He was born in the year 1159 IE (1745 CE) in Bou Barīh in the mountains north of Fez among the tribe of Bani Zarwāl where his family had settled for generations. His family name goes back to Sīdī Muhammad who was nicknamed ‘Abu Darqa’ because he was of large build. He was a great fighter and carried a shield (darqah) with him into battle to protect himself, hence the name Darqāwi. He is buried in the region of Tāmsanah in Cheoun close to Umm ar-Rabī‘. He was a disciple of Ibn ‘Atā Illāh al-Iskandarī who donned him the patched robe. His family line goes back to the Prophet through Imam al-Junaid back to Imam al-Hasan.
There are many virtues attached to this tribe. The ancestors of all the four Caliphs resided here. One of the pious men of this tribe once went on the pilgrimage and sat at the grave of the Prophet and recited all seven variants of the Quran. When he finished, the Prophet spoke to him, saying, “…and thus it was revealed to me, O Imam of Zarwāl. May God bless you and your tribe.” The land is extremely fertile producing fine olives, grapes, grain and fruit. The men of the tribe are also famed for their braveness and courage. Moulay al-‘Arabī said, “Whoever’s robe touches the robe of a man from Banī Zarwāl will always profit and never taste ruin.”
He was the founder of the Darqāwī Order of Sufis, a Moroccan branch of the great Shādhilī Order which was itself founded by the Shaikh Abu al-Hasan al- Shādhilī in the 13th century CE.
He lived a childhood of modesty, chasteness, chivalry and honour. He spent his youth in study and visiting the pious people of his time. He was shielded by God from committing any manifest sin. He relates:
“One day, while I was still young, I entertained committing a sin with another youth whose habit it was to fall to his desires and as soon as the notion came to me, my whole body broke out in blisters. I quickly begged God’s forgiveness and the blisters vanished as quickly as they had appeared, by the grace of God and His blessing.”
He did not need to memorise the Book of God more than once and his memorisation was firm and strong. He was loved by all around him. When he used to check the slates of the students who had written their portion of Quran he would hold it up and say to the boy, “This slate is heavy. It has this mistake and this mistake…or I would hold it up and say this slate is light. It has only a few mistakes or none at all. Upon looking at the slate, I would find it exactly as I had said; inspiration from God all-Mighty. ”
When memorizing, he used to write on the tablet and go over it for a short time and then leave it. Then he would occupy himself with the writing of the other children’s tablets and dictating to them their portion of the day. This was how he studied until he had memorised all seven variants of the Quran. Once he had finished his primary studies, he went off to Fez to study knowledge in the Medrasah Misbāhiyyah, which faces the Qarawiyyīn. Soon after, he met with his master in the path Sīdī ‘Alī, known by the people as ‘al-Jamal’’. This was in 1767 when he was around twenty three or four. The story of his first meeting with his master was a strange one:
“I used to spend time in the shrine of Moulay Idris the Second. I would sit by the shrine and recite Quran until I had completed sixty reading praying through the blessing of what I had read to find a spiritual guide. When I had finished my sixtieth, I began to weep so greatly that my eyes turned red. I walked out of the shrine and passed by Sīdī Hamīd, a descendent of Moulay Abd al-‘Azīz ad-Dabbāgh; a man of great presence and awe. “What is the matter? Why is it I see you in such as state?” he asked. He persisted in asking me until I told him that I was in need of someone to take me by the hand on the spiritual path. “Don’t you worry, I will point you the way to him as long as you don’t consult the people who are short of insight and lacking in intellect. “Who is he?” I asked. “He is the most noble master and descendent of the Prophet ; he is the succour of our time and the vast ocean, Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali b. Abd al-Rahmān, known to the people as al-Jamal (the camel) and al-Jamāl (Divine Beauty) according to the angels-as some of the men of God have informed. He is a man that the angels address and send greetings of peace upon. The angels even informed me that he has been the succour (Ghouth) of the time for the past thirty years.”
