1. Date of Foundation and Founder of the Dandarawi family
2. Why was the Dandarawi family founded?
3. Where did the Dandarawi family originate?
4. When did the name of the ‘Dandarawi family’ was introduced?
5. How is the Dandarawi family categorised among the four Islamic sects in the Muslim world? Is it a Salafist sect, a Sufi order, a charity association, a political grouping, or an entity of a fifth category different from these four?
6. What is the Dandarawi family’s vision of Islam?
7. What is the Dandarawi family’s vision of human reform?
8. What is the identity of the Dandarawi man?
9. What are the aims of the Dandarawi family?
10. How does the Dandarawi family realise their goals?
11. What is the condition for joining the group of the Dandarawi family?
12. What is the manner of joining the group of the Dandarawi family?
13. Who are the human constituents of the group of the Dandarawi family?
14. The Dandarawi family and the Islamic Jurisprudence Schools
15. The Dandarawi family and Sufi orders
16. The Dandarawi family and charity organisations
17. The Dandarawi family and social classes
18. The Dandarawi family and nationalist organisations
19. The Dandarawi family and ethnic nationalisms
20. The Dandarawi family and the state
21. The Dandarawi family and politics
22. The Dandarawi family and adherents of other religions
23. The Dandarawi family and women
LIST OF REFERENCES
The Muslim group known as the ‘Dandarawi family’ (Al Usrah Al Dandaraweyah) was established in the year 1292 AH / 1875 CE.
The founder of the Dandarawi family is Al-Sultan Muhammad Ad-Dandarawi, a descendent of Al-Sultan Al-Yusuf, the progenitor of the tribes of ‘Al-Ammara‘ in Dandara. Al-Sultan Al-Yusuf is a descendent of Al-Sharif Idris the First, the founder of the Idrisi state in the Arabian Maghreb (Morocco) , the grandson of Al-Imam Al-Hasan Ibn Ali Ibn Abu Talib, Allah be pleased with him.
The founder of the Dandarawi family, Al-Sultan Muhammad Ad-Dandarawi, was born in the village of Dandara in Upper Egypt around the year 1835 CE (AD). Ever since his early years, he was able to see the grave and grim state that the Muslim individual and the Muslim Ummah (world community) had fallen into. He saw hatred, jealousy, and separation taking the place of love and brotherhood among those who were – till very recently – loving brothers and friends. He also saw intellectual, class, and racial strife among those who had formed – till the near past – a coherent and solid unity.
That was why he – as one of the Muslim scholars – rose to undertake the mission of reform, making it his special task to think about ways of getting out of this human dilemma. In his attempts to do this, he started a far-reaching travel around Muslim countries to find scholars who had found a solution to the grave problems of the Muslim community and who had taken steps towards implementing this solution.
He spent more than twenty years studying the statements and arguments of reformers and examining their programmes and achievements, in the hope of finding among those reformers some vision or programme that went along the same lines that he had been able to arrive at concerning the root of the problem and the ways of dealing with it, ultimately hoping to join his efforts to theirs in the reform project.
Upon reaching the age of forty, in around the year 1292 AH/1875 CE, he had arrived at a comprehensive view of the reform projects that were active in the second half of the nineteenth century, but could not find what he was looking for in any of the reformers’ projects or groups. That was why he founded his own Muslim group.
After taking this step, and for thirty two years, he travelled widely in Muslim lands, near as well as distant, implementing his reform project personally. In addition, he sent envoys to Muslim communities in the Far East.
In the year 1907 CE, after he had accomplished his foundational activities, he passed away in the city of Medina, and he was buried in his resting place in the cemetery of Al-Baqi’, leaving the task of leadership of the group to his son Al-Imam Al-Abbas Ad-Dandarawi to carry on with the reform project. However, as long as the Dandarawi family persists, he remains the moral ancestor of every Muslim who joins that group.
Al-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi proclaimed his reform motto to the Muslim world community: ‘return to your Prophet (Sayyidina Muhammad) and your nation (Ummah) will return to you.’ Based on this, he founded a Muslim group embracing all those who were convinced of his reformatory vision and were set to retrieve the values of Islam and restore the value of Muslims.
The question arises: why did Al-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi choose to found a group (collective) to attain his reform goals, and was not content by merely proclaiming his reform vision and calling people to it? Why did he found the group of the Dandarawi family?
In answering this question, we need to mention four purposes that were realised by founding the group:
The first purpose is providing concrete evidence for the validity of the Dandarawi vision and its attainability.
The intellectual vision of any reformer – no matter how logical it may sound and no matter how deeply rooted in infallible sacred scriptures it may be – will, in the eyes of ordinary people, remain a mere collection of theories that are in the realm of the probable and that may have a chance of success in treating the painful situation that people suffer from.
Al-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi, then established his Muslim group to undertake the responsibility of evidencing for all Muslims the vision that the root of all our ailments lies in the fact that we have deserted our previous attachment to the person of Muhammad the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him, and that returning to this attachment is the way to restore unity and cohesion to the fibre of the Muslim community and retrieve it from dispersion.
