El Hadj Omar Tall is one of the greatest figures of the nineteenth century African. Aware of the strategic interest of the River for the French penetration inside Africa, it tries to oppose it by trying to create a great Sudanese empire, with the adhesion of the population. He rejected all social hierarchy and preached the equality of all men.
Once upon a time...
El Hadj Omar Tall was born around 1797, around Podor in the Fouta Toro, in toucouleur country. Fourth son of the marabout Saïdou Ousmane Tall, he belongs by his family to the Torodo group which is mainly devoted to religious functions.
Remained very attached to his mother whose piety and submission marked him deeply liked to say: "I left many men, similar to my father in the Fouta, but I did not leave women comparable to my mother ". He receives solid religious instruction from his family and learns Arabic. He completed his training with trips to the Moors of the Brotherhood of Qadriya in Tagant and Walata.
Qadriya, a Muslim brotherhood, has an aristocratic aspect based on the recognition of the social hierarchy. Great leaders and their descendants can claim a divine blessing and have a religious function. This brotherhood has some influence with the Toucouleur, because many Torobbe belong to the upper castes of society.
On the occasion of a stay at Fouta Djalon, El Hadj Omar is initiated to tidjanism.
At 23, El Hadj Omar undertakes pelerinage in Mecca. The trip lasts 13 years.
In the East he moves several times between Cairo, Medina, Mecca and Jerusalem.
He receives in Medina the title of Khalif of the tidjanes for Sudan of Sheikh Mohammed Ghali direct disciple of the founder of Tidjanism Cheikh Tidjane.
He is filled with honors in Sokoto, in Hausa country, by Emir Mohamed Bello who gives him in marriage two princesses including his own daughter.
At Hamdallayi in Macina, Cheikou Hamadou, austere Peulh, receives him more coldly, perhaps aware of the danger that the prestige of El Hadj Omar represents for the established power.
In Ségou, the reception of the animist sovereign Tiefelo is frankly hostile. El Hadj Omar, learning that the Fouta Toro is going through a period of turmoil and tension with France, prefers to go to the Fouta Djalon where he is well received by the Almamy.
Dyengounko first base of Tidjanism in Fouta Djalon El Hadj Omar settles there, founds the first Zaouia, religious and military community and welcomes many disciples, talibés.
In 1845, he began a tour of neighboring countries crossing Sine Saloum, Baol, Cayor, still animists and Fouta Toro his native country where he recruits many Talibes.
Well received by the French commander of Podor, he meets in Bakel the governor of Saint-Louis Bourdon de Gramont then on inspection tour.
He returns to Fouta-Djalon of Almamy, followed by a crowd of disciples, including caste people, mostly from Fouta Toro.
The Almamy, worried invites him to leave his kingdom. El Hadj Omar, settled in 1850, 200 kilometers further east, to Dinguiraye, village he buys from the ruler of Tamba.
In the eighteenth century, the trade in the slave trade aggravated the insecurity and instability of the kingdoms. In the nineteenth century Islam emerged as the religious, political and social framework most capable of renewal.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the most widespread brotherhood was Qadriya, which perpetuated in Islam the privileges of the aristocracy. The political and religious leader is surrounded by a minority of privileged people, the people are kept apart.
The Tidjaniya breaks these barriers, it establishes the direct contact between the chief and the simple followers. It gives everyone the opportunity to access the highest functions through courage, science or talent. Castes or ethnic background no longer constitute exclusion factors.
It has a revolutionary and relatively democratic character. Hence the prodigious success of El Hadj Omar among the masses who suffer from oppression, but also the fear it inspires the established powers, because in these times when civil society and religion are confused, the progress of the brotherhood El Hadj Omar is preparing for the seizure of military and political power.
El Hadj Omar Tall makes Dinguiraye a fortress town, an impregnable place.
Three speakers protect her. The first of about 1800 meters of development includes a crenellated wall 4 meters high, the second largest, a wall 6 meters high, irregular octagon from 100 to 150 meters side each
angle includes a tiered turret. The third 6 meters height doubles the second by providing a walkway between them.
For his armament, El Hadj Omar buys rifles to the English from Sierra Leone and Gambia, which he pays with the Bouré's gold. He has a large quantity of powder manufactured on site