from the Hadramawt valley in Yemen.

Tariqah Alawiyyah is built on the following 5 key principles:

  • Ilm (knowledge)
  • Amal (practice)
  • Ikhlas (sincerity)
  • Khauf (reverential fear of Allah)
  • Wara’ (religious scrupulousness)

These are the 5 founding principles of Tariqah Alawiyyah which, in fact, represent the zinatussolihin (adornment of the righteous), core attributes which every pious Muslim should strive to subscribe to.


Editor’s Annotations:

  1. Tariqah Alawiyyah is named after ‘Alawi bin ‘Ubaydullah, the first progeny of Sayyidina al-Muhajir il-Allah Ahmad bin ‘Isa to be born in Hadramawt
  2. Tariqah Alawiyyah is also referred to as Tariqah Ba’alawi or Tariqah Bani Alawi. The five key principles are expounded by Al-Allamah Ad-dai ilaAllah Al-Habib Zayn bin Sumayt in his work, Al-Minhaj As-Sawi Sharhu Usul Thoriiqah As-Saadah Ali Baa ‘Alawi
  3. Sayyidina al-Faqih al-Muqaddam Muhammad bin ‘Ali Ba’alawi, the sixth grandson of ‘Alawi bin ‘Ubaydullah, is widely acknowledged as the one who formally laid down the founding principles of Tariqah Alawiyyah, which continue to upheld by the Ba’alawi masters to this day
  4. Sayyidina al-Faqih al-Muqaddam Muhammad bin ‘Ali Ba’alawi’s full lineage is: Sayyidina al-Faqih al-Muqaddam, al-Ustadh al-‘Azam Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Muhammad Sahib Mirbat bin ‘Ali Khali’ Qasam bin ‘Alawi bin Muhammad Sahib al- Sawma’ah bin ‘Alawi bin ‘Ubaydullah bin al-Imam al-Muhajir il-Allah Ahmad bin ‘Isa bin Muhammad al-Naqib bin ‘Ali al-‘Uraydi bin Ja’far al-Sadiq bin Muhammad al-Baqir bin ‘Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin bin Husayn al- Sibt bin ‘Ali bin Abu Talib and Fatima al-Zahra, the daughter of Rasulullah, our Prophet Muhammad bin Abdullah, the Seal of the Prophets ﷺ

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