With 48 hours remaining for the official inauguration of the Great Mosque known as Massalikul Jinaan (the Routes to paradise in Arabic), the Mouride community of Senegal looks forward to this great religious event.
Wednesday morning at Massalikoul Jinaan, everything looks like the long-awaited day has finally arrived. The heat wave does not wear down the fervor of the hundreds of Mouride faithful.
“I came today because I could not wait for the inauguration. What I am feeling now is indescribable. I am really in paradise. We thank Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba for all he did. It’s a triumph for Islam,” says Mame Bousso Diop.
The Great Mosque, located near the headquarters of the Socialist Party (PS, ruling majority), in the Colobane district, covers an area of 10.000square meters. This place of worship has four prayer rooms and an esplanade, which can host 30,000 people.
All around the imposing building, disciples armed with brooms, scrupulously clean the floor. Others are tirelessly collecting waste. Workers are still doing some finishing work under the admiring gaze of visitors, who are required to remove their shoes before entering one of the front doors.
“I am so happy. This mosque, beyond the Mourides, belongs to all Muslims. It is the materialization of one of the prayers of Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba. He had predicted its construction. I pray that the inauguration will take place smoothly,” Khadim Diouf said.
An old man, in his late 60s, is pacing up and down as he keenly recites ‘Khassaids’ (panegyrics) written by Serigne Touba, the founder of the Mouride brotherhood. Under a huge tent, a panel discussion themed: “The Role of the Mosque in Islam and the Contribution of Mourides in its Popularization.”
Mamadou Mbengue, a disciple from the central town of Kebemer things that Massalikoul Jinaan is “A reward for their spiritual guide (Serigne Touba), considering all the hardships he went through in Dakar, before he was sent into exile in Gabon.”
To feed the faithful, dishes are cooked at the Multinational School of Telecommunications (ESTM), just in front of Massalikoul Jinaan. “I have been coming here every day since last Sunday. We serve coffee and doghnuts to the disciples. I am very happy because Serigne Touba deserves this place of worship,” says Awa Diouf.
The cost of the Massalikoul Jinaan Grand Mosque, which is totally funded by the Mouride community, exceeds 20 billion CFA francs. The construction work of this monumental facility lasted seven years.
The inauguration of the mosque will take place Friday in the presence of the 8th General Caliph of the Mourides, Serigne Mountakha Mbacke.