The following are some excerpts from Schuon's correspondence where he directly addresses the issue of the ijaza that he received from the Alawiyyah Tariqah. A formal break was made with the Alawiyyah of Mostaghanem in the 1950's when the current functionaries refused to accept his mantle of shaykh in conjunction with his refusal to accept their "propagandist program." It is evident that he did in fact establish a traditional filiation (according to Guenon's terminology) by receiving initiation from Shaykh Al-Alawi but his status as a muqaddam was ambiguous based upon the contents of his ijaza which allowed him the pre-existing right to bring people into Islam, as well as the fact that he was not instructed in whether or not he could initiate others into the practice of the invocation of the Unique Name. He assumed the mantle of Shaykh based upon a spontaneous interior recognition which was corroborated by the dreams of his disciples, not based upon the formal recognition of his master, a situation not uncommon within the annals of traditional sufism. These circumstances were, in fact, similar to those of Shaykh Al-Alawi himself. Although undisputedly a muqaddam of Shaykh Al-Buzidi, Shaykh Al-Alawi's own appointment as shaykh was also based upon interior recognition and dreams. The excerpts are as follows:
The determining particularity of the Maryamiyah Tarîqah does not lie in the fact that I have Christian disciples, nor in my relationship with the American Indian world; it lies in the fact that certain graces that have been decisive for the Tarîqah were given to me directly from Heaven. I am thinking here, and first of all, of the Supreme Name, that Heaven revealed to me when I found myself in Paris; despite this Heavenly favor, I went to Mostaganem a year later to receive the Name there from the Khalîfah. Next I am thinking of the Six Themes, that were given to me in Lausanne; finally, I am thinking of my books and of my texts, that is to say, of my way of presenting the Doctrine and the Path. All of this was bestowed to me by Heaven, and this circumstance obviously confers a very particular coloration to our Tarîqah.
Contrary to what you have been told, I was initiated by Shaykh Al-Allâwî during my first visit to Mostaganem in the presence of Sidi Addah bin Tunes; it was in 1933. Two years later, during my second visit to Mostaganem, Sidi Addah informed me of his decision to confer on me the function of Moqaddam, and he gave me a diploma—an ijâzah—signed by himself. I have this document in front of me on my desk as I write these lines.
After the death of the Khalîfah Sidi Addah, it was impossible for me to accept the propagandist program of his son, Sidi Al-Mahdi; as a result, his partisans became hostile toward me. Some of them claimed that I had never met Shaykh Al-Allawî and that I had been initiated by Sidi Addah; and others seem to be saying now that I would have solicited the function of Moqaddam and that Sidi Addah would have refused to give it to me. This shows how poorly people know me, all the more as no respectable man stoops to beg for a dignity.
When Sidi Addah gave me the diploma, there was there a faqîr, whose name I have forgotten, serving as a witness. If he is still alive and if he is suffering from cerebral arteriosclerosis and amnesia, this is not my fault; perhaps he is confusing two completely different things, assuming this is the person who is your informer.
Shaykh Al-Allawî will never ask me: “What have you done with my tarîqah?” for the Allâwiyah Tarîqah is spread out in various countries in the East and does not depend on me in any degree. Moreover, if Shaykh Al-Allâwî had asked me this question, it would imply that he recognized me as his successor, and even as his unique successor, something that I could not be if I have never been named Moqaddam, as you claim while believing all that people tell you.
What I received in Mostaganem, by way of teachings, was the legal minimum of the sharî‘ah and, from the Shaykh Al-‘Alâwî, the Initiation. As for the metaphysical ideas, I “heard” them in Mostaganem—at least in a certain form—but did not “receive” them, for they were already familiar to me, on the one hand thanks to the Vedânta and on the other thanks to the celestial gift of pure intellection. Likewise, my function of murshid and my quality of Shaykh al-Barakah are gifts from Heaven; my title of moqaddam was only an administrative measure, which moreover was unnecessary according to Shaykh Abdul-Wâhid. As for the Method, namely the Invocation, it is a gift from Heaven through the intermediary of the Barakah of Shaykh Al-‘Alâwî, qaddasa ’Llâhu sirrahu; it comes with another gift: the Six Themes, which constitute, in all that they imply, the very substance of our Way. Allâhu karîm.
The following is a fascimile of the ijaza presented to Shaykh Isa by Shaykh Adda Bentounes in 1935:
The following is a partial translation of the above from Frithjof Schuon: Life and Teachings by Jean-Baptiste Aymard and Patrick Laude, p. 21:
"I attest ... that we have had the visit of that person of pure soul, excellent virtues, and “sincere penitence,” our brother in Allâh Sidi ‘Îsâ Nûr ad-Dîn, European by birth and residence, and that he has recently had prolonged contact with us, which has allowed us to scrutinize his spiritual states, his words and his actions, and we have—and the truth must be told—seen only what reassures the believer and pleases the initiate of Allâh, the Loving-Kind and the Knowing, “who chooses for Himself whom He pleases, and guides to Himself him who turns to Him in penitence.” Considering the foregoing in the light of our knowledge of this brother in Allâh, I have authorized him to spread the call to Islam among his own people, the Europeans, transmitting the word of the Tawhîd ..."
Greetings of Peace. This blog contains selections from my correspondence and other sources on a variety of subjects related to religion, philosophy, and spirituality. I hope that they may be of benefit to the interested reader. Concerning the title of the blog, read this entry.