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OCEAN OF WISDOM

by

THE VENERATED MASTER SHEIKH ABDOULA YE DIEYE

A translation from french " Ocean de Sagesse "

Edited by

THE SCHOOL OF THE VENERATED MASTER SHEIKH ABDOULA YE DIEYE

Under the aegis of

CIMROI

Islamic Society of Mourids of Reunion and the Indian Ocean

21 rue des Payet, BP 61,97450 Saint-Louis La Reunion, Ocean Indien

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In the name of yO" Most yracefu( Most Mercifu[

Peace ana Efessings on Prophet Mufiammaa, his noble famifg ana his companions

May .9L[[ali sanctifu the mysteT!f of Sheikh 5'Lftmaa lEn Mufiammaa Ibn J-{abi6a[fafi

ana may 1ie 6estow J-{is blessinqs on a[[ J-{is servants !

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PRELUDE

From the dawn of times, God ( All praise to Hlrn I) has ever chosen among the people of His illustrious servants apostles as proofs of His Mercy. An example of these are prophets whose list has been closed by Sayyidina Muhammad (SAW).

The Qu'ran well says in sura 21 verse 107 :

" Wa maa arsalnaaka illaa rahmatane lil 'aalamiina ... "

and in sura 33 verse 40 :

" Maa kaana Muhammadane ahaa ahadine mine rijaalikum wa laakin-aHaahi wa khaatamane nabiyyiine".

U Muhammad is not the father of any of you men but the apostle of God and the seal of prophecy".

However, in closing the door of prophecy, the All Merciful has not for that much abandoned His creatures. He never ceases to invest some of His servants with an overpowering holiness, entrusting them with the charge of awakening the conscience of their contemporaries and vivifying the teachings of the Qu'ran and the Tradition of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who represents the dynamical synthesis and complement of past revelations.

Allah exhorts us to follow these invested and enlightened men. He proclaims in sura 4 verse 59 :

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"Yaa ayyouhallaziina aamanou, atwi'oullaaha wa atwi 'our rasoula wa oulil amri minkum ... "

" 0 ye who believe.

Obey God and obey the apostle

and those charged with authority among you".

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From birth till the death of his father

"In each era, God sends in His community invigorators of His religion".

Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) was born in the year 1272 Hijra, that is in 1854 according to the Christian era. He is the son of Muhammad, son of Habiballah, son of Muhammad Al Khayr, founder of the city of M'Backe Baal, where he would come into the world. Today, this city is one of the chief departments of Senegal. His father, Muhammad Ibn Habiballah, also known as Marne Mar Anta Sally, was a well-known jurisconsult and a very respected man.

In Rivaad-us-Swaalihiine.rhe Prophet (SAW) says:

The readiness to subscribe to the authority of these men of light is obvious for all those who have the intention of complying with divine will, prophets being only the emissaries of the All Powerful. They have the charge of transmitting all His commandments. After their ascension to God, only remain the holders of these commandments throughout different ages and space.

He had a favourable hearing near the muslim community but also princes and kings. This is why Lat Dior, king of Kayor (ancient province of Senegal) did not wait to ask him to be his religious adviser and magistrate for the maintenance oflaw insidehis kingdom. That he accepted, judging it to be in line with his duty to give advice in matters of religion. Apart from these activities, he looked after his field and his disciples.

Among these men of so extraordinary fates, emerges the founder of Mouridiyya, the Way of Imitation of the Prophet (SAW) : Sheikh Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn HabibaUah (RA), also known as Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA).

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The young Ahmadou Bamba gave full support to his father in the management of his schools. As for his mother Mariam Bousso, she was called Diaratoullah (the one near God) because of her great piety, her chastity and her fidelity. She accomplished her religious and family duties with devotion and constancy. She applied herself to instill in her children the higher virtues of Islam and morality. She was uprooted from her family when Sheikh Ahrnadou Bamba (RA) was still relatively young; he was not yet aged ten.

We will try our best to give you in the following pages a general picture of his life, 0 how exulting and entirely devoted to Allah and of his work dedicated to His illustrious Apostle (SAW) and for the salute of all mankind.

All those who knew the young Ahmadou Bamba unanimously recognised that he had very early indeed renounced the world,thus minimising

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the ordeals and misfortunes of lif~ here below. His onlyconcern was to instruct himself and to put into practice his faith in all sincerity. He had been conquered by the excellent conduct of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), of whom Al Busri said:

When Samba Laobe, prince of Cayor asked him to join the kingdom as magistrate and adviser, the Sheikh (RA) declined the offer in these terms:

" In his youth, he accustomed himself to devotion and isolation, what is indeed the conduct of distinguished men ... "

" I cannot leave my disciples who have come to learn the precepts of religion i far from me that idea " •

Since his admission at koranic school, the young Ahmadou Bamba had manifested a great thirst for knowledge. His father had entrusted him to Serigne M'Backe Ndoumde, the maternal uncle of his mother, then to Muhammad Bousso, his maternal uncle, both great scholars of their time. With them, he learnt by heart the Qu'ran and certain religious sciences in record time. Allah had given him an outstanding memory. Serigne Bachir M'Backe (RA) tell: us in The Blessings of the Eternal that the young Ahmadou Bamba had memorized a great number of theological, mystical works and also those dealing with muslim law and prayers, before concluding:

Following this, the prince offered him a horse. The Sheikh (RA) accepted out of politeness. His Lord informed him that the prince owed one hundred franks to each of the three muslims who had accompanied him. He retained them, ordered for the horse to be sold at three hundred franks and shared this sum among them.

In spite of his strong personality and the glow of heavenly light within him, the young Ahmadou Bamba always wanted to keep himself in the background of his father, never disobeying him, in accordance with what the Qu'ran says:

" All in all, he was a miracle in his capacity to learn by heart and in his mastery of knowledge.

He was the guardian of the Qu'ran and the Hadith ( prophetic tradition ).

" Your Lord has ordained that you adore only Him.

He has prescribed for you kindness towards your parents" .

He also grew up in the shadow of his father, who never ever doubted that the All Merciful had gratified him with an exceptional son, who would be the pride of his family, his country and of Islam.

After having stayed with his grand-father and uncle, he came back to be instructed by his father who was also one of the most popular scholars of his time. The young Ahmadou Bamba was to come out with flying colours in all his studies and distinguished himself by his exemplary conduct. He made of religion his sale interest and refused to keep the company of worldly men. He often retired to meditate in mosques and other places of worship and only attended to what concerned him.

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After the death of his father

" Run to the doors of the sultans, they told me,

so that you may be showered with gifts that will ever satisfy all your needs !

" God suf/iceth me, did I answer and my happiness is with Him.

And nothing satisfies me be it not religion and science.

The death of his father marked a decisive watershed in the life of the Sheikh (RA) and in his relationship with his disciples, his society and the ruling families. He could finally devote himself openly to what his Lord had ever inspired him, that is an ascetic, disinterested life based on principles of Sharia in order to worship sincerely and exclusively the Master of the Worlds and to serve the cause of Islam, the cause of his beloved: Sayyidina Muhammad (SAW).

" I only fear my King and trust in Him.

Because He, the Majestic, enriches and protects me.

" How can I leave my belongings in the hands of those who are as incapable as the poor in handling their problems ?

Instantaneously was he to demark himself from the temporal power of kings and princes. In fact, after the inhumation of his father, all the dignitaries of the kingdom focused their attention on him, and naturally believed that he would assume the functions of his late father

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adviser and magistrate of the king, as he had indisputably the qualities.

" And how can the lust for wealth encourage me to visit those dwellings which are gardens of Satan?

" If I am sad or if I feel a need,

I invoke the Master of the Throne.

When this position was proposed to him, everybody thought that the young Ahmadou Bamba would welcome it as a great priviledge. But at the moment they wanted to draw him closer to their versatile and mortal king, the Sheikh (RA) seeked to move nearer to the King Supreme and Eternal, the Glorious and Majestic (All praise to Him !).

"He is the Assistant, the Holder of Power Infinite.

Who creates as He wants what He wants.

" If He wants to hasten an affair, it takes place immediately.

If He wants to postpone it, it is momentarily delayed.

This is why when he refused the job, some people accused him of bei ng crazy, thoughtless and gullible. Confident of the support of the All Powerful, he placed himself above all this futile and sterile pandemonium to write in golden letters the following verses:

" 0 you who blame, M not go too far! Stop blaming me!

As my withdrawal /rom the futilities of this life does not sadden me at all.

" If my only flaw is renunciation of their gifts,

this is indeed a precious flaw that does not dishonour me at all".

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Confronted with the courage and assurance of the Sheikh (RA) th King and the dignitaries of the kingdom had to yield to this inflexible attitude and understand that the disappearance of his father had broken the link that existed between them, and which he maintained only out of politeness and filial duty.

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A premature mystic

" I have received from my Lord the order to lead men to God, the Most High. Those who want to take this path

only have to follow me. As for those who only desire instruction, the country has enough of scholars. Go to whom you please ...

