Dione’s magisterial painting of Sheikh Ibra Fall welcomes
visitors to a gallery dedicated to his Baye Fall followers
and the ways that they live Amadu Bamba’s philosophy of
work. Ibra Fall was active in supporting and promoting the
teachings of Amadu Bamba, and his popular nickname, "Lamp,"
refers to how Fall became a beacon radiating the enlightenment
of the saint. The main minaret of the Great Mosque of Touba
where Bamba is buried is named for Lamp Fall, commemorating
the man’s activities with esoteric emphasis, for the word
"minaret" in Arabic (manarat) means "lamp."
When Mouride artists paint images of the central dome and
minaret of the Great Mosque, they make implicit reference
to Amadu Bamba and Lamp Fall, and vice versa.
Fall followers of Lamp Fall form a subsect of the Mourides,
immediately recognizable for the distinctive dreadlocks
and patchwork clothing many of them wear. Baye Falls lead
a monastic life, especially when young, begging for food,
singing zikr "songs of remembrance" of
the names of God and the founding saint of the Mourides,
and carrying images of Amadu Bamba with them as a source
of baraka blessing. Fellowship is an explicit goal
of Baye Falls, who live in closely interdependent communities,
and the patchwork clothing they effect points to such assembly.
Their devotion to hard work is such that their marabout
spiritual leaders must command that they stop once they
start, lest they utterly exhaust themselves. The status
of Baye Falls is deliberately marginal, and following dispensations
by the saint, they eschew regular prayers and fasting to
seek ecstasy through hard work and singing. They sometimes
carry large clubs—not as weapons, for Baye Falls are deeply
pacifist as are all devotees of Amadu Bamba, but to thump
themselves on the back in penance. As they do so, the forced
"Ah!" breath is a prayerful last syllable of that
holiest of names, Allah. Tourists sometimes mistake Baye
Falls for Rastafarians because of their dreadlocks. The
faiths are very different, although their defiant self-reliance
is somewhat similar, and many Mourides consider Bob Marley
a hero of resistance to oppression.