He (may God be pleased with him) had powerful thinking in extracting and discovering the signs in The Book and the Sunnah. In his time there was no one close to him in memorization and the talent of evocation. When al-Shaykh Ahmad al-Sawi came to Mecca for the purpose of the pilgrimage, the people of Mecca urged him to question and examine Sidi Ahmad, because of their envy. When he came to him and questioned him, he (may God be pleased with him) answered everything that he asked, and then he said to him: “Oh Sawi, stop this and hurry on the trip to Medina, because your time is coming close.” He stopped and went, and when he reached Medina, he was transported to the mercy of God.
– John Voll, “Two Biographies of Ahmad ibn Idris al-Fasi (1760-1837),” p. 637.
After this meeting, Shaykh Ahmad al-Sawi took the spiritual path from Shaykh Ahmad ibn Idris.
The Knower of Allah Shaykh Ahmad al-Sawi (1761-1825) was the great scholar of the Azhar of his time, and one of the most distinguished Sunni scholars. He was a Maliki jurist and a shaykh of the Khalwatiyya tariqa. He took the religious sciences and the spiritual path from the great Shaykh Ahmad al-Dardir, known as “Little Malik.” Shaykh Sawi authored a great commentary on the Tafsir al-Jalalayn; this Hashiyat al-Sawi became the most important work of Tafsir that is studied at the noble Azhar Mosque in Cairo and the noble Qarawiyyin Mosque in Fez, the two oldest and most prestigious institutions of learning in the Muslim world.
See this story on Shaykh Ahmad al-Dardir here.