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Magal of Serigne Abdul Qadr 2009: Murids Commemorate Their Favorite Imam, December 20th

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The feeling that is mostly shared among the Senegalese Islamic Community about the caliphate of Sheikh Abdoul Khadre Mbacke is its short lasting. He lived for only eleven months as the fourth caliph of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba. To date, it is still hard for the Murid community to get over the fact that they were weaned from this “prodigal feeder” of benefits and profits of many kinds much earlier than one could ever imagine. First of all, Sheikh Abdoul Khadre was born on a Friday night in 1914 in Daroul Alim (Alimoun Khabir) where the Al Azhar Touba (Ndam) University is symbolically built today.

As soon as Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba was informed of this good news, he immediately called his brother and right-hand man, Serigne Thierno Ibra Faty Mbacke (often referred to as Mame Thierno), and entrusted him with the mission of going to Daroul Alim (Ndam) and do the necessary as required by the circumstance.
Right before Mame Thierno’s departure, Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba prayed for him and said, “In the name and by the Baraka of this new-born that you are about to visit, be sure that while on your journey (to and fro) all those you will meet or see will be saved from the infernal flames of hell.”  As of his birth, Serigne Abdoul Khadre incarnated “the helping hand” by which Sheik Ahmadou Bamba has set about and knocked down all the obstacles that emerged between creatures and their salvation. In other words, Serigne Abdou Khadre was a helper who always had a beneficial influence on his entourage. Through words and by example, he always encouraged humans to entirely devote themselves to God and his Prophet (PBUH).

There is a popular thesis among Murids that states that Serigne Abdou Khadre is the reincarnation of Sheik Ahmadou BAMBA because the majority of his father’s distinguished features and characters are found in him. To support this thesis, here is one of the many reasons: His mother, Sokhna Aminata Bousso, is the daughter of Serigne Mboussobe, a brother to Sokhna Diarra (Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba’s mother). Therefore, from his mother’s side, Serigne Abdou Khadre would have been the Sheikh’s nephew, if he wasn’t his son. Being so closely related to the Sheikh in that way, he inherited a great religiousness from him that he exerted all his life fulfilling the duties of an Imam. Moreover, as of 1968 (when Sheikh Mouhammadoul Fadilou Mbacke returned to God) to his passing away, Serigne Abdou Khadre lead the Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque of Touba. He memorized and mastered the Holy Koran at an early age under the supervision of Serigne Ndam Abdourahman LÔ. He then went to Guede (a well-known scholarly district of Touba) to study religious sciences under the supervistion of Serigne Modou Deme, an incomparable scholar whom the Murids nicknamed “Alimu Soodaan.”  As his father and master did, Serigne Abdoul Khadre adapted the philosophy of “Al Istikhma,” (righteousness), which is the distinctive mark of God’s elected officials.

For as much as Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba has said to those who wanted to hear it that his enemies could say anything about him except that they saw or heard him doing or saying something that God rejected, as Serigne Abdoul Khadre was the pole towards which all the hearts that sought for a model of righteousness converged and he led them on the way called “Siraatal mustaqima.”  He certainly was not the oldest among the Sheikh’s children, but he had such a charisma that all his siblings implicitly recognized and accepted, as well as a high moral authority because of his righteousness and indifference to worldly materials and earthly assets. Even though he had the most possibilities, he did not have more than one or two houses in Touba. And even if he had others in other parts of the country, they weren’t for nothing commercial. They were just gifts from some disciples that wanted to please him. Moreover, all these houses were invariably built around a mosque which was the major part. It was rare for him to travel out of Touba. As a matter of fact, he never missed the Friday prayer at the Grand Mosque except during his pilgrimage to the prophet’s native land. Serigne Abdou Khadre Mbacké, “Boroom Bakhdaad,” as Murids nicknamed him, respectfully and affectionately directed the religious services such as the prayer for the death, to the best of his abilities. Consequently, the local population enormously appreciated that about him, because to them that was a proof of his profound humanity and narrow implication in any form of action that would relieve or make the population happy.

Being everyone’s friend, he had such popularity to the Touba residents that everyone including his own siblings considered him as their religious guide. His generous nature like his father was incomparable. Serigne Abdou Khadre was very prodigal of his prayers for all those who requested for it, especially the sick whom he would cure in a quasi miraculous way, if he did not pay for their medical expenses or prescriptions. Boroom Bakhdaad had such an extraordinary thorough knowledge of the Koran, Hadiths, and the history of Islam that he was a reference himself. He loved to maintain his entourage’s righteousness with the exemplary life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his glorious companions. He spoke about them with such an astonishing precision and thorough care of the details that one would have the impression that he had known them physically. He would describe the colors of their clothing, their complexion, hair texture, distinctive features, personalities, level of scholarship, and their various capacities with such meticulousness as if he was speaking about friends that he pray with everyday. Obviously nothing was a secret to him as far as the Prophet’s Sunnah was concerned. He perfectly conformed himself, as his father did, to the Prophet’s perfect model and example. He copied all his actions and gestures from those of the Best Man (Prophet Mohamed PUBH).

