Sheikh Ahmad Tijani bin Ali Sy, spiritual leader of the Tijaniyya Sufi order, the largest Sufi order in West Africa died on Wednesday in Senegal at the age of 91.
He was buried a few hours after midnight on Thursday in his residence at Tivaouane, about 90 kilometers east of the capital Dakar.
Also known as Al-Makhtoum (The Mystic), Sheikh Ahmad Tijani Sy commands a following of millions of people in West Africa who see him as a guide to Islam.
He succeeded his elder brother Sheikh Mansour Sy in 2012 as the leader of the order.
The spokesperson of the order Sheikh Abdul Aziz Sy who is also the younger brother of the Sheikh Ahmad Tijani, has been named his successor and 6th Caliph of the Tijaniyya Sufi order.
89-year-old Sheikh Abdul Aziz Sy, also known as Al-Amine (The Honest), led the funeral prayer for his brother in the presence of siblings, children and family of the deceased leader ahead of another prayer later on Thursday.
Several government authorities and institutions have suspended activities to pay tribute to the spiritual leader including Senegal’s National Assembly which has suspended sitting.
According to an official statement from the government, President Macky Sall will visit the fief of the order at Tivaouane.
Thousands of people have joined other mourners at the residence of the spiritual leader including other prominent members of the Senegalese society to express their condolences, local media report.
The Tijaniyya Sufi Muslims spread in West Africa and across the region pledge allegiance to their Sheikh who wields significant influence.
The Sufi order was founded by Algerian Ahmad al Tijani Hasani in the late 18th century.