Ivory Coast

Thousands of people rushed to kiss Shaykh Hisham as he was exiting the Mosque on Friday.

Shaykh Hisham arriving at the Pullman Hotel of Abidjan. Some African Qasida singers were competing to come up with the most beautiful improvised songs to welcome Shaykh Hisham, sung in African dialects. One of the songs (translated) is: O Shaykh Hisham, you went to Madina, you went to Mecca, you went to America, and now you are coming to Ivory Coast. O Shaykh Hisham we were waiting for you.

Shaykh Hisham's car travels through the city of Abidjan with two white horses leading it. You can also see the people in the street following the car.

When you see the shaykh's physical and facial features and his beard, you cannot deny him. Even if you don't know him, his facial features tell you he is on haqq. When you look at him, he reminds you of Allah and when he speaks, he reminds you of Prophet (s).

The Ivory Coast Sufi dignitaries asked Shaykh Hisham to honor the great tradition of riding a White horse, which is a sign of honoring kings in their culture. Hundreds of people gathered around the shaykh as he rode the horse on the streets outside of the Palaix de la Culture. The dignitaries also asked Shaykh Hisham to plant a date tree as a symbol of the date trees Allah will plant for the believers in Paradise. "It is their hope," they said, "that Allah plant trees for them in Paradise to honor the Shaykh's action."

Day 1:

< h6>Abidjan:Arrival and first events
Kings, when they enter a city, ruin it." - Qur'an XXVII.34

Despite Ivory Coast's burning sun, several hundred people waited outside of the Abidjan airport for two hours for Shaykh Hisham to come out. The welcome was phenomenal and Mawlana created a stir several times in town. Some folk singers ("griots") improvised special salawaat incorporating Mawlana Shaykh Hisham's name and at some point it turned into a mini-hadrah. This was a surreal moment, to see all these people who never met the shaykh being drawn to him and fighting to kiss his jubbah. "

Day 2 :

Abidjan: Day 2: visit to a Qadiri Mosque

Shaykh Hisham was invited to grace a Qadiri Mosque with his blessed presence. He surprised everybody during the visit when he declared that the Shaykh of the Mosque, Aba Cisse, is a wali. Shaykh Hisham said Mawlana Shaykh Nazim told him to come to this Mosque and to give initiation to Aba Cisse in six different tariqahs including Naqshbandiyya. The event was full of unusual and powerful energy and Shaykh Hisham said that the place carries a great tajalli and that Prophet's (s) spiritual presence (rawhaaniyyah) was manifest there. The streets surrounding the mosque were packed an overflow crowd of with tens of hundreds of people who all rushed to Shaykh Hisham as he was exiting the Mosque. This event was one of the most powerful and spiritually charged events of the tour so far. We will add videos of the powerful du`a Shaykh Hisham made shortly.

Abidjan: Day 2: Interfaith Visit

On Thursday Shaykh Hisham attended an interfaith event with the chief priests of the Christian faith. He said "it is no surprise that God chose the day of the birth of the Prophet (s) for him to come and meet you. It is a sign that we have to be united and celebrate God together even if we are from different faiths." The chief priests were very happy with Shaykh Hisham's speech and one of them (seen in white in this album) later attended the Grand Mawlid event with Shaykh Hisham before 5,000 people.

Day 3: Jumu`ah in Grand Mosque

It was another powerful day here in Ivory Coast. Mawlana's appearance at the Mosque for Jumu`ah created a stir with thousands of people (who were waiting for him) rushing to kiss his robe. The other events of the day were equally popular with the crowd. Mawlana attended many different meetings with hundreds of people waiting for him. After dinner he said he had just received an inspiration from Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, who was saying that Imam Koudous, Ivory Coast's Grand Mufti, and Shaykh Hisham's host there, had done his best for making this trip a success, and had been therefore been granted the spiritual station of Shaykhu 'l-Islam for the Ivory Coast, which is a rank that is above that of Mufti. He said,

Awliya took his old title back (Imam of Imams) and gave him a new station instead.

Mawlana also gave a short talk about his encounter with the Senegalese saint Shaykh Ibrahim Niasse (also known as Baye Niasse) in Beirut in 1973. The Shaykh told Mawlana, who was 12 years back then, that a day would come when he would go to his area in Africa and meet a lot of Africans. He said Shaykh Niasse saw him and called him by his name even though they had never met before. Then he came close to him and whispered something in his ear which he never told anyone before until today. Shaykh Niasse said:

O my son, I am from Africa and in the future I am seeing that you will go to Africa you will find lot of saints there. You will see them and you will know them. Some of them they know they are saints, others do not. Africa is the land of saints.

Imagine, I am coming here after all these years and seeing these beautiful faces (of saints) here that Allah put them as mountains to balance this earth.


Abidjan: Day 4: Meeting with the President of Ivory Coast

On Saturday Shaykh Hisham met with Laurent Gbagbo, the President of Ivory Coast and appeared on a national TV show in prime time. Some people saw Shaykh Hisham in the media and came to ask for his blessings at the TV station. Shaykh Hisham also attended a highly media publicised event at the National Palaix de Culture, where more than 2,500 people came to see the shaykh. Shaykh Hisham received traditional gifts from the local community including an expansive green boubou, the flowing robes that are worn by scholars and leaders. This event featured many national Islamic leaders and VIP personalities.

Billboards about Shaykh Hisham Posted around Abidjan, Ivory Coast