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Opinions of Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhasan Alhaji

Let’s recognize contributions of Islamic living legends in Ghana (2)

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

As Islamic affairs became epicenter of attraction, in the country from the Gold Coast in the 40s and 50s right till Ghana became independent, we had three segments of Muslim leadership, these are: Islamic Teachers and Imams, Zongo Chiefs who are Muslims and the Muslim Councils that take care of administrative affairs for Muslims.

Personalities like Imam Abass reigned supreme in the Gold Coast followed by his son Alhaji Muntari Abass whose death gave way for the coming into office of Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu in the 80s the current National Chief Imam.

It is not denying the fact that the current National Chief Imam is doing all in his power to promote peaceful coexistence with all people of Ghana including Christians, the political leaderships and Ghanaians as a whole.

The good work ethics of the National Chief Imam has ended the internal bickering of Muslim factions to the extent that the Ahlullsunna Wal Jamma under sheikh Ibrahim Umar Imam and the leaders of Ahmadiya Mission and the shiiats have all come closer to work with the National Chief Imam.

We cannot narrate the issues of pioneers in Islamic preaching in Ghana without mentioning the name of Affa Ajura of Tamale who like hajj Umar in Accra, promoted (Ahlusunna) the practices of the prophet Mohammed (pbh) in the northern part of Ghana.

He is no more but he has left behind a legacy that is being built on. While the Imams and Islamic preachers and Muslim businessmen were busy with their activities Islamic stalwarts Dr Francis Abdallah Botsway who just returned to the country in the early 80s came in to promote rapid development of Islam in Ghana. Through his contact with Libya’s Islamic Call Society he spurred on some Muslim activists to work for Islamic advancement.

His activities led to the establishment of rival grouping UGMRC which later teamed up with GMRC to form the Federation of Muslim Councils of Ghana (FMC) in Libya. Today this organization is operating under the leadership of Alhaji Abdallah Showmie Williams with Alhaji Kpakpo Addo as the General Secretary.

Late Sheikh Ibrahim Amartey cannot be forgotten in Islamic affairs in Ghana. He began as a leading member of the Ghana Muslim Mission who worked hard towards many Christian Ga young men and women converting to Islam. However he later became a stalwart of the Tijuana movement working closely with Sheikh Ibrahim Kaulak in Senegal.

Another personality who cannot be forgotten is Alhaji malik who as an ex-serviceman and former employee of the Ministry of Health was one of the two coordinators of the Federation of Muslim Councils of Ghana. Alhaji Mohammed Rashid Alhassan is one person who comes to mind as a person who served as Hajj Coordinator under the Ghana Muslim Representative Council (GMRC).

He carried out his duties to the satisfaction of all Muslims, succeeding governments and the general public. Alhaji Balogun is one person whose name cannot be lost on Muslims in Ghana. He began as secretary of the Muslim Community organization but he moved over to become one of the leading Hajj Agents who helped various airlines including the defunct Bestworld Airlines in the 70s to organize the Hajj Pilgrimages in Ghana in the 70s.

Alhaji Labaran was one personality who comes to mind as a person who after serving as a leading Hajj Agent and official of the Muslim Community became the first secretary of the Council of Muslim Chiefs. Alhaji Abdul Mumuni Issifu was once the Secretary General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress after going through the ladder. He was used by the Muslim leaders in Ghana to promote Islamic development in country.

In the Gold Coast right through the post independent period we had stalwarts like Alhaji Norgah who with business acumen and hard work promoted Islam with earnings from his business empires in commercial and other enterprises. Today he is remembered as someone who has built many mosques dotted in most parts of Accra and other parts of Ghana.

A visit to Alajo, Kotobaabi and Accra central one can find his renovated mosques being used as schools, marriage and counseling centers. For contributing so much towards Islam his name would continue to reign supreme. Apart from Alhaji Norgah we had personalities like Alhaji Waahe English and members of the English family in Accra central also playing leading roles in Islamic development side by side their business activities.

Today after departing from this earth the generation of the English family is engaged in various businesses. We cannot mention Muslim businessmen without mentioning the names of Alhaji Salifu Maikankan who also used his business acumen to help Muslims in their moments of need. He also departed this earth leaving behind his children and family members who are following his footsteps.

The personalities mentioned above who are no more are but a few of those we need to remember, study and follow their pious steps taken to provide leadership for Muslims in Ghana. It is our candid opinion that Muslims leaders must consider combining their efforts to take the following steps as done in some nations:

• Call for papers or biography on all Muslim leaders especially those who are no more with us.

• Those men and women should include Chiefs’ Imams’ preachers and leaders of all the recognized bodies.

• With the information gathered we would be able to have biographies of Muslims and a “who is who” book for Muslims. This is being done in other advanced countries.

• We can also use the information gathered on the past leaders to push through programs to follow their footsteps.

• We may also institute days in the year to remember these men This way we would succeed in remembering the contributions of our heroes or living legends.

To succeed in our program to honor our living legends we have opened a channel for people to contribute towards gathering information on Muslims generally through our contacts. No contribution is too small or too big. Contact and contribute to us on 0274853710 or 0264370345

Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai is the Executive Director at Eanfoworld for Sustainable Development. E-mail: abdulai.alhasan@gmail.com/eanfoworld@yahoo.com