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The Tijāniyyah (Arabic: الطريقة التجانية,
translit. Al-Ṭarīqah al-Tijāniyyah, lit. 'The Tijānī
Path') is a sufi tariqa (order, path) within Sunni Islam, originating
North Africa but now more widespread in West Africa, particularly
in Senegal, The Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Niger, Chad, Ghana,
Northern and South-western
Nigeria and some part of Sudan. The Tariqa
order is also present in the state of
Kerala in India. Its adherents
are called Tijānī (spelled Tijaan or Tiijaan in Wolof, Tidiane or
Tidjane in French). Tijānī attach a large importance to culture and
education, and emphasize the individual adhesion of the disciple
(murīd). To become a member of the order, one must receive the
Tijānī wird, or a sequence of holy phrases to be repeated twice
daily, from a muqaddam, or representative of the order.
1 History and spread of the order
1.1 Foundation of the order
1.2 Expansion in West Africa
1.3 Tijaniyah jihad states
3 See also
4 Sources and references
6 External links
History and spread of the order
Foundation of the order
Ahmad al-Tijani (1737–1815) was born in
Aïn Madhi in present-day
Algeria and died in Fes, Morocco. He founded the Tijānī order in the
1780s; sources vary as to the exact date between 1781 and 1784.
Tijānīs, speaking for the poor, reacted against the then-dominant
Qadiriyyah brotherhood, focusing on social
reform and grassroots Islamic revival.
al-Tijani said: "My two feet you can see here are set on the nape of
the neck of any saint."
Muhammad el Ghali, a prominent companion of
al-Tijani’s, noted to him that Abdul Qadir Jilani had said a similar
sentence, to which al-Tijani replied, "He was perfectly right to say
such a thing, but he was talking about the saints of his time, as for
me, I repeat it again: My two feet that you can see here, have never
ceased being on the nape of the neck of every saint."
During the first period, some of al-Tijani's adherents appointed
khalifas, established new Tijani centres abroad, and developed
ramifications of their own:
the centres of Sidi Mohammed al-Ghali Boutaleb (d. 1829) and Sidi Alfa
Hachim al-Futi (d. 1934) in
the centres of Sidi al-Mufaddal Saqqat, Sidi Mohammed b. Abdelwahid
Bannani al-Misri (d. after 1854), and Sidi Mohammed al-Hafidh al-Misri
(d. 1983) in Egypt
the centres of Shaykh al-
Islam Sidi Ibrahim Riyahi Tunsi (d. 1851),
Sidi Mohammed b. Slimane Manna’i Tunsi, Sidi Mohammed Ben Achour (d.
before 1815) and Sidi Taher b. Abdesaadiq Laqmari (d. after 1851) in
the centre of Sidi
Uthman Filani Aklani (d. after 1815) in the Sudan,
the centres of Sidi Mohammed Alawi Chinguiti (d. 1830), Sidi Mawlud
Fall (d. 1852) and Sidi Mohammad al-Hafid b. al-Mokhtar Beddi in
the centres of Sidi Mohammed b. al-Mishri Sibai (d. 1809), author of
al-Jami’a li-ma f-taraqa mina-l ‘ulumn (The Absolute in What Has
Separated from the Sciences), and al-
Qutb Sidi Abul Hassan
Aissa Tamacini (d. 1845) in Algeria
Expansion in West Africa
Although several other
Sufi orders overshadow the Tijāniyyah in its
birthplace of North Africa, the order has become the largest Sufi
West Africa and continues to expand rapidly. It was brought
Mauritania around 1789 by Muḥammad al-Ḥāfiẓ of the
Ali tribe, which was known for its many Islamic scholars and
leaders and was predominantly Qādirī at the time. Nearly the entire
tribe became Tijānī during Muḥammad al-Ḥāfiẓ's lifetime, and
the tribe's influence would facilitate the Tijāniyya's rapid
expansion to sub-Saharan Africa.
Muḥammad al-Ḥāfiẓ's disciple Sidi Mawlūd Vāl initiated the
Fulbe leader Al-Ḥājj
Umar Tall (Allaaji Omar Taal) and
Fulbe cleric `Abd al-Karīm an-Nāqil from
Futa Jalon (modern
Guinea) into the order. After receiving instruction from Muḥammad
al-Ghālī from 1828 to 1830 in Makka,
Umar Tall was appointed
Khalīfa (successor or head representative) of Aḥmed at-Tijānī for
all of the Western
Sudan (Western sub-Saharan Africa).
Umar Tall then
led a holy war against what he saw as corrupt regimes in the area,
resulting in a large but fleeting empire in Eastern
Senegal and Mali.
Umar Tall's political empire soon gave way to French
colonialism, the more long-standing result was to spread
Islam and the
Tijānī Order through much of what is now Senegal, Guinea, and Mali
(see Robinson, 1985).
