Alagi Yorro Jallow
“SURELY IBRAHIM WAS AN EXAMPLE, OBEDIENT TO ALLAH, BY NATURE UPRIGHT, AND HE WAS NOT OF THE POLYTHEISTS. HE WAS GRATEFUL FOR OUR BOUNTIES. WE CHOSE HIM AND GUIDED HIM UNTO A RIGHT PATH. WE GAVE HIM GOOD IN THIS WORLD, AND IN THE NEXT HE WILL MOST SURELY BE AMONG THE RIGHTEOUS.”
Fatoumatta: Gambians, especially Muslims, have been charged to emulate the spirit of sacrifice, selflessness, and sincerity exhibited by Prophet Abraham (as) in the spirit of Eid-el-Kabir. It is also a time to demonstrate charity, commitment, cooperation, compassion, and a sense of unity and oneness. Ultimately it is a time to celebrate the principles, meaning, and essence of Islam.
Eid Al-Adha, known as Tobaski, contains many wonderful messages, including the fact that it is an external expression of the testimony of faith. Every year, at the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Muslims celebrate and commemorate this glorious and holy day that derives its message from the remarkable trials, triumphs, and the unwavering faith of Prophet Abraham (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Furthermore, in the extraordinary story of Prophet Abraham(as) and his love for the Almighty, many faiths worldwide learn about obedience and submission to the Almighty.
For every Muslim, at this time of year, we are obliged to remember the acts of obedience and submission performed by Prophet Abraham (as) and his family when he was commanded to take Hajara (as) the iron lady of Isalm and their son Prophet Ismail (as) to a desolate, remote land as a sacrifice and symbol of his love for his Creator. In what seemed an almost impossible feat, Prophet Abraham (as) submitted and obeyed the command from God.
Fatoumatta: At the realization of the ordeal to befall them, Hajara (as) queried Prophet Abraham (as) about whether he intended to leave them as a sacrifice in the valley. Prophet Abraham (as) did not answer. Then, contemplating his silence, she went ahead to ask if Allah ordered the Prophet to sacrifice her and her son, to which he replied in the affirmative. In response to this final answer, Hajara submitted to Allah’s will because she knew that God would never let her and Ismail perish.
In addition, when Prophet Ismail (as) grew up, the Prophet was again commanded by the Almighty to sacrifice him. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to God’s will. When he was all prepared to do it, Allah revealed that his sacrifice had already been fulfilled. He had shown that his love for his Lord superseded all others to the extent that he was prepared to lay down his own life or the lives of those dear to him to submit to God. There is no doubt that throughout history, the family of Prophet Abraham(as) was a family that demonstrated the profundity of obedience and submission like no other. Time and again, their faith and will have been tested. However, each time, they exhibited resilience in patience, submission, and obedience.
Just as Prophet Abraham (as) was tested throughout his life to see if he would submit or not, so will we be tested to see whether we submit to the Almighty’s rules and regulations. Just as the people of other faiths practice at various times of the religious calendar, Muslims have no better time to realize that every strain, drudgery, and adversity we suffer compliments our pursuit of being obedient. Suppose we all obey the tenants of our religion. In that case, we may be in the company of Prophet Abraham (as) and his family in Paradise.
Fatouatta: We should continuously improve our obedience and submission to God in the short space of time we have in this world. We must always recall that a significant number of people who celebrated Eid with us in the years gone by have now become graveyard residents. We are sure to join them at a time unknown to us and best known to God.
To bask is about having an attitude and willingness to make sacrifices in our lives to adhere to compassion and righteousness. Moreover, that can only be a good thing because we each should make the small sacrifices giving up fun or important things to us. A Muslim who indeed submits themselves completely will always be willing to follow the Lord’s commands completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity in faith, and willing obedience that our Lord desires from us.
When we share meat during Eid al-Adha (Tobaski), we share it mostly with immediate family, relatives, friends, and the poor. The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that benefit us or close to our hearts to follow Allah’s commands. It also symbolizes our willingness to give up some of our bounties to strengthen friendship ties and help those in need. We recognize that all blessings come from the Almighty, and we should open our hearts and share with others.
Whether we are Jews, Christians, or Muslims, we should channel the message of peace, sacrifice, and forgiveness that Prophet Abraham (as), the grandfather of all three religions, passed down to us. Part of the message of Tobaski is that we are from the same roots. Therefore, just as we gathered to share in the blessings of Eid, no matter which faith we practice, we must try very hard to reinforce our humanity, unity and mend our differences upon truth, fairness, and justice.
Now that the Tobaski has come, the meat will be eaten, the “Eid Mubaraks or Tobaski” will be exhausted, our obedience and submission must be constant and continuous during this period and beyond. Therefore, let us endeavor to do good deeds because we must remember that no one has an agreement with the Angel of Death to delay their death until the time they choose to submit and obey their Lord. We know of the example of this submission from Prophet Abraham( as), Hajara, and their son Prophet Ismail(as).
As another Eid Al-Adha (Tobaski) comes and passes, I remember, with nostalgia, those my beautiful early years during the festival’s celebrations. Moreover, although I may not be as ecstatic about the slaughtering of ram as I was when I was a young boy, I still love and appreciate this time of year as much as I ever did.
Fatoumatta: The Gambia, at this time, needs loyal services from its citizenry as corruption has done much harm to the welfare of its people, hence, the need for everyone to renew their commitment towards a better country. Contentment is a virtue respected and propagated by every religion, race, and creed. In contrast, covetousness and greed are generally regarded as a vice, repelled by everyone, with contemptuous annoyance. Therefore, as Gambians, we are to save the country from the present economic quagmire by probing public office holders’ character and ensuring that those entrusted with leadership responsibilities are people of integrity.
The Gambia today is confronted with a bug called corruption. It has infested our world and had eaten deep like cankerworm into the fabric of our society. Ranging from pilfering and pedestrian underhand dealings to official manipulation and palace looting, corruption has become the caterpillar of destruction. It becomes worrisome that custodians of the constitution and guardians of the constitutional authority, those in positions of power and those entrusted with responsibilities, are the ones who turned to be the captains among the legions of maggots eating up the nation.
The disspirited in the Gambian society is beginning to have a sense of relief and a new lease of life on account of the action of the present administration. Therefore, we must perceive a new wave of leadership to combat the monster and be confronted and be attacked vehemently.
The populace must resolve to resist the cabals who pillage and plundered the nation’s resources face justice. President Adama Barrow should be beware of the ‘mixed multitudes,’ referring to many within and outside the President’s fold who had hitherto lived with monstrous skeletons in their cupboards. He admonished the President to ensure those culpable individuals are brought to justice.
“It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you. And give glad tidings (O Muhammad SAW) (doers of good).” Holy Quran 22:37. O Allah increase us in piety and accept our worship this period and beyond. Aameen.
Fatoumatta: I hope Tobaski touches families throughout the Gambia and the world the way it has touched mine. During this beautiful and wonderful time, I would like to send my best wishes to all who observe the festival and celebration of Eid al-Adha and thank those who rejoice and celebrate with us.
Alagi Yorro Jallow