the passing of two great Mustafas
'Allah does not take away knowledge by removing it from the hearts of scholars; rather He takes it by removing the souls of the scholars...'
Two great masters of the internal and external paths have been taken to the enfolding embrace of Allah's mercy less than a month apart from each other. One on the Night of Mercy (Laylat Nisf Sha'ban); the other in the month of mercy.
Shaykh Mustafa Turkmani of Damascus.
Shaykh Mustafa Basir al-Darqawi
by Shaykh GF Haddad
We belong to Allah and unto Him we shall return. Sayyidi Muhammad al-Mustafa Basir ibn Sayyid Ibrahim ibn Sayyid Imbarak al-Basiri al-Hasani al-Maghribi al-Susi al-Muqri' al-Maliki al-Shadhili al-Darqawi passed away in his zawiya in Bani A`yaat (Middle Atlas region of Morocco) on the night of mid-Sha`ban 1427 (night of 7-8 September 2006), at the age of 67.
He is survived by many sons and daughters and countless murids. His eldest son, Sidi Isma`il, continues to be in charge of running the affairs of the zawiya which is heavily frequented by the Fuqara and the Bearers of the Qur'an at all times of the year and which I had the honor of visiting for a month, as I described in my article "From Blessed Morocco: World of the Qur'an."
During my time there, I was blessed to read with him the `Aqida part of the Risala al-Qushayriyya, Ibn Juzay's tafsir of Surat al-Fatiha, and pages from Sayyid Ahmad Zayni Dahlan's Mi`raj al-Wusul ila Ma`rifat Allah wal-Rasul.
When I gave Sidi Mustafa a copy of the large arabic volume of Mawlana al-Shaykh Nazim's talks, published in Lebanon under the title Jami`al-Irshad al-Sharif, he held public readings from it in his zawiya for weeks. A year or two later, when his son-in-law drove him to Damascus,they took me with them on a memorable visit of Mawlana al-Shaykh in Cyprus, at which time the latter vested Sidi Mustafa with his jubba. The least benefit of travels around the seasoned Shuyukh of irshad is that they strip one bare of such amounts of pretense that if one were a tree one might muse whether one consists exclusively of dead bark.
Sidi Mustafa often visited Damascus on his way to Hajj or `Umra and graced the homes of those who loved him with his gracious presence - visits which left such homes in awe at his simplicity and good humor. He commanded attention and attraction wherever he went, especially for the North African students who turned his gatherings into the most special "all-sufi all-memorizers of the Qur'an" circles. Among them the noble stand most learned of them by agreement of those who met him, the adib,usuli, and sufi Shaykh Farid ibn `Azzouz al-Hasani al-Jaza'iri (who spent over ten years in Damascus and is now back in Algeria) bore special love for the Shaykh, who gave him ijaza in Tariqa.
I remember a visit with Sidi Mustafa to Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn `Arabi's grave in Damascus, after which men and women flocked to him for advice and help but he said to them: "The Shaykh is here so there is no need for me," i.e. Shaykh Muhyi al-Din. Another time, we visited the Hadra of Shaykh Mustafa al-Turkmani in Jami` al-Ward. After the Hadra, as people took their seats and tea was distributed, Shaykh Mustafa al-Turkmani gave Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn`Arabi's book of Wasaya to Sidi Mustafa and asked him extemporaneously to give the dars for him. Smile for smile, Sidi Mustafa Basir obliged. I remember the latter's commentary on the wasiyya that we should not sleep before washing mouth and hands after eating lest we feed our shaytan: "The point is not to strengthen your shaytan but to weaken it." Another time, Sidi Mustafa took us to Amman, where we visited Shaykh Nuh Keller in his zawiya, who gave him his Shadhili works and led the hadra. In his last visit to Damascus he was hosted by Abu al-Nur Institute, where we visited him.
One of Sidi Mustafa's favorite repartees in his exchanges after enquiring after the health of his friends was: "Bi-khayr, wa-fi khayr, wa-`ala khayr!" He smiled often and his friendly, unassuming manner hid from our sight, much of the time, the fact that he peered into the spiritual states of people and could diagnose their needs before they even voiced them. His family hailed from the desert and he did not caref or appearances. His anger could be fierce and he reserved it, as far as I saw, for the Wahhabis, whom he called "Shalafis" and "Talafis" and for whom he had no tolerance. One time, as we travelled in the Marrakesh region we stopped to pray Maghrib in one of their mosques and one of them had the misfortune of nudging the Shaykh's toes with his toes as they love to do inside prayer. As we went into ruku`, the Shaykh slapped the man below the knee and he retreated.
The senior Shuyukh of da`wa and irshad are never coy about asserting the superiority of Ahl al-Haqq to other schools which they rightly view as the offshoots of modernity and misguidance dressed up as religion. It can never be said of them that they are "neither sufi nor wahhabi" as this would be identical with saying they are "neither guided nor misguided" and is confusion dressed up as moderation. Their successors, on the other hand, are a different story. Another son of Sidi Mustafa, Sidi `Abd al-Mughith, whom I met in Damascus and to whom I owe the honor of meeting his father, authored a large volume entitled al-Nazr al-Yasir min Manaqib Zawiyat Al al-Basir fil-Sahra' wa-Sous wa-Bani A`yat bil-Maghrib ("A Glimpse at the Merits of the Zawiya of the Basir House in the Desert, Sous, and Bani A`yat in Morocco"). He also authored a brief history of the Shadhiliyya and a biography of Imam al-Jazuli accompanied by a new edition of Dala'il al-Khayrat.
I was told, years after first meeting the Shaykh, the story behind his heavy limp and scarred leg. In his early days, a deranged man showed up gun in hand in the school in which Sidi Mustafa was teaching. People took to their heels but Sidi Mustafa did not budge. The man faced him and said: 'Who will protect you from me?' Sidi Mustafa replied: 'Between you and me there is Allah.' The man then shot Sidi Mustafa and kept shooting until the gun was empty but by the grace of Allah, Sidi Mustafa survived and was graced with four wives and the successorship of his father in directing the zawiyas of the Darqawiyya-Basiriyya.
May Allah grant him the highest abode in Paradise next to his forefather, our liege-lord the Messenger of Allah, upon him and his House blessings and peace.
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un