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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.

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



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 Saʻadī 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 stateEdit

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 protectorateEdit

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 Conference 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 movementEdit

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). France was obliged to grant Morocco independence on March 2, 1956, leaving behind a legacy of urbanisation and industrial economy in some cities—on the one hand—and destruction and isolation in the areas that hosted the Berber resistance against France and Spain on the other.

List of Alaouite rulersEdit

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 MoroccoHassan II of MoroccoMohammed V of MoroccoMohammed Ben AarafaMohammed V of MoroccoYusef of MoroccoFrench-Spanish ProtectorateAbdelhafid of MoroccoAbdelaziz of MoroccoHassan I of MoroccoMohammed IV of MoroccoAbderrahmane of MoroccoSlimane of MoroccoYazid of MoroccoMohammed ben AbdallahAbdallah of Moroccoal-Mostadi of MoroccoAbdallah of Moroccoal-Mostadi of MoroccoAbdallah of MoroccoZin al-Abidin of MoroccoAbdallah of Moroccoal-Mostadi of MoroccoMuhammad II ben Arbia of MoroccoAbdallah of MoroccoAli of MoroccoAbdallah of MoroccoAbu'l Abbas Ahmad II of MoroccoAbdalmalik of MoroccoAbu'l Abbas Ahmad II of MoroccoAlaouite Succession CrisisIsmail Ibn Sharifal-Rashid of MoroccoMuhammad ibn SharifMoulay Ali CherifKings of MoroccoSultans of MoroccoTafilalt 

Family treeEdit

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

See alsoEdit


Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Royal house
House of Alaoui
Preceded by
Saadi Dynasty
Ruling house of Morocco
1666 – present