SERIGNE MUHAMMADU MOUSTAPHA MBACKE:
FIRST CALIPH OF MURIDIYYA (1927-1945)
When the colonial power grew tired and decided to bring Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba back home to Senegal, following an iniquitous and horrible exile in Central Africa, it totally failed in its attempts to physically eliminate the Shaykh and his ideas. But it did not give in at all: the battle was shifted on the cultural field. The new strategy undertaken is to erase from the collective memory the Shaykh’s name through an elaborate brain wash education agenda, with its corollaries, cultural uprooting, and westernization by assimilating to the western culture and way of life. They expected Muridiyya was going to fall apart with the disappearance of its founder, undermined, they think, by dissensions subsequent to quarrels of succession, and also by the charms and glitters of the material world.
Eventually, all their plans miserably failed for Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba would leave behind an offspring of valiant paladins of Islam who were well-known in defending and propagating his work.
Shaykh Muhammadu Mustapha MBACKE, the first caliph, was renowned for his incommensurable bravery, extraordinary intelligence, great qualities as a unifier, builder and organizer; qualities fully displayed in particularly in this difficult context of colonial domination, and most tragic moment in human history :between the two world wars.
This brave defender of Islam who would take over and carry further on his illustrious father’s work, was born in 1888 in Daaru Salaam, his mother, Soxna Aminata Lo, descended from a family of great scholars,. Besides, his maternal uncle, Serigne Ndame Abdu Rahman Lo, first initiated him to the Qur’an, whereas Mame Thierno Birahim MBACKE would ensure his training in theology. Then, his father, the Shaykh personally guided him through the mysteries of mysticism. Never a student has been so brilliant. He will excel to such an extent his father chose him as heir with the mission of reinforcing the Murid community’s cohesion in order to thrive it, but above all the edification of the Great Mosque of Tuubaa to the glory of Allah (swt).
His first opportunity to show he was up to his father’s expectations was in 1927, when the Shaykh passed away. The swiftness of his reaction, his calm, the bravery and discretion displayed when he transferred his illustrious father’s sepulchre to Tuubaa in the coercive colonial context still filled people with admiration, when one knows it was not easy to challenge the white man’s authority (he provided a sepulchre to his father without warning the Administration, and by-passing its authorization) without undergoing in return its wrath. In defiance of blatant risks, he performed his father’s last will: to ensure him a sepulchre in conformity to his wishes, following the procedure he had indicated, above all ensuring his body not be soiled, even by the look of a member of the colonial administration.
Another manifestations showing he was up to the task his father entrusted him with was in the way he handled and put an end to the dissidence quarrels of some Shaykh after the disappearance of the Founder of Muridiyya. Thanks to his aura, and his great qualities of unifier, he succeeded in rallying around him all the dignitaries and disciples. To maintain the strength and cohesion of the community, he brilliantly used dialogue and consultation.