As Ramadan Approaches (Part II)
Monday, July 16, 2012
Owing to the controversy that have been marring the observance of Ramadan in The Gambia, especially in the past few years, it is no surprise that most of the lectures on Ramadan focused on the need for unity among Muslims and within the Islamic ummah.
However, while all the Islamic scholars expressed aspirations for the country to observe the month in unison, what is also crystal clear is that they are still sharply divided in opinion on, for instance, how and when.
Others want the Muslims to rally behind the Supreme Islamic Council to fast when Mecca fasts, etc. etc., but others insist that the country should fast upon sighting the moon.
The Daily News is at a loss to understand why this division persists, even though the Supreme Islamic Council, once upon a time, guaranteed that the (larger) camp of scholars and imams, who defied them, had surrendered.
This was the impression given to The Gambian public after the council conducted a country-wide tour to engage religious leaders on the issue.
Infact, according to the broadcast on the state-owned GRTS, the council’s erudite scholars won imams and scholars on the other camp, after a heated debate.
But alas! what followed was even more devastating. The Tobaski came and the Muslims were divided more than ever before.
So was it for many feasts that followed, one of which was in fact embarrassing for the council when they asked the people to observe the feast on a so date, only for them to return shortly afterwards to the media to announce a postponement for the following day. This was in the wake of what could be fittingly described as a misleading information from Mecca.
To the Supreme Islamic Council, therefore, have you not learned your lessons when you acted on that misleading information from Mecca? Leadership, be it in religion or politics, does not mean one should impose unnecessary conditions on followers. Leaders lead followers, but their views should reflect that of the public, and not otherwise. Surely, you are learned, wise enough to avoid the bickering…
In conclusion, to the both sides of the spectrum, as the Ramadan approaches, for heaven’s sake, work to spare the innocent Gambian public your controversies. Lead us in unity through the right path - the path that Allah ordains! Diversity of views bodes well for the development of the knowledge on the religion, but your division does not tell well…