May 9, 2008, 6:24 AM
Tomorrow, Thursday, people in The Gambia will celebrate Eid ul Adha, commonly known as Tobaski.
The Feast of the Sacrifice is the second of two major religious holidays celebrated by Muslims worldwide each year.
We congratulate all Muslims and even non-Muslims in The Gambia for always observing this great day and feast with peace, love and kindness.
We hope and pray that this spirit continues among us forever.
However, we have noticed that the price of rams continues to shoot up exponentially, beyond the reach of the average Gambian.
Ram dealers claimed it is due to the sliding strength of the Dalasi and some other man-made problems placed on their way.
Whatever the case may be, the government should find a mechanism to work around the issue so that average people and salary earners in the country could afford a sacrificial ram in fulfillment of Allah’s command.
From the look of things, this year, many people in The Gambia would not be able to offer the sacrifice to Allah, because they cannot simply afford the money.
It is, therefore, commendable that President Yahya Jammeh decided to intervene by also putting out rams for sale at prices cheaper than the market prices.
However, we hope the President could next time start the sale early, and decentralise it so that many people can have access to it, not in the ‘rush hour’.
Similarly, the well-to-do ones among us should extend a helping hand to the less fortunate fellow Muslims, by assisting them with cash to buy a ram or share meat with them after the sacrifice.
But inasmuch as people are strongly recommended to slaughter a ram on this day, it is not incumbent on those who cannot afford the sacrifice.
But there are instances where people do all it takes to get one. This is against the teachings of the holy book, and as Muslims we should measure our doings according to what we can afford, to avoid un-Islamic behaviour.
Besides the ram issue, some family heads always find it very difficult to cope with certain members of their family, who will want them to provide things that are even beyond their earnings.
People will want to spend all the monies they have for the day and, most of the time, shortly after the feast, some find it hard even to provide even fish money.
So, it is not advisable to spend all the family income at the same time.
In addition, parents and all those with family responsibility should know that, immediately after the Tobaski, schools are expected to open for a new academic year; so they need to pay school fees and related expenses for their children.
Having said that, during the feast, as Muslims, we should seek forgiveness and forgive those who have wronged us, or with whom we have differences or a misunderstanding.
This is required of all Muslims and God-fearing people, particularly on days like the Tobaski.
We would also like to wish all our readers, advertisers and the entire Muslim Ummah a happy and enjoyable Tobaski.
“ Let’s support one another.”