Sidi Boumediene Qadiri Boutchich (1873-1955), the teacher of both Sidi Hajj Al Abbas, and Sidi Hamza, was born in Tarhrabt in the region of Taghjirt North East Morocco on the Algerian borders.
He took the teachings and dhikr of the Qadiri Order from his paternal cousin Sidi Mokhtar Qadiri Boutchich (1853-1914), and also fought by his side in the resistance against penetration of the French army into Morocco.
Sidi Hamza Al Qadiri Al Boutchichi, the current Shaykh of the Tariqa, says about his teacher:
“Sidi Boumediene was emerged in a deep and intensive religious practice for several years but this was only on an outward level. He belonged to a prestigious lineage of Saints and Zawiya founders, in addition to his relation to the Prophet, the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Although he would regularly visit some fuqara of the Darqawi Order at the Zawiya of Sidi Al-Habri, he was not seeking any teaching from them, but was warmed by their hospitality and welcoming character. He visited them for several years, and although the vast majority amongst them were illiterates he was amazed by their conversations of subtle truths. One day, he suddenly became conscious of the spiritual sleep he was in and began looking for a spiritual teacher (Shaykh) to introduce him to this deeper knowledge.”
At this, Sidi Boumediene renounced the practices of his ancestors and began the search for a living spiritual teacher. As a result of his search he not only obtained the spiritual secret he was looking for, but acquired the permission to teach it to others.
Two men amongst those who impacted Sid Boumediene stand out: Sidi Al-Mahdi Bel’Ariane and Sidi Mohammed Lahlu.
Sidi Al-Mahdi Bel’Ariane lived in the mountains of the Beni-Snassen tribe, close to the village of Ahfir and was of the Tijani Order. He did not exhibit the outward signs of a man of great spiritual rank, and was in fact a man of jovial character. He was a living example of a Malamati, a sufi term denoting a person who deliberately hides their spiritual status from people through behaviour that seems contrary to it. Through him, Sidi Boumediene experienced the state of fana – annihilation in the divine being – but was unable to recognise it in himself. His spiritual journey continued and he was to meet his second teacher in Fez.
Sidi Mohammed Lahlou was a tanner artisan who lived from the work of his hands, and like Sidi Bel’Ariane was known to be a spiritual guide by only a few. He was of the Shadhili Order, while his own master, Sidi Ben Ali from Marrakech, was a disciple of Molay Al-‘Arbi Ad-Darqawi (1743-1823). From their very first meeting, Sidi Mohammed Lahlou, realised Sidi Boumediene had reached a state of annihilation, without even being aware of it himself. It became his aim as teacher to foster awareness of his student’s status so that he could surpass it and fulfil his destiny to become a living guide himself.
Two more men played a pivotal role in Sidi Boumediane’s on-going spiritual development. The first, Mohammed Ben Mousa from the Tidjaniyya, gave him a further set of invocations (wird), and the second, Sheikh Tayyib Chergui, gave him permission to make inward spiritual teaching manifest in the body through asceticism and self-discipline.
Sidi Boumediene settled in Bouyahyi, the home of Sheikh Sidi Mokhtar (1853-1914), father of Sidi Hajj al-Abbas and grandfather of Sidi Hamza. It is also in in Bouyahyi that some members of his family were buried and particularly his father Sidi Al-Mnawar. It did not take long for Sidi Boumediene to bring the Tariqa of his Boutchich ancestors from a state of stagnation to a living spiritual path. Being isolated in the mountains of Beni-Snassen he spent all his time practicing invocations and initiating a set of select disciples. He started to gain the reputation of an ascetic and saint beyond the borders in Maghnia and in the tribes around Beni-Snassen.
It was through word of mouth that the meeting of the two branches of the Boutchich family occurred. Sidi Boumediene had already heard about Sidi Hamza Al Qadiri Al Boutchichi from the old fuqara of the Zawiya of Madagh, and when the Sheikh was around seventy years old he would finally meet his spiritual inheritors. Sidi Hamza says about this:
“1942 was the year in which my father and I took Sidi Boumediene as a spiritual master. My father started the practice of spiritual education one month before me. During the fourteen years we spent next to our master we devoted ourselves to acts of worship, mainly reading the Quran and invocation (dhikr). In the company of Sidi Boumediene we went through the various stages of the spiritual path.”
The Tariqa Boutchichiya was renewed by Sidi Boumediene and would evolve under his authority into a certain kind of rigorous elitism. He stated: “I suffered to inherit this Sirr and I would only share it with those worthy of it”. Thus, strict conditions were imposed on potential students before they could be accepted into the path, including a rigid adherence to all the obligations and rituals of Islam, including many of the superogatory forms of worship. The renewal of the Boutchichiya went through a new line, combining the paths of the Tidjaniyya and Darqawiyya.
With the knowledge that the spiritual secret of the Tariqa had left his family line in the past, Sidi Boumediene refused to choose one of his own sons as his successor. Sidi Hajj al-Abbas Qadiri Boutchich was chosen to be the spiritual guide of the Tariqa.
Sidi Boumediene died on 15th April, 1955 after having submitted his teachings to both Sidi Al-Hajj Abbas and Sidi Hamza. He is buried in Madagh.