Sidi Ibn Abbad Rundi (d. 792/1377)
It was more than half a century after the death of Abul Hassan Shadhili (d. 656/1241) before the influence of Egyptian Shadhilism was felt in Morocco. In the year 745/1344, one Sidi Abu Uthman al-Hassani, a Shadhili Sufi and sharif who had studied in Egypt, was reported to be in attendance at the court of Sultan Abul Hassan al-Marini. This person was a disciple of Sidi Abdellah ibn Dawud Shadhili, whose father, Sidi Dawud ibn Omar al-Bakhili (d. 733/1318), have been a prominent disciple of Sidi Ahmed Ibn Ata'Allah Sakandari (d. 709/1294). Another disciple of Dawud al-Bakhili, Sidi Mohammed Wafa (d. 765/1350), was the grandfather of the author of Shajarat al-irshad.
The doctrines of Egyptian Shadhilism appear to have first entered Morocco through the influence of the Andalusian Sufi Sidi Ibn Abbad ar-Rundi. This noted ascetic served as the imam of the Al-Qarawiyyine mosque in Fez and wrote the first commentary in Morocco of Ibn Ata'Allah's Kitab al-Hikam. Three of Ibn Ata'Allah's works could be found in Morocco by the middle of the fourteenth century. These works were introduced to Ibn Abbad by his teacher in Ronda, Sidi Ibrahim Shandarukh. This Andalusian Sufi and jurist served as imam of the congregational mosque of Ronda between the years 750-1/1335-6 and ended his days in the Moroccan city of Salé.
Student of Sidi Ahmed ibn Achir of Salé (d. 764/1349) and of the Fasite sharif Moulay Abd an-Nur al-Amrani (b. 685/1286), Sidi Ibn Abbad ar-Rundi's Kitab ar-Rasa’il al-kubra (the Major Collection of the Letters) remains still the third most important Shadhili work after Kitab al-Lata'if al minan fi manaqib Abi al-Abbas al-Mursi wa Shaykhihi Abi al-Hassan (The subtle blessings in the saintly lives of Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi and his master Abu Abul Hassan Shadhili) by the Egyptian Sidi Ibn Ata’Allah of Alexandria (d. 709/1287) and Durrat al-Asrar wa Tuhafat al-Abrar (The Pearl of the Secrets and the Treasure of the Righteous) by the Tunisian Sidi Ibn Mohammed ibn Abul Qasim al-Himyari Ibn as-Sabbagh (fl. 720/1305). A contemporary Sufi of Ibn Abbad writes on him:
In Fez I met the saintly scholar Abu Abdellah Mohammed ibn Ibrahim ar-Rundi, whose father before him had been a famous preacher. The son Abu Abdellah is distinguished by his composure, his asceticism, and his righteousness. He is the author of the verse: 'He attains no nobility who has not first weighted the clay of this earth with eternity.' I met him on the prophet's birthday in the Sultan's palace [at Fez], where he had been invited to hear the spiritual singing (sama'a). He manifestly did not welcome this. I have never at any other time seen him at any gathering, and whoever might wish to speak with him was obliged to see him alone. Once, I requested him to pray for me. He blushed and was embarrassed, but agreed nevertheless. The only luxury he permitted himself was perfumed oils and incense. He did his own housework he was unmarried and had no servant. At home he wore a patchwork garment, but when he went out he covered it with a green or a white robe. His disciples were all from the best and most gifted from the community… Today he is the imam and preacher in the Al Qarawiyyine mosque at Fez.
Shaykh Sidi Abu Masoud al-Harras recalls, "I was reciting the Quran aloud in the courtyard of the Al-Qarawiyyine mosque as the muezzins were making the call for the night prayer. Suddenly I saw Ibn Abbad, in a sitting position, fly over the door of his house, across the courtyard of the mosque, and disappear into the hall that surrounds the atrium. I went to have a look, and I found him praying close to the mihrab." Sidi Ahmed Zarruq (d. 899/1484) said of Ibn Abbad that, "The substance (zubda) of his teachings are found in the letters [The Lesser and Greater Collections] and his commentary on the Hikam." Sidi Mohammed ibn Jaafar Kattani (d. 1345/1930) writes on Ibn Abbad in Salwat al-anfas, "He had something about him that won the hearts of children. They swarmed around him, as soon as they saw him, in order to kiss his hand. But kings too sought to gain his friendship... He studied in Ronda, Fez and Tlemcen and in Salé he was the disciples of the Andalusian master Sidi Ahmed ibn Achir (d. 764/1349). From there he travelled to Tangier where he met the Sufi Sidi Abu Marwan Abdelmalik, who was perhaps the 'unlettered man' of whom Ibn Abbad said that he alone had been able to open his inward eye."
Ibn Abbad appears to have played an axial role between Tunisian and Egyptian Shadhili Orders. He was a student of Moulay Abd an-Nur al-Amrani, student of Sidi Abul Abbas Ahmed al-Jami of Tunis, on the one hand and the person who popularized the works of Ibn Ata’Allah in Fez on the other. Thus Ibn Abbad became the figure who best exemplified Shadhili teachings in both its traditions. He was also an important transmitter of the Shadhili litanies in Fez. Sidi Mohammed ibn Abderrahman al-Fasi (d. 1134/1719) in his Fahrasa mentions a narrative chain of Hizb al-Kabir of Shadhili that connects Ibn Abbad to the textual tradition of Imam Shadhili through Sidi Abd an-Nur al-Amrani, Abul Abbas al-Jami, Mohammed ibn Sultan (d. 700/1301). He was also credited for the transmission of Hizb al-Bahr (Litany of the Sea) which he narrated from an Egyptian Sufi named Sidi Sirajuddin Damanhuri, who had learned it from Sidi Sharafuddin Mohammed ibn Abul Hassan, one of the sons of Abul Hassan Shadhili.
It is related that, as he approached death, he laid his head on the lap of one of his disciples, and began to recite the Throne Verse from the Quran. When he reached the words 'the Living, the Eternal', he continued repeating 'O God! O Living! O Eternal!' Thereupon one of those present addressed him by name and recited the continuation of the verse; but he went on with his invocation. Shortly before he passed on he was heard reciting the verse: 'the friends are leaving me, but they will return when I leave them.' Before his death he bequeathed a sum of money which he had buried at the head of his bed. He directed that with it a piece of land should be bought, the revenue from which was to be used for the upkeep of the Al Qarawiyyine mosque. When the sum of money was counted—it came to eight hundred and ten gold mithqal—it was discovered that it was the exact amount that he had received in salary during his twenty-five years as imam and preacher.