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Opinions of Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

At 96 the National Chief Imam is still vibrant

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Information emanating from the Personal Assistant of the National Chief Imam, gave Saturday April 23 2016 as exactly the 96th birthday of a spiritual father a Great Sufi that Ghana ever had a Spiritual Leader of Tijjaniya Muslims and the National Chief Imam of Ghana, Sheikh Dr. Osman Nuhu Sharubutu.

The age 90 and above signifies advanced age for most people who would succumb to poor health in body and mind. However those who know the Imam so well at close quarters would say that he does not look his age. Yes he looks younger than his age with the ability to demonstrate good reading habit, retentive memory, good eyesight and high quality preaching and interactions. He has been living up to the tasks before him by flying frequently in and out of the country and Kris-crossing Ghana on religious and national social and religious duties. This write up is meant to lay bare the birth day of the spiritual leader not for fun but to show to people how the Chief Imam lived his life right through to his adulthood to who and what he is today in Ghana.

According to Alhaji Khuaimah who chronicled the account of HIS BIRTH AND life including EARLIER CHILDHOOD, Dr Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu was born in Accra on Monday 4th Jumâdal-ûlà 1343 Hegira which fell on 23rd April 1923. He grew up in a pious and Islamic environment. His father Sheikh Nuhu Bin Mohammed Sharabutu may his soul rest in peace; saw the great potentials in his young son Osman, so he wasted no time by instilling in him the right Islamic upbringing personally , the correct pronunciation of the Arabic Alphabets, so as to facilitate his easy reading of the Holy Quran.

Later, he trained him in essay writing skills and the correct pronunciation and intonation of the Holy Quran till he was well versed in the recital and the composition of the excellent essays in Arabic. This paved the way of young Osman to master the recital of the Quran which he completed at a record tender age of twelve (12).

Since his childhood days, he rarely had time to play because he was completely devoted to his books, which helped him tremendously to commit to memory various Al-hadiths of the Holy Prophet, Islamic texts, Islamic Jurisprudence and Islamic literature.

Furthermore, to better equip young Osman with onerous tasks ahead, and to shoulder the future challenges and responsibilities, Sheikh Nuhu Bin Mohammed Sharabutu organized night classes for his son.

That was where our Moslem Leader was exposed to complexities of Arabic Morphology (Sarf) and logic to enable him to fully comprehend the highly advanced texts and Rhetoric in his future studies.

His mother, Hajja Ayishatu Abbass popularly known as Mma Tasidi, may her soul rest in peace and perfect bliss, also contributed immensely to the moral and psychological development of her son by ensuring that he had the proper home upbringing to go side with Islamic Education. He grew up to be a truly Islamic Model and a Unique Islamic heavyweight in knowledge and wisdom worthy of emulation. At any point in time since his childhood till date he has been hammering on the need for all Ghanaians , Muslims and Christians to live in peace saying that any divisive tendencies could leave room for our enemies to penetrate to defeat us.


When his father saw his true devotion and love for books and knowledge, he decided to send Osman to a new learning environment. It was later decided that the Garden City and the Capital of Ashanti Region becomes his new learning destination.

The prominent Islamic Scholar Sheikh Abdullah Dan Tano became his next teacher. That was where he went through a highly advanced course in Arabic Grammar, Arabic Literature and Texts, the study of Islamic Jurisprudence and Al-Hadiths (practices of the Holy Prophet). He remained there until he graduated with distinction from Kumasi.


After his advanced studies in Kumasi, Mallam Osman became a completely changed and reformed personality. This is due to the deep knowledge he acquired outside his original environment and his ability to imbibe the moral teachings from his teachers. After a careful contemplation, he later took a decision of devoting his time to teaching the Moslem youth who are keen in learning to become Islamic Scholars, thinkers, teachers and imams in future.

Even as teacher himself , he continued to have the desire and love for pursuit of knowledge to the extent that anytime he heard of an Islamic Scholar, he rushed to fall on his feet as a student to seek further knowledge thereby benefiting from that scholar.

