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  • THE MAGAL: ORIGIN, MEANING, AND ACTORS

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    The personage of Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, in his status as Man of God, combines the scientist, the dialectician, the epistemologist, the philosopher, the administrator with a very high civic sense, the jurist and mystical savant in all fields of Islamic sciences (Quranic sciences, religious studies, instrumental sciences, wisdom, religious history), the science of the Arabic language in all its components (dialectology, etymology, lexicology, morphology, onomastic, philosophy, semantics, stylistics, place names and phonology). The Servant of the Prophet (Peace and Blessings Upon Him), Khadimou Rassoul, had a spiritual educator mission. He accepted his role as an intercessor here and in the hereafter. He was also a teacher who produces his own school textbooks in most of the subjects: law, theology, mysticism, grammar, etc. He has to his credit an abundant production that gives wisdom to students and teaches the merits and virtues of the ancients.
    Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba received from Allah (in the late 19th century) the mission of rehabilitation of Islam, not by taking up arms but rather by action on the consciousness. The fact that the Sheikh sealed with the Lord (Pact Darou Khoudoss) was destined to result in a sum of hardship, suffering, and pain to endure, as was the case for those who were sent to spread the good word, the prophets, and men of God before him. The complement of this mission was to be the satisfaction of all his ambitions into grades and spiritual stations with the Lord. However, many challenges inherent to his fate, could not be achieved as long as Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba remained in Touba, which was under the protection of Divine omnipotence. Thus, the Sheikh left to settle in Touba Djolof (province in central Senegal) to MBACKE Baary. It was not too far from there, in Djéwol (current Louga region), that the Sheikh met the opponents (French colonial authority of Senegal) that Allah (Subhaana Wa Taala) appointed to him for his mission.
    On 18 Safar 1313 (10 August 1895) at 14h, the Sheikh was arrested by a contingent of the French colonial authorities. He was exiled after an unfair trial, held in the jury room of the Conseil Privé (Private Council), located in the Governor’s Office of St. Louis on September 5, 1895. At the end of this final judgment, the Conseil Privé decided "unanimously after hearing the reports of Mr. Merlin and LeClerc and heard Ahmadou Bamba, that it was necessary to exile him in Gabon." To what end? "Until," it said "agitation caused by his teachings be forgotten in Senegal." This date of 18 Safar, Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba has chosen as a day of thanksgiving and feast.
    During his exile years in Gabon and in Mauritania from 1903 to 1907, and the other five years of house arrest in Thieyène, Djolof from 1907 to 1912 and in all the years he remained in Diourbel (1912 to his return to Allah in 1927), the Sheikh endured the trials of growing perennials, coming back each time on the anniversary of his pact with Allah (SWT).
    It was only in 1921, during his stay in Diourbel, one day not too uncommon from the other days, while awaiting the same trials and the same suffering with the intention to endure, that our Lord lavished HIS order, informing him that the tests are now complete. "THE PAIN IS LIFTED, THE MISSION, WHICH WAS ASSIGNED WAS SUCCINCTLY ACCOMPLISHED. YOU'VE GOTTEN THE REWARDS OF ALL THAT YOU ASPIRED. ONLY RETRIBUTION AND THANKSGIVING REMAIN." The prodigious gifts the Lord bequeathed on him inspired the Sheikh to call for the highest level of thankfulness to Allah (SWT) and His Prophet (PBUH).
    He then called his companions, inform them of this new development, and uttered these words: "As for rewards Allah granted me, my only sovereign gratitude is not sufficient no more. I ask whoever has the means to join me in Thanksgiving [MAGAL] to thank my Lord. Today, He, Thy Lord, answered and provided me with all rewards and benefits that I solicited. Each individual, according to his/her means, from hen to camel, is invited to celebrate this day every time he gets the opportunity."
    On the meaning of "Magal" Sheikh Saliou Mbacke Ibn Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, the fifth Caliph of Serigne Touba, on the occasion of his appeal of 25 August 1990, clearly edified us on the meaning of this day. He argues essentially that the Feast of Sacrifice is a Prophetic Tradition, the term "second Feast of Sacrifice" that had adopted the disciples, therefore, resembled a reprehensible innovation ("Bidaa"). This is why the Sheikh recommended calling the day "MAGAL" (Wolof term meaning here celebrate, obviously in the exaltation of the greatness of the Lord and the Election of the Prophet (PBUH). In other words, sustaining the already established tradition of glorying the Lord and his Prophet (PBUH). Hence, this day no longer should no longer be called "second Feast of Sacrifice" but only "Magal".
    Initially, each of the disciples of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba was celebrating the Magal at home the historic day by sacrificing a sheep or preparing special meals. This was the norm during the time of the Sheikh and during the Caliphate of the first Caliph Cheikh Mouhamadou Moustapha Mbacké Ibn Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba (1927-1945). But the phenomenon took more breadth since the Murid community began to gather to celebrate the Magal. It is under the teaching of Cheikh Mouhamadou Fadilou Mbacké Ibn Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, the second Caliph (1945 to 1968), that has initiated the celebration of the Grand Magal of Touba as it is known today. Cheikh Fadilou Mbacké asked the disciples to go every year, on the 18th day of the Islamic month of Safar, to Touba to celebrate this day of "victory" instead of doing it separately. That led the disciples to compete ardently to meet the wishes of the caliph, the spiritual leader of Murridiyyah. Over the years, the sheer number of pilgrims became increasingly difficult to manage, requiring attention by public authorities.
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"The three basic principles of] Ethics are (1) showing mercy to anyone that is younger than you, (2) showing respect to anyone that older than you, (3) treating your fellows as you would like to be treated. Mind to do all of this for the sole Countenance of God, the Creator to whom belongs the Majestic Throne"

Khadimou Rassoul

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"Take great care of God’s Rights through your duties towards His creatures…Be always mindful of your duties towards your fellow men, instead of their duties towards you.” 

Khadimou Rassoul

I have reawakened the writings of the Noble Ancients so as to benefit [my fellow creatures] for the sole Countenance of the Lord.
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I set myself to composing writings through which every believer, except a Prophet, can be guided to the Right Path, if God wills.
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I content myself with God, out of all other masters. And I content myself with the Prophet, out of all other intermediaries.
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