Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hadra from Nador

Hadra from the gathering at the Zawiya in Nador on the 29th of October 2006, to welcome Sheikh Sidi al-Buzidi back from 'Umra.

Nador Part One 29 10 2006.mp3

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Letters of Moulay al-'Arabi ad-Darqawi

Letter One

One should just focus solely on performing one’s obligatory and highly stressed prayers and not go overboard on supererogatory acts. One should make sure one’s clothes are clean from dirt and filth. Make sure to shave one’s armpits and pubic area, and clip one’s nails. One must do his best to be sure or be at peace of mind that one has fully drained oneself of urine when relieving oneself. One should try one’s best not to get attached to the superficial and material matters. Cut yourself off from your caprices and mindless habits and don’t think it too farfetched or impossible to achieve either.

(Imam al-Busairi:)

‘The soul is the like of a child, if you leave it to its own devices it
Grows up attached to its suckling, and if you wean it, it is weaned.’

(Ibn ‘Ata Illah:)
‘Whoever sees it farfetched that God can deliver him from his passions and desires and take him out of his state of heedlessness, has belittled the might of God for God has power over all things.’

We believe that the obligatory acts are enough along with what we have mentioned. This assuredly is sufficient for one. Plenteous acts without performing what we have mentioned are not sufficient. In saying this, we still prefer one to perform just the obligatory and the highly stressed prayers, and God is the one who brings about success. Peace.


The Letters of Moulay al-'Arabi ad-Darqawi

Letter Two

If you wish to traverse this path quickly and attain ultimate realisation, undertake to perform the obligatory and highly stressed supererogatory prayers, and learn what is fundamental of the exoteric sciences, because God is not worshiped except by means of them, but do not go to great depths in one’s studies of the exoteric sciences; rather what is required is that you go to great depths in the studies of the esoteric ones. Turn against your caprices and surely you will see wonders.

High moral character is the essence of Sufism, according to the folk of this discipline. It is the very core of the religion itself according to the people of religion, and may God strike me down if I should be lying! Flee always from the sensory for it is opposed to the spiritual realities; the esoteric and the spiritual realities do not mix. Every step you take closer to one is a step further from the other.

Listen to what occurred with our teacher, Sidi ‘Ali al-Jamal, may God be pleased with him, at the beginning of his affair when he sowed three measures of wheat. When he informed his teacher, Sidi al-‘Arabi bin Abdullah, of this he replied, ‘The more you absorb yourself in the sensory, the further you draw away from the spiritual realities and vice-versa.’

The issue is clear for once you catch the scent of the people: you won’t find even a sniff of the spiritual realties on them; all you smell is the odour of their own sweat since the sensory has a grip on them. It has taken hold of their hearts, limbs and all the benefit they might have had. All they do is busy themselves therein, addressing nothing else besides it. They are unable to free themselves of it, despite many others having been able to do before them. Those people immersed themselves in the spiritual realities through their turning away from the sensory throughout their lives, may God be pleased with them and let us benefit from their blessings Amen! Amen!

It is as if God has written that they should never have a portion of the spiritual realities even though every one of them has his portion deep within him just as the sea has waves. If they knew that to be so, they would not spend a moment of their time occupied in the sensory. If only they knew, they would find themselves oceans without shores, and God is witness to what I say. Peace.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Moulay Idris the Second

Idris the Second was born on Monday the 13th of Rajab or the third 175/791 or 177/792. It was said that he was born with the declaration of faith and ‘there is no strength or might except through God’ written between his shoulder blades. Raashid took him under his wing. He memorized the Quran by the age of 8. Raashid then taught him the sciences of Hadith, Islamic law, language, poetry, literature, horse riding, archery and other forms of the art of war. At the age of 11, he was ready to take up the responsibility of leadership. The Berbers pledged allegiance to him on Friday 7th Rabee’ al-Awwal 804/188; he addressed the people with a powerful speech calling them to God and His obedience. Raashid had been killed two years before Idris became leader. Berbers who had been paid off by Ibrahim al-Aghlab, the ruler of Tunisia at the time, killed him. They carried his head to Tunisia. Haroon Rasheed had appointed Ibrahim al-Aghlab over Tunisia in 184/800.

Idris was fair in complexion with a touch of rose to his skin with straight black hair. His nose was aquiline in shape and his eyebrows were set far apart. His had large beautiful eyes, which were black, and his figure was full with broad shoulders. His teeth were set apart and his hands were large. He was known later as ‘Fadl’.