The second purpose is creating a working human framework to embrace all those who are convinced of the Dandarawi vision of reform. Al-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi realised that rising to the challenge of reforming the conditions of the Muslim Ummah (world community) all over the globe was a task that went beyond the time limits of the age he lived in. That was why he made his reform vision a universal all-encompassing vision addressed to all Muslims all over the world. On the other hand, he chose to perform his reformatory project in practice from within the framework of a Muslim group representing a portion of the Muslim Ummah, those who chose to answer his reformatory calls.
Furthermore, since human groupings that share common ideological convictions are often likely to fall into a situation where they tend to be confined and closed, to reject and refuse the other, and to reject plurality and variety, Al-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi wanted his group to be open and never exclude others, so that any like-minded Muslim can join the group at any time.
The third purpose is to participate in treating the painful situation of Muslims.
In fact, numerous are the reformers who were content with intellectual work, whereby they would produce ideas, call to their reform programmes, and endeavour in calling people – or certain specific groups of people – to these programmes, to take them up and start some practical field work in the field of reform.
That was not the case with Al-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi, who diagnosed the ailment, prescribed the treatment, and proceeded to establish his own group to take part in treating the causes of inner strife and division and failure within the majority of Muslims.
He was not content with producing and disseminating good knowledge, leaving the task of treatment to others who embraced those convictions; rather, he took it upon himself to take part in practical reform work through the group that he founded.
The fourth purpose is rising to undertake the task of defending the person of the greatest individual of mankind, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.
Thus As-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi founded his Muslim group to be the group devoted to the Prophet peace be upon him in the Muslim community, to take up the defence of the unique personality of the Prophet peace be upon him in the face of mounting attacks against the Prophet peace be upon him and his personality.
As-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi founded the nucleus of his Muslim group known as the ‘Dandarawi family ‘ in the village of Dandara in Upper Egypt. This is why the tribesmen of Ammara in Dandara, along with the Muslim families therein, are considered the nub of the human tree of the Dandarawi family.
However, the group of the Dandarawi family was not confined to the village of Dandara. Rather, the roots of this tree extended to reach the majority of the tribes of the southern Upper Egypt (the provinces of Qena, Aswan, and the Red Sea), and reached numerous families in Egypt. The branches of the tree then spread to reach all the places where Muslims live, in east as well as west.
When As-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi founded his Muslim group in the year 1875 CE, he did not give it a name. However, when the group became known in the Islamic communities and its activities became apparent all over the Islamic diaspora, it was given different names in different communities in accordance with the reaction (negative or positive) of the people in each individual community to its activities.
From among the names that were given to the group we mention the following: ‘the salafist grouping of the Dandarawi followers,’ ‘followers of the Ahmadi order,’ ‘followers of the Rashidi order,’ ‘society of the sons of Al-Abbas,’ and the ‘Dandarawi men.’
None of these names was found to suit the group founded by As-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi. That was why, in the year 1973 CE, his highness Prince Al-Fadhl Ibn Al-Abbas Ad-Dandarawi, the prince (leader) of the group, with unanimous consent of all members of the group, decided to give their grouping a name that would be derived from their Muhammedan identity and their Dandarawi character. Their choice was: the Muhammedan Group (Jam’u Insan Muhammad) – the Dandarawi Family (Al Usrah Al Dandaraweyah).
This double-phrased appellation, which appeared in the year 1393 AH/1973 CE, shows the dual identity of the group: the first phrase indicates the Muhammedan identity (Takwin Muhammadi) while the second part points to its Dandarawi features.
5. How is the Dandarawi family categorised among the four Islamic sects in the Muslim world? Is it a Salafist sect, a Sufi order, a charity association, a political grouping, or an entity of a fifth category different from these four?
During the last three centuries, the Muslim world[S1] has experienced four different kinds of Islamic groupings: groupings attached to the Islamic jurisprudential schools of thought, groupings attached to the Sufi orders, groupings attached to benevolent/charity societies, and groupings attached to nationalist patriotic organisations. These four categories were exclusively the only categories active in the Muslim world.
The Dandarawi family does not belong to any of these categories; neither does it offer itself as an alternative to any of them. This said, however, it is neither distant from nor contradictory to any of them.
Due to the overlapping, similarity, and divergence between the Dandarawi family and the four specialised groupings, members of the Family have been finding difficulties in explaining to their interlocutors the fact that the Family, in its organisation and identity, differs from any one of these groupings.
In categorising the Dandarawi family as an Islamic grouping, we may say: the Dandarawi family is a social framework that brings together Muslim individuals of a Muhammedan identity (Takwin Muhammadi), forming a microcosm of the one Muslim nation, despite the divergence of their intellectual paths, social classes, nationalities, ethnicities, and places of residence.
By founding this Muslim group, As-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi wished to illustrate to everybody the possibility of realising harmony within diversity inside one crucible. He, further, wanted to show the necessity of doing precisely this in order to be able to return to the situation we were in before the collapse of the structure of the Muslim communities.
The Dandarawi family is a Muslim group that embraces belief in all the items of Islamic faith and is committed to all the Islamic prescriptions that Muslims are required to perform. Its reference – in life as well as in intellectual matters – is the Book of Allah (Al Quran) the Most Sublime and the statements of the Prophet peace be upon him.
The Dandarawi family, then, is a part of the Muslim nation; it has not come up with a new religion from outside the consensual sources of Islam. Keeping this in mind, the Family endeavoured to retrieve the ‘original form of Islam‘ implemented by the noble companions of the Prophet peace be upon him in their life and by their followers in the succeeding generations.