It was my practice never to approach an action until I consulted God through the well-known prayer of the Prophet (Istikhāra). That night, I spent the time consulting God and pondering over this man’s characteristics, how he might be and how I might meet with him to the extent that it deprived me of an sleep. The next day I headed for his zāwiyah in the Rāmilah District that lies over the bridge called Baina al-Mudun (Between Cities) where his shrine resides today. I knocked the door and found him sweeping the zāwiyah (he would sweep the zāwiyah every day by himself despite his old age and high station with God). “What do you want?” he asked. “I want you to take me by the hand and guide me to God” I answered. He began to shout at me with the most severe of tones. “Who told you this?!! Who took me by the hand whereby I might be able to take yours and guide you?!!” (All this was a test of my resolve and sincerity) I rushed out of the zāwiyah and returned to home. That night I consulted God once again. In the morning I prayed the Dawn Prayer (Subh) and headed for his zāwiyah once more. I found him sweeping the floor again. I knocked on the door and he opened it for me. I said, “Will you take me by the hand and guide me to God?” He grabbed my hand and said, “Welcome.” He was overjoyed to see me and most happy. “How long it has been my sir since I have been looking for a master!” “How long it has been since I have been looking for a sincere student!” he replied. He read the litany of the order to me and said, “Leave now and come back from time to time.” For the next two years I would visit him everyday. On each occasion he instructed me in the company of other brethren resident in Fez.
“One of the first lessons I learnt from my teacher was when he placed two baskets full of berries in my hands. He did not place them on my shoulders like my peers. Even so, it bore down so heavy on my ego that I felt intensely constricted deep inside. I was so disturbed, shaken and felt so indecent that I became to weep. I swear to God, I wept out of the humiliation, abasement and utter wretchedness of the situation, as my ego could not bear to take such a lesson; it would not bow down to the test ever in a thousand years. I was so oblivious of my own arrogance, haughtiness, malignancy and stubbornness and I had previously had no idea whether it was arrogant or not. I had never learnt this lesson from any teacher of law throughout all my previous studies, and I had studied with many a teacher. Whilst in this state, my teacher saw what had come over me because of his deep insight into the hidden secrets, for which he was well-known to all. He came over, took the baskets and placed them right on top of my shoulders just like my peers, who were so much more righteous and advanced on the path than me. Then he said, “This is for your own good in order to chase away some of that arrogance of yours.” Instantly, a door of understanding opened for me, and things became clear. I was now able to distinguish the truth in everything. I could discern the arrogant from the humble, the serious from the lax, those of knowledge from amongst those of ignorance, those who follow the way of the Prophet, peace be upon him, from the people of innovation and those who practice what they preach from those who do not. No one was able to get the better of me after this event, because my teacher had taught me how to distinguish truth from falsehood, may God reward him and protect him. Amin!”
After some time the Sheikh entered him into the retreat to invoke the Supreme Name “Allah”:
“We believe, and God knows best, that the state of annihilation can be achieved in a short space of time, God willing, by invoking God’s majestic name ‘Allah’ in a specific manner. I found this method mentioned by Imam Shādhili in a book which was in the possession of one of the scholars of my homeland Banī Zarwāl. My teacher Sīdī ‘Alī also taught me this but in a different way which is even more effective and whose results can achieved in a shorter space of time.
