Sidi Ishaq and Meditations on Baraka

Sidi Ishaq and Meditations on Baraka

The zaouia/koubba of Sidi Ishaq is located beautifully on the Atlantic coast.  It is a short caleche ride along sandy tracks from the small town of Sidi Ishaq some 3 miles inland.  The caleche park is situated in the centre of the town just off the R301 which dramatically follows the coast as far north as Safi.

 

The final stage of the journey,  when the koubba can first be seen against the surf and the track drops down to the small sandy delta of the dried up river,  is spectacular.

 

I can find no information about Sidi Ishaq,  other than the shrine is a part of the Regraga annual pilgrimage throughout the Chiadme region.

 

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Sidi Ouasmine  :  The Sultan of Regraga

Sidi Ouasmine : The Sultan of Regraga

The annual pilgrimage around the locality of Essaouira every spring is called ‘ Regraga’,  a name which also describes the group of Chorfa ( a darija word denoting noble religious leaders descending from the Prophet Mohamed otherwise known as Sharif )  who make the pilgrimage annually.

The Regragas originate from Chiadma,  a region located on the Atlantic coast between Safi and Essaouira in the south of Morocco.  They are the descendants of the saint apostles of Islam who,  legend suggest, learnt the new religion of Islam on a visit to Mecca.  Here they were told by the Prophet to spread Islam to the Maghreb.  Every spring (March-April) the descendants carry out a pilgrimage which lasts 39 days and visits 44 sacred places in the region. Pilgrims visit a series of local shrines, from the mouth of the Tensift river south of Safi to the northern outskirts of the High Atlas, including the city of Essaouira .

The Pilgrimage contains two groups;  one group stops at every shrine on the way where they build a holy tent of palm fibres which is then dyed with henna.  The other group arrives in procession with a moqadem (religious leader) riding a white horse.

The Daour  (tour) of Regraga starts in the zaouia of Sidi Abdellah ou Hmad in Akermoud and concludes in Sidi Messaoud Boutritiche  in the town of Had Dra .

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Pilgrimage : Moulay Brahim and the Gnaoua

Pilgrimage : Moulay Brahim and the Gnaoua

“You will fly over the ocean,” he continued, “by the power of baraka, the blessing of Sidi Moulay Brahim,  tair lajbal, indicating the spirit bird that flies over the Atlas Mountains”

Memoir of a Berber by Hassan Ouakrim

The young girl got up from the cushion and stood beside the figure in colourful, flowing robes already dancing directly in front of the line of musicians. The low monotone of the hajhuj and the rhythmic clacking of the qraqebs crackled through the cold November air.  She imbibed heavily from a white cloud of burning incense and a cloth of colour was placed over her head. Blind, her own dance joined that of the dancing figure beside her.

The girl was endeavouring to cure or treat a ‘malady’ of some description,  either by invoking or pleasing benevolent spirits or by propitiating malicious ones.  She was entering trance,  a dissociative state which permits the fording of dimensions between this world and the world of the troublesome, mischievous jinn.

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