Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Peaceful Protest Pioneered By Early Muslim In 610 C.E

In 610 C.E The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) was bestowed with the highest honour of Prophet hood. At the time of his call, the entire Arab society was besmirch in terrible practises and customs. As a snap shot of the short conversation, those who accept the message of Islam practises their faith in secret. The reason for the private concealment of their new faith was due to the fear from the prevailing political and religious customs. The Prophet knew his people, and that any speech calling for a change from the tyrannical idolatry system will cause a violent crack down. To safeguard the small number of people, new Muslims were advised to conduct themselves discretely. However, when the Quran Chapter 74:1-5 was revealed, secret concealment of Islam was ended. The called on the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was to "arise and warn..." Mankind. He started with his household first. And it was from his own extended family that he countered the first major hostility. However, he was undeterred to preach the word of God. When the new Muslim group were informed that, God commanded the Prophet to propagate the message of Islam in the open, they never took a moments hesitations. What was needed is what many famous political leaders led across our generations, peaceful protest. The new Muslims faced the brutal mob of Makka under the leadership of Abu Sufiyan, Abu Lahab, Ikrama, and many tough pagan leaders. Crowds were organise to pelt the Muslims, some were assaulted, exiled, beaten and others less fortunate, murdered. Is there any parallel to our current struggles in Muslim lands and African countries? Yes Indeed. Africans and Muslim must refuse to accept tyrants to strangle them and their potentials. The argument today is not about Western domination, it is more about African hesitation and acceptance of half-baked murderers and tyrants becoming overlords in our respective countries. We cannot today just look to the intellectuals to safe Africa, they can't because they/we always want to be unperturbed. The rantings against the West is becoming obsolete. Muslims cannot continue to blame the West for undemocratic ethics in our countries. We can model democracy to the universal norms and still have a place in our values and traditions. The respect for human life, the cap on Presidential term of office, the battle to eliminate corruptions, the promotion of pluralism, etc etc. Early Muslims took to the street of Makka in match to perform their religious duties. The were attacked, but they made a stand. Today, Africans and many Muslims are at lost on how to deal with tyrants and Monarchs who grew such a deep root, attempting to change them smells of impossibility. Look at Syria, Asad was on the verge accepting the demands of the people when others went along showing unnecessary support to a life President. Muslims have a duty to allow the dynamics of today's contemporary public live to be relevant to them. Live Presidency must end, transferring power to Son's must end. Real voting rights should be instituted so that, every member of society can play a part. Islam will always appeal to sincere believers, no matter what system of government is in place. There are millions of Muslims living in liberal Western countries. They never miss their Prayers, never touch alcohol, never fornicate or commit murder, neither promote terrorism. Islam has always accepted reforms in public live. Qiyas, the concept of Ijma, the development of figh are all part of explaining the faith to comtemporary Muslims. It is time to stop politicians attaining absolute power...

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Africans and Freebie: U.N and AU

Suntou Touray
Africans will always see Ivory Coast kind of backward scenarios. Take the Gambia case for instance. Only a few individual would want their relative to stand up for the people. Each day, Gambians are commenting about how beautiful photos posted on face book are whilst countless number of brothers are in jail.
Ivory Coast case is ugly, but the Western block in U.N will not drop their bombs that easy. Bombs cost money you know. In Libya, the bombs droped will recoup there own cost. We want everything for free. A little DIY should help.
Africans in the West especially should know better. They are crying that, the U.N is not doing much for Ivory Coast. The U.N is not a charity. This is simple basic economics. In your house, every bread and butter cost money, why should the U.N which lack teeth without America, Britain, France take care of Gbagbo whilst we Africans are crying imperialism? Let us tie our waist and stop own mad men. It is our Devinne right. Russia and China will always oppose U.S, and other Allie countries. They never back any action but never stops it. It is the game.

