This profile is based on an interview withconducted by and me at ’s house in , , where he was visiting from his home in , in order to raise money to remodel the mosque he is in charge of. We met him in the bedroom of . We discussed a number of topics with him, but this sketch only includes details relevant to his own personal narrative and his father, Ibrayima Bittéy.
wird and tarbiyyah, leading the daayira, leading Qurᵓānic readings, delivering tafsīr during Ramaḍān, and so on. There are therefore few religious specializations that he does not perform.fills many roles as a religious leader in , including leading prayer as Imam, doing the call to prayer, teaching the Qurᵓān, giving
His father and family
Aaxibu’s father was Sëriñ Ibrayima Bittéy, whose functions he has taken over. His mother’s name is Céeg Caam [Céeg is a local nickname that corresponds to Faatu or Fāṭimah]. His father was the son of Ma Sàmba Bittéy and Faat Ñas, and his mother was the daughter of Usmaan Caam and Faat Cubb. When Faat Cubb died,gave a talk in which he said that Baay Ñas had listed his companions who founded with him. It was not clear from the interview where his grandparents originated before living in Kaolack, but their names suggest that they are all Njolofeen (and the discussion about Imam Hasan Siise’s letter of support for the mosque names Ibrayima Bittéy as a Njolofeen).
His grandfather Usmaan Caam lived in Shifāᵓ al-ᵓasqām) now stands. They ended up selling the house in the late 1970s (sometime between 1977 and 1980) so the place could be made into a clinic, although his mother regretted giving up the family house afterwards. His mother was young at the time and thought they needed the house. They didn’t get a lot for it (750,000), whereas Imam Hasan ended up giving those who held off on selling their houses another house and money on the side, but people were bugging their family a lot to sell it and they gave in, and she didn’t have any full siblings to stand up for her interests.in the house where the African American Islamic Institute’s clinic (ᶜIyādat
His father, Sëriñ Ibrayima Bittéy, was a religious leader. He was born in 1901 in majlis where he taught all the Islamic disciplines (fiqh, naḥw, balāghah, ḥadīth, tafsīr). He was also a muqaddam of Baay who had a lot of disiples, and many people came either to study the Islamic disciplines or for wird and tarbiyyah. Baay not only gave him an ᵓijāzah but also gave him permission to interpret the Qurᵓān (tafsīr) in his presence, which Aaxibu describes as a very rare thing.and died in 1987, since which time has performed all the religious functions in the house and for the disciples. His father had a
Baay Ñas made Ibrayima Bittéy a muqaddam and assigned him to come from Daaru Mbittéyeen to , , saying that he wanted to extend his community outside Medina. There were already disciples there but no leader, and Baay told the disciples to go with him. Ibrayima Bittéy worked alongside Omar Juuf, Musaa Jeŋ, Alliyu Joob, Tomaas Jong, and Pa Saaxo Ñaŋ. These men were all Taalibe Baay and “ᶜārif bi-Llāh.” Ammat Mati Sàmb would lead the prayers at the mosque. Ibrayima Bittéy would interpret the Qurᵓān during Ramaḍān at their mosque, and he would also go out and interpret at other places (for example, in downtown in a mosque next to the cinema). Ibrayima Bittéy’s mother, Faat Ñas, died during Ramaḍān, so this was a special month for him.
Ibrayima Bittéy’s oldest son is Haafiz Bittéy, who is officially Ibrayima’s khalīfah, but he lives and works in Saudi Arabia, so he is not as involved in giving tarbiyyah and such. He comes to Senegal every year. The second son (who has the same mother as Haafiz) also is a muqaddam. Aaxibu is the next son and has an ᵓijāzah from , whom he is named after.
His mother (Céeg Caam) was the daughter of Faat Cubb, who was the one Baay got his roasted peanuts from whenever he needed them, as she was very good at roasting them. She would sell peanuts under the roof at the public place.
His paternal grandmother, Faat Ñas, seems to be a relative of Baay, but Aaxibu doesn’t know the exact relationship. He says someone in Tayba told him that if he went to Tayba they would explain exactly how he was related to the Ñaseen there.
