Ghana’s National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu is 101 years old today, Thursday, 23 April 2020.
The Chief Imam is widely recognised across the country as an exceptional leader and an epitome of peace.
Last year, on Sunday, 21 April 2019, the Chief Imam joined a mass service at the Christ the King Catholic Church in Accra to mark his 100th birthday anniversary.
Biography of Nuhu Sharubutu
Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu was born at Accra cow-lane in April 1919 by reputable parents from a well cultured and knowledgeable House.
His father, Sheikh Imam Nuhu Sharubutu was the Imam-Raatib (regular or residential Imam) of the Accra Central Mosque in the late 1960s to 1982 when he demised.
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.
His mother was the sister of the Greater Accra Regional Imam who also rose to be called the National Imam (from late 1933 to 1960), Sheikh Imam Muhammed Abbas popularly known as Mallam Muhammad Mazawaje.
Young Osmanu started his education at home from his father during the day and with his mother at night.
It was widely reported and confirmed by Sheikh Osmanu himself that his mother was given to the father by his uncle, the late Imam Abbas Mazawaje who saw in his father high degree of fear of Allah and qualities of leadership.
Sheikh Nuhu Sharubutu, the father of young Osmanu was a prominent student of Sheikh Imam Abbas Mazawaje and became a member of the House.
Young Osmanu 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 and defeat us.
His journey to Kumasi
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.
The aftermath of his journey to Kumasi
After his advanced studies in Kumasi, Mallam Osmanu 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 careful contemplation, he later took a decision of devoting his time to teaching the Muslim youth who are keen in learning to become Islamic scholars, thinkers, teachers and imams in future.
Even as a teacher himself, he continued to have the desire and love for the 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 Osmanu are Sheikh Alhaji Mohammed, 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 Osmanu 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 and Fundamentals of Sufism.
Meeting Alhaji Sheikh Ibrahima Niass Qutbu Zaman
Mallam Osmanu 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 Osmanu he introduced the Tijjaniya Movement’s Special Meditation to him, which he readily embraced.
He pursued the Tijjaniya Meditation till the arrival of the grand pioneer of the movement, the torchbearer and supreme commander of the Tijjaniya of the 20th century, Grand Sheikh Alhadji Ibrahim Nyass from Kaolack in Sénégal.
Sheikh Ibrahim Niass taught Mallam Osmanu the deeper spiritual aspect of Sufism and rudiments of mysticism and eserotics which smoothly paved the way for Mallam Osmanu to become a true leader in the Tijjaniya Movement in Ghana.
His appointment as National Chief Imam
Interestingly in 1974, after lengthy discussions among the traditional and tribal chiefs, academics, Islamic scholars, and religious personalities, a consensus was reached for Sheikh Osmanu to be appointed as the Deputy Regional Chief Imam of Ghana, deputising his cousin, Sheikh Imam Muhammed Mukhtar Abbas who succeeded his father.
The appointment of Sheikh Osmanu as deputy Greater Accra Region Chief Imam was done in consideration of the unique qualities, Intellectual capacity, dedication to teaching and passion for Islam and exemplary lifestyle in him, but he turned down their offer which was forced on him by the Prominent Muslim Chiefs who persistently asked 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 Osmanu that it was a divine call for him to serve Islam and Muslim communities, he finally accepted the position as the acting Greater Accra Regional Chief Imam until 1993, when he was ceremoniously appointed as the National Chief Imam of Ghana to head the Ghanaian Muslim Communities.
His Islamic activities
Sheikh Osmanu was well known for his exemplary lifestyle and generosity to people who called on him with their personal problems. He has built many Arabic Schools, Islamic Centers and Mosques.
Normally he spends huge sums money in Organising 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 Osmanu 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 Muslim 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 Muslim youth, Islamic faith and the Moslem communities.
Sheikh Osmanu also taught Islamic scholars and sheikhs.
Among his students were Muhammad Munir Dan Alpha who is now deputising him and even leading national Islamic prayers on behalf of his teacher(Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu), Sheikh Ustaz Abdul Aziz, Sheikh Yahyal-Ameen, Mallam Adam Attah (late), Mallam Saeed, Alhaji Jibril Madaha, Mallam Ibrahima Nyass, Mallam Mustapha Yaa Jalala, Mallam Habibu Gora, Sheikh Musa Abdul Kadir (late) and Mallam Zurkanain, to mention just a few.