Those of us living in the West enjoy many basic amenities for free. The economy that cater for all those things we take for granted cost money, lots of it. Now if the West (U.S, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Australia etc) send their sons and daughters, their bombs, planes, jets, ammunition's, the diplomats etc to clean up certain countries, are we seriously thinking that, they will do those sacrifices for free?
In Sweden, U.K, Germany, France, countless of our people totally rely on state handouts, this means, all sorts of benefits are claim. Now, calculate how much you get from the state each month, year and then see why, the West don't get involve in uneconomical wars...
But if your individual thinking is that the West should go bomb every country for democracy sake, get real, because you don't go around handing out your hard earn money.
In fact, many of us actually don't want to know when our friend get in dare trouble, we run away from them.
Africans have to chose and take a stand. The Arabs we like bashing for all sorts of reasons have now wised up. They are saying, we need change, we refuse to be dehumanise and to end tyranny, some of us may die. Try approaching an African when you need help.

What are we doing collectively? Many of us are busy ignoring the dictators. Ivory Coast should be the duty of AU to sort out. Can they even do that? I doubt it. For Africans to even imagine total freedom from their former colonial masters, they have to refuse injustices within their respective countries first. Then any unity on a broader level will mean something. Till then, we are hoping and waiting.

GPU-USA on Jammeh's meeting with the Press

A Positive Move, But... The Gambia Press Union, USA branch, welcomes the recent meeting between President Yahya Jammeh and the Gambian press. Such an encounter, be it in the form of a press conference or a simple media dialogue, should be regular between Government and the Fourth Estate. That is as it should be. It is unfortunate that for a very long time, the Gambian press was denied, time after time, access to the offices of the President. The relationship between the Gambian Government and the independent press has been frosty, at best.
While we remain unsure of the potential for a complete thaw in relations between President Jammeh and the Gambian press, we are still heartened by the opportunity accorded to our colleagues to engage the President, right there in the corridors of power. Our seniors in the Gambian media fraternity, such as Messrs. Swaebou Conateh and Sam Sarr, asked the right questions, and set the right tone, at the meeting. They leveled up with the President on vexing media issues, particularly the disappearance of reporter Chief Ebrima Manneh and the gruesome murder of Editor Deyda Hydara.
The opportunity, a rarity for that matter, for the media chiefs to speak directly to the President, is too significant to gloss over. It is hard for us to offer Jammeh any plaudits for allowing the Standard newspaper back in the streets because the government's short-lived ban on the paper was wrong in the first place.
The decision lacked in both moral clarity and legal justification. Once more, the unmitigated might of the Jammeh Government was brought to bare on a fledgling member of one of the most assaulted institutions of Gambian society. Nonetheless, we are feeling good about the return of the Standard. The more newspapers, the better it is for industrial competition, and by extension, for the Gambian press. Certainly, we are under no illusion that an increase in the tally of newspapers, just by itself alone, will be enough to bring about good journalism, a free flow of information in The Gambia.
The basis of good journalism hinges; in large measure, on those at the seat of power, believing in and making allowance for, the sacredness of the press, its functional value to society's well-being. We still are far from certain that Jammeh do appreciate the indispensable role of the press in Gambian society. He says he does. But actions have not borne him out. His presidency runs the entire gamut of press intimidation, from the deportation of reporters to the burning of presses, from the death and disappearance of journalists to the banning of newspapers.
At the State House meeting, the President deployed some language we read with trepidation. The language of veiled threats was out of sync with the spirit of the meeting. Such saber-rattling has no place in a meeting between a national leader and a group of journalists. It didn't look like a healthy exchange, a genuine attempt to cast off the old and usher in the new, on the part of the Gambian president.
It looked like Jammeh was swinging at perceived enemies, making saboteurs and fifth columnists of those in the audience and outside. It needs reminding, however: Gambian journalists are peaceful, law-abiding individuals, who want to be allowed the freedom to report the news and engage their fellow Gambians in a dialogue about their own affairs --- all in the spirit of national development. We cannot be gleeful, through and through, about the recent State House meeting because it does not provide us with any confidence in President Jammeh's willingness to turn a new page with the media. To gain our trust, Jammeh must do the following: -
Account for Chief Ebrima Manneh.

