There is no particular evidence that Moulay Idriss II was a very saintly marabout, but as the effective founder of Fez and son of the founder of the Moroccan state he has considerable baraka, the magical blessing that Moroccans invoke, and his moussem brings the city to a standstill. Originally, it was assumed that Idriss had been buried near Volubilis, like his father, but in 1308 an uncorrupted body was found on the spot where his zaouia now stands and the cult was launched. Presumably, it was an immediate success, since in addition to his role as the city’s patron saint, Idriss has an impressive roster of supplicants: this is the place to visit for poor strangers arriving in the city, for boys before being circumcised and for women wanting to facilitate childbirth – and for some long-forgotten reason, Idriss is also the protector of Morocco’s sweetmeat vendors.

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