People flocked from near and far to be in the presence of this new leader. Many Arabs came to live under his rule. He made the Arab migrants his courtiers and the Berbers became a little marginalized. ‘Umair b. Mus’ab al-Azdi was made his minister, Amir b. Muhammad b. Sa’eed al-Qaisi his judge, who had studied with Malik and Sufiyan al-Thauri, and Abdullah b. Malik al-Khazraji was made his secretary. ‘Umair b. Mus’ab brought the Muwatta of Imam Malik with him and Idris ordered the people to study it. He was heard to he said, “We have more right than anyone to this book and its study because Malik was from amongst the supporters of the Prophets family.” Before this, Morocco followed the school of al-Awzaa’i. He soon began to suspect that Ishaq b. Muhammad al-Awarbi had leanings towards Ibrahim al-Aghlab, so he had him killed in 192/810.

Walili soon became overcrowded. He felt the need to establish a city for himself and his notables. They went out to find a suitable place until they arrived at Mount Zalagh in 805/190. Here the air was good and its soil fertile.

He first tried to build houses and a surrounding wall on the mountainside, but floods came down at night and destroyed them, killing many and ruining the crops. He chose to build in another area close to the Sabu River where Sidi Harazim is today, but soon realised that it would be too hazardous there in the winter due to floods from Sabu. He returned to Walili.

Soon after, he sent ‘Umair to go out and look for a suitable place; he arrived in the valley of Sais. They prayed Dhuhr there and asked God to ease their affair. It was here that he discovered over 60 springs. On tasting the water, he found it to be sweet. He followed the springs until he arrived at Wad Fez. Between the two mountains there, he was captured by the lush area, which was covered in trees and filled with rivers and springs. This is where Fez is today. He found Berber tribes there who lived in tents made of hair. Some tribes were Zoroastrian in religion, some Jewish and some Christian. There were 2 main tribes: Zanata known also as Zawagha and Banu Yarghush. They were known to always fall into conflict amongst themselves. He went back to Idris to tell him of his find. Idris brought the tribes to Islam and bought the land from them for 6000 dirhams.

It is related in a weak tradition of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, related by Darras b. Ismail through Malik b. Anas and al-Zuhri to Sa’eed b. al-Musayyab to Abu Huraira:

“There will be a city in the west named Fez, whose people will be the most precise in their direction of prayer in the west and the most abundant in their prayer. Its people will be followers of my way (Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama’a) and upon the truth. They will hold tight to it undeterred by their opponents. God will not afflict them with anything they would detest up until the Day of Judgment.”

Fez was known for its sweet water, moderate air and fertile soil. It was surrounded by thick woods and gardens, which prevented any enemy from being able to make a feasible attack on the city. There were numerous springs and rivers that ran through the city. The water was warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It was said that the water of Fez is good for digestion, could cure gallstones and soften skin. It was even said that it could rid you of lice, increase your sexual appetite and remove stains from clothing without the need of soap.

There are different relations regarding the reason for the naming of Fez:

When Idris was planning the foundations, a 150 year old monk came to him and asked him what he was doing. Idris explained that he was planning to build a city here for himself and his children where God would be worshipped, His scripture recited and His laws upheld. The monk exclaimed, “I bear you good tidings. A monk who passed away 100 years ago and lived here in this monastery told me that he had found a manuscript; this manuscript explained that there was a city here before called Saf, which collapsed 1700 years ago and a man from the progeny of Prophet-hood called Idris would restore it. He will live a great life and God’s religion will prevail there until the end of time.” Idris decided to turn around the letters of the original city name and call it Fez.

When they were digging the foundations, they fell upon a pickaxe of gold and silver. Idris took it and completed the foundations with it.

Some say the name comes from the word horseman (‘faris’) in Arabic because of the horsemen or Iraq that had come to pledge allegiance to Idris. Then later on the word was shortened to Fez.

On a Thursday morning in Rabee’ al-Awwal 192/808, the foundations were built on the Andalusia bank in the Garwawa area. Before commencing the work, he lifted his hands and prayed for the city and its people:

“Oh God, You know that I do not intend in establishing this city any ostentation or pride; rather I want that You be worshipped, Your scripture recited, and that Your Law and the practice of Your prophet will be followed as long as it remains. Oh God grant its people the ability to follow good and aid them therein, and protect them from their enemies and any tribulation and trial and grant them their provision with ease.”

