Shaykh Al-Haji Bubacarr Zaidi Jallow was an outstanding model of piety, selfless devotion to duty and exemplary service to the Islamic Ummah and the community at large.
Born in (mountain top village) of Adire Sebori, Guinea Conakry, circa 1909. He was a Caliph who served as an imam of Bansang for almost seventy years, the longest in the history of the Gambia. Embraced by Muslims and non-Muslims alike, the late Sheikh belonged to the Tariqat Tidjanniyaa.
At an early age, he showed the making of his future by his seriousness, piety and mastery of various Islamic sciences. He travelled widely. Firstly, in West Africa then North Africa and the Middle East, to tap into the wellspring of Islamic Spiritual knowledge, staying for varying lengths of time in Guinea Bissau, Senegal and then the Gambia, finally settling in Bansang.
According to Sheikh Justice Al-Haji Hassan Bubacarr Jallow (his eldest surviving son), who is now the reigning Caliph, the late Sheikh converted a great number of people to Islam. “He was responsible for the maintenance and construction of mosques in The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry. That is why during the annual ‘Ziyyarah’, people come from all those places.”
He inducted many into the Tijaniya sect, taught thousands of people including the Imam of Nema-Kunku, Brufut, Manji-Kunda in addition to authoring numerous substantive books on the spiritual path and other Islamic subjects.
A conservative estimate puts the number of Sheikh Al- Haji Bubacarr Zaidi Jallow’s works to fourteen (14). Notable among these is his Magnum Opus, “Miffa- Tahu-Sa’ adati” the key to Everlasting Success – comprehensive treatise on how to reach to God, which is widely recognized as an authoritative text on the Tijaniya order.
Tal Atul Fajar: The Rise of Dawn; Buhi Yatul Saa LLI: Satisfaction of the Enquirer (which was translated into English by the International Islamic University, Pakistan); Iqamatu Salaat: procedure for prayers; Silahi Muridina: Weapon for disciples; and Dalilul Mussaffir: A traveller’s Compass.
Some 100 Daa-iras’ Islamic Associations have been formed in The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry and other countries by the ‘Talibes’ of the late Sheikh. The annual ‘Ziyyarah’ congregation in Bansang started in 1981, which annually brings together thousands of Muslims from far and near, exemplifying the impact of the late Sheikh’s teachings and works.
(This essay was first published in the Ramadan Special edition of Observer Light, 2016)
by Omar Wally