The question then arises: what is the authentic version of Islam that was implemented by the companions and their followers?
From the Dandarawi perspective, the genuine concept of Islam prescribes four interrelated actions:
- Having belief in the tenets expressed in the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet, peace be upon him,
- Proclaiming the testimonial of monotheism : ‘I bear witness that there is no deity besides (other than) Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger,
- Building life on Islamic principles by sticking to Islam’s system of life in worship, transactions, social cohesion, and national solidarity, and
- Preserving the organic unity of the Muslim Ummah (nation) by arriving at a human formation interacting positively with the diversity and plurality that are a human inevitability in any general human gathering.
In what follows, we attempt a more detailed account of these four actions.
1. Belief in Allah the Most Sublime
We find a detailed account of the items of faith for the children of the Dandarawi family in the first book and the three sections of the second book of Al-Wathiqa Al-Baida’ (The White Document).
However, in what follows we cite their statement concerning faith in Allah the Most Sublime, which is the belief of the majority of Muslims :
Everyone who embraces Islam should know that Allah – blessed be His Name – is the One Allah and Lord. He has no father and no son; He is above shape, form, similitude, and becoming; He is the One Allah with no partners; … He – blessed be His Name – has subjected all His creatures in the Dominion of the Heavens and the earth to His Will, Command, and Permission; He is also the One and only Lord, Lord of everything, Whose Lordly Power has no limit, … and from Whose Lordly Power no one can be excluded from.
He is the First Who has no beginning and the Last with no ending; … He is the Seen without manifestation and the Hidden without concealment; … He is the One Known by His Attributes and worshipped by His Names.
He – blessed be His Name – is the One Who brought every existing creature into being and He is the Creator of every father and child; He is the One Who gives power to whomever prostrates himself to Him, and the One Who brings into humiliation anyone who sets up a worshipped idol with Him.
He – blessed be His Name – is the Living Who does not die, while any living being from among His creatures is certain to die … No one should have any doubt in His Divine Being; He – blessed be His Name – has absolute Power over all His servants, and no one has the right to contend with Him over His Lordly Power; He – blessed be His Name – is the One and Only Who has the right to dispose in His creation … and it is impossible for anyone to have a share in His Dominion; He – blessed be His Name – is the sole Owner of the Dominion of the Heavens and the earth, and there is no possibility for anyone to stand as a rival or peer to Him; no one can share His Dominion with Him.
2. Proclaiming the testimonial of Tawhid (monotheism)
It is insufficient for one to have faith at heart in the oneness of Allah and in Muhammad, peace be upon Sayyidina Muhammad, as His Messenger; rather, it is a prescription that the believer should utter the dual testimonial of monotheism: ‘I bear witness that there is no deity besides (other than) Allah and that Muhammad (peace be upon Sayyidina Muhammad) is His Messenger.’
In fact, the dual testimonial consists of two parts that form one inseparable statement. From the perspective of the Dandarawi School, a person is not counted a Muslim if he utters only the first part ‘I bear witness that there is no deity besides (other than) Allah,’ without the second part ‘Muhammad (peace be upon Sayyidina Muhammad) is His Messenger.’
3 & 4. Upholding Islam and preserving the unity of the corpus of the Muslim community
Having embraced the correct dogma in belief in Allah and having embraced Islam by uttering the statement of monotheism, a person needs to know that Allah the Most Sublime has sent His noble Messenger, peace be upon him, to perform two roles in his life, two roles that are inseparable and neither can do without the other: no Muslim is within his right to choose one of them while neglecting the other.
The first role is that Muhammad, peace be upon Sayyidina Muhammad, is the Last Messenger sent by Allah to teach mankind submission to the Lord the Creator and to establish this concept in man’s consciousness. The second role is that he, peace be upon him, is the Leader who brings all Muslims in one Ummah (community) that can be of value in the world.
It follows from this that every Muslim, at all times, has the duty of preserving both roles in his life: by upholding Islam as an ideology and, at the same time, by endeavouring towards erecting a human entity in which he will form a brick in the edifice of the community and a fibre in the texture of the society.
How can a Muslim show his attachment to the first role (as the finalising messenger) by upholding Islam in his soul?
There are four kinds of attachment that a Muslim has to uphold Islam in his consciousness and that would demonstrate his response to the first role of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him:
- The first is by sticking to the Muhammedan Sunna (Maslak) in performing his prescribed devotions.
- The second is by sticking to the Muhammedan character and conduct (Suluk) in his transactions with others.
- The third is by sticking to the principle of Muhammedan communal coherence (Manhaj) prescribing solidarity and cooperation among Muslims in the Muslim society in times of stress and adversity.
- The fourth is sticking to the principle of Muhammedan communal spirit (Minhaj) prescribing empathy and mutual love among Muslims in various lands.
How can a Muslim show his attachment to the second role of the Prophet, peace be upon him, (as a comprehensive leader) by participating in improving the quality of life among Muslims to assert their value in the world?
In performing this role, a Muslim can start by engaging himself to the character of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, in two interrelated ways that are apt to transform his human make-up, thus becoming a ‘Muhammedan being (Insan Muhammadi),’ capable of positive interaction with the intellectual and social class diversity and with ethnic and territorial plurality.
