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The Mourid Brotherhood

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Leadership

Amadou Bamba was buried in 1927 at the great mosque in Touba, the holy city of Mouridism and the heart of the Mouride movement. After his death Bamba has been succeeded by his descendants as hereditary leaders of the brotherhood with absolute authority over the followers. The leader (caliph) of the Mouride brotherhood is known as the Grand Marabout and has his seat in Touba. The caliphs up to Saliou have all been sons of Bamba, starting with his oldest son:

* Serigne Mouhamadou Moustapha Mbacké (1927)
* Serigne Mouhamadou Fallilou Mbacké (1945)
* Serigne Abdoul Ahad Mbacké, (1968)
* Serigne Abdou Khadre Mbacké, (1989)
* Serigne Saliou Mbacké (born in 1915), caliph from 1990 until he passed away on 28 December 2007
* Serigne Mouhamadou Lamine Bara Mbacké, current caliph and first grandson of the Ahmadou Bamba to become caliph

The Grand Marabout is a direct descendant of Amadou Bamba himself and is considered the spiritual leader of all Mourides. There is a descending hierarchy of lower-rank marabouts, each with a regional following.

Mouride beliefs


Amadou Bamba is considered a "renewer" (mujaddid in Arabic) of Islam by his followers, citing a hadith that implies that God will send renewers of the faith every 100 years. The members of all the Senegalese brotherhoods claim that their founders were such renewers. The Mouride beliefs are based on Qur'anic and Sufi traditions and influenced by the Qadiriyya and Tijaan brotherhoods, as well as the Islamic scholar Al-Ghazali.

Mourides sometimes call their order the "Way of Imitation of the Prophet". Parents sometimes send their sons to live with the marabout as Talibes rather than giving them a conventional education. These boys receive Islamic training and are instilled with the doctrine of hard work.

Some Muslims consider the Mourides' extreme adulation of Amadou Bamba, and his lineage of successors, to be blasphemous, claiming the latter gets more attention than the Prophet Muhammad, and that Touba is ranked over Mecca.

Modern following

Mural on a wall in Dakar, Senegal, showing Amadou Bamba, Ibra Fall and Malick Sy.
Ibra Fall

 

Senegal


Because of their emphasis on work the Mouride brotherhood is economically well-established in parts of Africa, especially in Senegal and The Gambia. In Senegal the brotherhood controls significant sections of the nation's economy, for example the transportation sector and the peanut plantations. Ordinary followers donate part of their income to the Mouridiya.

The Mouride brotherhood has been courted by Senegalese politicians over the years. Recent prominent Mourides include Abdoulaye Wade who is the current president of Senegal and a devout Mouride. The day after his election in 2000 Wade travelled to Touba to seek the blessing of the Grand Marabout, Serigne Saliou Mbacke.
Further information: Muslim brotherhoods of Senegal and Islam in Senegal

Influence outside Senegal

The brotherhood has a sizeable representation in certain large cities in Europe and the United States. Most of these cities with a large Senegalese immigrant population have a Keur Serigne Touba (Residence of the Master of Touba), a seat for the community which accommodates meetings and prayers while also being used as a provisional residence for newcomers. In Paris and New York City, a large number of the Mouride followers are small street merchants. They send large sums of money back to the brotherhood leaders in Touba.

In 2004 Senegalese musician Youssou N'Dour released his Grammy Award winning album Egypt, which documents his Mouride beliefs and retells the story of Amadou Bamba and the Mouridiya.

Baye Fall

One famous disciple of Bamba, Ibra Fall, was known for his dedication to God, and considered work as a form of adoration. Amadou Bamba finally decided that Ibra Fall should show his dedication to God purely through manual labor. Ibra Fall founded a sub-group of the Mouride brotherhood called the Baye Fall (Baay Faal in Wolof), many of whom substitute hard labor and dedication to their marabout for the usual Muslim pieties like prayer and fasting.

Sheikh Ibrahima Fall was one of the first of Amadou Bamba's disciples and one of the most illustrious. He catalysed the Mouride movement and led all the labour work in the Mouride brotherhood. Fall reshaped the relation between Mouride Talibes (Mouride disciples) and their guide, Amadou Bamba. Fall instituted the culture of work among Mourides with his concept of Dieuf Dieul, ("you reap what you sow").Ibra Fall helped Sheikh Amadou Bamba to expand Mouridism, in particular with Fall's establishment of the Baye Fall movement. For this contribution, Serigne Fallou, the 2nd Caliph after Amadou Bamba, named him "Lamp Fall" (the light of Mouridism). In addition, Ibrahima Fall earned the title of Babul Mouridina, "the entrance in Mouridism."

The members of the Baye Fall dress in colorful ragged clothes, wear their hair in dreadlocks which are called ndiange or 'strong hair' , carry clubs, and act as security guards in the annual Grand Magal pilgrimages to Touba. Baye Fall are unusual in that some of them freely drink alcohol and smoke cannabis, things forbidden by orthodox Islam and in the city of Touba as well. In modern times the hard labor is often replaced by members roaming the streets asking for financial donations for their marabout.

 

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