Historical story

Who was Ahmed Abdallah?

Mohamad Ahmed Abdallah was born in Sudan, at the time a province of Egypt ruled, from afar, by a Turkish pasha installed in Cairo. But who, in fact, ruled that huge region was an English official. Born in 1843, raised within the strict principles of Sufi discipline, the most mystical current of Islam, Ahmed could not tolerate the Turks' contempt for sacred precepts, much less the presence of Christians commanding the fate of the Prophet's followers. In 1871, he decided to get away from men and government and went to live isolated on the island of Aba, high on the Nile, in western Sudan. There he founded a mosque and a center for study and prayer.}

After that, Ahmed began to travel, patrolling with the poor the teachings he had received. He went down the blue Nile and then cut across Sudan from east to west, listening with open ears to the wailing of the people and the hopelessness of the villages, spreading the belief that a messiah was about to arrive. And when he arrived, the envoy would put an end to the Turks' neglect of the province, the largest in all of Africa. From the accounts we know, Ahmed must have made a big impression. Not only as the celebrated holy man that he soon became, but also for his presence. He was a huge, slender, dark-skinned fellow with a cultivated beard, endowed with natural elegance, moderate in speech but always firm, incapable of shouting at anyone. It was in his eyes that he showed the indignation and fervor of a chosen man.

Returning from one of those trips with worn sandals, back to the island, Ahmed locked himself in a retreat, mortifying himself in a long fast interspersed with prayers and meditations. Finally, he was convinced. How had he not seen it before? He was the messiah, he was the Madhi, the expected. His mission as a divine envoy became clear:to shake Sudan. To remove the pasha's agents from power, to put the whites, Christians, infidels who infested Khartoum, the capital, on the run. He called on the whole of Sudan to present themselves to him, Allah's anointing. And he told everyone that God had commanded him a jihad, holy war.

An army of wretches crushed the English and killed their greatest general

In 1883, an army of dervishes (as the poor Sudanese called themselves) occupied the city of El Obeid. The British then sent to Khartoum none other than the legendary General Charles Gordon, the hero of several British colonial wars in China and Russia. Useless. In 1884, the Anglo-Egyptian garrison was placed under siege. After 320 days of siege, Khartoum fell. Gordon, recognized was killed. His head, spiked and turned to dust. All Sudan, waving spears and shields, celebrated freedom. The prophecy had been fulfilled, the prophet's people had killed the Dajjal, the unfaithful demon.

Ahmed then died of typhus. His followers were crushed 13 years later, 1898, at the Battle of Omdurman, when the British fired modern Howitzer cannons and machine guns at the sticks and stones of the Dervishes - a First World versus Fourth battle in which 25,000 Sudanese died, against 48 English .

Source:Super Interessante Magazine, issue n° 172.