Karan Madiba Diaby and Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba [Serign Touba] were both known for their steadfastness in teaching and propagation of Islam. Both had huge followers, students and disciples in the world. Like Serign Bamba, Karan Madiba was not interested in worldly materials; he herefore divided his time between worshipping Allah, teaching and writing about Islam. Touba and Kandialon, which are located in opposite angles of Senegal, have become homes for tons of Islamic literature, centers of attraction and sources of spiritual knowledge. Talibes of Karan Madiba and Serign Touba religiously follow them and continue to celebrate their legacy several decades of their deaths.
Does that mean the two Great Men of Allah had everything in common? Not actually, according to El-hadj Saja Diaby, a descendant of Karan Madiba. “Because of their differences the talibes of Karan Madiba organise Ziarah [annual prayer gathering] while those of Serign Touba celebrate Magal [celebration of his victory from the French],” Diaby told Kairo Radio.
Worried about his growing power and potential to wage war against them, the colonial French government arrested Cheikh Bamba before sending him to exile in the equatorial forest of Gabon in September 1895. He spent seven years in Gabon, five in Gabon and 14 under house arrest in Diourbel until his death in 1927.
These exiles showcased Bamba’s miracules. “He was put in a den of hungry lions who slept beside him,” said El-hadj Saja. “In fact, Samba Laobe who caused Cheikh Bamba’s problems with the colonialists was himself sent to Gabon forest. He was rescued by Serign Touba when the hungry lions sprang on him. The Magal celebrates Bamba’s freedom. This is what makes them different because our ancestor did not have any brush with the political leadership. Karan Madiba’s talibes who felt satisfied with what he had done for them initiated the annual Ziarah in many parts of the world,” he said, tracing Karan Madiba’s root to Karamba Touba, a Great Jahanke who harvested knowledge from 40 scholars. “He finally settled in Guinea and had 53 children but only 12 survived who were all named after his teachers called Muhammad. Karamba Touba divided his sons into five clans: Nfamadiya, Buhariya, Kasoya, Sanusiya and Sankungya. This was meant to empower them,” Paris-based Diaby said.
El-hadj Diaby’s excellent naration is currently streaming on Kairo Radio.