The earliest Sufi tariqa or order was founded by Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani who died in Baghdad, Iraq in 1166 AD. The Sufis of the Qadiriya tariqa laid great stress on the purification of the self. In their philosophy, purification of the mirror of the heart from rust of the carnal, animal and satanic qualities is the essential part of one's spiritual journey. The Sufis maintained that the human soul came from the world of command and is capable of reflecting the Divine Light, but due to impurities of the self, it does not do so. “If a mirror becomes rusty it cannot reflect any form placed before it, but when the rust is removed, it begins to reflect clearly. Thus if the mirror of the heart is clean, the beauty of the Beloved (Allah) reflects in it and one can see this in the personality of the seeker, inwardly and outwardly.”

The Qadiri order spread to Africa in the fifteenth century. Like other orders or schools of mysticism, the Qadiriya includes some emotional mystical elements, but it also stresses learning and Islamic education as the way to find God. All members of the Qadiriya are directed to follow the precepts of humility, generosity, and respect for their neighbors regardless of religious beliefs or social standing.

The Qadiriya is the largest and most highly organized brotherhood in
Mauritania. It has two main branches there, the Sidiya and the Fadeliya. The Sidiya has been most influential in the vicinity of Trarza, where the family and followers of Shaykh Sidiya Baba, the brotherhood's founder, were centered. It has also been important in Brakna, Tagant, and Adrar. The Fadeliya, founded in the early 19th C by Mohammad Fadel, has been centered in Oualata and Atar.

References : Qadiri Rifai Sufi Order

The Qadiriya Sufi Way

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