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Kanthe’s footnotes

29 May 2017 at 11:37 | 957 views

By Ibrahim Badamasi Kamara, Gatineau, Quebec.

As a non-muslim but a Christian and a Free Thinker, I have come to love the holy month of Ramadan more than most festivals in the religious calendar.

I called it a festival even when it is ironical to say so. Its is definitely a festival of surrendering the body to the will of Allah through fasting and prayers.

During this period, many muslims give zakat in fulfillment of the Quran, the teachings of the Holy Prophet Mohamed ( Peace Be Upon Him) and the Hadiths.

As a young boy from a Christian Methodist background I was introduced to Islam by my Uncle. I was taught to recite many verses of the Quran. I was taught how to prepare myself for prayers. I can recall a lot from those prayers, sermons and Quranic lessons.

Even at a tender age I realize that Muslims have a unique way of worshiping Allah. Then I migrated to become a Jehovah’s Witness. I was thirsty for knowledge. I wanted to learn many versions of the TRUTH. As a new Witness, I would visit houses and distribute the Watchtower Magazine and whenever the opportunity arises I would speak about the coming of God’s Kingdom. Jehovah’s Witness opened my eyes to the academic side of religion. I mastered the argument of God’s Kingdom and the New Paradise. I discovered a lot of truth even though later in life I may not want to say I agree or disagree with them.

Then I became a Seven Days Adventist, a religious tradition which has many similarities with other Christian religious denominations. In Port Loko, during the civil war, it was a period of religious devotion for me and many others. The situation around the country remained precarious as we became accustomed to the sound of violent cannons of war. Later we formed an inter-religeous body of christians and muslims in Port Loko and I became a Chorister singing soprano in the Saint James Church Choir located at Falaba Road, Maforki. I never got satisfied with knowing. I wanted to know more.

I decided to join the Deeper Life Church, a rather puritanical Christian version of religious worship, strict worshiping and adherence to spirituality. In my University days at FBC I was almost going to be converted into the Bible Student Union (BSU) by a friend who was converted by a lady and today they have become a couple, happily married.

I also attempted to worship with other Nigerian Evangelical Churches and the Baptist Churches. In these 30 years of migration, I came to understand the world better. A world where religion gives an added taste to life, a value to man’s existence. A system of canons where men are taught about the present life and what is to come. Many versions of the truth about God (Allah) are told.I was able to navigate these faith practices because I lived in a country with religious tolerance, where Muslims and Christians love each other and marry each other and are related to each other. Even when the civil war and the catastrophic ebola impacted us our faith systems were never shaken. On a contrary, we utilized our religious fundamentals and our diversity as Sierra Leoneans to prevail over the deadly encounter with Ebola. This is what " Resilient People" do during challenging times (Koroma 2013). They proclaimed their faith in Allah and paid obedience to Him, the King of Glory.

A period of penitence has begun with Muslims all over the world paying obedience not to man, but to the Will of God, as communicated by the prophet Mohamed (Peace Be upon Him). Fasting remains a rich religious tradition for muslims. It is a period when worshippers of Allah are encouraged to be steadfast and work in the divine will of ALLAH. They sacrifices all earthly happiness, riches and accomplishments. They pursue humility and sense of obedience to Allah, going without food and water for most part of the day. Throughout the day, they seek the divine presence of Allah. They worship the maker (Allah) as an obligation. The teachings of this religion ( Islam) continue to reach many places of the world. During this period muslims enrich themselves with the power and blessings of ALLAH.

Greetings of Peace to all Muslims of the world as you observe another Ramadan.

Assalamualaikum, Warahmatullahi, Wabarakatuh!