There are seven patron saints of Marrakech. These men were Sufi mystics and Islamic Scholars.
It is believed that these seven saints are only sleeping and will awaken to continue their good deeds.
Their tombs are visited each year by pilgrims during the Zaira pilgrimage. A pilgrimage to the tombs offers an alternative to undertaking a Hajj in Mecca for those who are unable to make the trip to Saudi Arabia. Visiting the tombs is also said to achieve inner purity for devotees and on a Friday the tombs should be visited in a particular order :
Sidi Yusuf ibn Ali Sanhaji, was a leper from the Yemen. He lived in a leper colony in Marrakech, where he was known for his patience and humility. He died in 1196.
Sidi al-Qadi Iyyad al-Yahsubi, was a famous Scholar from Ceuta. The university in Marrakech is named after him. He died in 1149
Sidi Bel Abbas, was originally from Ceuta, and began his time in Morocco as a hermit, he later became a preacher who was well loved for caring for the poor and the sick. He died in 1205. His Zaoia is very close to Riad Cinnamon.
Sidi Mohamed ibn Sulayman al-Jazouli, played an important role in the Sufi brotherhood. He died in Essaouria in 1465, and his body was brought to Marrakech.
Sidi Abdellaziz Tabba’a, originally a silk merchant from Fes, who brought Sufi ethics to the merchants of the Marrakech medina. He died in 1505
Sidi Abdellah al-Ghazwani, a Sufi who was known for skills in constructing wells and water channels. He died in 1528
and lastly, Sidi Abderrahman al-Suhayli, a Sufi poet from Malaga. He died in 1186
Visitors to the shrines will undertake a respectful array of prayers and recitals, and also give charity to those who are poor or sick who wait in the streets outside the tombs.
In 2005 a row of seven towers were built in Bab Doukalla in memory of these holy men.