The Writer of Dalail al-Khayrat Sharif
Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Sulayman al-Jazuli
Al-Qutb al-Kamil, Al-Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdur Rahman Ibn Abi Bakr Ibn Suleiman Al-Jazuli Simlali al-Hassani al-Maghribi (d. 869/1454). Referred to his grandfather, he is called shortly Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Suleiman al-Jazuli. He belonged to the Berber tribe of Jazula which is settled in the Sus area of Morocco between the Atlantic and the Atlas Mountains. Although the date of Imam al-Jazouli's birth is not known, enough information exists to provide a rough outline of his origins and background. His nisbah (Attributional Name) tells us the he came from the Simlala tribe, one of the most important Sanhaja Berber groups in Jazula. The turbulent political environment of Simlala in the fifteenth century forced the Shaykh to leave his homeland because its culture of violence made serious scholarship impossible. As it turned out, the young sharif had to travel all the way to Fez to get an education, since the insufficient intellectual resources of Marrakech (Morocco), the usual destination for students from central and southern-Saharan Morocco, made study in that city impossible as well.
He studied locally and then travelled to the Madrasat as-Saffareen in Féz, the spiritual capital of Morocco where his room is still pointed out to visitors. In Fez, He memorized the four volumes Mudawwana of Imam Malik and met scholars of his time such as Ahmad Zarruq, and Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah Amghar, who became his Shaykh in the Tariqah or Sufi path. After setting a tribal feud he left the area and spent the next forty years in Makkah Mukarrama, Madina Munawwarah and Jerusalem. After this, he returned to Fez where he completed Dala'il al-Khayrat.
He took the Shadiliya Path from Shaykh Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Amghar as-Saghir, one of the Ashraaf (Descendants of the Prophet) of Bani Amghar village. He spent fourteen years in Khalwa (seclusion) and then went to Safi where he gathered around him many followers. The governor of Safi felt obliged to expel him and as a result, Jazuli called down Allah's wrath on the town and it subsequently fell into the hands of the Portugese for forty years According to a tradition, it was the governor of Safi who poisoned Jazuli and caused his death, whilst engaged in prayer, in 869 AH (or 870 or 873)
When he became a Complete Shaykh, he headed towards the town of Safi where he gathered many disciples around him. Later on, Sidi al-Jazuli moved to Afwiral, a Sus village in Morocco, where he established his zawiya that became a centre of spirituality attracting 12665 disciples of his. His Tariqa was mainly based on making prayers upon Sayyiduna Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) as indicates his book: (Dalail al-Khayrat), which he published in Féz after spending forty years in Makkah Mukarramah, Madina Munawwarah and Jerusalem. Dalail al-Khayrat or “ad-Dalil” as Moroccans prefer to call it, is considered as an exclusive source to make prayers upon Sayyiduna Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), as well as a correct and innovative piece of work ever published on the issue.
It is said that Sidi Muhammad Al-Jazuli once went on a journey, when in great need of water for making ablutions; he came upon a well but could not reach the water without a bucket and rope which he did not have. He became very worried. A young girl saw this and came to his assistance. She spat into the well whereupon the water rose to the top of its own accord. Seeing this miracle, he asked the girl "And how is that possible?" She replied "I was able to do this through my asking for blessings upon the Prophet, Allah's blessings and peace be upon the him." Having thus seen the benefit of asking for blessings upon the Prophet, Allah's blessings and peace be upon him, he decided to write Dalail al-Khayrat.
The Dala'il al-Khayrat is the most celebrated manual of Blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in history. In fact, the book of Dalail al-Khayrat was welcomed by the Ummah east and west. Many scholars concentrated to explain some of its meanings and benefits such as Sidi Suleiman al-Jamal Shafi'i, Sidi Hasan al-Adwi al-Misri, Sidi Abd al Majid Sharnubi who call his book (Manhaj as-Sa'adah), Sidi Muhammad al-Mahdi Ibn Ahmad al-Fasi who call his book (Matalia al-Masaraat Bi jalaa Dalail Al Khayrat), and the famous Savant of Allah Sidi Ahmad Zaruk; the disciple of his Shaykh Sidi al-Jazuli (may Allah lighten his tomb).
Sidi Abu Abdullah Muhammad Al-Jazuli passed away in 869 AH and was buried inside his Zawiya in Afwiral. Seventy-seven (77) years after his demise, his body was exhumed for removal to Marrakech (Morocco) and found to be uncorrupted. [Adapted from The Encyclopedia of Islam, 1957 Leiden]
He became one of the Seven Men of Marrakech (Morocco) in addition to Sidi Qadi Ayaad, Sidi al-Abbas Sabti, Sidi Joussouf Ben Ali, Sidi Abdul Aziz, Sidi Moul al-Ksour, and Sidi al-Soheyli (may Allah be pleased with all of them).
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اولئك كتب في قلوبهم الايمان وايدهم بروح منه ويدخلهم جنات تجري من تحتها الانهار خالدين فيها
It is these upon whose hearts Allah has ingrained faith, and has aided them with a Spirit from Himself;
and He will admit them into Gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding in them forever