Mar 1, 2013, 11:25 AM
Fellow Gambians, As we join Muslims around the world to observe one of the most important feasts in Islam, the feast of Eid ul Adha, commonly known as Tobaski, it is incumbent upon us to praise and glorify Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala for the many blessings He continues to shower on us and keeping us an Allah-worshipping nation united in peace progress and prosperity. As we advance in our collective journey of socioeconomic development, it is important to reflect on the challenges we have overcome as this will help to strengthen our faith in the One True God, Allah, to whom alone we submit for guidance, sustenance and salvation.
Earlier this year, when we celebrated the 19th anniversary of the great July 22nd Revolution, I chose as a theme “Let’s live according to our religion” and I would emphasize, yet again, the relevance of this theme to our current socioeconomic priorities amidst the challenges of globalization. We live in a highly integrated world both in terms of economics and culture, yet we have our own beliefs and value system anchored on and enhanced by religion, to which we must stick at all times. There is no success or progress that will endure unless it is founded on the Laws of God as promulgated in the Holy Quran.
As Allah fearing people, there are certain values and norms we conform to and these must be held sacred at all times and under all circumstances regardless of the campaign of calumny perpetrated by some global powers. The sanctity of human live, respect for the law and following the order of nature in all our human endeavors must be respected regardless of the self-professed immoral views and ideas propagated by those global powers, which are contrary to the natural order.
The feast of Eid ul Adha we are celebrating itself, holds many lessons for Allah fearing Muslims and religious people. In the middle of a desert, amidst want and deprivation, a Holy man called Ibraheem defied all temptations and distraction to lay the foundation of a house for the worship of the ONE TRUE GOD, ALLAH. The same Holy Prophet of Allah had the faith, tenacity, and courage to sacrifice his only son to fulfill the command of Allah (SWT). However, the Almighty Allah in his infinite mercy and knowing the intention of Ebraheem to fulfill his command decreed the slaughter of a ram instead of his son Ismail, who willingly submitted himself to his father’s will. Therefore, Ismail’s submission to his father’s wish teaches us all as Believers to submit to the wishes of our parents as long as such wishes are in the service of the Almighty ALLAH.
The lesson in this encounter of Ebraheem and his Lord is for us as Muslims, especially in our time, to know that the sacrifice that is required of us is not as daunting as that of this great prophet. Therefore, we should emulate his faith and courage by sticking to the laws of Allah in our daily activities.
However, emulating Prophet Ebraheem must not be restricted to the slaughtering of rams alone. We must also, in true Islamic fashion, slaughter our evil urges towards the ways of Satan and his accomplices in all their shapes and colour. We must stay away from the immoral and satanic ways of life being promoted by some global powers in the name of human rights and freedom. Our submission and subservience is only to Allah and to Allah alone must we bow down. Remember that TO ALLAH, we must all return to face judgment for all that we do in this world.
The other part of the story of our great prophet Ebraheem is the courage and faith of his obedient son Ismael who fully cooperated with his father for his own slaughter as sacrifice. We should raise our children in a way and manner that they would be obedient to Allah first and then to their parents. For us to be successful in raising obedient children who will live according to their religion, we must not abdicate the responsibility of inculcating religious piety, discipline and the fear of Allah in them.
Although our schools play a positive role in the raising of our young ones, they cannot and will never replace the role of parents. It is our duty to be the role models for our children and not to let them go astray due to materialism and negative foreign influences now, only to turn around and blame them for bad habits when they grow up. In this vein, we should be mindful of what rules and regulations we promulgate in our schools and other institutions so that they conform to our own traditions and culture. As the proliferation of various forms of mass media continues, we must not only know what type of media our children are exposed to, but we must also monitor and control their use of media facilities especially the now ubiquitous social media.
Fellow Gambians, brothers and sisters in Islam
My government will continue to create the necessary conducive environment for the nurturing of values, norms and skills for the raising of responsible children and youth who will continue to live according to our religion. This effort will be anchored on the already high pedestal we have raised the education platform to according to the promise I made to this country that “as far as good education is concerned, the sky is the limit!” We will reinforce and consolidate the gains already made in this sector by fine-tuning our educational system for greater relevance not only in terms of skills and employability but also and more important in terms of the cultural values that our children should be infused and enthused with. We will never be a society that will generate “education without morality”.
In tandem with the training of our youths, we will also continue to adjust our laws to better reflect our cultural and religious values.The enforcement of these laws will also be further boosted to reinforce the peace and stability of this country that is already a haven for peaceful co-existence and socio-cultural harmony.
I urge the youth of this country not to entertain tribalism and narrow-minded, self-centered vermins, disguised as a political party. True political parties can oppose any government based on logic and principle but would never yearn for the destruction of their country and her people.
This government has tolerated so much nonsense for a very long period of time. As from this day, we will have Zero Tolerance for Tribalists and dangerous criminals be they be disguised as opposition, or asylum seekers. Tarnishing the image of this country is treasonable and all those engaged in this would pay a high price. Hating one’s country is Ungodly. In any religion mounting a smear campaign against one’s country on behalf of outside powers is TREASON.
In this vein, I urge all religious and cultural leaders to further enhance the inculcation of our religious and cultural values by teaching and living these values in a dynamic manner that would resonate with our young. In the midst of uncensored pop culture, we must not leave a void in our social systems that could easily be filled by alien value systems. We must continue to engage our young ones in a positive way to create effective ways and means of transferring our values and norms from one generation to the other. We must continue to imbibe in our youth the value of patriotism. Being truly patriotic includes the respect for authority and the defense of one’s nation against all odds. On this note, I hereby urge our Mandingo brothers and sisters that they have every right to oppose the Government but they have no right whatsoever to tarnish the image of our country. I will not tolerate any campaign based on malicious lies and fabrication just for political asylum.
In conclusion, as we celebrate this year’s Eid, we remember our brothers and sisters around the world who live in want and war. We urge the international community to refocus their attention on the right places and with the right intention. A world that is predominantly occupied by Muslims and Christians cannot sit idly watching the slaughter of innocent children and women in senseless wars while world powers play Ping-Pong on the global political stage.
If we the Muslims and our Christian brothers and sisters around the world should live by our religions, then this state of affairs in the world’s affected regions would have abated. Our religions must be unchained from the mosques and churches and allowed to reign free in our houses and offices, especially in our global institutions. Our hearts go out to those in want and while we will continue speaking for the voiceless in such fora as the United Nations, we pray that Allah the Almighty in His Infinite Power and Bounty brings peace to those in war, health to the sick and abundant affluence to those in want.
I wish you all a joyful feast of Tobaski.
ASSALAAMU ALLAIKUM WA RAHMATTULAH, WA BARAKAATUHU