Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba was a Senegalese Muslim saint who is renowned for his resistance to the imperialism and oppression of the French colonizers. The weapons he used for resistance were his knowledge and piety for which the French authority persecuted him. He was subjected to confinement and all sorts of injustices including exile in Gabon and Mauritania for a total of 32 years. One famous episode of the cruelty he endured at the hands of the oppressors is the one where while imprisoned in a cell, he was thrown a lion so it could devour him. To their great surprise the lion looked at him and gently sat by his side. His devotion to The Divine and his love for prophet Muhammad (saw) are tangible through his writings. I must say that his sayings and poems are of a soothing depth. In 1927, after years of retribution, the French finally recognized him as a holy man and awarded him the cross of “legion d’honneur” which he turned down as he wanted validation from only God.
Some of Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba’s Sayings:
“I have received an order from my Lord to guide the people toward God, The Most High. Those who want to thread this path just have to follow me. For the rest, who are only looking for education, there are enough men of letters who are available throughout the country.”
“They accused me of doing the Jihad (Struggle), which I fully agree with. But the weapons through which I am doing it are science and piety. The Lord by excellence is my witness.”
“The undeserved favors that I have had from Allah (swt) can no longer be counted in this Universe and in this is my happiness.”