Since rulings and judgements in Islam depend exclusively on the apparent activities of man, if a Muslim does not demonstrate his attachment in speech and deeds, or if he conducts himself in a manner contrary to his announced attachment, then he has only himself to blame. This is because no judgement should be passed on someone’s attachment or credibility except by what is apparent from his conduct in public.
In what follows we give a detailed account of these two attachments.
The first attachment is faith-related: it is that a Muslim should have belief in the fact that the Prophetic self is a unique human self, and thus commits himself to it in matters of faith. Then this faith-related attachment is demonstrated in his endeavour to have the four components of his self – body, spirit, soul, and mind – moulded in the shape of the attributes of the unique Prophetic self. To do this, he has to perform four kinds of activities.
- The first is to preserve the well-being of his body by following the example of the cleanliness of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and the purity of his prayers.
- The second is to purify his spirit by remembering and mentioning Allah in abundance, following the example of the Prophet’s prayers, and by repeating continuously salutations to the Prophet, peace be upon him.
- The third is to refine his soul by impressing on it the beauty and perfection of the actions and instances of quietness of the Prophet, peace be upon him.
- The fourth is to inform his mind with the knowledge of the infallible Quran that was revealed to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and the instructions inscribed in his statements and traditions.
The second attachment is related to the sense of belonging: it means that the Muslim should nurture a sense of belonging to the unique Prophetic self. This makes it incumbent on him to purify his personal views from selfishness, individualism, and single-mindedness, and from any form of negative interaction with others. He has to endeavour to have his interaction with his human surroundings in line with the instructions of the leader of the Muslim Ummah, peace be upon him, in the field of interpersonal relationships as follows:
- The first interaction is that of the mind with the intellectual sectarian groupings in the Muslim community. In this domain, a Muslim who belongs to the unique Prophetic self understands and appreciates the benefits of the intellectual diversity inherent in the various religious groupings in the community: Salafi, Sufi, charitable associations, and nationalist organisations etc, and never has a bigoted self-defensive attitude towards them.
- The second interaction is that with the various social classes. In this domain, a Muslim who belongs to the unique Prophetic self is profoundly aware of the innate justice of the social system in having different classes, thus he would never withdraw into his own class abandoning other classes.
- The third interaction is that of the spirit with the ethnic nationalities. In this respect, a Muslim who is committed to the unique Prophetic self feels profoundly familiar and comfortable with the plurality of ethnicities and is never bigoted for his race against other races.
- The fourth interaction is that of the body with the geographical and territorial characteristics. In this respect, a Muslim who is committed to the unique Prophetic self has his body appropriately acclimatised with plurality of territorial traits and would never withdraw into his narrow home territory abandoning other localities.
Thus we see that the Muslim’s attachment to the self of the Prophet, peace be upon him, is not a mere word or a claim with no evidence; rather, it is a faith and a sense of belonging. The proper proof for it would be man changing his build-up to achieve a Muhammedan build-up (Takwin Muhammadi) that would firmly establish the values of Islam in his soul and give root to the value of Muslims in this world.
Having toured in Muslim lands, having seen the crumbling of their social structures and the laceration of the fibre of their community, and having observed the practices of Muslims – individuals and groups – concerning the affairs of their religion, the founder of the Dandarawi family, As-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi, realised that the cause behind the degeneration of the Muslim affairs was their abandoning of the second role/function of the Prophet, peace be upon him, in their lives. Most Muslims have disengaged themselves from the attachment to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and the outcome was that:
Most Muslims were applying the teachings of Islam in accordance with their own understanding. Some of them would restrict their view of Islam to the established prescribed acts of worship and some moral values. Others would extend the view to include devotions, social manners, and communal cooperation. However, it was only in very rare cases that the contemporary Muslim felt that he – by being a Muslim – belongs organically to the single corpus of the Muslim community and that he has to respond positively to any threat/illness that might come up to imperil this corpus.
Most Muslims have come to formulate the components of their selves as dictated by their own personal reasoning, thus following the example of human role models that they see fit. This way they were never safe from internal strife in their souls between various role models that diverged in values and practices.
Most Muslims have come to formulate their systems of relationships and interaction with their human surroundings according to personal whims and tendencies that may not be free from personal benefit-seeking and inclinations.
Thus, instead of being a source of peace and security to all, Islam turned, with the individualistic trends of thought and behaviour and with pluralism of axes of reference, to a space for intellectual, social, and national strife of which virtually none of the Muslim communities was safe. And instead of being a single whole mutually supportive body, the community of Muslims suffered from what looked very much like a rodent ulcer or gangrene, and its parts became mutually self-destructive.
That is why – according to the founder of the Dandarawi family – human reform lies in retrieving our original understanding of the authentic Islam and in having awareness of the centrality of the two functions of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, in the Muslim individual’s life. Then, based on this awareness, comes the role of the human will to be committed to and to put into action the intellectual convictions and to be committed to the trust of both roles.
