Sayyidina Mohammed Wafa

(His grave lies at the foot of al-Muqattam mountain near the shrine of ‘Ata` Allah al-Sakandary)

He is Sidi Mohammed, the son of Mohammed al-Awsat, the son of  Mohammed Nejm. Mohammed al-Awsat and his father, Mohammed Nejm, were both buried in al-Zawya al-Nejmiyya in Alexandria. Mohammed Wafa’s lineage goes up to al-Hasan al-Muthanna, the son of al-Hasan, the son of Imam Ali and the Prophet’sﷺ grandson.

Mohammed Wafa was born in Alexandria in 702 AH. He was pious and loved knowledge. He followed the path of Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili under the guidance of Imam Dawud Ibn Bakhila and met with Yaqout al-‘Arshiy. Mohammed Wafa was the first from among the blessed order to be called ‘Wafa’—he was its leader in Egypt. All historical records confirm that he was called ‘Wafa’. The story goes that when the Nile ceased to flood, Mohammed Wafa supplicated his Lord for its inundation. Consequently, when Allah answered his prayers, he was nicknamed Wafa. He was from among the greatest gnostics and authored many books which are still preserved in manuscript form in al-Azhar library and the Egyptian National Library. His most important books include Nafa`is al-‘Irfan min Anfas al-Rahman, Manahil al-Safa`, al-Azal, and al-Maqamat al-Sunniya al-Makhsus biha al-Sada al-Sufiyya. He also has a great collection of poems.

Sidi Mohammed Wafa went to Akhmim in Upper Egypt where he married and established a big zawya which people visited in droves. He then went to Cairo where he settled in Manyal al-Rawda and where he devoted himself to worship and making remembrance of Allah. He rose to prominence and many people benefitted from him.

Sidi Mohammed Wafa died in Cairo in 765 AH and was buried in his mosque “al-Sada al-Wafa`iyya” between whose blessed walls more than twenty walis (friends of Allah) are buried, from Sidi Abu al-As’ad until al-Imdad. It was only natural that, after learning of the reverence attributed to the place by the previous Heavenly religions and Muslims alike, shrines were erected to ascetics and mystics who are buried in its valleys.

It was reported that Imam Layth Ibn Sa’ad that al-Muqawqas asked Amr Ibn al-‘As to sell him the area at the foot of the mountain for 70,000 dinars. Amr Ibn al-‘As communicated this request to the Leader of the Believers, ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, who replied with the following, “Ask him why he wants to buy it from you when it cannot be cultivated or produce water.”

Amr Ibn al-‘As put the question to al-Muqawqas who said, “It is written in our old books, that plants of Paradise are buried at the foot of the mountain.” Amr Ibn al-‘As relayed these words to ‘Umar who wrote back saying, “I do not know of any plants of Paradise except for Believers. Make it a cemetery for Muslims.”