Shaykh Ahmadou Bamba
What is the Mouridiya?
By: Serigne Khadim Sylla
In terms of definition, the word “Muridiya” is derived from the Arab word “Al Murid”. By description a Murid is a person who is on the path that leads to success in this world & the next, by following the path laid by our Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.). The embodiment of these principles is in the Islamic legal system (“shari’ah”) and to keep himself away from any violation of the latter whether in the concept, the expression & the daily action.
In responding to a former Governor of West African French colonies) who asked him about the Muridiya he said the following:
“The creed is based on:
1. Al Iman (Faith) in conformity with the knowledge of Unity of Allah: “Tawheed”.
2. Al Islam’s religious practice, in line with the “Fiqh” (Islamic law).
3. And al Ihsaan i.e. the excellent attitude in the worship according to the “Tassawuf”.
…afterwords, he has to learn about all that authentify, the fulfillment of his personal religious duties as defined; like the purification, the fast, the prayer (salat), the pilgrimage to the “House of Allah” and legal charity (zakat) as well…
Totally the three remains an obligation forever, Al Ihsaan, as explained by the Messenger (s.a.w.); is the servant’s belief and faith in Allahs presence with him anywhere, then he dedicates Him an exclusive worship as if he were before Him.
Shaykh Ahmadou Bamba’s Perspective on Education
By: Serigne Bassirou Lo
Bismillah ir Rahman ir Rahim, Alhumdulilah, ala sayyidina Muhammad (s.a.w.)
Education is a basic element for a society because it is the only power that a society has to transform itself and to provide ethics of individual responsibilities to its citizens to live in harmony and social tranquility. Synonomous with the first revelation to the prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) , reading and writing, represent, construct that distinguishes humanity from the animals world.
The first mission of man on earth is to get an education and to educate people. Allah (s.w.a.) told us that, when He decided to create a successor of Him on earth. It seems that the major power that mankind was entrusted by Allah (s.w.a.) to carry on with that responsibility was his ability to get an education, and to educate others. We can notice that fact clearly in these two words “taught” and “inform” in the following verses:
“And he taught Adam all the names (of everything), then He showed them to the angels and said, “Tell me the names of these things, if you are truthful.”
They (angels) said, “Glory is to You. We have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise.”
He said, “O Adam! Inform them of their names,” and when he had informed them of thir names, He said, Did I not tell you that I know the Ghaib (Unseen), in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing.”‘ (Al Baqarah, 2:31-33)
Islam has given knowledge & education a great place, hence the first verses revealed to the Messenger Muhammad (s.a.w.) were the verses that began by the word “learn”. For these reasons, Islam has given those who have knowledge a great place. In this regard Allah (s.w.a.) says: “It is only those who have knowledge among his slaves that fear Allah(s.w.a.). (Fatir 35:28)
He also says: “Say ” are those who know equal to those who know not? (The Group:9)
When Shaykh Ahmadou Bamba saw that it was an obligation for him to lift up his people from the worst conditions they were in, his point of view was that the best way out of these conditions was to provide his people with the best education.
As such, he said the following in one of his un-titled poem addressed to the colonialist
“Verily, I am a servant of Allah who works on Muhammad’s “field”, and the tool which I use to achieve my goal is knowledge and fear of Allah, and Allah is my witness.”
His first step was to urge the people to give every effort in getting an education and in learning. He said in his poem “Makhlikhu Niran”:
“I urge all of you without delay to learn and to keep making every effort you can, to understand what you are studying. Those who discourage you from learning are partners of Satan who intend to lead you astray. Allah will punish them on the day of judgment. Anyone who discourages you from learning-especially at this time is doing you a disfavor; contrary to the true teachings of Islam, (A bidh), because anything you do without knowledge is going to lead you to the wrong path.”
The second step was to describe the goals, which should lead us in getting education.
He said in his poem “Makhlikhu Niran”:
“When we begin to study, our intentions and goals should be four things:
1-To be out of ignorance,
2-To be useful for the human being,
3-To increase our knowledge and develop sciences,
4-Practicing our knowledge for the benefit of human beings.”
Thirdly, to describe a true teacher and the qualities which he has to have, he said: “the teacher needs three things: First, understanding well what he studied and knowing well how to explain it, with its legal argument and evidence; second, a clear voice, which will help him give his expression clarity, because expression is the only thing that can give your idea a high level; third, a mindset that can distinguish the truth, and best ideas; should be honest, so that when he does not know something, he accepts fully that he does not know. He has to be away from everything that will affect his character as a teacher.”
In synopsis these are his theoretical advice on education.
To put these into practice and see real achievement in the educational system, he gave specific directions:
1-We should study deeply the psychology of the people: their mindsets and their different situations; we also have to study the movement and the mindset of its leaders.
2-We should get a good environment which will safe-guard from brainwashing and feeling inferior.
3-We have to get a sufficient budget.
4-We have to get a complete program that deals with all people in their different ages.
5-The student also has to be completely ready to study.
For getting a good environment, he created villages such as: Darou Salam, Touba, Darou Mannane, Darou Alime, Al-Khabir and so on.
To get a sufficient budget, he created workshops (daaras) and made spending in Allah’s cause a basic element in his movement (Muridism).
About a complete program, he wrote for youth, adult and elderly. For those who were very old, he used to set up a meeting to teach them through oral tradition.
In addition, he emphasized ‘on time’ and its importance in our projects.
In his book of Advices (p.105), Shaykh Ahmadou Bamba said:
“A real Murid is the one who does everything on time without delay, because delaying could result in more work, which you might find overwhelming.”
If you are interested in learning more about Islam or if you already know that you would like to take your Shahada, which is the Affirmation of Faith that Muslims take to formally enter the Islamic Community, please contact us today at 931-682-6878! We offer Shahada Records to commemorate this rite of passage. We also offer basic instruction about the fundamentals of reading and writing in Arabic!
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