The President of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia has urged the citizenry to strongly commit themselves and heighten their sense of faith, worship, resist evil and cultivate the practice to think, reflect and act in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Quran, and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He said we have already established ourselves as a people with a culture of generosity, caring and sharing.
His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa made these remarks on Sunday while delivering his traditional Tobaski message on the eve of Eid-ul-Adha at the State House in Banjul.
The text of the message reads:
As- Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh
We thank Allah SWT for the gift of life and wellbeing to witness and participate in the celebrations of yet another Islamic Feast of Eid-ul-Adha.
We celebrate Prophet Ebrima’s unshakable faith in Allah the Almighty and express gratitude to Allah SWT for his bountiful generosity and mercy to humankind by elevating the human species to the status of unequalled dominance among Allah’s creations, with the privilege to rear animals such as sheep, goats, cows and camels to enable us obey Allah SWT’s command to sacrifice these fellow creatures to Allah on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha.
On behalf of my government, my family and my own personal behalf, I wish to convey heart-felt congratulations and best wishes to all Gambians and non-Gambians resident in this country. We also fervently pray for Allah’s blessings and acceptance of our sacrifice and all other forms of worship that we engage in on this sacred day.
Fellow Gambians, my government has constantly and as matter of policy and principle monitored the stock and priced level of all commodities in The Gambian market to ensure their availability, accessibility and affordability. This concern has at times necessitated our intervention to sway market forces to the favour of all Gambians. Consistent with this policy, the Kanilai Farms has been offering through the KGI rams for sale at concessionary prices to enhance the fulfillment of our Eid obligation. In the same vein, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment has held consultations with all stakeholders involved in the sale of livestock to ensure prices for livestock are fair and affordable. To buttress the attainment of this objective; my government has extended a wide spectrum of fiscal incentives and facilitative measures to livestock dealers to ensure the sale of their products to the general public.
Specifically, local government authorities have waived all duties on livestock dealers at livestock sales grounds. The GRA has been exempting livestock dealers at livestock sales grounds from the regular local taxes and charges as incentives for the participation of more dealers to facilitate increases in the supply of livestock to exert downward pressure on prices. The Gambia Immigration Department has also been authorized to allow livestock dealers from the sub-region and with appropriate documentation of their commodities free entrance into the country. The Gambia Police Force has also been providing security coverage at all livestock sales grounds.
However fellow Gambians, regardless of these policy measures in support of the importation of livestock, I hasten to remind us all that the strategic policy thrust is an import substitution regime of all food items that will graduate into an export-oriented one in line with the objective of National Vision 2016. The sheep fattening and small ruminant production program of this vision have been progressing satisfactorily and IN-SHA-ALLAH, in the not too distant future, the need to import animals of this nature will be eliminated.
Fellow Gambians, in spite of the fact that it constitutes one of the highest of Eid-ul-Adha, Eid-ul-Adha is not only a day of sacrifice. Its virtues include high spiritual devotion, moral uprightness, total submission to the will of Allah SWT, thanksgiving, forgiveness and festive remembrance. Yet these are not ceremonial virtues that should only be embraced on Eid-occasions after which we let go and allow ourselves to be taken over by negative worldly pursuits and satanic temptations. These are all divine virtues that we should try to embed in our individual psyches as true Muslims and Christians and as part of our national characteristics as a God-fearing nation.
Thus we should strongly commit ourselves to heighten our sense of faith and worship, resist evil and cultivate the practice to think, reflect and act in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Quran, and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). We have already established ourselves as a people with a culture of generosity, caring and sharing. These positive tendencies and our practice of exchanging gifts on the feast of Eid-ul-Adha augur well for the development of the propensity to forgive, support and love each other. Let us all hold fast to these divine customs and traditions that are some of the bedrocks of our Islamic unity and togetherness as a nation that will strengthen our atmosphere of peace and security that will continue to be the envy of many.
We are also happy to re-acknowledge the positive attitudinal change the July 22 Revolution has effected in religious devotion among young Gambians. Gone are the days when piety in general and regular observance of the five daily prayers were seen as attributes of the old and young people with such tendencies viewed as eccentric and old fashioned. I wish to congratulate parents, the religious leaders and teachers for this positive change of attitude as well as the youths themselves for the strength of will and character that make them immune from the whims and caprices of Satan.
My government will continue to consolidate these achievements of the July 22 Revolution. This is one of the reasons we have revived and re-established the portfolio of Religious Affairs and attach it to the Ministry of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology. Integrated into the structure of the Ministry as a directorate, the Directorate of Religious Affairs has the mandate to co-ordinate and administer religious services to The Gambian population. Its activities will include research-based religious studies, co-ordination of conferences, seminars, exchange of visits of scholars of religious learning and fostering liaison and networking among foreign and international institution in order to promote religious harmony for peaceful co-existence. In this respect, my government will undertake due diligence screening of all foreign religious institutions to ensure that only the true Islam that we practice in this country continues to be anchored on the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet. Hate, Terrorism, intolerance, violence, destruction of any form of life unjustly has no place in Islam as such tendencies are the diametric opposite of Islam which stands for peace, brotherhood and love in the human family.
On this sacred occasion of high spiritual devotion, we call for total commitment to the will of the Almighty for all of humanity as this is the only way to global reconciliation, peace and mutual respect amongst all humanity in order to put a definite end to the current unprecedented mass slaughter plaguing humanity.
On this note I hereby urge all of us to celebrate moderately, responsibly and safely as enshrined in the Holy Quran, so that we will all have a happy and memorable Eid-ul-Adha, Tobaski.
Dawe Nati Leen
As-Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Bara Katuh