The method is to picture the five letters of the name when reciting it. Whenever you feel the image in front of you slipping away you bring it back even if you have to one thousand times in one night and one thousand times in a day. Using this method, a great thought came to me. I used to invoke using it at the beginning of the path for up to one month. Divine knowledge in its plenty would come to me, but I was not distracted by it; rather I focussed my intention on invoking the Name, bringing the letters constantly to mind for one whole month until the words of God came to:
‘He is the First and the Last, the Manifest and the Hidden.’ (Quran: 57/3)
I immediately turned my thoughts away from it back to the invoking of the Name as I had done so to many other notions that had come to me. However, this one would not leave me; rather it grabbed a hold of me and would not let go. I tried to turn my thoughts time and again from it but it would not leave me. I said to it, ‘As for His exalted words “He is the First and the Last” and “the Hidden” I understand, but I do not understand the word “Manifest” as the only things evident that we see is the creation. The notion replied back, ‘If the meaning of the word “Manifest” had meant anything other than that which you see before you, it would have been hidden and not manifest and I say to you ‘The Manifest!’ From that point I realised that there was nothing present but God alone and there is nothing in the creation but Him, thanks and praise be to Him.
After I had become firm and sure in the path and I had attained a clear opening, and my master wanted me to benefit others, he told me to go back to my homeland with my family and children.
Before taking from his master, he visited many of the other masters of his time:
• Moulay at-Tayyib b. Moulay Muhammad of Wazzān: “I visited him on seven different occasions whilst I was still a youth. On one visit, I found him surrounded by a huge group of people, yet he moved the people aside for me and ushered me forward. I kissed his hand and knee and proceeded to place two tablets of Quran in his lap; on one of them was Sura al-Jumu‘a. He took hold of it and read a section of it silently whilst pressing his palm upon my forehead. He was overjoyed at my being there and he prayed that God grant me much good. After that visit much good and blessing came to me; I was able to memorise much after being very weak at retaining information. I consider him one of my teachers.”
• Sīdī Muhammad b. ‘Alī b. Risoun al-Hasanī al-‘Alamī: He was from Mount ‘Alam in Tāzourt nearby the shrine of Moulay Abd al-Salām. “I met with him seven times in Banī Zarwāl and once or twice in Fez also. He was a man of great states. When I visited him, he would break into a recital of Sura Yāsīn, then Sura Tāhā, then he would break into tears and then he would laugh. In the same gathering, he gave me two loaves of fresh hot bread filled with clarified butter I no-pone had any idea where he had got them from. He placed them in my hands and did not share them with any of the other people present. Later, he struck me on my back with his right hand and said, “May God strengthen you!” three times. When he said goodbye to me, he pushed me with both arms and said, “Off you go! We have given you the highest of stations!” In my eyes, he is one of my teachers like Sīdī ‘Alī al-Jamal is.”
• Sīdī al-‘Arabī al-Baqqāli. He was a man lost in the attraction of the Divine. If he came out of his intoxication of God, he would carry out all his ritual obligations. However, he was rarely aware of what was going on around him. One day I came to Fez and people were around him whilst he was in a state of deep intoxication in the Divine. He called me over and pressed me against his chest and poked his tongue into my mouth and said, “Suck!” Then he pushed me away and said, “Go! I have given you all that is in the East and West. I left the gathering and when I came back I found that he had passed away. He is buried in the zāwiyah of his uncle Sīdī Muhammad al-Hājj al-Baqqāli in Fez.
He would also visit the shrines of the men of God in Morocco, among them Moulay ‘Abd as-Salām, Moulay Abu Silhām, ‘Abd al-Wārith al-Yaslouti al-‘Uthmāni. He continued to visit them until his opening came. He once said:
“If you want to visit the people of the path of Fez then start with Ibn al-‘Arabī al-Ma‘ārafī, then ‘Alī b. Hirzihim, ‘Abd Allāh at-Touwdi, Yusuf al-Fāsi, Muhammad b. ‘Abdullāh, Ahmad al-Yamani, ‘Alī al-Jamal, Abu ‘Alī Bāytousi, Abu Ya‘za in Tāghya, Abu Silhām on the coast close to Umm ar-Rabī‘, ‘Abdullāh b. Ahmad in Meknes, Abu Zakariya of Meknes, Moulay Abd as-Salām, Abu Yazīd (the Shaykh of Abu Madyan) in Maziyyāt and finally Abu Madyan in Tlemcan.”
