The legends of Sidi Boussghirine

Not everyone in the world belongs to a religion or believes in the existence of God. However, most people believe in something, from superstitions such as the twitching of your left eye means you’ll receive a fortune, to large congregations of believers who focus on people, objects or places. If you hang out in Sefrou for a while and randomly ask people about aspects of their faith, you will soon hear about a place called the tomb of Sidi Boussghirine.

The tomb of Sidi Boussghirine

The tomb of Sidi Boussghirine is a place about three kilometres from the city, where a mausoleum and ancillary buildings lie on top of a mountain, overlooking the panorama of Sefrou. The incumbent of this mausoleum is Sharif Al-Idrisi, an Arab who lived in the 16th century. He was not born in Sefrou, but lies there now for eternity.

The tomb is one of the most famous marabouts of the region, that of the patron saint of Sefrou who is said to be a descendant of Moulay Idriss. Believers gather and pray at the foot of his mausoleum, located at an altitude of nearly 900 m. From there, the view of Sefrou and the Middle Atlas is splendid. Nearby, you can reach the ruins of Fort Prioux, built under the French Protectorate, or the miraculous spring, famous for curing infertility among women.

The tomb from another angle

However, unlike other sanctums in the Muslim world – for example Sidi Lahssen El Youssi, one of the most important shrines, Sidi Boussghirine does not appear to have a clear origin, making it almost impossible to occupy a higher status in the Muslim world. Though tourists and local residents pay little attention to this fact, the tomb of Sidi Boussghirine is still the most visited Sefrou sanctuary today.

As time comes to now on, The tomb itself has become important more than a religion facility to local residents, and aThe tomb itself has become important as a religious facility for local residents, and new rituals have developed around it that correspond to local customs. Though every year many pilgrims come from far away which enriches the religious atmosphere of the place, others who do not have religious beliefs also visit. The most attractive place here is not the tomb itself, but a nearby spring. This spring is said to carry the baraka or blessings of Sidi Boussghirine himself, and is well known as an aid in curing women’s infertility. Also, many talented painters often gather at the tomb, which by their own account inspires them in their art.  These are not rituals of the Muslim faith, but were created as brand-new beliefs when Muslim culture integrated with local cultures. This also accurately corresponds to the meaning of multiculturalism — as various cultures come up against each other and slowly merge, they eventually produce new cultures harmonious with their setting – Sefrou.

Producer of this exhibition:

Daijiang Zhang

Grace Ekpe

Janai Bowers

Nouhaila Laaroussi

Yue Luo

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