At the moment the Sheikh (RA) was throwing this appeal to his sincer disciples so as to lead them to the sealed enclosure of God, the Lor' had already elevated him to certain mystical heights. In fact, Serign Bachir M'Backe reports in The Blessings from the Eternal that th mother of the Sheikh (RA) used to tell stories of pious people to he children, thereby encouraging them to follow their examples.

This event was to mark his transition from his status of school master to .. that of spiritual guide (Sheikh Al Murabbi). Thus, in the year 1301 H1Jra (1883), he founded Mouridiyya or the Way of Imitation of the Prophet (SAW).

Being endowed with incredible intelligence, the Sheikh (RA) listene attentively and started imitating these holy men even before reach in the age of maturity ; he was often surprised praying "T ahajjoud Moreover, his father had very early initiated him to Qadirite mysticist which he scrupulously practiced. The young Ahmad had also compile mystical works and was very well acquainted with both the cultural an practical aspects pertaining to this field. He belonged to the category ~ scholars who coupled knowledge and action.

The word "mourid" is derived from the word "irada" which means "will". This word also expresses the constant will to detach oneself from earthly.possessions in order to be totally devoted to God, scrupulously respecting the orders of the Sheikh (RA) who acts only by and for God.

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Afterwards, the Sheikh{RA) familiarized himself with the 'wirds' of rl Shadhilites and the Tidjanites. Whenever he launched himself in spiritual field, he mastered in less than no time all the stations and he all the secrets. He was, so to say, favoured by the Craftsman, as I dedares in Rumna :

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"rabbun yajoudou bitayyin qad yaqi koulafann kama younaddji bilaa say/in wa tahsini".

" My Lord has shortened my spiritual path unwearyingly thereby protecting me without using the sword but in beauty".

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" T awaytou tariqal qaU{mi wakh tamti daa hihi wa li qad qaadal aadjati bi rawdi wal basti".

During his mystical journey, the Lord assured his complete mastery of 'wirds' and sectary groups to grant him the Qu'ran as 'wird' and Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself as guide.

" I short-circuited the journey of those following the spiritual path when making his panegyric and he realised my wishes assuring the purification of our souls".

The Sheikh (RA) said:

At the beginning, he said with that humility which characterized him:

" Baana li koulli man lahou wiliya ana wassilati houwa rassoul".

II My masters are Jilani, Shad hili, Tidjani. .. (May Allah sanctify their mystery !).

II It is clear for those who are no longer veiled that Muhammad .

is my guide (wassila) to God ... "

But when The One who elevates whom He pleases exalted him in rank, he dearly declared :

Having reached the summit of his ascension, he said in Djawartou :

.. Li qoutta maa [aaqa bihii jilaani alayhi ridwaanoullazii a'laani".

II God indicated to me Muhammad, and Muhammad (SAW) led me to God ".

II Allah, You have granted me a favour that marked the superiority of AbdeL Kader Jilani,

may he be blessed by the One who raised my level higher still".

" Tammamta Ii bimaa bihi tijaanii [aaqa wa kounta lii bihi marjaani".

Thus the Sheikh (RA) grew to be familiar with various mystical paths before being elevated to the highest level. God wanted him to be the heir to these paths, the pole of his time and His vicegerent on earth for the well-being of His humble servants and whole humanity. Sheikh Sidya affirms that Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) is a blessing of God:

" You have made me perfect the work by which Ahmad Tidjani surpassed othersj You have been for me my coral necklace".

U Ach sheikhou ahmadou ni'mawu".

" llayya qoutta maa bihi aboul hasan [aaqa wa kounta lii bihi jaddil hasan".

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II You have bestowed upon me the grace by which Aboul HasanShadhili excelled others

through the service paid to the grand-falter of al Hasan" .

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IV

Development of Mouridiyya Hostilities start against the Sheikh (ra) \

The traditional chiefs had a grudge against him because they had lost all power in a country directly administered by the coloniser and their ancient subjects were leaving them to serve the cause of Islam behind the Sheikh (RA) who did not give any importance to temporal power. To root down our conviction, let us read the answer he gave to Lat Dior (king of Cayor put to flight), who seeked to complain about the members of his family and his subjects in general:

After the birth of Mouridiyya, Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) left M'Backe-Cayor for k~'Backe~Baol, the land of his ancestors. During his father's lifetime itself, impressive crowds started to flock around him and his closest relatives were forever complaining about these throngs which could not be kept under control. As a result, the Sheikh (RA) founded in 1886 the village of Darou-Salam in the north of M'BackeBaol. :~is village was in its turn swarmed by a large number of adepts and vrsito-s. The Sheikh (RA) moved again further north to set the foundations of the village which would become the capital of Mouridiyya, TOUBA, the city of lights (around 1888).

" For a better control of this world and its people, the most appropriate and efficient solution is to tum one's back to it ... I am sure that if you succeed in discharging yourself from your soldiers, in keeping away /rom your arms and your horses, you wiH find compensation in something much more excellent and you wiH taste peace as your brother Mokhtar Diop ".

Darou-Salam and Touba were dear to him, and he said about them: "1 ~ove .them more than the other villages (the idea of creating them having been inspired by an intention so sincere). I did not go there to follow the footprints of an ancestor nor to look for a city favourable to culture and pasture. I founded them only to adore God, the Unique, with His permission and His approval (All Praise to Him 1)". This was just ignored by all those who under the yoke of jealousy, were bent on hurting him, he who only seeked to be us~ful to them, to please his Lord the All High. In fact, certain religious chiefs of other groups were resentful because the firmness of the Sheikh (RA) and his disregard for earthly possessions exposed the superficiality of their laws. Besides their disciples were joining the ranks of the Sheikh who did not seek to attrack them and declared in all truth:

Finally, the colonisers proved to be resentful because the citizens who had chosen to be mourids, no longer acknowledged their authority and dedicated themselves body and soul to the manifestly divine mission of the Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) whose ideal outshone their colonial appetite. The Sheikh (RA) did not try to rob them of their wordly possessions as he told them in one of his letters:

"I do not need anything from this futile and perishable world" •

Thus, these three categories of jealous and envious persons did not miss any occasion to put the life of the Sheikh (RA) in danger. He was fully conscious of the behaviour and manipulations of the jealous people and says in Massalik Al Jinan, verse 971 :

"My love for the chosen one has wiped away from me the love for fortune, family and children".

"The jealous one is always sad

and takes offence when his brother is well;

his only delight is to see him faced with adversity".

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The Sheik~ (RA) and the mourids w~re assailed by these jealous people and colonisers. Waves of lies were thrown on them in order to arouse the anxiety of the colonial administration and cause it to set in motion its repressive and barbaric apparatus which no king or fighter had been able to face up to now.The spies of the time played a great role in the machiavelical ploys that aimed at throwing discredit on Mouriddiyya.

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Exile in Gabon

According to these wrongly motivated people, the Sheikh (RA) had the intention of waging a holy war. Indeed, the Sheikh (RA) surely waged a holy war, but by ~ means of science and reverential fear as he strongly asserts in Ya J umlatan Qad Sala Sou (0 people of trinity) :

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During the events that took place in 1888 and 1889, most of the mourids got settled near the Sheikh (RA) in Touba. The undertakings of the enemies were indeed only the apparent causes of a deeper esoteric reality between Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) and his Lord. In fact, the Sheikh (RA) had engaged himself to endure aU trials, placing all in God's hands. He says in sura 1d verse 61 :

"Wamaa qaalakouminni oudjahidous inni

Ii wajhillaahi djalla oudjahidou inni oudjahidou bit ouloum wa bit touqa abdan khadiman wal mouhayminou shaahidou".

"Nor is hidden from thy lord so much as the weight of an atom on the earth or in heaven. And not the least and not the greatest of these things but are recorded in a clear Record It.

"If you accuse me of waging a holy war, I declare you to be right.

I do it to please Allah. I do it by means of science and

reverential fear; The Lord by excellence is my witness".

After various summons and investigations, no proof could be established against him. However, his enemies who were in reality enemies of ~sla~ and truth, were decided to see through the end of their plan, that ts, suck to the Sheikh (RA) a motive that would justify his condemnation. If the person of the Sheikh (RA) was somewhat inaccessible the mourids on the otlier hand, constituted an easy target as they were spread throughout the country. A fact confirmed in "The Blessings of the Eternal" ( Page 613) :

During the month of Ramadan of year 1312 Hijra (1894), Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the most illustrious of the apostles of Allah, appeared in front of him in the mosque of Touba to inform him that his wish had been granted by the Most High. The man lacking in awareness may cast doubt on the apparition of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) after his death. But believing in God also means believing in the visible and the invisible, thus in the mysteries.

After the opening chapter, sura 2 of the Qu'ran thus starts :

"Alif. Lam. Mim. This is the Book. In it is guidance sure without doubt to those who fear God, who believe in the unseen ... "

"Thus did the traditional chiefs set themselves against the mourids everywhere; they burnt their huts, seized their harvest

and their remaining possessions ... It

In fact, some trustworthy and pious writers as a1 Shahrani (died in 973) in Lawaaikh al anwar al qudsiya or The saintly fertile winds and a1 Suyuti in Tanwir al halak fi ru'yati an nabiyi wal malak or Relative

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explanations on the vision of the Prophet and the angel, refer to a certain number of priviledged people who has seen the Prophet (SAW) in a state of wakefulness, Moreover- the two compiled books of authentic traditions (Sahih) report that God's apostle has said:

They decided to send him to Gabon, in the equatorial forest which was hostile to human life, without the least proof to support their accusations, as they themselves recognise in their reports.

" Whoever has seen me in dreams, will see me awake.

And Satan never takes my form ".

In the month of august 1895, Commander Leclerc, the administrator of Louga and the Djolof, was sent with a detachment to arrest the Sheikh (RA).

II Is not God the wisest of judges It, says the Qu'ran, sura 95 verse 8.

This event corresponded to the day the Sheikh (RA) finished writing his work Mouqaddimat Al Khidma (Prelude to Service) which, according to his own words, was the proof of his wishes being granted and the cause of his exile (refer to Blessings of the Eternal- pg 620 Ibidem).

However, other muslim brothers consider the apparition of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as heresy.

This esoteric digression was necessary to grasp the extraordinary life of this holy man, which verges on fairy tales for a non-initiated person, though he be a muslim.

At dawn, the Sheikh (RA) had already prepared his luggage. He knew he would be exiled. When his brother and "disciple Sheikh Ibrahim (RA) (Mama Thierno Birahirn), his emissary to the administrator was back, he did not leave him time for a complete report and bid farewell in these very moving terms:

During his apparition, the Prophet (SAW) accepted the pact of allegiance of the Sheikh (RA) and informed him that he would undergo many ordeals inherent to his radious destiny and-that the issue would be glorious. However, he told the Sheikh (RA) that the village of Touba where he dwelled, was protected by the Most Powerful and that these trials would not reach him as long as he remained there. This is why he left Touba for the Djolof (ancient province of Senegal) where he reconstructed M'Backe-Baari, his ancestors' village fallen in ruins.

"Things are so confused that you will need much soap, a weat quantity of

water and a skilful shaver. Bring the horse closer! I place you in God's hands who never betrays the Trust. Show interest in science, education and agTiculture ; look after our parents and our family, stay here as long as you may. If this region did not suit you anymore, go back to the Baal 1"

. On the esoteric side, this era corresponded to an upsurge of slanders and threats against the Sheikh (RA) and his disciples and allies. For the colonial authority and its collaborators, the moment had come to put an end to the influence of the Sheikh (RA) on the mass. He had to be exiled far from the country; it meant getting rid of him first of all physically and then spiritually.

Thus, accompanied by some disciples who carried his luggage, he went to meet Commander Leclerc and his detachment, all satisfied with his Lord, well informed of the favourable outcome of his problems with the coloniser and conscious of the exclusive worship he dedicated to Allah, the Sublime as well as the noble service he had to carry out for the most distinguished of apostles, Sayyidina Muhammad (SAW).

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His meeting with Leclerc and his troop took place in Djewal, not far from the city of Louga. This meeting was historical, because the commander and his soldiers were disconcerted by the celestial army, that of angels sent by Allah (All praise to Hirnl) to save Muslims during the famous battle of Badr, where their enemies exceeded them in number.

"Billahi Farqtu nassara Djewali"

from human beings and brought him closer to Him, to His Book, the Holy Qu'ran, to God's apostle (SAW), his companions and angels, as he (RA) indicates in Assirou Ma'alabrari (I was walking in the company of the virtuous).

Indisputably, the Sheikh (RA) and the colonisers did not share t~e same logic of things. The colonial authority considered him to be. its prisoner, but the Sheikh (RA) on his part, moved, freely on the mystical field hidden to profane eyes.

And the-Sheikh (RA) paid homage to his protector and ally:

" By God, it is at Djewal that I took leave of the invaders ! ".

The Sheikh (RA) says in one of his poems !

As a free man, he pursued his way till Louga where he took the train for Saint-louis, the dwelling place of the governor who had summoned him. Thus, on the 5th september 1895, the Sheikh (RA) was brought before the private council, animated by such a courage that only a man of God could be capable of showing.

"I was walking in the company of the virtuous, when I was walking.

Yet, my enemies thought that I wasthere as their captive".

In fact, he dared spread out his mat and pray two rakas before the governor and his near collaborators 'to exalt the Majesty and Glory of the Master of the Worlds, Only Holder of power, whose sole Authority did he recognise. These two rakas are today the object of an annual commemoration on the part of the mourid community.

The way of his exile was marked by trials, from Saint-louis of Senegal to libreville in Gabon, passing by Dakar, Conakry, Dahomey ... He stayed afterwards in Mayumba and Larnbarene (Gabon). ,H,e went through all sorts of ordeals, of which attempts at murder. This Isolated hole of the equator which was Gabon at that time was hostile to man; many who were deported, military soldiers and state employees, lost their lives, due to endemic illnesses and pests. Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) enlightened us on this aspect of his exile:

He left Senegal on the 20th september 1895 on board of a ship. His enemies wanted to send him away in order to harm him. But the Sheikh (RA) just thanked his lord for this isolation that took him away

" The odes that I dedicated to Muhammad (SAW)

preserved me from sickness and death in the f~rest of Mayumba ".

The -trials were considerable, but the divine miracles that preserved him were even more still. In spite of endless attacks and the pernicious schemings of the colonisers, the Sheikh (RA) pea~efun~ and cool heartedly executed the orders of his Lord, the Most High With the helj of the Prophet (SAW).

The private council took the decision to exile him in Gabon, with the intention of isolating and eliminating him. How many among those who were deported perished during the expedition? Only God knows.

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"0 Ocean of Mayumba !

Bear witness in my favour

that I am the slave of The One who forgives sins and that I am the servant of the chosen one !

In fact, he raised very high the standard of Islam. Crowds, still more dense and devoted, rushed to him to show their happiness and get affiliated to him. His dwellings of Darou-Murnane where he got established were never empty and the echo of Mouridiyya resounded in the four corners of the country, under the helpless look of the jealous people, of the slanderers and other enemies.

In the surrealist setting where he w~~ thrown, between the virgin forest and the Atlantic ocean, the Sheikh (RA) reaffirmed his quality as slave of God and servant of the Prophet (SAW) in these termes :

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Bear witness in my favour,

as the intimate friend of The One who bestows honours upon His friends; I reject all forms of association (Shirk) to God

and adore Him alone.

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Bear witness

that I am the friend of The One who is worthy to be taken as model, the friend of God".

To pay hom mage to this exceptional creature, here is an extract from a compilation of poems on Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) (Ed. d'Artles Heures Clairer=Paris 1984): -

"The iron that symbolised your presence on the continent immediately got metamorphosed in gold, after your long journey on the ocean. You came out of the mother of pearl, deep down the seas of the Atlantic

. ocean, to appear sparkling out of a thousand fires dazzling the sights.

This strange chemical synthesis mobilised men, so incomparable a pearl it is. Just a brillant moon; setting in the east to reappear taking the form of a sun, still more higher and more luminous. What a marvel - all these doors opened for all those who wanted to meet him. Fortunate indeed is the religion whose flame he has reanimated.

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Then, he added:

VI

Exile in Mauritania

" In spite of their scale and different forms, these agitations will not cause us any prejudice".

The old slanders that persecuted the Sheikh (RA) and his family before his exile in Gabon, were quickly to surge up again. Jealous people and those avid for power unscrupulously exploited the situation. It was alleged that the Sheikh (RA) had the intention of waging a holy war, and many went as far as to say that he was hiding a great quantity of arms in his houses. The investigations of the colonial administration proved the contrary, but she was however not reassured. The speedy development of Mouridiyva remained a source of anxiety for the colonisers who always felt threatened.

He left them, satisfied with his destiny, giving the same orders: adore only God, revivify the Tradition of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), devote yourself to study and work, far from the futilities of this world here below.

He stayed in Mauritania, in counties which-have become renown such as Saoutelma, Tountou Mouhzine, Sarsara ... His arrival in Mauritania drastically changed the set trend. Those whose popularity was supposed to eclipse that of the Sheikh (RA) threw themselves at his feet and offered him the best of hospitality, glorifying the Lord All-Mighty for having sent the pole of his time and heir to Prophet Muhammad.

They considered exiling the Sheikh (RA) a second time in Mauritania, where dwelled great men of Goa, prestigious ones who were wellknown by the senegalese people. They assumed that this would tone down the prestige of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) and consequently the fervour of the masses which flocked around him. The decision was taken and the Sheikh (RA) left his residence of Darou-Marnane

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escorted by 150 skirmishes and 50 spahis to be deported in Mauritania in 1903.

The Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) inaugurated a new era in the history of Islam and of the black man. Usually, the black populations of Senegal went to Mauritania in search of spiritual masters. Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) inversed the roles by becoming the first spiritual black guide massively followed by the populations of the white race, thus showing that all men are issued from the same soul and excel each other only in terms of reverential fear manifested towards their Creator.

To calm down his adepts and allies who were revolted against this injustice, the Sheikh (RA) told them :

"Neither do I place my hopes on the support of a friend, nor do 1 fear the aggression of an enemy;

1 have entirely entrusted myself to God".

The eminent religious mauritanian figures composed sublime verses on the Sheikh (RA). For example, Sheikh Sidiya Baba, a great master and scholar said about him:

" Sheikh Ahmad (RA) is a blessing

that God, Master of all creatures, has bestowed on them.

26 -------------------

27

" Glorvto God

for the countless blessings bestowed upon His servants ...

This man is an ocean ...

VII

Back to Senegal and under house arrest

He is flawless, save the fact of always doing good ... "

***

During his stay that lasted five years, Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) was unanimously recognised as the true servant of God and heir to the Holy Prophet (SAW). In 1907, he was authorised to return to his country where he was put under house arrest in Thieyene, near Louga. Needless to say, his popularity continued to grow. To control the crowds that rushed to him, the colonial administration limited the number of huts of the Sheikh (RA) to twenty and that of disciples admitted in his surroundings to fifty.

The whole of Mauritania rejoiced at the presence of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA).

*******

. *

Moreover, all those who wanted to see the Sheikh (RA) had to ask for permission from the authorities. The colonisers had to acknowledge that these habits had in no way checked the development of Mouridiyya which was gaining more and more importance. In 1912, they decided to move the Sheikh (RA) closer to his land in the Baol and put him under house arrest in Diourbel, dwel_ling place of the commander whose services were particularly charged to watch on the mourids. The Sheikh (RA) who was in permanent contact with his Lord, explains the higher exalted realities of this transfer to Diourbel (" Ramal Massiri ila Djourbel...). His residence at Diourbel called Keur Goumack (the great house) witnessed the influx of endless crowds which came out satisfied after their meeting with the Sheikh (RA).

By AHah's grace and the intervention of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) lived thirty-three years in captivity without forsaking for one sale moment his engagement towards God, the Prophet (SAW) and his fellow creatures. The All Powerful had elevated him to sublime heights that forcibly demanded respect and

23

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gratefulness even on the part of his enemies. Antoine ].M.A Lasselits, administrator of the Circle of Diourbel 'from 1913 to 1915, who was very arrogant with the Sheikh (RA), ended up by finally recording in one of his reports to the Governor of Saint-Louis:

" This Sheikh ( Bamba) holds certainly an innate power, the source of which cannot be grasped by reason. Nor can the latter explain its capacity to extract sympathy.

In short, the life of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA), like that of great men of God, had not been of all rest. He led an existence conform to the Qu'ran and Sunna (prophetic tradition) to revivify Islam, reform the society, give back to man the tools for his salvation here below and in the hereafter. He talked, he wrote, he put into practice, in brief, he fulfilled his mission before going back to his Lord, the ~ll High on the 19th July 1927 in Diourbel.

U It is extraordinary how men submit themselves to him; how they love him; a love just unconditional. It seems that he has been entrusted with prophetic light and holds a divine secret similar to what we read in the history of prophets and their nations.

He rests today in T ouba, the City of Light which he edified to the glory of his Lord, Master of the Worlds ( All Praise to Him !).

*******

***

*

" This one however, distinguishes himself by his pure heart, his kindness, generosity, love for the well-being of friend and enemy alike; a quality his predecessors would have envied however great their virtues, piety and prestige.

" The most unjust of men and the most ignorant ones in matters of humanism are those who have wrongly accused him of nursing an ambition for wordly power.

" I know that prophets and saints who engaged themselves in holy wars did it without showing half the force residing in that Sheikh ... "

When the colonial power wanted to decorate him with the legion of honour, Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) refused, saying that only this act on part of his enemies was enough for posterity to understand that his behaviour towards his fellow creatures had been loyal and that the invadors themselves had ended by recognising their errors.

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VIII

Sheikh Ahmadou Samba (ra) and non violence

In this way, he ressembled the model by excellence, Sayyidina Muhammad (SAW) who waged war only to defend himself and on order of his Lord, The Creator, The Wise, The Just ...

In fact, when Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was wounded during the fight of Uhud in Hijra Year lll, he said:

" I have forgiven all my enemies to please The One who has chased

them away from me. Hence didn't I seek to take vengence ".

This affirmation grew to be a permanent feature in the life of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (R.t"'~). His vision indeed approach of non-violence was' different from that of Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi. It was divinely inspired and rooted most deeply in his noble character.

In fact, if Luther King or Gandhi preached non-violence when confronted wi~h a repressive machine outmatching them from far, it was only of tactical n.atu~e. It was oriented towards a precise goal- the conquest and ernanctpatron of their nation dominated by racial and colonial power respectively. They were just trying to foster a certain attitude in

the ranks of the enemy. .

" My Lord, forgive them, because they know not".

Blood was gushing out of his wound.

Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) also forgave all his enemies with a peaceful heart. He prayed for all creatures, friends and enemies confounded. Did he not say in his poem:

u 0 Thou The Gracious! 0 Thou The Merciful! 0 Thou Master of Kingship! 0 Lord ... , have pity for all your creatures".

Serigne Bachir M'Backe (RA) reports in his already mentioned work:

Sheikh A~madou Bamba's (RA) approach of non-violence was exactly . the oppos.lte. Far from it the aim of stimulating any reaction on part of ! the .en:ffiles. And never did the material world hold its interest. The i Sheikh s (RA) approach was engraved in his global nature conceived . for' submission to the Divine Decree and to seek God's consent in

everything. The Sheikh (RA) also said in a poem entitled Midadi :

God had given our Sheikh such a nature that he was abound in affection for all believers and in pity for all creatures. He was full of patience, always handed himself over to God, enduring the prejudices of his enemies and nourishing towards them only sympathy, hoping that they would be wen guided.

U I have forgiven them only for God's face

with a pure heart and for the satisfaction of the one (the Prophet) whose footsteps are followed and whose arrival was greatly desired ".

History proved him to be right as the colonial administration and its agents amended themselves towards him. The holders of traditional power and their families who had fought against him, converted themselves to Islam and became mourids. And thereligious families, somewhat jealous of his popularity ( something he never seeked ) sent their children to him when they could not themselves make the way.

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Verily, God is with those who are patient.

The Sheikh (RA) kept saying that:

"Man has no right to take away his life, all the more reason that of somebody else".

IX

Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (ra) A man of Action

His approach of non-violence flows from the same source enclosing his virtues: patience, tolerance and nobiliry," all that God inspired him in His Eternal Wisdom (All Glory to Him ).

" It is through Kliidma that I chase evil and attract good ".

However, this non-violence is no way suggests passivity. The Sheikh (RAj has all long led a life of Khidma (service), sparing neither day nor night to accomplish the mission that God has ascribed to him for eternity.

The concept of Khidma (Service) assumes a threefold dimension with Sheikh Ahmadou Samba (RA) :

- the facet that links man to his Lord namely through an excl~sive worship backed by sincerity.

*******

- the facet that links man to his society, with all the interactive components

***

*

- the facet that links man to himself, that is the duty of selfim provemen t.

This is why Sheikh Ahmadou Samba (RA) did not limit himself to spiritual teachings. He equally defined and organised a favourable environment for the full development of his disciples. Man had to worship God, but also work and improve his character. He founded many villages and many have been transformed into cities where the mosque is the centre of gravitation. This central position of the mosque indicated that worship and the search for God's satisfaction had to make up the core of the activities.

In this created surrounding, the temporal had to be at the service of the spiritual and each individual had to play his role according to his

aptitudes. /'

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However, some disciples were more inclined to have a bookish education whereas others desired to be educated through imitation and experience. The Sheikh (RA) guided them, assuring their fulfillment here below and in the hereafter.

" If it is possible to regret the constitution of this mourid power ... , it has to be recognised from the economical point of view that the action of Mouridism has enormously contributed to the development of agricultural production ... H.

Many men of God have failed to transmit their heritage to posterity because they have neglected the very creation of a physical setting for their teaching. They~~reoccupied themselves with the invisible and put aside the visible aspect.

The Sheikh (RA) has thus never tolerated passivity and has always fought against laziness and vices. He perfectly grasped the characteristic features of the mourids who were under his strict supervision. He knew what was best for them in matters of work and education. This is why most of the teachings meant for his disciples were taken from his own writings. These constitute 7,5 tons of manuscripts, indeed another proof, if need be, of his quality as an exceptional man of action.

Sheikh Ahmadou "Bamba (RA) combined both, just as Prophet Muhammad (SAW), administrator of the city-state of Madinah, educator, father ...

The daaras (schools) created by the Sheikh (RA) were autonomous physical structures. They were priviledged reproductive centres of the mourid model, worshipper of God, hard worker and preoccupied with character improvement. These daaras were implanted in many uninhabited regions where disciples could devote themselves to God and work physically, intellectually and morally.

Disciples take great pleasure in talking about the numerous miracles of the Sheikh (RA). But he only recognises his writings as miracles.

"My writings are my miracles",

declares the Sheikh (RA).

Serigne Bachir M'Backe reports in The Blessings of the Eternal (Page 598) :

Likewise, Serigne Bachir M'Backe informs us in his book mentioned above, that in less than one month, the Sheikh (RA) wrote "such an important quantity that ten persons would not have been able to write it out again even if they worked continuously!"

II The first things he imposed on his new disciples were: work, renunciation to life's pleasure,

zikr, theological, canonical and mystical knowledge",

His work is all the more astonishing because he has written in arabic language which is not his mother-tongue. But God's Hand is behind; the Sheikh (RA) declares:

The mourids therefore colonised new lands which they exploited. Even the colonial authorities, opponents of the Sheikh (RA) themselves, evoked the dynamic action of this mourid pioneer movement in a report ( Senegal archives - 2-0-26: 10) :

" God has gratified me

with the light of the arabic language ".

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Indeed. this makes certainly more plausible the thesis of research workers like the late Amar Samd, ancient director of the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa (IFAN) stipulating that:

" Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA)

is the most prolific writer of _the islamic world ".

X

Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (ra) Servarit of the Prophet (saw)

It is to be noted that only an insignificant part of his work has been published to this date. However colossal it may be, it can be divided into two categories: theological. canonical and mystical writings meant for the education of the disciples and poems written to glorify God and praise Prophet Muhammad (SAW) whose heir and indisputable servant he is.

" He who obeys the apostle obeys God". (Qu'ran S 4 V 80)

" He who serves the apostle, serves God obviously".

*******

If Rama Rassouloulahi mine ilahi kawni khadimahou wa Abdoulahi ".

***

*

" The apostle appealed to God

so that I become his servant and the slave of God ".

Khadimou Rassoul or servant of the Prophet (SAW) is not a name that Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) has attributed to himself nor an assignment he has freely canfered to himself. It corresponds to the highly exalted reality of his rank. In fact, he has been consecrated servant of the Prophet (SAW) on recommendation of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and according to the eternal decree of Allah, from whom all comes and to whom all returns.

! Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) indicated that Allah granted the wish oi the Prophet (SAW) concerning him:

" On board of the ship ( on the way to exile), The Gracious informed me that

I am the servant of the one who is at Madinah, that is Muhammad (SAW) ".

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"Indisputably, I am the servant of the Prophet who is the lord of all, first and last alike ".

This means that Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) has turned himsel exclusively towards God and His noble apostle. Whoever seeks him fa: from them will never find him. He has served and revitalized wha Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has bequeathed to us: the Qu'ran, Sunn: (Prophetic Tradition) and the Umma (community).

When he was fully invested with this role as servant, he adressed himself to all people endowed with i~telligence and to humanity in general. He declared:

This skimming over has given us the opportunity of perceiving the Sheikh (RA) as a granted wish of the Prophet (SAW) and that his greatness only foreshadows the immeasurable one of the Holy Prophet (SAW). This is why someone issued from the first wave of disciples of the Sheikh (RA), Abdoul Karim Samba Diara M'Baye, said that the Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) is a Muhjizat ( miracle) of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) has exhumed the authentic way of the Prophet (SAW) by reviving the path of the Sahabas (companions) builders of the City of the muslim nation.

His action is even more praiseworthy because it is situated at a perioe when Islam was drained of its substance, being more or less exclusiveb confined to its too important spiritual dimension at the detriment 0' the temporal aspect.

As a good servant, Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) devoted all his life to the service of the apostle of God to please the All High, as he himself puts forward in Prelude to Glory (Verse 42 ) :

In fact, this society had forgotten that the Holy Prophet (SAW) and hi: companions practised certainly contemplative sufism, but were alsc involved in the construction and management of the life of believers.

" I seek the satisfaction of The Merciful in serving the one who has diverted from my way those who are not submissive ".

Did not the Prophet (SAW) tell us:

Henceforth, we can apprehend the essential truth carried by these words of the Sheikh (RA) :

II Keep yourself occupied with your life here below as if you would live eternally 1 pray God as if you would die immediately".

" I swear by God,

The Master of Honours and The Scholar by excellence,

that I give my life, my death, all I possess to Sayyidina Muhammad" •

However great may be his work, the great Qutb (Pole), Sheikh Abde Kadr Jilani (RA) has not founded Bagdad where he lived.

However great may be his work, Sheikh Ahmad Tidjani (RA) has no founded Fez (Morocco) where he lived ...

As explains Sheikh Moussa Ka, " the Sheikh has ended by getting dissolved in the Prophet (SAW) just as sugar in water n, on the mystical level of course.

Yet, Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) founded Darou Salam, Touha Darou-Alimou Qabir (Ndarne), Darou-Mouhtv, Darou Manaan ... am

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up to now the mourid sheikhs, disciples of the Sheikh (RA), continue to build up villages following the model of the islamic city where man adores God, works and studies, and seeks to improve himself in his journey towards the All-High. Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) has thus outshined his noble predecessors in his realisation of an islamic rebirth, merging the interior and exterior, which would make of Islam the ideology of the 3rd milleneum.

Thus how could Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) make any distinction nay discrimination among members of the community of the Prophet (SAW), whose servant he is ?

The answer to us seems obvious.

*******

***

However, 'the Sheikh (RA) did not inaugurate this islamic renaissance by a destructive war at the cost of his fellow creatures even if they were his opponents. He launched it by means of a constructive war with science and reverential fear as the only weapons. I mean the great war about which talked Sayyidina Muhammad (SAW).

*

Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) thus introduced a new form of resistance, which far from dividing, unites the Umma (community). It banishes ethnocentrism and exclusion from an islamic world, where the muslim pigmy and Red Indian will live as brothers in all sincerity and in all the compartments of their existence. Taqwa (reverential fear), Irada (will) and Khidma (service) will constitute the tripod on which will rest the world of tomorrow.

This is the reason why Sheikh Ahmadau Bamba (RA) raised himself above groupe cleavages to declare in -Massalik-AI-Jinan (V 271 - 273) far those who wanted to listen:

U Every 'wird' leads the follower to the sealed enclosure of God without deviations. It matters little if the wird comes from

Al Jilani (RA), Ahmad Al Tid;ani (RA) or from another Qutb (Pole) • May Allah be satisfied with them -

as they are in the right direction".

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XI

Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (ra) The Unifier

" 0 Thou The Just, The Excellently Good, The Preserver!

a Thou who cures and have the destiny of men in Thine hands !

Pour down Your blessings where harm is rampant, And good where evil lies,

And generosity where miserliness prevails.

Make wealthy poor environments

And may gratitude flow in ungrateful surroundings ".

The Sheikh (RA) considered as being part of him all tho~e who took Allah for God Muhammad (SAW) as prophet, the Qu ran as The Book, the Kaaba as direction. He not only said it, but put it into practice.

The Sheikh (RA) himself frequented many dignitaries and islamic families be it white or black. He opened his doors to everybody and shared his possessions without discrimination. When he invoked .God, the Servant of the Prophet (SAW) said: " Protect the commumty of the chosen one". His quality as slave of God made him say: "_Have pity for all your creatures".

Sheikh Ahmadou Barnba (RA) has never lost sight of the universal character of his mission, as Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has been sent for all humanity. Thus did he proclaim:

We realise that he even prays for the ungrateful, all the more reason for the Muslims. Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) was and will remain a blessing bestowed by God upon all His servants, as asserts the great mauritanian master, Sheikh Sidiya Baba (RA). Scholars, holy men, princes, disciples, svmpathisers, poor, rich and sick people, kings and other visitors have rushed to his door night and day, and each left him satisfied with his Lord and his fate.

The Sheikh (RA) says in one of his most beautiful poems:

" God has helped me.

People will come from the lands and the seas.

I will assist them, without harming them in the least".

*******

" 0 people of lands! a people of the seas!

Answer the call of God (The Just),

f G ."

The Ocean 0 enerositv ".

***

*

In his poem entitled The Search for Remedy, the ~heikh ~RA) prays for everybody, without any discrimination, like ram pounng on all lands, even if they be non-believers.

We read in this poem :

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Conclusion

In brief, to serve Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) liberated man, the Muslim and the seeker of God. He showed them the reactualised profile of the Sahabas ( companions of the Prophet saw), that is the Royal Path, where one accepts to put his knowledge, his possessions, his life, all in brief, at the service of the All-Powerful Creator (Glory to Him) and of Islam.

In a general manner, the sensible man will understand that the revitalists of Islam and in particular Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA), Khadimou Rassoul, Servant of the Prophet (SAW) mark the real dynamics of the history of Islam and of revelation. It will be clear that refering to them becomes an obligation (acceptable) for the Muslim

. concerned with the interior as well as the exterior path.

The Sheikh (RA) was a predestined miracle to uphold all truths of Islam and to deeply root good morals. So concluded Serigne Bachir M'Backe.

Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) has reactualised the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) which amount to nothing but the way of the middle path and stability.

As for us, we will add that the life and the miraculous work of the Sheikh (RA) emanates from the Most Exalted Reality. He has proclaimed without triumphalism that he was" a sign among the signs of God It, "Ayatun Min Ayati Lihi".

Glory to God, Master of the Worlds!

In Massalik-Al-Iinan, verse 1465, the Sheikh (RA) says:

" I advise you to be neither narrow-minded nor an extremist, but to stay in the middle way, following the prophetic tradition".

Prayers and blessings on the most illustrious of apostles, Sayyidina Muhammad (SAW), on his noble family, his noble companions and his community!

The Sheikh (RA) has shown us the way of Salat (prayer) which liberates us from the ills of society and of our time. The Sheikh (RA) had to redefine the position of the seeker of God in a world dominated by colonisation, hegemony, cleavages among races, casts, social groups, fraticidal wars, greed, hypocrisy, corruption, evil...

May Allah sanctify the mystery of Sheikh Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Habiballah (RA) !

May Allah bring peace, harmony and brotherhood among nations!

Amine.

Thus he moulded men and outlines of men, and created the necessary frame for their development and reproduction. This original move cost him the hostility of the ancient traditional order and colonial power as all victims seeked freedom with him, and vowed him an indescribable affection.

*******

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*

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1 _

THEWIRD

In L'Abreuvement du Commensal, Sheikh Mouhammadou Lamine Diop declares that on order of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) gave up, during his exile in Gabon, the wirds to which he had been initiated, to make of the Qu'ran his wird.

He writes :

" The Book of God has become my wird",

" The Qu'ran is my way, my shield, my companion".

During his exile in Mauritania, he received from God through Prophet Muhammad (SAW) the Wird (Makhouz mina lahi...) in 1904. The Sheikh (RA) says that he received it from the Prophet (SAW) : " Yakh

Z L M " h . "A k . d "

atann aa anaamaan, t at IS wa e, not m a ream.

This Wird has the priviledge of being con form to the Tradition of the Prophet (SAW), as all its parts are, if not issued from the Qu'ran, well-known recommendations of the Prophet (SAW) to Muslims. This Wird is devoid of any type of innovation.

No change is allowed whatever be the formula of remembrance or invocation. By its authentic character, this Wird comes at the right moment to overcome our brothers who have set themselves up as

. censors and throw discredit on saints, sheikhs and sincere scholars.

They ignore that, by the grace of the Qu'ran and the Sunna, no sheikh, no saint may trick a Muslim.

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The greatest novice knows that pious servants like prophets are not God in the least. They are neither masters of their own fate nor do they control the way leading to salvation or lost. They are indeed simple slaves of God who manifest to their Lord Allah obvious respect by the strict application of the prescriptions of God and His apostle, who have elevated them to the rank of pious servants. They are without contest, heirs to prophets, their disciples and undoubtedly lead to redemption.

There exists three initiative wirds in Mouridism :

, the first is known as Mahuz haftf , the second one : Mahar Kamil

- the third: Mahuz Akmal.

Al Boukhari reports that the best of Allah's apostle (SAW) has said:

~h~se wirds have been mentioned in order of importance. We will limit ourselves to the second Wird "Mahuz" which is the one received by our Sheikh Sidv Ahmed Ibn Ismouhou (RA).

" God has said: I declare Myself as the censor, corrector, enemy of whoever shows himself to be hostile towards My pious servant (saint). My servant cannot be admitted to My close proximity by a more pleasant form of worship than that of respecting the obligations I have

prescribed ..."

A superficial analysis of the Wird the Sheikh (RA) received from his Lord through Prophet Muhammad (SAW), reveals that it is composed of three parts :

A, Introduction

B - The Zikr properly said

C : The Invocation (doah) or conclusion of the Wird.

In Massalik-AI-Jinan, the Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) says:

U Because Satan directs the course of the one who does not attach himself to a valuable guide.

If laziness forbids you to practice your Wird,

neither imagine denying its authority out of prejudice or hate!

If you are incapable of covering the distance which separates you from the source,

do not seek to detain others from drawing the water 11 •

Meditation on this aspect brings conviction; some muslim countries who reject guides and sincere scholars, using arguments to rise up ignorant people against them, have as leaders and tutors imperialism itself and cruel or bloodthirsty monarchs, hidden in the opaque shadow of a distorted Sharia drained of its substance.

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A ~ IN'IRODUCflON

~ tA'UdhU bil-lahi minach-chaytani-rajim wa inni ou-'idhuha bika ~ wa dhurriyyataha minach-chaytani-r-rajim; Rabbi A'udhu bika

min hamazatich-chayatini wa'adhubika Rabbi ann vahduru-ni (1)

o /'

I seek refuge in God against the devil one. And 1 commend her and her offspring to Thy protection from the evil one, the rejected. 0 my Lord!

I seek refuge with Thee from the suggestions of the evil ones. And I seek refuge with Thee lest they should come near me.

According to the pious practice of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), it is recommended to recite this prayer when one is tempted by satan.

(The Enlivenment of religious sciences by Al Ghazali Pg 345 - Hadith reported by Maq Ibn Yassar),

'"' ~A'UdhU bikalimatl-l-lahi ta'arnati min charrirna khalaqa (3) ~ I seek refuge in the most perfect words of God against all the evil He has created ..

r

=> ~ Bismil-lahi-r-rahrnani-r-rahim (0 \.__

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

These are the first words of the Sacred Book (the Qu'ran).

~ 5 Bismil-lahi-ladhi la yadurru ma'a-s-mihi chay'un fil-ardi wa lafi- ?

/ sarna i wa houwa-s-sami'u-aliimu. (3) \

~ /

In the name of God, with His Name, nothing in the heavens nor on earth can cause harm. Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing".

56

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) declared that protection is assured to any servant of God who recites thrice this prayer each morning and night.

I

') ~ . Bis~illahi ma-shaa Allahou la yasouqoul khaira illallahou .~

J Bisrnillahi ma-shaa Allahou la yas-ri-fous-sou-a illallahou

( BismilIahi ma-shaa Allahou wa rna bikumm min ni'rnatinefa-mi-nallah

\. Bismillahi ma-shaa Allahou la qouwata ilIa billahi (3). r

In the name of Allah !

As long as Allah wishes, good will be bestowed by Him.

In the name of Allah! .

As long as Allah wishes, evil will only be diverted by Him! In the name of Allah!

As long as it pleases Allah, all blessings come from Him. In the name of Allah !

As long as Allah wishes, there is no other force than in Allah. r:

=> ) Bismillahi zthish-sha-ni 'azwimil bourhani chadii dis soultwanii' ,., ma-shaa Allahou Kana a'ouzthou billahi minash shatwan-nit ( rajeem (3) 0)

"

In the name of Allah who holds the power of creating, the giver of proofs by excellence, The One who detains all authority. What Allah wants will happen. I take refuge in Allah against the devil, the damned.

/"'.

/' 0

=> \ Allahou laa. ilaha illaa houwal Hayyoul qayyourn. La ta'kho~ i zthou hou smatoun wa la nawmoun. Lahu rna fis-samawati w~\ '~~a.fit a;dhw. Man zthalla-zrhii vash-fa'ou 'indahou ilia bi izth\

nihi. Ya la mou rna baina aydiihime wa rna khalfahoume wa la , you hitwouna bi sbav-ine-min-Tlrnihii illabima sha'a wasi'a kour, sii you hous sarna wati wal ardhw. Wa la ya ou-dou hou Hifzwou- j \houma wa houwal 'aliyyoul 'a-zwiime. (1) /1

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Allah! There is no God but He,. The Living, The Eternal. Neither slumber nor -sleep can seize Him. All which is in the heavens and on earth is His. Who is there to intercede in His presence except as He permits? He knows the present, the past and the future of men without they compassing aught of His knowledge except as He wills. His throne does extend over the heavens and the earth. And he feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for the Most High, The Supreme in

glory.

=> Laqad ja akum rasulurn min anfusikum azizun al-avhi rna anitJ tum haris,.,n alaykum bil-mu-minina ra-ufur-rahimum fa'in taws ail law fakul hasbiyal-Iahu la ilaha illa huwa-alayhi tawakkaltu wa

. huwa rabbu-l-archi-l-azwimi. (1) (S 9 Y 128-129)

B ., THE WIRD PROPERLY SAID

r-

~ => Hasbiyallahu la ilaha ilia huwa alayhi tawkkaltu }./

( wa huwa rabbul-archi-l-azimi (70) \

___ )

God sufficeth me: There is no God but He: 1 place my trust in Him -

He is the Lord of the Throne, of Glory Supreme. '

Now has come unto you an apostle among yourselves: it grieves him that you should perish: ardently anxious is He over you. To the believers is He most kind and merciful. But if they turn away, say: God sufficeth me : There is no good but He : In Him do 1 place my trust, - He the Lord of the Throne of Glory Supreme!

( .)

=> ~. Wa ufaw-widu amriyya ilaJ,!ahi inna-I-Iaha basirun bil-ibadi (1). <.

(S40Y 44) _)

Ask for the forgiveness of your Lord, then come back to Him. The greater pleasures of this life will be yours till an irrevocably fixed term' He bestows His grace on every man who has' already tasted it. '

r:

=> )1 Astaghfiru-l-laha-l-azwim alladhi la ilaha illa ( qayyumu-wa atub ilaihi, (70)

houwa-l-hayyf

j

.____'

1 im~l~r~ the pardon of God The Most Exalted, outside whom there is no divinity, except Him, the Ever-living, The Unchanging and 1 repent myself.

Soon will you remember what I say to you now. My own affair 1 commit to God: for God ever watches over His servants".

Allah, ~he Most High has said: " Ask for forgiveness from your Lord for He 1S Oft-Forgiving. From the sky wiH He send rain in abundance' He wi,ll increase your wealth and the number of your children. And you will rest in gardens of eternity beneath which rivers flow".

According to the Holy Prophet (SAW), reading this formula thrice before sleeping assures forgiveness of sins even if they are as numerous as the waves of the seas,as sand or the leaves of trees. (Tlrmizi)

Verse 31 of Su ra 24 tells :

" And a ye who believe! Turn ye aU together towards God that ye may attain bliss".

58

59

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- - --

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The word Tawba means, in plaia language, "to turn", but in the theological sense: "turning one's back to legally blameful things to be directed to praiseworthy ones of the same order, recognising th.e pernicious effect of sins which draw away from God those who comm!t them and knowing that abstinence from sins bring man closer to God .

Hence God talks to the believers, inviting them to fight against their passions in order to be worthy of the rewards and to obtain redemption

leading to happiness.

According to Boukhari, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) did more than 70 AstaghfiruUah ( repetition of: 1 ask for God's forgiveness) everyday.

Sura 9 V 112

" Those who turn to God in repentance, who serve Him and praise Him, who wander in devotion to the Cause of God, who bow down and prostrate themselves in prayer; who enjoin good and forbid evil and observe the limits set by God; , These do rejoice. So proclaim the glad tidings to the believers" .

"0 men, do implore the pardon of God ".

According to Muslim, he said: " 1 implore the pardon of God one hundred times per day".

S 11 V 49

" Noah said: " 0 my Lord! I do seek refuge with Thee, lest I ask Thee for that of which I have no knowledge and unless Thou forgive me and have mercy on me, I should indeed be lost ".

=:) ~L,a ila~a, illa-l-lahu ~uhammadur-rasulul-Iahi-al-ayhi wa alihi wA swahbihi salatu-l-lahi tabaraka wa ta ala wa salamu-l-lahi (50) T

. I

There is no other God than God and Muhammad is His aposcle~ On him, his family and his companions, the blessings and salutations of God, the Exalted, The Most High.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

Those who could not refute the character and place of this pious act in' regard of the Qu'ran and the Sunna, accept this amount in most wirds. The orders of the Prophet (SAW) are thus respected.

Numerous are the verses of the Qu'ran which sing the greatness of the formula" la ilaha ill allah" .

. In Sura 8, God says:

S 29 V 45

" And remembrance of God is the greatest thing in life without doubt. And God knows the deeds that ye do" .

" 0 ye who believe, do repent towards God with rep~ntance sincere. ,It is possible that God forgives your sins and that He introduces you 10 splendid gardens where rivers flow ".

According to the Idjma (concensus), repentance is an obligation for us all,

S 7 V 205

" And do thou bring thy Lord to remembrance in thy soul, in low tones, with humility and reverence, mornings and evenigs alike; And do not be of those who are unheedful".

60

61

_. - - - - - - - - - _. _ - _

S 33 V 35

" For muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout man and women, for truthful men and women, for men and women who ar: patient and constant, for men and women who show humility, for meri and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast and deny themselves, for men and women who guard their chastity and for men and women who are much engaged in God's praise, ' for them has God prepared forgiveness and .great reward ".

r ~

~ ~ Allahumma swalli ala sayyidina Muhammadin al fatihi lima

(. ughlika wal khatimi lima sabaqa naswiril haqqi bil-haq-wal hadi~ ila swiratikal mustaquimi wa ala alihi haqqa qadrihi wa miqdarihil-'azwime. (100) J

"'"

a God, shower Your blessings on our Lord Muhammad (SAW) who

has opened what was closed; who has closed what has preceeded; the defenser of truth by truth, the guide in the right path, as well as on his family, according to his valued position and his ultimate dignity.

S 62 V 10

" Celebrate as often as possible a'nd without stint the praises of God: that ye may prosper".

S 33 V 56

" God and His angels send blessings on the Prophet. a ye who believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respects".

Apa.t from its teachings on remembrance (zikr), this verse clearly proclaims the equality of men and women before their Lord. This is to say that those who accuse Islam of fostering inequality between men and women have not understood anything in the message of Muhammad (SAW) who gives to all sons of Adam the same rank before God.

This is not an order imposed on us by Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Each Muslim can, even if he does not understand arabic, pray on the Prophet (SAW) in any language ; the essential factor is to respect the order of God.

" This is the best formula for the tongue; the one who contradicts me

has signed his lost". .

The devils who want to trouble the minds of the weak try to impose on the Umma certain strict formulations. Little does it matter. The main factor is to respect the order of God, the Lord of the Worlds. The number is not important; those who oppose resistance to God, unheedful of his pious servants, lose time on such futilities as nurnbers.They forget that the best of Muslims is the one who sends the greatest amount of prayers on Prophet Muhammad (SAW). According to Abdallah Ibn Oumar Ben Anass, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

Malik Ibn Anass (RA) reports that the Prophet (SAW) has said :

" The one whose last words when on the verge of dying will be 'La ilaha iIlallah', will go to paradise".

S8V45

" 0 ye who believe! When ye meet a force, be firm and call God in remembrance much and often that ye may prosper ".

" Whoever in my nation sincerely prays ten times for me, God will praj ten times for him, elevate him tenfold, write good actions on his account and will wash away ten of his bad actions.

62

63

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In a hadith kursi ( a holy word attributed to God, reported by the two imams Boukhari and Muslim), God send His blessings and declares:

<,

The whole world scenery is dominated by wars, violence, bloo terrorism. So much so that the media has wrongly attributed to Isla the quality of being violent. An analysis of the factors prevailing no' clearly show that certain islamic nations have literally drawn back fro the imitation of Muhammad (SAW) and his message the honourab

, ,

Qu ran.

C .. THE INVOCATION

" I conform myself to the opinion my servant holds of me. I am with him as long as he remembers Me; if he invokes Me in his innermost self, the answer will come directly from Me. If he invokes Me in a crowd, the answer will come out from the noble crowd. If he covers the span separating us, I will make the distance by a stroke. If he walks towards Me, I will run to meet him" .

Our only chance resides in invocation.

The Prophet (SAW) said:

" Invocation is the arm of the believer".

It 'is beyond doubt that invocation and remembrance of God is foremost in all pious actions. Prophet Muhammad(SA W) adressed himself to God by invocation and remembrance:

God orders man to invoke Him and to humiliate himself before Hii He promises to grant their invocations and realise their desires. Talki: about invocation, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

S 33 V 42

" a ye who believe! Celebrate the praises of God; and glorify Him morning and evening".

" Invocation benefits the dead in his grave as well as the living at assures excellent rewards to the servants of God ".

In Islam, invocation and remembrance of God are the very pillars of all facets of life. In this world where values have lost their nature and men have turned into ferocious animals, invocation is the elixir. It provides the Muslim with this pure and lasting peace in order to better face all the set backs of life.

=> ~ La ilaha illallahou wah-dahou }a sharii'k~ laho~ la houl mul~; ? wa la houl hamdou wa houwa alaa koulh shav-ine qadir (10) -,

~ ~

/

There is no divinity except Allah, The Unique.

He does not have any associate. He is the King. Glory to Him. He detains power over everything.

Actually, rare are the nations of the Umma which 'have lived in accordance with the message of the Prophet (SAW), this very message of love, generosity, peace and respect for each other. Most of the nations which claim to be islamic ones are in a general manner unable tolive and make live peace and fraternity, indeed virtues taught by the Seal of Prophethood(SA W).

Whoever reads this formula ten times will have the same merit someone who has affranchised four slaves among the sons of Israel.

(Reported by Boukhari and, Muslim) "

64 65
"
i'
I, -. - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - c . .~

~ ."\ Allahumma swalli wa sallim wa barik ala sayyidina wa mawlana ,/ ./ Muhammadin nabiyyil umrniyyi wa ala alihi wa swahbihi swala- '/ f,\ tan wa salaaman wa barakatan tahabu Iii bihima sa-adatal-la '\ ) shaqawaran bahdaha wa akbara rid wane minka la sukhtan ::

( bahdahu .abadan. (1) /'

\,'-.

O God. shower Your Grace on our Lord and Master Muhammad (SAW). the illiterate Prophet. on his family and his companions and send on them salutations and blessings which will bring happiness not followed by misfortune, which will give us Your benediction and never make us incur your anger.

+-,

\ )

~. Ya Karimu, Ya jarnilu, Ya Wadudu, Ya Rabbal alamine, Ya /'

Badiu, Ya Wahhabu. Ya Wahhabu, Ya Latifu, Ya Karimu, Ya

I Nafiu, Ya Nafiu, Ya Akramu, Ya Rabbal-alamine, Ya Ahadu, Ya (

// Latifu, YaBaqui, Ya Latifu, Ya Akramu, Ya Da-irnu, Ya Khaliqad \

I Dunya wal akhirati wa Malikad Dunya wal akhirati wa rna fihima I"' wa bashiril-lazina amanu wa arnilu swalihati anna lahoum djanna- ,

f

,I tine tajri min tahtihal anharu kullama ruziqu minha min samara- I

tin rizqan qalu hazal-lazi ruziqna min qablu wa utu bihi rnutasha- \. i bihan wa lahum fiha azwajun mutwahara-tun wa hum ftha

\"khaliduna (1) .J

"0 Thou The Generous. The Beautiful, 0 Thou that lovest, 0 Master of the two worlds! 0 The Inventor, 0 The Donator (2), 0 The Subtile, 0 The Generous! 0 Thou that are the most generous, 0 Master of the two worlds! 0 Unique! 0 The Subtile One, 0 The Most Generous, 0 Thou The Eternal ! 0 Creator of the world here below and the hereafter and all that is in them. Announce to those who have believed and done good works that they would be in gardens where flow rivers. Each time they will receive a fruit in attribution, they will say: "This is what had been attributed to us previously and

66

what will be given to them. In these gardens, they will have purified brides and they will be immortal".

~

L. Subhana rabbika rabbil izzati amma yaswifuna was salamun alai murs~·

( lina Wal hamdu-lll-lahi rabbit alamine (1) /

~ J

"0 how your Lord, the Lord of Power is beyond all that the~ite , Salute on the apostles and glory to God. the Master of the Universe l"

*******

***

*

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The wird,:~n ~e p~actised b~ men. and women of all cond~tions. We car.'distinguish four categories of men and women 10 our actual societies, according to the explanations of our Sheikh Sidy Ahmed Ibn Ismouhou (RA) :

God, the Master of the Worlds, says in the Holy Qu'ran :

a) The pious person, the retired worker, people of the third age ... those who have time to devote themselves totally to their Lord, and who without adoration, may find themselves plunged into serious idleness. This category has to choose zikrs, qassidas according to their fixed objective.

" Those who recite the Book of God, establish regular prayer and spend ( in charity) out of what we have provided for them, secretly and openly, hope for a Commerce that will never fail : For He will pay them their meed, may He will give them even more out of His Bounty: for He is Oft Forgiving, most ready to appreciate service ",

Principal conditions of the mourid wird

c) Those who are studying or are in the army, or in similar services and occupations. They have to be organised as category (b).

* Obligation to make the five prayers together and correctly

* Understanding and respect of shariatic institutions

* Abstinence from sins, with the conviction of being protected from divine repression.

* Daily recitation of at least two Hizb of the Qu'ran (2:60) or what you may

Constant commitment to good actions, all acts, words and intentions being based on Faith in God and the respect of the Way of the Prophet (SAW).

*

b) Those whose service to humanity consists of sharing their science and being professionally active; their Wird will differ from that of the pious man.

(d) Those who are bound by obligations (following their needs) to earn their own livelihood and that of their family. They do not have any right to let their family suffer by devoting themselves completely to religious activities as is the case of the pious person. While working, these people have to glorify their Lord, recite koranic verses and qassidas and always indulge in good actions.

To the mourid who wants to perform this wird, the Sheikh (RA) recommends the recitation of at least two Hizb (2/60) of the Qu'ran per day, or the verses that he has been able to master during his life. The apostle of God has said:

"Recite the Qu'ran, because Allah will not chastise a heart attentive to the Qu'ran",

The Wird of the Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) proved to be universal since the first decade of this century. The Sheikh (RA) himself gave it to his disciples in Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, etc, but also to Arabs like Sheikh Moustapha Ousmane, a native of Alep who had emigrated to Madinah. Here is the note made by Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) on the Wird that he had given to him (extract of the book of Sheikh Mouhamadou Lamine Diop: lrwa U Nadim)«

" In the name of God, the Beneficent, The Merciful! May God shower His blessings and peace on our Lord Muhammad, his family and his

. "

compamons .

68

69

_.------------------

Then, the reader is informed th:lt the author of these lines, Ahmad Ben Mouhammad Ben Habiball~h M'Backe, native of the Baol, has allowed his brother in God Most High, Moustapha Ousmane, native of Alep emigrated to Madinah, to practice- this beneficial wird and to transmit it to whoever he pleases among his muslim brothers and sisters. The Wird was received from God Most High through His Messenger, in a state of wakefulness and not asleep in the year 1322 Hijra, in a locality called Sarsara during the month of Ramadan, month during which the Qu'ran came down as a guide for people and as proof and way of discernment, God is the guarantor of my words.

He has secured for him a well guarded place never attributed to someone' else. It is Pure Gold offered to our venerated approved Sheikh. "Gold" which gives acess to the Most High. On a friday he showed it for the first time to those of his contemporaries who were present.

It is on the fifth day of the month of Shawwal that the author of these lines met "the most distinguished of the distinguished".

Our Sheikh Ahmadou M'Backe Entirely devoted to his Lord During his second blessed exile A blessing for the Moors.

According to Mohamed Abdou at Alawi (RA) in Fraganee of muse and the marvels of Ahmadou Samba: " this Wird satisfies me and exempts me of all. "

The Sheikh Mamadou Lamine Diop affirms:

He showed us the Wird to please God.

In the name of God, do not neglect it ever If you want to obtain what you seek.

" During my initiation at this Wird, our Sheikh, our guide to the Most High told me : 1 have given you thisWird to please God the High. Then he added : attach yourself to it strongly. Whoever is already initiated to another Wird and who can practice both at the same time, ' has to do it, because it would mean reinforcing a light by another. lfhe is unable to do it, he may content himself with this excellent wird ".

a God, help me to find what were seeking my predecessors Near You, by placing me in the group of Your Privileged Ones.

o King, in consideration for Muhammad (SAW), the guide of men, On. the straight path,

Who puts aside troubles and in consideration for our Sheikh M'Backe May God bless Muhammad, his family and companions

The highest blessings and peace.

Ahmed Ibn AI Hassan added:

"It is good news for us that our Lord has determined our actions acco.ding to what we have drawn form the best source, that is the Wird that our Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA) has received from his Lord, through Muhammad (SAW). May God shower all His blessings on

him. .

According to the thought of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (RA), the respect of the Book of God, the fact of putting it into practice and making an analytical and comprehensive reading are the ways that undoubtedly lead to the agreement of God.

70

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(

Way of reading the Qu'ran

In the Massalik-Al-jinan, the Sheikh (RA) writes :

« The fact of remaining in a clean place, in a seated position, legs crossed or crouched like the one who prays, the face turned towards the Kaaba, well perfumed, because these places where invocations are made may be visited during the zikr by angels and djinns ".

Many are the priviledged ones who love and put into practice the prescriptions of the Qu'ran. The Qu'ran is the word of God that surpasses in purity, nobility and merit all other words. The servant of the Prophet (SAW) in one of his poems entitled " I ask for the forgiveness of God ", writes :

"Bliss is meant for the slave of God who adores Him and recites the Qu'ran".

" I take the Qu'ran as support, the very source of relief during my trials: It was my companion and my refuge when I was going through fire and water ".

Adressing himself to his adepts, the Sheikh (RA) wrote in the same poem:

"The one who does not refer to. the Qu'ran at every moment, will be guided by Satan the devil... ..

"The Qu'ran is Truth. No error can have access to it. It is the Word of God, honored by the Lord. II

Moreover, the Sheikh (RA) affirms :

"I say, the one who wants to be the friend of God has to adhere to His Word."

72

_'_

-

- -

-

-

-

-

-

-

- _

-

Prelude 5

Chapters Page

1. From birth

till the death of his father 2.After the death of his father 3.A Premature mystic 4.Development of Mouridiyya 5. Exile in Gabon

6. Exile in Mauritania

7. Back to Senegal 8.Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (ra) and non-violence 9.Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (ra), A man of action

10. Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (ra), servant of the Prophet (saw) 11.Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba (ra), the unifier

Conclusion

Books from the same author

TheWird

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-

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..... : 7

..................................... 10 ..................................... 13 ..................................... 16

... : 19

..................................... 26 ..................................... 29 ..................................... 32

. 35

..................................... 39

..................................... 44

..................................... 46

..................................... 49

..................................... 51