Taj al-Din Abu'l Fadl Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Karim ibn Ata Allah al-Iskandari al-Shadhili was a Malikite jurist, muhaddith and the third murshid (spiritual "guide" or "master") of the Shadhili Sufi order. He was born in Alexandria and taught at both the al-Azhar Mosque and the Mansuriyyah madrasa in Cairo. He was responsible for systematizing Shadhili doctrines and recording the biographies of the order's founder, Abu-l-Hassan ash-Shadhili, and his successor, Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi. He is credited with having authored the first systematic treatise on dhikr, The Key to Salvation (Miftah al-Falah), but is mostly known for his compilation of aphorisms, the Hikam al-‘Ata‘iyya. Commentaries on the Hikam have been made by some of the most famous masters of the Shadhili order such as Ibn Abbad al-Rundi, Ahmad Zarruq and Ahmad ibn Ajiba as well as non-Shadhilis like the Islamic law Professor Sa'id Ramadan al-Bouti. The wide circulation of Ibn ‘Ata‘ Allah's written works led to the spread of the Shadhili order in North Africa, where the order's founder had been rejected in earlier attempts. The Wafai[disambiguation needed] Sufi order was also derived from his works. He died in 1309 while in Cairo. Ibn ‘Ata‘ Allah was one of those who confronted the controversial theologian Ibn Taymiyya, who was jailed several times for his views on religious issues and for his excesses in attacking the Sufis.
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