The Fulani Spirituality

The Pulaar / Fulani / Fulbe are a Sahelian people from Sudan to Senegal. They are probably the black people who have the most contributed to the spread of Islam in Africa to the extent that many confuse their cultural identity with this religion. Yet, the Fulani are fundamentally of African spirituality in the most orthodox way.

Origins

A Fulani woman from Mopti in Mali. The lips are tattooed in black, the earrings are impressive.

The Fulanis’ origins have been very controversial, given the distinct traits that this people display: thin features, often light-skinned, hair looking straight, nomadic lifestyle in a sedentary Africa.

According to the Fulani tradition, their founding ancestor would be a man named Ukba, a scholarly soldier of Islam and Arab knowledge. Like with the Hausas, we are faced with a myth created or amplified to satisfy an acquired Muslim identity, something observed in many Islamized African peoples. Whether Ubka existed or not, the Fulanis had their origins and cultural identity prior to their contact with Islam in the 10th century.

Today, we know with a virtual certainty that Fulanis are of Egyptian origin. Cheikh Anta Diop already mentioned it in 1954 in Nations Nègres et Culture. And he pointed out that they came from the first pharaonic royal dynasties. Why? Because of two names in particular, Ka and Ba. These names are only found among the Fulanis and are basically borne by totemic clans. Ka means “individual Energy” in ancient Egyptian. The individual Energy, in the African philosophy, is the divine segment that gives life to every human being and makes them immortal.

Ba means soul, the soul accountable for all actions that allows reaching the status of divine ancestor at death. Ka and Ba were two supreme concepts in the Egyptian religion. Until the 6th dynasty, Ka and Ba were virtually the exclusive ontological attributes of the Pharaoh. We gave a detailed account on these attributes and their role in the ancestor veneration here.

In addition, according to some genetic studies, Fulanis are related to the black peoples of the Sahel and Central Africa. They would have a bit of Eurasian DNA. Geneticist Laura Scheindfeldt who published the research studies in 2010 believes that this foreign DNA is negligible and that the Fulanis are essentially Africans. Clyde Winters concludes from these same studies that Fulanis are from the Nile and that they are “not from the Middle East”. We add that the Fulani language is strictly Black-African and that there are still vestiges of the matriarchy, a cultural trait peculiar to the black world.

Fulani men of the Wodaabe group in Niger
They are wearing the Maat feather found across Africa
In the Wodaabe group, men perform dances at the Geerewol ceremony and women choose a lover or a fiancé among the dancers.
Legacy is still matrilineal among the Wodaabe. This group remains fundamentally anchored in the African matriarchal tradition, whereas the Islamized Fulanis have adopted patriarchy.

In short, either Fulanis are authentic Egyptians who would have mixed with Whites from Asia when Egypt became a multinational empire, or Fulanis are Blacks with extreme physical features not due to miscegenation, like the Somalis. Anyway, Fulanis are Africans. We will see it again with their spirituality.

The primordial source

Before the world was created, before the beginning of all things, there was nothing but a being according to the Fulanis. That being was a nameless and limitless void, but it was a living emptiness, potentially incubating a whole of possible existences. Timelessness was the home of this One-Being.

This passage admirably transcribes the idea of the Nun, the infinite primordial water which birthed creation according to ancient Egyptians. Nun was a liquid full of germs or particles from which all living creature would hatch. It had always been there and existed before the beginning of creation. The Nun is what the Akans of Ghana / Côte d’Ivoire call Tano, which the Dogons of Mali call Nommo, or which the Zulus call Uthlanga.

The egg, the 9 elements and the creative verb

A Fulani teenager from Nigeria

According to the Fulanis, that One-Being had two eyes. As He / She closed them, the night was born. As He / She reopened them, the day was born. The night was embodied in Lewru, the Moon. The day was incarnated in Naungue, the Sun. The Sun married the Moon. They procreated Dumunna, the divine timelessness. Dumunna asked the infinite time by what name he should invoke him. Geno, the infinite time, spoke. Speech is synonymous with giving energy or creating. Geno said to Dumunna : “call me Gueno, the Eternal”.

Geno wanted to be known. He wanted to have an interlocutor. So He created a marvelous egg called Botcchio’ndé, comprising nine segments and introduced in it the nine fundamental states of existence. When that cosmic egg hatched, it generated twenty fabulous beings forming the entire visible and invisible universe, all existing forces and possible knowledge.

