Muslim Countries of the World: Morocco

Essaouira-Morocco

Sunni Islam and Maliki madhhab fiqh is the state religion in Morocco. The spread of Islam in Morocco (in northern Africa, in the Maghreb, a geographical area that includes Morocco on the Atlantic coast and following it along the Mediterranean coast Algeria, Tunisia, Libya) has long roots.

In 682, the commander of the Umayyad Caliphs, Uqba ibn Nafi, conquered Morocco and included it in the Caliphate. This was the impetus for the spread of Islam. Islam in Morocco, as in other parts of the Maghreb, had to fight the pre-Islamic beliefs and customs prevalent among the Berbers. 100 years after the Arab conquest, the lands of Morocco separated from the Caliphate, since then their own dynasties ruled here. In the 11th-12th centuries, Morocco was the heart of the state of the Almoravids, and then the Almohads, the Islamic states that took particular care in respect of the purification of Islam from errors and novelties, preserved the purity and rigour of faith and adherence to the laws of Sharia. Morocco reached its greatest power in the 16th-17th centuries under Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur. In the 17th century, it was replaced by the current dynasty of the Alawites. Having survived a period of internal turmoil and pirate domination, Morocco at the beginning of the 20th century fell into the hands of France, from which it gained independence in 1956.

‘Islam Morocco Style’ is a combination of three components: Sunni Maliki madhhab, Ashari school of Kalam (Muslim philosophy) and Sufism. All of these ingredients are superimposed on the traditional Moroccan openness and interaction with different cultures and civilizations and convey the widely promoted Moroccan flexibility and moderation. Sufism promotes another Moroccan Islamic value, that of silence in prayer and worship of Allah. Peace and quiet, this is what the state and the spiritual leader of Moroccan Muslims, King Mohammed VI, strive for. It is he, not the Mufti, who is the head of the Muslims in the country. As the leader of the Muslims, he bears the title ‘Amir al-Muminin’ (Head of the Muslims). His responsibilities include maintaining a balance between all currents of Islam in the country. Nevertheless, the king himself sees a special role in the life of the Sufi tariqas and does his best to maintain contacts with the Sufi organizations of West Africa. In particular, in Morocco, the Tijaniya tariqa plays an important role. The tariqa itself was founded in the Moroccan city of Fez. Here is located the tomb of its founder, Ahmed Tijani, to which tens of thousands of pilgrims flock every year. Moroccan Muslims often travel to Tijani celebrations in the capital of neighboring Senegal, Dakar, where the tariqa is also influential.

The second person among the Muslims of the country is the Minister of Islamic Affairs and Waqfs (property of Islamic institutions). This post is held by Ahmed Toufiq, a follower of the Boutchichiya Sufi tariqa. The appointment of an adherent of Sufism to the state post once again demonstrates the role that this school of Islam plays in the country.

The King of Morocco and the country’s authorities strongly reject any manifestation of extremism and religious intolerance, the King has repeatedly stressed that Morocco was, is and will be a country with democratic traditions in Islam and with respect for the principles of tolerance laid down in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet.