“Islam is not an ideology, it is a religion. Religion is more than an ideology because there is divinity in religion. Being religious does not mean being pessimistic. Be positive about the world, Islam is about uniting the hearts, this is why Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder. Ideologies are sets of ideas, which are human creation. Qur’an appeals to human reason,” an erudite Gambian Scholar tells Kairo Radio.
Dr. Alh. Manta Drammeh says “the more you know, the humbler you become. Reason is the bedrock of responsibility and that empirical knowledge accumulates through experience.”
Dr. Drammeh’s words of wisdom are contained in Kairo Radio’s final episode on Secularism, Religion, Politics and Tradition dialogue.
Drammeh says the outcome matters in Islam but not the name of groups. “Giving high sounding Islamic names to groups is not important. The important thing is to give citizens their dues by dispensing justice and fairness. Allah forbid transgression and injustice.”
He said Islam is not against good customs of societies. It does not accommodate bad customs like honor killings, which were common in some communities. Dr. thinks it is prudent for prople to distinguish the difference between Islam and culture. “Arab culture is not necessarily Islamic culture. Islam is about morality, likewise Christianity and Judaism also expose such values. The most important thing in Islam is to know the presence of God wherever you are.”
Dr. Drammeh adds that Islam is singled out for special attention simply because the religion has an opinion or response to global issues whilst other religions tend to be neutral in such matters.
Alhagie Manta currently opened the Timbuktu International Research Center in Scotland where he is working on putting together ancient Islamic manuscripts, creating inter-cultural engagements, harnessing African-Muslim communities in the United Kingdom and working on a dialogue of civilization between Islam and the West.
Dr. Manta has recently authored revered articles on the methodological issues in dealing with the Holy Qur’an, Qur’anic discourse on peace and plurality, which were published by by Brill Laden in Netherlands and the Muslim World Unity Journal in Malaysia International Islamic University Malaysia.
Dr. Manta frequently presents well researched papers at international conferences, the latest being in Ankara, Turkey, where he spoke on Qur’an and the people of the Book (Ahalul Kitab). He has proven to be the perfect candidate to tackle this contentious subject.
Drammeh describes the annual pilgrimage to Mecca as a universal conference where all colors come together to purify their souls.
He says “those groups that go around committing murder and engaging in criminal activity cannot use the name of Islam, since Islam is free from all their activities.
“To know is one thing to be able to interpret is another. The Qur’an questions people to reflect, think, ponder, analyze, interpret issues. Secularism has given space for religious freedom, you cannot temporarily cut yourself from your religion. Ali, a Companion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), said “you either have to be a scholar, listener, student, but don’t be the fourth.”
Tune in Sunday and listen to Dr. Manta’s educative and thought provoking conversation with Kairo Radio.
A brief profile of Dr Manta Drammeh can be found on this weblink: http://alminststaging.mtcserver.com/dev/page.php?id=202