Dec 18, 2013, 10:24 AM
My Muslim brothers and sisters
All thanks and praises be to the Almighty Allah for the opportunity to join other Muslims the world over in commemorating the feast of Eid-ul-Adha, more commonly known to us here in The Gambia as Tobaski. On this special occasion, I would like to extend to you my heartfeltcongratulations and most fervent prayers for the Almighty Allah to accept the good deeds and supplications of all faithful Muslims.
As we all know the feast of Eid-ul-Adha reminds us of Prophet Ibrahim’s absolute surrender to the will of Allah when he was ready to sacrifice his only son, Ismail, thereby demonstrating his love for Allah above all other concerns or interests. This seminal submission to Allah’s command by Prophet Ibrahim has since become the touchstone or test for all true faithfuls.
Therefore, we should endeavor to imbibe the lessons of commitment and obedience to higher authority inherent in Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son to the will of Allah which Eid-ul-Adha commemorates. The significance of these lessons is to demonstrate what a true Muslim should be. A true Muslim should always obey what Almighty Allah has ordained and to abstain from anything that He has prohibited. In the same vein, true Muslims should not harbor hate or unleash violence on others; or wrongfully take the life of another human being. In fact, all those who save lives and help the poor and the suffering will always benefit from the blessings of Allah the Almighty.
As we celebrate Eid-ul-adha this year we witness Muslims the world over being confronted with one crisis or the another in all walks of life, from the outbreak of the dreadful deadly Ebola crises in West Africa to the senseless brutality of wars and violence unleashed on innocent peoples in various parts of the world. We should remember the victims of these crises in our prayers so that the Almighty Allah may bring relief and solace to all those in need and protect those who have been spared the evil and brutality of others or the tragic afflictions of nature.
The feast of Eid-ul-Adha is not only a moment for merry making with family and friends but also one of deep introspection, self searching, and indeed also a moment for benevolence and beneficence to one another especially the less fortunate. Let us remember that caring for one another or being good to others is not only for this moment of a religious festivities and celebrations but it should be part of the life of every Muslim. In order words, being good to others every day should not only be occasional or seasonal but an integral part of the personality of the faithful.
On this occasion I should appeal to all fellow Gambians to be aware of those who tend to be adherence of true Islam when in fact they represent the lunatic fringe of our peace loving religion.
Let me also convey my gratitude to you fellow Gambians for being true Muslims. I am truly proud of this country as it is the only country I know where a high level of tolerance and respect for other religions and faiths are exemplary in the world today. Here we do not show antagonism to any individual or group because of their religious affiliations. We do not pass judgement on others because of their religious beliefs and practices, as such judgement should be left to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
This year’s Tobaski feast is taking place at a time when we are on the verge of celebrating the 20th anniversary of the glorious July 22nd Revolution. The twenty years of our Revolution have been momentous for the Gambia. During this period there have been remarkable and indeed unprecedented achievements in the country in all fields of endeavor. We have made significant progress both in the productive sector and social sectors particularly in education, health, agriculture and public infrastructure. These achievements have permeated all levels of society and have brought progress and security to Gambians and non-Gambians resident in the country. I extend my thanks and felicitation to all those Patriotic Gambians and true friends of the Gambia who have made our these historic achievements possible.
We will never relent in our commitment to transform The Gambia into an ultra modern country, and that being the case I hereby continue to enjoin all Gambians to be geared towards that direction. We must remain steadfast and hardworking, especially as we strive to attain food self sufficiency. In this regard, I will reiterate my call for Gambians, especially the youth, to embrace agriculture, honesty and hard work since these are the surest ways of attaining genuine independence, self reliance and national dignity. I believe we are on course to achieving our national development objectives under Vision 2016 and Vision 2020. In this connection, I reaffirm our commitment to eradicating poverty in this country. But I count on all Gambians to desist from the easy tendency of embracing “self inflicted poverty” whereby one sits idly by hoping that good fortune would descend from the heavens without using one’s God-given talent and energy to work and improve one’s livelihood. What we need today is the change of attitude from complacent and dependent mindsets to more forward looking and achievement oriented dispositions.
We in The Gambia are grateful to the Almighty Allah for the peace ad tranquility that prevail in our country, a divine gift we must at all times endeavor to jealously protect and defend as we strive for greater prosperity for all Gambians.
Finally, I have the greatest pleasure and privilege to once again wish you all a happy Tobaski. Deway Nati.