There was an area filled with trees near a spring called ‘Aloon. A black slave lived there who was ferocious and robbed any passerby. The area was also filled with wild boar and thick foliage. People only went through it in groups. When Idris heard about this man, he ordered his arrest. Horsemen went out in search of him. He was caught and taken to Idris who ordered him to be crucified and hung in ‘Aloon.

He started the walls from the ‘Aloon which is now the gate that leads to ‘Tarrafeen.’ He called it ‘Bab Ifriqia’. He built it up to the incline between ‘Ashshabeen’ and Bab al-Geesa where Sidi Bin Yahya is buried. It was called ‘Aqba Za’tar’ at the time. He built a gate there called ‘Bab Hisn Sa’doon’, which is in the ‘Haffareen’ quarters. Then he kept building to where the ‘Funduq al-Yahood’ is and ‘Baleeda’, where he built ‘Bab al-Faras’. Then he continued until he got to the river separating the banks and built ‘Bab al-Fasil’, which is ‘Bab al-Naqba’ today. Then he took the wall alongside the river up until were ‘Bab Silsila’ is today and built ‘Bab al-Faraj’. He continued along the riverbank up until where ‘Bab al-Hadid’ is now until he joined the wall with ‘Bab Ifriqia’. Other gates were also built around the Andalusian quarters. There was ‘Bab al-Fawara’ where ‘Bab Zaitoon’ (Bab al-Hamra) is, and he built along until the neighborhood of Sidi ‘Awad where another gate was built facing ‘Bab al-Faraj’. He then built a gate facing ‘Bab al-Fasil’ called ‘Bab al-Shaibuba’. He built another gate called ‘Bab Abu Sufiyan’ facing the North and then took the wall to Garwawa and built ‘Bab al-Kanisa’, which later fell in 546 and was rebuilt in 602 and named ‘Bab Khukha’. At that time, the lepers were located outside the gate there to avoid them contaminating the river as it was at the bottom of the river flow.

He built a mosque called al-Ashyakh where he prayed the Friday prayer. Later on he moved to the Qarawiyeen bank in an area called Maqramda and built al-Ashraf Mosque where he prayed the Friday prayer and built his house there, called al-Qaitoona. Later on the Friday prayer was moved to the Qarawiyeen. He then built a covered market space. He ordered people to build next to the market and said, “Whoever builds their house before the wall is completed it is his to keep.” Many Iraqi migrants came and settled in an area called ‘Ain. Soon Arab settlers moved from Qairawan in 210/825. There were some 300 families. More than 8000 families came from Andalusia in 202/818, who had fled after an attempted overthrow of al-Hakm in Cordoba. Idris had encouraged them to move to Fez. Many Jews came to settle from Cordoba, too. He put them in Bab Guisa.

The city was traditionally divided into two by a river and there is a bridge that connects them today called Bain al-Mudun.T

here are other sources that suggest Fez was built by his father in 172/788, and that Idris al-Azhar built the Qarawiyeen bank in 193/809.

In 197, Idris went out to fight renegade Kharajite Berber tribes and continued to do so in 199. Then he returned to Fez to take rest and in the same year headed for Tilimsan. He stayed there for three years. He wrote his name on the pulpit there just as his father had done. Then he fought on until he was able to wipe out any remaining trace of the Kharijite teachings in Morocco.

Al-Aghalib and the Abbasids were unable to move him. He passed away on the 12th of Jumada 213/828 at the age of 36. He died choking on a grape seed. Some say he was poisoned. He was buried in his mosque. Before, it was believed by some that he was buried next to his father until the left wall of the Qibla was being restored and they came across his untouched body in Fez in Rajab 841. He left 12 sons: Abdullah, Muhammad, Isa, Idris, Ahmed, Ja’far, Yahya, al-Qasim, ‘Umar, ‘Ali, Dawud, and Hamza. Kenza in accordance with an old Berber tradition divided up the country for her grandchildren. Each son had an area to rule under the authority of the eldest son Muhammad. Kenza is buried in Walili next to her husband, Moulay Idris 1st.

Ibn Zakari: “Let no-one doubt neither this man’s special station nor his closeness to God….There is consensus amongst the people of divine knowledge and understanding that he is from among the elite in the eyes of God just like his father.”

