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Amir Trawally urges peace  in  parliamentary electoral  process

Apr 5, 2022, 10:57 AM

As we elect a newNational Assemblymembers on Saturday 9th April 2022, I wish to take this opportunity to appeal to all Gambians to continue to be peaceful, tolerant and law abiding.

Elections come and go but the country, The Gambia shall remain. And while we can all agree and or disagree, we can do so in peace and with sympathy for one another. Consequently, all candidates, political parties, and all others should continue to conduct themselves in a manner that is conducive to peace, tranquility and security. 

We have a collective responsibility to establish a generous and compassionate atmosphere in society throughout, especially during times of elections. Each person whether politician or not has a responsibility to live in accordance with the traditions and laws of our dear motherland, The Gambia. And we must do so with absolute tolerance, respect, sympathy and justicefor each other. 

As Muslims, the Holy Qur’an explains that no matter what the circumstance, we are not to abandon tolerance and sympathy. This is even more essential because these National Assembly elections are taking place during the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan. Therefore, remain peaceful and kind to one another. Evenif you are wronged, you are not to act other than with justice and that you should not take revenge by being unjust and cruel to your fellow human beings. If anyone does that, then you have flouted a fundamental teaching of the Holy Qur’an.We read in the Holy Qur’an in Chapter five, verse nine: “…and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be always just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Surely, Allah is aware of what you do”

This is the high standard of tolerance and justice in Islam and this is critical for us during this election season. I encourage all Gambians who have attained the rightful age to participate in the elections and to do so with responsibility and good intent and for the interest of the Gambia. Always remember that Islam advocates that we do not respond to cruelty with cruelty because to do that would make us just as cruel. Instead, if you can forgive, then forgive, that is better. God does not like those who commit excesses. Remember that the Holy month of Ramadan is for self-improvement, righteousness and heightened devotion and worship of Allah the Almighty.

So, as we vote, remember to be law abiding and conduct ourselves in a manner that will preserve the peace and stability of our dear motherland, The Gambia. As we make these choices in this Holy and blessed month of Ramadan, we do so with the righteousness that it deserves. Remember that fasting aims to teach Muslims to control their passions and lead productive lives. 

Given that there is so much discourse around freedom of expression, I want to present an example of freedom of speech and tolerance as practiced by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Once the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) bought a camel from a Bedouin Arab in exchange for about 90 kilos of dried dates. When the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) got home, he found that the dates had all gone. In all honesty and simplicity, he went to the Bedouin and said frankly to him, ‘O man of God! I bought a camel in exchange for dried dates and I thought that I had that much dates with me but when I reached home, I discovered that I did not have that many dates.’ The Bedouin said: ‘O defrauder!’ The people began to tell the Bedouin off for talking to the Messenger of God Almighty in that manner but the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: ‘Let him be.’ (Masnad Ahmad bin Hanbal Vol.6 p.268 published Beirut).

Now see this is how the ruler of the day dealt with an ordinary man. This was the standard of granting the freedom of speech and the standard of his forbearance. In this example, there is a lesson for all of us. As a candidate, remember that people might come at you in very offensive ways, always remember to take the high road. And as supporters and militants, when one’s candidate or party leader is attacked, let us remember to be role models and educate each other to be tolerant and understanding. It is our duty to practice justice and speak truth for the interest and betterment of the country. 

When the person whom we love and respect so much is insulted in the name of freedom of speech during and outside politics, how should we respond? Should we retaliate, burn flags, or carry out violent demonstrations? Certainly, not! As good Muslims, instead, it is only logical to look at the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and seek guidance from his life and teachings. In another example, once on his way returning from expedition, a hypocrite used insulting words against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The remarks made Muslims very upset and one Muslim even suggested that the culprit should be killed. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not permit anyone to do so. This incident clearly gives us an excellent lesson as Muslims on how we should respond to such incitements against our leaders. The fact that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forgave those who threw stones at him, who harassed him and tortured his followers, but he exercised forbearance and forgiveness. Thus, for both political leaders and their supporters, this is a great lesson for peace and peaceful coexistence. 

Furthermore, here are few more examples of what the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) preached and practiced with respect to exercising freedom of speech:“A believer does not taunt, or curse or abuse or talk indecently”; “Ruined are those who exaggerate”; and “A good word is a charity”.

Similarly, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has taught us some essential principles and standards in freedom of expression, which are absolutely critical to the preservation of justice and maintenance of social harmony. 

These lessons are that for us to learn from and we should always be decent, avoid embellishing stories and that we should remember that saying good things are a virtue. 

Finally, we should all work towards a peaceful, free and fair elections and let be for the interest, success, progress  and development of our dear and beloved peaceful country, The Gambia. We pray that we shall all remain true to The Gambia to be great god of Nations. Insha-Allah.Ramadan Mubarak to all of you. Ameen.

Wassalam

Baba F. Trawally

Amir

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