Kawlax) and is not far from Kóosi Mbittéyeen, the village where Baay Ñas lived for many years until he announced the Fayḍah.is in Lagem, the part of Saalum directly south of (
Foundation and early years
[This report needs to be updated—Baay Laay Ñaŋ and Joseph Hill did additional interviews in 2009 and 2010 that clarify some of the remaining questions here, propblematize some of the original conclusions, and introduce new material.]
muqaddam of , having received his ᵓijāzah alongside , Alfaa Maayoro Si (grandfather of ), and Aamadu Jàllo Subulde of Fuuta Jàllon. Yet was older than the other muqaddams and never practiced it. I have not ascertained who gave his ᵓijāzah, but , chief of , tells me he did not get it from his father although his father was a muqaddam.was founded by , better known as Allaaji Bittéy, son of , founder of to the south, which is reported to be the earliest Njolofeen village in Saalum. Our interviewees both in Daaru and in other Njolofeen villages usually date its foundation to 1904 (while Allaaji Abdulaay Ñas was exiled in Gambia). Father and son had come from Jolof and were among the first of families now known as Njolofeen to leave Jolof. Their ancestors before that were Haal-Pulaars from Fuuta. was a
The foundation ofis mentioned in several interviews, including two with and interviews with . Allaaji Bittéy and his companions reportedly did not find any inhabitants in the immediate vicinity of the village (interview with ).
My oral sources tell me muqaddam in the French-administered Saalum. His followership was especially strong in some of the Mbittéyeen villages, where the majority of inhabitants where his followers.founded in 1904 (interviews with and Lamin Bittéy), which would have been while was in Gambia. During Allaaji Abdulay’s absence, then he seems therefore to have been for some time the only major Njolofeen Tijāniyy
At the time, some of my informants were quick to point out, being the disciple of a particular Tijāniyy shaykh did not have the same connotations it has today, and was not so much a rival of as a companion in the same movement. It was only as the colonial government increasingly began to rely on Islamic leaders to govern that Sufi affiliation came to take on a quasi-political aspect. Although these holy men were viewed as saints (waliyy), they were not generally understood to have a unique mission that set them apart absolutely from other leaders. It was not until came and shook up the world of the Tijāniyyah by claiming that he was the bringer of the Fayḍah that disciples began to attach themselves very strongly to a single leader as opposed to others. Although other non-Njolofeen branches of Tijāniyyah and other orders like the Murīdiyyah later played an important role in how Taalibe Baay framed their own identity, these other groups seem to have been a much more distant presence in early Tijāniyy identities in the region.
So while Allaaji Abdulaay Ñas was exiled in Gambia, his close disciples continued to maintain close relationships with him through the porous border, some visiting him daily from Tayba and other villages. Many attached themselves to Allaaji Bittéy, whose discipleship became considerable around the turn of the century and remained strong until Baay’s announcement of the Fayḍah in 1929. Today (as of 2010), nearly all of Daaru's inhabitants are Taalibe Baay, and the current Khalīfa of the Ñas family, Sheex Tiijaan Ñas, is a part-time resident of the village and contributed significantly to building the Friday mosque, which has been under construction for many years but is almost completed now. Allaaji Bittéy and his elder sons are buried in a zāwiyah next to the mosque, although the word “zāwiyah,” here refers to a tomb receiving ritual visits, not to an independent Sufi lodge. His surviving sons tell me that despite their family's illustrious and learned heritage, they immediately recognized Baay Ñas as having something that no one else in the world had, and the whole famile became Taalibe Baay. The village hosts a yearly Taalibe Baay gàmmu that draws several thousand people every year. (The gàmmu in 2004 seems to have been ’s last public event before his final medical treatment in the United States.)
