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Remembering Serigne Modou Astou Mbacke

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The late Serigne Modou Astou Mbacke was born in 1908 in Mbacke Baol, and returned to Allah (SWT) in December 16th 2008. He was the eldest son of Serigne Mor Sokhna Mabcke the eldest son of Serigne Mame Mor Diarra Mbacke (Elder brother of the Greatest). Serigne Modou Astou studied the Quran at: Daaru Halim Al Kabir in “Ndame” under the supervision of Serigne Abdou Rahman Lo, maternal uncle of his father (Serigne Mor Sokhna Mbacke).

Serigne Modou Astou told us that he was introduced to the holy man Sheik Ahmadou Bamba by his Father in Ndiareme( Diourbel, capital of Bawol ) in this terms: “ This is my eldest son Modou Mbacke, your namesake, then the Sheik repeated his name and asked him to get closer to him, which he did and the Sheik asked him: 

- “What’s your level of Quran learning?”

-“La Khad Radhiy Allahou” (Quran, 48:18) he responded

And the Sheik asked him to recite it, then he started reciting until he was asked to stop by the Sheik, then the Sheik told them the history of this verse;

“Allah's Good Pleasure was on the Believers when they swore Fealty to thee under the Tree: He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down Tranquility to them; and He rewarded them with a speedy Victory”;

Thus his father Serigne Mor Sokhna Mbacke revealed to the Sheik and said to him that: behind such allegiance lies the reason I brought my son to you, so that he would do as much under your supervision and receive your benediction, and the Sheik responded: “Make sure you follow successfully your Quranic studies then I’ll take charge of the rest”.

Serigne Modou Astou also studied in the school of Serigne Mouhamadou Dem (Serigne Mad Dem) in Diourbel, together with Serigne Sheik Gainde Fatma, (the eldest grandchild of the Sheik) and Serigne Mbacke Medina, sharing with them the same boarding room for the length of their studies. They studied from that school: Fiq (Law/ or jurisprudence); Tawheed (The Divine Oneness); Nahwu (Grammar), and many other religious disciplines. Serigne Mouhamadou Dem was the one who taught such religious sciences in addition to Tarbiyya (education of the soul) and Tarqiya (spiritual uplifting).

In 1934, he took over the leadership of his family until 2008, the date of his passing away. He was a very charismatic and fervent Murid militant, his commitment and mobilisation capacities of his followers were well known. In 1933 Serigne Modou Mustafa Mbacke, the first Caliph of Muridiyya, began the project of building the Great Mosque of Touba, and needed to fill up the foundations, advice was given to him to entrust that phase of the project to Serigne Modou Astou Mbacke, by Serigne Bara Khouredia Mbacke, if he wanted it quickly executed, for the large number of his followers, he inherited from his father and grandfather, was well known.

Serigne Mustafa didn’t waste any time in calling Serigne Modou Astou Mbacke and informed him that his uncle Serigne Bara Khouredia designated him as the most qualified person to be in charge of the cutting work of the Great Mosque and capable of getting the job done on time.

He took the challenge, as a good believer, and dispatched four of his lieutenants to the four corners of the Baol region in order to gather his other followers for the beginning of the work. They all gathered at dawn, in Mbacke Baol, headed to Touba under the leadership of Serigne Modou Astou Mbacke who was riding a stallion; the procession of followers stretching from Khaira to Mabcke Baol.

Baye Mbaye Diattara, an eye witness said between sun rise and the afternoon prayer ( Zuhr), the cutting work of the Great Mosque was completely done. They finished so early that they spend the rest of the day fixing pot holes on the west wing of the Mosque.

When Serigne Modou Mustafa came out around five PM to take a look at the progression of the work, he was stunned that it was completed. Thus he called Serigne Fallou Mbacke as an eye witness and asked him to bless Serigne Modou Astou.

Serigne Fallou said clearly that Serigne Modou has always been a perfectionist, and has always gone beyond expectations. He then congratulated him and prayed for his descendents of the Mbacke family to follow his steps, while holding the flap of his white outfit and he told him “You will live long enough to see your hair turn gray”. Such wish was granted, for he lived up to his 102nd birthday of the lunar calendar. Moreover Serigne Modou Astou contributed restlessly to the Great Mosque building project, all along with Serigne Modu Mustafa’s leadership and afterwards. He tirelessly dedicated his time to all the following caliphates of: Serigne Fallou Mbacke, Serigne Aboul Ahad Mbacke, Serigne Abdou Khadre Mbacke, all the way to Serigne Saliou Mbacke as well. They all have entrusted him with specific job tasks which he executed conveniently.

Once Serigne Saliou asked him to prepare couscous for workers in Khelcom, he delivered 40 tons of couscous, beating all records, which has stunned Serigne Saliou, as much in the quality and the diligence in the task. Serigne Modou told him that any of his order should not be delayed in its execution. Serigne Saliou responded him that he was only looking for rewards (Baraka) in such act, as you did before with my illustrious predecessors during their missions which they have accomplished. Serigne Modou replied that “On the contrary it is up to me to look for your rewards and benedictions “. Serigne Saliou let him know that “so is the Allah’s, the All mighty willl”.

These are few examples that illustrate his devotion to Allah and Serigne Touba.







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