Inauguration of the Grand Mosque

and Mawlid 1431, Medina-Kaolack, Senegal

The Grand Mosque and Tomb of Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse

The Grand Mosque and Tomb of Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse

Muslim notables and devotees gathered in Medina-Baye, Kaolack, Senegal, to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the official inauguration of the Grand Mosque, February 25-27, 2010. Medina-Baye hosted more than a million Muslim, Tijani disciples for the celebration, once again substantiating the town’s reputation as a preeminent center of the Tijaniyya Sufi order in the world, and one of the Muslim world’s most revered holy cities. Prominent government officials such as Abdoulaye Wade (President of Senegal), Sidy Abdallah (former President of Mauritania), and Ado Bayero (Emir of Kano), participated alongside delegations from every West African country and beyond, including South Africa, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Pakistan, and the United States.

Abdoulaye Wade and Shaykh Tijani Cisse

Abdoulaye Wade and Shaykh Tijani Cisse

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Sidy Abdalla and Shaykh Tijani Cisse

Imam Shaykh Tijani Cisse welcomed guests, thanking them for “honoring us in accepting to participate in this event of such importance.” For his part, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade praised the remarkable career of Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse, who founded Medina-Baye in 1929, commending him as a “man of God who inscribed his passing on the earth, and who left for prosperity a heritage of pride not only for Senegalese, but for all Africans.” President Wade, who also serves as the “president en exercise” of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, emphasized that the extraordinary crowd of disciples from all over the world present at the event symbolized the immensity of Shaykh Ibrahim’s mission.

Prominent speakers at the event also included several sons of Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse renowned for their inheritance of their father’s scholarly mission: Khalifa Ahmad Dame Niasse, Muhammad al-Amin (“Baba Lamine”) Niasse, Muhammad Aqibu Niasse, and Ahmad Tijani Niasse.

Khalifa Ahmad Dame Niasse

Khalifa Cheikh Tidiane Niass

 Baba Lamine Niasse

Baba Lamine Niasse

The event commemorated the seventy-second anniversary of the mosque’s original construction (February 25, 1938), and the eightieth anniversary of the celebrating the Prophet’s birthday (Mawlid) in Medina-Baye. Shaykh Tijani Cisse led the million plus attendees in Friday prayers, attesting to his emergence at one of the most influential Muslim leaders across the Islamic world today.

Baba Lamine and Shaykh Tijani Cisse

Baba Lamine and Shaykh Tijani Cisse

Shaykh Tijani Cisse, Shaykh Aqibu Niasse, Shaykh Mahi Cisse

Shaykh Tijani Cisse, Shaykh Aqibu Niasse, Shaykh Mahi Cisse

A 2010 report commissioned by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (Jordan) and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (Washington, D.C.) calls Shaykh Tijani Cisse the “leader of the Tijaniyya Sufi order” and ranks him thirty-two among the 500 most influential Muslim personalities in the world. For a copy of this report, see http://thebook.org/books_pdf/500Muslims_2009.pdf.

Shaykh Tijani speaking at the Inauguration

Shaykh Tijani speaking at the Inauguration

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