Moulay Idriss II the Founder of Fez


Idris II was born two months after the death of Idris I. His mother Kenza, the wife of Idris I was the daughter of the chief of the Berber Awarba tribe. Idris II, having never met his father, was raised among the Berbers of Volubilis and had a remarkable career.

Idriss II was said to be an astounding learner. The historian Rom Landau, says: “In the lore of the Moroccans, Idris II was a being of almost magical attributes. An exceptional young man he certainly must have been. At many points we are reminded of one of the greatest sages of Islam, Ibn Sina or Avicenna. At the age of four, Idris apparently could read, at five write, at eight he knew the Koran by heart, and by then is said to have mastered the wisdom of all the outstanding savants. He was of real physical strength as well, and when he became officially sovereign in 805 at the age of thirteen, he had already accomplished feats of endurance that men twice his age could not emulate. His profound Islamic faith enhanced all these advantages and increased the veneration accorded him.”

Of the different Idrisid sultans Idris II clearly was the best educated. In the work of Ibn al-Abbar correspondence between Idris II and his contemparary Ibrahim I ibn al-Aghlab is quoted in which he invites him to renounce his claims to his territories.[2]

Twenty years after his father had done so, Idris II refounded the city Fez on the left bank of the River Fez, opposite to where his father had founded it on the right bank. From there, Idris II began to unify Morocco under Islam, establishing its firm allegiance to the belief. After spending 19 years pursuing such purposes, this prodigy died at 35 in 828. For twelve hundred years after, the tradition of monarchy, established by Idris I and II, were continued. Idris II, who married a descendant of Suleyman the sultan of Tlemcen (a brother of Idriss I) was the father of twelve sons: Muhammed, Abdullah, Aïssa, Idriss, Ahmed, Jaâfar, Yahia, Qassim, Omar, Ali, Daoud and Hamza.

Idris II died in Volubilis in 828. His grave in the Zawiyya Moulay Idris in Fès, rediscovered under Abd al-Haqq II (1420–1465) in 1437, became an important place of pilgrimage in the 15th century. It is, up till the present, considered the holiest place of Fès.