105th Touba Magal Ends

Monday, March 3, 2008

The 105th annual gathering of the devotees of the mouride brotherhood, widely known as Magal, ended in the city of Touba, Senegal. The religious gathering is an occasion for the commemoration of the imperialist-induced exile of Serign Ahmadou Bamba Mbacke, popularly known as Khadim Rasoul or Serign Touba, in Gabon. It was attended by an estimated two and a half million followers from all corners of the world.
Magal is the name given to the event by Serign Touba himself, on his return to Senegal in 1903 after eight years in Gabon. On his return to Dakar from exile, he is on record to have told his followers that he would be celebrating the date of his departure to Gabon annually and gave it the name Magal.

After his death in 1927, his eldest son continued to observe the event, and the date has since been observed annually.

Key features of the celebrations are the narration of the life history and teachings of Serign Touba to adherents of the sect. The day normally falls on the 18th day of Safal in the Muslim calendar. Family heads,  as a respect to Serign Touba, offer sacrifices by slaughtering, a cow, ram or camel. They also observed the day by singing Muslim songs and reading from the writings of Khadim Rasoul. Touba and Mbacke, the two towns hosting the event, are seven kilometers apart.

This year, which also saw the installation of 82-year-old Alhagie Mohamodou Barra Mbacke as the new Khalifa General of the Mourids, one of the sons of Serign Fallou Mbacke, attracted far more people as many came to offer their last respects on the death of the former Khalifa General, Serign Saliou Mbacke who died last year, as well as to underscore allegiance the new one.

President Abdoulaye Wade performed his last Friday prayer there, and had a tete-a-tete with Alhagie Barra Mbacke, a practice the Senegalese President has maintained for years now. He also presented him with a brand new Limousine.

In addition to the religious dimension of the celebration, state ministers who were part of President Wade’s delegation carried out discussions on plans to develop the town of Touba and its environs. To this end plans are said to be underway for the construction of a canal to provide water supply so as to solve the problem of water shortage. The completion of the University of Touba was also in the limelight.

On the day of the Magal itself, February 26th, a top government delegation represented President Wade and attended the various activities as well as the closing ceremony.

With the death of all the sons of Serign Touba, who were all Khalifa-Generals with the exception of Serign Moutada Mbacke, the grandsons from the families of each of the sons will henceforth assume the role of Khalifa General.

Pa Demba Jobe of Touba Banjul, who is the representative of the Khalifa General in Banjul, also attended the celebrations.

Author: By Ahmed Carayol
Source: The Point