Mesnawi: “Our teacher ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Fessi, may God have mercy on his soul, would point to the fact that there was consensus among the people of deep understanding that Moulay Idris b. Idris was buried in Fez and was among those who God had given permission to act as he wishes in the creation…This man was one of the spiritual poles who acts as he wishes alive and dead in the material and angelic world.”

Ahmed Tijani: “If the people knew of the station of Moulay Idris they would sacrifice their children for him.”

It has been said that whoever visits him for forty days in a row praying Subh in congregation there in his mosque and then asks after the prayer to bring him and the Qutb together or asks for any need, God will grant him it.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Map of Bat Ftuh Cemetery, Fes

This map shows the resting places of many of the scholars and saints buried in the cememtery at Bab Ftuh, Fes. It follows the path laid out by al-Kattani in Salwat al-Anfas

Moulay Idris the First

It is related in a rigorously authenticated tradition that the Messenger of God (may God bless him and grant him peace) said, “This affair belongs to the Quraish as long as they uphold God’s law. No one will oppose them except that God will humiliate them.”

The four rightly guided Caliphs had passed away, and the matter of the Muslims went into confusion with the conflict between Ali and Mu’awiya. The position of the orthodox is that the Muslim community has a good opinion of both. We believe that both made a judgment seeking the truth, but Ali was in the right. Then Ali was murdered, and the people of Basra pledged allegiance to his son al-Hasan. Mu’awiya set out to Syria to confront al-Hasan’s supporters upon which al-Hasan saw it in the interest of the community, in order to prevent Muslim blood being spilt, that he stand down from competing for the Caliphate. All this was in accordance to al-Hasan’s grandfather’s prophecy, the Messenger of God (may God bless him and grant him peace), who declared that he would bring peace between two great parties from amongst the Muslims.

Mu’awiya held the Caliphate and it was past on to his son al-Yazid, who established the Umayyad dynasty after numerous conflicts with the family of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace).

The majority of the Muslim’s saw that the leadership of the community belonged to the Family of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) for many reasons. They were from prophetic blood, thus having a rank over others and were upright and well versed in the laws of the religion. According to the orthodox position it was not necessary that the rule go to the family of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace), but it was most certainly preferable if they fitted the prerequisites for leadership.

From this time on the descendents of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) rebelled against Umayyad rule, demanding their right to leadership.

There is no doubt that the greatest of creation is our Prophet and master Muhammad. Razi related that there is consensus on that.

He had three sons: al-Qasim, (who was born before prophet-hood), Abdullah (who died early whilst the Prophet was still in Mecca), and Ibrahim (who was born in Medina in the year 8 if the Islamic era and lived for eighteen months).

He had four daughters: The first was Zineb, then Umm Kalthum, Fatima and last was Ruqayya. All of them were born by Khadija. All of them accepted Islam and immigrated to Medina with their father. None of them left any children except for Fatima and she was the most virtuous of them. Fatima was the only one to outlive her father. The Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace said regarding her, “Oh my daughter, are you not content that you are the best of womankind?”

Those of divine knowledge regard her as one of the spiritual poles of this world. She never once had a menstrual cycle, so she not once missed a prayer. This is why she was called ‘al-Zahra’ (radiant). Another reason is that she was conceived as a result of the Prophet having eaten an apple from the gardens of Paradise. She was born five years before migration and was named Fatima by God himself. It is related in a prophetic tradition that she was called Fatima because God had distanced her and her children and whoever loves them from the hellfire. She was labeled ‘Batool’ because she cut herself off from the world for the sake of God and this trait passed onto her children.

God chose Ali for her as a husband. She bore al-Hasan, al-Hussein, Muhsin, Zainab and Umm Kalthum. Muhsin died in infancy. Umm Kalthum was married to Umar b. al-Khattab and they had two children together: Zaid and Ruqayya and they did not leave behind them any children. After Umar had passed away, Umm Kalthum married ‘Awn b. Ja’far. On his death, she married his brother Abdullah. She left no children behind her.

Zainab married Abdullah b. Ja’far. She bore him five: Ali, ‘Awn al-Akbar, Abbas, Muhammad and Umm Kalthum. After Abdullah died, she married Kabeer b. Abbas and she bore him no children. None of Zainab’s sons had children except for Ali. His progeny are considered from amongst the Prophet’s family. Descendants of the prophet are not necessarily just from Ali and Fatima. In fact, as long as they can trace their linage back to the sons of Hashim and they accepted Islam, they are considered ‘Sharif’ (descendant of the Prophet). Therefore his uncles Abbas and Hamza and their progeny are all descendants of the Prophet. However, the progeny of Hamza have all passed away. The progeny of Abu Talib’s children are considered from the family of the Prophet too. They are Ali, ‘Aqeel, and Ja’far. The progeny of al-Harith son’s Abu Sufyan and his brothers are considered so too, and the Muslim sons of Abu Lahb ‘Utba and Mu’tib.

