Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuhu
NEW YEAR MESSAGE TO THE NATION: PEACE, JUSTICE, TOLERANCE, FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION.
Gambians, those living in The Gambia and Friends of The Gambia,
I am indeed grateful to Allah Almighty that He has given us life to witness the beginning of 2017 and I take the opportunity to wish you all a prosperous year and beyond.
The New Year is at the dawn of a new era in the Gambia—the beginning of the Third Republic of our beloved nation. At the present moment there is much talk of a political turmoil and impasse in the country and divergent views are expressed in all directions. However there is calm and peaceful co-existence and people are going about with their businesses unhampered. The Gambia is exercising her God-fearing attitude and yearning for progress this coming year. By the Grace of Allah Almighty the country will move in peaceful transition from on stage of its political history to the other in a way that we will be the envy of the whole world with moves worthy of emulation. May Allah Almighty take us through that. Ameen.
On Monday12th December 2017 many Muslims in The Gambia celebrated Maulud Nabi (commonly called GAMO). The trust here is to celebrate the birthday of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). Co-incidentally the Head of the World-wide Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at and the Fifth Khalifa, His Holiness, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (atba), addressing the closure of the 122nd Annual Convention (Jalsa Salana) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at in Qadian, India on Wednesday 28th December 2016, said among other things:
“All Muslims must heed the perfect examples of the Holy Prophet Muhammad of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him).” He spoke of the outstanding moral and spiritual example set by the founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) and the unparalleled impact he had upon his followers. The Khalifa continued to say “The worship and prayer of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) were offered with the intense desire that his followers became true worshippers of God Almighty and prostrated before Him alone. When they adopted his example, the same people who were previously idolaters, became the very best examples of sincere worship for all people and for all times to come. Certainly, a true spiritual revolution occurred amongst those people.” Again His Holiness said, “when one looks at the transformation that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) brought about in the Arab people of those times and analyses how they were elevated from a state of despair, a person is unable to control his tears. It was a truly magnificent spiritual reformation, the like of which has never been seen in the history of any other nation.” Hudhur (the Khalifa) also spoke of how the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) demonstrated the highest standards of forgiveness, humility and gratitude at all times. He sighted the Fall of Mecca as an example of how he forgave a community that have severely persecuted him and his followers for many years and drove them out of his birth place. Upon his victory the Meccans were expecting vengeance but he showed them unparalleled examples of forgiveness and compassion. Contrasting the examples of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) and worldly leaders of today and the past, Hudhur (the Khalifa) said: “Throughout history we have seen how when many worldly leaders have attained power they become dictators or tyrants. In fact, even when a normal person attains success or victory, he often raises his neck with arrogance and pride. However, the example of the perfect human being, the Holy Prophet Muhammad of Islam (peace and blessings be on him) was to profess only humility and forgiveness at the time of triumph.” On the side of gratitude, Hudhur (the Khalifa) mentioned how the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) was grateful to his first wife Hadhrat Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) who gave him love, support and devotion in the early days of Islam when everyone deserted him; and the Christian Monarch of Abyssinia, King Negus (Najashi), who gave protection to some Muslims when they escaped the persecution of the Arab Meccans. Hudhur (the Khalifa) said, “The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) never forgot the devotion of his wife and considered it to be a favour upon him and always remained grateful to her.” Hudhur (the Khalifa) opined that Muslims were duty-bound to follow the example of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) and so it was incumbent upon Muslim men to treat their wives with love, kindness and be grateful to them. The Khalifa continued, “The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) remained forever grateful to the Christian King and personally received a delegation sent by King Negus out of gratitude.” Hudhur (the Khalifa) concluded the address by praying that Muslims worldwide came to reflect and honour the values taught by the Holy Prophet Muhammad of Islam (peace and blessings be on him).
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him), the founder of Islam, our Teacher and Chief Imam let a delegation of Christians from Nijran to worship in their own way in his mosque in Medina , and what a perfect example of religious tolerance and understanding exhibited. Do we have the hearts to forgive instead of carrying out different atrocities against humanity and killing innocent people? Religion is not owned by any body or group, it is only for Allah Almighty and for His sake.
In a similar vein, my message to the Gambian people, people living in the Gambia and friends of the Gambia is:
Worship Allah, and Allah alone;
Have unflinching love for our motherland, The Gambia;
Let justice guide all our actions and we have respect for one another as people and one family;
Give optimal love and forgiveness for people around you and to everybody;
Make The Gambia’s development agenda our priority and contribute your quota towards its realization;
Let our diversity be our strength and leave no room for shattering of different values;
Show gratitude and be humble.
I wish to extend my s gratitude to the out-going Government for all the developments that have taken place for over two decades in the country.
To the in-coming Government I wish you all the best and admonish that the Gambian people are one, Muslims and Christians, and should be treated as such. You are coming into office to lead people of diverse political, ethnic and religious beliefs. Good governance is what is expected of you and we should all join hands to enhance that. Respect all and discriminate none. We are not masters of the people but their servants. Respect the Constitution and follow it to the letter; use the national anthem as a vehicle to achieve peace and stability.
To my fellow citizens and friends of the country, let us remember that we have elected some of us to run the affairs of the country. We all cannot be at the helm of affairs and we all cannot be Members of Cabinet and we all cannot be Heads of Department and Managing Directors. We can contribute our different quotas at different capacities to bring a sum total of the development aspirations. In as much as we want development we cannot fast track it, so let us be patient and help those we entrust the responsibilities to steer the ship.
The Supreme Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V (atba) is conveying salaam and prayers to all Gambians and non-Gambians on the occasion of the New Year.
May Allah Almighty make this year successful and with prosperity for the country, and make all Gambians and non-Gambians to nurture and cherish the existing peace, security, stability and harmony in our dear and beloved motherland, which The Gambia has been enjoying for years. We pray that our Lord, The Creator, The Most Powerful and our Saviour will ever continue to establish and maintain peace within the country and be our Guide and Helper always. Ameen
Amir Baba F. Trawally