The idea of being endowed with eyes refers to the awakening inside the Nun in the Egyptian spirituality. In Egypt, the first moment of creation was the awareness of one of the particles. Particle awakening is equivalent to eye opening in the Fulani culture. In Egypt, the particle from which creation blossomed is symbolized by an egg called Suhet. This is called Aki Ngoss by the Fangs of Central Africa. Aki Ngoss like Botcchio’ndé contained all the basics of creation. The same egg concept is present in the Vodoun from Benin.

Atum – that is to say the awaken particle from which creation would blossom – created 8 primordial gods after him in the Egyptian thought. He forms with them Pesedjet which means the Ennead, nine primordial gods. When taking Horo (Horus) – son of Aisata and Usiré (Isis and Osiris) – into account, one can assert that God birthed 9 deities following Him / Her. This is related to the 9 fundamental states from the egg Botcchio’ndé in the Fulani culture. 9 is a sacred figure in Africa. Thus, the Bassas from Cameroon state that: “the law never goes beyond 9”.

Pesedjet, i.e. the 9 primordial gods: Atum-Râ (God), Shu (air), Tefnut (water), Geb (the earth), Anuté (the sky), Osiris and Isis (the fertile matter), Seth and Nepthys (the sterile antimatter).

Furthermore, the concept of word in the Fulani culture refers to the creation through sound vibration. From the egg, energy blossomed and produced a vibrating sound through spreading in the primordial water, hence the concept of “Creative Verb” also known as Hal in the Fulani language, Hu in ancient Egyptian or Me Kobegue among the Fangs. The Creative Verb is also found among the Serer people of Senegal.

The Sun worship

Buudal Yurmeende O Great solar disk of Mercy

Yellitiingal e innde Geno You, messenger of God (Geno)

Yo jam nyalluhaa to ciinyciide-ma kaadi Peace be upon everything lit by your smiling rays

Besnguina e wuro, jawdiinasarii e laddeharimaaji May your benevolent Eye protect our offspring who remained at the camp

One wonders if these 4 magnificent verses were indeed written by the Ferlo Fulanis of Senegal or by Pharaoh Akhenaton. This Fulani text is absolutely Egyptian. Since God is the gathering energy of the universe, the sun – which is the highest energy seen by the human – is considered to be God in miniature, the Creator’s messenger, as the Fulanis say. The same worship was found among the Hausas of Niger-Nigeria. The eyes of the Sun in the Fulani spirituality recall the eye of Horus in Egypt.

Neddo, the Fulani Osiris

Neddo, the primordial Human created by Geno, inherited a portion of the divine creative power, the gift of the Spirit and the Word. Geno taught Neddo the laws according to which all cosmic elements were formed and continue to exist. He appointed him as Guardian and Manager of his universe and assigned him to watch over the keeping of universal harmony. Neddo is both man and woman because he/she contains male (the sky) and female (the earth).

In the Egyptian spirituality Usiré (Osiris) represents God’s good. He is the divine ancestor of humans, the one who received all gods’ knowledge who had come before him. He is the son of Geb (the earth) who is a male and Anouté (the sky) who is a female. He is responsible for leading humanity to God’s justice, order and harmony. He is the guardian of the universe, a role entrusted to him by God. Usiré is Un Nefer, that is to say, the eternally good being.

Usiré /Neddo/Osoro/Awzaar/Ngai Narok

Neddo is undoubtedly Usiré. They have the same origin and the same roles. Usiré is equivalent to Osoro in the Akan culture from Ghana / Côte d’Ivoire, to Awzaar in the Somali one or Ngai Narok among the Maasai of Tanzania / Kenya.

In summary, the Fulani spiritual tradition is deeply rooted in Africa, especially in the account on the world’s creation and the sun worship. To learn more about African Spirituality in its entirety, click here…

Fulani women from Guinea

Hotep !

By: Lisapo ya Kama © (All rights reserved. Any copying or translation of the text of this article is strictly forbbiden without the written approval of Lisapo ya Kama)

Notes :

  • Contes Initiatiques Peuls; Amadou Hampaté Ba
  • Hymne des sept serments, texte sacré des Peulhs du Ferlo ; Yero Doro Diallo
  • Nations Nègres et Culture, Cheikh Anta Diop
  • Encyclopedia of African Religion, Molefi Kete Asante and Ama Mazama
  • Methodology and African prehistory, General History of Africa, Unesco
  • Matricien.org
  • Reply to Winters: The origins of the Fulani remain unknown ; by Laura B. Scheinfeldt, Sameer Soi, and Sarah A. Tishkoff
  • The Fulani are not from the middle east, Clyde Winters
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