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The Tij?niyyah (Arabic: ? , romanized: Al-?ar?qah al-Tij?niyyah, lit. 'The Tij?n? Path') is a sufi tariqa (order, path) within sufism, originating in North Africa but now more widespread in West Africa, particularly in Senegal, The Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Niger, Chad, Ghana, Northern and South-western Nigeria and some part of Sudan. The Tij?niyyah order is also present in the state of Kerala in India. Its adherents are called Tij?n? (spelled Tijaan or Tiijaan in Wolof, Tidiane or Tidjane in French). Tij?n? place great importance on culture and education, and emphasize the individual adhesion of the disciple (mur?d). To become a member of the order, one must receive the Tij?n? wird, or a sequence of holy phrases to be repeated twice daily, from a muqaddam, or representative of the order.
Ahmad al-Tijani (1737-1815) was born in Aïn Madhi in present-day Algeria and died in Fes, Morocco. He founded the Tij?n? order in the 1780s; sources vary as to the exact date between 1781 and 1784. Tij?n?s, speaking for the poor, reacted against the then-dominant conservative, hierarchical Qadiriyyah brotherhood, focusing on social reform and grassroots Islamic revival.
al-Tijani said: "My two feet you can see here are set on the nape of the neck of any saint." Muhammad el Ghali, a prominent companion of al-Tijani's, noted to him that Abdul Qadir Jilani had said a similar sentence, to which al-Tijani replied, "He was perfectly right to say such a thing, but he was talking about the saints of his time, as for me, I repeat it again: My two feet that you can see here, have never ceased being on the nape of the neck of every saint."
During the first period, some of al-Tijani's adherents appointed khalifas, established new Tijani centres abroad, and developed ramifications of their own:
Although several other Sufi orders overshadow the Tij?niyyah in its birthplace of North Africa, the order has become the largest Sufi order in West Africa and continues to expand rapidly. It was brought to southern Mauritania around 1789 by Mu?ammad al-fi? of the 'Idaw `Ali tribe, which was known for its many Islamic scholars and leaders and was predominantly Q?dir? at the time. Nearly the entire tribe became Tij?n? during Mu?ammad al-fi?'s lifetime, and the tribe's influence would facilitate the Tij?niyya's rapid expansion to sub-Saharan Africa.
Mu?ammad al-fi?'s disciple Sidi Mawl?d V?l initiated the 19th-century Fulbe leader Al-jj Umar Tall (Allaaji Omar Taal) and the Fulbe cleric `Abd al-Kar?m an-N?qil from Futa Jalon (modern Guinea) into the order. After receiving instruction from Mu?ammad al-Gh?l? from 1828 to 1830 in Makka, Umar Tall was appointed Khal?fa (successor or head representative) of A?med at-Tij?n? for all of the Western Sudan (Western sub-Saharan Africa). Umar Tall then led a holy war against what he saw as corrupt regimes in the area, resulting in a large but fleeting empire in Eastern Senegal and Mali. While Umar Tall's political empire soon gave way to French colonialism, the more long-standing result was to spread Islam and the Tij?n? Order through much of what is now Senegal, Guinea, and Mali (see Robinson, 1985).
In Senegal's Wolof country, especially the northern regions of Kajoor and Jolof, the Tij?n? Order was spread primarily by El-Hajj Malick Sy (spelled "El-Hadji Malick Sy" in French, "Allaaji Maalig Si" in Wolof), born in 1855 near Dagana. In 1902, he founded a z?wiya (religious center) in Tivaouane (Tiwaawan), which became a center for Islamic education and culture under his leadership. Upon Malick Sy's death in 1922, his son Ababacar Sy (Abaabakar Sy) became the first Khal?fa (Xaliifa). Serigne Mansour Sy became the present Khal?f in 1997, upon the death of Abdoul Aziz Sy. The Gàmmu (Mawlid) in Arabic, the celebration of the birth of Muhammad) of Tivaouane gathers many followers each year.
The "house" or branch of Tivaouane is not the only branch of the Tij?n? order in Senegal. The Tij?n? order was spread to the south by another jihadist, Màbba Jaxu Ba, a contemporary of Umar Tall who founded a similar Islamic state in Senegal's Saalum area[dubious ]. After Màbba was defeated and killed at The Battle of Fandane-Thiouthioune fighting against Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof, his state crumbled but the Tij?niyya remained the predominant Sufi order in the region, and Abdoulaye Niass (1840-1922) became the most important representative of the order in the Saalum[dubious ], having immigrated southward from the Jolof and, after exile in Gambia due to tensions with the French, returned to establish a z?wiya in the city of Kaolack.
