Despite the many problems, plaguing the nation, Gambians will on Wednesday celebrate 50 years of the country’s independence as a sovereign state, having attained independence from erstwhile British colonial masters on February 18, 1965. A number of activities have rightly been lined up for this august celebration. Whichever way we view it, The Gambia remains one. It is the only country on earth that we can call our own. The continuing existence as a people of this great nation state for 50 years in spite of tenuous strains to our unity is by all standards a great achievement. Even though the lofty dreams of our founding fathers remain largely unfulfilled, our ability to stick together and keep our hopes for a better country alive, should spur us to greater efforts to overcome our present problems and build a country we can all be proud of.
It is, indeed, commendable that our country continues to make steady progress in many areas of development in spite of the abundant challenges at the disposal of our political leaders, past and present. We recall that at independence, The Gambia held little prospects for itself and indeed all of its citizens. The Gambia was viewed as an improbable nation that risked going down to ground zero if it should stand on its own. But surprisingly, The Gambia stood the test of time even in the middle of other countries that have attained great height in all fields. With limited resources both in terms of human and otherwise, we set ourselves on a path towards prosperity. Truly, we have come a long way and whoever means well for the country should use it to reflect on our struggle as an independent unit.
Let me say that if we desire to forge ahead as one entity, there is need to eschew all unpatriotic tendencies and work as one united country. Our peaceful co-existence should be a source of strength and not a cause of unnecessary division. There is the need for ethical reorientation and attitudinal change for us to make The Gambia a great and united nation. All hands must be on deck to ensure that the unity of the country is sustained. As we mark 50 years of corporate existence as a nation, let us work hard to prove wrong the doubters. Our politicians should do away with selfish mindsets. Let us be committed to building a strong country.
Valentine’s Day celebration has no place in Islam
It is high time our Muslim scholars who are saddled with ensuring sanity through the Qur’an and the Sunnah intervened and checked the current wave of ignorance among most Muslims who cling to the view that celebrating Saint Valentine’s Day is a normal thing to do as Muslims. This practice is becoming even more evident annually by our Muslim brothers and sisters. There is the growing believe that if there is a day to show love to one another, February 14 of each year is rightful day in that regard. However, in our Gambian context, it is shocking that most of us who celebrate this day do not know how the day even came into being. But, there is consensus that the practice was surely not invented by Islam. Let me quickly say that this practice has no place in Islam. It is un-Islamic whichever way you may see. Just yesterday, I was watching an episode called, ‘Ask Huda’ on Huda TV where a Gambian sister called and asked whether it was allowed for a Muslim to say, ‘happy Valentine to a non-Muslim neighbour’. The scholar was quick to dismiss any such scenario and replied by saying that it was best for the sister to ignore such people. There are those who will take this to be an extreme way of thinking by the scholar. However, this practice lacks justification in Islam because for Muslims, each day should be seen as a day to love and to care. Therefore, dedicating a special day which is in fact invented by non-Muslims is enough to make it prohibited. As Muslims, we should try to live within the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of our dear prophet. Let us not follow in the footsteps of Satan for indeed he is to us a clear enemy.