To sum up, Sheikh Osmanu ranks high among the erudite and prominent Islamic Scholars Ghana has ever produced, among his contemporaries are sheikh Kamâludeen who was chosen directly by Sheikh Osmanu to serve as his Deputy National Chief Imam of Ghana and the late Sheikh Alhadji Haroun Rasheed.
Sheikh Dr Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu is the Grand Khalipha of Sheikh Ibrahim Niass from 1972 to date, a title that he personally considers and cherishes more-than the National Chief Imamship position.
In recent times, to climax his passion for education, smooth and mutual interfaith relations and peaceful coexistence, peacebuilding and unity, he founded two organisations 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 Chief Imam
1. Sheikh Dr. Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu Education Trust Fund (SONSETFUND) www.sonsetfundgh.org and the
2. Islamic Peace and Security Council of Ghana (IPASEC) www.ipasecgh.org cannot be overemphasised or overlooked in contemporary Ghana.
The accomplishments of Sheikh Dr Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu at a glance;
1. The establishment of the Office of the National Chief Imam of Ghana in 1992
2. Engineered the realisation and manifestation of two (2) national holidays for Muslims in the official calendar of the Republic of Ghana
3. Establishment of seven Islamic schools; the Answaru-Deen Islamic School Complex, in the Greater Accra region
4. Self-trained, educated, sponsored and empowered over 50 well-disciplined and taught students in Islamic studies and they have become a force to reckon in the Muslim community in Ghana and have excelled in the field of Islamic knowledge and jurisprudence
5. Personally promoted Islamic education and encouraged the establishment of a unique system of education in Ghana, the marriage of traditional Islamic institutions and secular education to promote the acquisition of both.
6. Personally promoted and encouraged mutual understanding, dialogue and peaceful coexistence between religions (Interfaith relations) and interfaith beliefs (sects).
7. Self-sponsored (financially) hundreds of students to attain circular education in Ghana and abroad.
8. The establishment of an educational Trust Fund to support brilliant but needy students; the Sheikh Dr Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu Education Trust Fund (SONSETFUND) www.sonsetfundgh.org
9. The establishment of an organisation that promotes peace, unity and sustainable peace in Ghana and abroad; the Islamic Peace and Security Council of Ghana (IPASEC) www.ipasecgh.org
10. The establishment of an orphanage to look after the education and welfare of homeless Muslim kids in Ghana; the Nuuru Usmaniya Foundation for Humanitarian Services and Development (NUSMA
11. The establishment of a first-class educational complex in Kasoa, Central Region; Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu Educational Complex
12. Engineered the attraction of the financier organisation (Hunan Development International Foundation-HUDAI from Turkey) on the ongoing construction of the National Mosque at Kawo Kudi, Kanda, Accra.
13. Personally officiated over 5000 marriages in Ghana alone
14. Led funeral prayers on over 4000 Muslims in Ghana
15. Personally officiated over the naming ceremonies of over 10,000 Muslim children.
16. He was decorated with honours by the premier nation’s university, the University of Ghana, Legon in 2006 with doctorate degree for his works in humanities, teaching, imparting knowledge and peaceful activities.
17. Several other local and foreign universities awarded him with doctorate degrees.
Eminent Foreign Personalities
1. Sheikh Alhaji Ahmed Tijjani Ibrahim Niass, Grand Khalipha of Sheikh Alhaji Ibrahim Niass in Madina Kaolakh, Senegal
2. Sheikh Usman Thahiru Bauchi, Prominent Islamic Cleric in Nigeria
3. Sheikh Imam Tijjani Cise, Imam of the Grand Mosque of Sheikh Alhaji Ibrahim Niass in Madina Kaolakh, Senegal
4. Sheikh Alhaji Mudassiru Adeleke Shitu Bulala, the Chairman of Al-Kanz magazine in Nigeria and CEO of a multinational group of companies in Ajay, Lagos
5. Sheikh Hisham Kabani Haqqani, President of the Islamic Supreme Council of America and World Wide Deputy Leader of the Naqshabandiya Sufi order
6. Minister Louis Farakan, Leader of the Nations of Islam in America
7. Minister of the Religion, Dr Khalid Yasin from the United States of America
8. Sheikh Imam Hassan Cisse, Imam of the Grand Mosque of Sheikh Alhaji Ibrahim Niass in Madina Kaolakh, Senegal
Ironically, all the above dignitaries revisited the National Chief Imam several times on their own personal accord on account of his leadership and hospitality.
