Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Panjetani Muslim Association of Botswana - A Religious and Charitable Organization

General Introduction
Botswana is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa with Namibia (in the west and north) Zambia and Zimbabwe (in the north- east), and South Africa (in the east and South) as neighbours. Before independence it was called Bechuanaland. The country was declared a British protectorate in the late, 1880's. It became independent in 1966, with a democratic constitution. Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been ruling the country since independence. Botswana National Front is the main opposition party which occupies about one sixth of the seats in the parliament. Most of the people speak Setswana which is the national language, while English is the official medium used in Business and government affairs.

Total area of the country is approximately 585,000 sq. km. and the estimated population of the country is 1.5 million. The population of the main urban centres is (approximately) Gaborone (capital) 200,000, Francistown 125,000, Lobatse 90,000, Selebi-Phikwe 75,000 and Jwaneng 50,000.
The railway line from South Africa passes through Gaborone on its way to Zimbabwe. Most of the urban centres are connected by tar roads which go up to Namibian, Zambian, Zimbabwean and South African borders. The main airport is in Gaborone, while there are small airports in other urban centres. The nearest seaport is Durban, South Africa, which is about 750 kms from Gaborone.

Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslims in Botswana
The majority of the people in the country are Christians. There are a few oral and written resources regarding Muslims in Botswana which are inconsistent and of doubtful reliability. At present the estimated total number of Muslims in the country is around ten thousand who are either citizens or legally living in Botswana Majority is Sunnis. Early comers were Indian traders, who might have helped their relatives or friends to come to Botswana to earn a better living as compared with their own countries. Perhaps colonial powers or administrators helped Muslim traders to create a buffer with-in themselves and the natives which paved the way for Islam unintentionally.
The first Shia Ithna- Asheri Muslim Syed Mohammad Ahmad Naqvi arrived in Botswana on 13.11.19 71 with his wife Jamal Fatma and son Aijaz Basheer who was about three months old, at that time. Mr. Ahmad was appointed by the Botswana Government to work in the National Library Service. Mr. & Mrs. Ahmad both worked for the Botswana Government for thirteen and ten years respectively. Mrs. Ahmad left the government job towards the end of 1981 and started a Building Materials and Hardware supply business called Jamal Trading Company (Pty) Ltd. Two Shia Ithna- Asheri Muslims (Syed Shamim Akhtar and Syed Ali Zafeer) came from India to work for Jamal Trading Company during 1982-1983. Mr. Shabbir Ali Bengaliwala came from India in 1975 to work in the Ministry of Finance. Four Shia Ithna- Asheri Muslims qualified librarians were recruited by the Botswana Government. They also arrived in 1983 from UP. India. One of those Librarians Mr. Sultan Haider was working as a Senior Librarian in the Botswana National Library Service. Mr. Riaz Somji Arrived from Tanzania in the early 1980's with his family and started his own Business. Mr. Hasnain Bhojani S/O Mr. Abdulrasul Bhojani came to Botswana during 1985-86. He is also in Business in Gaborone. Syed Fakhir Husain Sherazi came from Pakistan during 1986. He has his own Business.
There are more or less ten people in their own or family Business and around same number of persons is working for government or other organizations. The rest are either small children, old persons, housewives or school going children. A directory of the Shia Ithna- Asheri persons is being maintained at the P. MA. Centre which is up to date. At present there are about 150 Shia Ithna- Asheri Muslims of various age groups who live in Botswana. Most of them are living in Gaborone. The majority of the Shias in Botswana is Indian & Pakistani origin. There are 5 converters of African origin. They are from Malawi and Botswana.

Shia Religious and Cultural Centres in Botswana
It is felt that each urban centre must have a building for religious and cultural activities according to the present and future needs. A plan for five years should be drawn and growth must be reviewed annually or half- yearly.
Islam as such is a fairly new religion in the country. Generally people do not know who or what Shias are or what they believe in. Unfortunately nothing has been done about the propagation or Shiaism so far. All cultural and religious prayers and programmes are arranged by the community under the religious guidance of a resident Maulana in a house allocated by Mr. M Ahmad, the Founder & Chairman of the Panjetani Muslim Association of Botswana. The Chairman & Executive Committee members are always trying to encourage community members to participate actively in all socio-religious programmes at the PMA Centre. This is bringing us closer to each other.

Shia Organization
The Panjetani Muslim Association of Botswana was registered under the societies Act of Botswana on 06.02.98. The constitution is quite extensive which may be used as a guide for the improvement of the over all condition of the followers of Ahlulbait (A. S.) in Botswana. This is the only Shia Ithna - Asheri organization in the country which looking after the interest of the community in Botswana.

Material and moral support is needed from the members and well wishes for the following activities which are placed in order of Preference.
A. Educational Activities
1. Muallim for Islamic Centres
Maulana Syed Rehan Sardar Naqvi arrived in Botswana on 15-5-99 with his wife and two small children. He took charge of all religious activities at Panjetani Muslim Association Centre. He left Botswana in 2004. At present Maulana Syed Raza Abbas Naqvi is conducting these activities as a resident Aalim.
2. Books, Lectures and Audio/Video Programmes
At present there are about 500 books in the PMA Library which is growing gradually. Moreover there are videos of Majalis in Urdu & English. Maulana Syed Rehan Sardar Naqvi started delivering general religious lectures in Urdu on birth and death anniversaries of Prophet and Imams in 1999 etc. Maulana Syed Raza Abbas Naqvi is doing the same now.
3. Nursery School
May be provide initially from the P. MA. Centre to impart basic religious education to the pre- school children.
4. Recreational Activities
To participate in social & sport activities a Cricket Team has been formed recently which is dominated by Shia Ithna- Asheri Youths in Gaborone.
5. Religious Education in the afternoon
Maulana is teaching Quran to children at home in the afternoon after coming out of morning schools. All Shia children are learning Quran and Deenyat in the afternoon.
6. Higher Education
As a matter of national Policy Botswana Government prefers to have citizens for each job in the country. Anybody interested in the Religious Studies after secondary school may be assessed and recommended for scholarship to study in an appropriate educational institute overseas. Efforts are being made to find a suitable person as soon as possible.

B. Charitable or Voluntary Services
P.M.A. is providing financial assistance to disabled persons from time to time. During winter season blankets and used clothing are supplied to the poor people by Mr. &Mrs. Ahmad from their own resources. Moreover it is hoped that P.M.A. will assist the needy persons in Botswana by providing the following services:
1. Water Facilities
Water Facilities for Old Men, Women and Children who have to walk miles away to fetch water for domestic use.
2. Medical Facilities
Medical Facilities to needy poor people with the help of volunteers and sympathizers, doctors, pharmacist and other financial supporters where free consultation and medicines may be provided.
3. Disaster Relief Services
Disaster Relief Services to the poor and needy people affected by natural or man made disasters.

C. P.M.A. Building
A plot for P.M.A. Centre has been acquired in Gaborone. The plan is also ready. Estimated cost of the building is US $ 1,000,000 (One Million US $) but we have no funds. The Botswana Government may re-possess the plot if we do not develop it soon. The plot has been cleared and the boundary wall has been erected and paid by M & Mrs. Ahmad from their own resources.

Committee Members
Chairman: Syed Mohammad Ahmad Naqvi
Vice-Chairman: Mr. Hasnain Bhojani
Treasurer: Syed Arbab Hasan Naqvi
Assistant Treasurer: Syed Naseemul Hasan Zaidi
Secretary: Syed Sameer Ahmad Naqvi
Assistant Secretary: Syed Suhail Abbas Zaidi
Resident: MaulanaSyed Raza Abbas Naqvi

Contact Details
Plot 14397, Gabs. West Industrial Area, Gaborone, BotswanaP.O. Box 493, Gaborone, BotswanaTel: (+267) 391-4659, Fax: (+267) 392-7639Cell: (+267) 71333555 / 72100380E-Mail: /

This is taken from the official website of the Panjetani Muslim Association of Botswana.

See on-line at:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chollo MPs Letter and Demands On Upper Nile Killings

