The River War - An Account Of The Reconquest Of The Sudan By Winston S. Churchill

 -  His aspirations growing
with his years and knowledge, he journeyed to Khartoum as soon as his
religious education was completed - Page 30
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His Aspirations Growing With His Years And Knowledge, He Journeyed To Khartoum As Soon As His Religious Education Was Completed, And Became A Disciple Of The Renowned And Holy Sheikh, Mohammed Sherif.

His devotion to his superior, to his studies and to the practice of austerities, and a strange personal influence he was already beginning to show, won him by degrees a few disciples of his own: and with them he retired to the island of Abba.

Here by the waters of the White Nile Mohammed Ahmed lived for several years. His two brothers, who were boat-builders in the neighbourhood, supported him by their industry. But it must have been an easy burden, for we read that he 'hollowed out for himself a cave in the mud bank, and lived in almost entire seclusion, fasting often for days, and occasionally paying a visit to the head of the order to assure him of his devotion and obedience.' [I take this passage from FIRE AND SWORD IN THE SOUDAN, by Slatin. His account is the most graphic and trustworthy of all known records of the Mahdi. He had terrible opportunities of collecting information. I have followed his version (chapter iv.) very closely on this subject.] Meanwhile his sanctity increased, and the labour and charity of the brothers were assisted by the alms of godly travellers on the river.

This virtuous and frugal existence was disturbed and terminated by an untoward event. The renowned and holy Sheikh made a feast to celebrate the circumcision of his sons.

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