The mosque his father built is older than the house he was born in, so he guesses it was built in the 1950s. When they wanted to build the mosque, Baay sent rëdd), and he gave a contribution of zinc for its roof. He did this because the Prophet said: “Everyone who builds a [gambag], God will build for him a room in Paradise.” For this reason, wherever the great people heard there were mosques being built, they have made their contribution. Baay himself came to inaugurate the mosque after Aaxibu’s father visited him to tell him it was finished. He told them that this was a blessed place and that what people prayed for here would come to pass.to represent him there, and Baay told Sëriñ Ibrayima Bittéy “Sëriñ Alliw Siise is your friend: I testify to you that Sëriñ Alliw Siise is your friend,” and because of this they were friends after that. Sëriñ Alliw came and traced the mosque grounds (
Childhood and education
Aaxibu Bittéy studied and lived in numerous places as a child, but he spent more time inthan anyplace else. He began his Qurᵓānic studies with his father’s full older brother Ammat Faatu Ndóoy in . He had not reached 6 years of age at the time, and he would run away from school and hide in people’s houses. He doesn’t know how many years he spent there but he was there a long time.
Then his father brought him back toto study with a man named Alliyu Kan in at the house of Paa Musaa Jeŋ. Musaa Jeŋ was a great soldier of Baay. He sold gasoline for a living, and when people of Medina (apparently the main leaders) came and needed gasoline, he would let them fill up their cars without paying anything. He had the same father as Allaaji Abdulaay’s (Baay’s oldest son’s) mother (Astu Saar).
He also studied Qurᵓān with Baaba Gëy in ḥizbs. But he had to return home because he had some painful skin problems, so he returned to where his father cured him. He finished memorizing the Qurᵓān in 1973, at the age of 16 (his birth certificate states that he was born in 1957)., where he studied very hard. He then studied with Allaaji Ñaŋ in a village called Jadiid, which was founded by near . He studied there until he had memorized 20 of the 60
After he finished studying the Qurᵓān, he studied Islamic disciplines (xam-xam) a little with his father and then with Ibu Mareem Caam, and then he studied at the Institut El-Hadj Abdoulaye Niass for a year. Ibu Mareem Caam was one of the Njolofeen elders (of the family of ) and had a lot of knowledge. Aaxibu studied with him in Dakar.
His work as a muqaddam and teacher
ᵓijāzahs from his father and from . He did not ask for it (he says one does not ask for an ᵓijāzah), but as they were sitting and talking, perceived that he merited it and gave it to him. After his father died, he took over all his religious functions, as his older brothers had other occupations. This involves teaching Qurᵓān, leading prayers in the mosque as Imam, giving tarbiyyah, calls to prayer, leads Qurᵓān readings (wàcce kaamil) and seals them with the prayer, leads the daayira, and so on. He does not teach the Islamic disciplines though as his father did.has
Like most muqaddams associated daayiras, he is not highly involved in its daily workings but is its moral leader, leaving the young people to organize it. Earlier, he actively participated in the daayira as sikkarkat and was accomplished at chanting. Now he is the “président d’honneur.” He gave the daayira an amplification system (rajo), which none of the other daayiras in had at the time.
Now he is in the process of renewing the mosque. Before beginning this work, sometime last year, he sought permission from mag ñi] take permission very seriously.” So he went to and told him that his brother Haafiz had sent 350,000 FCFA to begin renewing the mosque because it was old and in need of repair, and they wanted the Imam’s permission to begin. The Imam turned to his younger brother, Baay Mbay Siise, and said: “Today is a beautiful day. Baay says everything that we start we finish.” He told them to wait for him until after ther prayer of Tàkkusaan (ᶜaṣr). He came and they began to dig where the new addition was to be, brought cement and bricks, and the Imam laid the first stone, although he told them he wasn’t going to retrace the grounds (rëddaat). He then wrote them a letter (of support for their fundraising efforts) and said that people will give because they know Sëriñ Ibrayima Bittéy, who is well known to Njolofeen and non-Njolofeen alike., accompanied by two elder members of his neighborhood prayer community. He explains that “old people [
We asked him if he has had any personal experiences with Baay, and he says he was young when Baay was alive (he was about 18 when Baay died), but it seems he did once see Baay after Baay’s death.said if you see an old man after dark getting up to go to the mosque whose path is lit by a light that follows him, that is without doubt Baay. He has seen this before. Other than that, he has seen Baay in Medina many times with his many guests from other countries and also on the Islamic festivals and occasions to .
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