The 4th anniversary of the CPA celebrations on 9 January in Malakal Town, the capital city of Sou are targeted by their Dinka neighbors for slaughter and th Sudan’s Upper Nile State, turned out to be a trigger for carnage and blood shed whereby Chollo community mass displacement. Below is a letter written on the the day of the carnage at AnakDiar village, 15 KM out side the city; the MPs letter contains Chollos perspectives of the sad events and what needs to be done to address it.
Also included is a list of demands of the Collo MPs to the authorities:
H.E. The Governor, Upper Nile State
Subject: The Unprovoked Attack on Anakdiar.
We, the representatives of the Collo nation in the National, Southern Sudan and Upper Nile State Assemblies would like to submit to you our concerns on the above subject. Yesterday, when the whole Sudan was celebrating the fourth anniversary of the historic signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, fighting took place in the morning between Collo and Dinka tribes over which traditional procession (Yai) should enter the stadium first. Thanks to God, the fighting was limited only to members of the two tribes in the two processions using spears, lances and sticks. Yet several persons from both sides were injured, some of them seriously. The order of the processions appears to be a trivial issue, but it is a serious matter deep-rooted in the claims over the ownership of Malakal town, the location of the celebration. According to tradition, the procession of the owner of the location where the celebration takes place leads all participating processions. It is common knowledge that some elements of the Baliet Dinkas have been claiming ownership of Malakal town and all the Collo areas east of the White Nile and north of Sobat river.
At about 5:00 pm in the evening of the same day, credible reports were received that some elements of the Dinka were preparing to attack Anakdiar. This information was passed to your Excellency officially by the Commissioner of Panyikang County in the Stadium and you confirmed at 7:00 pm that a military force was sent to Anakdiar and you instructed that this information be passed to His Majesty the Reth of Collo and assure him not to worry as things were under control. Your instructions were communicated to His Majesty accordingly. To our bewilderment and dismay, Anakdiar was attacked at about 2:00 am today by armed Dinka. They found no resistance of any sort. More than fifteen lives were lost, some people burnt in their houses, scores wounded and thousands displaced. The force that your Excellency assured us to have left for Anakdiar in the evening yesterday never left at all. Only a Police force on their own initiative left for Anakdiar at about 9:00 am today!! This callous murder of innocent people must be condemned in the strongest terms possible and the perpetrators apprehended to face the full brunt of the law. The displaced persons who found their way to Malakal town arrived in very miserable conditions and yet received very little attention from the authorities. We are grateful to the foreign NGOs that were on the scene. If these displaced persons were to go back to their areas at all, the Government authorities must provide them with the protection they trust.
This incident is not an isolated one.We are receiving reliable reports of moves by elements of the same tribe to attack Collo areas they claim to be theirs, such as Lul, Obang (Canal Mouth), Atar, etc. In fact in Lul area, Abanim village was burnt to ashes, several people killed and others captured. It is, therefore, clear that there is a well coordinated plan to seize Collo land by the force of arms. We are deeply concerned that the authorities are not taking serious measures to arrest these unprovoked attacks nor resolve the issues at the centre of the dispute. It will be recalled that since the late 1970s, some elements of the Dinka have been disputing the boundary between them and Collo nation claiming some areas to belong to them. The Collo had responded by writing petitions to the Regional Government of Southern Sudan at that time. We thought the matter was laid to rest when the Minister of Administration by then, Mr Hilary Paul Logali, and the Minister of Decentralization later, Mr Charles Kuot Chatim, both ruled in Collo’s favour. These elements of the Dinka brought up the issue once more in 1995 and as usual the Collo responded by addressing the authorities concerned. Again, the Collo won the case. What surprises us now is that when these elements of the Dinka revived their unfounded claims in 2004 and thereafter, nothing was done despite Collo’s legitimate demand that the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) sets up a committee to demarcate the border between the two tribes once and for all. The petitions of the Collo supported by the necessary documents in that respect were delivered to the highest authorities in the GOSS including the President and the Vice President. It is also to be noted that over the same period, the Collo were disarmed while their neighbouring tribes were not. In light of the repeated and continuous provocations in the form of unsigned seditious leaflets and now armed attacks and in view of the clear unwillingness or inability of the authorities in Government of Southern Sudan to settle the dispute peacefully, we find ourselves, as representatives of our people, with no moral authority to restrain any more those who would be forced to pay the aggressors in their own coin. Every person has a legitimate right to self-defence. It is our sincere hope that the authorities in Upper Nile State and the Government of Southern Sudan will act firmly and swiftly at this eleventh hour to address this very serious situation by putting an end to violence, bringing the perpetrators to book and resolving the border dispute for good in accordance with the borders of 1/1/1956. This is the only way to have stability and peaceful coexistence in the area. Thank you.
Signed by: Members of the Collo nation in the National, Southern Sudan and Upper Nile State Assemblies as per the attached list.
c.c. The President of the Republic of Sudan;
c.c. The President of the Government of Southern Sudan;
c.c. The Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan. Members of the Collo nation in the National, Southern Sudan and Upper Nile State Assemblies who signed the petition (in alphabetical order).
1. The National Assembly:
1. Mr Ezekiel Mojwok Aba
2. Dr Lam Akol Ajawin
3. Dr Mario Arenk Awet
4. Mr Onyoti Adigo Nyikwac
5. Dr William Othwonh Awer
2. Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly
1. Mr Angelo Gwang
2. Dr Charles Yor Odhok
3. Mr Joseph Bol Chan
4. Mr Samson Oyay Awin
3. Upper Nile State Legislative Assembly
1. Mr Acwany Arop Denyong
2. Mr Gabriel Oyo Aba
3. Mr Juliano Nyawelo Dak
4. Mr Kosti Amuj
5. Mr Mahdi Khalifa Shambali
6. Mrs Martha Angar
7. Mr Mustafa Gai Lwal 8. Mr Nyilek Chol
9. Mr Peter Awol Alijok 10. Mrs Rita John
11. Mr Samuel Aban Acien
12. Mr Santino Ajang Aban
13. Mr Santino Ocai Opun
1. The arrest of the attackers and subjecting them to trial.
2. Formation of investigation committees on the incidents and the circumstancessurrounding them. Such committees must include Collo as members.
3. The protection of Collo areas with forces they trust.
4. The naming of the counties according to the message of the Chairman of theSPLM dated October 2004.
5. Demarcation of the borders of counties within the State in accordance with theborders of 1/1/1956.
6. Taking firm measures against those who incite tribal hatred and sedition.
7. Stopping the misuse of power and refraining from exploiting state organs to theservice of tribal ends.
8. Disciplining the authorities of Radio Malakal for allowing the transmission throughit of provocative and seditious material.
9. Disciplining the officer that the Governor ordered to move a force to Anakdiaron the 9th instant for failing to execute the order.
10. The State authorities must take serious steps so as to return the areas of the Stateoccupied by the Jonglei State.
11. Taking care of the displaced persons and rendering the necessary services tothem.
12. Compensation of all the persons affected by the recent incidents.

This letter is taken from Torit 1955's Weblog.

See on-line at:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Islamization Process in Angola - Moshe Terdman


Nowadays, the Angolan government is worried about the expansion of Islam and its consequences in the organization and structures of the Angolan society. On March 31, 2009, Rosa Cruz e Silva, the Angolan Minister of Culture, addressed the deputies of the sixth commission of the National Assembly, who visited the facilities of the National Institute of Religious Studies, and expressed concern about the growth and increase in the number of followers of Islam in Angola. She said that "our worry has to do with the expansion of Islam and the consequences it may cause to the organization and structure of the Angolan society".[1]

In the same day, the head of the Angolan National Institute of Religious Studies, Maria de Fatima Republicano Viegas, said that the Angolan Government was concerned about Islam in the country and would investigate the activities of all mosques over concerns that Islamic practices go against cultural norms. The domestic intelligence service (SINFO), charged with compiling a report on mosque activities, has begun conducting these investigations. Viegas described Islam as alien to the culture and traditions of the country and claimed that it victimized women who were married to Muslim men.[2]

Islam in Angola
According to the International Religious Freedom Report 2008, Islam in Angola is a minority religion with 80,000 – 90,000 adherents, composed largely of migrants from West Africa and families of Lebanese origin. The Muslims comprise between 2.5 to 3 percent of Angola's overall population of 17 million people, most of them Christians.[3]

According to the same report, although the Angolan constitution provides for freedom of religion, the government has not yet legalized Islamic groups. In order to be registered and legalized, religious groups must provide general background information and have at least 100,000 adult adherents. The Angolan Government also requires religious groups to petition for legal status with the Ministries of Justice and Culture. For several years, the Muslim community has been close to meeting the registration requirement of 100,000 members. However, the Muslim community in particular is affected by this numerical limitation, since many of its adherents are believed to be illegal immigrants and, therefore, do not count towards the legal minimum.[4]

Islam in Angola is a very recent phenomenon. During the colonial era, and until the 1990s, one could not speak of the presence of Muslims in the country. Given the advent of the Portuguese on the Angolan coast in the late fifteenth century and their ecumenical enterprises thereafter and given the fact that the Kongo Kingdom, a part of which encompassed northern Angola, existed as a Christian kingdom for centuries, Islam did not emerge as a significant religion in Angola. Possible Islamic influence from the Swahili coast of East Africa did not materialize, and Angola has been a predominantly Christian nation.[5]

However, in the last decade, but especially during the last few years the Muslim community in Angola has grown appreciably and Islamic activities have become more common in major cities. Mosques have sprung up in a number of places and Qur'anic schools have been built to provide Islamic instructions and teach Arabic language to adherents. The Muslim community is predominantly made up of foreigners, especially businessmen and migrants from West Africa -- mainly from Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal -- and Lebanon. Some Angolans have converted to Islam as a result of active proselytization by Muslim organizations such as the Associacao Islamica de Desenvolvimento de Angola (Association of the Development of Islam in Angola, AIDA), and the Africa Muslim Agency, which is a primarily Kuwait-sponsored aid and Da'wah organization based in Kuwait. Other Angolans had come in contact with Islam while being refugees in neighboring states with a strong Islamic pretence. The new Muslim communities attract young Angolan converts, among them young Angolan females following Islamic dress codes. There is an evidence of a new marriage pattern emerging, namely between Muslim men and Angolan women who convert to Islam, opening related questions on the eventual political or economic aspects involved. Muslim affairs are generally governed by the Supreme Council of Angolan Muslims, based in Luanda. According to the Islamic Finder website, the Supreme Council of Angolan Muslims "was set up to take care of Muslim affairs in Angola".[6]

Historically, in Angola's diamond provinces, Muslims have been mainly West African immigrants and illegal immigrants from the DRC who have become Muslims while working in the DRC's diamond areas. Some Muslims in Angola's diamond provinces have become channels of investment for terrorist networks seeking to purchase diamonds from illegal miners, known as garimpeiros. Diamond sales reached approximately $1.1 billion in 2006. Despite increased corporate ownership of diamond fields, much production is currently in the hands of the garimpeiros. The Angolan government is making an increased effort to register and license prospectors. It has established an export certification scheme to identify legitimate production and sales.[7]

Apart from the diamond trade, many younger Angolans have been attracted to Islam by the economic success and social status of Muslim businessmen. The promise of solidarity can be a powerful lure to impoverished people. Despite a fast-growing economy largely due to its oil boom, Angola ranks in the bottom 10% of most socioeconomic indicators. It is still recovering from 27 years of nearly continuous warfare. Corruption and mismanagement are persistent problems. Despite abundant natural resources and rising per capita GDP, Angola was ranked 157 out of 179 countries on the 2008 UN Development Program's Human Development Index. Subsistence agriculture sustains one-third of the population.[8]

In this context, it should be mentioned that Angola is a resource-rich country that is reported to be the energy security of both the United States and China, and the source of stability for all of South-Central Africa. The rapidly expanding petroleum industry reached its Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cap of 2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2008. But Angola’s production was cut to 1.64 million bpd in January 2009 by an OPEC mandate in response to plummeting oil prices. Crude oil accounted for 83% of GDP, 95% of exports, and 83% of government revenues in 2008. Angola plans to boost oil output back up to 2 million bpd next year, from the current level of 1.93 million bpd.[9] Looking at Angolan oil output, it is easy to see why Angolan officials refer to the U.S. as a "strategic partner." Approximately 11% of oil consumed in the U.S. comes from Angola, and the government plans to increase that share. Angola's ties to China are also strong. In 2008, the African nation was China’s second-leading source country for crude oil by volume, importing 599 million barrels valued at U.S. $59.900 billion, up 19.3% year on year.[10]

