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Work and Legacy of Serigne Murtada Mbacke

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Shaykh Murtada Mbacke was born in 1921, during the time of Khadim-r-Rass?l house arrest in Diourbel. His mother Soxna Mbene Diop, daughter of Soxna Fatou Tacko Diop, originated from Dorega, Coki. He was only five years old when his illustrious father passed way in 1927. He grew up under the wing of his eldest brother, Shaykh Muhamadu Mustafa (1888-1945), the eldest son and first caliph of the Muridiyya, who particularly watched him, grew up and took personally care of his intellectual and religious education. Thus, he spent his youth with his brother Mustafa who, in spite of his other siblings, displayed so much affection for the young Murtada and took him later to other masters where he completed his memorization of the Holy Quran. He was later sent to Mauritania where he begun to studying classical religious sciences like Theology (Tawhid), Law (Fiqh), Sufism (Tassawuf), grammar, rhetoric etc After his return he reunited with his brother who frequently traveled with him within the country in order to further his experience and improve his skills regarding the handling of the communities’ affairs.
He had a strong personality and the firm determination to possess orthodox science in accordance to the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). He was already displaying in his youth eminent qualities befitting only those endowed with sainthood. He was armed with an unquenchable thirst for spirituality and Love of the Lord. So he decided later on, after the death of his illustrious tutor, to retreat himself for a long time in the company of a handful disciples, quietly in the forest of Bambuck (former far East Senegal) to meditate and devote himself to harsh religious practices.
He only consented to return upon his brother’s request, Shaykh Muhamadu Bashir, and to dedicate himself to what would become one of the largest projects in Muridiyya. Propagating the message of Islam around the world, educating and instructing Murid disciples disseminated around the world.
Shaykh Murtada has positively impacted the life of people in his entourage, through his ability to bear life’s harshness and always share with the needy, in spite of early difficulties he faced due to the scarcity of means. Thus he strictly learned to stand and overcome fatigue, illness that never prevented him from performing his duty, he would only rest in the achievement of his mission. Achievement of any project beneficial to Islam, building mosques and religious learning centers, convert non-Muslims to Islam, bring assistance to the poor and the needy.
This great scholar, who was perpetuating an exceptional spiritual legacy, largely invested himself  in the education field by implementing throughout the country and in Senegalese communities around the world, schools to teach the Quran, religious and profane sciences where several generations of educated people in the country graduated from.
The Al-Ahzar institution is nowadays the largest private school network of Senegal with hundreds of students, disseminated in the eleven regions of the country and abroad (Africa, Europe and the United States). Up to June 2006 the institution counted three hundred schools with more than 40.000 students, hundreds of teachers fully employed and paid with the little financial contribution from students, most of whom are in the tuition- free program of the institution. The noble objectives that geared the creation of the Al-Ahzar institution are:

• Strengthen the authentic faith of Muslims, and ensure they receive good religious and intellectual training according to Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba’s project of society.
• Efficiently contribute to fight against ignorance and underdevelopment, unemployment, acculturation, delinquency plagues.
• Contribute to the national planning for training, educating and mutual assistance

These initiatives of Shaykh Murtada turned out to be more remarkable, and essential as they reflect and materialize, in a modern and prospective approach the place of choice that was given to the acquisition of knowledge in the teachings of Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba who never stopped from stressing its importance in many of his writings.
The work of Shaykh Muhamadu Murtada spread throughout the world thanks to his annual visits around the world to spread ad revivify the peaceful message of Islam. Restless missionary of the religion of Allah, he would travel from continent to continent inviting humanity to Islam and reminding the disciples the commandments of the Lord. The most remote areas of Senegal as well as the largest cities in the world welcomed him: Paris, Rome, Madrid, New York, Abidjan, and Johannesburg.
He has ignited or enlivened several murid community centers in areas where Islam was not always welcomed and where its image was often twisted. Shaykh Murtada was able to convince his official hosts with an alternative vision of a tolerant and forgiving religion to the point of converting a good deal to Islam. The Murid community, thus, became more respected and honored thanks to his actions, throughout the annual Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba day celebration, in several U.S. cities, and the Murid Cultural days at the United Nations headquarters.

 

 

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