Black Muslims : Muslim Saints of Africa

noor100

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Shaykh Ahmad Bamba from Senegal is well known for his devotion to Allah ta’ala and Prophet Muhammad’s sunna, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

He is a wali of Allah who had karamaat, His accomplishments are well documented and it m...akes sense that he would be one of our Notable Scholars.

Founder of the Muridiyya, Shaykh Ahmad Bamba lived from 1853 to 1927 while Senegal was under French colonial rule.

The life of Shaykh Ahmad Bamba is a testimony of his commitment to the revival of authentic Islam, the religion of Peace and his only ideal was to serve humanity by giving teachings in accordance with the prophetic model.

The teachings of Shaykh Ahmad Bamba were geared towards the transmission of the very essence of the prophetic message to his generation and to future ones.

He devoted his entire life to awakening human consciousness, both among the oppressed and the oppressors.

Since his early childhood, he renounced all worldly things. At the death of his father he was offered the post of counselor to the king but he declined the offer.

Shaykh Ahmadou Bamba was perceived by the French colonizers as a threat and was therefore subjected to a multitude of ordeals by the colonisers who wanted to eliminate him.

Shaykh Ahmad Bamba never surrendered to the colonizers. Rather he persevered in his mission as a conscience awakener for both oppressors and the oppressed.

This approach appalled the colonial authorities who soon decided to arrest and banish him. He was exiled in Gabon from 1895 to 1902 and in Mauritania from 1903 to 1907.

Despite the harshness of the conditions in which he was exiled, he bore no ill feelings for the colonizers. Rather, his non-violent approach led him to seek to liberate the oppressors from their violence and the oppressed from the misery of their condition as victims.

Since Shaykh Ahmad Bamba considered Allah as the sole authority and the only power that reigned, he never blamed the colonizers for his condition. On the contrary he saw Allah’s hand in all these trials and accepted them as a path of spiritual elevation specially traced for him. Thus he was devoid of all hatred, resentment and any form of rancor towards the colonizers.

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noor100

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Shaykh ‘Uthmān Dan Fodio, also known as the ‘Shehu’ was a scholar, teacher, and political leader.

He was born on 15th December 1754 in Maratta, a town in the West African-Hausa state of Gobir. He was of the Turude Fulani tribe. He began s...tudying the Qur’an with his father, Muhammad Fodio who also was a learned scholar.

The Shaykh memorized the Qur’an and began a life devoted to study. He studied a variety of subjects, starting with the Arabic language, Tafsir, Hadith, and Sirah, through Fiqh to Astronomy, Arithmetic and Tasawwuf. ‘Uthmān’s teachers, as his brother Abdullah Dan Fodio reported, were too many to be recorded. This reflects the intellectual background and scholarship prevalent in the Hausaland. Among many of his teachers beside his father were Shaykh Abd al-Rahman b. Hammada, Muhammad Sambo and Uthman Binduri who was in fact Shaykh’s uncle and influenced him remarkably. Others were Hajj Muhammad b. Raji, Ahmad b. Muhammad, both Shaykh’s uncles, and Shaykh Jibril b. ‘Umar, a scholar of high learning and revolutionary zeal who also influenced the Shaykh tremendously.

When he reached the age of 25, he began teaching and preaching, and his reputation and appeal to the common people grew. Known for a sober and balanced approach, Shaykh ‘Uthmān emphasized the abandonment of fault worthy innovation while affirming a spirit of brotherhood and tolerance for the common Muslim.

The Shaykh also spoke out against oppression. He criticized the Hausa ruling elite for their heavy taxation and other practices that violated Islamic law. His call for Islamic reform (and tax reduction) earned him a wide following in the 1780s and 1790s, when he became a political threat to the ruling elite of Gobir. They began to crackdown on the followers of Shaykh ‘Uthmān.

In 1802, the repression of Shaykh ‘Uthmān and his followers worsened. Following the example of the prophet Muhammad, Shaykh ‘Uthmān went on a hijrah (spiritual migration), was elected Imam (leader), and launched the jihad that would bring down the Hausa royalty. In the conquered areas, he set up emirates whose leaders acknowledged his religious sovereignty, and in October 1808 the Gobir capital, Alkalawa, fell. In former Gobir, Shaykh ‘Uthmān established a new capital, Sokoto, from which he ruled virtually all of Hausaland.

Soon after Shaykh ‘Uthmān gained and established political power, he withdrew into private life, writing many works on the proper conduct of the pious Islamic community. After his death in 1817, his son Muhammad Bello succeeded him as the ruler of the Sokoto Caliphate, then the largest state in Africa south of the Sahara.

