They say “If the Middle East is the cradle of Prophets, Morocco the land of Saints” If your journey is to seek the sacred and the esoteric then this spiritual trip to Morocco fro groups and private journeys is ideal for you.
Sufism, this venue of education and spiritual teaching, considered to be the heart of the faith of Islam, was first defused informally before it was progressively structured around the 11th century. Historically, the transmission of this teaching is done, from the 13th century down through spiritual centers that earned by merit to preserve the norms of culture, sociability and spirituality proper to Islam in an era of dislocation of Muslim world, particularly under the impact of Mongol invasions. These centers in fact have known how to preserve a message of universal spirituality that has nourished the Muslim culture and not only enhanced its artistic and literary expressions, but also its social and economic advancements. For centuries Sufism has inspired simultaneously the organization, and the ethical and spiritual charters of guilds of crafts throughout the Muslim world. Join our group packaged tours to Morocco for 2021 and 2022.
Endowed in natural beauty, the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert give travelers a one-of-a-kind spiritual experience as they discover the country’s wide array of sacred traditions and spiritual cultures, whether for Muslim travel or Jewish travel discoveries. Our extraordinary Muslim or Jewish trips will bring you so close to heaven that you will wonder whether you have truly remained on earth. When one thinks of high mountains and vast deserts, Morocco should immediately come to mind, offering some of the most impressive and historic sacred sites in urban areas or Atlas Mountains and Sahara desert spiritual centers. Additionally, its indigenous populations of Berbers and Moors of Muslim faith or Jewish heritage offer thought-provoking insight into ancient sacred teaching that could help remarkably the world today.
Upon your arrival at the Mohamed V Airport in Marrakech, you will meet your guide, and travel immediately to your hotel. Relax in the morning then your guide will take to explore the sites of the seven saints of Marrakech. This city is even called Seven Saints City for the Baraka these shrines hold in Islamic Sufi history. Your guide will take you to them one by one.
Way back, the Regraga tribe had seven saints. There is, however, one difference in the fact that their saints were from the same tribe while the saints in Marrakech came from different areas and backgrounds. There is a derb called Sidi Nafaa where a small mausoleum has seven tombs lying next to each other. sThey are too old that their story and history have been forgotten. Marrakech is always referred to as the city of Seven Saints. These Most renowned Seven holy men came from Andalusia since 1083 but they took on significant importance during the Saadians 16th century Dunasty. To the point where the body of M.S Jazouli was moved from the South to be reburied in Safi, then moved again to Marrakech where his Marabou exists today.
Chronologically the Seven Saints of Marrakech are as follow:
1- Cadi Ayad : A scholar who lived during Almoravid era. Professor and Judge both in Ceuta and other Andalousian cities. He was exiled from Ceuta when the Almoravids clashed with its inhabitants as he was considered a leader of the uprising. He late returned to Marrakech where he pursued his teaching and stayed as a judge until his death in 544 hejir (1185 A.D)
2- Aboukassim Abdurrahmane Souhaily: Born in Andalusia where he spent his youth before moving to Marrakech. He is a scholar, Imam, Fakih, linguist and a poet. All these qualities are being added to the skills of a good musician and a good lute player. He lost his eyesight at the age of 17. He was appreciated by the Moroccan Sultan Abou Yaakoub Youssuf Ibn Abdelmoumen and has written many books in various fields. He died in Marrakech in 578 (1195 A.D).
3- Youssuf Ben Ali Senhaji: Born and studied in Marrakech. He lived during Almoahad Area when it was widespread. He was not considered a scholar, he was famous for his patience and endurance of pain as he had a bad case of leperacy. He was also a great healer from physical pains and was a good speaker. His long endurance of his pain made him special enough to be considered a saint. He died in 583 H (1199 A.D.)
