I have been asked to write about how I came to know Sidi Hamza, to tell about my experience of belonging to him and how this all has transformed my life. To tell about how I came to know Sidi Hamza, I must first explain a little about my life before I knew Sidi Hamza, as this is important to understanding the incredible influence he has on those who belong to him.
When I married, my husband was from Morocco and had been raised as a Muslim. I had been raised as a Quaker, which is a religion in principle very close to Islam, but in practice, quite different. Because of his upbringing, my husband could make little sense out of my preferred method of worship, and because of my upbringing I found it difficult to accept the various rules of worship which my husband practiced. I loved God very much, but was unsure of the best way to seek His presence.
Then one September, on a trip to Morocco, my husband was introduced to Sidi Hamza. Later, he told me of the chills he felt inside from the infinite sense of awe and love he felt in his presence. He was hooked for life in an instant. But what is even more incredible, was that while my husband was having a few words with Sidi Hamza, I was back in New Jersey having a dream in the middle of the night.
In my dream I saw an older man, which later I could identify as Sidi Hamza when I was shown a picture of him. He was flying around a room and performing incredible acts, what you might even call miracles, to the extent that I can still feel the immense sense of wonder and excitement that I felt in that dream. In the room flying behind Sidi Hamza was my husband. I remember calling out that I wanted to fly too. Sidi Hamza replied, Come, follow me and you can fly." I then started flying behind them.. When I woke I could not remember all of the acts which Sidi Hamza had performed, but the infinite depth of wonder and the feeling that I had just been allowed to learn a great secret of the universe remained. I too had chills that night.
Sidi Hamza does not share the secrets with which he has been entrusted with words. There are many paths with which to find the light of God and His presence in your life, but the Divine knowledge granted to Sidi Hamza most surely guides you down the shortest path I know. When my husband returned from Morocco, we were both eager to share our experiences with each other. He gave me a string of prayer beads, called a Tasbih. By reciting the words given to me by Sidi Hamza, using this Tasbih to count as Sidi Hamza has prescribed, he explained that I would begin my journey down a path towards filling my heart with the presence of God.
So I started my journey by reciting words of Divine Remembrance or Dhikr. Not much time had passed before the power of these words began to take their effect. After a week or so, I had my first experience with Hal. Hal is a very difficult experience to describe. It is something like what I felt in my dream, but much more real..Hal is a state of intense feeling: feelings of Divine love and excitement along with the irresistible desire to travel further into these feelings. Hal is not something that you can plan on getting or calculate when it will occur. Hal has to do with your soul recognizing the presence of God, and in the excitement of this recognition it takes your body and emotions with it. It grabs you and leads you further into experiencing the presence of God. This is one of the gifts given to Sidi Hamza for which he has permission to bestow upon you if you follow him.
My first experience with Hal was so awe inspiring that I cried and screamed and shook. My husband consulted his companions in Morocco, for fear that something may be wrong. They expressed their joy upon hearing this news and explained that everything was right. I was encouraged to concentrate on bringing the presence of Sidi Hamza to me while
I made my Dhikr, because he is the best guide on the path to the Divine.
Many people have Hal and cry when they meet Sidi Hamza for the first time or hear his voice on a tape. I remember once in those first few months, that my husband was playing songs called Qasida, which are kind of like an Islamic version of hymns, and are also a form of Dhikr, on a tape player. As I was listening, not really knowing any of the people singing, Sidi Hamza's voice joined the group. I did not know this was his voice, as I had never heard him sing before. Before I knew it, I had burst into tears and was experiencing Hal. My soul had recognized Sidi Hamza's presence instantly. This is the incredible power of the gift which Sidi Hamza carries with him. At another time a year or so later, a friend of mine who did not know very much about Sidi Hamza was also listening to a tape which had his voice on it. She too burst into tears before she knew what was happening.
I don't want to tell you these things to make you feel that if you follow Sidi Hamza you will be uncontrollably lost in ecstasy every time you make your Dhikr. I shared them with you because I want to express the power that Sidi Hamza's Dhikr has to hold you on your journey towards the presence of God if you let it. This is a Divine gift which Sidi Hamza has been granted. As I practiced my Dhikr every day, I found that the excitement my soul went through at first discovering Sidi Hamza could be channeled into a deeper and quieter sort of Hal. This is a Hal filled with a sense of profound warmth that allowed me to travel further into experiencing the presence of God.
Reciting the Dhikr given me by Sidi Hamza on a daily basis transformed my life. It was not necessary for me to spend more than 15 or 20 minutes twice a day before I was rewarded with understanding. Understanding of the meaning behind the rules of Islam which sometimes made no sense to me before, which gave me guidance. Understanding that our lives our subject to the will of God, and that the events which shape our lives are filled with meaning, which gave me patience. Understanding the members of my family, friends and neighbors, which gave me tolerance. Understanding the reality of the world of the unseen, which strengthened my faith.
I was also rewarded with the ability to have visions either in a dream or while reciting my Dhikr. The first dream I had about Sidi Hamza was surely a vision. To me a vision is a glimpse at the world of the unseen. This is a world that cannot be known with the use of the five senses, but by Divine presence. I have had visions in my sleep about a family member that is in trouble and about the death of family members before they became sick and died. I have had visions about friends having a baby a couple of weeks before they knew they were pregnant. I have had many visions in my sleep about Sidi Hamza from which I wake up with that same sense of amazement I had the first time he came to me in a dream. And I have had visions in which my father has come to tell me something about the next world and Sidi Hamza, even though my father did not know Sidi Hamza while on this earth. Many people who follow Sidi Hamza have visions that give them guidance.
One of the great pleasures of belonging to Sidi Hamza is to take part in regular sessions of a group recital of Dhikr, called Wadifa. These gatherings are filled with brotherhood and laughter. By making Wadifa together, the presence of the Divine intensifies within the group, filling each person with the light of God in a manner much greater then when the Dhikr is made alone. I have heard people say that groups of angels descend to sit with the group. I, myself, am swept away into a state of Hal whenever I am near a group like this. The overwhelming sweetness found in these people who have gathered to recite the Wadifa is a testimony to the value of the company of Sidi Hamza.
Friends sometimes ask me if I found it difficult to convert to Islam. My reply is that I didn't know I converted. I find no conflict between what I learned from my parents and what I now believe. I have moved on to a more crystalline form of worship, and with that worship have come beliefs distilled from what I learned before. Islam is the religion of Jesus and Abraham and Mohammed. What Sidi Hamza has given me is the glorious privilege to practice this religion in its purest form.
by: J.B (sometimes in 1987)