The Baye Fall Brotherhood is a Sufi Islamic sect founded by Mame Cheikh Ibrahima Fall – “the Light”. He met Sufi Cheik Ahmadou Bamba who was protesting the French colonialism, in 1892 and became his disciple. Whilst in orthodox Islam, every follower is directly in touch with Allah, in Senegal relationships with God are mostly channeled through various religious leaders. Cheikh Amadou Bamba, the founder of the Mouride Brotherhood, is an iconic figure in Senegal. His name and portrait are painted on many buildings, stickers, taxi windows, necklaces, and t-shirts. Every February, more than two million followers go to Touba, a holy city in Senegal,where Bamba lived, worked, and died. This event, the Grand Magal celebrates the leader’s return from exile in 1907 after having been banished for 20 years by the French.
According to my Baye Fall friend, Massamba, the Brotherhoods mission is similar to the sun and the moon. It has never stopped from beginning of creation until today. Whatever gives nausea to the vulture, makes the hyena vomit, if it comes to the Baye Fall, they will purify it. Baye Fall is being at one with ones energy, through devotion and action, undertaking all work as prayer. Sometimes, as I had experienced, they beg and they own nothing. Instead of Islamic rituals such as fasting and prayer, they perform hard labour. They sing all night in a circle and rotate counter clockwise, the key into “the other time”. The circle is the journey back to ones self. There is no beginning, no end. There is only one.