The Associacao Islamica de Desenvolvimento de Angola, or the Association of the Development of Islam in Angola, is the primary proselytizing organization in the country. Its founder and Vice President is Famar Drame. On May 5, 2006, Famar Drame published in Mathaba Religious News an article titled "Appeal to Muslims for Islamic Propagation in Angola", in which he described the then current situation of the Muslims in Angola and asked for an external help in propagating Islam in the country and in "instilling and educating our children with Islamic values and knowledge". According to this article, the Association of the Development of Islam in Angola is the first and only Islamic organization recognized and active in the country. By May 2006, the association succeeded to establish three Islamic schools. The Angolan Government authorized the association to build a mosque and a school attached to it in order to teach Islamic knowledge, Arabic and Portuguese. This school has a capacity of 560 students. The second school consists of five classrooms and each class has the capacity of 35 students for morning and evening classes. 175 students participate in both the morning and evening classes. The third school consists of 580 students, of whom 70 are orphans. Therefore, this school is a day as well as a boarding school.[11]

Attitudes of the Angolan Authorities and the Local Christian Church Towards Islam
Public attitudes toward Islam have been generally negative. Cultural differences between Angolan and Muslim West African immigrants have been the basis for negative views toward Islam, as was the perceived link between Islam and illegal immigration.[12]

The Angolan authorities too have treated Muslim migrant workers from West African countries with suspicion. Yet, since the September 11 attacks, there has been a deliberate attempt to link Muslims with terrorism. It has become a matter of routine at Luanda airport for security officers to detain Muslims arriving from Sahelian countries. Most of these people have been small-scale traders. Angolan security officials have increasingly been linking a number of Muslim businesses in the country with international terrorism, insinuating that those companies launder money for terrorist operations and are also allegedly involved in the trafficking of arms and drugs. There have also been allegations that senior government officials and some leaders of the ruling MPLA were in cahoots with the Muslims in their alleged nefarious activities.[13]

As a result, on January 26, 2006, Angolan police invaded a number of mosques in several areas of Luanda, ordered the Muslims to leave and confiscated their sound equipment. Muslims have also been banned from holding religious services. The mosques were then locked with chain without giving any explanation whatsoever. During the operations, the police were accompanied by officials of the local administration as well as those from the culture ministry. Lisboa dos Santos, the director of the National Institute for Religious Affairs, on whose orders the police acted, defended the action by saying that the law that allows people to congregate for religious purposes "does not apply to Islam since Islam is illegal" in the country.[14]

After encountering difficulties in 2006, Muslim leaders reported that the government permitted mosques to operate freely. Yet, Asma Jahangir, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Religion and Belief and a special investigator for the UN Human Rights Council, who visited Angola at the invitation of the country's government on November 20, 2007, criticized in her report the lack of opportunity for detained Muslims to worship in detention centers and noted occasional anti-Muslim rhetoric taken by government officials in media interviews.[15]

Jahangir, who chairs the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said that the Muslim community had not been officially recognized and the Angolan authorities had temporarily closed down some mosques in 2006. Jahangir said that several government actors had expressed concerns to her about the presence of Muslims in Angola and that the country was affected by the global trend of associating them with militant and criminal activity. "I was told that most of the illegal migrants in the country are Muslims and that they are involved in counterfeiting of money and money laundering, but we were provided with no evidence of this," she said in the report. She further said that "the government is obliged to promote tolerance, and I would hope that unsubstantiated statements by officials will not be made to the detriment of any religious community". Jahangir also visited two immigration centers in the West African country's capital Luanda. She said conditions at one, with only five detainees, were good. But those at the second were "deplorable" -- 95 percent of the 165 people detained were Muslims with no access to an imam or religious books and their dietary needs were not being met.[16]

The local Christian Church has also regarded the rapid expansion of Islam in the country with suspicion and fear. According to Rev. Luis Mguimbi, the General Secretary of the Council of Christian Churches of Angola, one of the biggest challenges currently facing the Angolan church is the rapid expansion of Islam in the country since 2002, when Angola allowed other religious groups to come to the country. In a country where approximately 40% of the population is Catholic and around 39% is Protestant, a lot of Angolans are currently converting to Islam. According to Rev. Nguimbi, this occurs for three basic reasons: because Islam offers money, supplied by big Arab corporations; because they offer jobs, since they are gradually controlling many of the local businesses; and because they are more liberal than the churches, especially allowing men to have up to five women. Rev. Nguimbi also affirmed that in the economic and political scene of Angola, Islam is becoming the "boss of the country". Four years ago, in 2006, the Council issued a declaration about the influence of Islam in the country, in which it asked the Angolan government to be careful and to awake to that reality. At this moment, the Council is not interested in a dialogue with Islam. Rev. Nguimbi said that "our priority is now to consolidate the Christian family before engaging in any dialogue. Not only is Islam one of the greatest challenges the church faces at this moment, but one that could cause another war in the country".[17]

Indeed, on September 1, 2008, a Muslim mob attacked the Christian community in the town of Andulo. The school-age daughter of a deacon at one of the churches was decapitated. Forty Christians were assaulted or tortured. The mob burned three church buildings. They also went to Christians' houses to intimidate them or destroyed items of property. Stones were thrown at the headquarters of a local Christian project, causing some damage. An Angolan Christian leader said that the local police were unable to stop the attack and fled the scene.[18]

This was the first case of riots between Muslims and Christians in Angola. In the last year and a half no other riots between the followers of the two religions have been reported or documented. Yet, it seems like the ever-growing suspicious attitude of Angolan Christians towards Muslims might bring with it the possibility of the eruption of more religious riots.

Furthermore, it is not clear whether the Angolan Muslims are really allied with al-Qaeda or not. It might be that al-Qaeda has been setting its sights on destabilizing Angola in order to disrupt its supply of oil to the West and to China and to control the Angolan diamond industry, but until now no activity of al-Qaeda in the country has been ascertained. Yet, al-Qaeda might take advantage of the suspicious attitude by which the Christians treat the Muslims in Angola in order to recruit Muslims into their ranks. If al-Qaeda can triumph in Angola, it can continue its plans to wage economic warfare against the West as well as seize a major income producing resource for its own ends.

In addition to Angola's oil, its identity politics following Independence might serve as an additional attraction for terrorists and others interested in promoting instability in the country. A smoldering conflict has plagued Angola’s oil rich Cabinda province since independence. More than half the country's oil is produced in the 7,283 square kilometer enclave--nicknamed the Kuwait of Africa--which is located some 60 kilometers north of the Congo River and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), and the DRC. Cabinda is physically separated from the rest of Angola by the DRC and by a distinct culture and history. The territory's three Kikongo-speaking kingdoms of N'Goyo, Kakongo, and Loango maintained their independence from European empire-builders until the Treaty of Simulambuco in 1885 turned their realms into a Portuguese protectorate with its own governor. Cabinda's population, presently estimated at between 250,000 and 300,000, largely belong to ethnic groups who traditionally straddle the enclave's political frontiers. Although 90% of educated Cabindans speak French, less than 10% speak Angola's official language, Portuguese.[19]

To sum up, not much if anything is known in mostly Christian Angola about Islam, which is a newly coming religion to the country. This lack of knowledge makes the Christians afraid of the Muslims, especially since many of them arrive from abroad. Thus, the fear of foreigners entering the country in large quantities together with the Christian fear of Islam, on which they know only a little, mostly about its connection to terrorism, make the life of the ever-growing Muslim population more and more difficult. This religious and social tension might provoke riots between Christians and Muslims in the future.

Since Islam in Angola is a new phenomenon, case studies on Muslims in Angola are still at their inception, and apart from this first article on the subject, more profound analysis is still to be done.

[5] See Oyebade, Adebayo O. Culture and Customs of Angola, Westport: Greenwood Press, 2007, pp. 45 – 46.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Website of Hizb al-Tahrir in East Africa

Hizb al-Tahrir in East Africa has a website in Swahili called "Hizb ut-Tahrir Afrika Mashariki".

The address of the website is:

Political Background of the Ogadenia Struggle

Ogaden is the land of hundreds of thousands of martyrs in the name of freedom and justice. It is the cradle of revolutionary heroes as well as the centre of Somali culture and heritage. It is situated at the junction between Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.

In the middle of the 16th Century, Ahmed Ibrahim, better known as Ahmed Guran and his men fought with Abyssinian aggressors in order to avers the latter's permanent threat to the land of the Somalis. After the defeat of the Abyssinians, a European colonial power, Portugal, quickly came to their aid. In the conflict that followed, Ahmed Guran was killed by Portugese troops. However the precedent of external involvement at the expense of the Somalis had already been set.

At the advent of the colonialist scramble for Africa, three colonial powers, namely Great Britain, France and Italy, with clashing interests, simultaneously invaded the Horn of Africa. Great Britain in pursuit of it quest to create an unbroken link from Capetown to Cairo saw this region as merely another link in the chain. France wished to extend her West African possessions to the Red Sea. Italy had the intention of linking Eritrea with Southern Somaliland thereby creating an Italian East African Empire. The objectives of Great Britain, France and Italy were in direct conflict with each other making Abyssinia the key for the execution of their objectives. In order to avoid military conflict among themselves, the European powers each campaigned to win the friendship of Abyssinian (Ethiopian) rulers. This lobbying effort included the supply of large quantities of weapons and other military aid hence turning Abyssinia into the most profitable East African market for European weapons.

After amassing a large number of relatively modern arms, Ethiopia was able to conquer Harar in 1887 for the first time. This was seen as a stepping stone for eventual Ethiopian occupation of Ogaden.

In 1896, an agreement was signed between Great Britain and the Ogadenia chiefs which was thought to be a guarantee of Ogaden sovereignty. However, the people of Ogaden soon realized that the partner in the accord, Great Britain had no intention of living up to the agreement.

Great Britain continued to arm Ethiopia who had made it's intentions toward expanding into Ogaden well known.

In 1897 Great Britain signed an agreement with Ethiopia in which it recognized the Ethiopian claims on Harar which it had occupied a few years earlier. This act appeared to be the beginning of a British retreat from the Ogaden and eventual transfer to Ethiopia.

Finally on September 24th, 1948 Britain withdrew it's treaty of protection over Ogaden and recognized Ogaden to be a possession of Ethiopia despite never having been under the administration or physical occupation of the Empire of Ethiopia.

This act was widely recognized by the people of Ogaden as a breach of the 1896 agreement entered into by Great Britain and the Ogaden Chiefs. It was undertaken without consulting the leadership and people of Ogaden who are the sole possessors of the right to self-determination in accordance with international codes, norms and principles of justice. In addition, this action was taken by great Britain after the issuance of the United Nations Charter and formal insertion of the right of self-determination for all peoples who had not yet achieved independence.

This 1896 agreement, which constituted the basic principle of British protection over Ogaden, aimed at preserving the territory and peoples of Ogaden against foreign aggression. Particularly from Ethiopia which made no secret of it's intent to expand it's empire.

