: Islamic Jihaad Movement in Tukulor

10-02-2013, 08:32 AM
Jihaad movements spread to other parts of West Africa, where the Jihaad missions of Hajj Umar Al-Fulani spilled over into Senegal. The Senegalese people had embraced Islam and had been well-acquainted with the principles and teachings of Islam since the days of Abdullah ibn Yaaseen. The Senegalese people were loyal and sincere to

Ibn Yaaseens movement and took part in his Jihaad missions. They were imbued with the Arab and Islamic civilization and carried out the Islamic religious rites faithfully. It was not surprising that a Jihaad movement would spring from this region. The fertile lands of Senegal accommodated another Mujaahid who strove in calling people to adhere to the principles of Islam.

This man was Hajj Umar ibn Saeed, who was born in the village of Halouar (or Helwar, Futa Toro, in present-day northern Senegal), near the town of Podar at the Senegal-Mauritania borders, to the east of the city of San Luis in the year 1797. He was the fourth son of Shaykh Saeed. He belonged to a family with a rich history of Jihaad; they resisted idolatry in this region and resisted European colonialism.

In 1838, Hajj Umar moved to Masina where he stayed for some time in the care of its ruler Shaykh Ahmadu Lobo. However, when he went to Sgou, the authorities expelled him. Therefore, he went to Kangab province, then moved to Kaan where he stayed for seven years preaching to people and teaching them the refined principles of Islam.
After traveling throughout West Africa, in places such as Masina, Sine-Saloum (Senegambia) and Futa Toro, Shaykh Umar finally settled in Futa Jallon (present-day Guinea), eventually founding the town of Dinguiray, where Futa Jallon Highlands on the Senegal River joins Bamako on the Niger River and Bondu (near the headwaters of the Niger River).
Hajj Umar spent the years between 1845 and 1850 AD strengthening his state. He built a fort in Dinguiray and from there launched Jihaad against paganism. He started by conquering the emirate of Bombara in Karta and was able to defeat its army in 1854. He subdued the most important cities of the empire. He was hopping that the Fulani authorities in Massina would help him in launching a joint attack on its cities.

When the rulers of Massina rejected his call, he headed west and attempted to conquer some of the provinces of Senegal in the Middle Valley of the Senegal River basin (SRB), where he encountered French troops in 1857. The two forces met and Hajj Umar was forced to return east. He realized that the French incursion there would make it impossible for him to build his state along the banks of the Senegal River. He withdrew to the east and this was the beginning of the establishment of an empire that sprung from the Kingdom of Bambara and Massina.

Hajj Umar was killed during the fights with the Fulani forces in Massina in 1864, when he was at the peak of his power, but before he was able to consolidate his empire. He left to his son Ahmadu Shaykh heavy responsibilities to shoulder, family conflicts, and recurring rebellious movements, in addition to the French incursions into Massina. Ahmadu Shaykh became the successor to the empire after the death of his father.

From the beginning, Ahmadu Shaykh was in a tight corner. When he began to consolidate his sovereignty over Sgou, he encountered the French incursions into the heart of his empire. Ahmadu Shaykh was looking forward to develop economic systems in his country and sought to establish commercial relations with neighboring countries; with the French in the Senegal River Basin, and with the British in Gambia and Sierra Leone. Due to the vastness of his empire, Shaykh Ahmadus relatives were appointed as rulers over the semi-independent provinces of the empire. His brother, Aguibu, ruled the province of Dinguiray in the south and his cousin who was called Tijani ruled Massina which was restored after the death of Hajj Umar in 1864 AD.

The French advanced in the Niger River Basin to the town of Say (a town in southwest Niger, situated on the Niger River), and then to Bussa (the capital of northern Borgu, in northern Nigeria, and in 1897 it became part of the British Niger Coast protectorate). This led to a collision with the British who were consolidating their influence in Nigeria. A series of negotiations began between the two countries to divide this region between them.
This was the end of Hajj Umars empire in Tukulor after achieving such great victory and after establishing unity among his followers who belonged to different tribes. Had it not been for the French colonization, then Hajj Umar would have succeeded in establishing an Islamic state in Africa.

If we ponder over this empire, we will find that Hajj Umar managed to build an Islamic empire that is more centralized than the Fulani empire in Sokoto, or the state of Shaykh Ahmadu Lobo in Massina. This empire was established in a region to which Islam was introduced many centuries earlier. Instead of attacking the Muslim rulers because of their indifference or slackness in applying the Islamic Sharee'ah, Hajj Umar followed the Teejaaniyyah Sufi Tareeqah, which is more modern than the Qadiriyah Tareeqah that was adopted by both Uthmaan ibn Foodi and Ahmadu Lobo.

What remains to be said is that the Muslims in West Africa have been facing serious difficulties and challenges in recent years, including: Christian missionary activities, deprivation of their wealth and their countrys resources, poor and low-quality education, less opportunity in holding high-ranking positions, torture and murder.