He succeeded his master in 1779, living to be about eighty years old and passed away on Tuesday 23rd of Safr in 1823 (1239 IE). They buried him in his zāwiyah there on the Wednesday night. He had two zāwiyahs in Bou Barīh. Both of them lie on Mount Zabīb, two days journey from Fez.
He mainly taught his disciples to be abstinent with regard to worldly things both outwardly and internally. He persisted in recognizing his state of slave-hood before God all-Mighty and strived to oppose his ego in all affairs, leaving aside matters that the ego inclined to or found too easy, imposing whatever appeared burdensome for it. He believed that whatever was burdensome on the ego must be the truth. He was not concerned what the people thought of him, he did not incline towards their praise nor did he feel rejected by their absconding him. He constantly sought to humble himself and see himself impoverished at all times. He warned his disciples of hoarding wealth and gathering it. He did not leave any of his meal for the next. He would take only that which was sufficient to remain healthy for himself and his family, not going beyond the means. If he had any surplus food he would give it to the poor. He wouldn’t even leave enough oil for the candle to burn for the next morning, trusting that God would provide and holding firmly to Him alone. He remained upon this practice for twenty five years.
In his early years he donned only the harshest and roughest forms of clothes. He wore coarse wool, sometimes worn inside out, a patched robe, or at times merely a sack. He used to wear an old hat on his head or even wear one on top of the other and he would sling a wicker basket over his shoulder. At other times he would walk into the streets with his head bare and bare footed, begging in the streets and sitting amongst the trash. Sometimes he would take a water skin and quench the walkers by’s thirst in the street. He sought to repel the people from him and kill his desires so that he would depend solely on God. He continued to act so until he arrived in the inward realisation of the Divine.
As for his devotions, he never slackened in the outward rituals of the religion. He did not go to extremes, though. He stressed the performance of the obligations in the religion and not neglecting the stressed supererogatory acts such as the two cycles before the Dawn Prayer (Subh) and the three cycles of prayer after the Evening Prayer (Isha). He stressed the importance of keeping oneself clean and pure. He would say, “Whoever makes his ablution before making sure all the drops of urine have gone, does not have any ablution, prayer or religion for that matter.” He made sure he was in a state of purity at all times. He encouraged his student to recite Quran, hold to the supplication of God’s Consultation (Istikhāra), visit the righteous; both alive and dead, perform the Duhā Prayer in the morning and the two cycles when entering the mosque, wake up before dawn and perform extra prayers, visit the sick, accompany the deceased to the cemetery, host guests and give of charity everyday and night. He loved to sit on the ground without taking a carpet of any sort. “Sitting on the earth without a rug brings about enrichment.” In the prayer he would recite the ‘Basmala” before the Fātihah quietly to himself and after the prayer he would read ‘Astaghfirulla’ (I ask God’s pardon) three times and then say:
أَللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ السَّلاَمُ وَ مِنْكَ السَّلامُ وَ إِلَيْكَ يَعُودُ السَّلامُ حَيِّنَا رَبَّناَ باِلسَّلاَمِ وَ أَدْخِلْنَا دَارَ السَّلاَمِ تَبَارَكْتَ وَ تَعَالَيْتَ يَا ذَا الجَلاَلِ وَ الإِكْرَامِ لاَ إِلهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ لَهُ المُلْْكُ وَ لَهُ الحَمْدُ وَ هُوَ عَلىَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ اَللَّهُمَّ لاَ مَانِعَ لِمَا أَعْطَيْتَ وَ لاَ مُعْطِيَ لِمَا مَنَعْتَ وَ لاَ رَادَّ لِمَا قَضَيْتَ وَ لاَ يَنْفَعُ ذَا الجِدِّ مِنْكَ الجِدُّ
“O God, You are peace, from You ensues peace and to You returns peace. Bring us alive though peace and enter us into the abode of peace. You are most blessed and You are most High. O One of Majesty and Generosity, there is no god but God, He is alone, He has no partner. To Him belongs the dominion and to Him belongs all praise. He is upon all things able. O God there is no one to hold back what You grant and there is no one to grant what You hold back and no one can repel what You have already ordained, and no-one’s might can benefit him against You.”
