Sheikh Ahmad Tijani bin Ali CisseLeader of the Tijaniyya Sufi Order
Birth: 1 January 1955 (Age: 62)
Source of Influence: Scholarly
Influence: Spiritual leader of around 100 million Tijani Muslims
School of Thought: Maliki, Tijani Sufi Order, Traditional Sunni
Status: Featured in current year
Leader of Tijani Muslims: Cisse became leader of the Tijaniyyah following the death of his elder brother Sheikh Hassan Cisse in 2008. He is the Imam of the Grand Mosque in Medina Baye, Senegal, which is one of Western Africa’s key positions of Islamic leadership. Tijani Muslims are located throughout Western Africa and further afield. As an order, Tijanis give allegiance to their sheikh giving him significant influence as a leader.
Education and Activities: Sheikh Tijani Cisse (b. 1955) studied Qur’an, Arabic and classical texts with both his father, Sheikh ‘Ali Cisse, and his legendary grandfather, Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse. He then continued his studies at Al- Azhar University in Egypt, studying Arabic and Usul al-Din (theology). Upon completing his studies in Egypt, he traveled extensively throughout Africa, the Middle East and America. He attended many conferences and participated in religious debates. He also managed to edit and publish several important works, including Sheikh Ibrahim’s Kashif al-Ilbas.
Posts: In 2001, Sheikh Tijani Cisse was appointed Senegal’s General Commissioner for the Hajj. In 2006, he was again recognized by Senegalese President Aboulaye Wade and appointed a Senegalese “Special Missions Ambassador”, a position he holds until the present time. He has also received Senegal’s distinguished award, the Ordre de Merite (1993).
Descendent of The Tijaniyya Founder: The Tijaniyya is a Sufi order founded by Ahmad al Tijani Hasani, an Algerian, in the late 18th century. As the spiritual leader of the Tijaniyya, Cisse is considered to be the bearer of a spiritual inspiration called the Fayda Tijaniyya, giving him authority to carry on the teachings of Ahmad al Tijani Hasani. Because of this position, some Tijani Muslims refer to Cisse as the reviver of the Sunnah