The president of Majmouatou Rawdatul Majaalis, Alhaji Baba Abubakar Drammeh, has said his association “wholeheartedly welcomes” the “laudable initiative” by the government to convene a conference to resolve the standoff between Rawda and the Supreme Islamic Council.
Last Thursday, Mr Drammeh made a public call through this newspaper for the government of President Barrow to convene an urgent conference to resolve the dispute and foster unity among Muslims in the country.
Three days later in response, Alhaji Dembo Bojang, the religious adviser to the president disclosed to The Standard that the government would do exactly that and that President Barrow himself had issued directives to that effect.
Yesterday in reaction, the Rawdat president released the following statement:
“Rawdat wholeheartedly welcomes such a laudable initiative, which it has always clamoured for since its inception in 2017. It is just unfortunate that Rawdat’s clarion call for dialogue to iron out issues of grave concern to the country’s Muslim community had fallen on deaf ears over the past few years.
If the government now finds it sagacious and opportune to put an end to its inaction and find a way out of a simmering crisis that could only foster bad blood among brethren of the same faith, Rawdat cannot but embrace with open arms a move that is in line with the Qur’anic injunction in Surat Hujurat “If two factions of the faithful (Muslims) fight each other, reconcile them. However, if one offends the other, fight the offender until they accept Allah’s ordinance. If they yield to Allah’s ordinance, reconcile them painstakingly with fairness for Allah certainly loves just persons. The faithful (Muslims) are brothers; therefore, reconcile your two feuding brothers out of fear of Allah so that you receive His mercy”.
“Rawdat, faithful to its Muslim values and principles, fervently urges The Gambia government to unrelentingly and unwaveringly act upon its religious advisor’s commendable statement and bring the two bodies around a negotiation table so that they could, face to face, grapple with the causes of their bone-of-contention instead of engaging in an unending exercise of exchanging diatribes that could only exacerbate animosity.
“Rawdat is upbeat that, if the government acts upon its religious advisor’s statement, an amicable settlement would be the sole outcome of a genuine dialogue in that the issues of concern to Rawdat are straightforward:
1. Matters related to the sighting of the crescent in connection with landmark Muslim events such as the commencement and end of Ramadan as well as Eid Adha
2. Marginalisation and vilification of traditional and mainstream age-old rituals upheld by traditional religious scholars in our Majliskunda and by the majority of Gambian imams such as gamo, musukotoo saloo/tamxarit, the canons of the Maliki school of jurisprudence and orthodox Sufi practices bequeathed to us by our eminent scholars and holy men of yore instead of the legalistic dogma promoted by the self-styled Ahlus Sunna group, which holds sway within SIC.
3. Reconsideration of the manner in which SIC selects its executive body whereby it would become more inclusive and all-embracing so as to earn greater legitimacy.
The foregoing are the thorny issues among others that the parties concerned should dwell on to find a lasting solution in the supreme interest of Islam and Muslims of our beloved homeland, The Gambia. May Allah the Almighty be our ultimate guide in all our lofty undertakings.”