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Thursday, July 18, 2024
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On the legacy of our fathers: reflections on the Gunjur trio

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It is the argument of the all-knowing and all-wise creator, in his infallible book that “do not at of those who die in the…”

In the three gentlemen of honour and distinction defended above I see the reflection of the foregoing verse through their legendary lives of Islamic scholarship and dawah fisabillillah.

Indeed there are many blessed towns in The Gambia that boast of sainted beings well adept in the Islamic sciences who lined their lives teaching people about their religion and creating thousands of scholars to carry on the work of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and all the chosen ones armed with the light and takes to spread the peerless and rimless Kalimantan (word): la ilaha illa Allah (there is no god but Gos; the list of those towns would never be complete without including the cool breezes and fluorescent city of Gunjur perched on the shores of the night Atlantic Ocean.

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In this city lives their great men who have touched the lives of millions of people in the subregion and beyond.

The prime mover of this trip (I dare say) has to be the late Sheikh Hatab Bojang of blessed memory. I have longed to write about his legacy but my own words have never sufficed. Here’s a snippet from the golden one of the iconic historical scholar Hassoun Ceesay as culled from his review of the biography of the late Sheikh Hatab Bojang, authored by….

This man of great spirit and gargantuan repute was the mentor and teach of current top scholars like the President of the Supreme Islamic Council Sheikh Issa Darboe, the former head of the same institution and current imam of Gunjur Alhagie Muhammed Lamin Touray;

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and also, the one regarded as his chief student and mentee, the late Sheikh Ismaila Manjang who made a name for himself in the calling of people to the light of the truth on the nation’s airwaves where he used to team up with the late Sheikh Omar Bun Jeng and the late Alhagie Lalo Samateh for their trademark programme dubbed ‘Musilimeh yaa Kachaa’; Oustas Manjang was to later take up from where the legendary late Sheikh Omar Bun Jeng left.

The calm Sheikh Ismaila Manjang had this great gift of serenity that oozed through his preaching and radio programmes, giving succour to thousands of people. His own students and his many children live his legacy and that of his teach, the immutable Sheikh Hatab Bojang.

Sheikh Manjang was a veritable source of inspiration and conscious upliftment who lived in Gunjur but his impact went way beyond the birds of The Gambia and Senegal.

And not to the third of the Gunjur trio. This one is my own teacher and mentor even though I never met him in person.

I have stated many times that I have leaned from the late Sheikh Omar Bub Jeng what I have not learned from many of my professors who taught me at universities in Banjul and in the USA.

Forget about his peerless oratory, listening to the late Omar Bun Jeng was always for me a lesson in rhetoric, manners and public speaking that no formal institution has taught me yet.

In the canons of our records of Islamic preaching, the records of Bun Jeng would be what the songs of Bob Marley are in global music. Sorry for the comparison (for those too serious to comprehend); yet Bun is without doubt the platinum guy among the preachers of Senegambia.

A few words are here writ with great humility concerning the legacy of the men, each an ocean of knowledge in their own rights. My intelligence and gift of words would never suffice to capture their great impact and peerless legacy; but I though it fitting to make this attempt, hoping I could inspire some right minds to make that foray into documenting the lives and times of the ones I call “Gunjur Trio”.

What better way to end this reflection on their life stories than to quote from the Book that was the sources of their inspiration and motivation; and from the very best of life stories:

– Surah Yusuf, 111.

Momodou Sabally

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