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noor100

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Shaykh Hassan Cisse (1945 - 2008), also written Cheikh Assane Cissé or Shaykh Hasan Cisse (also Sise or Seesay), was an Islamic scholar, Sufi shaykh and humanitarian activist who served as Imam of an international Muslim community in Medina Baye (or "Baay") in Kaolack, Senegal, West Africa. He is the son of Sidi Ali Cisse and Fatima Zahra Niasse; and grandson of Ibrahim Niass, also spelled "Niasse" (d. 1975), who was a Shaykh of the Tijaniyyah Sufi order and head of the largest Muslim community in twentieth-century West Africa and initiator of the largest branch of the Tijaniyyah Sufi order. Shaykh Hassan has himself become one of the preeminent leaders of Tijaniyyah, leading millions of followers in more than 40 countries and unifying diverse cultures under the banner of Islam. Also a devoted humanitarian, he has campaigned against disease (especially polio, malaria and HIV-AIDS), poverty and gender, and racial and religious discrimination throughout
the African continent and beyond. He died on August 14th, 2008 in Kaolack, Senegal.
Education

Shaykh Hassan memorized the Qur’an at an early age and was educated in the traditional Islamic sciences (Qur’an, Prophetic narrations (hadith), Arabic grammar and literature, jurisprudence, theology, poetry, logic, rhetoric and Sufism) at the hands of his grandfather, Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse, and a number of other West African scholars (‘ulama), such as Ahmad Thiam and his own father, Sidi Ali Cisse, in Medina Baye. He also spent years studying in Mauritania and in Egypt, and he obtained a B.A. in Arabic Literature and Islamic Studies from Cairo’s Ain Shams University. More recently, Al-Azhar University recognized his credentials as an Islamic scholar of distinction with an honorary degree. During his early travels in Mauritania, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Ghana, he received more than 600 scholarly authorizations, or ijaza, from prominent Islamic scholars. But his most cherished education remained that at the hands
of his grandfather, Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse. It was Shaykh Ibrahim who sent him Britain to learn English. He received his M.A. in English from the University of London in 1974. Later, he began a PhD in Islamic Studies at Northwestern University (Chicago, U.S.A.), but was forced to suspend his studies when his father died in 1982, and he returned to assume the imamate in Medina Baye in Kaolack, Senegal. He is fluent in Arabic, French, Hausa, English, and Wolof, his native language.
Imam Al Huda Shaykh Hassan Aliyyu Cisse RA with Shaykh Tijani Bin Shaykh Al Hadi in Mauritania

* See the adab of Shaykh Tijani Bin Shaykh Al Hadi towards Shaykh Hassan Cisse RA. He is not taking his eye from the face of great wali of ALLAH..

This picture reminds us the meaning of the hadith which teaches that

"Auliya ALLAH are those whose mere face reminds you of ALLAH" —

Shaykh Hasan dedicated his whole life to the efforts of Islam. Helping the poor, feeding the hungry, assisting the orphans, etc. He only slept 3 to 4 hours a day. And at any given time when you go to his house from Fajr until Midnight you would see groups and groups of people outside his house seeking sustanance and help. He always had a smile and literally sacrificed his life for the sake of Islam and promoting goodness in the world. He will be mourned by millions of people worldwide.

It is reported from authentic sources that Shaykh Hasan led Isha salat at the masjid and then went home. At home he told one of the students there to come in to his room. He brought out some sheets and told him that I want to be buried in these sheets when I pass away. And here is also a prayer of Shaykh Ahmad Tijani that I want to be read when im buried.