4- Abou El Abbas Sebti: Born in Ceuta and moved to Marrakech to seek knowledge. He spent 40 long years alone on a hill adjacent to the city called Jbel Gueliz (the mountain of Gueliz). He was known for helping the poor and the destitute and his legacy still lives today as his tomb is the meeting place of most of the blind. He died in 601 H (1212 A.D).
5- Mohamed Ben Slimane Jazouli: showed the ultimate love for the Prophet Mohammed and wrote poems and books on the subject. He was a master in communication and convincing and thus he had many followers, some of which will become saints in their own right. He created 11 "Zaouias" gathering places for both religious and ideological thinking. These zaouias combined spiritually with a sense of martyrdom against the Portuguese and the Spanish that were occupying some Moroccan enclaves. He established a well executed political program to fight the foreign invaders, but because of his leadership and charisma, he was poisoned in 875 H (1471 A.D). He immediately became a legend and saint after his death.
6- Abdelaziz Ben Abdellah Tebbaa: A student of Jazouli. He followed his family's profession and was a silk merchant. He studied partly in Fes and established his own Zaouia that later became part of the Jazouli Zaouia. He died in 914 H (1508 A.D.)
7- Abdullah Ibn Ajjal Ghazouani: Another student of Tebbaa, who built three Zaouias. He was very much involved with agriculture especially at a time of drought and correspondence with scholars both in Morocco and abroad. He died in 935 H (1528 A.D.) Dhikr and gatherings are held every afternoon in these shrines for you to enjoy invocations and sharing time with other mureeds. It is open for man and wemoen. However you can’t cover this in one day we will spread it for the three days you will be in Marrakech.
Continue exploring the marvels of Marrakech. The afternoon will be devoted to visit the Zaouia of Sid Lghazouani Moul L’aksour for an afternoon gathering dhikr. It is inside the medina so it will give you also an idea of the typical colorful ambiance of the Old Marrakech.
North of Meknes is Volubilis, a well-preserved Roman city, where archaeologists found the first traces of Jewish settlement in Morocco. The near-by town of Moulay Idriss contains a mausoleum commemorating the founder of the first Muslim state in Morocco, Idriss I, who oppressed the Jews, forcing many of them to convert. Further North is Ouezzane, a town controlled by an important Muslim fraternity who encouraged Jewish traders and agriculturists to live near-by. East of Ouezzane is the village of Azjen, where the tomb of the most important Jewish saint, Amram Ben Diwane, is found. The Lag B'Omer pilgrimages to his grave attract hundreds of Jews from both inside and beyond Morocco. Later in the afternoon we will cross the hills of Zgotta, and continue onward to Fez where you will be provided with dinner and accommodations at your hotel.
Morning excursion to the rural areas of Ourika valley to visit a remote shrine of Setti Fadma in the peaks of Mount Igan n Warg a sanctuary facing the waterfalls of Tissili. E njoy the natural sites that surround this shrine isolated in the Atlas Moutains. Time will be devoted for meditation and prayers. On our way back we will stop at Shlimo Be Lhench, one of the most venerated shrine to Moroccan Jews. Return to Marrakech in the afternoon for another visit to the Zaouiia of shekh al Jazouli in the medina of Marrakech meet with Jazouli Sheikh at the Zaouia to share a dhikr based on the Jazouli Wadhifa . Sheikh al Jazouli is known in the whole Islamic world for his most complete book (Dala’il al Khayrat) “The Guides to Goodness” most complete prazes of Prophet Mohamed and all the other prophets and Messengers mentioned in the Qoran.
