(JollofNews) – Fellow Muslims, As-Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh. All praises be to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala for making it possible to witness yet another occasion of the annual Blessed feast of Eid-ul-Adha and to join Muslims the world over in its celebrations.
On this glorious and blessed occasion, I convey to you all my heartfelt felicitations and best wishes. I also take advantage of the sacredness of the day to offer most-fervent prayers for the Almighty Allah to accept the acts of worship of all Muslims and the Hajj rituals performed by all pilgrims.
Fellow Muslims, as we all know, the feast of Eid-ul-Adha is a commemoration of the noble command given by Allah to Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his only son, Ismael to Him, Ibrahim’s strong faith and total submission to the Almighty Allah’s will; and Allah’s mercy in providing a ram through Angel Gibril in place of Ismael.
The feast marks the end of the observance of the fifth pillar of Islam, the Hajj, during the course of which pilgrims perform rituals of worship ordained by the Almighty Allah to demonstrate their renouncement of worldly concerns and embracement of the voice and will of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala.
These rituals, of which Eid-ul-Adha is an integral part, indicate that the day is one of high spiritual devotion, moral uprightness and humanitarian benevolence. They also account for the other virtuous elements of the day’s significance.
Eid-ul-Adha is not only a day of sacrifice but one of peace and thanksgiving, a day of forgiveness and moral victory, a day of good harvest and remarkable achievements and a day of festive remembrance. Thus as we celebrate this sacred day, it is imperative to all Muslims that in addition to the Eid congregational prayers, we should pray to Allah and glorify His name, in gratitude and in remembrance of His glory, blessings and favours that He showered on Ibrahim and his family and the Holy Prophet Mohammad and which He continues to bequeath to all Muslims and indeed all humankind.
Thus regardless of whether or not we are actually performing the Hajj rituals, we should as Muslims spiritually emulate and empathise the pilgrims and emulate the virtues and pious qualities that are to be drawn from the acts of worship the Almighty Allah has commanded them to perform.
Fellow Muslims, the circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba, the site of which was revealed to Adam, is an emulation of Prophet Ibrahim and Ismael’s fulfilment of Allah’s command after it was erected; and reaffirms the genealogical connection to Adam of all mankind as well as the oneness and eternal presence of Allah the Almighty. The brisk walks around the Kaaba are therefore a show of faith that should help us solidify our belief and trust in Allah and an indication of the equality of all Muslims, indeed all mankind, irrespective of race, tribe or country of origin. Similarly, the laps between the hills of Saafa and Marwa are in remembrance of the revered Hajara’s desperate search for water in an arid environment and a manifestation of gratitude for Allah’s revelation of the well of Zam Zam from which she quenched Ismael’s thirst and which continues to be an inexhaustible source of blessed water for all Muslims.
In the current world challenged by scarcity of water, there cannot be a more appropriate time for a spiritual alignment with Hajara and the pilgrims than this sacred day. We in the Gambia however, should be eternally most thankful to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala for blessing us with an acquifer system that is endowed with a massive resource base that is annually recharged.
We are also grateful to the Almighty Allah for the ability of government to sustainably exploit and manage this indispensable resource in providing access to clean and drinkable water within a 15 – minute walk throughout the country, resulting in the conferment of the African Union award in June 2015, in recognition of the country’s attainment of MDG.
Fellow Muslims, the pilgrims’ daylong session of prayers, contemplation and reflection at Mount Arafat constitutes an expression of gratitude to Allah in recollection of seminal acts of Allah’s compassion and historic events of importance to all Muslims. We Muslims believe that it was at Arafat that Allah re-united Adam and Awa on earth after their banishment from heaven and where the Almighty Allah forgave them their sins and transgressions. Thus on this day, we should all pray for Allah’s forgiveness of our sins and trespasses and learn to forgive each other as Muslims, and indeed as fellow human beings.
I therefore seize the occasion presented by this sacred day of mercy to thank Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala for blessing us with this virtuous quality which is an embodiment of True Islam.
Fellow Muslims, It was also on Mount Arafat that the Holy Prophet performed his last sermon on earth. We have learnt that on that historic occasion, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) reminded mankind of and elaborated upon his mission and message touching on all essential aspects of Islam’s pillars, principles and practices. More importantly however, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) admonished the entire Muslim ummah to treasure the Holy Quran and his Sunaah as sources of guidance, direction, and reference in administering all mundane and secular matters and as the path to salvation both in this world and the hereafter.