Thus, reform – according to the vision of the founder of the Dandarawi family – starts with the human being, and any attempt at reform that overlooks or marginalises the personality of man can be nothing but a temporary reform open to collapse at any time. The Dandarawi vision of reform, then, is essentially human, where every human being is responsible for the sought reform and where every human being takes part in the reform process. Furthermore, the outcome of this reform will necessarily overflow to cover the whole of mankind, especially taking into consideration the fact that Muslims make up over a quarter of the population of the globe and the internal stability of Muslims is bound to be reflected in international stability and peace.
We live in a time when different directions and orientations struggle to formulate the Muslim man’s identity. This is why we would like to assert that a Dandarawi man is a Muslim with a Muhammedan constitution (Takwin Muhammadi), who takes great care to have his Muhammedan constitution (Takwin Muhammadi) reflected in every one of actions, whether in the private personal domain or in the public sphere.
The fact is that the vast majority of Muslims did not disengage from their attachment to the person of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, overnight, deciding to stay committed to his role as the last of Allah’s messengers and abandon his role as a leader for the Muslim world community. In fact, this abandonment came in the aftermaths of a series of attacks – from internal as well as external quarters – against the person of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. Some of these assaults came around some three hundred years ago with the rise of claims warning Muslims of dangers threatening their monotheistic (Tawhid) beliefs if and when they commit themselves to the person of the chosen Prophet, peace be upon him.
‘The White Document’ (Al-Wathiqa Al-Baida’) points to these claims as the ‘dark and errant suspicion‘; and states that the majority of Muslims have fallen prey to this suspicion and disengaged themselves from the person of the Prophet, peace be upon him, that was the embodiment of Islam.
This way, the Muslim man became one of two persons: either one deriving guidance from personal pious feelings, or one making his guidance go by his own inclination; and this state of affairs resulted in Islam becoming strange for multitudes of Muslims. 
Facing this reality, and to counter the errant assaults against the person of the Chosen Messenger, peace be upon him, the Dandarawi family proceeded to undertake the mission of standing for the ‘Muhammedan Cause, (Al Qadhiyyah Al Muhammadiyah)’ making the defence of the Prophetic Domain (Al A’taab An Nabawiyah) at the top of its priorities . This is because the values of Islam cannot be established in man’s conscience; neither can the fabric of the Muslim community become coherent and solid, away from the presence of the person of the Chosen Messenger and Selected Leader, peace be upon him.
The main goal of the founder of the Dandarawi family was establishing a group that would say through actions – not by theories – to those around that Muslims are capable of restoring the firmness of Islamic values in man’s conscience and retrieving the coherence and solidarity that can boost the value of Muslims in the world if they return to their attachment to the person of the final Messenger and assembling Leader peace be upon him. For this reason, he may Allah have mercy on his soul defined two actions – or, rather, courses of action – that are together interrelatedly incumbent on each one of the Dandarawi family: one private and personal and the other public and communal.
The private course (Masirah Zatiyyah) starts with the individual Muslim being committed to the person of Muhammad the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, in order to restore the Muhammedan constitution (Takwin Muhammadi) that was the model for the noble companions and the righteous forefathers. This is because this human constitution is the only factor capable of realising the mission that is the goal of founding the Dandarawi family. By being committed to the person of the Chosen Prophet, peace be upon him, a Muslim would enable his four personal components – body, spirit, soul, and mind – to be impressed by activities that would firmly establish in his conscience the four Islamic values [devotions, transactions, cooperation, coherence], and enable – at the same time – his four visionary capabilities to be affected by interactions that would restore solidarity to the structure of the society and coherence to the fabric of the nation, thus boosting the value of the Muslim community in the world.
This private course (Masirah Zatiyyah) is started with a personal decision that the individual takes; it is then followed up by continual care and watchfulness in a way that is apt to preserve the course and the individual’s steps from tripping under the influence of a previous bad habit or a lapse in awareness.
The perfection that each single member of the Dandarawi family displays in his private course is likely to make of him a mirror reflecting the Muhammedan constitution (Takwin Muhammadi) to his human surroundings and would illustrate the effect of having this constitution for the individual and the community.
On the other hand, the communal course (Masirah Jama’iyyah) is the human framework that enables each member of the Dandarawi family to go along his personal course. When the communal course starts with its steps to realise the unity of ranks and the homogeneity of movement, each one of the fields of the Dandarawi family becomes – in its human surrounding – a beacon for the ‘group of the Muhammedan men (Jam’u Insan Muhammad),’ to be joined by any Muslim resolving to enter into a attachment with the person of the Prophet peace be upon him with the intention of participating in comprehensive human reform.
The Dandarawi family has outlined the programme of its communal course in four stages: disclosure (Al Izhar), repute (Al Isytihar), fusion (Al Insihar), and spreading (Al Intisyar).
Disclosure (Al Izhar) pertains to the stage when the Dandarawi family shows the identity of its constitution being a grouping of the ‘group of Muhammedan men (Jam’u Insan Muhammad).’
Repute (Al Isytihar) signifies the stage when the family becomes known in its human surroundings by what it had previously disclosed about its identity.
Fusion (Al Insihar) takes place when good for the multitude becomes good for the individual and adversity for the individual becomes adversity for the community.
Spreading (Al Intisyar) occurs with the increment in the branches of the firm human tree of the Dandarawi family.
The founder of the Dandarawi family, As-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi, put only one condition for joining his Muslim group: that the individual Muslim wishing to join the ranks of the group should have a dual attachment (Irtibat) to the person of Muhammad the Messenger of Allah: attachment of belief in the unique Prophetic self and attachment of belonging to the unique Prophetic self.
