Sep 2, 2008, 8:24 AM
Gambians will celebrate tomorrow Eid al-Adha, commonly known as Tobaski in The Gambia. The festival or the feast of the sacrifice is the second of two major religious holidays celebrated by Muslims worldwide each year.
Eid al-Adha honours the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his promised son Ishmael as an act of submission to God’s command. And God intervened to provide Abraham with a lamb or a ram to sacrifice instead. What a faith and act of obedience and sacrifice exhibited by Abraham.
It is in similar vein Muslims the world over are observing this day with the offering of a ram sacrifice to Allah.
We congratulate all Muslims and even non-Muslims in The Gambia for always observing this great day and feast with peace, love and kindness. And we hope and pray that this spirit continues among us forever.
However, we have noticed that this year the prices of rams are very expensive for the average Gambian. Ram dealers claim it is due to the sliding strength of the Dalasi and some other man-made problems placed in their way.
Whatever the case, Government could also find a mechanism for the livestock department to improve on such kinds of situation, so the average person and salary earners in The Gambia could afford to sacrifice a ram to Allah the Almighty, as it is a faith-testing sacrifice that all Muslim family heads, especially, should not be deprived of.
But while the mounting price of buying a ram for the sacrifice continues to shoot up exponentially, it will be highly difficult for majority of Muslims in this country to offer the sacrifice to our creator Allah the Almighty.
It is, therefore, commendable that President Yahya Jammeh decided to intervene by also putting out rams for sale at prices cheaper than those of the livestock dealers
While the President’s rams are being sold at a flat rate of D7, 000 for one, those of the dealers are pegged at prices ranging from D10, 000 to D30, 000 a ram.
And we hope the President could bring more rams next year to ease the situation, because the majority of Gambians cannot afford to buy rams at these cutthroat prices.
It is also advisable that the well-to-do among us stretch out 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.
We know there is the culture of exchanging meat between friends who are better off, but this time around it will be more appropriate for those with more resources to rescue those who cannot afford it, especially our neighbours who could not offer the sacrifice.
However, it is also recommended in the Quran that a minimum of seven people could come together and pool resources to buy a cow to sacrifice for the feast.
As Muslims, the Quran also teaches us to forgive those who have wronged us, or with whom we have differences or a misunderstanding. That is what is required of all Muslims and God-fearing people, especially in respect of occasions like this.
Every Muslim and non-Muslim should have the chance to enjoy this feast of sacrifice, thank the Almighty Allah for the day and His mercies, and pray for good health, long life and prosperity.
We should also continually pray for Allah to protect The Gambia and the whole world against turmoil and diseases such as Ebola.
Once again we wish you all a happy and enjoyable Tobaski feast.
May God bless us all!
“Festivals bring neighbors into dialogue, they increase creativity, they offer opportunities for civic pride, they improve our general psychological well-being. In short, they make cities better places to live.”