Al-Hasan was born in Ramadan three years after the migration to Medina. He was said to be the closest in looks to the Prophet himself, may God bless him and grant him peace, from the head down to his chest the opposite to Hussein. He was well known for his patience, kindness and forgiving nature. It was said that he married over seven hundred women. When his father died, over four thousand pledged allegiances to him from Kufa. He remained the caliph over the Hijaz, Yemen and Khurasan for seven months. Then Mu’awiya set out to fight him. When the two armies met, Hasan looked at them both and said to himself, “Will these all fight one another over the rule of this world? I have no need of this.” He sent a messenger to Mu’awiya and pledged allegiance to him. When Hasan gave up rule of the Muslim community outwardly, God recompensed him with rule over them inwardly. It is said by many that all of the spiritual poles of the times are from his progeny. Abu al-Abbas al-Murci said that he was the first of the spiritual poles of this community.

He was poisoned by one of his family under the instruction of Yazeed in the year 49. He left 11 sons behind him. Only three left children behind them: Hasan, Zaid and Umar. Umar has one son called Muhammad who was a great scholar but he did not leave any children behind.

Hasan al-Muthanna was one of the greatest of the generation after the Companions of the Prophet. He related many prophetic traditions. He passed away in the year 97. He left behind him six sons. The greatest of his children was Abdullah al-Kamil. He was from the fourth generation and lived in Medina. He was asked to take up the Caliphate but refused.

It was not until Abdullah b. al-Hasan al-Muthanna b. al-Hasan al-Sibt b. Ali b. Ibi Talib’s six sons that there was a real constituted effort to reclaim the right to leadership. They were Muhammad, Idris, Yahya, Sulaiman, ‘Isa, Musa and Ibrahim. Umayyad rule was weakening. The family of the Prophet had been waiting for an opportunity to take their rightful place as leaders of the Muslim community. They saw this as the right time. In 131, they gathered in Medina to consult each other as to who should come forward to claim the right. Muhammad, who was labeled ‘the pure soul’ for his piety, was eventually chosen, and the other brothers pledged allegiance to him. Abu Ja’far al-Mansur, the future Abbasid Caliph, was present at the pledging of allegiance and supported Muhammad. However, al-Mansur went back on his oath when his family seized power. al-Saffah ascended the throne and the Muslim community was forced to pledge allegiance to him. al-Mansur then took the title after his brother’s death. Both Malik and Abu Hanifa openly stated that Muhammad had more right to the title and testified to his merit. This led to both imams suffering great affliction for their political stance. Abu Hanifa subsequently withdrew from his judiciary duties.

Al-Mansur’s brother, al-Saffah was not bothered by the Hassanid uprisings, but al-Mansur was more concerned about their claims to leadership. It reached him that the family of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) and their supporters set out to oppose him. He heard of support for them rising up in Khurasan. In 140, he had grown frustrated by his governors’ lack of heart in arresting the Hassinid members. Muhammad and his brothers were living a time of great adventure and danger. They secretly went around gathering support for their cause. No one would turn them over because people’s hearts were inclined to them. al-Mansur decided to kill two birds with one stone. He made the pilgrimage that year. He found some of the heads of the family, including their father Abdullah, but they refused to reveal the whereabouts of his sons. al-Mansour seized them and took them to Kufa with him where they were thrown into a foul dungeon, treated most brutally and left to die in prison. al-Mansur made the same move in 144. He seized still more of the Hassinid family and brought them back with him. However, Muhammad and his brother Ibrahim had escaped arrest. Ibrahim had already left for Basra and was calling people to his brother’s cause. ‘Isa went to Africa to collect support. Many Berbers were ready to support him. Yahya had been sent to Khurasan. He was to continue the struggle after his brother’s death. Harun Rashid sent forces to extinguish the rebellion there, which later led to a truce. Yahya was convinced to return after Harun Rashid made an oath not to touch him. He was later poisoned and died.

In 144, al-Mansur finally found a man true to his heart in Riyah b. Uthman. He appointed him governor of Medina and he feverously continued the campaign to find Muhammad and his brothers.