A Muslim individual resolving to enter into attachment with the person of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, can join the group of the Dandarawi family by morally belonging to its founder, As-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi .
This moral attachment (Intisab Ma’nawi) to the founder of the Dandarawi family bestows on the member the title of ‘ Dandarawi‘, which would precede his name but would not replace his surname; thus we would refer to such a member by the name ‘Ad-Dandarawi so-and-so son of so-and-so.’
Furthermore, this moral belonging makes of the founder of the Dandarawi family – As-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi may Allah have mercy on his soul – the moral forefather for all members of his group. Thus, the second Dandarawi, his son Al-Imam Al-Abbas, would be the spiritual father for all the children of the Dandarawi family; and the third Dandarawi, his grandson, his highness Al-Fadhl Ibn Al-Abbas Ad-Dandarawi , the great brother of the groupings of the clans and families of the Dandarawi overall family.
The founder of the Dandarawi family may Allah have mercy on his soul has decreed that membership of the group should be left open for all the masses of monotheistic believers in the unity of Allah till the end of time Allah willing, so that anyone who wishes to join the group can do that at any time, in accordance with above-mentioned stipulation.
It has always been the practice of founders of human groupings to direct their attention towards attracting certain categories of people: the young, university students, prominent businessmen, or the affluent and influential – never heeding the weak or the underprivileged. Others would accept none in their groupings except the pious and virtuous and refuse to become preoccupied with reforming those who are less than virtuous. And it is amazing how this categorical patterning in human grouping comes out clearly whenever we come in contact with some of these groups on a social occasion, for example.
On the other hand, the founder of the Dandarawi family addressed his reform call to any Muslim who is approachable and is likely to be interested. That was because he wanted for his group to reflect the picture of the fabric of the Muslim world community and the structure of the society. That was why he may Allah have mercy on his soul took special care of a number of practical principles that we enumerate in what follows:
That the human structure of his group should embrace Muslims belonging to all four Islamic intellectual trends: Salafi schools, Sufi orders, charity organisations, and nationalist patriotic organisations.
That the human structure of his group should embrace people from all social classes: the rich and poor, the privileged and underprivileged, the educated and illiterate, the rulers and subjects.
That the human structure of his group should embrace people from all human races and colours: white, black, red, and yellow.
That the human structure of his group should embrace Muslims from all quarters of the globe and from all territorial habitats: east, west, north, and south; inhabitants of mountainous areas, valleys, plains, or coastal areas.
That the human structure of his group should embrace Muslims from all national or land structures: tribes, clans, or families. Thus the Dandarawi family will comprise closely formed ranks of clans and families moulded into one human structural group, attached morally to the founder of the Dandarawi family.
Thus we see that the human structure of the Dandarawi family is formed of Muslims of Muhammedan constitution (Takwin Muhammadi), belonging to various clans and families, descending from all races of the world in all their four colours, spread in all four quarters of the globe, coming from various living standards and social classes.
The Dandarawi family sees the four Islamic jurisprudence sects as schools wherein a Muslim may learn the rulings of the Islamic Shariah law in acts of worship and dealings in accordance with the teachings of the Prophetic Sunna.
In the Dandarawi vision, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has drawn four aspects for his way (Sunna) and Allah the Most Sublime guided each one of the four major jurisprudents to one of these aspects; and a Muslim can embrace the straight Muhammedan path through the aspect that is within his capability, that matches his personal nature, and that matches his climatic surroundings at the same time, all in moderation without exaggeration.
The founder of the Dandarawi family, As-Sultan Ad-Dandarawi, himself followed the Syafi’e school teachings in his devotions, and gave each one in his group freedom to follow any school in his acts of worship, with the caution that no member of the family should take a hostile attitude towards other schools; this is because the difference between the schools is one of complementation and not of hostility.
Thus we see that the Dandarawi family is not a new jurisprudence school and that its human structure is left open and ready to adopt and adapt anyone who wishes to embrace its teachings from among the followers of the four jurisprudence schools any time he wishes to do so. This way, everyone would display the centrality of attachment to the person of the Chosen Messenger and Leader peace be upon him in restoring the coherence of the fabric of the Muslim nation, and what ensues from this coherence of development in construction and glory among the nations of the world.
The Dandarawi family sees the various Sufi ways as schools for Muhammedan gracious manners that teach a Muslim the fundamentals of the rulings of Islam by following the Muhammedan example and gives him high taste in terms of understanding and sublime resolution in terms of will. These orders, furthermore, nourishes the soul with their devotions, prayers, and invocations; and uplifts the practising Muslim from the lows of his earthly existence to high human spiritual levels.
In displaying the importance and necessity of following the ways of a specific Sufi order for a Muslim, he committed himself and his kin to the Ahmadi Idrisi way, but gave other members of the group freedom of choice of the Sufi way whose specific devotions would best suit them in nourishing their souls and bringing their Islamic practice into perfection.
