Feature Article of Friday, 9 August 2013
Columnist: Alhaji alhasan abdulai
Muslims have successfully concluded a month long fast and celebrated the Ramadan festival in Ghana under the leadership of a man of peace and tranquility, Sheikh Dr Usman Nuhu Sharubutu. He led prayers for peace on August 8, even as the Supreme Court prepare to give a ruling on the election petition before it later this month. Get to know about the leader of Muslims in Ghana, considered as a paragon of virtue: now read on
At 90, he is receiving more support, cooperation, prayers for more days on earth, good health and vitality from all those who come in contact with him. His humble abode at Fadama is a home for all people high and low who are allowed access to meet the elderly man for advice, prayers and goodwill messages. People from neighboring countries and those in Europe and the United States of America have close relationship with him.
He has countless adopted children, grand children and great grand children in Ghana and abroad. I don’t know about human perfection but this man I bet has what it takes to vie for the Guinness book of records as a man with no known enemies in the open and secret. Yes, this man has no enemy that I know of in my association with him for more than three decades. Every day and night he feeds many people in his household and beyond, some of whom are orphans and homeless. Visitors from neighboring countries are housed and fed by him. This ‘spiritual philanthropist’ deserves support from government and corporate bodies for rendering social service.
No wonder past and current governments and some corporate bodies like MTN, VODAFONE have made a point to support the National Chief Imam with food items during Ramadan fast and Eid prayers towards supporting the Muslim ummah. That is good, but it is advisable for these organizations and many more to provide regular support to the Imam to extend his social service to many more people.
The man whose virtues I have trumpeted above is no less a person than Sheikh Dr Usman Nuhu Sharubutu, the National Chief Imam. In fact, even when he served as the acting Chief Imam when late Imam Muntari Abass, his uncle, was taken ill in 1974 and could not perform his duties, everybody who came across the current National Chief Imam knew that we had a good Imam in the making. He was cool and collected. Yes he was an Islamic teacher who had many students learning at his feet in a school established by his late father and his teacher.
No wonder that when the lot fell on him to take over as the National Chief Imam in 1993, everyone approved of him. Since then, he has been working with members of the Tijania, Ahlusunna, Ahmadis and even non Muslims. Ever since Dr Sharubutu became the first National Chief Imam in Ghana and the world over, he has not looked back in his desire to work towards the welfare of all Muslims and non Muslims irrespective of their schools of thought and sectional beliefs.
As a spiritual leader, he does not show bias openly or secretly against any political party, national leaders of other faiths or leaders and members of opposition. Since his installation in the days of President Rawlings, he has been enjoying the support of all succeeding governments. It was under the government of President Rawlings and through the Imam and other Muslim bodies that the Islamic festival days of Eid al Ftr and Eid al Adha were made public holidays. This was continued when President Kufuor became president in the year 2000 till date.
All he does is to pray for all people of the nation and its leaders in accordance with the dictates of the Quran and hadith that says Muslims must give honor to their parents and all those in authority on the land. Presidents Rawlings and Kufuor visited and conferred with him in much the same vein that the current President John Dramani Mahama has been visiting his home regularly to forge close relationship with him and by extension to all Muslims. It is the wish of the current Presidents that Sheikh Usman Sharubutu will live long enough to see the completion and opening of the new national mosque under construction with Turkish fund along the Kanda Highway. This wish was expressed by President Mahama at the Fadama residence of the national chief Imam at a meeting of all Muslim leaders under the leadership of the National Chief Imam.
In fact, among those who troop his home for support, prayers and counseling are non Muslims and even animists. What each of them say about the Imam is that he is a good father, uncle, grandfather and friend to all. He listens to everyone who paid him visit.
Being a generous person, he has been supporting many children to pursue their education up to the highest level. To formalize this, he set up a fund known as sheikh Usman Nuhu Sharubutu Educational Fund (SUNSETFUND) under Sheikh Mustapha Ibrahim, a philanthropist, to support more students. The organization has succeeded in supporting many students in our tertiary schools with funds from the Chief Imam and other donors. The fund has also donated books and other educational facilities to all the major universities in Ghana.
With the help of the Governments Students Loans Scheme, the fund has guaranteed loans to many students. Apart from this scheme, the fund is working closely with some telephone companies to raise funds to run the scholarship fund and to help some communities in the North and Southern Ghana to put up schools.
Contrary to the notion that the aged must not be active, the aging Imam seems to be the smartest Imam on earth. Apart from leading five daily prayers, he leads Friday and annual Eid prayers. He accepts invitations week after week to officiate and bless marriages, funeral prayers and naming ceremony. He so enjoyed working for the people that his close associates feel he ought to be given some days off which he resists. He does not show publicly any weakness or frailty to the extent that his underlings feel he is a super human. He is just gifted by the lord.
Besides his social services and official duties in mosques, he as an Islamic tutor in the past, is currently applying his love for education into practice. He has built and is operating a number of schools that are being considered to be placed under the care of the Islamic education unit. He is also constructing a school complex at Kasoa which will serve as Junior and Senior Secondary School.
The complex may be extended to accommodate a teacher training college or a university depending of which of these would be in great demand. Due to his exceptional love for mankind and his services to his nation he has received many awards home and abroad from Muslims and non Muslims. Topmost among these are national awards conferred on distinguished personalities and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Ghana. He is a member of the National Peace Council among many bodies to which he belongs.