He passed away that same night at the age of 63
 

noor100

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Khalifat al-Akbar, Sidi Ali Harazim al-Barada
By Zakariya Wright
Gifted with gnosis and consummate sainthood, Sidi Ali Harazim was known as the greatest inheritor (khalifa) of Shaykh Ahmad Tijani, and was commended to the Shaykh by the Prophet Muhammad himself. In a waking vision, the Prophet told the Shaykh, “He is for you what Abu Bakr was for me.” In another vision, the Prophet said, “O Ahmad, consult with your greatest servant (khadimik al-akbar) and your beloved, Harazim, for he is for you what Aaron was for Moses.”
Sidi Ali first met Shaykh Tijani in Wajda (or Oujda, Eastern Morocco) while the latter was en route to Fes after returning from Hajj. Both had received knowledge from God that he was to be associated with the other, but Sidi Ali did not immediately recognize Shaykh Tijani until the Shaykh said, “You have been told that your shaykh on the path will be a certain Shaykh Ahmad Tijani.” Much surprised at the stranger’s ability to guess the content of his previous dreams, Sidi Ali replied, “Yes, that is so.” Shaykh Tijani then said, “I am he.” At this time Shaykh Tijani had not yet received his own Tariqa Muhammadiyya from the Prophet, so Shaykh Tijani instructed him in the Khalwati way.
Sidi Ali accompanied the Shaykh when he settled in Fes (1798), and was responsible for composing the Jawahir al-Ma’ani, which remains the primary source of Shaykh Tijani’s life and teachings. Of this book, the Prophet told Shaykh Tijani, “This book belongs to me”; and concerning the words of Sidi Ali more generally, the Shaykh used to say, “What my khalifa says, I also say that.” He is similarly reported to have said of Sidi Ali, “No one will receive anything from me except by way of Sidi Harazim.” Although he died before Shaykh Tijani, Sidi Ali is still considered the greatest spiritual successor among the Shaykh’s companions, even if the greatest successor alive at Shaykh Tijani’s own passing was Sidi Ali Tamasini.
After receiving the greater illumination (fath al-akbar), the Shaykh sent Sidi Ali Harazim to accomplish his pilgrimage to Mecca and to visit the Prophet Muhammad in Medina. Many miracles (karamat) and spiritual unveilings are reported on this journey, which we are not inclined to mention here. But it is clear his lofty spiritual zeal (himma) touched many who encountered him on this journey, among whom was Shaykh al-Islam Ibrahim Riyahi of the Zaytuna University who hosted Sidi Ali for several months in Tunis. Shaykh Riyahi was no doubt inspired from meeting Sidi Ali to visit Shaykh Tijani himself on a later trip to Fes.
After accomplishing the Hajj, Sidi Ali went to visit the tomb of the Prophet. When he arrived in Badr on the way to Medina, he was overcome by love for the Prophet and fell into such a deep spiritual state (hal) that he came to be buried among the martyrs at Badr. At the exact moment of his burial, Shaykh Tijani told his companions in Fes, “If they did not bury him, they would hear from him sciences, gnosis and secrets such as they have never heard before and have never found in any book.” His grave at Badr is no longer distinguishable, like many other tombs destroyed in the last two centuries. But Shaykh Hassan Cisse, when visiting Badr some years ago, reports having been indicated the exact spot in a visionary encounter with Sidi Ali Harazem himself.
[Sources: Ahmad Sukayrij, Kashf al-Hijab; interviews with Shaykh Hassan Cisse]
 

noor100

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Nana Asma’u (1792–1864)
Nana Asma’u was born in 1792 in Degel, which is 25 miles north west of Sokoto in what is now Northern Nigeria. She was named after Asma bint Abi Bakr and was the daughter of Shehu Uthman dan Fodiyo, who was the founder of the Sokoto Khilaafah. Nana Asma’u had a strong Islamic upbringing. She memorized the Qur’an at a young age and was proficient in many areas such as Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh). She was also fluent in four languages, Arabic, Fulfulde, Hausa and Tamachek.
Nana Asma’u was born eleven years before the Jihad (as known by outsiders as the “Fulani war”) and experienced most of it, working in the tents with the other women. Later as her family came to great prominence, she focused on providing education for all the people, particularly the women. Her father taught her that learning without teaching was an empty and sterile way to live so Nana Asma’u provided extensive religious education to hundreds.
In the 1830s, she established a group of women (known as jajis) who traveled all over the Caliphate providing Islamic education to other women in their homes. She felt that educating women in the comfort of their homes was the best way because many women tended to their families and did not have time to leave for circles of knowledge. The Jajis used creative mnemonic devices, poetry and organized lesson plans to teach the women. This is one of the reasons that Nana Asma’u was so loved-she brought knowledge to her people in a way that was convenient to them and in that way, she revolutionized the way her people learned Islam.
She married ‘Uthman Gidado in 1807 and moved to Sokoto, which was built by her brother in 1809. Her first son Abdul-Qadir was born in 1810. Like her father and other members of her family, Nana Asma’u was skilled in writing and authored many books and wrote lots of poetry. She was an extremely respected Islamic scholar and it is said that she also translated the Qur’an into her native language, while pregnant with her third child. She also translated some of her father’s collection of writing. She has over 60 surviving works including poetry in three languages, which included historical narratives, eulogies, poems of guidance and laments. She also authored many books and works on Islamic education.
Nana Asma’u was also involved in politics and became advisor to her brother when he was chosen as the khalifah. She also used to write instructions to governors and participate in debate with foreign scholars.
Nana Asma’u’s legacy continues today. Allah has blessed her to be able to influence both men and women during and after her lifetime. May Allah continue to allow us to benefit from her!.
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