The agreement also plainly and implicitly stipulated the sovereignty of the people of Ogaden over their territory. In essence, Britain had recognized the transfer of a territory with which it had entered into a treaty of protection, to an existing undemocratic empire which had never administered or occupied it. The finalization of the transfer occurred in 1954 after which Great Britain formally recognized Ogaden and all the people within as subjects of the Ethiopian Empire.

The 1896 agreement of protection between Ogaden and Great Britain had been completely shattered. The people of Ogaden now found themselves under the occupation of an alien power at a time when much of Africa was on the verge of breaking the shackles of colonialism.

It must be noted however that before the independence of the Somali Republic in 1960, the struggle of the people of Ogaden was not separate from other Somali people's struggles for Independence. At that period, the Ogaden liberation struggle was not intended for the liberation of Ogaden alone, but for the liberation of all the lands inhabited by Somalis from the yoke of European and Ethiopian colonialism. The Somali Dervish Liberation Movement (1895-1922)led by the celebrated Somali liberation leader Sayid Mohamed Abdulla Hassan, fought for more than two decades against all colonialists in Somali lands.

Upon the joining of British and Italian Somalilands in 1960 and the creation of the Somali Democratic Republic. The people of Ogadenia had no choice but to continue liberation struggle, hoping to someday free themselves from the colonialism which had ended in 1960 for British and Italian Somalilands.

In 1963, the Ogaden Liberation Front was formed with the intention of continuing the struggle for self-determination and confronting Ethiopian colonialism which had progressed into a settler colonialism in which lands and property were confiscated from the local populations of Ogaden. the OLF started a liberation war which promoted the idea of a "Greater Somalia". This had the effect of creating a public perception which portrayed the Ogaden conflict as a conflict between two states (Somalia & Ethiopia)instead of a struggle for self-determination. The armed struggle which was the only feature of the cause and it's vividity, became seasonal and subject to the preparadness of the millitary of the Somali Republic. Adding to this misrepresentation of the Ogaden cause was the dominance of a "Greater Somalia" school of thought in the Somali Republic. What followed was the creation of a armed front called the Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF)which was trained and financed by the Somali Republic. This had the effect of further portraying the Ogaden cause and a mere border conflict between two independent states while side stepping the issue of the right to self-determination for the people of Ogaden.

Throughout the campaigns of the OLF & WSLF, the people of Ogaden continued to suffer. In addition to being occupied by Ethiopian colonialist, they had to witness the hijacking of their cause for self-determination by the Government of the Somali Republic and it's transformation into a boundary dispute.

After the withdrawal of the Somali Army from Ogaden in 1978, the sincenre national forces in the Ogaden exerted efforts to correct the course of the WSLF from within and change its approach. The 1981 WSLF conference was the peak of these efforts to transform the WSLF. At this conference a Secretary General support was elected with the mandate of changing the course of the WSLF, but he remained in office for only one year after the Somali Government rejected his style and suspended financial aid to the front completely.

Hence, the people of Ogaden sought to establish an truly independent vanguard, to correctly represent the interest of the people of Ogadenia in their justified quest for self-determination. The result of this effort was the creation of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) on August 15, 1984 in response to public desire for a truly independent voice for the liberation of Ogaden.

This article is taken from the website of the Ogaden National Liberation Front.

See on-line at:

Political Programme of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)

PART 1. Declaration Forming The ONLF

We the people of Ogaden

Recognizing that our country has been colonized against our will and without our consent by Ethiopia

Noting the misrepresentation of our struggle as a border conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia

Having witnessed the indiscriminate murder of our families and the looting of our collective and individual wealth

Having been denied our universally recognized human and political rights

Alarmed by the affront against our culture and way of life

Recognizing that the colonization of our country is the primary impediment to our economic and social progress

Noting that through successive regimes the oppressive policies of our colonizer towards our people and country remains constant

Have on this day August 15th 1984 in our country of Ogaden Established the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)

And as such we have bestowed upon it the following mandates.

To reclaim our inherent right to national self-determination

To defend our country ,its people and natural resources from all enemies external & internal.

To restore our universally recognized human and civil rights.

To serve as the legitimate representative of our people and struggle to all

In order to fulfill its mandate, and as the people demand, we hereby adopt Unity! Sacrifice!

Self-Reliance! Victory! as the ONLFs motto and guiding principles

PART 2. Political Programme Of The ONLF


Noting the need to clearly articulate our ideology, policy positions and philosophy to the International Community, we the founders of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) state our views on the following areas as follows. **********************************************************************



A. Noting that our occupation has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of our citizens

B. Affirming that we shall leave no stone unturned in the search for a peaceful and just solution to the Ogaden struggle

C. Recognizing that our colonizer (Ethiopia) has a history of broken promises

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) affirms that we stand ready to dialogue with our colonizer with no pre conditions subject to the presence of an independent international observer (state or organization) to witness any discussions or agreements


A Recognizing that Ogaden has been illegally colonized by Ethiopia without the will and without the consent of our people

B Noting that successive regimes in Ethiopia have continued oppressive practices in Ogaden

C Choosing to exercise our inherent right to self-defence

D. Responding to our national duty to our country and our people

E. Affirming our opposition to engaging civilians and non-combatants.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) shall act in defense of our people, country and natural resources and engage colonial military forces until their inevitable removal from our homeland and the restoration of our inalienable rights.


A. Noting that the Ogaden people’s liberation struggle has experienced numerous external influences and interference

B. Recognizing the need for a vanguard organization to spearhead our people’s struggle

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) affirms that it shall remain an independent entity accountable only to the people of Ogaden and self-reliant in the securing of our needs in accordance with our people’s wishes


A. Having witnessed the misrepresentation of our struggle as a conflict between two States

B. Recognizing that this misrepresentation serves only to divert attention from the plight of our people to serve external interests.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) declares that Ogaden issue is not a border dispute between two neighbors, Ethiopia and Somalia, as held by the former, but rather a conflict between a colonized people and their colonizer. Hence, the ONLF categorically denounces any efforts to characterize our struggle as an Inter-State conflict.



A. Noting that every individual, regardless of religious affiliation, has a right to fully practice his or her faith

B. Recognizing the presence of religious minorities in Ogaden and the need to protect their rights

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) shall consider all attempts to deprive the right of our citizens to worship freely and without intimidation as a threat to our national security and a manipulation of the legitimate practice of religion. As such, the ONLF shall vigorously work to promote the right of all persons to worship freely and without fear of persecution regardless of religious affiliation

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) categorically rejects the manipulation of religious teachings to justify violent and criminal acts targeted at civilians.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) is duty bound to defend all the peoples of Ogaden regardless of religious affiliation. It further affirms to take firm steps and measures against all acts of terrorism as a threat to our national security and a diversionary tactic from our just struggle for national self-determination.



A. Noting the misery caused by the blatant disregard for human rights in Ogaden by the Ethiopian occupation.

B. Affirming our intention to resist such violations with every legitimate means at our disposal

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) confirms that we shall adhere to all relevant international agreements on human rights including the Universal Declaration On Human Rights. As such, the ONLF as a matter of policy shall not engage non-combatants or civilian targets. In addition, the ONLF shall not indefinitely detain innocent civilians. Further, the ONLF shall offer clemency to all combatants who surrender on the battlefield and willingly comply with international norms of battlefield combat.



A. Recognizing that only democratic and transparent public institutions are best able to serve the needs of the people of Ogaden

B. Understanding that colonized peoples are unable express themselves freely and as such unable to hold governing authorities to account

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) pledges to remain democratic, transparent and independent. It further pledges to remain accountable only to the people of Ogaden. The ONLF also commits to maintain our system of checks and balances within our organization as well as a democratically elected governing authority.


A. Noting that the ONLF, as the vanguard of the people, has an obligation to protect their political rights

B. Recognizing that the policies of intimidation, harassment and arbitrary arrest are the trademarks of tyranny and commonplace in Ethiopia’s repressive policies

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) fully recognizes the rights of the citizens of Ogaden to express their political viewpoint and freely organize and engage in other political activities without fear of persecution or intimidation. As such, ONLF pledges to protect the rights of citizens in territories under our control to engage in political activity so long as they do not deny the rights of others to do the same.



A. Having witnessed the lack of economic development and the immense barriers to commerce as a result of the colonial administration in our country

B. Recognizing the instrumental role of economic policy on the social development of a nation and with the realization that limited government involvement, promotion of individual initiative and legal protection of private property are essential elements for economic growth.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) affirms that we subscribe to a free market economic system with respect for private ownership and entrepreneurial liberty as a matter of principle.


A. Noting the severe underdevelopment of our country as a result of a deliberate policy by the colonizer to thwart commercial initiatives of our citizens

B. Alarmed by attempts to auction off our natural resources such as oil and natural gas to foreign entities by the colonizer without our consent or knowledge.

C. Having witnessed the levying of unjust taxes to further finance the oppressive practices of the colonizer on our people

D. Recognizing that Ogaden has been deliberately economically isolated from the outside world by the colonizer.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) affirms that we shall resist all attempts by the colonizer to economically paralyze and exploit our country and people to include most notably

· The levying unjust taxes on our people

· The illegal confiscation of private property

· The illegal exploitation of our natural resources such as Oil and Natural Gas

· All forms of unethical labor including forced and child labor

· The suppression of free currency exchange markets

In addition, the ONLF shall actively confront all other colonial practices designed to act as barriers to the conduct of normal and ethical commerce in Ogaden.



A. Noting that Ogaden, being a colony, has been denied the opportunity to develop mutually beneficial economic and political relations with our neighbors and the international community

B. Committed to establishing friendly relations with neighboring states and the international community despite our current predicament

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) shall seek to establish both formal and informal relations with members of the international community based on mutual respect and peaceful co-existence. We further recognize all international treaties relevant to the conduct of normal international relations between states which do not stand in conflict with our rights to self-determination.


A. Noting the brutal tactics of the colonizer against various communities

B. Realizing the need to join hands with other oppressed peoples

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) shall pursue cooperative relations with other democratic entities struggling to reclaim the political rights of their respective peoples. The ONLF shall actively cooperate with others liberation movements opposed to the tyrannical Ethiopian empire-state in the planning and execution of initiatives which are mutually beneficial.



A. Recognizing that our children are the most vulnerable members of our society

B. Noting that colonial policies have negatively impacted our children the most

C. Realizing the hardship associated with growing up under colonialism

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) shall use all resources at our disposal to safeguard our children from the brutal practices of the colonizer. The ONLF further pledges to actively encourage the establishment of local schools at the village level in Ogaden so that our children, who are currently denied access to education by the colonizer have the opportunity to become productive members of their community.