Jammeh's recent statements on Manneh leave us with more questions than answers. He needs to do more than just talking away the journalist's disappearance.
- Aggressively pursue Deyda Hydara's killers and deploy all available law enforcement resources towards resolving his mysterious murder. Justice for his family is long overdue.
- Investigate the April 10 & 11, 2011 student Massacres and fully compensate the families of slained Journalist Omar Barrow and his fellow victims.
- Repeal all draconian media laws in the books and make it easy for prospective publishers to enter the journalism market.
- Make himself available for regular press conferences with the private press. Jammeh recently said government officials should be open to journalists. He should lead by example.
Signed on behalf of GPU-USA Cherno Baba Jallow, Public Relations Officer Demba Baldeh, Secretary General

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sierra Leone In Taylor case and International Justice

By LJ Darboe, culled from GambiaPost
As a post-colonial people, we are confronted with a stark dilemma on the questions of international criminal justice, in particular, and of the international legal regime, in general, as vehicles for Africa's redemption from internal brutality.

Indeed, Charles Taylor is not appearing before the International Criminal Court (ICC). He is in The Hague as a charge of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, set up pursuant to a supposed treaty between that country, and the United Nations, to prosecute those bearing "greatest responsibility" for the atrocities committed during Sierra Leone's ten year civil war. As part of the post-war accountability mechanism, there was also a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), and one of the Commissioners was the eminent Gambian historian, Mrs Satang Jow.

In light of the circumstances out of which the civil war arose, and because of the selectivity attendant to the prosecution process, notwithstanding the established principles of command responsibility for atrocities in the field, I am of the view that all Sierra Leone needed was a TRC. Under international law, there was no reason for shielding war-era President, Tejan Kabbah, from prosecution before the Special Court, but he was shielded, and those like Hinga Norman executing his commands, were prosecuted and punished. This is a large contention, but a brilliant dissent in the Norman judgement magnificently captures the perversity inherent in the selective application of international criminal justice. As stated earlier, the dilemma for a post-colonial African is how one supports a Taylor, or Gaddafi, potentially. The dilemma is made more acute by perpetrators in other conflicts of identical brutality, but who then escapes international criminal accountability. We must remember of course that the criminal responsibility aspect of things is only a tiny fraction of of the overall international legal regime. At the heart of the so-called global system is the United Nations Security Council, with only the five permanent members empowered to exercise the veto and effectively kill any proposed international transaction. For our purposes, no African country sits on the Security Council in a permanent capacity.

Nevertheless, when a post-colonial nation is conflicted in such a way that segments of it look to what may be regarded as neo-colonialism as the only route for a life of dignity and peace in their own country, that may be seen as a sombre commentary on the seven decades of the African freedom project. No truly enlightened African can regard the international legal regime as anything but a poor vehicle for restraining the organising and execution of the brutal violence against defenceless civilians that has become the hallmark of post-colonial public life in large swaths of African territory. But because Gaddafi empties Libyan public space ofthe oxygen of dissent, the dispossessed Libyan sees international militarism as the only way to rid itself of Gaddafi. Up and down the continent, Africans are praying for neo-colonial militarism as a way of getting rid of their dictators.

Viewed from any perspective, this represents a tragedy of the highest order in so far as it stringently links the African identity with inferiority and incompetence. In the absence of internal democracy in the overwhelming number of member countries, , the AU is nothing if not a gathering of utmost failure, and it will fail in any attempts to truly influence even international events touching on its legitimate theatre of operations. As for western power, its culture of domestic freedom resonates with people the world over.

However, it has a responsibility to manage that victory even-handedly, and with restraint. Its militarism in Libya risks garnering sympathy for a brutal dictator. In the Libyan saga, there are serious lessons for those concerned with the philosophical underpinnings of African governance, and western militarism. For Africa to become a respected global voice, their is no alternative to internal democracy within African countries

Monday, 21 March 2011

Exposing the Behind of African Union..They dont represent Us

Suntou Touray
The U.N like many international bodies will not give an ear to African petty despot so far as many of them don't respect and value their people and the common humanity.To the U.N, World Bank, IMF and other unions, African leaders attempt to replace the colonial masters with internal corruption, lack of progress, lack of democracy and genuine attempt to provide food security, education, health and the basic necessities of live makes the voices of African leaders void, unnecessary and irrelevant.

