According to sources, Abu al-Hasan was born in 1288 or 1299 . His mother being a slave of Abyssinian origin, Abu al-Hasan had a very dark skin color, which earned him the nickname "Black Sultan" , . The Merinids are Zen Berbers, originating from the High Plateaux and Saharan borders, which migrate to the West, from the 11th century, following the arrival of the turbulent Arab tribes Banu Hilal. Coming from the Wassin tribe according to Ibn Khaldoun, they nomadized throughout the winter in the Tafilalet between Figuig and Sijilmassa, then went up north every summer to the valley of Moulouya, to find pastures and buy grain reserves for the winter.
His father Abu Said Uthman, son of Abu Yusuf Yaqub, is the 6th Merinid Sultan of Morocco.