The ONLF further recognizes all relevant international treaties addressing the rights of the child including those stipulations forbidding the use of child labor etc.


A. Noting that women and the elderly have suffered disproportionately under Ethiopian colonialism.

B. Recognizing that women in particular have been under represented in public life.

C. Realizing that without the active participation of women in our struggle for national self-determination and reconstruction we will not be able to fully implement our people’s aspiration

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) affirms that we shall not discriminate based on gender in the administration of our organization and that we shall actively seek out and recruit women to take their rightful place in our struggle for national self-determination. The ONLF further pledges to preserve cultural norms respecting the position of elders in our society and to periodically consult the elders in our community, in accordance with tradition, when feasible.



A. Noting the disastrous environmental impact of colonial policies in our country, specifically the steady degradation of our wildlife and water resources.

B. Recognizing that the colonizer implements policies in Ogaden without regard to environmental impact.

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) affirms that we shall confront all initiatives, which negatively impact our environment as a matter national duty to protect our environment for future generations.



See on-line at:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Tariqa Tijaniyya: Its Characteristics and Merits

By Imam Shaykh Hassan Ali Cisse

President of the Islamic African Organization for Population and Development

Address at the International Forum of the Followers of the Tijaniyya Order, Hotel Jnan, Fes, Morocco, 12 Jamadi al-Thaniyya 1428, 28 June 2007.

Translated from the Arabic by Imam Fakhruddin Owaisi (South Africa), Dr. Abdullahi Elokene (Nigeria) and Zakariya Wright (America).

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Praise is to Allah by whose Blessing and Majesty righteous deeds are realized, the One who said: “O believers! Fear Allah and seek the means to Him” (5:35). He also said: “And follow the path of the one who has turned towards Me” (31:15). And He has said: “And content yourself with those who call on their Lord morning and evening seeking His countenance” (18:28).

May the Blessings and Peace of Allah be upon our master Muhammad, owner of the banner of praise and of the praiseworthy station, who said: “The best of worship is that which is constant even if little.” And peace on his family and companions, the guides and those guided. And may Allah be pleased with our Shaykh and Mawlana, Shaykh Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Tijani al-Hassani; and may He be pleased with the manifestations of this saintly sublimity, and with his inheritors by whom we seek access to the Divine Presence. Surely we have held fast with them to the unbreakable rope of Allah.

Your Excellency, the Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs; Your Excellencies, the distinguished descendants of the Hidden Pole and Renowned Isthmus (barzakh); Your Excellencies, representatives (khulafa’) and teachers (muqadamin): peace be upon you and the mercy and blessing of Allah.

First and foremost, I express my sincere appreciation for the efforts of the Minister in putting together this conference under the directives of His Majesty, the Commander of the Believers, Muhammad VI, King of Morocco. May Allah strengthen, assist him and may Islam and the Muslims be helped through him. Surely organizing this kind of conference serves to affirm the love in the hearts of the Tijani brothers for the Kingdom of Morocco as it has existed for a long time now. It was this same noble Alawi kingdom who had a strong relationship with Shaykh Tijani and the sons of the Tariqa Tijaniyya from the time of Sultan Mawlay Muhammad bin Abd-Allah until today. Such was Shaykh Tijani’s relationship with Mawlay Sulayman: a spiritual relationship established through mutual cooperation in piety and righteousness, a cooperation in strengthening the fundamentals of the Islamic Religion, spreading its teachings, and raising high the word of Truth. This conference therefore comes as a result of these singular efforts, which has born fruit in the reign of Mawlana, Amir al-Mu’minin, King Muhammad VI, may Allah help and strengthen him. And the taste (of this fruit) will come in his righteous reign if Allah wills.

We are indeed very glad to attend this brotherly gathering which is unique in its kind. Surely in such meetings there is abundant harvest. It has come from the (Sufi) people that, “Whoever has realized a (spiritual) state, it will not be lost on those in his presence.” Among the precepts of the Tariqa Tijaniyya is gathering together: “The meeting of the beloveds is better than recitation of the litanies (awrad) and the remembrances (adhkar), for the remembrances can be made up if missed, but the meeting of beloveds cannot be made up.”

Today, delegations of loved ones from different nations have come to this sacrosanct city, Fez, wherein lies the tomb of Shaykh Ahmad Tijani, caressed by Heavenly zephyrs and Divine effulgence. As has been related in Hadith: “Indeed among the days of your lifespan, there are certain fragrant breezes belonging to Allah: would that you be touched by them, for if you should catch just one scent, you will be without complaint forever.”

There is no doubt that this conference is one of these fragrant breezes. Since its sunrise at the hand of our master, Abu Abbas Shaykh Ahmad Tijani (may Allah be pleased with him) up to this day of ours, the Tariqa has never ceased illuminating for mankind the path to Allah, and directing them to the way of guidance and righteousness, and guiding the aspirants to the best of paths by which they obtain the happiness of this world and the next. The Tijani brothers and sisters are a fraternity in Allah, and they are beloveds in Allah. It has been related from the Shaykh (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said to him: “Tell your companions not to harm each other, for surely this harms me.” The Most High has said: “Those who hurt believing men and women without just cause, bear on themselves calumny and manifest sins” (33:58).

If you find the Tariqa Tijaniyya actualizing the brotherhood of Islam, its success lies in rending apart the walls of the ego-selves, penetrating into its depths and illuminating its hidden recesses with beneficial Divine knowledge. In a similar way, this Tariqa has nullified the borders of nations and erased the differences between the servants of Allah.

So here we are in this conference hall meeting with representatives from all parts of Africa: west, central, and north. And here we have Americans from all different areas: New York, Chicago, Memphis, Atlanta, Detroit … So they (these delegations) are one community, and what is between them is (only) love in Allah, and they have freed themselves of worshiping other than Allah so that by the Oneness of Allah, the veils have been lifted from them and they have been brought to extinction (fana‘) and substantiation (baqa‘) in Allah. They have refused to concern themselves with anything other than Allah. These are indeed true, vigorous Sufis, clothed in the Sunnah. Their secret thoughts have been made pure and their external selves have remained steadfast on the Book and the Sunnah. They have escaped from the frivolities of the ego-self and become immersed in Truth’s baptism: “the baptism of Allah - and who is better than Allah to baptize” (2:138)?

“Sufism,” said Shaykh Tijani (may Allah be pleased with him), “is carrying out the Divine command and avoiding the prohibitions, externally and internally, with regards to what pleases Him, not what pleases you.” And this cannot be realized except through compliance with the pure Shari’a. The people of the Tariqa are the people of remembrance (dhikr), the people of prayer (salat), those who seek the forgiveness of Allah throughout the night and at both ends of the day. Incumbent upon them is offering prayer upon the greatest means of access (wasila), the Prophet, and obeying the command of Allah. With this they become enlightened. The Most High has said: “It is He who prays on you, along with the angels, in order to bring you forth from darkness into the light.” (33:43).

Thus our Tariqa is a Muhammadan Path (Tariqa Muhammadiyya); its companions are they who hold firmly to the Sunnah, extinguishing themselves in love for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. They are wedded to the emulation of him, in both his words and deeds, and they have molded themselves with his characteristics; for surely the bases of these characteristics are the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Within these two things is found the abode of the Tariqa, and outside the Qur’an and the Sunnah there is nothing called the Tijaniyya. Long ago, Imam Junayd (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Surely all the paths (turuq) are choked off by the creation except those following the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah upon him, those following his Sunnah and his Tariqa.”

Our Mawlana Shaykh Tijani, may Allah be pleased with him, has declared his innocence of everything at variance with the pure Shari’a and demonstrated the orthodoxy of his Tariqa with the statement: “If you hear something from me, weigh it on the scale of the Shari’a. Whatever is in conformity, take it; whatever is at variance, leave it.” So were all his actions and pure conduct based in the Book and the Sunnah. His disciple Sidi Muhammad bin Mishry (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“Despite what you have heard of the miracles of this Shaykh of exalted rank, he was of extreme humility, and whoever did not know him could not distinguish him from his companions. Among his attributes was that he was an ascetic; one longing (for Allah); one who has obtained; one who has abandoned all injustice. He overlooked the (unclean) states of the people but worked ardently on his own self. And he was stern in following the Sunnah, nor would he indulge anyone in relaxing its observance except for those who would not obey his command. He (RA) was always urging us to pray in rank. If we traveled, he would say, ‘Whoever does not pray with you in rank, do not keep him as your companion.’ And he said, ‘By guarding the straight line in prayer, Allah will avert from you most afflictions.’”

Among the things in which he persevered was the love for the Prophet’s household (ahl al-bayt), and encouraging others to reverence and exalt them, for this itself is evidence of following the Prophet (SAW) and of enforcing the commandments of the Qur’an. The Most High has said: “Say (O Prophet): ‘I do not ask any reward of you, except the love for the relatives (al-qurba).’” (42:23). The Shaykh also used to enjoin obedience to the teachers (muqadamin) with what they required in accordance with the truth. He said, “You must obey the teachers so long as they command you with the known religious obligations or work to reconcile the differences between you.” And he warned them in this against being enamored of the worldly goods of their brethren, and to only see such possession as the bestowal of Allah, for it is He who gives, withholds, lowers and elevates. It was with this righteous method that the Shaykh trained his disciples, and it is this righteous manner that has been the inheritance of his successors (khulifa‘) generation after generation, for they have been keen to guard this foundation. In emphasizing the orthodoxy of the Tariqa Tijaniyya, Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse said:

You must hold firm to the rope of Allah,
For a method which deviates from the Qur’anic Remembrance is a path of misery.

If you should ask, is this litany (wird) the method of Muhammad?
I will say yes, my wird is for attaining purity.

The wird is nothing but the remembrance belonging to Allah, and He alone,
(And) offering prayer on the chosen one, the best without comparison.

In it there is no mention of the Shaykh or any other
My wird is the source of medicine for the servant’s disease.

Tread lightly so as not to deny out of ignorance
For injustice and enmity are the sources of estrangement.

The Shaykh of Islam of Tunis, Ibrahim Riyahi, made a similar statement as the above:

As for your thoughts about the organization of the wird;
(Linked to) the hand of Prophecy, can it be without foundation?

What would you think of a method
Which secures for its practitioner safety from the fire and its turmoil?

