He is master ‘Ali Ibn al-Sayed Izz al-Deen Ahmed al-Sayyad. His father is buried in the village of Matkin near the city of Huma in Syria. He is a descendant of the great Rifa’i (he is the son of the daughter of Ahmed al-Rifa’i, whose lineage goes up to Imam al-Husayn, the son of Imam ‘Ali Ibn Abu Taleb, the husband of the pure and chaste daughter of the Prophetﷺ and his cousin).
Sheikh ‘Ali’s father, Ahmed Izz al-Deen al-Sayyad, came to Egypt in 638 AH and conducted his dhikr (making remembrance of Allah) circles and sessions in al-Husayn Mosque. Sheikhs and scholars studied under him and the people of the order attended his sessions. An association was established for him in Egypt in Mahallat al-Siba’. He married Doreyya Khatoun from al-Malik al-Afdal family. He lived in Egypt for two years and by the time he left, his wife was pregnant. On the same year of his departure in 640 AH, Doreyya Khatoun gave birth to a son who grew up to be an honorable, distinguished literary figure, known as Abu Shubbak al-Rifa’i. He was raised by his maternal uncles. From that time until he reached early manhood, his maternal grandmother was his legal guardian (after his mother’s death). He became an ascetic and a sufi and rose to prominence among the people. He later traveled to Matkin where he met his father, Ahmed Izz al-Deen al-Sayyad and stayed with him until he taught him his craft. Ahmed Izz al-deen taught his son ‘al-Qisma al-Azaliyya’ (the eternal apportionment) and assigned him to Egypt where his fame grew. Many disciples traveled the path under his guidance and his order became the order of Egypt.
When Izz al-Deen Ahmed al-Sayyad decided to emigrate from Egypt, he told his wife, “Take this precious necklace. If Allah blesses you with a girl, put it around her neck and if Allah blesses you with a boy, tie it around his forearm. I am about to leave; when the child grows up and wants to meet with me when I am still alive, he is to approach the window,” and he showed her the particular window. He then continued, “He is to strike the window with his hands and it will open. He will then see me wherever I am and I will see him by the will of Allah.”
Before her death, Doreyya Khatoun disclosed the secret of the necklace and her husband’s instructions to her mother.
The days went by and one day when ‘Ali Abu Shubbak, who was still a boy, entered his grandmother’s house, he wept. His grandmother asked him about the reason for his tears. He said, “I wish I could see my father and get to know him and I wish I could know my people and their news.” So, his grandmother related to him the story of the necklace. She then tied the necklace around his arm and told him which window to strike. He followed her instructions and the window opened. He then saw himself in Matkin between his father’s arms.
‘Ali Abu Shubbak died in 700 AH and left behind the chain of the Rifa’is who have benefited us with their love. Ameen.