Riyah was saved the trouble, though. In 145, Muhammad appeared in Medina and publicly denounced al-Mansur and called the people to pledge allegiance to him. Riyah was taken completely by surprise. Muhammad had the opposition to his call arrested, including Riyah. He refused to have any blood spilled, though. At the time, the people came to Malik to ask him what they should do as they had already pledged allegiance to the Abbasid Caliphate, but they had done so against their will. al-Mansur said they were bound to their pledge, defending his position with a fabricated prophetic tradition that he banned anyone from questioning. When asked about this tradition, Malik did not hesitate to announce its fabrication. The people rushed to pledge their allegiance to Muhammad. Malik was later flogged by al-Mansur for his actions. Malik kept to his house through out the uprising.

Al-Mansur was relieved to know that he finally knew Muhammad’s whereabouts. He sent a garrison of 4,000 men to reason with Muhammad. Muhammad built a trench around Medina just like at the ‘Battle of the Trench’. All the signs pointed to a re-enactment of the ‘Battle of the Trench’. He was advised to give up and flee Medina, but he considered this an insult to the sacred city. Some people in the city became dismayed and refused to fight on hearing the approach of al-Mansur’s troops. This did not perturb him, however. He drew out the sword of his grandfather, the Messenger of God, called the people to fight, and cried out the battle cry of Hussein when he was martyred. The art of single combat was revived and Muhammad killed over seventy men that day alone. However, the forces of al-Mansur easily passed the trench. They placed doors over it and moved into the city. Muhammad’s forces were weakened and he new the battle was lost. He pulled out of the battle and joined Dhuhr and ‘Asr and burned the record of those who had pled allegiance to him, so that their names would not be discovered. Then he proceeded to wash himself to prepare his body for burial. After, he went to the prisons where he had held those who had opposed him and killed them. Finally, he headed back into battle and was martyred at Ahjaar al-Zait. His head was decapitated from his body and carried to al-Mansur. His brother Ibrahim kept up the resistance in Basra but was later to fail as well. All this was prophesized by the Prophet, “A pure soul from my progeny will be killed at Ahjaar al-Zait.”

The brothers had opened their campaign far too early. They had also underestimated the hesitancy of a lot of the Muslim community. Musa, who was sent to Syria, was rejected; the people were afraid and wanted to see the result of the conflict in Medina before they made any allegiances to Muhammad. It was a time of political and social instability. People were not spiritually ready to support an uprising against the Abbasids.

Later there was another attempt to overthrow Abbasid power in 169/786 on the eighth of Dhu al-Hijja. The descendent of al-Husain Ali b. Hasan b. al-Husain b. al-Husain b. Ali b. Abi Talib called people to follow him. Idris and Sulaiman pledged allegiance to him. They fought a battle called ‘the Battle of the Trap (Fakhkh)’ 5 miles outside of Mecca, but were defeated. The survivors sneaked into the ranks of the pilgrims and escaped. They went into hiding, including his two brothers Idris and Sulaiman. After they had recovered from their wounds, Sulaiman fled to Sudan and Idris, accompanied by his freedman Raashid al-Awarbi (who was said to be a Berber from the valley of Zarhoun), moved onto to Egypt, heading for the Maghrib.

On their arrival to Egypt they hid themselves fearing danger. Wadih, the slave of Salih b. Mansour, was responsible for communications and export in Egypt. Wadih had affections for the efforts of the family of the Prophet. He found out their place of hiding, and advised them to leave immediately as Musa al-Hadi, the brother of Harun Rashid and who reined before him, was trying to track him down. Later, when Musa al-Hadi found out that he was allowed to get away, he had Wadih crucified and killed.

There is another relation that the two of them were walking the streets of Cairo whereupon they came across a beautiful building. The owner of the house came out and greeted them. He noticed that they were strangers. He asked where they were from and when they told him they were for Arabian Peninsula, he realized they must have fled from the Battle of the Trap and that they were Hasanids. He agreed to help them. He hid them in his house. It soon reached the governor of Cairo at this time, ‘Ali b. Sulaiman, that this man was hosting strangers in his house. He told the man to send these men to him because the Caliph has asked that all strangers be identified, as there are renegade Hasanids on the run. The governor told them to flee for he did not want the blood of the family of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, on his hands. He gave them three days to leave. The man of the house bought them steeds and gave them provision for the road. The man went with Idris on a more obscure path and told Raashid to take main road. Raashid went out with the merchants and the Wadih went with Idris until they met up later on. The man wished them well gave them more provisions and left back for Cairo.

