Aja Fatou Jammeh's 40 days charity observed
Thursday, February 05, 2009
The Forty Days charity of Aja Fatou Jammeh, the late aunt of the Gambian leader, Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh, was on Tuesday observed in Kanilai, the native village of the president.
Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, vice president and secretary of state for Women's Affairs, was among thousands of sympathisers who came from across the country and beyond, to take part in prayers with the bereaved Jammeh family. Also present at the occasion were the chief justice, Abdou Karim Savage; secretaries of state; National Assembly members; service chiefs; the diplomatic community, and a cross section of the Gambian community.
The charity giving and prayers were preceded by Qur'anic recitations, with the worshippers seeking the Almighty Allah's blessings for the departed soul. Prayers for the departed soul were led by Oustass Abdoulie Fatty, Imam of the State House mosque. Speaking on behalf of the Imam of Kanilai, Malamin Jammeh, a native of the village, commended the people for attending the charity, noting that their presence manifests their love and concern for the Gambian leader, whom he said had lost a "dynamic aunt." Ousman Sanyang, who spoke on behalf of the Jammeh, Sanyang, Bojang, and Sanneh clans, also commended the general public for gracing the occasion.
Sanyang emphasised the family bond that ties the Sanyang and Jammeh clans, saying that bereavement for one is bereavement for the other. Death, Sanyang went on, is inevitable, but he explained that what is more crucial is that people pray for the departed soul. While urging the gathering to pray for the children of the deceased, the elders of the four clans also used the opportunity to pray for long and healthy lives for all those who attended the prayers.
The president of the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council, Imam Momodou Lamin Touray, who spoke on behalf of the religious leaders in the country, extended his condolences to the bereaved family. He noted that what is a cause for sadness for the Gambian leader is a cause for sadness for all Gambians.
Imam Touray described the composition of the gathering as a show of goodwill, saying that it speaks volumes for the culture of unity that has long held the people together. While calling on Muslims to nurture the true teachings of the Islamic faith and to remember that the Almighty Allah is the only Creator, the Supreme Islamic Council president hailed Gambians and other sympathisers for their show of support to the president in such a difficult moment. He then enjoined Muslims to offer prayers to the departed soul, saying that "it is the only gesture they need from us".
Speaking on behalf of the members of cabinet, Ismaila Sambou, the secretary of state for Local Government and Lands, also extended condolences to the bereaved family. Secretary of State Sambou told the gathering that the large turnout of people from all walks of life did not come as a surprise. He noted that it is due to the fact that the Gambian leader has always manifested his love and concern for the general well-being of all people.
"We are not here to be recognised as to who and who was present at the prayers, rather, we are here to sympathise with the bereaved, including the president who has the concern of the people at heart," he said. While praying for eternal peace for the late Aja Fatou Jammeh, the Local Government and Lands secretary of state called on Muslims to offer their prayers for what has been left behind by the deceased.
At the end of the ceremony, Alhaji Cherno Alieu Mass Kah, Imam Ratib of Banjul, finally concluding prayers with the recitation of Suratul Iklas 11 times, for the deceased. The late Aja Fatou Jammeh passed away on December 27, 2008, and was laid to rest in Kanilai.
Author: by Hatab Fadera