Once in a conversation with close Friend of mine whilst at high school, Seriegn Bamba's view on politics dominated the talk. There was an event taking place in Pipeline area, i believe it was organised by PDOIS. The discussion went on to politics and should people in our day get involve in it.
The bitter truth is that, politics nowadays is seen as a means to get material wealth and status. People go into politics to be famous and also earn a decent way life. The Salary for politicians even in poor countries is considerable high and the privileges that comes with it is even greater. The temptation therefore to be political and seek public office is ever attractive.
However, for men and women of faith, of ethics and contemplative mind, should politics be an avenue to seek glory in life?
The responsibilities that goes with holding public office is very high. In fact, Islam discourages the active seeking of public office. Some jurist commented that, "whoever seek public office, do not give it him, rather look for the best person amongst you, who is God fearing and upright."
The problem with that pronouncement is very far reaching in our modern age. Democracy is shape such that, you have to present yourself to the people, for you be their representative. The doctrine of power to people or lies with people act as a leverage for politicians. If they do wrong, they don't get elected the next time they put themselves forward for election. In reality, those this work? especially in countries with high level of illiteracy.
The Late famous Senegalese Scholar of the Sufi order, Sheik Amadou Bamba or Seriegn Bamba was said to have once contemplated about the legitimacy of Muslims entering politics. I will hasten to add that, i have not come across any manuscript that authenticate the claims by Serign Bamba. It was Narrate by a man who has serious passion for Seriegn Bamba's life.
The narration is that, Seriegn Bamba was asked about the validity for one engaging in politics. The answer he gave is very controversial and difficult for people in our era to accept. Seriegn Bamba writes in Arabic and therefore must have written the word POLITICS in Arabic alphabets. They said after attempting to write the word POLITICS, he couldn't find any suitable word for the whole word.
He tried very hard to find a proper word to no avail. Then he analysed the actions and conduct of politicians of his day combined with the inability to find suitable words for POLITICS. He said "the decision i will gave is hard based on the fact that, there is no proper word available in spelling POLITICS." He went on, "that alone borders on the fact that, this profession is not acceptable as it will involve deception and UN-Godly activities".
As stated earlier, the verdict of Seriegn Bamba will be hard to us today to rationalise, what practice today is, some people get together and form a party, Give a name to party, prepare a manifesto, seek for funding and register the party. The process includes selecting a leader and an executive and thereafter, commence campaign with beautiful slogans and making numerous promises.
The act of presenting a leader who may have been selected by a handful of people, all with ulterior motives, do the people in reality have any say who the country's leader should be since all the contending political party have nominated their own leader? Do the people have the choice of saying, we don't want any of the leaders, we want a certain person to come and rule us?
Again, will the politician fulfil the promises made to the people? Will he/she treat every citizen equally? Will He/she protect the lives of the people actively? Will the politician have any serious concern for the people he/she is ruling in terms of well-fare and basic life needs? etc.
Seriegn Bamba may be right in that, if one becomes a politician, it will be difficult to attain the pleasure of God Almighty. Since it evident for all to see the that, lying, double talking, killing, corruption, nepotism, lack of care, manipulation, creating wars, false imprisonment all exist today.
It is imperative therefore, we all be careful before entering into politics, yes the glamour and titles are appealing, but the judgment in the hereafter is sure to happen.
Suntou Bolonba Touray