Idris and Rashid moved on towards Qairawan. Throughout the journey, the two men exchanged clothing, so that people they passed would not suspect Idris to be anyone of importance and Raashid acted as if he was his superior. They moved onto Tilimsan and then moved on up to Tangiers and finally stopped in Walili, where they met Ishaq or Abd al-Majeed b. Muhammad b. Abd al-Hameed al-Awarbi (al-Awrabi) al-Mu’tazali in the month of Rabee’ al-Awwal 172.

The Ummayads ruled Spain at the time under the rule of Abd al-Rahman, but their rule did not extend to Morocco. They continued to rule Spain for 150 years, and the majority of the ruling class was Syrian. Berbers inhabited Morocco. ‘Uqba b. Nafi’ had reached Tangiers in 67/682, spreading Islam to the South of Morocco. The majority of them had converted en masse, but had been left to themselves and rebelled against any Abbasid attempts to control them. However, a lot of Morocco was still non-Muslim.

When Idris arrived in Zerhoun, there was a lot of political instability. Ishaq announced Idris’ presence to the tribes and the major tribes pledged allegiance to him on Friday the 4th of Ramadan. Idris assembled an army to combat the local rebel Berber tribes who were mostly Jewish and Christian. They were soon defeated and most of them converted to Islam. He took rest for a time and then headed out to conquer more of the surrounding tribes. They either became Muslim or were taken prisoner and some were killed. The battles stopped in 173/788 when Idris made a visit to Tilimsan. The people there pledged allegiance to him and a mosque was built. His name was carved into the pulpit there.

It soon reached Haroon Rasheed that Idris’ influence and popularity were spreading east. He feared that he would conquer the whole of Africa. He sent a cunning assassin named Shumakh b. Sulaiman b. Jarir to take care of him. Haroon Rasheed had promised him great riches if he could carry out this task. Shumakh was sent to Ibrahim b. al-Aghlab in Tunisia where he was allowed protected passage into Morocco. Shumakh entered the court of Idris acting as if he had fled from Arabia. Any Arab that came fleeing from the Abbasids was protected and honored by Idris at the time. Idris found Shumakh to be well educated and eloquent. Shumakh would compose magnificent poetry in praise of the Prophet’s family whilst calling the Berbers to Idris’ cause. Idris was so impressed with him that he made him one of his closest men. However, Raashid did not trust Shumakh. He was very careful not to leave Shumakh alone with Idris.

One day Raashid was held up somewhere. Shumack took his opportunity. He presented Idris with a gift of perfume. “This is a bottle of the finest perfume that I have with me, but I see that you are more deserving of it than I.” Idris thanked him and opened the bottle. He took one sniff and he fell to the ground. It was a deadly poison. Shumakh moved quickly to the stables and took his horse that he had been preparing for his escape. He mounted him and rushed back east. When Raashid came back, he found his master on the floor. He bent down and placed Idris’ head on his lap. Idris was opening his mouth to tell him something, but he could not speak. He stayed in this state until the afternoon and finally passed away. Raashid soon heard of Shumakh’s presence on the road east. Rashid set out to catch him with a band of Berbers. He soon caught up with him and was able to injure him, but Shumakh managed to escape and reach Baghdad. It was said he returned to Baghdad with one of his hands paralyzed.

Idris died in Rabee’ al-Thani 175/790 or 177/793; he left behind a Berber slave girl, Kenza, 7 months pregnant with his heir. Raashid prepared the body of his companion and buried him in the gravesite where the Berber leaders were buried. Raashid advised they wait to see if Kenza would bear a boy. “If it is a boy, we will raise him to the best of our ability until he reaches the age of manhood. Then we will bear allegiance to him out of respect for the progeny of the Messenger of God, and if it is a girl, then look amongst yourselves for a leader.” The Berber chiefs agreed and placed Raashid as temporary leader. The child was born three months after Idris’ death.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Surat Maryam

A beautiful recitation of part of Surat Maryam, from the Mawlid celebrations in Nador, 2007

Nabil - Surat Maryam.mp3

Muhammad Istafak al-Bari

Sheikh al-Alawi's Qasida, performed by the Fuqara of Nador and Melilla, at the Mawlid celebrations in Nador, 2007

Muhammad Istafak al-Bari.mp3