THE WORLD OF SHEIKH IBRAHIM NIASS(R.T.A).
WHO IS SHEIKH IBRAHIM NIASS?
Born in the village of Tayba Ñaseen (spelled Taïba Niassène in French), between the Senegalese city of Kaolack and the border of Gambia, he was the son of Allaaji Abdulaay Ñas (1840-1922), the main representative of the Tijānī order in the Saalum region at the beginning of the twentieth century. During his youth, he moved with his father to the city of Kaolack, where they established the zāwiya (religious center) of Lewna Ñaseen. After his father's death in Lewna Ñaseen, his older brother, Muhammad al-Khalīfa, became his father's successor or Khalīfa, but due to his charisma and precocious knowledge, Ibrāhīm gained a large number of disciples, and tensions arose between his own disciples and those of his older brother. In 1929, while farming in the family fields of the village of Kóosi Mbittéyeen, young Ibrāhīm announced that the Prophet Muhammad had revealed to him the secrets of knowledge of God, and that anyone who wished to know God should follow him. In 1930, after the prayer of ʿĪd al-Fiṭr (the end of the month of Ramaḍān), a fight broke out between his disciples and those of Muhammad al-Khalīfa, and he immediately knew that he would have to move with his disciples.
That evening, he set out with a small group of his closest disciples to find a new place to live, and the next day they began to establish a new zāwiya in Medina Baay, a village that was later incorporated into the growing city of Kaolack. During the following years, he divided his time between farming and teaching in Kóosi Mbittéyeen during the rainy season and teaching in Medina Baay. During the summer of 1945 he reestablished himself in his father's house in his natal village of Tayba Ñaseen, rebuilding and reorganizing the village after a fire destroyed much of it. His fame quickly spread throughout the countryside and most of his father's disciples ultimately became his disciples in spite of his junior status in the family. In an unlikely role reversal, several leaders of the Arab 'Idaw ʿAli tribe in Mauritania—the same tribe that introduced the Tijānī order to West Africa—became his disciples, including Shaykhāni, Muḥammad wuld an-Naḥwi, and Muḥammad al-Mishri.
In the 1940s, after meeting the Emir of Kano (Nigeria) during his pilgrimage in Makkah, he gained the allegiance of many of the prominent Tijānī leaders of Northern Nigeria. He became a major leader throughout Hausa areas of West Africa and in fact ended up with far more disciples outside of Senegal than within it.
By his death in 1975 in London, Ibrahim Niass had millions of followers throughout West Africa. His branch of the Tijāniyya has become the largest branch in the world. After his death the community was led by his closest disciple Alliw Siise and his oldest son Allaaji Abdulaaay Ibrayima Ñas. The current Khalīfa in Medina Baay is his oldest surviving son, Aḥmadu Ñas (known as “Daam”), and the Imam of the mosque is his grandson Shaykh Ḥasan Sise (also spelled Assane Cissé), who is probably the most prominent Tijānī leader in the world today.