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Sufi Islam


Doctrines As a tariqa, the Badawiyyah lacks any distinct doctrines. It has produced no major teachers or writers; instead it is a popular cult whose conduct has always been subject to the censure of the Ulama.

History The Badawiyyah was founded in the thirteenth century in Egypt by Ahmad al-Badawi (1199-1276). As a young man al-Badawi distinguished himself from his contemporaries through his devotion and spirituality. In 1236 he had a vision which 'summoned' him to visit the tombs of various sufis in Iraq. After returning to Egypt he gathered a group of disciples in Tanta and established a reputation for miracles, mysticism and saintly conduct. On one occasion he stood motionless on the roof of a house staring at the sun until his eyes went red and sore, taking on the colour of glowing coals. On other occasions he would maintain a prolonged silence or indulged in continuous screaming. Once he went without food or drink for forty days. In addition to his mystical insights, al-Badawi distinguished himself through stirring up resistance against the Christian crusaders who were attacking Egypt in the thirteenth century.
Following the death of the founder the order spread beyond Egypt into Tunisia, Syria, and Turkey. By the eighteenth century it had extended as far as the Persian Gulf and India.
The cult continues to the present day with Tanta as its centre. Its high point in the year is a week long festival which attracts thousands of visitors. Government officials also attend this gathering. Throughout Egypt prayers are addressed to al- Badawi and feasts are celebrated in his honour in Tanta, Cairo and various villages throughout Egypt. Educated Muslims and leading scholars tend to dismiss the festival as an example of popular superstition.

Symbols The Badawiyyah wear a red patched robe (known as a khirka). They are distinguished through the wearing of a red turban.

Adherents There are no figures which identify the size of the order. The followers of Ahmad al-Badawi are also called Amadiyyah and are found throughout and beyond Egypt.

Main Centre
 Tanta in Egypt.