Thus we see that the Dandarawi family is not a Sufi way/order; however, its children individually follow one of the known Sufi orders – most of them follow the Ahmadi Idrisi way. None of them, moreover, cling fanatically to one of the orders while viewing other ways with hostility; they deal with all Muslims following all other pure Sufi orders as brethren, friends, companions, and neighbours. By tolerating this plurality of ways of tasting Islamic spiritual values, the human structure of the Dandarawi family remains open to and willing to embrace anyone who wishes to join the group from among the adherents of various Sufi orders at the time that suits him best. The goal is that the nation, with this coherence, restores the essence of the unity of its fabric and its status among nations of the world.
The children of the Dandarawi family are committed to social coherence because it is an Islamic obligation, which is a pre-requisite for man living Islam in his life. They are committed to social coherence not only amongst themselves but also with everybody in their community. This coherence takes the shape of cooperation in times of fear and solidarity in times of adversity.
However, despite the great attachment of the Dandarawi children to social coherence, the Dandarawi family, in its constitution, is not to be seen as a charity organisation. Moreover, this does not mean that the family does not appreciate the efforts of genuine philanthropic organisations or that it stands in hostility to the benevolent associations. On the contrary, the family leaves its ranks open to any member of any benevolent association who wishes to join the ranks of the family.
In the final analysis, it is part of the system of the Dandarawi family to have full respect to all genuine philanthropic assemblies; and the children of the family deal with the members of these assemblies as brethren, friends, neighbours, or companions whenever they are in their social surroundings.
During his travels in Muslim countries, the founder of the Dandarawi family saw that the living conditions in many of their societies have led to a kind of class distinction whereby people of similar living circumstances tended to group together, isolating themselves from – and sometimes feeling hostile to – people of other classes. This phenomenon has impacted negatively on the structure of the society as a whole, leading to corrosion in its coherence and to depriving the community from the process of continued development.
This observation led the founder of the family to take special care to make his group reflect the structure of the true Muslim community. This resulted in the Dandarawi family being an all-embracing social construction including people from all social classes and not an exclusive social construction.
Thus the Dandarawi family embraces in its single construction people from various social groups or classes, and cares to make it clear to anyone who is in contact with its fields of action in any community that man, by genuine attachment to the person of the Prophet peace be upon him, can overcome the barriers of social class distinction and communicate from his position with people from all classes. This will occur as a result of man reforming and refining his soul by following the model of the Prophetic manners and controlling it in a way to make it feel the justice in the system of class variety in the society.
Such a community is not likely to experience and suffer from envy: no poor person would envy the rich; no weak person would envy the strong, no uneducated person would envy scholars, and subjects would not look with envy towards rulers.
The children of the Dandarawi family are committed to the unity of the Muslim nation because it is an Islamic obligation, which is a pre-requisite for man living Islam in his life. They are thus committed to solidarity with their brethren in Muslim communities across the borders with relationships of empathy and love, as this is the spindle that weaves the fabric of the Muslim nation in a single corpus.
However, despite the great attachment of the Dandarawi children to Islamic unity and national harmony across various nations, the Dandarawi family is not to be seen as a nationalist organisation. Furthermore, this should not mean that it takes a hostile attitude towards nationalist groupings or that it rejects those working in political nationalist activity; on the contrary, it leaves its ranks open to any member in any genuine nationalist organisation who wishes to join the Dandarawi group to participate in retrieving the essence of the Muslim nation.
In the final analysis, it is part of the system of the Dandarawi family to have full respect to all genuine nationalist groupings; and the children of the family deal with members of these assemblies as brethren, friends, neighbours, or companions whenever they are in their social surroundings.
It is natural that traits of people differ in accordance with the difference in their racial identities; however, this does not mean that this difference should lead to some hierarchical classification of ethnicities whereby certain races would be considered higher and better than other races. The Dandarawi family sees that all the ethnicities of all the nations of the world are equal in terms of human value; no one race is to be favoured over any other race except by good virtuous deeds.
Since the fabric of the Muslim nation is weaved of peoples from the four races of people (white, black, red, yellow), the founder of the Dandarawi family took special care that his Muslim group should reflect the essence of the Muslim nation; this is why he made it a social entity encompassing all the races with their four colours, not an exclusive nationalist entity for one ethnicity.
Thus the Dandarawi family embraces several ethnicities within its unified structure, and it aims to make it clear to anyone who attends any of its general conferences and sees ethnic plurality in its ranks that man, through genuine attachment to the Prophet, peace be upon him, can overcome the hurdle of nationalist bigotry and can mingle with people from all other ethnicities without losing his own ethnic identity and character. This is done through the refinement – leading to transparency – of the soul, through acceptance of various ethnicities, and rejection of ethnic pride and fanaticism against other ethnic identities.
A Muslim’s membership in the Dandarawi family strengthens his loyalty to the legitimate state of which he is a subject and emphasises his attachment to all its laws and systems. Such a peaceful relationship with the state – free of all conflict or friction – is likely to provide the healthy and wholesome climate for the state to go about practising its required functions and performing its national obligations by endeavouring to attain durable security conditions for the citizens and achieving lasting suitable working conditions for them. It is a known fact that man needs both these conditions to persist in a fulfilling life where his individual dignity and his ability to progress in development could be guaranteed: durable security and fitting stable means of obtaining livelihood.
The axiomatic Dandarawi statement runs : ‘The stability of man’s confidence concerning his lasting safety is a fort for his human dignity … and his assured confidence in the stability of his livelihood is a forward push for his movement in life.’
The Dandarawi family does not deal with politics at the level of its groupings in the countries where it has an active existence; neither is it preoccupied with political affairs as this is not its cause. However, having said that, the family does not forbid any of its members from dealing in politics, provided he does that as his own personal affair and that he does not demand the members of the Dandarawi groupings to take his side for political benefits.
The Dandarawi family is a social not political entity; and when one of its members practices politics, he does so in his own personal capacity. The Dandarawi family sees that political activity is a profession, like any other profession, necessary for the wellbeing of the overall human existence, and, like all other professions, it should be subjected to all necessary epistemological and ethical regulations and conditions.
The axiomatic Dandarawi statement runs: ‘We have knowledge of politics but we do not practise it.’
From the Dandarawi perspective, a Muslim community is a pluralistic one with Muslims and non-Muslims living side by side. Never in any of Islam’s scriptures do we have a stipulation for a Muslim to live in a single-religion exclusive society from which adherents of other religions are banished. Moreover, the blessed Prophetic Sunna teaches us that the society that Islam wants to establish is a pluralistic one and that the responsibility of developing it lies on the shoulders of all its members.
This is why the attitude of the Dandarawi family towards adherents of other religions was one of partnership in the community, and this is the official ruling according to the majority of Muslims scholars. In brief terms, this attitude means that Muslims should never force or harass anyone to become a Muslim: the Quran states unequivocally that there should be no coercion in religion. Add to this the attitude that any Muslim who extends harm to anyone of the adherents of the other heavenly religions for no other reason than being a non-Muslim, and then gives himself the liberty to do that based on a personal or group opinion/verdict not endorsed by official legitimate authorities, would be extending harm to the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, personally as he, peace be upon him, has stated that he is personally the guardian for any non-Muslim who lives in a Muslim community.
Having respect to the non-Muslim partner in the community, guarding his life, and providing him with security, and dealing with him with good will and good neighbourliness, all this is part of the Islamic system of social life. It is not acceptable – neither legally nor by reasoning – to modify this system, in dealing with any group – by changing from a peaceful relationship to one of war – except by a decision on the level of the legitimate state authority and after the declaration of hostility and war by that group.
The Dandarawi family, despite its being a social entity comprising of only Muslim members, teaches that all its groupings in all the communities where they exist should live in good neighbourly relations with their non-Muslim communal partners and compatriots.
The Dandarawi family is a social entity in the shape of a tribe whose clans and families have spread in various countries. Since the family usually comprises the human being – man or woman – in their four known generations: the elderly, the grown up, the youth, and the infant; the founder of the Dandarawi family addressed his reform call to any approachable and willing Muslim to join the ranks of the Dandarawi family with his household.
The Dandarawi family thus is not a non-governmental organisation established for activities meant for the empowerment of women, refining her talents and skills, and improving her living conditions. But, with all appreciation to organisations concerned with the woman status, the Dandarawi family is a social entity in whose human structure woman – in her four generations – forms a vital part.
Women in the Dandarawi family, then, is man’s partner in the realisation of human reform; and, with him, by genuine attachment to the person of the Prophet, peace be upon him, she stands in challenge against all ailments that afflict and lacerate modern man’s conscience and all crushing diseases that make his life a field of disunion and strife among individuals as well as groups.
In the Dandarawi family, women is a member of the collective of the Muslim community; and, exactly like her male counterpart, she is responsible for rising to realise social and national reform. However, the Dandarawi family was not established for the cause of the women but for the cause of the human being in both its sexes and in all their four generations.
Anyone who has followed the progress of the march of the Dandarawi family since its first annual general conference that was held in 1973 concomitantly with the celebrations for the Prophet’s Birthday (Al Maulid An Nabawi Asy Syarif) , up to the present day, would see clearly the progress that women has attained in her status, whether in her active participation in the conference or in her teaching and educational activities in the groupings of the Dandarawi family all over the countries where the family has widespread existence.
In the Dandarawi family, women has the same rights and duties as regards her social group as man: her viewpoint is respected and appreciated in general conferences as well as in all fields of activity. Moreover, she is held accountable for any shortcoming or failure, and is held in dignity for any success and honourable deed. In general celebrations and occasions, she – within the framework of Shariah rulings – would ascend to podiums to deliver lectures or would express her opinions from her place set aside for the women on general occasions, which is kept apart from the place of men across a legal partition.
The Dandarawi family sees that the process of human reform – which demands effecting change on all levels, change that would re-establish the present on the basis of the fundamentals of life – cannot succeed and proceed without the partnership of woman with her four generations, irrespective of her race, colour, geographical location, pattern of life, living conditions, the sect she follows, the way of her performance, the cooperative organisation she belongs to, or the political organisation she struggles with, and regardless of whether she tends to be introverted or open in her dealings with her community.
- The Idrisi state: some eighty-four years after the introduction of Islam to the lands of the Maghreb, the first Idrisi, Idris Ibn Abdullah Ibn Al-Hasan Ibn Al-Hasan Ibn Ali Ibn Abu Taleb, founded the first state in the Maghreb in the year 172 AH / 788 CE. It is known by the name of the Idrisi state, and ruled for about 200 years.
- See the first section of the second book of The White Document.
- See The White Document, Book One, page 34