A City founded by a saint – The foundation of Fez


We had now arrived within a stone’s throw distance of the ancient city. Idrīs II, the Arab Chroniclers write,

sketched the ground plan of the city of Fez on a Thursday morning at the beginning of the month of Rabī al-awwāl of the year of the Hijra 192 (808 A.D.). When has was about to begin construction, he lifted up his hands and prayed for it and its inhabitants in the following words:

‘Almighty God, make of it a house of knowledge and of legal science, so that in it Thy Book may always be read and Thy laws observed. Let is inhabitants hold fast to the Book and Sunna, as long as thou shalt preserve it’. And so this city never ceased to be a centre of science and of law… Many and varied are the benefits, blessings and graces that Fez received thanks to the prayer which its founder offered on its behalf, thus echoing the Prophet’s intercession for Medina and Abraham’s intercession for Mecca…

According to tradition, the Kaaba in Mecca was built by Abraham and his son Ishmael, at the very spot where Hagar, wandering in the desert with her infant son, found a spring by divine inspiration. Abraham’s prayer for the inhabitants of the holy city of Mecca is mentioned in the Qur’ān. In the eyes of its inhabitants, Fez, through its foundation, is something of a holy city, and a reflection of the first two cities of Islam, mentioned in the revelation. ‘Apart from Fez,’ writes al-Kattānī, ‘I know of no other Islamic city that is so ancient and so filled with religion and science, that was founded by a true descendant of the family of the Prophet; and the resulting blessing from this has never failed…’ (Salwāt al-Anfās)

An unknown Arab poet has written of it:

The dove gave the town its ring,
The peacock gave it its royal fan,
Its rivers are of purest wine,
And the courtyard of each house is a wine-glass.

(Zahrat al-Ās)


2 thoughts on “A City founded by a saint – The foundation of Fez

  1. Assalaamu’alaikum,
    If the respected Shaykh can consider these two points for the above article:

    1) It would be nice to know the current academic situation of Fez.
    2) Where exactly is Fez ?

  2. Walaikum Salam archerofmusings

    Shukran for your comment. Yes, I will be posting (Insha’Allah) a series of more detailed posts about this great city very shortly.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s