With Mohammed Hassan Loum
“Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists), who Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.Who taught by the pen.Taught man that which he knew not.”[Surah Al-‘Alaq 96: Verses1 – 5].
Also known as Surah Iqra (Iqra means to read in Arabic), have we truly pondered upon the meaning and significance of the first five opening verses of the Noble Quran?UbaadahIbnSaamitRA narrated that the Allaah Messenger SAW said: ‘Indeed the first thing that Allaah created was the Pen.’ (Ahmad 23197. Abu Daawood, 4700. At-Tirmidhee, 2155). AbdullaahIbn `AmrIbn Al-`Aas narratedAllaah’s Messenger SAW said: ‘Allaah wrote the decree of all of creation 50,000 years before the creation of the heavens and the earth.And His Throne was over the water.’ (Muslim, 2653).
The opening verses of the noble Quran gave the command to read, thus emphasizing the importance of education in Islam. There is immense encouragement in the Quran and the Sunnah, to learn how to read the Quran and write in the language of the Quran. As a result of learning to read and write the Quran and understand its meanings, knowledge became widespread and ignorance decreased. The Knowledge of Allah The Most High is infinite and cannot be encompassed. Allah The Almighty says in the noble Quran; “Say, “If the sea were ink for [writing] the words of my Lord, the sea would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even if We brought the like of it as a supplement.”(Surat Al-Khaf 18: Verse 109).
Likewise, Allah SWT mentions inSurah Luqman 31: Verse 27; “If all the trees on earth were pens, and the ocean were ink, replenished by seven more oceans, the writing of Allah’s Words (His wonderful signs and creations) would not be exhausted; surely Allah is Mighty Wise”.The Quran also makes reference to Divine teachings in the Books of past prophets. Allah SWT mentions in the noble Quran in Surah Al-A’la 89: Verses 18 and 19;“This, indeed, was in the ancient scrolls. The scrolls of Abraham and Moses”.
The Quran and the prophetic traditionsmake clear and strong references to reading and writing, pens, ink, books, scrolls and pages. These particular sets of actions and words underline the importance of scholarship in the religion of Islam. Pen, ink and paper are indispensable and inevitable scholarly tools used in the transmission, documentation and preservation of knowledge. Teachers and students alike have to use pen, ink and paper to teach and learn. Teaching and learning is the norm of prophets, the practice of believers, and the actions of the best of men and women. Uthmanibn ‘Affan RA narrated that the Prophet SAW said: “The best of you is the one who learns the Quran and teaches it.” (Bukhari50270).
To Oustaz Omar Ceesay and many like him who toil to memorize the Quran, study books of Islam and teach them. Teachers who summarize and author books in order to simplify and explain the teachings of Islam. From Ebo Town to Siffoe to Masjid Mina, punctually attending study circles for more than 2 decades. May Allah SWT bless your pen, ink and paper.
To OustazHajaMaimuna Savage and her MuhammedYadalieu Savage School for Muslim boys and girls. Inculcating Islamic knowledge, teachings and practices from kindergarten to adolescence. Where many have been enrolled and graduated, including Mariatou, Zachariah, Mohammed and Hafidha Aisha. Islamizingthe teaching of the alphabet. Accepting that A is for Allah. Believing that B is for BismilAh, and confirming that C is for Charity. Destined to be that medium to assist with the Help of Allah SWT change the dress codes of many Muslim girls and young Muslim women from half naked to full Hijab. Clarifying Islamic messages and clearly demonstrating the rights, roles and responsibilities of Muslim women and girls in Islam and Development. May Allah SWT bless your pen, ink and paper.
To Koto Sherrif and his Sound Standard. What will make them know that it is truly not easy to run a paper? Having to enduremany hours of quality and sound editing. Endeavoring to get all the facts right by checking, proof-reading and double checking. Separating fact from fiction. Expunging issues inappropriate especially those that look like libel. Making sure that context and content, structure and presentation are well done and served like top cuisine. Reflecting the right columns at the right places and at the right times. May Allah STW bless your pen, ink and paper.
To the NdongoDaaras, men and women. May Allah continue to bless your pen, ink and paper.Regularly attendingdars with much excitement and anticipation. Knowing the numerous blessings and benefits of being a talibe. Remembering that Prophet Muhammad SAW once said: “Who takes a path upon which he seeks knowledge, then Allah makes a path to Paradise easy for him. And indeed the angels lower their wings in approval to the one seeking knowledge. Indeed forgiveness is sought for the knowledgeable one by whomever is in the heavens and whomever is in the earth, even the fish in the waters. And the superiority of the scholar over the worshiper is like the superiority of the moon over the rest of the celestial bodies. Indeed the scholars are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets do not leave behind Dinar or Dirham (i.e. silver or gold coins). The only legacy of the scholars is knowledge, so whoever takes from it, then he has indeed taken the most able share”(Jami` At-Tirmidhi 2682).
Hamga-nehaaduna du dara
Tahngaifanaan chi lalitaara
Fonka sa aalua
Mokal sa baa, seen, meem-a-ra
Mo ammeh sa sutura
Wai tahutnganaagu chi aaduna
Di daan sa dollehtehem chi lu dagan
Di topa yonenteh-bi chi bepafaana
YalnaYaa Allah dolisuturaakdaraja
What an apt definition and description of life and living of the NdongoDaarain just eleven lyrically poetic versesby the self-styled “Gambia La Penoo”. Hate him or love him, he is himself aNdongoDaara who admires and prays for the brothers of the fraternity of Sunna Swag. A staunch critic and vocal advocate against secularism, sodomy and anything anti-Islamic.If there is pointillism in fine arts, then he is definitely the Saballism of modern Gambian literature. He calls me one-man-army and I call him many-men-general. And it is only us who call each other by these names for what we truly know. Continue to inspire my dear brother through SLA. Whether through books or play, we shall continue to lead and win our way. Our motto and our true guiding light is to live and die by the dictates of the Quran and Sunnah. Continue to read the Quran day and night. Continue to teach and write the good stuff. I definitely do not seek to unduly praise or preach, but to sincerely remind and to humbly pray. May Allah SWT bless us to live and die upon KalimatulHaqq and Shahadah especially during these times of so much sin and insanity. May Allah SWT bless your reading and writing. May Allah SWT bless your pen, ink and paper.