Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi (1869–14 July 1934) was the founder of the Sufi order, the Darqawiyya Alawiyya, a branch of the Darqawi, Shadhili tariqa. Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi would order his disciples to hold firm to the rites of the path and the way of the Sufis of old, whilst making sure to uphold the rites of the religion in their entirety as well. He would tell them to be dressed well and clean, to adhere to Islamic attire, to let their beard grow and to wear their rosary beads around their necks. One time he went to Tlemcān to visit the Fuqāra there. It was a time when many of the youth had entered the order in the city. When he arrived, they gathered around him and sat at his feet yearning to hear from him. However on glancing at their attire he was disappointed to see them dressed in western clothing. He ordered them to imitate the Sufis in their dress and wear what the righteous wore. They quickly responded so that when he came back to them another time he saw them all wearing white turbans and they had let their beards grow, with their rosary beads hung around their necks. He instantly when it a state of great joy, so much so that when he returned back to his Zāwiyah, and he began to contemplate on their state, a poem came to him:
يَا اهْلَ أَهْلَ وُدِّي حَسْبِيَ رِضَاكُمْ
O Brothers, my dear beloved brothers, your pleasure alone suffices,
شَوْقِي زَادَ فِيـكُمْ مَلَكْنِي هَوَاكُمْ
My yearning for you wells up and my love for you has taken a hold of me.
أَحِبَّـتِي أَنْتـُمْ تَيَّهْنِي مَعْنـَاكُمْ
My loved ones, my mind is bewildered by your inward being,
أَبَـى قَلْبِي مِنِّي أَنْ يَنْسَى لِقَاكُمْ
And my heart refuses to forget your meeting.
أَخَذْتُمْ فُـؤَادِي فَذَاكَ فِـدَاكُمْ
You have snatched my heart, so that is your ransom,
تَرَكْتُمْ سُهَادِي يُنْبـِي أَنْ هَوَاكُمْ
You have left me with sleeplessness nights; this is what informs me of my love for you.
He would order his disciples to always present themselves with the best of manners and to enumerate the remembrance of God and always stay close to the other brethren. His addresses would speak to the heart and many a time tears would be seen on the cheeks of the listener. Even screams would be heard from those present out of their love for God all-mighty. In the gatherings they would rise for the Hadra and it could last for hours. They would not grow weary and lazy at all. He would be seen in the middle of the circle singing the odes to the movement of the men with a powerful voice that moved the men even more. If he saw someone lower their head, he would raise it and if he saw someone with his eyes open he would close them for him. If he saw anyone raise their feet above the floor he would usher him to keep them on the floor and if he saw someone too far apart from those next to him, he would draw them close. He placed the strong with the strong and the weak with the weak; he placed the tall with the tall and the short with the short, so that the Hadra ran in the best of fashions. All this was done with gentleness, compassion and the best of manners.