Monday, August 25, 2008

News : The Passing of a Shaykh

In our part of the world, Shaykh Hassan Cisse is probably unheard of. A great shaykh, of one of the largest tariqah in the world, the Tijaniyyah. He passed away very recently.

[wikipedia] -
Shaykh Hassan Cisse
(1945 - 2008), also written Cheikh Assane Cissé or Shaykh Hasan Cisse (also Sise or Seesay), was an Islamic scholar, Sufi shaykh and humanitarian activist who served as Imam of an international Muslim community in Medina Baye (or "Baay") in Kaolack, Senegal, West Africa.
He is the son of Sidi Ali Cisse and Fatima Zahra Niasse; and grandson of Ibrahim Niass, also spelled "Niasse" (d. 1975), who was a Shaykh of the Tijaniyyah Sufi order and head of the largest Muslim community in twentieth-century West Africa and initiator of the largest branch of the Tijaniyyah Sufi order.
Shaykh Hassan has himself become one of the preeminent leaders of Tijaniyyah, leading millions of followers in more than 40 countries and unifying diverse cultures under the banner of Islam.
Also a devoted humanitarian, he has campaigned against disease (especially polio, malaria and HIV-AIDS), poverty and gender, and racial and religious discrimination throughout the African continent and beyond.
He died on August 14th, 2008 in Kaolack, Senegal.

Shaykh Hassan memorized the Qur’an at an early age and was educated in the traditional Islamic sciences (Qur’an, Prophetic narrations (hadith), Arabic grammar and literature, jurisprudence, theology, poetry, logic, rhetoric and Sufism) at the hands of his grandfather, Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse, and a number of other West African scholars (‘ulama), such as Ahmad Thiam and his own father, Sidi Ali Cisse, in Medina Baye.
He also spent years studying in Mauritania and in Egypt, and he obtained a B.A. in Arabic Literature and Islamic Studies from Cairo’s Ain Shams University.
More recently, Al-Azhar University recognized his credentials as an Islamic scholar of distinction with an honorary degree.
During his early travels in Mauritania, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Ghana, he received more than 600 scholarly authorizations, or ijaza, from prominent Islamic scholars.
But his most cherished education remained that at the hands of his grandfather, Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse.
It was Shaykh Ibrahim who sent him Britain to learn English.
He received his M.A. in English from the University of London in 1974.
Later, he began a PhD in Islamic Studies at Northwestern University (Chicago, U.S.A.), but was forced to suspend his studies when his father died in 1982, and he returned to assume the imamate in Medina Baye in Kaolack, Senegal.
He is fluent in Arabic, French, Hausa, English, and Wolof, his native language.

In addition to his position of Imam in Medina Baye, Shaykh Hassan Cisse is the Founder and Chairman of the African American Islamic Institute, a UN recognized non-governmental organization that promotes education, protection of women and children, health care, and interfaith dialogue between the U.S. and West Africa.
He is President of El-Hajj Ibrahim Niasse University in Dakar, Senegal; President of the African Islamic Organization for Population and Development; Special Advisor for Islamic Affairs for the Republic of Ghana; and Honorary Member of the Ulama League of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
As a distinguished Shaykh of the world-wide Tijaniyyah Sufi order, he has followers outside of sub-Saharan Africa in such diverse places as Libya, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Trinidad.
He has been especially influential in spreading Islam and the Tijaniyyah in the United States, the Caribbean and South Africa.
The Shaykh has a track record of working with diverse Islamic organizations (Organization of the Islamic Conference, Azhar University) governments (Senegal, Morocco, Ghana, Nigeria), international aid organizations (WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International) for the promotion of his stated mission of the education, well-being and mutual understanding of humankind; believing, “Investing in humanity is an investiture in God.”

Here is a video of the shaykh (God have mercy on him) giving a talk at a seminar on Sufism -

English Khutbah by Sheikh Hassan Cisse (1 of 3) - listen to it - "the best of wara' is to stop all the forbidden things" ....

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