In Senegal's Wolof country, especially the northern regions of Kajoor
and Jolof, the Tijānī Order was spread primarily by El-
Sy (spelled "El-Hadji Malick Sy" in French, "Allaaji Maalig Si" in
Wolof), born in 1855 near Dagana. In 1902, he founded a zāwiya
(religious center) in
Tivaouane (Tiwaawan), which became a center for
Islamic education and culture under his leadership. Upon Malick Sy's
death in 1922, his son Ababacar Sy (Abaabakar Sy) became the first
Khalīfa (Xaliifa). Serigne Mansour Sy became the present Khalīf in
1997, upon the death of Abdoul Aziz Sy. The Gàmmu (Mawlid) in Arabic,
the celebration of the birth of Muḥammad) of
Tivaouane gathers many
followers each year.
The "house" or branch of
Tivaouane is not the only branch of the
Tijānī order in Senegal. The Tijānī order was spread to the south
by another jihadist, Màbba Jaxu Ba, a contemporary of
Umar Tall who
founded a similar Islamic state in Senegal's
Saalum area[dubious –
discuss]. After Màbba was defeated and killed at The
Battle of Fandane-Thiouthioune fighting against Maad a Sinig Kumba
Ndoffene Famak Joof, his state crumbled but the Tijāniyya remained
Sufi order in the region, and
Abdoulaye Niass (1840–1922) became the most important representative
of the order in the Saalum[dubious – discuss], having immigrated
southward from the Jolof and, after exile in Gambia due to tensions
with the French, returned to establish a zāwiya in the city of
The branch founded by Abdoulaye Niass's son, Al-Hadj Ibrahima Niass
(Allaaji Ibrayima Ñas, often called "Baye" or "Baay", which is
"father" in Wolof), in the
Kaolack suburb of
Medina Baye in 1930, has
become by far the largest and most visible Tijānī branch around the
world today. Ibrahima Niass's teaching that all disciples, and not
only specialists, can attain a direct mystical knowledge of God
through tarbiyyah rūhiyyah (mystical education) has struck a chord
with millions worldwide. This branch, known as the Tijāniyyah
Ibrāhīmiyyah or the Fayḍah ("Flood"), is most concentrated in
Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Niger, and Mauritania, and has a growing
presence in the
United States and Europe. Most Tijānī web sites and
international organizations are part of this movement. Sheikh Ibrahima
Niass's late grandson and former
Medina Baye, Shaykh Hassan
Cisse, has thousands of American disciples and has founded a large
educational and developmental organization, the African American
Islamic Institute, in
Medina Baye with branches in other parts of the
Another Senegalese "house," in Medina-Gounass,
Senegal (to the west of
the Niokolo Koba park) was created by Mamadou Saidou Ba.
Still another in Thienaba, near Thies, was founded by
the disciple of a famous marabout of Fouta, Amadou Sekhou.
The Hamawiyyah branch, founded by Shaykh Hamallah, is centered in
Nioro, Mali, and is also present in Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina
Faso, and Niger. One of its most prominent members is the novelist and
historian Amadou Hampâté Bâ, who preserved and advocated the
teachings of Tierno Bokar Salif Taal (Cerno Bokar Salif Taal), the
"Sage of Banjagara". (See Louis Brenner, 1984, 2000.)
It was Cherno Muhammadou Jallow along with Sheikh Oumar Futi Taal who
first received the tarikha Tijaniyya in the senegambia region. Cherno
Muhammadou waited for the tarikha for over twelve years in Saint Louis
Senegal, where Sheikh Oumar Futi Taal sent his Student Cherno Abubakr.
He (Cherno Muhammadou) started spreading it in the Senegambia region.
Through Oral history, it is said he (Cherno Muhammadou) Passed it to
twelve disciples. These disciples range from Mam Mass Kah of Medina
Mass Kah, Abdoulaye Niass of medina Kaolock, Cherno Alieu Deme Of
NDiaye Kunda Senegal, Cherno Alieu Diallo of Djanet In Kolda to name a
few. through these disciples the tarikha spread through the Senegambia
region and beyond. Most of these disciples today have loads of
followers and all of them are doing the LAAZIM daily. Cherno
Muhammadou passed it to his son Cherno Omar Who later passed to his
son Cherno Muhammadou Baba Jallow who later went on looking for his
grandfather (Cherno Muhammadou Jallow) Whom he later found in the
Cassamance. After discovering his grandfathers grave, Cherno Baba
created a community and named it Sobouldeh and started an annual
Ziarre where thousands converge to honor him yearly.
Tijaniyah jihad states
While the term "Jihad State" (a territory that was established by
political and religious Muslim leaders, often fittingly titled Emir,
who conquer a region by offensive war, invoking Jihad al saif in the
sense of holy war to establish an Islamic rule in accordance with
Qur'anic injunctions) most often refers to
Fulbe jihad states in
Senegal, Murtania and Gambia, the order also gave rise to a few
elsewhere in Western Africa, notably in present Mali.
the Tijaniyya Jihad state was founded on 10 March 1861 by `
Sa`id in Segu (the traditional ruler style Fama was continued by the
autochthonous dynasty in part of the state until the 1893 French
takeover), using the ruler title Imam, also styled Amir al-Muslimin;
in 1862 Maasina[disambiguation needed] (ruler title Arɗo) is
Tijaniyyah Jihad state; 1864 the rulership split
between Segu (styled Amir al-Mu`minin from 1869) and Masina (title
Amir al-Mu´minin); 1888 Segu lost to Tijaniyya Jihad state; 29 April
1893 Tijaniyya Jihad state extinguished.
Dina (the Sise Jihad state), in 1818 founded by Shaykhu Ahmadu, ruler
Imam (also styled Amir al-Mu´minin); on 16 May 1862 conquered
by the Tijaniyya Jihad state.
