As the Muslims enters the month of Muharam, I say happy new year to you all and wish you a year of success fill with blessings. May we all live to see the back of this pandemic. 

I asked for forgiveness and have forgiven everyone who I may wrong in one way or another.

The celebration marks with prayers on the 10th day of the month, Quran recitations, giving out food to neighbours, the needy and offering gifts to orphans.

Tamharit /Musukoto sallo as its locally known is a traditional religious practice that has been commemorated since time immemorial. 

Many of the practice had been incorporated into our Islamic rituals or should I say our Islamic scholars have been silent about it after most part of the Senegambia region converted to Islam.

Many will eat Cherreh or futoo the night before, many will cut their hair or have a shave, cut nails, women will have henna designs and wear new clothes.

Most of the elders would buy Muslim shroud (changaai) for burial, the bath soap and perfume use for bathing the dead. If they had an old stock of these materials, they will give out to others.

Children were fed lots of cherreh and told of this imaginary character called mbahaa in Wollof. 

It’s similar to the Father Christmas idea but main difference here is one must have to eat lots before they get weigh on the night. 

If the pounds or your weight is too light, you will perish in that year but if you top with weight up by eating lots of futoo you are exempted and will live for another year.

On the eve of the Tamharitt, kids will go visit families and friends with views of getting more acquainted with them. They collect gifts, including cash donations, coos, millet and rice. 

Talaboon alleh, sunu ndey ndey, sunuu bai boy, bess bobaleh chilii nan nan.  kuu saaraah nan. 

Abdou jambarr, buu diktay neeh baii orr  ngaa  nganneh wow wow, yaii orr  ngaa, nganeh wowo

Muu nakum  nderuu beh muui juroom nyarr. Nyuh enuu jemaay faan? Chaa ajanaajaa Allay allay

laa kun nduu  nduu belaay saarah dufnaa

The practice of crossing of fire 7 days is said to be an animist practice going back before the coming of Islam and the pouring of libation.

The jaygii saffara 7x is to mark a ritual of crossing hellfire and the pouring of water on the door step early morning was practise by our ancestors who belief in the connection of the living and the death. 

Many Muslims buy their own shroud, soap, cotton and other necessary items to prepare for the final journey. 

Many will give these items out after witnessing another Tamxarit meaning a new stock would replace the old stock. 

With the coming of Islam, they introduced the following practices:

• Fasting

• Performing a nafila prayer

• Paying visit to parents

• The purification bath (ghusl) 

• Give Alms

• Clipping nails

• Putting Kohl  on eyes “tusngal”

• Paying visit to ill people

• Visiting a (religious) scholar 

• fondling the head of a Muslim orphan ie taking care and protecting them 

• Reciting the Sourate “al Ikhlaas” (1000 times),

• Cooking for your family a delicious meal whoever performs these practices will be rewarded the equivalent of 

the great  pilgrimage to Mecca.

By Ebrima Jawo 

This article was first published on Gambiana on 26 August 2020. 

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