Then he would recite the Verse of the Footstall (Ayah al-Kursi) and recite ‘Hallowed be God’ (Subhāna Allāh), ‘All Praise of for God’ al-Hamdu Lillāh and God is the greatest’ (Allāhu Akbar) thirty three times each then raise his hands and supplicate to God for His grace and for the wellbeing of himself and all the believers.
He would persistently stress the importance of the prayer and tell whoever had missed any prayers in the past to make them up before they come to regret it.
He would read the books of knowledge with his following. He liked to read the books of Law such as the commentaries on the Rislāh of Ibn Abī Zaid al-Qarawānī and the commentaries of Mayyāra on Ibn ‘āshir, the commentary of Wughlusiyyah by Ahmed Zarrouq, the book Tabaqāt al-Awliyah by ‘Abd al-Wahhāb as-Sha‘rāni, Tabaqāt al-Ulumā by Ahmed Bābā as-Sudāni, and the book ‘al-Ma‘zā’ relating the virtues of Abu Ya‘zā. He loved to read the Commentaries of Quran such as Ibn ‘Atiyyah, al-Khāzin and Jalālayn. However, there were only two books that he read from beginning to end and they were Sahīh al-Bukhāri and the Shifa of Qadi ‘Iyād. He said that the books of the path are: the Wisdoms of Ibn ‘Atā ‘Illāh, al-Mabāhith al-Asliyyah and the Rā’iyyah of ash-Sharīshī.
He would perform the invocation known as the Hadra or ‘Imāra throughout his life with his disciples. The followers would hold each other by the hands and form a circle initiating the ritual with ‘Lā IIāha Illa Allāh’ (There is no god besides God) and begin by stretch it out until it became quicker and quicker. As the invoking progressed, they would recite the name of God “Allāh” alone with the tongue until it became a sound in their chests. Then they would sit as one does in prayer and recite Quran. He would not like women to be present in any form at the gatherings. They would come together and invoke God by themselves far from the ears of others.
Sīdī Mahmoud Abu as-Shāmāt describes the manner in which the Hadra is performed in detail according to the Darqāwiyyah Madaniyyah Yashturiyyah Order in his commentary on the Wadhīfa as-Shādhiliyyah:
“After reading the Wadhīfa in a circle, the Shaykh or Muqaddam, who has the permission of the Shaykh, initiates the invocation of Unity (Lā Illāha Illallāh). After he says it once the Fuqara repeat it in unison in one tone. They repeat this for a least ten times or more. Then the Shaykh invokes the name “Allah” whilst stretching out the long vowel in the middle of the name. The Fuqara repeat it after him three of five times. Then everyone stands and each one of them takes the other at his side by the hand placing his palm in his and interlacing his fingers with his with energy and determination. They stand in the shape of a circle standing close to one another. Then the Shaykh or Muqaddam moves into the middle of the circle and he has two singers on either side of him as if they were two hands of a scale. The singers take turns to sing and when he finishes his turn he will join in with the invocation along with his brothers with energy and determination…. As the invocation progresses, the name “Allah” becomes shorter and shorter at a pace suitable for the time and mood of the brethren. Then he will change the tempo of the invoking to the name of God “Ah” (i.e. Alif and Ha) which is the name of the Divine essence of God all-Mighty by agreement amongst the Men of God. Whereby, the scholars of jurisprudence have related in their books that the sick should say “Ah” and not “Akh” because “Ah” is the name of God whereas “Akh” is the name of Satan. This mode of invoking is called the invoking of the chest meaning that the brethren emit the invoking of the noble name from within their chests. They continue to do this for some time according to the time and mood of the brethren. Then he moves them onto the second mode of invoking which is called the invoking of the throat, meaning that they emit the noble name from their throats and they do this for a suitable time and then he moves them onto third and last mode which is the invoking of