The branch founded by Abdoulaye Niass's son, Al-Hadj Ibrahima Niass (Allaaji Ibrayima Ñas, often called "Baye" or "Baay", which is "father" in Wolof), in the Kaolack suburb of Medina Baye in 1930, has become by far the largest and most visible Tij?n? branch around the world today. Ibrahima Niass's teaching that all disciples, and not only specialists, can attain a direct mystical knowledge of God through tarbiyyah r?hiyyah (mystical education) has struck a chord with millions worldwide. This branch, known as the Tij?niyyah Ibr?h?miyyah or the Failah ("Flood"), is most concentrated in Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Niger, and Mauritania, and has a growing presence in the United States and Europe. Most Tij?n? web sites and international organizations are part of this movement. Sheikh Ibrahima Niass's late grandson and former Imam of Medina Baye, Shaykh Hassan Cisse, has thousands of American disciples and has founded a large educational and developmental organization, the African American Islamic Institute, in Medina Baye with branches in other parts of the world.
Another Senegalese "house," in Medina-Gounass, Senegal (to the west of the Niokolo Koba park) was created by Mamadou Saidou Ba.
The Hamawiyyah branch, founded by Shaykh Hamallah, is centered in Nioro, Mali, and is also present in Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and Niger. One of its most prominent members is the novelist and historian Amadou Hampâté Bâ, who preserved and advocated the teachings of Tierno Bokar Salif Taal (Cerno Bokar Salif Taal), the "Sage of Banjagara". (See Louis Brenner, 1984, 2000.)
It was Cherno Muhammadou Jallow along with Sheikh Oumar Futi Taal who first received the tarikha Tijaniyya in the senegambia region. Cherno Muhammadou waited for the tarikha for over twelve years in Saint Louis Senegal, where Sheikh Oumar Futi Taal sent his Student Cherno Abubakr. He (Cherno Muhammadou) started spreading it in the Senegambia region. Through Oral history, it is said he (Cherno Muhammadou) Passed it to twelve disciples. These disciples range from Mam Mass Kah of Medina Mass Kah, Abdoulaye Niass of medina Kaolock, Cherno Alieu Deme Of NDiaye Kunda Senegal, Cherno Alieu Diallo of Djanet In Kolda to name a few. through these disciples the tarikha spread through the Senegambia region and beyond. Most of these disciples today have loads of followers and all of them are doing the LAAZIM daily. Cherno Muhammadou passed it to his son Cherno Omar Who later passed to his son Cherno Muhammadou Baba Jallow who later went on looking for his grandfather (Cherno Muhammadou Jallow) Whom he later found in the Cassamance. After discovering his grandfathers grave, Cherno Baba created a community and named it Sobouldeh and started an annual Ziarre where thousands converge to honor him yearly.
Members of the Tij?n? order distinguish themselves by a number of practices. Upon entering the order, one receives the Tij?n? wird from a muqaddam or representative of the order. The muqaddam explains to the initiate the duties of the order, which include keeping the basic tenets of Islam (including the five pillars of Islam), to honor and respect one's parents, and not to follow another Sufi order in addition to the Tij?niyya. Initiates are to pronounce the Tij?n? wird (a process that usually takes ten to fifteen minutes) every morning and afternoon. The wird is a formula that includes repetitions of "L? 'il?ha 'illa Ll?h" ("There is no God but Allah"), "Astaghfiru Ll?h" ("I ask God for forgiveness"), and a prayer for Mu?ammad called the ?al?tu l-F?ti? (Prayer of the Opener). They are also to participate in the Wafah, a similar formula that is chanted as a group, often at a mosque, or Zawiyah once on a daily basis, as well as in the ?a?arat al-Jum?ah, Hailalat al-Jum'ah another formula chanted among other disciples on Friday afternoon before the sun down.
Additionally, disciples in many areas organize regular meetings, often on Thursday evenings or before or after Wafa and ?a?arat al-Jum?ah, to engage in dhikr All?h, or remembrance of God. This consists in repeating the phrase "L? 'il?ha 'illa Ll?h" or simply "All?h" as a group. In such meetings, poems praising God, Muhammad, A?med at-Tij?n?, or another religious leader may be interspersed with the dhikr. Such meetings may involve simple repetition as a group or call-response, in which one or more leaders lead the chant and others repeat or otherwise respond.
Occasionally, a group of disciples (known in Senegal as a daayira, from Arabic d?'irah, or "circle") may organize a religious conference, where they will invite one or more well known speakers or chanters to speak on a given theme, such as the life of Mu?ammad or another religious leader, a particular religious obligation such as fasting during Ramadan, or the nature of God.
The most important communal event of the year for most Tij?n? groups is the Mawlid an-nabaw? (known in Wolof as the Gàmmu, spelled Gamou in French), or the celebration of the birth of Mu?ammad, which falls on the night of the 12th of the Islamic month of Rab al-'Awwal (which means the night before the 12th, as Islamic dates start at sundown and not at midnight). Most major Tij?n? religious centers organize a large Mawlid event once a year, and hundreds of thousands of disciples attend the largest ones (in Tivaouane, Kaolack, Prang, Chiota, Kano, Fadama, etc.) Throughout the year, local communities organize smaller Mawlid celebrations. These meetings usually go from about midnight until shortly after dawn and include hours of dhikr and poetry chanting and speeches about the life of Mu?ammad.