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The Holy Dargah of Imam Shadhili, Humaithara, Egypt

The Shadhili Tariqa is a Sufi order founded by Abu-l-Hassan ash-Shadhili. Followers (murids Arabic: seekers) of the Shadhiliya are often known as Shadhilis.

It has historically been of importance and influence in North Africa and Egypt with many contributions to Islamic literature. Among the figures most known for their literary and intellectual contributions are Ibn 'Ata Allah, author of the Hikam, and Shaykh Ahmed Zarruq, author of numerous commentaries and works, and Sheikh ibn Ajibah who also wrote numerous commentaries and works. In poetry expressing love of Muhammad, there have been the notable contributions of al-Jazuli, author of the "Dala'il al-Khayrat", and Busiri, author of the famous poem, the Poem of the Mantle. Many of the head lecturers of al-Azhar University in Cairo have also been followers of this tariqa.

Of the various branches of the Shadhili tariqa are the Fassiyatush, found largely in India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. The Darqawi branch is found mostly in Morocco and the Alawiyya (no connection to the Turkish or Syrian Alawi or Alevi groups) which originated in Algeria is now found the world over, particularly in Syria, Jordan, France and among many English-speaking communities. British scholar, Martin Lings wrote an extensive biography of the founder of this branch, Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi, entitled 'A Sufi Saint of the 20th century' (ISBN 0-946621-50-0)

The Swedish impressionist painter and Sufi scholar Ivan Aguéli (1869-1917) was the first official Moqaddam (representative) of the Shadhili Order in Western Europe. Aguéli initiated René Guénon (1886-1951) into the Shadhili tariqa. [1] Guénon went on to write a number of influential books on tradition and modernity. [2]



The Darqawiyya, a Moroccan branch of the Shadhili order, was founded in the late 18th century CE by Muhammad al-Arabi al-Darqawi. Selections from the Letters of Shaykh al-Darqawi have been translated by the Shadhili initiate Titus Burckhardt, and also by the scholar Ayesha Bewley.[3][4] One of the first tariqas to be established in the West was the 'Alawiya branch of the Darqawiyya, [5] which was named after Shaykh Ahmad ibn Mustafa al-'Alawi al-Mustaghanimi, popularly known as Shaykh al-Alawi. "A significant book about him, written by Martin Lings, is A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century."[1]

The Maryamiyya branch of the Shadhiliyya Order was founded by Shaykh 'Isa Nur al-Din Ahmad or Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998), a European disciple of Shaykh Ahmad al-'Alawi, who established the Order in Europe and North America. [6] [7] Some of Schuon's most eminent students include, Titus Burckhardt (1908-1984) and Martin Lings (1909-2005), author of the aforementioned text, A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century and the universally acclaimed biography of the Prophet, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. [8] Schuon also wrote several outstanding books on Islam including, Understanding Islam, Dimensions of Islam, and Sufism: Veil and Quintessence, [9] as well as a number of books on the Perennial Philosophy. [10]

"The 'Attasiyah Order is a branch of the 'Alawi Order. It is centered in Yemen but also has centeres in Pakistan, India, and Myanmar. The 'Alawiya order in Yemen has recently been studied by the anthropologist David Buchman. In his article "The Underground Friends of God and Their Adversaries: A Case Study and Survey of Sufism in Contemporary Yemen", Professor Buchman summarizes the results of his six month period of fieldwork in Yemen. The article was originally published in the journal Yemen Update, vol. 39 (1997), pp. 21-24."[1]

Another figure is "Shaykh Abdalqadir al-Murabit, a Scottish convert to Islam, whose lineage is Shadhili-Darqawi. Currently his order is known as the Murabitun. At other times his order has been known as the Darqawiyya and Habibiya. One of the first books that Shaykh Abdalqadir wrote was The Book of Strangers, which he authored under the name Ian Dallas. For a brief anecdote of Shaykh Abdalqadir in the early 1970s, go" here.[1]

"Another contemporary order deriving, in part, from Shaykh Abdalqadir al-Murabit is the al-Haydariyah al-Shadhiliyah, headed by Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri. Of Shi'ite descent, Shaykh Fadhlalla teaches within neither a Shi'i nor a Sunni framework."[1]

There is another branch of the Shadhili-Darqawi Order known as the Shadhili-Darqawi-Hashimi branch, which is firmly established in both Damascus and Jordan. This branch of the Shadhili tariqa was established through Sheikh Muhammad al-Hashimi al-Tilmisani who, as a young man, migrated from North Africa to Damascus with his spiritual guide (murshid), who was a disciple of Sheikh Ahmad al-'Alawi (see above Martin Lings). Sheikh Muhammad al-Hashimi received his authorization (ijaza) to be a murshid of the Shadhili tariqa from Sheikh Ahmad al-'Alawi when the latter was visiting Damascus in the early 1920s.

Perhaps the most well known spiritual guides (murshideen) in the West of this branch of the Shadhili tariqa are Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller and Sheikh Muhammad al Yaqoubi. The former is an American convert to Islam who resides in Amman, Jordan. Some of his writings are available here. His official website is here. The latter, Sheikh al Yaqoubi, traces his lineage in the tariqa through his father and grandfather.

"Between October 17-26, 1999 the First International Shadhilian Festival occurred in Egypt. It concluded with a pilgrimage to the tomb of Abu 'l-Hasan al-Shadhili and involved Sufi gatherings of dhikr" and the singing of qasidas, or classical poetry.[1]



On Christianity

It has been suggested that the Shadhili school was influential on St. John of the Cross, in particular on his account of the dark night of the soul and via Ibn Abbad al-Rundi.

This influence has been suggested by Miguel Asín Palacios[2] and developed by others,[3] who suggests that Ibn Abbad al-Rundi, who draw detailed connections between their teachings.

Other scholars, such as José Nieto, argue that these mystical doctrines are quite general, and that while similarities exist between the works of St. John and Ibn Abbad and other Shadhilis, these reflect independent development, not influence.[4]

The Spiritual Chain

The silsila of the Shadhili order is as follows[5]:


  1. ^ a b c d e Alan Godlas, "Sufism, Sufis, and Sufi Orders: Sufism's Many Paths"
  2. ^ "Un precursor hispano musulman de San Juan de la Cruz", which was later reprinted in Huellas del Islam (1941), at 235-304. An English translation was made by Douglas and Yoder as Saint John of the Cross and Islam (New York: Vantage 1981).
  3. ^ For further research which develops the work of Miguel Asín Palacios, see Luce López-Baralt's book, San Juan de la Cruz y el Islam (1985, 1990).
  4. ^ José Nieto, Mystic Rebel Saint. A study of Saint John of the Cross (Geneva: Droz 1979) at 25-27. Cf., Swietlicki, Spanish Christian Cabala (1986) at 184.
  5. ^

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