Nov 4, 2011, 2:00 PM
On Sunday January 23rd (18th Safal in theMuslim calendar) the Mouride Brotherhood will gather in Touba, Senegal, to celebrate the Annual Magal commemorating the exile of Serigne Touba commonly known as Hadim Rasoul to Gabon in September 1895 by the French colonial masters.
This magal will be the first for the new Khalifa General, Serigne Sidy Moukhtar Mbacke, son of Serigne Barra Mbacke, and namesake of the first great grandson to become Khalifa General in 2008, after the death of Serigne Saliou Mbacke.
He is the sixth Khalifa General after the five sons of Serigne Touba had become Khalifas General.
He succeeded Serigne Barra Mbacke in 2010, son of Serigne Fallou Mbacke, who was second the Khalifa General in 1968.
The event was declared an annual commemoration by Serigne Touba himself when he returned from exile in Gabon in 1902, where he spent seven years and seven months – 1895-1902, and later to Mauritania from 1903 to 1907.
The exile generated several reports about Serigne Touba’s miracles, including survival of torture and attempted execution, and more and more people around the world became members of the brotherhood. This brotherhood is in the United States and Europe, because of Senegalese emigrants.
A general conference at this year’s magal will discuss the life and teachings of Serigne Touba. Other topics are education, the economy and the way forward for the brotherhood.
The most famous of his talibes was Ibra Fall. He was also a Muslim scholar, and was praying together with Serigne Touba. He was a well-known, hard working and dedicated person to Allah.
Serigne Touba once gave him an assignment, and while carrying out the assignment forgot to perform his daily prayers.
When asked by Serigne Touba why he did not pray, he said he wanted to complete the assignment first. History has it that it was then that Serigne Touba declared that Ibra Fall should show his dedication to Allah through manual labour.
Fall founded a sub-group of the Mouride brotherhood, and called it Baye Fall. Many of his followers substitute hard labour and dedication to their marabouts for the usual Muslim rites like praying and fasting.
He changed the brotherhood, led all the labour and reshaped the relationship between Mouride talibes and their grand marabouts.
He also instituted the culture of work among Mourides, with his concept of Dieuf Dieuf (meaning, actions speak louder than words).
Fall helped to expand Mouridism, and was named “Lamp Fall” – the light of Mouridism - by the Second Kalipha, Serigne Fallou Mbacke, and also earned the title Babul Mouridina meaning the entrance of Mouridism.
His followers dress in colourful ragged clothes, wear their hair in dreadlocks which are called ndiange or “strong hair”, carry clubs and act as security guards in the annual Magal.
According to Pap Demba Jobe, representative of the Khalifa General of the brotherhood in The Gambia, Mouridism is not only for Senegal but the whole world. Followers, he said, are all over the world.
He pointed out that talibes in The Gambia contribute immensely towards the brotherhood, since it was introduced in the country by his grandfather, Ebrima Njie of Hagan Street in Banjul. Mandinkas, he said, form the majority of talibes in The Gambia, with over 50 diaras in the country.
He commended President Yahya Jammeh for his assistance towards the brotherhood, especially during the occasion of the annual Magal.