Cheikh Bamba’s Alchemy of the Heart
A Muslim visionary and spiritual leader, Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba dedicated his life to writing poetry on meditation, rituals, and Qur’anic study. His teachings emphasized the virtues of pacifism and the importance of hard work.
He taught his followers that salvation comes through submission to Allah, hard work and being of service to others - a departure from conventional Islamic teaching.
The life of the Cheikh is a testimony of his commitment to the revival of authentic Islam, the religion of Peace.
Cheikh Bamba inaugurated a new era in the history of Islam and of the role of black people in what is sometimes called African Islam.
Listen to what an adversary turned admirer had to say about Cheikh Bamba:
By 1919, Antoine J. Henry Lasselves, the Administrator of the District of Diourbel, was assigned to watch the Sheik’s activities. His role was to observe the Sheik at any time of the day and send regular reports to his superiors. Here is what he wrote at the end of his mission:
“This Sheik Bamba is gifted with some innate power whose origin the human mind cannot understand so as to explain his befriending capacity. The way people give up themselves to him is extraordinary and their love of the Sheik is unconditional. He seems to have some divine light and secret similar to what we read in the stories of the great prophets and their people. But this one (the Sheikh Bamba) differs from them by his purity of heart, his generosity and his wishing good to friends and enemies alike. These are qualities his predecessors would have envied him, whatever the virtuousness, their piety or prestige were. The most unjust and ignorant people of human realities are those who accused him on false grounds, alleging that he was interested in temporal power. I am sure that the prophets and saints who waged holy war did it without having half the forces that he has got.”