Why Write Sidi’s Books?
The practice of hand copying a document in order to deeply receive the knowledge within it is one of the first practices Sidi gives any new student. Why? Because it enables the Sufi teachings to penetrate, and at times bypass, the conscious mind to be received deeply into the heart. Once the teachings deeply enter the heart they can do the real work of spiritual healing and transformation.
Students of Sidi’s are amazed at how much more you can take in through writing the teachings rather than just reading them. Like a physician prescribing medicine, Sidi would recommend a student write a particular teaching that they needed for their spiritual growth. This is one of the main practices used in a zawiya (spiritual retreat), and you can practice it at home, as well.
How to Write the Teachings
This practice is simple. You physically hand write Sidi’s teachings and books, word for word, one paragraph at a time. Start by choosing a book. In his final years, Sidi recommended most students start with the book He Who Knows Himself Knows His Lord. Before this book was written, he recommended students start with the book Music of the Soul, in particular, the 28 stations of the heart. You may find yourself drawn to one book over the other, so go with your guidance and choose one.
Once you have selected a book, begin by familiarizing yourself with the book. You may want to read it once or twice before writing it. When you are ready, begin the writing process as follows:
- Read the first paragraph once.
- Hand-write that paragraph, word for word.
- Re-read the paragraph again.
- Sit and listen for the deeper meaning of what your guide is transmitting through his words. Take as much time as needed until you feel you are getting as much as you can for now.
If you have questions or don’t understand, put a question mark in the margin. Come back to it again later and re-read and write as needed until it becomes clearer. When you are with a senior teacher, you can go back and ask for more clarity if needed.
- Repeat with each paragraph until the book is finished.
How to Receive Deeply During This Practice
Sidi’s writings are very deep. Allow the words to wash over you. Receive the powerful transmission into your heart. Don’t treat it like a textbook, treat it like a love letter and allow it to open your heart.
There are layers upon layers in what Sidi, and the teachers who came before him, transmit in their writings. A year later when you re-read what you wrote, it will have a whole other layer of meaning and more clarity.
Be patient with this process. You will receive what is right for you to receive at this time. Don’t let any questions you may have get in the way of continuing. In other words, even if you don’t “get it” after sitting and re-reading, let it go and move on. Feel free to highlight, circle or underline what stands out for you and write in the margins.
Setting Yourself Up For Success
You don’t need to write the table of contents or the bits and pieces in the front and back of the books, just the main content.
Set a schedule for yourself. Commit to what is reasonable for your life situation. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Try just one paragraph a day and maybe one full page on your day off as a starting point. Get together with others in your community and write together. Keep your book with you and write when you are waiting for an appointment or traveling.
There are group phone calls during the week that you can take part in which are devoted to reading and writing Sidi’s books. See SSC’s TeamUp Calendar for the schedule of calls each day.
Purchasing Sidi’s Books
Begin by writing the book He Who Knows Himself Knows His Lord or Music of the Soul. Other books to consider writing are The Path to Allah, Most High and any of Sidi’s other books that you feel drawn to write. All of Sidi’s books can be purchased at Sidi Muhammad Press, the site of Sidi’s primary publisher, Amina al-Jamal.
Join a Reading & Writing Group
There are a few ongoing reading and writing groups led by members of the community. You can let us know you’d like to join one by simply showing up on Zoom at the appropriate time and day as seen on our TeamUp Calendar. Or, you can complete this form and we’ll contact you shortly.