Remember all AU member countries needs the U.N more than the other way round with (all sorts of help).African leaders have to reign over themselves first. Independence alone is not the end of African bondage, lack of respect in the international clubs. African leaders don't respect Africans, and if you disrespect yourself, how do you expect others to respect you?

We can proclaim every single Pro-African jargon, every slogan out there of Pan-Africanism, but without the leadership ready to give democracy a chance, no one, I mean even African will not listen to our dinosaurs, let alone the U.N.It is sad, but the reality is, many of the members of AU lost the legitimacy to be call Presidents. They are Kings, hence they only depend on shadow collaborators to keep them in power, the West is aware of this, the U.N is as well. The AU leaders don't speak for the average African, they don't represent us, and we careless if they are kill in the streets, on their luxurious beds or Mansions...
For AU to be respected, they have end King type Presidency. Give democracy a chance, limit terms of office, allow the Opposition the ability to have access to the media, give the press the rights they deserve, support anti-corruption bodies, set up independent institutions to oversee all aspect of the government and public offices.We will love them, by default the U.N will pay heed and Africans will start to command respect.
For the AU to have powers in the security councils may increase the avenues for earning more corrupt funds. Rogue states will start buying them before every votes, in essence, the corruptibility will only spiral out of control. Let AU put its house in order. restrict and ban all leaders that have rule beyond ten years. Help strengthen the media, the opposition, student unions, trade unions, etc etc, we will be a force to be reckoned with in 20 years. Thanks for forwarding the article.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Our Marabous and Seriegns are sinning for us

Anytime you contact a Serign, he is 90% likely to commit a major sin in satisfying your quest in making him solve your problem. They have no power more the sahabas. Anyone can be a wali or friend of God if you do righteous deeds. Seriegns have secret formula call the Katim or katimo. This is satanic. because we expect them to help get us jobs, travel to Europe, get a husband or wife, make our wife's or husbands love us much, make co-wives get divorce etc, they have to disobey God for a price. Please let us try hard and leave things in the hand of God.

The Jinns don't accept to help the marabous unless they commit major sins for them. Some Serign pray withou ablution. Some make you sacrifice animals for the jinns. You are in essence making them go to hell. You may say, I go to them because they are close to God, but realy, what powers do they have? In Islam, we all have the same access to God. Do your prayers, if you are in difficulty, increase your night prayers, when no one can see you. The marabous with three wives have less time than you.
The so-call secrets they have is not Islamic. This secret is in the hand of Jews, Hindus, pagans etc. It is just knowing the names of certain satanic jinns and calling them for sometime, untill those Jinns answer to them. They get involve in a contract and the Jinn lay his terms. This is mostly involve in you disobeying God in big ways.
It is hard, but you can stop seeing them. May Allah make it easy for us to quit contacting this people. The west have more powers than us and they don't involve the Serign.
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Thursday, 17 March 2011

Islam In Senegambia: Nyanchos, Sarahuleh mercenaries and Wollof Royal fighters involvement

The work of Charlotte Quinn (1972) will be extensively cited here. She travels the length and breadth of the Gambia collaborating colonial achieves with oral accounts in matters leading up to open confrontation between the Marabouts (Muslims) and the Soninkes (pagans).
Islam had been slowly gaining grounds among the people without the use of force. Quinn narrated even a Prince in some territories abandoning their rights to succession by accepting Islam. One such example happens in Kiang Genieri. The youngest son of Mamba Sanne took the acquaintance of a Muslim family, shortly after he decided to join Islam. His elder brothers threaten him with expulsion from the family. Before they could make any decision, he left them with his wife and kid’s to live in Kaiaf. (Quinn, 1972)
If a Prince can abandon his rights to succession and became a Muslim, what about ordinary folks? Muslims in many mini kingdoms were, “...constitutionally ineligible for succession for traditional office in all Mandingo states”.
Haswell (1860) recorded that, the Muslims in Kaiaf sort the help of the Muslims in kombo when war broke against them in Kiang. To demonstrate that, Muslims didn’t force dethrone the traditional leaders, a war leader and close royal aid embraced Islam and yet remain the aid to the king in subsequent wars against the Sarahuleh mercenaries in Niumi.
The sarahulehs acting as the fighters for Mansa Demba Sonko encounter the son of Demba Sonko himself in battle against his father’s leadership. The son fought on the side of the Muslims. (d’Arcy, 1863, landing Sali Sonko 1965 interview Essau and Oconnor, 1857)

