150 kilos west Marsa Allam in the Red Sea Governorate, at the heart of the desert where normally the human eye can’t detect but the torrent sand, and a few parched human beings, the barren town gets full of passionate Sufi people who annually come to revive the birth memory of their Sufism master, Abu El-Hassan El-Shazly.
At his shrine in Humaithara, where he died during his journey to Hajj, his followers gather every year from different countries across the region at the same time of Muslims Hajj time to through his Mouled; in what they believe gets them a step closer to god.
El-Shazly is one of Sufism’s most popular leaders. He was born in 571 Hujri (1176) in Morocco. Over the years, he established his own Sufi school that is currently the second biggest and most popular Sufi school in the Middle East.
He grew up in Tunisia, and learnt all about FiqhIslamic law from their original masters. He was known for spending months isolated on the top of mountains meditating in the universe.
In his last trip to Hajj, he was accompanied by Abo El-Abas El-Morsey, one of his loyal students and is also a well known pious man.
In his Mouled, El-Sahzly’s partisans follow his trace by climbing the mountain of Humaithara, the last steps of El-Shazly before he closed his eyes for the last time. After spending hours on tricky road trips in order to reach the isolated city, in a bright scene, they come bringing cows and sheep as offerings to attendees while singing Islamic enchantments about the generosity of El-Shazly.
While the Mouled of El-Shazly might appear similar to many other Mouled’s in its ceremonies of slaughtering offerings and singing, it’s still have its uniqueness in the fact that it only host loyal original Sufi followers who travel specially to revive his birth unlike other Moulids which are held in major cities and host many outsiders for entertainment.
El-Shazly was known for his dignity, many historiographers chronicled that he was close to God because he claimed to have seen angels and had spoken to them in his time of isolation.
All photos taken by Asmaa Gamal and Ahmed Hindawy.