To add my voice to the current terse debate and discussions about our beloved country’s predicament and recent events. Indeed much have been said and continue to be but I would rather approach it from a sanguine perspective and where possible underpin my arguments with divine texts and prophetic traditions.
Most forums are inundated with finger pointing games on certain groups of the struggle notably the minority opposition for their so called lack of action against the injustice being meted against the the main opposition UDP. Sad to say that majority have almost lost hope in the future as well as when and how we will get out of this 22 years of dictatorship, tyranny and injustice.
I will attempt to answer the following burning questions and concerns in this treatise;
- Why are we as a nation going through this trial and when is Allah going to listen to our cries?
Why is the country at large nonchalant about the current crisis and its effect on the outcome?
Is the future rosy amidst all the negative odds against us as a people?
Folks Gambia has indeed enjoyed a 30 year stint of exceptional governance and leadership. Perhaps the first republic’s only crime was overstaying (which I believe was very much the norm in the region at the time) and the propagation of the slogan (GAMBIA JAWARA NTAN’O) meaning Gambia without JAWARA. Nonetheless for every cause there is an effect and this is the mundane nature of this ephemeral world.
My theory on the possible cause of our current unfortunate state of affairs stems from two school of thoughts; either we as a nation or people have committed a grave sin(s) that earned us the wrath of our Lord or it’s just a trial meant to purify us and elevate our ranks with HIM. If the former holds true then our redemption lies in our collective repentance. However, I want to focus on the latter because am bias to believe that this is our case. In which the ultimate objective of the whole trial is for us achieve the greatest success i.e. paradise by being patient and seeking help and reward from Allah. Baqarah 2: “Or think you that you will enter paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, ‘When (will come) the help of Allah?’ Yes! Certainly, the help of Allah is near”.
Therefore I will endeavor to contextualize the Quran in light of the latter school of thought above to our Gambian situation and I seek wisdom and insight from Allah to be able to do justice in this regard. Allah calls the evil of Pharaoh over the Israelites as “BALA UN AZEEM” the great trial and at this point I would like to make a swift contrast between the salient characteristics of that great trial and ours. In Qasas 28:4 Allah explains why this trial is called the great trial; “Verily, Pharaoh exalted himself in the land and made its people sects, weakening (oppressing) a group (i.e. Children of Israel) among them, killing their sons, and letting their females live. Verily he was of the mufsidun (i.e. those who commit great sins and crimes, oppressors, tyrants, etc.)”. Allahu Akbar (Allah is great); how well this noble book fits well with every situation, condition and era albeit it was revealed 1400 years plus ago. See analysis of the contrast one by one below;
- Pharaoh exalted himself on the land – Jammeh ‘s arrogance and pomposity on the land is too apparent for me to recount in this treatise but suffice to say that his constant berating of burying dissenting voices 9 feet deep, kill like ants, etc are conspicuous evidences of his self-exaltation and aggrandizement. He brags that he would deal with his opponents in the most gruesome ways and the world would not be able to do anything, but wallahi Allah can and will do something about it.
Pharaoh made its people sects – Jammeh has divided us into tribes, sects and groups with his most recent diabolical racist and ethnic rhetoric against the MANDINKA. I am usually flabbergasted whenever I hear him rant against tribalism when in both his actions and words, he has in no uncertain terms demonstrated beyond reason doubt that he is the first Gambian that is openly guilty of this great evil that goes against the very fabric of human existence. In Hujuraat 49:13 Allah says; “O mankind! We have created you from a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At – Taqwa [i.e. one of the muttaqun (pious). Verily, Allah is all knowing, All aware”. Food for thought!!!
Pharaoh – weakening (oppressing) a group (i.e. the children of Israel) – Jammeh has been oppressing Gambians be they Mandinkas, fulas, Jolas, Wolofs, Sarahules, Manjagos, Akus et al. What is currently happening to Lawyer Darboe and his comrades is sheer oppression and the height of injustice.
Pharaoh – Killing their sons, and letting their females live – In fact in my humble view, Jammeh is even worse than Pharaoh in this regards as he kills both sons and daughters (either male or female without distinction, young and old). How pathetic that the most evil Kafir (disbeliever) i.e. pharaoh had at least courtesy to let females (weak and feeble) to live and a dictator who calls himself an arch Muslim disregards this weakness and vulnerability. For those who want to disagree, the records are there so am not going to waste time in going into that argument.
Finally Allah concludes by declaring Pharaoh as a MUFSID – see meaning above but in short an oppressor. Indeed all these qualities are vividly represented in Jammeh and without doubt his doom is eminent and he is bound to face the same fate as Pharaoh unless he repents quickly and reconcile with the weak and the oppressed by extension the Gambian people.
