Alaouite dynasty

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Alaouite dynasty
Alawite dynasty
سلالة العلويين الفيلاليين
Royal standard of Morocco.svg
Country Morocco
Ethnicity Moroccan
Founded 1631
Founder Moulay Ali Cherif
Current head Mohammed VI
Religion Sunni islam Maliki
Estate(s) Morocco

The Alaouite dynasty, or Alawite dynasty (Arabic: سلالة العلويين الفيلاليين‎, Sulālat al-ʿAlawiyyīn al-Fīlālīyn), is the current Moroccan royal family. The name Alaouite comes from the ‘Alī of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib, Muhammad's son-in-law and cousin, whose descendant Sharif ibn Ali became Prince of Tafilalt in 1631. His son Mulay Al-Rashid (1664–1672) was able to unite and pacify the country. The Alaouite family claim descent from Muhammad through his daughter Fāṭimah az-Zahrah and her husband ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib.


According to tradition, the Alaouites entered Morocco at the end of the 13th century when Al Hassan Addakhil, who lived in the town of Yanbu in the Hejaz, was brought to Morocco by the inhabitants of Tafilalet to be their imām. They were hoping that, as he was a descendant of Muhammad, his presence would help to improve their date palm crops thanks to his barakah ("blessing"), an Arabic term meaning a sense of charisma. His descendants began to increase their power in southern Morocco after the death of the Saadi dynasty ruler Ahmad al-Mansur (1578–1603). In 1659, the last Saʻadī sultan was overthrown before the conquest of Marrakesh by Mulay al-Rashid (1664–1672). After the victory over the Zaouia of Dila, who controlled northern Morocco, he was able to unite and pacify the country.

Centralised state

The organisation of the sultanate developed under Ismail Ibn Sharif (1672–1727), who, against the opposition of local tribes, began to create a unified state. Because the Alaouites had difficult relations with many of the country's Berber and Bedouin-Arab tribes, Isma'īl formed a new army of black slaves, the Black Guard. However, the unity of Morocco did not survive his death—in the ensuing power struggles the tribes became a political and military force once again.

During Muhammad III's reign (1757–1790) the kingdom was once again united and the administration reorganised. A renewed attempt at centralisation was abandoned, and the tribes were allowed to preserve their autonomy. Under Abderrahmane (1822–1859) Morocco fell under the influence of the European powers. After Morocco supported the Algerian independence movement of Emir Abd al-Qadir, it was attacked and defeated by the French in 1844 at the Battle of Isly and made to abandon its support.

European contact and the French protectorate

During the reigns of Muhammad IV (1859–1873) and Hassan I (1873–1894), the Alaouites tried to foster trading links, above all with European countries and the United States. The army and administration were also modernised to improve control over the Berber and Bedouin tribes. With the war against Spain (1859–1860) came direct involvement in European affairs. Although the independence of Morocco was guaranteed at the Treaty of Madrid (1880), the French gained ever greater influence. German attempts to counter this growing influence led to the First Moroccan Crisis of 1905–1906 and the Second Moroccan Crisis of 1911.

Eventually the Moroccans were forced to recognise the French protectorate through the Treaty of Fez, signed on December 3, 1912. At the same time the Rif area of northern Morocco was raised under Spanish control.

Independence movement

The protectorate regime faced opposition from the tribes. In 1930, the Berbers were placed under the jurisdiction of French courts, marking the beginning of the independence movement. In 1944, the Istiqlāl Party was founded and was supported by Sultan Muhammad V (1927–1961). Morocco achieved independence on 2 March 1956.

List of Alaouite rulers

From 1631 to 1666 the Alaouite dynasty ruled as princes of Tafilalt:

In 1666 Mulay Al-Rashid was proclaimed Sultan of Morocco at Fez:

Under the French protectorate (1912–1956):

From independence (1956 onwards):


Mohammed VI of Morocco Hassan II of Morocco Mohammed V of Morocco Mohammed Ben Aarafa Mohammed V of Morocco Yusef of Morocco French-Spanish Protectorate Abdelhafid of Morocco Abdelaziz of Morocco Hassan I of Morocco Mohammed IV of Morocco Abderrahmane of Morocco Slimane of Morocco Yazid of Morocco Mohammed ben Abdallah Abdallah of Morocco al-Mostadi of Morocco Abdallah of Morocco al-Mostadi of Morocco Abdallah of Morocco Zin al-Abidin of Morocco Abdallah of Morocco al-Mostadi of Morocco Muhammad II ben Arbia of Morocco Abdallah of Morocco Ali of Morocco Abdallah of Morocco Abu'l Abbas Ahmad II of Morocco Abdalmalik of Morocco Abu'l Abbas Ahmad II of Morocco Alaouite Succession Crisis Ismail Ibn Sharif al-Rashid of Morocco Muhammad ibn Sharif Moulay Ali Cherif Kings of Morocco Sultans of Morocco Tafilalt

Family tree

Monarch Moulay Ali Cherif
Monarch Mohammed I
Monarch Ismail
Monarch Rachid
Monarch Ahmad
Monarch Abdul Malek
Monarch Abdallah II
Monarch Mohammed II
Monarch Ali
Monarch Al-Mustadi'
Monarch Zin al-Abidin
Monarch Mohammed III
Monarch Al-Yazid
Monarch Sulayman
Monarch Abd al-Rahman
ibn Hicham
Monarch Mohammed IV
Monarch Hassan I
Monarch Abd al-Aziz
Monarch Abd al-Hafid
Monarch Youssef
Monarch Mohammed
Ben Aarafa
Monarch Mohammed V
3° spouse
Lalla Bahia
1° spouse
Lalla Abla bint Tahar
Fatima Zahra
Monarch Hassan II
2° spouse
Lalla Latifa Hammou
Monarch Mohammed VI
Lalla Salma
Crown Prince

See also


Further reading

External links

  • Royal Ark
  • Morocco Alaoui dynasty
  • The Moroccan Royal Family on Facebook
Royal house
House of Alaoui
Preceded by
Saadi Dynasty
Ruling house of Morocco
1666 – present
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