Touba is a city in central Senegal. It is the holy city of Mouridism and the burial place of its founder, Shaikh Aamadu Bàmba Mbàkke. Next to his tomb lies a large mosque, completed in 1963.
Aamadu Bàmba founded Touba in 1887. The holy site remained a tiny, isolated place in the wilderness until his death and burial at the site of the Great Mosque, 40 years later. The Great Mosque was finally completed in 1963 and since its inauguration the city has grown at a rapid pace.
Touba is the holy city of Mouridism. Aamadu Bàmba Mbàkke, Senegal’s most famous Sufi, was more than a spiritual master; he had a social mission as well, that of rescuing society from colonial alienation and returning it to the “Straight Path” of Islam. The city of Touba played a major role in both these endeavors.
At the heart of the Mouride holy city lies its Great Mosque, purported to be one of the largest in Africa. Since its completion in 1963 it has been continuously enlarged and embellished. The mosque has five minarets and three large domes and is the place where Amadou Bamba, founder of the Mouride brotherhood, lies buried.
The mosque’s 87-metre high central minaret, called Lamp Fall, is one of Senegal’s most famous monuments. The name Lamp Fall is a reference to Sheikh Ibrahima Fall, one of Bamba’s most influential disciples.The mosque is frequently visited by tourists and worshippers alike.
The immediate vicinity of the mosque houses the mausolea of Aamadu Bàmba’s sons, the caliphs of the Mouride order. Other important institutions in the center of the holy city include a library, the Caliph’s official audience hall, a sacred “Well of Mercy”, and a cemetery.
Shaykh Sidy Mokhtar Mbacké is the current leader of the Mourides. He is the seventh Caliph of Mouridism and is the second caliph to not be a son of Ahmadu Bamba Mbacké. Like his predecessors, he resides in a large compound on the main square facing the Mosque.