Members of the Tijānī order distinguish themselves by a number of
practices. Upon entering the order, one receives the Tijānī wird
from a muqaddam or representative of the order. The muqaddam explains
to the initiate the duties of the order, which include keeping the
basic tenets of
Islam (including the five pillars of Islam), to honor
and respect one's parents, and not to follow another
Sufi order in
addition to the Tijāniyya. Initiates are to pronounce the Tijānī
wird (a process that usually takes ten to fifteen minutes) every
morning and afternoon. The wird is a formula that includes repetitions
of "Lā 'ilāha 'illa Llāh" ("There is no
God but Allah"),
"Astaghfiru Llāh" ("I ask
God for forgiveness"), and a prayer for
Muḥammad called the Ṣalātu l-Fātiḥ (Prayer of the Opener).
They are also to participate in the Waẓīfah, a similar formula that
is chanted as a group, often at a mosque, or Zawiyah once on a daily
basis, as well as in the Ḥaḍarat al-Jumʿah, Hailalat al-Jum'ah
another formula chanted among other disciples on Friday afternoon
before the sun down.
Additionally, disciples in many areas organize regular meetings, often
on Thursday evenings or before or after Waẓīfa and Ḥaḍarat
al-Jumʿah, to engage in dhikr Allāh, or remembrance of God. This
consists in repeating the phrase "Lā 'ilāha 'illa Llāh" or simply
"Allāh" as a group. In such meetings, poems praising God, Muhammad,
Aḥmed at-Tijānī, or another religious leader may be interspersed
with the dhikr. Such meetings may involve simple repetition as a group
or call-response, in which one or more leaders lead the chant and
others repeat or otherwise respond.
Occasionally, a group of disciples (known in
Senegal as a daayira,
from Arabic dā'irah, or "circle") may organize a religious
conference, where they will invite one or more well known speakers or
chanters to speak on a given theme, such as the life of Muḥammad or
another religious leader, a particular religious obligation such as
fasting during Ramadan, or the nature of God.
The most important communal event of the year for most Tijānī groups
Mawlid an-nabawī (known in Wolof as the Gàmmu, spelled Gamou
in French), or the celebration of the birth of Muḥammad, which falls
on the night of the 12th of the Islamic month of Rabīʿ al-'Awwal
(which means the night before the 12th, as Islamic dates start at
sundown and not at midnight). Most major Tijānī religious centers
organize a large
Mawlid event once a year, and hundreds of thousands
of disciples attend the largest ones (in Tivaouane, Kaolack, Kano,
Prang, etc.) Throughout the year, local communities organize smaller
Mawlid celebrations. These meetings usually go from about midnight
until shortly after dawn and include hours of dhikr and poetry
chanting and speeches about the life of Muḥammad.
Muslim brotherhoods of Senegal
Ahmad At Tijânî Ibn Bâba Al 'Alawî
Sheikh Abubakre Sidiq Bello
Sources and references
Brenner, Louis. 2000. "Amadou Hampâté Bâ: Tijânî Francophone." In
Triaud and Robinson, 2000.
Davidson, Basil. 1995. Africa in History. New York: Simon &
Klein, Martin A. 1968.
Islam and Imperialism in Senegal: Sine-Saloum
1847-1914. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Robinson, David. 1985. The Holy War of
Umar Tall. Oxford: Clarendon.
Triaud, Jean-Louis. 2000. "La Tijâniyya, une confrérie musulmane pas
comme les autres?" In Triaud and Robinson, 2000.
Triaud, Jean-Louis and David Robinson, eds. 2000. La Tijâniyya: Une
confrérie musulmane à la conquête de l'Afrique. Paris: Karthala.
Mali Traditional States
Jawâhir Ul Ma'ânî du Shaykh 'Alî Al Harâzim, sur le site officiel
du Pr. Abdelaziz Benabdallah. Traduit en francais par le Pr.Abdelaziz
Benabdallah et son neveu Moustapha Benmoussa.
Al Boghia : Mataâlib = Requêtes de 'Sidi Larbi Ben Sayeh, sur
le site officiel du Pr. Abdelaziz Benabdallah.
La Tijânia du 'Pr. Abdelaziz Benabdallah, sur le site officiel du Pr.
الشيخ سيدي أحمد التجاني، أبعاد ضلاعته
العلمية.بقلم أحمد بن عبد العزيز بن عبد
الله, من الموقع الإلكتروني للأستاذ عبد
العزيز بن عبد الله.
^ see Triaud, 2000
Nigeria Court in Kano Sentences Cleric to Death for Blasphemy".
BBC. 6 January 2016.
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