I belief these answer the question why this trial for us but when will all this end is still a mystery that I intend to demystify in the succeeding verses of the one mentioned above.
Again in Qasas 28:5 – 6; Allah says: “And We wished to do a favour to those who were weak (and oppressed in the land, and to make them rulers and to make them inheritors”, “And to establish them in the land, and We let Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts receive from them that which they feared”. A word is enough for the wise but those with wisdom and insight will derive a lot of inference and hope from these verses in the context of the Gambian crisis. Again I buttress what Allah says in the Quran that “We did not leave anything out of this book”. An’aam 6:38. In these two verses is hope, consolation and comfort for all those who have been oppressed since Jammeh came to power in 1994 illegally and most importantly for those that are currently being subjugated to gross prejudice. For those who say well how long would this so called help or prophesy come to pass, let me remind you that it took Pharaoh 400 years as an oppressor with might that was phenomenal. The average life of this ummah (generation) is 63 years as reported in some traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) so if you do the math our victory and dominion over Jammeh and his enablers is eminent and very near God willing.
Now the question of why the country at large is nonchalant to the current gross violations of the rights of its citizens…….Allah did not make it a precondition of his help to the Israelites against Pharaoh that all of them should partake in the fight against tyranny. It took a small group with Prophet Musa to destroy, debase and wipe out Pharaoh from the surface of the earth by God’s permission. Whether the majority of Gambians take up this fight or not, Allah will certainly help the weak and oppressed against the tyrants and oppressors. In Shu’araa 26:61-62 Allah says “And when the two hosts (i.e. Musa and Pharaoh’s group) saw each other, the companions of Musa said: ‘We are sure to be overtaken’”. “Musa said: “Nay verily! With me is my Lord, He will guide me””. Pharaoh was most afraid of Musa (in their hosts receive from them that which they feared 28.6 above) and as such he killed all the boys born amongst the Israelites at the time. However, because Allah’s help is with the weak and oppressed, Musa was born and bred under the very nose and care of Pharaoh. Why wasn’t he able to kill him knowing very well this child was going to destroy him and for whose sake thousands if not more boys were serially killed in order to stop his coming. Do the math yourselves!!!
In conclusion, I am very much sanguine about the rosiness of the future of dear motherland and without doubt the truth shall eventually prevail over falsehood vis-a-vis tyranny. Make no mistake though, this is a great trial for us and hopefully the worst we will ever get God willing but behind every difficulty there is ease. For those still sunk in the drunken stoop of power and greed (including Jammeh and all his helpers) I remind you of the following verses of surah Qasas about Qarun and his people. 28:76; “Verily, Qarun was of Musa’s people, but he behaved arrogantly towards them. And we gave him of the treasures, that of which the keys would have been a burden to a body of strong men. When his people said to him: ‘Do not be glad. Verily! Allah likes not those who are glad (with ungratefulness to Allah’s Favours)” 28:81 “So we caused the earth to swallow him and his dwelling place. Then he had no group or party to help him against Allah, nor was he one of those who could save themselves.
A final message to all Gambians; governments and leaders come and go but the Gambia and its people will remain until the day Allah will seize the world. For those with Aqeedah problems (belief/fate/conviction) be reminded that “there is no obedience to the created at the expense of the disobedience to the Creator” hadith. Be you religious leader, government official including cabinet ministers et al, we have no justification for condoning and obeying Jammeh at the expense of disobedience to Allah. Our allegiance is first to Allah and His messenger. Otherwise when Jammeh is going down, he will go down with his enablers because when Pharaoh was been wiped out, he went down with HAMAN (his chief minister in crime) and all his helpers or soldiers. To my very venerable teachers and learned men of our dear land without naming names, please fear Allah and do not support and help in crime (5:2 “but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment”.)
I pray that these subtle treatise serves as a genuine reminder for myself and most especially Jammeh and his cohorts in crime. Wallahi you will be defeated disgracefully soon Insha Allah if you don’t change and amend ways.
I close by saying these are tough times requiring tough measures; this is time for mending breaches with Allah and sincere duas. Indeed we will win and soon God willing.
BB: Thanks for a very sobering and hope-inspiring reflection. Allah is indeed all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful and the wisdom of the Quran does not change. Its truth is guaranteed. Jammeh is indeed a self-confessed dictator (Mufsid) and unfortunately, it seems unlikely that he possesses the humility to recognize the error of his ways and repents. So well, let’s just say that what Allah says will come to pass when His time arrives. May He continue to bless The Gambia.