Al-Tijani is a Muslim born in Tunisia. As a student, he made a pilgrimage to Mecca, at which time he was influenced by orthodox Saudi teachings—which hold against saint veneration and tomb visitation (central beliefs to the North African Sufi tradition).
Later, Al-Tijani was influenced by an Iraqi student, Mun'im, who invited him to Iraq. Al-Samawi spent several weeks with Mun'im; visited Baghdad and Najaf, and met with several leading Shi'a scholars. These included: Grand Ayatollah Abul-Qassim Khoei (al-Khu'i), Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (Grand Ayatollah to-be) and Allameh Tabatabaei, who taught him about Islam. Eventually, he considered himself a Shi'i.
Al-Tijani's books are banned in some countries, such as Saudi Arabia. He has written five books:
- Then I was Guided
- Ask Those Who Know
- To Be with the Truthful
- The Shi'ah are (the real) Ahl al-Sunnah
- Fa Siru Fi al-Ard
- All Solutions Are with the Prophet's Progeny
Three of his books are also available in Urdu titled as:
- Aur Mein Hidayat Pa Gia; (another title of this book is "Tajalli")
- Ho Jao Sachchon Ke Saath
Then I Was Guided
Then I Was Guided (Arabic Thumma Htadayt) is Al-Tijani's first book—in a series of books—which he wrote for a Sunni audience. In this series, he asks the Sunnis the same questions he wrestled with during his studies of Shi'a literature. The author finds the Shi'i argument for their account of history to be valid, while citing evidence which he claimed proved the Sunni view cannot withstand scrutiny.
Ask Those Who Know
Ask Those Who Know is the second book in the series.
To Be with the Truthful
The name of the book, To Be with the Truthful, is derived from a Quranic verse: "O you who believe, fear Allah and be with the Truthful" ([Quran 9:119]). The work addresses the revelation of the Qur'anic verse, [Quran 5:67]. Revealed during the Farewell Pilgrimage on Mount Arafat, it is regarded as authentic in Sahih Bukhari. The book questions why Muslims do not celebrate that day as their greatest festival. The book also discusses the events of Ghadir Khumm and the meeting at Saqifah
The Shi'a: The Real Followers of the Sunnah
- Note: Most of this information is from Al-Tijani's own work, available in the English translation of Then I Was Guided. See al-Islam.org
- Ask Those Who Know; ISBN 964-438-314-1
- Note: The title implies that Islam should be learned from Muhammad's chosen family, the Ahl al-Bayt, and not from his companions, the Sahaba.
- Surat Al-Tawba, Ayah 119
- With the Truthful
- With The Truthful
- Published by Message of Peace, Inc.; Pyame Aman
- A series of books by Muhammad al-Tijani with English translations
- Striving for Right Guidance — A speech delivered by Dr. Muhammad al-Tijani al-Samawi