April 26, 2020
Abdul hurried through the dark to join the celebration of the birthday of the prophet Muhammad, which began at midnight in his village in Senegal. As a Tijani, a member of the Sufi order known as Tijaniyyah, this event was the most important gathering of the year. Abdul and his fellow Tijanis would spend the night chanting, reciting poems and sharing speeches about the life of Muhammad.
The Tijaniyyah originated in the 1780s in what is now Algeria, as a reaction to the dominant Muslim order, the Qadiriyyah, which was conservative and fundamentalist in its view of Islam. Tijanis were more focused on social reform and a grassroots revival of Islam with an emphasis on developing culture and education.
Sufi orders, or tariqas, are like different paths to spiritual enlightenment within the mystical practice of Islam known as Sufism. The Tijaniyyah order is most widespread across West Africa, particularly in Senegal, The Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Niger, Chad, Ghana, Northern and South-western Nigeria and some parts of Sudan. They are an exclusive order: Tijanis cannot belong to any other Sufi orders. Chanting and the repetition of holy phrases is an important practice for them. They have formulas to repeat daily, both individually and at regular communal gatherings. These include the name of God, short prayers, and other phrases aimed at turning their focus towards God.
HOW WE CAN PRAY
1. THE TIJANIYYAH movement is most active in a region that has thousands of unreached Muslim people groups. Pray for movements to Christ that are happening among some of these groups and for Christians who work among them.
2. IN SOME NATIONS, Tijaniyyah leaders have great influence. Pray that they will use this influence for the peace and well-being of the people of West Africa.
3. PSALM 136 is an example of a repetitive Psalm, used by Christians to remember God’s love. Be inspired by the words of this Psalm to pray for the Tijaniyyah.
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