Gambia: The Deplorable Lethargy of Religious Scholars to Standing up for Justice
Friday, June 29, 2012
To achieve the aforementioned they would venture into all forms of vices, magic, sorcery and even elimination of people who stand on their way. These are very typical of sub-Saharan Africa and the smiling coast of West Africa is no exception.
Unfortunately, the label mentioned in the later is fading. From history, it is documented that truthful scholars of Islam always fall out with the state for preaching the truth. Even the prophet (SAW) was at loggerheads with the system of authority in Arabia when he was chosen to convey the message of truth.
When he upheld the message he became an enemy to the system and was fought tooth and nail but as the saying goes truth would always be victorious over falsehood. He overcome his enemies by the help of God and established the truth that flourished and benefited mankind in all generations.
When the prophet (SAW) started his call he was enticed by those in authority to give it up. Various proposals where tabled before him. Proposals such as; to make him the richest amongst them or to be king or be married to the most beautiful woman and be given all respect and worldly status. But he rejected all these proposals. His response the closest in meaning was even if they were to put the sun on his right hand and the moon on his left hand he would not give up his mission for the blink of an eye.
Imam Malick was tortured for standing up for the truth but that didn’t deter him. Imam Muhammed Ibn Abdul Wahab was asked to leave Basra in those days under the hot sun bare footed but that didn’t shake him from standing up for the truth. In Senegambia scholars like SerignBamba, MabaJahu Bah fought against oppression and stood up for justice. We can cite multitudes of examples of scholars of truth who stood up for justice. The list goes on and on even in modern day although there are a handful of them.
Those in authority would ridicule them and plot for society to ostracize them but that would not make these noblemen to bow down to the tyrannical systems of authority. Sadly enough majority of our scholars want to be in the good books of the state and as a result would remain mute when injustice is meted to their fellow scholars or the weak in society.
What is happening in little Gambia has left much to be desired. It is shameful to the core. A Scholar was picked up and tortured for giving a speech at the graduation ceremony of his students. In a speech that buttressed on worshiping God alone and not associating partners with him and condemning some activities at a said holy site he was severely harassed.
Of recent a scholar who was having a war of words with the Statehouse imam was arrested and detained for 9 days and he alleged torture after his release. These two episodes unfolded in tiny Gambia and it’s really weird that the nation’s Islamic council remains mute over such events.We have maximum respect for our scholars but we would not hesitate to call them to stand up for the truth if in any way they seem to drift from this path. What we have witnessed is when an issue crop up and it is in favor of the state comments would be raining from members of the nation’s Islamic council but if the issue is not in favor of the state its total silence.
Let us call a spade a spade. Our nation has experienced a witch-hunting exercise perpetuated by elements of the state in which some elders were accused of witch craft and treated in the most inhumane way. Not a single scholar in the council coughed to condemn the disgraceful act.
But then when the state arrested some men and accused them of homosexuality every pulpit in Banjul and surrounding raged in condemnation of the accused even though they were suspects and not proven guilty yet. One very shameful scenario is when two Imams resort to insults and pointing fingers to each other over some differences.
This leaves one wondering as to what must be the driving force of such confrontation. Are the love of God and the beauty of this great religion the motivating wheel of such attacks? Did the pious predecessors settled differences in such a manner? Are they preaching A but doing B? Such questions would continue to linger on the minds of any genuine Muslims. What is apparent is that scholars who want to be in the good books of the state hardly stand up for justice. To our scholars we say stand up for justice as SheikulislamIbnTaymiyyah is reported to have said “Allah will support a just nation even if it were non-Muslim, and that He will not support an unjust nation even if it were Muslim”. May God protect our scholars and save them from getting entangled in the net of greed, and whispers of Satan the outcast! Ameen!
Author: Landing Nyassi