Your drive will come to your hotel to take to tinghir and on all the way to Fez. You will spend most of your day en route to Ouarzazate, stopping in Taddart and Tizi Tishka pass, at an altitude of 11,000 feet. The pass divides the mountains into two distinct facets: the harsh, starkside acting as a shield that protects the hinterland from the harsh, dry expansion of the Sahara, and a lush side, soft and evergreen, which collects the moisture from the Gherbi winds of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition you will explore the legendary Kasbah of Aït-Benhaddou, a renowned architectural marvel. You will arrive in Ouarzazate, where one large oasis intercepts the flow of water between the Dadès, the Drâa valleys, and the majestic High Atlas Mountains. You will depart for Tinghir. On the way, you will explore the Dades Valley, traveling through El Kelaâ De Mgouna and Boumalne to view the inimitable natural vistas and unusual rock formations. Upon your arrival in Tinghir, you will visit the Zaouia of Lamrani for a Naciri Dhikr then conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations at your Kasbah.
After breakfast, you will travel to Erfoud, one of the most delightful southern regions consisting of a dry, red belt of desert with a sudden drop into the lush valley of Ziz, with copious date palm groves and flowing streams. To get there, you will travel through the Dadès valley, where in the spring, thousands of Persian roses bloom in hedgerows, filling the air with their heavenly perfume. You will also see the thousands of Kasbahs scattered along the Dadès River, majestic sandcastles with a visually appealing, timeless beauty. Only 15 kilometers from Tinghir, you will find the Todras, the highest, narrowest gorges in the region. You will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations in your hotel in Rissani. Explore the ancient, holy oasis of Rissani. Moulay Ali Shriff is most venerated in this city ancestor of the ruling Alaouite Dynasty. Visit his shrine and his ancient library also not to be missed is the Zaouia Naciria most respected in the Sahara desert. There, you will visit the ruins of Sijilmassa, remnants of the first Arab and Islamic city of Morocco, and the prehistoric fossils present throughout the desert.
With its indescribable beauty, watching the sun as it rises over the spectacular Merzouga dunes is an experience that should not be missed. Afterward, you will eat breakfast with the Tuaregs and continue onward to Fez. You will depart in the morning for Fez, stopping in Midelt for lunch as you enjoy the dramatic site before you: the Middle Atlases give way to the High Atlas Mountains, whose peaks are visible through the haze, soaring to over 12,000 feet. Continuing onward, you will spend your day discovering the rural environs of the Atlas Mountains’ Berbers. Covered with evergreen pines, tall cedar trees, and poplars, and laced with flowing streams, the Middle Atlases will appear oddly un-Moroccan. We will stop at Zaouiet Sheikh and make a ziyyara of the Sanctuary of the pioneer of Sufism in North Africa Sidi Ya’Ata Bouazza. You will soon come across Azrou, an important market center for the region’s Berber tribes that is located at a major junction of mountain routes. You will continue traveling until you reach Fez, where you will conclude your day with dinner and other accommodations at your hotel.
After breakfast, your guide will meet you at the lobby to take on a monumental tour of this Fascinating City. Fez stimulates the senses with its haunting yet beautiful sounds, visual splendor, and evocative smells. The most ancient of imperial capitals and the most complete medieval city of the Islamic world, Fez is reminiscent of a city suspended in time, unfazed by the constantly evolving world outsides its walls, this is by far the city of saints and a treasure of Sufism teaching.
Time spent in Fez will reveal much about the sophistication of the Moroccan artisan, providing an unparalleled learning experience to those who cross its path. Your morning will be spent visiting the Medina. Our specialized guide will take you on a historic discovery of the city of Fez starting at the Kings Palace and its Meshwar with ramparts and majestic gates in the Jewish quarter a 15th century citadel with all its Moorish maze architecture and medieval glory. Visits to Sephardic synagogues and mausoleums of holy Rabbis will be the highlights of the part of town. Then we will drive to the Merinides hill to visit their necropolis where you will enjoy the best panoramic view on the Old walled Medina, brimful with all its countless minarets to call for the prayers in a city that has responded to these calls for 12 centuries. Drive down the hills to the gate of Bab Guissa to leave your vehicle and enter a world that belongs to an ancient time. Fez has conserved its integrity to its existence and the Medina is still as it was centuries ago. Not even a bicycle is able to be used as tool of transportation. Only donkeys, mules and horses are able to help moving all what the city produces and needs as supplies. The first guilds you will immediately encounter are the cobblers, the saddlers and black smiths interlaced by some caravansaries for tribesmen who come from the surrounding areas to trade and supply their needs. Down the hill to Juteya you will encounter all sorts of crafts but noticeably carpenters and leather workers as one of the traditional tanneries is not far. This walk will lead you to El ashabine square with its different activities. From there we will wind our way to the Sgha square which will lead us to Attarine then souk el henna and the Mausoleum of Moulay Idris the founder of Fez. Next to it, you will visit the Nejjarine square with its famous fountain, its guild of carpentry, the museum of folk arts at the Fondouk, the tannery and on to visit the great Mosque university of Al Quarrawiyyine, passing by the market of dried fruits, the Medersa Attarine to Sbetryyine book binders the Seffarine Square where the tapping of metalworkers is still deafening passerby as it was the case for centuries. You will break for lunch then continue exploring the marvels of Fez Medina. These will highlight the Dyers souk, Foundouk Tetouani, the shrine of Sidi Ahmed Tijani and up by foundouk Lihoudi where a family will host you for a traditional mint tea in their home. Here you have all the choices to chose your zaouia for dhikr. As there dhikrs every afternoon after Asr at Sidi Ahmed Tijani, Moulay Idris , Sidi Abdelakader Jilani Zaouia, Sidi Ahmed Chaoui, Zaouira Boutchichia, and many others you will visit on your way, Sidi Ali Lajamal Zawiyya, a renowned Sufi from 17th century. He is from the Shadhuli path. We will all participate in their evening invocation.
Continue exploring the marvels of Fez visiting sufi sites and zaouias in the old city and the outskirts. Not to miss Ibnu Arabi house in the Medina. We will have a traditional Sadaqa Lunch over the hills of Mount Zalagh at Sidi Ahmed Barnoussi Zaouia. He is the founder of the Zerrouki Tarika and author of many books on alchemy and the science of Kalam. Famous for his book “the meanings of Allahs attributes”.
Volubilis is impressively well preserved and the genius of Roman urbanism is still intact. The two central integral streets in every Roman castrum, the Cardo and Decumanus, are prominent. The cardo is the boulevard which runs north-south and the Decumanus, east-west. The intersection of the two is the heart of every roman city. There you will find the ruins of the ancient forum. Jumping forward in time and just few minutes away is the venerated citadel of Moulay Idris, founded in the 8th century by Moulay Idris Al Akbar, grandson of the Prophet Mohamed (s.a.w.s). This citadel is considered to be both the cradle of Sufism to Moroccan society as well as the first Islamic capital for the premier Arab dynasty. Created primarily for the indigenous population, the citadel of Moulay Idris has become a central destination for those who cannot afford to make the pilgrimage to Mekkah for the Hajj duty. The next stop is the imperial city of Meknes.
Finally you have reached your destination, the ninth century city of Fez. In the evening, you will get a taste of the greatest of the Islamic Cities. You will visit the sights on the outside of great walled the city which includes: the ramparts, the gates, and the Borjs (Moorish Forts). After this introductory day to early Sufism in Morocco you will retreat back to your riad in the Medina of Fez
Take an early morning excursion to Moulay Abdessalam teacher of Abu Lhassan Shadhuli Founder of the Shadhuli Tarika the largest in the world today. Moulay Abdessalam is a unique Sufi Master known for his strong felt Baraka. He did not leave much literature but his Salat Mashishia is most significant, compact in words and so vast in meaning. Many other Sufis devoted their lives to decifer it or extract from much wisdom and diverse learning. He is buried in the remote Riff Moutains. We will also visit on our way the holy city of Ouazzane and its Dar Dmana shrines. Today is a day to treasure forever.
Transfer to the airport for your Return flight back home .