A Sublime Way: The Sufi Path of the Sages of Makka


Praise for “A Sublime Way”

Jointly published by Fons Vitae & Dar al-Turath al-Islami 

“This is a book that I believe, Allah Willing, would please the souls of the noble scholar, al-Sayyid Muhammad b. ʿAlawī al-Mālikī, and that of his forefathers, for it shows how united the scholars of Makka were in their Sufism. Indeed, it’s a very good explanation of the different facets of the path of Sufism, the way of the scholars of Makka – arīqa ʿUlamā Makka – who came from around the globe and engaged with each other in such a beautiful way in Makka. May Allah bless the authors for their efforts, and may He allow us to benefit.”
Syed Hasan b. Muhammad bin Salem al-Attas, Imam, Masjid Ba’Alawīe, Singapore

“… this book about our shaykhs, the scholars and nobles of the honoured city of Makka; and on their arīqa on the path of self-purification (tazkiya), inner excellence (isān) and the path (sayr) to Allah Most High… I found therein much benefit, and majestic usefulness…it is rich in meaning and abundant in spiritual and intellectual benefit. It will be especially of benefit to one seeking a succinct yet rich in-depth book.”
Shaykh Dr. Sayyid Muhammad bin Yahya al-Ninowy, Dean & Founder, Madina Institutes and Seminaries

“Praise be to Allah ﷻ Who has assembled a beautiful group for the writing of this book. They have collected the Makkan teachings in spiritual calling to Allah, and prophetic teachings by way of al-Sayyid Muhammad b. ʿAlawī al-Mālikī, may Allah ﷻ have mercy on him. May Allah ﷻ bless the brethren, the virtuous shaykhs, the judicious Shaykh Seraj Hendricks, the noble Ustādh, Dr. H.A. Hellyer and Shaykh Ahmad Hendricks.”
Shaykh al-Sayyid Afeefuddin al-Jailani, Founder and Chairman, Al-Wariseen Trust

“The Middle East has suffered significant intellectual and moral damage….it is a source of great reassurance to see that the authentic and indigenous spirituality of the Holy Cities has survived…and is now attracting many of the younger people who are seeking a merciful and authentic alternative to the fundamentalist project. This book is a very welcome indication of that timely change.”
Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, Dean, Cambridge Muslim College/Dr Timothy J. Winter, Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University

“Simply put, this is one of the best roads to Mecca: a simple yet authoritative Sufi guide in English transmitting the teachings of the great sage of our age from the Holy City of Makka, Shaykh al-Sayyid Muhammad b. ʿAlawī al-Mālikī (d. 2004).  This Meccan tradition represents one of the true inheritors of the Ghazālīan legacy in the modern age as reflected throughout the pages of this guide, and inflected through the timeless lessons of Imam al-Ghazālī (d. 1111) in balancing gratitude (shukr) and wayfaring (mujahada), and indeed, theory and practice. May Allah ennoble the sage, the transmitters and those who benefit from it! “
Dato’ Dr Afifi al-Akiti, Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford University and Orang Besar 8 of Perak, Malaysia


“A Sublime Way provides rare and valuable insights in the English language on traversing the spiritual path laid out by one of the most prominent Muslim sages of the late twentieth century, Sayyid Muhammad b. ʿAlawī al-Mālikī, who inherited and transmitted the scholarship of Makka.”
Dr. Mona Hassan, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies & History, Duke University

“The most important aspect of this book, in my opinion, is the presentation of major universal concepts in Sufism (taawwuf) …although all these universal concepts were elaborated within a specific spiritual path, but the message is universal. Therefore, it benefits both the traveller (sālik) as well as the general reader.”
Dr. Wan Suhaimi Wan Abdullah, Associate Professor, Centre for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science and Civilisation, ­University of Technology in Malaysia (UTM)

“Dr. Hellyer, Shaykh Seraj and Shaykh Ahmad Hendricks are to be commended for their work in making the methods and understandings of those who take on the path of many of the sages of Makka accessible to a Western audience. This book is highly recommended for those interested in Sufi philosophies of spiritual ascent and their influence on spiritual networks on a global level.”
Dr. Feryal Salem, Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies and Director of the Master of Divinity in Islamic Studies and Muslim Chaplaincy Program, American Islamic College


“It was a pleasure reading this book. It is a remarkable “tract of practical Sufism” (to use the words of Shaykh Seraj in the preface). It provides a depth of historical tradition in synthesis with contemporary modern articulation of what is involved in following the Sufi path. The presentation of the diverse dimensions of Sufi practice provides important insights into how diversity is shaped by tawīd unity.”
Dr. John O’Voll, Professor Emeritus of Islamic History, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding, Georgetown University

“This important book is a welcome addition to contemporary, Muslim-authored works on Sufism, a genre that offers a much-needed insiders’ look at the history, practices, and–most critically–the continuing relevance of the time-honoured traditions of Sufism for today’s Muslim communities. Too often Sufism, especially when presented in academic works on Islam, comes across as an esoteric mysticism, best suited for a bygone age. This book remedies that approach by demonstrating the dynamism of Sufism–how it is both rooted in the Islamic tradition but is also practiced, developed, and refined by scholars and worshipers living in modern times and addressing the concerns of modern Muslim communities…it is my belief that the continuing relevance of the Sufi way, particularly the way of the ʿulamā, lies in its ability to speak to the heart of the believer and illuminate the foundations of faith in an increasingly bewildering world.”
Shaykha Zaynab Ansari, Core Faculty, Tayseer Seminary



The book can presently be ordered in North America on Amazon.com, Fons Vitae and Mecca Books.

In the UK, one can go to Madani Books.

For booksellers beyond North America and the UK, please write to sublime@hahellyer.com for private distributors in South Africa, Egypt, and elsewhere.


Book Events and bookings

Book events have been held in Cape Town (Dar al-Turath al-Islami, November 2018), Cambridge (Cambridge Muslim College, March 2019), Beirut (Almakan, March 2019). Upcoming events are scheduled for the Bradford Literary Festival in July 2019, with possible events in Singapore and Malaysia later in the summer. Please write to sublime@hahellyer.com for further information or bookings.


The below includes a few online video links on Sayyid Muhammad b. ʿAlawī al-Mālikī. More suggestions, or requests for information, can be sent to sublime@hahellyer.com

The Life of Sayyid Muhammad b. ʿAlawī al-Mālikī

Teaching in Masjid al-Haram on Ramadan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toWM7z8LuZ8

Lecture on the Prophetic Biography

Teaching about love for the Prophet

A talk in Oman at the turn of the 21st century

Meeting with many of the scholars of Syria in a small gathering

The importance of Shaʿbān, and the month of the Mawlid

On Sufism

On Love

Poems and songs recited by Sayyid Muhammad b. ʿAlawī al-Mālikī, which also include many pictures of him with other scholars of the time

The Blessed Cloak

My Heart’s Trust in Allah

Oh Allah a Look from the Merciful Gaze

The Muhammadan Ode


Talks and gatherings during visits to Cape Town with Shaykh Seraj Hendricks and Shaykh Ahmad Hendricks



The funeral prayer of Sayyid Muhammad b. ʿAlawī al-Mālikī








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