Sarahulehs have settled in Niumi and were fierce fighters for the kings. The Soninke leaders faced a huge problem against the British who control the prices of groundnuts and also slave trade was abandon. The income gain from both sources dried up, the kings have little option but to start war and try to regain their powers.
The culmination of dissatisfaction across the Marabout communities in the wider Senegambia region, the first accounts of organised revolts of the Muslim were recorded. Although one has to acknowledge the Wollof and Fula kingdoms first witnessed the Marabout revolts.
John Morgan’s account was reminiscent of Soninke Mansa’s losing control of the masses due to the revenue that was being generated from groundnut trade. The people became rich and less dependent on favours from tyrannical Mansa’s or leaders. (Morgan, 1864- Founding of a Christian mission in Gambia). The big steps toward altering the political landscape was said to occur in Futa Toro, Cayor, Jolof, and Walo in the 1670, 1690, 1726 and1770.
Those revolts in Wollof and Fula states resulted in the creation of temporal “...theocratic rule the titular leadership of an Almamy”. Philip Curtain (1971) believes that, the courage that gave the marabouts the fire to change their oppressive situation is due to the influence of militant jihad movement geared towards reviving Islam. (Curtin, 1971- Journal of African history, xii p11-24)

Even in the Wollof states where the Islamic scholars were said to attract some fame, Muslims in general were “...excluded from the core families constitutionally eligible to rule.” The damel of Cayor was said to be unable to control his fighter (tiedos) who like the Soninke agents in the Gambia inflict immeasurable toll of suffering on the people. “Their heavy drinking, depredations, and contempt for believers of God...” resulted in their imposing unnecessary tax duty and fines on Muslims. (Mollien, 1818- Travel in Africa to source of the Senegal and Gambia)
The Muslims no longer wish to bear the torturous rule of the marauding petty so-call kings. The Muslims across the tribal divide starts to rally round each other across states and kingdom. Whenever their community is attacked or unjustly taxed, they will refuse to undergo oppression and stand to fight. They will summon help to established marabout regions of Futa Toro and Kombo.
Another key reason why the Marabouts had to revolt was the actions of the wandering Soninke jawaros or fighters. The laws that prevent Muslims from landownership and the privileges to assume position power was tolerable but the “...continual harassment, stealing of wives, properties etc...” by the Soninke arm bands couldn’t be allowed to continue. Most keen Senegambians who listen to oral history and songs by bards would have had them sing praises of this arm bands. Famous among them was kelefa Sanneh, and the many Koring and Nyangho so-called warriors whose main art was stealing cattle and other people’s possession. (d’Arcy 1862, Sherif kinteh 1965 interviewed by Quinn p68)
David Gamble’s account of the marabout mistreatment in Badibbu for instance is a typical example of why affirmative action took place. Gamble said “Muslims were fought to leave Illiasa in Baddibu to seek sanctuary in the banks of the river near Saba village. That arrangement was to be uncomfortable as the lands allocated to them were less fertile and small. This creates further discontentment” (Gamble, 1949- contribution to a socio-economic survey of the Gambia, p 118).
The accusations that Marabouts primarily use force to convert people are baseless and unfounded. Islam gain momentum through peaceful preaching by traders and travellers from Timbuktu in Mali. It was after the people of Senegambia recognise the lights in true believe and that living a life deprive of true religious adherence that people entered Islam. But naturally the old status quo wasn’t going to allow that to continue since the survival of the Soninke rulers depends on the tax revenue and brutal rule imposed on the people. But when people recognised that they don’t have to tolerate a system of tyranny by the kings, and that they can organise and put a stiff resistance, the inevitability of war became all the more unavoidable.