The Tariqa is not an innovation from orthodox Sufism, which has been described in the Kashif al-Ilbas (of Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse) as follows: “(Sufism) is the expression of a knowledge flaring forth from the hearts of the saints until their hearts have obtained enlightenment through acting on the Qur’an and the Sunnah. And all who act in this way, for him will be kindled sciences, secrets and realities impossible for tongues to describe. This is analogous to what has been sparked in the scholars of the Shari’a with respect to their rulings until they come to know what they know in regards to the rulings of the Shari’a. And Sufism is surely the cream of the servant’s work in accordance with the rulings of the Shari’a, so long as his work is free from defect and self-contentment, just as the science of meanings and explanations is the cream of the science of grammar. So who would classify Sufism as an independent science is correct; and who would classify it as the source of rulings for the Shari’a is also correct.”

The Tariqa is built on sincerity in the truthful attention to Allah, by expelling anything else in one’s dealing with the Truth. This is not possible for him who secretly delights in his ego-self, plunging it into lusts and wicked desires. The Sufis are the true servants, they are the ascetics in every age. It has been related from Hassan al-Basri: “I saw a Sufi circumambulating the Ka’aba, and I gave him something; but he said, ‘I have naught with me but four coins, but whatever Allah has placed with me is sufficient.” This is simply pointing to the fact that the generation succeeding the companions of the Prophet was one of Sufi ascetics, for they were scholars in the sciences of the diseases and intrigues of the ego-self. Hassan al-Basri reports Sufyan al-Thawri as saying, “Had it not been for Abu Hisham al-Sufi, I would not have become aware of the subtle hypocrisies of the ego’s subjectivity (riya‘).”

The shaykhs, as has been related from Shaykh Tijani, may Allah be pleased with him, are the ropes that Allah has extended to the creation, whoever holds fast to them will be saved. Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Know that the purpose of the shaykhs is that they are links to the Prophet (SAW), who is the greatest means of access to Allah. Sidi Abdullah bin al-Hajj al-Alawi, may Allah be pleased with him, once said to me, ‘What is desired of the Tijani litanies is to smell the fragrance of the Muhammadan Reality (Haqiqa Muhammadiyya), upon it blessings and peace.’”

It is worth mentioning that the people of the Tariqa, they, men and women, are the ones remembering Allah often. They sit for the remembrance in every place and in all states. Remembrance (dhikr) is the sacred means of emulating the Messenger of Allah (SAW): “Surely in the Messenger of Allah there is for you a beautiful example, for those who hope for Allah and the Last Day, and who remember Allah often” (33:21). The people of the Tariqa are the living example of this: they come together from diverse ethnicities, gathering for the love of Allah and His Messenger, extinguishing themselves in the pursuit and victory of the truth, with asceticism and humility in the emulation of the greatest means of access, Mawlana Shaykh Tijani, may Allah be pleased with him. Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse wrote in the Risalat al-Tawba: “Despite being absorbed and extinguished in Allah, the people of Tariqa have not abandoned the affairs of the creation nor their role as vicegerents on the earth. Rather they compete in every sphere of life and they are found in diverse professions and specialties, desiring to obtain what is lawful and to expose themselves to the zephyrs of the Lord, exalted is He. May Allah bless them, shield them from the schemes of their enemies and protect them with what He has protected His Wise Remembrance, and such is not difficult for Allah.” So these are the scholars and the shaykhs and the leaders of people; and they are also business men, executives, engineers, doctors, journalists and professors …

If it is understood that the purpose of the Tijani litanies is to smell the fragrance of the Haqiqa Muhammadiyya, such a fragrance leads one to act according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah, both of which provide the capacity for security and the foundation of faith. The Prophet has said: “I am leaving with you two things, to which if you hold fast, you will never be misguided: the Book of Allah and my Sunnah.” On this foundation this Tariqa has spread to all horizons, for it is a Tariqa of truth, and the truth prevails and is not prevailed upon. Shaykh Tijani, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “This seal (taaba’) of ours will gain ascendancy over every other type of (Sufi) mark (taaba’), and none will gain ascendancy over us.” This Tariqa thus has the capacity to spread without limit, since it is grounded in magnanimity and tolerance, nor is it contrary to the flawless natural disposition (al-fitra al-salim).

Shaykh Tijani was praised by many of the exalted scholars of his time. Among them by way of example was Sidi Hamdun bin al-Hajj, whose son wrote in his book, al-Ashraf, that his father had praised the Shaykh in both knowledge of the Islamic sciences and Divine gnosis. Shaykh Hamdun, who was of the consummate scholars, praised the Shaykh in one of his poems as follows:

I commend you to the resplendent, light-giving moon,
Abu al-Abbas, I mean Ahmad at-Tijani.

The sun of sovereignty and the axis of the circle of guidance,
The moon of felicity and star of spiritual excellence.

Sea of generosity, our elucidator of heavenly wisdom,
Like rare gems in a necklace or crown (tījān).

The best of imams who has risen in ascension,
In righteousness without lethargy.

In addition, numerous scholars apprenticed themselves to him, but mentioning them here all would take us too long. Needless to say, each is like the full moon. In every corner they are the leaders of men, in every time and place. Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse indicated this in one of his poems:

To him belong companions like moons,
Possessors of illumination and secrets.

Of investiture and of gnosis,
And each one a spring among springs.

Concerning the Seal of Sainthood and his Exemplary Successors[1]

Among the accomplished scholars, the (Sufi) people have widely confirmed (the reality) of seeing the Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessing upon him, in a waking state. Through the grace of Allah, Shaykh (Ahmad) al-Tijani, may Allah be pleased with him, attained this rank, and it was the Prophet (S.A.W.) who so gave him his Tariqa (in a waking vision). The Shaykh continued to climb the peaks of sainthood until he attained the ranks of Khatmiyya (Seal of Sainthood) and Katmiyya (The concealed station).

Some of the saints (awliya’), such as al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi, Ibn-al-Arabi and Abd-al-Wahhab al-Sha’rani, have spoken about the position of Khatmiyya. In fact, Sidi Shaykh al-Mukhtar al-Kunti[2] mentioned (in his Kitab al-Tara’iq) that the Seal of Sainthood would appear in the 12th century (hijri); and indeed that is the century in which Shaykh Tijani lived. In a citation reproduced in the Tanbih al-Azkiya fi Kawn al–Shaykh al-Tijani Khatam al-Awliya of Shaykh al-Islam Ibrahim Niass, Shaykh Kunti said:

Among the characteristics of the century in which the Seal of Sainthood will appear is that it will be similar to the century of the Prophet (S.A.W.) in a number of ways. For example, the Seal of the Saints will appear in it just as the Seal of the Prophets appeared in his century. Also, the followers of this Saint, Reviver and Seal will call towards goodness, enjoin virtue, forbid evil, believe in Allah only and strive against the misguided people. They will also fight the Greater Jihad against the lower self, vain desires and Satan. For when the Companions asked the Prophet (S.A.W.), “What is the greatest Jihad?” He replied, “To fight the lower self”. Thirdly, there is an indication that this century (i.e. the 12th century) is more virtuous than all centuries before it with the exception of the first three centuries, as their virtuousness has been confirmed by the words of the Prophet (SAW): “The best of eras is my century, then the one that follows it…” But the Prophet also pointed to this (12th) century when he said, “The best of this community is the first of it and the last of it. (But) There will be some crookedness in between them, neither am I of them nor are they of me.”

If we ponder over the words of this exalted pole (Mukhtar al-Kunti), we find them applying very clearly to the followers of the Seal (Sidi Ahmad) al-Tijani. Indeed, the most perfect guides to Allah graduated from his school (of spiritual training). They were men who guided towards Allah with their states and statements, and trained generations (of men) who became lamps of guidance, and sources and criterions for understanding the Divine realities (haqa’iq). Countless people benefited from them, as they called to Allah with His permission, and they trained and raised people (in spiritual ranks) through (following) the character of the Chosen Prophet (S.A.W.). Indeed, following him (the Prophet) is sufficient (for such training), adhering to his guidance grants one complete contentment, and to arrive in his presence is the greatest of goals.

Without attempting to be exhaustive, I mention here by way of example such men as the great striver (in the path of Allah), the renowned pole, Shaykh Umar ibn Sa’id al-Futi[3], who took (the Tariqa) from Abd al-Karim al-Naqil, who took from Sidi Mawlud Fal, who took from Shaykh Muhammad al-Hafiz, who took from the Seal, Shaykh (Ahmad) Tijani, may Allah be pleased with them. He (Shaykh Umar) also took (the Tariqa) from al-Sharif Muhammad al-Ghali[4], and accompanied him until Shaykh Ghali testified to his attainment of the position of Khilafa (Successorship) of Shaykh Tijani, may Allah be pleased with him. Through Shaykh Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, the Tariqa spread widely, especially in Africa, where his school (madrasa) produced several spiritual schools that shined in (the realization of spiritual) heights, and illuminated the paths (for seekers of the Divine presence).

Also to be mentioned in this regard was the school of the knowledgeable one of Allah, the divinely supported pole, al-Hajj Abd-Allahi Niass of Kaolack, who was known, as he was described by the great (Moroccan) scholar, Sidi Ahmad Sukayrij al-Ayyashi, to exercise authority over humans and jinn (spirits). And there was also the school of the hard-working scholar and righteous saint, Shaykh al-Hajj Malik Sy, may Allah be pleased with them all.

These two Mujaddids (Revivers of the Faith) established the pillars of the Religion, and their teachings remain as sources of light that revive bodies and souls through the remembrance (of Allah) and adherence to the Qur’an and the Sunnah (the Prophetic way). They exerted tremendous efforts, playing a major role in the spread of the Tariqa and (in enforcing) the practice of its ethics. Moreover, they trained their distinguished children and followers to follow this straight path. And surely, Shaykh Tijani was always with them in all circumstances.

When they (al-Hajj Abd-Allah and al-Hajj Malik) passed away in 1922 - which corresponds with the ‘year of the Sun,’ or 1340 A.H. [5] - the Senegalese scholar Shaykh Mbacke Boussou memorialized their death with the following couplet:

A Sun and a Sun disappeared in the ‘year of the Sun’
And mankind cried for the overwhelming Darkness.

The Qadi (chief Justice) of Nouakchott (Mauritania), al-Mukhtar Walad al-Mahbubi similarly marked their passing with the following couplet:

And in it (the year 1340), the two performers of the Hajj passed away
Malik and Niass; and they left behind a great reputation.

