If our present knowledge of the history of the Muslim Maghrib is in general unsatisfactory, few periods remain as obscure as the fifteenth century.
The extant sources are very scarce. Contemporary Maghribī historical writings are practically non-existent and, with few exceptions, this is still an epoch for which Christian chronicles are not yet really relevant. Only fragmentary and partial information can be extracted from the contemporary Spanish and Portuguese documents. Therefore, we have to rely for our knowledge on the so-called manāqib literature or hagiographic dictionaries which proliferated in Morocco during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These volumes—many of which were lithographed in Fās during the nineteenth century—cannot be considered a first-rate source. They are posterior to the period dealt with and appear as versions of a traditional history composed over the years by agglomeration, repetition, and revision from a series of original stories which may be doubtful, even though they are hallowed by time and usage, and fortified by the weight of respectability. Committed to writing, they have acquired the seal of authority and have seldom been challenged.