This culminated to what we know in Senegambian history as the Soninke-Marabout wars. Defenders of the old customs, nostalgic Nyanchos and romantisers of traditional pagan believes blame Islam for the disappearance of old Senegambian Ancestral worship. They claimed that Islam forcefully and brutally subjugates our ancestors and change them to accept an Arab faith which is alien to us, for that matter, an intense hatred is inculcated against Islam and black Muslims. Yet this myriad is base of misconception and African pride.
The belief in Islam does not affect anyone’s Africaness or proud black progress. Islam respects other people’s cultures and practices were it does not contaminate the essence of belief in one God, and the obeying of God’s commandments. The sense of modest dress, respect for parents, elders, looking after the weak and children, hard work, communal efforts, charity etc are values that are universal. Islam never preach to change those, but where immorality, drunkenness, lewdness, promiscuity, gambling, fetish cultism, fortune telling, and the like takes place, believers are urge through rational teachings to avoid those as there is no good for the betterment of any society.
To be continued: The Jihadist (were they doing it for Islam or empire?)

Monday, 14 March 2011

Rise of Islam in the Gambia:Forms of Islam/ Hostility Part 2

Suntou Touray
Quinn (1972) reveals that, orthodox scholar clearly termed some of the form of Islam that was preached in the Gambia as the mystical 'sufi Qadiriya order'. The essential teachings she said was buried under 'layers of mystical pantheism'. Some preachers who themselves understood Islam very little could not emphasise the first pillar in Islam, which is the oneness of God without any partners.
They preached the “presence of God in all aspects of life tolerated much of the pre-Islamic background of belief in the African communities.” (Quinn, 1972)
Jobson (1621) a Christian observe that the king of Kachan in Niani a Soninke touches his amulet on the first drink of his alcoholic drink. He commented that, the mixing of Islamic and Soninke tradition was common. Alveres D’Almada (1594) a Portuguese explorer states of seeing varied literatures with the Muslims dwelling the river Gambia and he also writes of seeing a Muslims group calling themselves the ‘zawiya’ who insist on following the strict form of Islam ie observing their prayer on time, eating only lawful food and fasting during Ramadan.

These facts above reveal to us that, Muslims have lived with powerful Soninke or pagan communities and even serve them in their courts. That Muslims weren’t the marauding armed militants hell-bent on forcing the religion of Islam down the throat of Senegambians. Fulla travellers, Mandingo traders, Arab and Berber preachers all did their best in propagating Islam to the people by appealing to their conscience and exposing the errors in idol worship.

The point of open hostility between the Marabouts and the Soninkes

Historians documented evidence of marabouts and soninkes living side by side in the same villages or dwellings separated by small partitions. Until the 1860’s, no open hostility existed between the marabouts and the soninkes and along the long history of coexistence, European missionaries also transverses and preaching Christianity to people settling along the river.
Some Muslims later decided to create their own settlement since the old Soninke hierarchy was such that, Muslims are not allowed to hold high office and cannot become the Alkalo or Mansa. And also the open display of pagan rituals which sometimes involve customs that Islam forbid like loose dressing and rituals of binge drinking created a contrasting world view.
The manners the soninkes execute their judicial system runs counter to that of the Muslim, which was a point of difference.

Yves Person (1962) an expert in Mandingo secret cult declared that, the relevance of traditional cult and secret society starts to lose it role with an alternative form of sufi magic. The interaction of Islam with traditional religion affected both faiths to some extent. But significantly, the traditional secret society practises was assimilated into some Islamic rituals especially in male circumcisions. The cult of hore, scared groves which subtleness made them less un-Islamic were utilised in festivals but other practices of ancestor worship, and human sacrifices were abandoned.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Rise of Islam In the Gambia

