By Musa Bah
Having established the fact that Islam needed and has actually ushered in a renaissance, we now turn our attention to how this renaissance has affected our beloved country, the Gambia. We have seen that in the late 1950s towards early 1960s, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at was introduced to in this country through the dynamic leadership of the Second Manifestation of Divine Power – Khilafat – in the person of Hadrat Mirza Bashirud Din Mahmood Ahmad (RA).
He was the second successor of the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi (AS). Granted, this was considered by many to be an insignificant event as most hated the movement. But that is how Divine Movements begin all the time. That is why Allah says in the Glorious Quran:
Alas for mankind there comes not a Messenger to them but they mock at him. (Ch. 36 V.31)
As was the wont of mankind, when the message of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at reached the Gambia in the late fifties, mockery was their first reaction.
However, ultimately the people came to know that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at is a revivalist movement founded on March 23rd by Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian in India in fulfillment of the prophecies made by Allah, the Almighty and the Holy Prophet of Islam, Syeddina Muhammad Mustapha fourteen hundred years ago.
It is clear that the world stands in need of spiritual, moral and political leadership in the form of a Khalifah. The lack of this leadership has caused movements to spring up in different parts of the world. The likes of Boko Haram, Islamic State and others all claiming to provide this leadership
In this saying he has informed is that the Promised Messiah and Mahdi will be succeeded by Khulafah. We are now in the era of the fifth Khalifa who is Mirza Masroor Ahmad (may Allah strengthen his hand).
He is the spiritual leader of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Movement. He is very active in the propagation of Islam all over the world. He has delivered speeches in the Capitol Building, in the European Parliament, and in the British Parliament allgeared towards establishing peace n the world.
He has addressed letters to all world leaders on the same issue. From the Queen of Britain to President Obama, to the Pope, the King of Saudi Arabia, to the Iranian president, Russsian president and the president of China. He has set up a foundation for peace in which deserving persons of the world are awarded a peace prize every year.
How This Renaissance
Benefitted The Gambia
The benefit of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya on the Gambia has been long and constant. On February, 1965 when The Gambia celebrated her Independence, Hadrat Ghulam Ahmad Badomali, the then Amir and Missionary in Charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was among those who led the prayers on behalf of the Muslim Ummah.
In the 1960s and early seventies, there were very few senior schools in The Gambia. The few that were here were built by the Christians with the exception of Muslim High School. These were also concentrated in the urban areas making it compulsory for all children in the provinces who reach high school age to leave home and come to the urban area.
In 1970 Hadrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih III visited The Gambia for the first time. While here, he was inspired by Allah the Almighty to initiate a scheme to help third world countries. On his return journey, he delivered a Friday sermon in Masjid Fadl in London in which he outlined this scheme. He called it the Nusrat Jehan Scheme – meaning, help for the world.
He appealed to Ahmadies to sacrifice their money, time and expertise to help the poor countries of the world. A few weeks later, hundreds of thousands of rupees were offered to him. In addition, hundreds of volunteers – doctors, teachers and agriculturists offered their services to come and work in Africa.
The first school came about a few months later, Nusrat Senior Secondary School. This school rose to become one of the best in the country, now known all over the world as a beacon of excellence. The School has impacted so positively on the Gambian society that there is hardly a government office in this country today in which there is no former student of this noble institution.
The school has produced ministers, MPs, soldiers, teachers etc. A few years later, Tahir Ahmadiyya Muslim Senior Secondary School came up in Mansakonko and Nasir Ahmadiya Muslim Senior Secondary School in Basse. The unique thing about these schools is that they came at a time when there was no senior school in the provinces.
In the year 2005, Humanity First, an NGO under the auspices of the Ahmadiyya Community built their first ever senior school – Masroor Senior Secondary School in old Yundum. It has maintained one hundred percent pass rate since its inception. It could therefore be said without fear of contradiction that it has almost come at par with the other schools.
Other schools built by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community include the Morreh Kunda Ahmadiyya School in Wulli, Kamfenda Ahmadiyya School in Foni, and Mbullum Ahmadiyya Upper Basic School (now with a senior school to be called Nusrat Jehan Senior Secondary School) in Lower Nuimi District in the North Bank Region.
Still on education, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community sponsors hundreds of student in senior secondary schools and tertiary institutions, especially the University of the Gambia. Also, Humanity First brought cheap and affordable IT classes to the doorstep of Gambian students.
And a little after Independence, there were very few hospitals in The Gambia. The Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (now Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital) and Bansang Hospital were the notable ones. When the Nusrat Jehan Scheme took off, it also built hospitals to help the country. One of them is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Hospital and Dental Surgery in Tallinding which started in number 88 Perseverance Street in Banjul, a hospital that has become synonymous with its excellence in this country.
A hospital was also built in Njawara, North Bank Region, another one in Farafenni and one in Basse. All these hospitals treated at low and affordable costs but also treated poor people free of charge. The Ahmadiyya Community also introduced Homeopathic treatment (this is a system of medicine discovered over a hundred years ago by a German scientist called Samuel Heinemann) in this country and offered, and still does, free medical clinics all over the country.
In the area of Agriculture, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has offered advice to thousands of Gambians and has an entire secretariat on Agriculture. The Jama’at is also involved in the planting of trees. It planted thousands of trees in the past five years alone.
We now come to another and perhaps the most important aspect of the impact of the Ahmadiyya Community – the spiritual and moral benefits. The Jama’at has printed thousands of leaflets and books, all geared towards the moral training of the citizenry.
One good example is the Muslim Prayer Book which sells like hot cake when printed in this country, mostly bought by non Ahmadi Muslims. Recently, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community published (for the first time in the history of the country) the Holy Quran in three local languages of the country Mandinka, Wollof and Fula.
All prayers belong to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.