This thesis is dedicated to examining and analyzing one of the Sufi works of Shaykh Ahmed b. Mustafa al-‘Alawī (1869-1934) who was born in Mustaghānim in Algeria and is considered to be one of the contemporary Sufi revivalists of the Twentieth century. The testimonies that were attested by many Western and Eastern intellectuals confirm the essentiality and the profound effect of his writings that were spread not only throughout North Africa but also found its way to Europe and took Paris and Marseille as centers for spiritual teachings. Shaykh al-‘Alawī wrote and published between 1910 and 1930 more than ten works and several of them found their way to a second edition. The publication houses varied in location between Algiers, Tunis, Cairo, Damascus and Mustaghānim. Though the relative spread of Shaykh al-‘Alawī's work within the mystic circles, the Western academic spheres rarely discussed his works. Martin Lings found this issue quite "abnormal" as even specialists like Brockelmann did not include Shaykh al-‘Alawī in his catalogue. Lings adds further that a copy of Shaykh al-‘Alawī's writings was not found in the Bibliotheque Nationale or the British Library until recently. There were passing references of Shaykh al-‘Alawī found in the writings of Dermenghem who mentioned him as one of the most celebrated mystic Shaykhs of our time. Also Massignon occasionally made reference to Shaykh al-‘Alawī but it was never more than a passing reference. The first real introduction of Shaykh al-‘Alawī to the Western intellectual world was by Martin Lings through his book "A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century, Shaykh Ahmed al-‘Alawī : his spiritual heritage and legacy". This book was first published in 1961 and went for a second publication in 1971 and a third edition was printed in 1993 by the Islamic Texts Society in Cambridge. An exact half century has passed since the first edition of Ling's introduction of Shaykh al-‘Alawī to the Western academic sphere, since then there was no sufficient treatment of the works and the teachings that were offered by Shaykh al-‘Alawī through his multiple writings. Therefore this thesis is dedicated to studying the life of Shaykh al-‘Alawī through examining closely the different spiritual stages that the wayfarer has to go through in his divine path to God. A historical background of major works dedicated to this subject will be examined and four main sources of reference will be tackled. A separate chapter will be dedicated to discuss the contribution of Shaykh al-‘Alawī on that subject in comparison to major previous works. Our main source of reference is the book of al- Mawād al- Ghaythiyya which is composed of a bundle of aphorisms written by Shaykh Shu'ayb Abū Madyan, who was one of the famous Sufi Gnostics in Tunisia, and the commentaries on them were written by Shaykh al-‘Alawī.


Arab & Islamic Civilizations Department

Degree Name

MA in Arabic Studies

Graduation Date


Submission Date

January 2014

First Advisor

Ahmad, Saiyad Nizamuddin

Committee Member 1

Salem, Abdelrahman

Committee Member 2

Al- Saadi, Hoda


118 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

ʻAlawī, Aḥmad ibn Muṣṭafá, 1869-1934.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2



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