the name from the head whereby they emit the sound of the name from their heads. This mode is carried out with small swaying with jumps by raising their heels off the floor and then returning them back as a group in one fluid motion. The toes must not leave the floor though in order that they do not break the circle. They do this for a certain amount of time according to the time and mood and then the Shaykh or Muqaddam raises his index finger and says: “Muhammad Rasul Allah” and then they sit down together in one joint motion in a circle close to one another. If then the Muqaddam is inspired to give a talk of some advice he does so and finishes it by invoking “La Ilāh Illallāh” and the brethren repeat it after him seven times or ten whilst stretching out the long vowel in the name “Allah”. Then he points to them with his index finger and says, “Muhammad Rasul Allāh”. Afterwards, if any of them has memorised some verses of the Quran he is free to recite them. If not they read the Fātihah together and dedicate the reward to the Prophet , his family, companions, to the souls of the Masters of the path that have preceded and the Muslim community as a whole…”
When he passed away he left behind him forty thousand students able to guide others to God.
He was succeeded in Morocco by his son Moulay at-Tayyib from whom the present Moroccans head of the order is descended. Another one of Moulay al-‘Arabi’s successors was the Shaykh Muhammad al-Fāsi, who founded one Darqāwi Zāwiyah in Cairo and another in Colombo. Many of the Shādhiliyyah of Ceylon are in fact and look to the Cairo centre of the Fāsaiyyah- Darqāwiyyah as being their mother Zāwiyah. Before Moulay at-Tayyib passed away he passed the responsibility of directing the followers onto his son Moulay Abd al-Rahmān ad-Darqāwi. It was his nephew Muhammad b. at-Tayyib that had a dream of Shaykh al-‘Alawī:
“I saw a group of people who told us of the descent of Jesus-peace be upon him-and they said that he had already descended, and that he will have in his hand a wooden sword with which he struck stones and they became men, and when he struck animals they became human. Now I was conscious (in my vision) that I knew the man who had descended from Heaven, that he had written letters to me and I to him. Then I made ready to meet him, and when I reached him I found that he was Shaikh Sīdī Ahmed al-‘Alawī-but in the guise of a doctor, tending the sick, and with him were more than sixty men to help him–may God be pleased with him.”
He subsequently went to his uncle Moulay ‘Abd al-Rahmān ad-Darqāwi and asked him permission to take from Shaykh al-‘Alawī. His family blamed him for following him but he ignored them. As for his uncle, he showed no opposition to his following the Shaykh:
“What I saw in the Shaykh and his disciples compelled me to cleave to his presence, and in the longing for a possible means of opening my inward eye I asked him permission to invoke the Supreme Name. Until then I had simply been an initiate of the order and nothing more, but I had heard that my ancestors used to rely on the Order as a means of direct attainment, not merely of attachment to a spiritual chain. After I had practised the invocation of the Name according to his instructions, I had certain experiences which compelled me to persevere in it, and before long had direct knowledge of God…If I served the Shaykh as a slave for ever and ever, I should not have given him back a tenth of what I owe him. In a word, it was what compelled my great-grandfather to follow Sīdī Moulay ‘Alī al-Jamal which compelled me to follow Shaikh Sīdī Ahmed al-‘Alawī…I paid no attention to those of my family who blamed me for following him, for they did not know the truth of the matter…But when I explained things to my uncle, Sīdī Moulay Abd al-Rahmān, he showed no opposition to my following the Shaykh. On the contrary, he often gave me to understand that he had no objection.”
The Moulay ‘Ali ad-Darqāwi mentioned in Titus Burkhardt’s book Fez City of Islam was the grandson of Moulay al-‘Arabi.
