Tierno Bokar

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Tierno Bokar (Fula : Cerno Bokar), full name Tierno Bokar Saalif Tall (1875–1939), was a Malian mystic, Sufi sage, and a Muslim spiritual teacher of the early twentieth century famous for his message of religious tolerance and universal love.

Contents

Life

Tierno [note 1] Bokar was born in Segou, Mali, in 1875 and moved to the village of Bandiagara in 1893. There he opened a zaouia and became a follower of Cherif Hammallah in Nioro du Sahel.

A disagreement over the proper number of repetitions for a Sufi prayer (Hamallayya prescribed 11 times as opposed to 12) rose dramatically in scale. Intense infighting among rival clans and religious factions in French Sudan, as well as involvement of the French colonial authority eventually led to massacres and the exile of Hamallah. In Bandiagara, Bokar was ostracized by his clan and family and forbidden to teach or pray publicly. Tierno Bokar’s school was destroyed and he and his two wives and children were placed under house arrest.

Religious tolerance

Throughout the increasingly violent fighting, Bokar preached a message of religious tolerance and universal love.

I pray God that at the moment I die I have more enemies to whom I’ve done nothing than friends.”

Tierno Bokar [1]

The only struggle that really concerns me is the one that is aimed at our own weaknesses. This struggle, alas, has nothing to do with the war that so many of Adam’s sons wage in the name of a God they claim to love deeply…

Tierno Bokar [1]

Fame

A constant smile which calls you

A forehead shining like a mirror
A mirror stamped

With the dark point of prostration. [3]

See also

Notes

  1. An honorific title meaning "master" (Fula : cerno).

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References

  1. 1 2 Peter Brook, "About Tierno Bokar", 19 November 2004.
  2. Billington, Michael (3 November 2004). "Destiny's child". The Guardian .
  3. Marie-Hélène Estienne, "About Tierno Bokar". Article originally published in Le Monde des Religions, no. 4 (2005).