The noble children and students of al-Hajj Abd-Allahi Niass continued to carry the torch of enlightenment for Creation, guiding and training others in the disciplines of this blessed Tariqa. The learned scholar (Ahmad) Sukayrij, may Allah be pleased with him, testified to this in the beautiful verses of his travelogue named Taj al-Ru’us fi al-Tafassuh bi-Nawahi Sus. He stated:

And a similar statement was made by our affectionate friend
(Muhammad Khalifa) Niass,[6] and others from the fair-skinned ones (Arab scholars)

An honorable scholar indeed, from Kaolack
Well-versed in knowledge, in the land of blacks (al-Sudan)

A worthy khalifa indeed in the Tariqa of our Shaykh (Tijani)
On behalf of us and the distinguished ones before us

He has excelled over others in the knowledge of the Shari’a
And the Haqiqa (Divine Reality), truly without doubt

I praise and thank him
And thank all his brothers, possessors of divine knowledge.

Among of them is Abu-Ishaq, Ibrahim, who,
I have given residence in my heart as long as I live[7]

Admirable are they! Noble masters who have guided
To the Truth in private and in public

They knew the path and remained steadfast in the journey
Seeking by it to attain (Allah’s) pleasure and forgiveness

They drew from the (divine) secrets with which they learned
The wherewithal of the arrival (in the Divine Presence), so as to obtain every safety

And their father Abd-Allahi - mercy be upon him - was for me,
The most pious of my brothers[8]

He used to refer to me in private as ‘his father’
And through him, I have (extended) two hands (of favor) in the Senegal[9]

With one hand I gave him the pledge (of the Tariqa) and Ijazah
An Ijazah Mutlaqah (complete unrestricted license), with certainty

With the other I (spiritually) shook hands with my loved one,
In his absence, through a divine introduction[10]

Indeed I thank him (al-Haj Abd-Allahi), and I thank my Lord,
For the increase in spiritual excellence (ihsan) in his country

(And) al-Haj Malik Sy, son of Uthman, with whom I am pleased
So he shares with him (al-Hajj Abd-Allahi) these praises

The Continuation of Spiritual Training in this Tariqa and the appearance of the Fayda through Shaykh Ibrahim Niass

Through the Bounty of Allah, the Tariqa remains a shore of safety for the seekers. Spiritual genius and complete Muhammadan inheritance continue to manifest themselves among its adherents. Its blessings will persist until the arrival of Judgment Day, for it is a Tariqa that is based upon Divine selection. It is the shortest and best of pathways to reach Allah, and the closest to the way of the righteous predecessors (al-salaf al-salih).

Spiritual training (tarbiya) in this Tariqa is based on two poles, as stated in the Kashif al-Ilbas (by Shaykh al-Islam Ibrahim Niass):

Firstly: To establish the five obligatory prayers with all their conditions.

Secondly: To offer salutations on the Prophet (S.A.W.), during the night and day, with the intention of carrying out the command (in the Qur’an to send salutations on him), and this in veneration, honor and love for the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.).

Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse, the Owner of the Flood (Fayda), may Allah be pleased with him, has further explained tarbiya in the Jawahir al-Rasa’il:

Spiritual education (tarbiya) in our Tariqa is by the zeal of Shaykh Tijani, who said, “Who would know me, must know me by me alone.”[11] There is no instruction incumbent upon the authorized teacher (muqaddam) except the instruction (talqin, i.e., of the litanies) and informing them of what has been duly ordained concerning the conditions (sharut) and proper manners (adab). As for the disciple, there is nothing for him to do except to guard the known religious obligations. The exigencies of the litany (wird) are necessary and critically important, along with the belief that the requisite wird is the greatest of the secrets of the Tijaniyya, so he should run (nafar) to it (in refuge). Thereafter, the disciple may practice what he can of the supererogatory litanies to the extent he has been authorized. He should desire nothing by them except the countenance of Allah, the Bountiful; neither this world nor the next, and no rank among the ranks, for he should witness the favor (as it is). He should have the best of thoughts (of Allah), and he must entrust his affairs completely to Him. If he persists in this, without any other goal, then he should thank Allah always.[12]

It was only due to the grace of Allah to the people of this Tariqa, and the continued flow of Divine assistance in the Tijaniyya, that the Tijani Flood (Fayda) has become manifest. And this simply proves true the words of Shaykh Tijani himself:

A flood (fayda) will descend on my followers, so that people will enter the Tariqa in droves. This fayda will appear when people will be in a state of extreme suffering and difficulty.

In fact, mention of the Fayda has been widely transmitted among the followers of Shaykh Tijani, and they used to wait for it and watch out for its emergence. It is stated in Kashif al-Ilbas (by Shaykh Ibrahim Niass) that:

The wisdom for the emergence of the Faydah in this age of corruption is the weakness of Faith in the hearts of people as well as the abundance of misguided sects that are misguiding others. However, this ummah has been endowed with Mercy (from Allah), therefore, the (divine) sciences and realities (of Allah) have been poured on them (through the Faydah), so that they may return to the natural state of Iman“.

If we ponder upon the words of the Owner of the Fayda, it will be clear to us that the signs of the emergence of this Fayda did not appear in anyone but Shaykh Ibrahim Niass, may Allah be pleased with him. Indeed, through him, people entered the Tariqa in droves and multitudes, from all races, Arabs and non-Arabs; all of whom arrived at the gnosis of Allah, through (direct) witnessing and beholding (the Presence of Allah), and not by the way of (deductive) evidence (dalil) or (material) proof (burhan).

The author of al-Durra al-Kharida, Shaykh Muhammad bin Abd-al-Wahid al-Nazifi[13] stated:

The Tariqa Tijaniyya will persist, remaining through the ages
And in the later times, it will bring forth a fayda

Then mankind will enter it in droves, (awakened) in longing
For what they witness of Divine connection blossoming (before them).

By Allah, most of the great Tijani scholars of Shaykh Ibrahim’s era testified to his being the Owner of the Fayda. Indeed, Allah honored him with that which we never heard before from our Shaykhs; (for example) 8000 people entered into Islam at his hands in one gathering in Ghana. The thanks is to Allah for this great blessing, for the Prophet has said, “For Allah to guide one man through you is better for you than to posses the red camels (the most expensive camels, i.e. all the wealth of the world).” Shaykh Ibrahim related the circumstances of this event in his “Travelogue of Ghana,” saying,

I instructed thousands, too many to count,
With the words of Divine Oneness (tawhid), loosing count of their numbers

And the unbelievers and nature worshippers (majus)[14] repeated the words
As well as their leaders; so the souls became content.

He also stated in one of his letters reflecting on Allah’s bounty in this instance:

And I, and all praise is for Allah, know of tens of millions of Muslims who took this Tariqa through me; and even more who were unbelievers, idol-worshippers and Christians before coming in contact with us; and even more who attained the Opening (of the Knowledge of Allah) through witnessing and beholding (the Presence of Allah) without any proof or reasoning. And it is as if I beheld Shaykh (Ahmad) Tijani reciting: “They have chosen you for a matter if you only understood (its importance), so beware of your ego, lest you indulge in negligence.”

Shaykh Ibrahim also related about this incident:

I said, ‘There is none worthy of worship but Allah;
Muhammad (S.A.W.) has been sent by Allah’

Then from me overflowed His Secret, so there is no one
Who follows me and does not know Allah, the Self-Subsisting.

The manifestation of the Fayda brought forth in the souls (of men) the fruits of piety (taqwa), abstinence (zuhd), sincerity (ikhlas), serenity (itmi’nan), and immersion (istighraq) in the love of Allah, of His Prophet, and of the Shaykh (Tijani) and his secret. The people of Fayda do not do anything except by Allah, and they are the ones keeping up the zawiyas through the remembrance of Allah throughout the night and day; (and this) through the remembrance of and salutation upon their shining exemplar (the Prophet Muhammad), following his Sunnah, his ethics, his traditions and his manners.

The Owner of the Fayda (Shaykh Ibrahim Niass) did not stray even a finger’s breadth from the teachings of Shaykh Tijani. He always made clear that his own popularity was through the continued spiritual support of Shaykh Tijani, may Allah be pleased with him. When mentioning the names of the tribes that took (the Tariqa) from him, he said:

The first among them were the Hausa and the people of Zarma[15]
As well as the Dagomba;[16] all of whom were overwhelmed with blessing.

And he ended by saying:

Bassa,[17] Ra’adar,[18] these were the tribes
Whom the Seal (Ahmad) Tijani gave to drink, the one who said:

‘The heavy cannon hits its mark from afar’
Such explains his hidden and unique spiritual station

Shaykh Ibrahim’s conduct and words have provided evidence that the Tariqa is among the schools for the soul’s refinement. He, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

Let the humans and jinn be witness that we hold fast to the rope of the Muhammadan Sunnah, that we hold fast to the path of the Prophet, the master of the first ones and the last. We walk in the light of his teachings, and vie in following his guidance, which is the savior from calamities. The Tariqa is one of the schools of purification, spiritual training and refinement of character, so praise be to Allah, who guided me to hold fast to it, to adopt its discipline, to draw from it lights, to benefit from its blessings, and to work with its pioneers and men of distinction. Within this Tariqa I live, and within it I will die, and I will be resurrected with my master, Abu al-Abbas Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Tijani al-Hasani, may Allah be pleased with him. May He grant him His pleasure, and may He be pleased with us through him. Amen. And this Tariqa Tijaniyya is the Tariqa of the scholars and righteous ones: a school that produces the guardians of the religion and the sacred law (shari’a), beginning with Shaykh Tijani himself, who declared in his famous statement: “If you hear anything attributed to me, weigh it on the scale of the Shari’a. Whatever is in conformity with it, take it; whatever contravenes it, leave it.”

So these were the teachings of the Owner of the Fayda. He has indeed spread Islam and the Tariqa throughout the world in an unparalleled manner. The Tariqa has continued to spread around the world, thanks and praise belong to Allah, by means of his children, descendents and disciples, until it has reached America, Trinidad, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Moscow and elsewhere.

Today, the number of Tijanis in Nigeria alone exceeds forty million and the initiatory chain (silsila) for most of them passes through Shaykh Ibrahim, either directly or indirectly. The historian Amir Shakib Arsalan wrote about the nineteenth century, “Had the Tijani armies not been defeated by the end of the 19th century, the whole of Africa would have become part of a Tijani empire.”[19] But despite this defeat, and despite its rejecters and enemies, the Tariqa has continued to spread, finding its way to every corner of the world. Indeed, through its Ahmadan, Muhammadan teachings, the Tariqa has penetrated the hearts of people from all races and nations. Long ago, the Owner of the Tijani Fayda, Shaykh Ibrahim Niass, said that his call would encompass the horizons and spread all over the earth.[20] And he had predicted this at a time when his community was only a few people living in the village of Kosi, a farm outside of Kaolack, Senegal. Thirty years after his passing, we witness today that the Tariqa has indeed reached every corner of the world, as he said it would, may Allah be pleased with him.