Fellow Muslims, the lesson to be drawn from this sermon is merely to live our lives in accordance with Allah’s command, which means ensuring that our obligations to Allah are fulfilled and our responsibilities to our fellow human beings and society are carried out with righteousness. This is the pattern of behaviour that assures us access to our spiritual rights, and our steadfastness to the faithful observance of the duties of prayer, fasting, devotion, sacrifice, sharing and caring.
These however call for self-control on our desires and passions through discipline which results in liberation from wrongdoing, fear and cowardice, indecency, greed, jealousy, arrogance and all other vices. Thus, on this sacred day, we should pray to Allah for the strength of faith and character that enable us to shun negative habits and tendencies so that for all of us, true Muslims the world over, this festive day will also be one on which the Almighty Allah rewards us for the good work done in His service and grant us in abundance His immeasurable mercy and blessings.
But, fellow Muslims, as we all know the most formidable enemy that attempts to stifle our development as faithful Muslims is Satan and his influence. This is why I urge all of us to empathise in spirit the Hajj ritual ordained for pilgrims by Allah to hurl stones at Satan’s effigy in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s triumph over Satan’s temptation by strongly adhering to Allah’s command. There is no ritual worthier than this for emulation and celebration.
We Gambians are however grateful to Allah SWT, that on the home front, our Islamic educational policies and programs to motivate young Gambian men and women to be conversant with their religion and to become devout Muslims have shown tremendous success. We are delighted that nowadays more and more young Muslims frequent the mosques to perform both regular daily and Friday prayers and even Tahajjud and Taraweeh prayers during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Thus we can proudly and safely state that true Islamic faith has been firmly established in the Gambia.
We continue to pray to the Almighty Allah that the culture of erudition, piety, patriotism and hard work extolled by Islam continues to grow and expand amongst our youth both in the present and future generations. In the same vein, we should all pray that Allah SWT enables the truly pious progressive forces of Islam to swiftly and decisively, not only defeat the Satanic forces of infamy, that have through their heinous crimes and violent acts intended to desecrate Islam and destabilise Muslim countries and entire regions; but to also destroy and shame their ungodly sadistic allies that sponsor and promote them.
Islam is a religion of peace, and on this sacred day of devotion, celebration, peace and thanksgiving, we should fervently pray to the Almighty Allah to annihilate this global demonic empire of hate, greed and infamy and, restore permanent peace, love and justice in these trouble spots and indeed the entire world. True Muslims are the victims of a global satanic anti-Islamic crusade that must and will be destroyed very soon Inshallah [Allah Willing].
Fellow Muslims, we should also remember the deceased by praying for their souls to rest in peace. We should visit the sick, the needy, the disabled and the vulnerable and share with them, care for them as well as sympathise and console them.
However, it is very shameful as well as unsettling that as some of us celebrate in peace and harmony with our families, millions of our fellow Muslims across the globe are homeless refugees fleeing for their lives and will not even have a cup of clean drinking water to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha. If we are all true Muslims, our these brothers and sisters in Islam would be celebrating in peace and love and in the company of their families as we are.
Fellow Muslims, this year’s celebration of Eid-ul-Adha is taking place at a time when we as a nation are drawing very near to the terminal year of Vision 2016, for the attainment of food self-sufficiency in our quest to eradicate hunger and poverty in the Gambia. I am happy to inform you that the programme includes support to sheep-fattening and small ruminant production to facilitate the supply of healthy animals at affordable prices for the Eid and beyond.
My government has also currently waived all taxes on imported livestock to enhance their affordability for the feast. I hereby strictly warn all sheep owners, dealers and small animal producers benefitting from such programmes to ensure not only availability and just prices of their livestock/rams to Muslims during this Eid-ul-Adha, but work hard enough to ensure that the need to import animals of this nature is eliminated by the end of 2016.
On this note, I have the greatest pleasure and privilege to declare that the Gambia will welcome all people who are being persecuted, humiliated or killed because of their faith around the world.
As from today, the Gambia is a welcoming home to Christians, Yazidis, Coptics etc. who are victims of these human vermins disguised as Muslim extremists. They can be permanently settled in the Gambia just as we offered to the Rohingas etc. We call on all members of Humanity with a conscience or fear of Allah, who can, to help build permanent settlements for our these brothers and sisters in the true spirit of Islam and love for humanity.
On a final note, I hereby urge you all to celebrate moderately and responsibly as enshrined in the Holy Quran. Celebrate safely, moderately and responsibly, then you will have a happy and memorable Eid-ul-Adha – Tobaski.
As-Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh.