Aḥmad al-Badawī
Wali al-Qutb
Mystic, Jurist
Born1200 CE (596 AH)
Fez, Almohad Caliphate
(present-day Morocco)
Died1276 CE (674 AH)
Tanta, Mamluk Sultanate
(present-day Egypt)
Venerated inBy all those traditional Sunni Muslims who venerate saints
Major shrineMosque of Aḥmad al-Badawī, Tanta, Egypt
FeastA few days every October (mawlid)
Tradition or genre
Sunni Islam
(Jurisprudence: Shafi'i)[1][2]

Aḥmad al-Badawī (Arabic: أحمد البدوى IPA: [ˈæħmæd elˈbædæwi]), also known as Al-Sayyid al-Badawī (السيد البدوى, [esˈsæjjed-, elˈsæjjed-]), or as al-Badawī for short, or reverentially as Shaykh al-Badawī by Sunni Muslims who venerate saints,[3] was a 13th-century Arab[3] Sufi Muslim mystic who became famous as the founder of the Badawiyyah order of Sufism. Born in Fes, Morocco to a Bedouin tribe originally from the Syrian Desert,[3][4] al-Badawi eventually settled for good in Tanta, Egypt in 1236, whence he developed a posthumous reputation as "One of the greatest saints in the Arab world"[5][3] As al-Badawi is perhaps "the most popular of Muslim saints in Egypt", his tomb has remained a "major site of visitation" for Muslims in the region.[6]


According to several medieval chronicles, al-Badawi hailed from an Arab tribe of Syrian origin.[3] A Sunni Muslim by persuasion, al-Badawi entered the Rifaʽi sufi order (founded by the renowned Shafi'i mystic and jurist Ahmad al-Rifaʽi [d. 1182]) in his early life,[3] being initiated into the order at the hands of a particular Iraqi teacher.[3] After a trip to Mecca, al-Badawi is said to have travelled to Iraq, "where his sainthood [is believed to have] clearly manifested itself" through the karamat "miracles" he is said to have performed.[3]

Eventually al-Badawi went to Tanta in the Sultanate of Egypt, where he settled for good in 1236.[3] According to the various traditional biographies of the saint's life, al-Badawi gathered forty disciples around him during this period, who are collectively said to have "dwelt on the city's rooftop terraces,"[3] whence his spiritual order were informally named the "roof men" (aṣḥāb al-saṭḥ) in the vernacular.[3] Al-Badawi died in Tanta in 1276, being seventy-six years old.[3]

Spiritual lineage

As with every other major Sufi order, the Badawiyya proposes an unbroken spiritual chain of transmitted knowledge going back to Muhammad through one of his Companions, which in the Badawi's case is Ali (d. 661).[7] In this regard, Idries Shah quotes al-Badawi: "Sufi schools are like waves which break upon rocks: [they are] from the same sea, in different forms, for the same purpose."[8] [9]

See also


  1. ^ ʿAbd al-Samad al-Miṣrī, al-Jawāhir al-saniyya fī l-karāmāt wa-l-nisba al-Aḥmadiyya, Cairo 1277/1860–1
  2. ^ Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen, Al-Sayyid Aḥmad al-Badawî. Un grand saint de l'Islam égyptien, Cairo 1994
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Mayeur-Jaouen, Catherine. al-Sayyid "al-Badawī, al-Sayyid (search results)". In Fleet, Kate; Krämer, Gudrun; Matringe, Denis; Nawas, John; Rowson, Everett (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam (3rd ed.). Brill Online. ISSN 1873-9830. ((cite encyclopedia)): Check |url= value (help)
  4. ^ ʿAbd al-Wahhab b. Aḥmad al-Shaʿrānī, Lawāqih al-anwār fī tabaqāt al-akhyār and al-Tabaqāt al-kubrā (Beirut 1988), 1:183
  5. ^ "Hazrat Sayyidina Ahmad al-Badawi", aalequtub
  6. ^ Irving Hexham, The Concise Dictionary of Religion (Regend, 1993), p. 14
  7. ^ Bosworth, C.E. (1960–2005). "Rifāʿiyya". The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition (12 vols.). Leiden: E. J. Brill.
  8. ^ Galin, Müge (1997). Between East and West: Sufism in the Novels of Doris Lessing. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. pp. xix, 5–8, 21, 40–41, 101, 115. ISBN 0-7914-3383-8.
  9. ^ Taji Farouki and Nafi, Basheer M., Suha (2004). Islamic Thought in the Twentieth Century. London, UK/New York, NY: I.B.Tauris Publishers. p. 123. ISBN 1-85043-751-3.

Further reading