He always showed a reviving enthusiasm and euphoria when prayer time approached. He would prepare for it with the most meticulousness. Indeed he considered the prayer as his meeting with God (The Master of the Throne). Therefore it was necessary for him to observe his body and clothing very painstakingly. He would perfume himself with the most delightful and sweet scents before praying. His resemblance to his father was not only moral, but also physical and in an absolutely striking way. They have the same appearance, the same modest ascetic clothing, and the same quick gait especially towards places of devotions. Their features were distinguished with serenity, and they reflected the benevolent love that they had for humans, but also their wild determination to push back any form of compromise in the service of God and his Messenger (PBUH). Their eyes were illuminated by the soft divine light and were full of compassion for mankind.  With a deep filial piety in him, Serigne Abdoul Khadre paid frequent ziarras (pious visits) to the mausoleums of his predecessors as well as those of his father’s great disciples. Hence, he often visited the mausoleum of his great grand mother, Sokhna Asta Walo (Sokhna Diarra Bousso’s mother), in Nawel. Besides, he frequently visited the mausoleums of his grandmother Sokhna Diarra Bousso in Porokhane, his great grandfather Mame Maram in Sagatta Djolof, and his paternal grandfather Mame Mor Anta Sally in Dekhlé.

The sepulchres of Serigne Mboussobé (his maternal grandfather) in Mboussobé, Mame Mor Diarra (his uncle) in Mboussobé, and Mame Bara Sadio (his father’s great-uncle) in Bofel also received his assiduous visits. His filial religiousness explains the depth and indefectible attachment that bound him to Serigne Thierno Ibra Faty, his uncle. He visited him often in Darou Moukhty, and even after Mame Thierno passed away, he maintained excellent relationship with his family. His face had an angelic sweetness. Over his sunglasses that he wore on his nose, there was his lenient glance that translated the depth of his big heart generously cherished and splashed with an overflowing magnanimity. The sound of his voice still resonates in the ears of Murids. And very often, Murids (those who have witnessed his caliphate) have the impression to still hear him declaiming, in a masterly and sublime way that only he had the secret, the surats that he recited during Friday prayer at the Grand Mosque. His passing away was bitter and indeed a premature loss for the community especially when one remembers of the response that he used to give whenever people wished him longevity. With this he would respond with a half smile, “It would be very beneficial for you!” But it pleased God who blessed the community with him to take him away after only eleven months of caliphate. He was 75 years old (the exact number of years that his father lived).

But as God says in the Koran, “Inna Lil Lahi wa inna Ilayhi rajihoun” (Of Him we come, to Him we will return). However, there is a bit of an extenuation to our grief that Serigne Abdou Khadre himself seemed to know that his caliphate was going to be transitory. For instance, he invariably referred all those who presented him with long term projects to Serigne Saliou Mbacke (the one that was going to succeed him), as if he knew that he would not be here (on earth) to undertake any projects that would go beyond the very short term. So much that he would modestly mingle and give the “Khutba” (sermon) to the congregation that it is hard to imagine the Friday Prayer at the Grand Mosque without him. Therefore it is only natural that his mausoleum, which is always full of visitors praying for him as he used to for others, is located at the East of the incomparable monument of the Faith (the Grand Mosque) that he served to his last breath.  Today, the memories of a Saint, an incomparable scholar and servant of God perpetuate in his farms and daaras (schools) of Guédé, Boustane and Bakhdad. Being such a “dazzling flash of lightning,” he crossed the sky of Islam, leaving the community stunned, deafened, and disbelieving to have counted in their rows, a “slave of God” of that dimension. Because of his supreme dedication and high Islamic stature, all the Muslim community in Senegal including all brotherhoods paid a tribute to Serigne Abdou Khadre (the Imam of Imams) when he passed away in 1990. There is no doubt that, with him meeting his father in paradise, Serigne Abdou Khadr or Boroom Bakhdad can say: “Khidmatuhu anil huyubi az habat, wa listiqamatan wa safwan wa habat.” Finally, beside his father and in front of their master (Prophet Muhammad PBUH), he must be tasting (in Paradise) the delight of his reward for his constancy in righteousness for the only sake of Allah. May his glory and Baraka splash upon us and inspire us in our search of the eternal bliss through the means of constancy in the righteous path that his venerable father has traced for us.






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