North African title for all descendants of the prophet Muhammad.
In Morocco, since the rule of the Idrisid dynasty, descent from the prophet Muhammad became a source of legitimacy for establishing political power. All the founders of the religious brotherhoods claimed such origin to gain authority and credit among disciples. A genealogical tree linking the shorfa to the Prophet would assess the claim. The Saʿdi (sixteenth century) and Alawi (seventeenth century to the present) dynasties that ruled or have ruled Morocco are considered shorfa dynasties.
see also alawi; idrisids; sharif.