Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba emphasized the role of work, which he saw as a channel to become more intimate with God. “Sweat is what purifies the man from its sins,” a concept similar to those of the Franciscan monks. The man who exists for the community and the spiritual guide is named Bayefall, (a Wolof term that means Baye: father and Fall from the surname of the founder Cheikh Ibrahima Fall).
The Bayefall are descendants of the founder Cheikh Ibrahima Fall, who decided to devote his life to spreading the word of Amadou Bamba by working for his community. Bayefall are exempt from some of the pillars of Islam, such as fasting and praying five times a day. They spend their time working for the brotherhood and the marabout, in the fields, during holidays and festivities and even in the congested streets of Dakar. Their way of living the Muslim faith emphasizes hard work, the value of sharing, food, dance, chants and the strength of the community. Through my camera, I was able to rediscover, feel and document the Bayefall way while also experiencing an intimate spiritual journey.
Finally, with this project, I wanted to underline some characteristic aspects of the Mouride brotherhood, and especially of the Bayfall, which give it a unique place in Africa and the Islamic world. Likewise, it was essential to me to show how this system of syncretic beliefs takes form in our XXI century, pointing out contradictions, clashes, and complementarities between ancestrality and modernity.
My research in this community is still in progress.