Sidi Hamza al-Qadiri al-Boutchich

“If man has not entered the ocean and descended into its depths, he will not know what his innermost being contains”

In 1972 Sidi Hamza (1922- ) officially took charge of the spiritual direction of the Tariqa Qadiri Boutchichiya and continued the work which had been begun by his father. He established a more supple spiritual practice than that of classical Sunnite Sufism, traditionally known for its rigour. In Sufi terms, he inaugurated the transition from a teaching of Majesty (Jallal), to one of Beauty (Jamal). In the past, the master would set his disciples difficult trials, thereby enabling them to overcome the limitations of their souls (nafs), and to venerate the spiritual secret (sirr) which they were to receive.

Sidi Hamza tells us that today “The trial is replaced by invocation (dikhr)”, today it is the role of the master, due to his elevated spiritual station (maqqam), to raise his disciple to the highest degrees and spiritual stations, through love (mahabba) and orientation (tawajjuh).

This change can be explained in socio-historic terms: Man’s natural attraction to material; the imbalance between his spirit and body which has altered his religious conscience; the weakening of his spiritual conscience due to the multiplication of the means of distraction at his disposal; and the general destruction of all that is religious.

In the light of such conditions, the weightier demands of more Jallal teachings are no longer appropriate, hence the emphasis on beauty (Jamal). Sufism has simply been adapted to the reality of the modern world.

These reforms, however, do not alter the principles of Sufism. It is simply the method (the pedagogy) which has changed. The Sufi path remains centred upon assiduity and constancy in spiritual practices. The purification of the soul (nafs) and the way to Allah can only be achieved when one is waging a war against the passions of the ego. A war which must be based upon a sound knowledge of the science and its daily application.

Sidi Hamza points out that “All men are slaves of something or other, except those who are internally free. Invoke Allah in order to become free.”

Sidi Hamza is responsible for the spread of Moroccan Sufism beyond the borders of the country itself and across the four continents of the globe. The tariqa today boasts an international membership running into hundreds of thousands.