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Idrisi

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The Islamic World: Past and Present What is This? Accessible coverage of Islam from the seventh century to the twenty-first century

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    Idrisi

    The term Idrisi refers to a Sufi spiritual tradition based on the writings and teachings of Moroccan scholar Ahmad ibn Idris ( ca. 1749– 1837 ). His followers later established Muslim brotherhoods and schools to spread the tradition. Idrisi also refers to a specific religious order that was founded by Ahmad ibn Idris's son some 40 years after Ibn Idris's death.

    Ibn Idris was a teacher who wrote numerous prayers and recitations. In his writings, he attacked authority and emphasized the individual's duty to seek union with God. He opposed schools of Islamic law and philosophers who considered themselves to be higher authorities than the average Muslim. He believed that God alone grants each Muslim an understanding of the Qur'an and sunnah.

    Through his students, Ahmad ibn Idris's teachings spread throughout the Islamic world. The Idrisi tradition reached not only the rest of North Africa and the Middle East, but also India, Sudan, and the East African coast. It eventually spread to Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, most likely carried there by pilgrims returning from Mecca and other holy cities.

    In the mid-1800s, one of Ibn Idris's younger sons, Abd al-Al ( 1830/31– 1878 ), worked actively to continue his father's religious traditions by establishing the Idrisi order. The order remained small and localized in Egypt and Sudan, and it avoided involvement in politics until the early 1900s. Ibn Idris's great-grandson, commonly known as “The Idrisi” ( 1876 – 1923 ), led a successful revolt against the Ottoman Empire and Yemen in 1907 in the Arabian province of Asir and established an Idrisi state there. Between 1908 and 1932 , Asir played an important role in Arabian politics. After the Idrisi died, however, Asir rapidly declined and was eventually absorbed into Saudi Arabia. See also Muslim Brotherhood; Sufism.

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