Among the illustrious scholars and Sheikhs who taught Mallam Osman are Sheikh Alhadi popularly known as Baraw, may he rest in peace. Sheikh Baraw taught the interpretation of the Holy Quran, Classic Arabic Language, Literature and Texts. Another famous Sheikh who served as a tutor and instructor to Mallam Osman was Sheikh Abubakar Fulaaty Al Kanawy who hailed from Nigeria. It was this Sheikh who taught him Arabic Culture, Al-Hadith of the Holy Prophet, Arabic Texts as Fundamentals of Sufism.


Mallam Osman continued with research on Sufism, by often devoting his leisure time in mosques to listen to the preachers of the Tijjaniyya movement and Sufism. When his maternal uncle Sheikh Imam Alhadji Mohammed Abbas Mazawaje, who was the Accra Chief Imam saw the devotion, interest and handwork in Osman he introduced the Tijjaniyya Movement’s Special Meditation to him, which he readily embraced. He pursued the Tijjaniyya Meditation till the arrival of the grand pioneer of the movement, the torch bearer and supreme commander of the Tijjaniyya of the 20th century, Grand Sheikh Alhadji Ibrahim Nyass from Kaolack in Sénégal.

Sheikh Ibrahim Nyass taught Mallam Osmam the deeper spiritual aspect of Sufism and rudiments of mysticism and eserotics which smoothly paved the way for Mallam Osmam to become a truly leader in the Tijjaniyya Movement in Ghana.

Interestingly in 1974, after a lengthy discussions among the traditional and tribal chiefs, academics, Islamic scholars, and religious personalities, a consensus was reached for Sheikh Osman to be appointed as the Deputy National Chief Imam of Ghana, considering the unique qualities and exemplary lifestyle in him, but he turned down their offer which was forced on him by persistently asking him to give it a serious thought stressing to him that it could be a divine call to serve God.

Subsequently when It dawned on Sheikh Osman that it was a divine call for him to serve Islam and Moslem communities, he finally accepted the position as the acting National Chief Imam until 1993, when he was ceremoniously appointed as the National Chief Imam of Ghana to head the Ghana Moslem Communities.

Sheikh Osman was well known for his exemplary lifestyle and generosity to people who called on him with their personal problems. He also built many Arabic Schools, Islamic Centers and Mosques. Normally he spends huge sums money in Organizing conferences, seminars and symposia on thorny Islamic issues prevailing in the Islamic societies and the country as a whole.

From the amounts given on him Sheikh Osman deserves the award given him by the University of Ghana who bestowed on him an honorary Doctorate Degree. He deserves more of that from any Islamic University or Higher Institution of learning; also he really deserves the accolade of a great Moslem leader due to his immense contribution and love for maintaining peace and development in Ghana. He is also contributing to the revival of good values and reform in the Moslem youth, Islamic faith and the Moslem communities.

Nevertheless, Sheikh Osman also taught Islamic scholars and Sheikhs. Among his student are Sheikh Yahya El-Ameen, Mallam Adam Attah, Mallam Saeed, Alhadji Jibril Madaha, Mallam Ibrahima Nyass, Mohammed Muniru "Dan Alfah", Mallam Mustapha Yaa Jalala, Mallam Habibu Gora, and Mallam Zurkanain, to mention just a few.

To sum up, Sheikh Osman ranks high among the erudite and prominent Islamic Scholars Ghana has ever produced, among his contemporaries are sheikh Kamâludeen who is currently serving as the Deputy National Chief Imam of Ghana and the late Sheikh Alhadji Haroun Rasheed.

In recent times, to climax his passion for education, smooth and mutual interfaith relations and peaceful coexistence, peace building and unity, he founded two organizations that are making great marks and impacting positive changes in the lives of Ghanaians and the World in general.

The works and activities of the Sheikh Dr. Osman Nuhu Sharubutu Education Trust Fund (SONSETFUND) and the Islamic Peace and Security Council of Ghana (IPASEC) cannot be over emphasized or over looked in the contemporary Ghana.

Executive director

EANFOWORLD for sustainable development
P.O Box AN 17070 Phone 0244370345