Alhai Ibrahim Conteh, the Imam of the Dawal-Tul Muslim Jamaat of New Jersey , has warned residents of the Garden State against pagan practices which grieve the heart of God. The muslim cleric gave the warning during his sermon at the funeral service for the late Mohamed Unisa Kamara at the Andersen Funeral Home in New Brunswick, New Jersey last Sunday. Alhaji Ibrahim Conteh said that muslims who celebrate 40-day and one-year ceremonies for the dead were out of the will of God as these occasions are ordained neither by the Christian Bible nor by the Muslim Quoran. He admonished muslims to study the Quoran well so they can follow its teachings and precepts well.
The muslim scholar, teacher and preacher also delivered a strong warning to muslims who dabble in juju (Voodoo ) practices. He told them to refrain from the practice of going to sorcerers and marabout people to ask them to make charms for them. He declared to his rapt audience that wearing voodoo amulets (popularly known in the local parlance as “Sebbeh ” ) around the waist or hanging it on doors for God’s protection or blessings was not consistent with the teachings of Islam as all protection and blessings come from God.
Imam Ibrahim Conteh condemned beliefs that a “Sebbeh” could bring somebody blessings because if it was true the juju men would have been the first to be blessed.He said that the fact that these marabout men are not blessed is a demonstration of the fact that they too do not have the power to have anybody blessed. He drew laughter from the jampacked hall when he stated that some people even go to the voodoo men to be given magic pens to pass their examinations. He ridiculed the juju men that their children fail exams and asked his audience that if these marabout people had the power to make others excel in exams, won’t their children be the first to pass examinations ?
The muslim leader also warned New Jerseyans to avoid a lackadiasical attitude towards God. He warned that tomorrow is not promised anybody and that death can strike anybody at any time, regardless of age, social standing oe economic position. He therefore advised New Jerseys to draw near God by joining any of the muslim jamaats or, if they are christians , to align themselves with churches.
Alhaji Conteh also asked people to respect and love each other as they live in an interdependent world. He gave a graphic demonstration of man’s dependency on others. “When you are being born, you need somebody’s hand to hold on to you to bring you into this world .When you die also, you need the hands of people to bury you . Therefore we must respect and love each other because we always need each other ,” he preached.
Alhaji Conteh also chastised muslims who do not seek to study the muslim prayers well to be able to recite them correctly in public. He warned that if a muslim was called upon to pray during a burial , for instance, he should understand well the verses to recite because the angels are there listening and they will not hear him if he blunders and recites the wrong verses. He said that was the reason that other learned muslims cut off such a blundering muslim and finish the recitation for him the moment he begins to stumble.
Imam Conteh called on muslims to comport themselves well during burials. He admonished muslims to be in prayerful spirit and to refrain from worthless and unnecessary discussions and noise at the cemeteries during burial ceremonies.
NEW JERSEY was the scene of three funerals and two memorial ceremonies over the weekend .Thousands of Sierra Leoneans travelled from far and wide to help New Jerseyans bury three of their compatriots who passed away recently. The deceased who were laid to rest at the weekend were Mrs.Hawa Bob-Grey , who was allegedly killed by her stepson; Mrs.Margaret Allman who died suddenly and Mr. Mohamed Unisa Kamara who passed away after a long illness. There were also memorial ceremonies for Mrs. Bintu Nabe -Conteh , who died last December and the late mother of Mr.Beddor Bangura.
In other developments, to prove that in the midst of death, there is life, there was also an outdooring ceremony in New Jersey at the weekend. Imam Ibrahim Conteh held a traditional “Pull-Nar -Doe ” (Outdooring ceremony ) for his grandson who was born last week. We will bring you the details.