Every 18 March is Cheikh Al Maarouf Day in Comoros. The day is designed to honour the memory of and remember the achievements of Sheikh Al Maarouf, who founded the Sufi Islamic sect called “Shadhili” in Comoros.
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Although there are other Sufi sects in Comoros, including the Qadiriya and Rifai, and not all Muslims in Comoros are Sufis, the prominence of the Shadhili sect and the great influence of “Al Maarouf” were deemed justification enough to make his birthday (18 March) a public holiday.
During the years under French colonial rule, Sheikh Al Maarouf established the Shadhili tariqa (school) of Islam on Grand Comore. He was quickly exiled by competing proponents of Islam on the island, at the time. But today, he is considered one of the key Islamic leaders in the whole history of Comoros.