By Suntou Touray
Historians documented that, the rise of the Marabout terminology in the Gambia occurred in the nineteenth century. Marabouts are people who follow the Islamic religion, the term use be to associated with clerics of North Africa, whilst the Soninke is equivalent to a Pagan or an unbeliever.
The starting point in describing people as Marabout or Soninke can be based on the mere consumption of Alcohol. All alcohol drinkers are term Soninke whilst non-drinkers are seen as marabouts. The soninkes consisted of the traditional aristocracy and their loyal supporters.
Photo above said to be that of Shiek Omar Taal.. (
Traders coming and going from North Africa preached Islam and some Muslim faithful journey to spread the word of God in different kingdoms. The Portuguese explorer valentine Fernandes, a 15th century traveller observed that, Muslim advisers were established in the courts of some traditional rulers in Tukrur and some states along the Gambia River.
However, Dr Charlotte Quinn (1972) in her thorough historical research to the Gambia and going through records maintained that Dyula or caravan traders from then centre of the Manding Empire Mali “systematically introduce Islam to the Gambia in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries...” It is natural after some time natives that had adopted the religion will also start to teach it or spread it to neighbours and other localities. It is observed that, the preaching of Islam by Gambians to Gambians happen around the 17th century.
The traditional rulers were well aware of the potentials for a change to their power structure by the Muslims. As a precaution, they barred Muslims from holding positions of power and political positions apart from advisers. Although Muslim clerics were accorded a good welcome into local communities, this was due to the skills of the marabouts in educating, the practice of what now refer to spiritual doctoring or magic and medicine. Even non-believers do utilises some of the expertise of the travelling clerics (marabouts).
The art of marabourism started as far back as when Mungo Park was journeying through West Africa. Park (1795) discovers leather amulets worn by both animist and Muslims alike as protection against evil spirits and for self-defence. Hacquard (1855) also reported that, the Mansa of Jarra have his special marabouts who manufacture all sorts of amulets for him, which he wear on important occasions. Even though Soninke or pagan rulers did not accept Islam, they value the prayers of the marabouts when in distress political situations.
Oral history reports that, the rulers of Kwinella in Kiang sort the prayers of marabouts for the attainment of successes. Jobson 1851 a missionary reported seeing marabouts according prayers to cattle caravans crossing the river Gambia. Berenger-Feraud (1879) found the practice of Qur’anic writings on wooden boards and the washing of it for medicine purposes common.

Captain Washington (1838) narrated an account one young Muslim boy Muhammad Ceesay who travels from Niani Maru to Darsilame in Wulli, currently Sandu in search of Qur’anic teacher. He further narrated the master had several children who he taught and tended to. Again Mungo Park elaborated on an Islamic school he visited at Kamalia a mandingo village were children from pagan origins are taught Islamic knowledge and ceremonies are held for them after completion of certain stages.
The existence of Muslim among the Gambian communities living and coexisting peacefully was further supported by a map that J.M. Gray (1940) said was drawn in 1751 detailing “six morro kunda” (Muslim Villages). The villages of the Muslims were found in Niumi, Tomana, Niani, Eropina, Jarra, Kombo, Salum and Badibu. Also in 1850 the Mandingo and Torodo community living among the trading communities in Jokadu, Badibu, Niani and Fula travellers from Futa Jalon called themselves Marabouts.
Islam was the minority religion up to the mid of the nineteen century, and Hecquard explained that the Jola and Serere tribe remain animist when some other tribes were entering into Islam through travelling traders. O’connor (1853) wrote that in 1850, the biggest mosque was said to be in Sabejy (Sukuta) Kombo.

To be continued insahalah

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Poverty And Human Dignity

"If poverty is a man, I would have killed it" Ali (May Allah be Please with Him)

Many people sell their dignity for fear of poverty, people betray friend's, close partners, for fear of poverty. People allow themselves to be used negatively for fear of poverty. Dictators use us, becus we fear losing our jobs. Some even go as far as kill for a corrupt despot all with the backdrop of maintaining a living standard.. In order words not to lose their post. What is more low than selling one's soul for pittance?

Don't waste your life by killing or torturing fellow human beings for anybody on silly orders. Neither is religious fanaticism any basis for indiscriminate killings... Always remember to take the middle path and be moderate in whatever you do.

Islam is not against seeking Halal wealth, in order that, you may use it to help others, perform Hajj and give Zakah. ..Also to be thankful to ALLAH.