There are six pillars of faith in Islam. These are the believe in the Oneness of Allah, the Revealed Books, the Prophets of Islam, the Day of Resurrection, Angels and Predestination.
Predestination or ‘Qadar’ in Arabic is a concept that holds that the Almighty Allah has written all that will come to pass in the Preserved Tablet (“Al-Lawhu Al-Mahfuud”). However Predestination holds that a person’s action is not caused by what is written in the Preserved Tablet but, rather, the action is written in the Preserved Tablet because God already knows all occurrences without the restrictions of time.
We know that Allah has eternal knowledge as He is All-Powerful, Omnipresent and the Creator of all things in and outside the universe. Hence whatever human beings do or do not do is already known to Allah and it has been written down already. But Predestination does not take away the freewill of human beings. Rather Predestination recognizes that human deeds and intent are the making of human beings themselves even though Allah knows beforehand those deeds and intent even before the human being was created or born.
In the Gambia as in many other Muslim societies, there is a gross misinterpretation of Predestination, which is perceived as fatalism. Many scholars and believers misunderstand Divine Justice, Destiny and Fate in Islam to the point that they take away human liberty and freedom, which have been given by Allah. By doing so, they therefore misinterpret, limit and insult Allah everyday by ascribing every human action and intent to the Will of Allah.
The argument that Ebrahima Mbowe made in defense of Predestination is the very kind of misunderstanding that has always been used to subject Muslims to oppression and exploitation in many countries. It holds the view that everything in society is willed by Allah hence human beings were mere recipients, conduits or agents of the Will of Allah. If we go by this perception then we could also claim that Allah killed Solo Sandeng, Deyda Hydara, April 10 and 11 Schoolchildren and many other victims of Yaya Jammeh. Certainly no one in his or her right mind would conclude that Allah killed those people.
Mr. Mbowe said many efforts were made to remove Yaya Jammeh but none could materialize until 2017 hence Barrow is president by the Will of Allah. Is Mr. Mbowe also saying therefore that it was Allah who willed that Yaya Jammeh should be president and stay in power until 2017? Can Mr. Mbowe tell us why and how Allah would make Yaya Jammeh be the president of the Gambia for 22 years and killing fellow citizens everyday? Did Allah will this or not?
If we follow Mr. Mbowe’s interpretation of Predestination, then it means he is seeking to disempower Gambians to accept our fate anyhow while on the other hand empowering those in power to remain there forever until Allah wills for them to step down. Allah did not give us Jawara or Jammeh and certainly Allah has not given us Barrow. Gambians put Jawara and Jammeh and Barrow in power based on our own decisions, rightly or wrongly. But certainly Allah knows that who will be president of the Gambia and what the future of the Gambia looks like. But He did not decide that. Such decision is with Gambians themselves.
Let us not confuse the fact that while Allah knows everything and nothing happens outside of the knowledge of Allah, yet Allah does not determine our human actions and intent. Allah has given us a brain to think and decide on our own. Allah has created Heaven and Hell for those who do right or wrong. While he knows already who will go to Heaven or Hell, yet Allah has not determined who goes to what place. That is left to our own freewill in doing the right or wrong.
As Muslims, we belief that Allah is the Sustainer, the Ultimate Causative Agent, the Provider and so on. This is why Muslims begin every action with ‘In the Name of Allah’ and pray for protection against Satan. When we achieve fortune or experience any misfortune, we proclaim ‘Alhamdulillah’ by showing gratitude to Allah or take solace in Allah. This is part of our faith to strengthen and humble us. It means we acknowledge that everything is within the realm of the will and knowledge of Allah. It means we submit to the Will of Allah for we believe Allah has only good intentions for humanity. But we must not confuse this aspect of our faith to mean that Allah therefore decides for us. No way. Human beings decide for themselves.
I would therefore urge Mr. Ebrahima Mbowe and all Gambians who claim to be Muslims to research and learn more about Islam. The poverty in the Gambia is not caused by Allah. The dictatorship we went through was not caused by Allah. The corruption and bad governance in the Gambia since Independence are not caused by Allah. We caused these bad situations ourselves based on our own freewill and choices. However Allah knew what would become of the Gambia in the past, present and future because Allah is All-Knowing. But Allah did not determine that Gambians would undergo such bad governance at the cost of the lives of hundreds of our citizens. Allah is not an evil being.
Stop insulting Allah. Stop accusing Allah. Stop misinterpreting Allah. Islam is incompatible with poverty, ignorance, discrimination, tribalism, oppression and exploitation. Therefore in any society where there is a high incidence of poverty, filth, exploitation and oppression then that society is un-Islamic and ungodly. I expect folks like Ebrahima Mbowe to enlighten Gambians to become better Muslims than to seek to disempower Gambians by misinterpreting Islam.
God Bless The Gambia