Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Shaykh Amadou Bamba

Salaam alaikum,

Since this is Black History Month (and I won't get into the troubles with that), I decided for my own benefit to research and study important Muslims of African descent. This little study, if I can keep it up despite the school schedule, will compose of Muslims in African nations, Afro-Islamic culture, arts and architecture and the impact of Muslims of African descent in the "New World." This small entry is dedicated to a famous Senegalese sheikh named Amadou Bamba.

On the left is a picture of the Mosque of Touba in Touba, Senegal, and is the burial place of Shaykh Amadou Bamba. He is known for establishing the Mouride brotherhood though he was a devout adherent of the Qadiriyya tariqa. He was born in the village of Mbacke in 1850 and was the son of a Qadiriyya marabout. While he mainly spent his life dedicated to Qur'anic study, the French colonial government feared that his popularity could be used to wage war against them. Because of this, he was forced into exile to Gabon in 1893 and Mauritania in 1903. But the exiles worked to the French disadvantage as legends spread about his miraculous survival of torture and starvation. It wasn't until 1910 that the French realized that Bamba was not plotting war against them and they eventually let him return to his expanded community. In 1918, he won the French Legion of Honor for enlisting his followers in the First World War and the French allowed him to establish his community in Touba. He died in 1927.

Senegalese musician and pop sensation Youssou N'Dour wrote two songs in dedication to the shaykh and some of the lyrics are here. As N'Dour was exploring his Senegalese Islamic roots, he completed an album entitled Egypt. It's a series of songs dedicated to his homeland and the hold that Sufism still has in many West African nations.

Shukran Bamba

Praise God--I thank you, Lord
You who brought me to Shaykh Amadou Bamba
Had this man not shown up in Mbacke
Islam would have sunk with shame into oblivion
Since religious people were being
killed or deported by the colonialists
Their goal was to weaken Islam
Shaykh Amadou Bamba saw to it that they failed.

....Thank you so much. Thank you, Madou Bamba

Through him I discovered God and His Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam)
he taught me to surrender to God
I followed him for all the very reasons we
call him the "Prophet's devotee" (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam)
An empty calabash does not attract a goat
And empty words do not lead men
For a long time I drank deeply
from the well of Bamba's writings
never finding deviation
from the ways of the Man (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam)

Bamba the Poet

Indeed, Modou Bamba should amaze any writer
Modou Bamba should astound any poet
Go around the Arab, the White and the Black countries,
and I swear you will find no match for Madou Bamba

Bamba astounds me
He started with the Koran
And wrote a book from each of its letters
No one has ever written as much as he
did he ever sleep, then?

Bamba Islam-al-Muridiyya Official Home Page

1 comment:

Rukayat said...

Assalaamu alaikum Kelly
Shukran for the post
Here is a link to a book written by the Shaykh on the Adab of the Student of Knowledge

Here is a short bio

About Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba Mbacke.

Khadim ar-Rasul (The Servant of the Messenger)
© Sankore’ Institute 2004

Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba Mbacke was a descendant of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) who was born into a pious and scholarly family in 1854 in Senegambia, West Africa. From his infancy people saw signs that he was destined to be a great man of Allah the Exalted, it has been reported that he refused to nurse from his pious mother, Maryama “Jaratu’llah” Bousso, during the daylight hours of the month of Ramadan. He memorized the Koran at an early age and mastered all of the sciences of Islam at the feet of his father, Muhammad ibn Habibu’llah Mbacke, and other great Senegambian scholars of his time. By the time he was fifteen, he had already composed Masalik al-Jannan Fi Jam’i Ma Farraqahu ad-Dayman, a profound and exhaustive poem of approximately 1,600 verses on the science of Tasawwuf in extremely eloquent Classical Arabic. Shaykh Ahmadu was blessed to compose hundreds of other works in Theology, Jurisprudence, Tasawwuf, Education, Praise of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and Arabic Grammar, probably making him the most prolific author throughout both Islamic and World History - producing an astonishing seven tons (that is, fifteen thousand pounds) of original compositions-all in poetry- that are preserved until the present day in the city of Touba, Senegal, which he founded.

The Shaykh is famous for his non-violent yet uncompromising resistance to the French occupation of Senegal and the hundreds of poems he composed praising the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and interceding with him in supplication to Allah, as a result he was favored with the title “Khadim ar-Rasul.”

While his blessed life ended in 1927 his ocean of works and teachings continue to educate, inspire, and most importantly connect Muslims to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

Listen to his poetry (qasaid) here