and his family
Allaaji Bittéy’s children, of his wife Awa Ndóoy Bittéy, include Jée Bittéy (daughter), Allaaji Ammat Ndóoy Bittéy, and Baaba Ndóoy Bittéy. Awa Ndóoy Bittéy had previously been married to Ammat Ñas (the father of Allaaji Abdulaay?) and had a daughter named Faati Ndóoy Ñas. Jée Bittéy married Sàmba Yaasin Cubb, a Qurᵓān teacher (khalīfah and the village head.’s interviews with their daughter, ). Ammat Ndóoy Bittéy became ’s first
Like other Tijāniyy leaders, gàmmu every year. Like Baay after him, he also had fields that were cultivated by his disciples (interview with ).organized a large
Beginning of the Fayḍah
After the beginning of the Fayḍah, much of the village’s population gradually became disciples of , and although ’s zāwiyah remains, there is no such thing as a Mbittéyeen obedience. According to , a Taalibe Baay and a granddaughter of , and her husband Allaaji Bittéy (d. 2009, not to be confused with the village founder), women were among the first disciples in the village, and Baay appointed four women muqaddams during the early years of the Fayḍah.1 A
Maam Astu Bittéy, who was among the early disciples in daara there. He was a faithful disciple of his father until the Fayḍah began, when he went to Kóosi and became the first disciple of Baay from Daaru Mbittéyeen. When he returned once more to Daaru Mbittéyeen, he organized Taalibe Baay dhikr meetings. He became a direct muqaddam of Baay and gave many people the Tijāniyy wird., enumerated some of the village’s early disciples. The first was Sëriñ Ibrayima Bittéy, a son of Allaaji Bittéy, followed by Baaba Jée Cubb, a grandson of Allaaji Bittéy. Sëriñ Ibrayima Bittéy left Daaru Mbittéyeen to live in the nearby village of Kër Desaajo, where he lived from farming and teaching the Qurᵓān, then after one rainy season moved to Jaleñ, in Kaolack. He then spent several years in Saint-Louis, then returned to Daaru Mbittéyeen and built a
She and Allaaji Bittéy (in separate and repeated interviews) also listed female disciples: Faati Musaa Bittéy was the first woman, followed by Xadi Kutaa. They became the first women to be appointed muqaddam in the village. There were four total, according to these two interviewees. Allaaji Bittéy describes them as giving wird and tarbiyah to women (not men), although other elders in the village deny that these women were muqaddams and say they were very devoted disciples (one compared the women to “Baay Faal,” in that they were intensely devoted to serving Baay).
Like most predominantly Taalibe Baay villages, dhikrs (she evoked the chants, repeating “Allāh Allāh Baay”).had a field dedicated to Baay where all the villagers would work periodically. According to one woman interviewee, she would sometimes cook and bring the food to the fields for the men, and on other occasions she would work alongside the men or alongside other women. Baay would often visit the fields and speak to the disciples, accompanied by his close disciples, including and . These three would sit under a tree during the work, and afterwards Baay would pronounce prayers on the workers. On the walk back to the village, everyone would follow Baay and chant
Like inhabitants of other Njolofeen villages in the area, 2 a Caameen who was born in , says she became a disciple of Baay Ñas very soon after he announced the Fayḍah. She spent much of her youth back in the mother village of because the land there was much better for farming. She then lived in the non-Njolofeen village of , where she met her husband.’s population has been highly mobile and has continued to be connected with other Waalo and Lagem villages through intermarriage and continued migrations. One of our informants,
sëriñ assigned to . As is the case in many Taalibe Baay villages in Saalum, the assignment of sëriñ is based on the fact that his mother (Mariyama Ñaŋ) was from the village. He now owns the fields that were once cultivated for and presides over the gàmmu every year.(the current Khalīfah) is now the
1. Several Taalibe Baay I spoke with disbelieved the idea that Baay personally appointed women as muqaddams, but I have seen numerous indications, discussed elsewhere, that Baay appointed a number of female muqaddams in addition to his daughters, although only recently have female muqaddams begun to initiate disciples openly and on a large scale.
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