The order's founder is Abu 'l Hasan 'Ali al-Shadhali (d.1258) whose tomb is at Humaythra on Egypt's Red Sea   Most of al-Shadhali's teachings are to be found in the writings of his disciples. These have the purpose of instilling in his followers a higher sense of morality. His ethical system is underpinned by five principles:
1. fear of Allah in secret and open;
2. adherence to the Prophet's Sunna in word and deed:
3. contempt of humankind in prosperity and adversity;
4. resignation to the will of God in things great and small;
5. having recourse to God in joy and sorrow.

History and Development

Shadhaliyyah emerged in Tunis, North Africa in the thirteenth century, and is named after its "founder" al Shadhali. It would seem that it was not al-Shadhali's intention to establish a new order since he discouraged his followers from abandoning their normal trades and professions for the sake of spiritual pursuit.

The same could be said of al-Shadhali's successor , 'Abu 'l-'Abbas al Mursi , since the latter does not appear to have erected any buildings for his followers. This absence of buildings during the order's early period makes it difficult to discern how the community developed at this stage of its history. The first group of adherents probably lived in Tunisia. From there the order moved to Cairo and then Syria.

In the course of the order's history a number of offshoots developed. In the fifteenth century a reformed Shadilih order called al-Jazuliyyah emerged in Morrocco. From this order two further branches came into existence: the 'Isawiyyah (famous for its sword-slashing ritual) and the Darqawiyyah of Morrocco.


Shadliliyah beliefs fall strictly within orthodox Islamic doctrine.  The Shadhiliya derives from the tariqat of Abu Madyan Shu'ayb (d. 594 AH/1198 CE), whose tomb is in Tlemcen, Algeria. A recent book, The Way of Abu Madyan, by the scholar Vincent Cornell, provides his biography, a discussion of his teachings, and a number of texts written by Abu Madyan and translated into English along with the original Arabic. 

Some of the traditional Sufi masters, especially those of the Shadhiliyah order, have used the geometric symbol of a circle to depict the relation between these fundamental dimensions of Islam of Sharî`ah, Haqîqah and Tarîqah

 Shadhiliyah Today

Today the community continues to flourish in Algeria, Tunisia and Morrocco;  branches are spread throughout North Africa and the Arab world. It has also become established in Europe and the United States. One shaykh who has brought the Shadhiliya to the U.S. is Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal ar-Rifa'i as-Shadhili, (links fixed 21 December 2005) whose organization has established the Sidi Muhammad Press website, which contains information about the principles of Sidi Shaykh al-Jamal's teachings concerning the Shadhili order. 

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