1. Republic of Turkey
2. Islamic Republic of Iran
3. The United Kingdom
4. United States of America
5. Royal Kingdom of Canada
6. Royal Kingdom of Morocco
7. Royal Kingdom of Denmark
8. Royal Kingdom of Finland
9. Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
10. Federal Republic of Nigeria
11. Republic of Senegal
12. Republic of Togo
13. Republic of Benin
His Eminence Sheikh Dr Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu, as of today, is a member or patron of the following organisations in Ghana and abroad;
1. NATIONAL PEACE COUNCIL (NPC), member
2. TIJJANIYA MUSLIMS MOVEMENT OF GHANA (TMG), Spiritual Leader
3. GHANA CONFERENCE ON RELIGIONS AND PEACE (GCRP), member
4. RELIGIOUS BODIES NETWORK ON CLIMATE CHANGE (RELBONET), member
5. GHANA NATIONAL MEDICAL AWARDS TEAM (1Z GROUP), patron
6. ALFAIDAH INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION (ALIF), patron
7. AFRICAN SUPPORT NETWORK (ASN) GHANA, patron
8. HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS FORUM IN GHANA, to mention just a few.
His Eminence received the following awards among many others that will be mentioned in his comprehensive autobiography Insha Allah;
Honorary Professorial Degree Award by Poltava University, Ukraine 2019.
Muslims Achievers Award by the Ghana Muslims Achievers Awards, 2018.
Ghana Muslim Students’Association Patron Award, (GMSA) 2018.
Martin Luther King Jnr Award for Peace and Justice by the United States Embassy in Accra. 2016.
Muslims Excellence Award by the Yankasa Assoictaion Inc, USA, 2015.
Northern Achievers Award by the Northern Youth for Development, 2015.
Man of the year Award by the Abnaul faida, Lagos, Nigeria, 2014.
Muslims Personality Award by the Ghana Muslims Award, 2013.
Ghana Most Influential Award, 2nd most influential personality of the year, 2012 by the ETV Ghana. 2013.
Yankasa Man of the Year Award by the Yankasa Association Inc. USA, 2013.
Tijjaniya Muslims Movement Highest Man of Personality Award by the Tijjaniya Muslims Movement of Ghana, 2011.
Member of the Star of Volta Award by the Republic of Ghana, 2007.
Member of the Star of Volta Award by the Republic of Ghana, 2006.
1. Brokering of peace between Muslims and indigenes of Hohoe, Volta region in 2012 following a conflict that resulted in the loss of lives and properties.
2. Brokering of peace between Muslims and indigenes of Tafo, Ashanti Region and the Muslim youth of the region in 2016 following a conflict that resulted in the loss of lives and properties.
3. Gracing of programmes of non-Islamic faiths such as his attendance and honouring of invitations of the Catholic Church during their centenary anniversary in Accra.
4. Brokering of peace between Kusasis and Mamprusis in the Upper East Region following a protracted conflict that resulted in the loss of lives and properties.
His Eminence played a key and vital role.
5. Brokering of peace between Muslim youth and the Imams of Nkawkaw, Eastern Region over leadership crisis that resulted in the closure of mosque and the imposition of a curfew by the state security agencies to protect lives and properties.
6. Permission to Pastor Mensa Otabil, the General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church, to finance the painting of the National Mosque in 2011.
Compiled by; Alhaji Khuzaima Mohammed Osmanu
Personal Assistant to the National Chief Imam, Executive Secretary of IPASEC and SONSETFUND Grandson of Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu with the assistance of Ustaz Issah Gibriel Abbas.