Religious Beliefs In Senegal 2020

The central mosque of the Mouride Sufi order in Touba, Senegal.

Senegal is a West African country that borders Mali, Guinea, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau and Gambia. Senegal has approximately 13 million inhabitants and its capital is Dakar. Religion is an important aspect of Senegalese culture and customs. Senegal is predominantly Muslim, with Christians and other religious minorities being well tolerated.

Religious beliefs in Senegal


The majority of Senegal’s population is made up of Muslims who practice Sunni Islam based on Ash’arite deity and Maliki philosophy. About 1% of Senegalese Muslims practice Ahmadiyya Islam. In Senegal, there are four brotherhoods that represent Sufism, including Lainism, Tijanism, Mouridism and Qadiriyya. In Ouakam, the NabyAllah movement has surfaced recently and established a Mosque of Divinity. Lainism is a Senegalese Muslim brotherhood that focuses on Mahdism. The Brotherhood is from Yoff. The founder of the Leyanese Brotherhood is known as Seydina Limamou who began his prediction on May 24, 1883, when he was 40 years old. Seydina preached and taught how to worship and respect Muslim religious laws.

In Senegal, one of the most important Sufi brotherhoods is Tijanism. Kaolack and Tivouane are vital cities for Tijanism, the former being the home of Baye Niass and the latter of Malick Sy who both taught pacifist messages. Tijanism is the most represented brotherhood in Senegal since 60% of Senegalese are followers. Mouridism is not only the most important brotherhood in Senegal, but it is also the most important of the Sufi brotherhoods in sub-Saharan Africa. The main town of the brotherhood is Touba which is also home to one of the largest mosques in Africa. Finally, the Qadiriyya is the oldest of the Senegalese Brotherhood and was founded by the Sufi mystic in the 12th century by Qadir al-Jilani. Islam is the predominant religion in Senegal and represents 92% of the population.


Most Christians in Senegal are of Serer ancestry and are found in the Casamance region of southern Senegal and other major cities in Senegal, including the capital Dakar and Saint-Louis. The Christians of Senegal have a place of pilgrimage in Popenguine. At the beginning of the 20th century, Father Daniel Brottier, founder of the Orphans Apprentices of Auteuil, built the Cathedral of Dakar. Protestants in Senegal are also counted by the Protestant Church of Senegal, and the same goes for other Christian denominations. Currently, Christians in Senegal represent 6% of the population.

West African animism, Hinduism and other beliefs

Hinduism in Senegal is widely practiced by people of Indian origin. Animism, on the other hand, is practiced and highly respected by many Senegalese who choose to maintain sufficiently solid ancestral knowledge. The people of Senegal practice and cherish certain ancient beliefs such as the power of gratitude and saying thank you, protection from water and among others. The Baobab is also known as the “House of the Spirits”, it is a sacred tree of great importance to the Senegalese people. Hindus, animists and Senegalese practicing other beliefs represent 1% of the Senegalese population.

Senegalese youth and religion

Although religion is a fundamental part of Senegalese culture, more and more young people are moving away from the religious expectations of their parents towards more contemporary beliefs. Some young Senegalese are influenced by hip-hop culture while others try to promote their traditional values ​​in Senegalese public and political arenas. In Senegal, religion can play a very important role for the older generation, but serves a very different purpose for the different young people in the country.

Religious beliefs in Senegal

Rank belief system Share of population in Senegal
1 Islam 92%
2 Christianity 6%
West African animism, Hinduism and other beliefs 1%