Sīdī Moulay Abd al-Rahmān was also the initial Shaykh of Moulay Sulaimān, the Shaykh of our teacher and master Sīdī Bouzīdī. Sīdī Bouzīdī relates the life of his teacher Moulay Sulaimān:
“When he was around twenty eight years of age, in the year 1315, he travelled with some local fuqarā to visit the Sheikh of the Darqāwi Order in Bou Barīh, Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahmān, who was the grandson of Moulay al-‘Arabī al-Darqāwi. He was the youngest of the travellers, but when he arrived at the Sheikh’s home, the Sheikh cried, ‘Welcome, my beloved! Welcome, my beloved!’ He sat him at his side and he was given the litany of the order.
He visited his Sheikh 25 times in his life. When setting off to visit, he would gather the fuqarā and travel as a group on foot from Nādur to Banī Zarwāl, singing out odes on the road ahead. They would rest from village to village until they arrived at the zāwiyah of the sheikh. His sheikh always sang his praises; he used to call him the ‘Stallion of the Order’.
One day he was sitting by the side of Moulay ‘Abd al-Rahmān in a gathering with the fuqarā when the sheikh put his hand on Moulay Sulaimān’s back. He called out, ‘This is the Stallion of this Order. Everyone repeat after me, ‘By God, this is the Stallion of the Order,’ so they repeated the words of their sheikh. One day he was with his sheikh and he said to him, ‘This order holds direct knowledge of God and I want a portion of that knowledge.’ The sheikh replied to him, ‘Invoke God until the knowledge comes to you.’ From those words, Moulay Sulaimān knew that the future would hold great things for him. He was highly respected in the order and all the brethren loved him and honoured him.
After the death of Moulay ‘Abd al-Rahmān, Moulay Sulaimān travelled to take from Sheikh al-‘Alawī. He came to know of Sheikh al-‘Alawī through his friend Sīdī Muhammādī Bil-Hājj.”
However Moulay Sulaimān was in a dilemma whether taking from Shaykh al-‘Alawī was being treacherous to his Shaykh Moulay ‘Abd al-Rahmān. Sīdī Bouzīdī relates:
“Whilst in this dilemma, he dreamt one night that his sheikh Moulay ‘Abd al-Rahmān visited him, saying, ‘Give me my letter that you have.’ Moulay Sulaimān took out the letter and gave it to him. The sheikh then signed it with his signature and returned it to him. When he awoke he interpreted that it meant he had permission to visit Sheikh al-‘Alawī and join his order.”
When he passed away he left behind him forty thousand students able to guide others to God:
The branches of the Order are as follows:
His student who passed away in his lifetime and is buried in Tajsās outside Tangiers Sīdī Muhammad al-Bouzīdī (d. 1229) He was the teacher of Ibn ‘Ajība (1224) who is buried in az-Zamīj.
Sīdī Ahmad b. ‘Abd al-Mu’min (d.1262) He is buried Tajgān outside Tangiers, too. He is the grandfather of Muhammad bin as-Sadīq (the father of Shaykh Ahmed bin as-Sadīq). It is though him that the Siddiqiyyah and ‘Ajibiyyah Orders stem.
Sīdī Muhammad al-Harrāq (d. 1261), who passed away in Tetoun.
Sīdi Ahmad al-Badawī Zwiten al-Fāsi (d.1275) It is through his line that Shaykh Muhammad b. Habib teachers came. He is buried in Fez.
Sīdī Abu Ya‘za al-Mahhāji (d.1277) He is buried in Fez. The ‘Alawiyya, Karkariyyah, Boushishiyyah and Hibriyyah Orders stem from him.
Sīdī Muhammad b.Hamza Dhāfir al-Madani. It is said that the Ottoman Sultan ‘Abd al-Hamīd was initiated in his order through his son. He is buried in Misurata in Libya.