As for our own role - only in rehearsing the bounties of Allah, as He said, “As for the bounties of your Lord, proclaim them”[21] - I have introduced the Tariqa in America: in New York, Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, California, Memphis, and even Bermuda and Trinidad. I have also introduced the Tariqa in other places, such as South Africa, in its capital of Johannesburg, as well as Durban and Cape Town; and zawiyas have started to multiply in all these places. Recently there has been established an organization for the Tijaniyya in South Africa, the muqaddam in Cape Town being Imam Fakhruddin (Owaisi).[22] And all praise is due to Allah, from the beginning to the end.

There is nothing surprising about the continued flow of this spiritual grace (within the Tijaniyya), if we are firmly convinced that Shaykh Tijani is the ultimate provider (of spiritual sustenance) for all the saints and gnostics (of Allah), and that no saint drinks (of spiritual knowledge) or is given drink except from his ocean.

He (Shaykh Ahmad Tijani), may Allah be pleased with him, said: “And what you have heard (from me) about the extraordinary benefits of the Wird; they will be fulfilled without doubt. So beware of neglecting the Wird, even if once in your life.” The desire to extinguish the Light of Allah will remain, but Allah’s guarding of His Light will also remain. As He said, “And they desire to extinguish the Light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will not allow it, except that His Light be fulfilled, even if the unbelievers detest it.”[23] Allah has also said:

O You who believe! Respond to Allah and His Messenger when they call you towards that which will give you life. And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart, and that unto Him you shall all be gathered.

And fear trials that will not afflict only those amongst you who do wrong! And know that Allah is severe in His punishments.

And remember when you were only few and oppressed in the land, scared that people would snatch you away. So He sheltered you, aided you with His support, and provided you with all good things, so that you may be grateful!
O You who believe! Do not betray Allah and His Messenger, and do not knowingly betray your own trusts.[24]

Surely, Allah the Exalted speaks the Truth.

Concluding Remarks

We have come to this blessed conference at the head of many delegations. Here are our brothers from Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and from every corner of the world, and most of them share with us the connection to our Shaykh and Master, Shaykh Ibrahim Niass, may Allah be pleased with him, who in turn connects us to the Greatest Shaykh, the Seal of Muhammadan Sainthood, our master Shaykh (Ahmad) Tijani, may Allah be pleased with him.

We thank the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (of Morocco) that made it possible for us to meet up with such large numbers of fellow Tijanis in such a distinguished conference.

We have mentioned here the names of the pious men, for the mercy of Allah descends upon us with their mention. Their mention brings comfort to the hearts, awakening in them yearning for the Unseen World, and curing them from negligence, in order to do good deeds with complete sincerity. The mention of such pious people creates fresh determination (in the heart) and strength to take stock of the self regarding every matter, small or large. Indeed, these people did not give space for their lower selves, except (in helping) to reach out for the highest of aims, to rush towards that which would secure them the Abode of Bliss (Paradise), and to protect their limbs from being tainted by acts of disobedience and from committing sins. They fulfilled the duties of their Faith by carrying out the Commands (of Allah) and shunning forbidden matters.

About this, Shaykh Ibrahim Niass, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

Whoever wishes to be with me, he should follow my path in both word and deed; by fulfilling the obligations (of the religion) and avoiding the forbidden matters, with a constant desire for gaining the Pleasure of Allah and His Messenger. As for the one who identifies himself with us, but disregards the pure Shari’a by committing forbidden acts, then I call Allah and you as witness that I have nothing to do with him.

This is our Tariqa: it is the seeking and the arriving to Allah Most High, “And to your Lord is the ultimate end.”[25] The Shaykh (Ibrahim Niass) said in a lecture delivered in Khartoum: “We do not concern ourselves with miracles, nor do we make claims. Rather, our business is sincere servitude (to Allah) and the fulfillment of the rights of His Lordship.”

We cannot conclude our speech without expressing our heartfelt gratitude to the Commander of the Faithful, King Muhammad VI, King of Morocco, for his enormous efforts in uniting the (Muslim) community (ummah). May Allah support him and bring fame to his name. And we request from the brothers present here and all beloved brothers (in the Tariqa) to continuously pray for his protection and triumph, and that he sees what pleases him from his blessed crown prince Mawlay al-Hasan and from his entire noble family. We also request the brothers to pray for the Kingdom of Morocco, this generous and hospitable nation; that it continue to flourish and progress, in peace and safety, under his majesty’s able rule. We commend the exceptional care that the King shows for the Tijani order and its zawiyas. Lastly, we thank him for his much-appreciated policies concerning (the development of) our African continent.

We also thank our noble masters, the descendants of the Shaykh (Sidi Ahmad) al-Tijani, may Allah be pleased with him. And we will continue to uphold the pacts (of love between us). And we also thank the noble delegates from all the countries.

Finally, I advise myself and you to be conscious of Allah in private and in public, to adhere to the vow (of the Tariqa), to work together in clearing the pathway (of guidance), uniting (our) aims and entrenching the values promoted by our pure Religion. This should be done by promoting brotherhood, equality and purposeful dialogue to demonstrate the universality of Islam and that it is a religion of compassion (rahma), a religion of civility (insaniya) that does not recognize fanaticism or terrorism.

From the fruits of this blessed conference has been the establishment of familiarity between the (Tijani) brothers from the East, West and every corner of the world. Allah willing, this will result in the mutual cooperation in piety (birr) and righteousness (taqwa), in fulfillment of the verse of the Qur’an where the Almighty says: “And cooperate with one another in piety and righteousness.”[26]

We ask Allah, Blessed and Exalted is He, to continue showering His blessings on us, on you and on this nation. May He facilitate all that brings us together and remove all obstacles. May He grant you even more than what we or you might hope.

And the last of our prayers is to praise Allah, the Lord of the worlds.

May the Peace, Mercy and Blessing of Allah be upon you all.

[1] Subheadings in the text have been altered or added from the original speech to facilitate reading.[2] Shaykh al-Kunti (d. 1811), the great scholar and Qadiri shaykh of Timbuktu, Mali, who was the Shaykh of Uthman b. Fudi (d. 1817).

[3] Also known as al-Haj Umar Tal.

[4] Sidi al-Sharif Muhammad al-Ghali Bu-Talib was the Khalifah of Shaykh Ahmad Tijani in the Holy Land.

[5] According to the ancient science of abjad, every letter of the Arabic language has a precise numerical value, and consequently, numbers have the potential of having corresponding words being derived from them. In the case at hand, the number 1340 corresponded with the words, ‘year of the sun’.

[6] Shaykh Muhammad al-Khalifah Niass was the eldest son of al-Haj Abd-Allahi Niass. Shaykh Sukayrij was actually quoting from Shaykh Muhammad’s fatwa regarding to the controversial issue of paying Zakat on peanuts; at which point he interjected to praise the whole Niass family and al-Hajj Malik Sy, the learned leaders of the Tijaniyya in Senegal.

[7] This is line referring to Shaykh al-Islam Ibrahim Niass, who was al-Haj Abd-Allahi Niass’s ninth son.

[8] This is line referring al-Haj Abd-Allahi Niass.

[9] The two “hands” here are meant symbolically and figuratively. They refer to ‘two favors’ that Shaykh Ahmad Sukayrij granted to the land of Senegal, through al-Haj Abd-Allahi Niass. These favors were the granting of Ijazah Mutlaqah (the highest form of Ijazah in the Tijani Tariqah) to al-Haj Abd-Allahi Niass and al-Haj Malik Sy. It was the first time after al-Haj Umar Tal’s era, that Shaykhs from the Senegal had received such a high-ranking and rarely-granted Ijazah. In the above mentioned couplets, Shaykh Sukayrij considers al-Haj Abd-Allahi Niass as the ‘channel’ for these Ijazahs (which were great favors from him on the Senegal) as al-Haj Abd-Allahi Niass had personally received it from him during his visit to Fez, and it was al-Haj Abd-Allahi also who had gained and carried the Ijazah for al-Haj Malik Sy in Senegal, who used to communicate with Shaykh Sukayrij through letters but had not met him.

[10] This is referring to al-Haj Malik Sy as Shaykh Sukayrij also sent him an Ijazah Mutlaqah, through al-Haj Abd-Allahi Niass.

[11] Shaykh Sidi Ahmad al-Tijani (R.A.) made this important statement when some disciples who had taken the Tariqah from two different muqaddams of his were arguing as to who is better.

[12] Shaykh Ibrahim originally wrote these words in a letter to the Mauritanian Shaykh Manna-Abba in 1935. The full letter can be found in the Jawahir al-Rasa’il, v. I, p. 24-25.

[13] Shaykh Sidi Muhammad bin Abd-al-Wahid al-Nazifi (1853-1947) was a renowned Tijani scholar from Marrakech who had a large following in southern Morocco, especially the region of Sus.

[14] The majus, or Magians, were an ancient sect of nature worshippers that preceded Zorastrians in Iran (though sometimes the name is applied to the Zorastrians themselves). The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) included them in the same category as the ahl al-kitab (people of the Book).

[15] The Zarma are a major ethno-linguistic group in southwestern Niger whose language is closely related to ancient Songhay.

[16] The Dogamba is the largest “tribe” in northern Ghana.

[17] The Bassa are a language group originating in Mozambique, who have become established minority groups in Nigeria, Cameroon and Liberia.

[18] Perhaps also spelled ‘Adar. The reference has yet to be verified.

[19] Amir Shakib was referring here to the holy Jihad movement of the Tijani warrior-saint al-Haj Umar Tal (d.1864), who conquered large areas of West Africa and incorporated them in his Tijaniyyah Islamic State. The French colonialist armies finally defeated and dismantled this African Islamic state in 1893.

[20] This in a letter to Hassan Jayn in 1349/1930, see Jawahir al-Rasa’il, v. I, p. 13.

[21] Qur’an, 93:11.

[22] This sentence was absent from the written version of the speech, but was included in the actual speech as attested to by attendees and video recordings of the conference (Zakariya).

[23] Qur’an, 9:32.

[24] Qur’an, 8:24-27.

[25] Qur’an, 53:42.

[26] Qur’an, 5:02.

This address is taken from the website of the Tariqa Tijaniyya.

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