Profile of the late Shaikh Rashad, an eminent Ghanaian Islamic scholar and Arabic poet who died in Kumasi

On the 16th of February 2023, the death was reported of Shaikh Rashad at the Kumasi Zongo. Below is a short biography of the Shaikh who is well-known among Muslims, particularly scholars.

His father’s name is Ahmed Bin Sulaiman and his mother’s name UmKulthum, daughter of Amir Salaw. His parents were Dandes from Benin who settled at the Kumasi Zongo. He was born in 1930 and had 11 children (six males and five females).

He began his academic career at a typical Makaranta Quranic School where he studied the Quran in 1944 from Shaikh Hamja from Kano, Nigeria. After that, he was transferred to the Madrasah of Shaikh Dantano, the well-known Arabic grammarian. There he studied Arabic (luggat), Grammar (Nahw), Inflexion (Sarf), Literature (Adab), and principles of Islam (Usul).

During his studentship, he studied such famous books as Mu’atta Imam Malik, Risala Abii Zaalain and Irshad Al-Saalih – all in Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh). In addition, he studied Al-Fahuul Sitta, Zahiir, Naabigha, Shuraa Al-Jaahiliyya (Pre-Islamic Arabic poetry), Maqama Al-Hariri, said to be the most difficult Arabic book of literature, Ishriiniiya, Al-Ashaariya, Qasida Al-Burds.

In history, he studied such books as Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Hisham, Ibn Sad, and Al-waaqidi. Whilst undergoing advanced and intensive courses from his master, Shaikh Dantano, the latter died suddenly in 1949. He never transferred to any other master but continued studying by himself till he attained the highest level of knowledge. After that, he began to transmit knowledge by teaching students knowledge for the next 40 years at his house in Kumasi Zongo.

In 1985, he began lecturing in Quran’s Commentary (Tafsir Al-Quran) and has maintained it till his death. Among the students that he has taught are Abdullah Ibn Imam Fulaani, Talha, Al-Hassana Darusu, Mallam Mama Ajarub and Abdullah Dagomba.

In 1975 and 2005 he performed the Hajj. In 1980 he travelled with Shaikh Muhammad Appiedu (founder of Islamic Secondary School, Kumasi) to Libya to attend an Islamic conference. In 1985 he attended two Islamic conferences at Cotonou and Nouakchott, Mauritania. In 1987 he went again to Libya.

Before I left his presence, he gave me an Arabic poem written by him entitled “Taqriiz Al-Jalalain” (In Eulogy of the Jalaalain).

Jalaalain is the name of a Quranic Commentary that is very popular amongst students of Commentary. It is usually recommended for beginners because of its brevity in explanations.

The following is the translation of the poem:

1. Jalal Al-Mahali was a scholar and interpreter of the Quran. He interpreted the Quran using the style of I’jaz of the Quran of his Lord.

2. But he could not complete the work of interpreting the Holy Book. Due to death that befell him before he could complete his work

3. Then came Al-Suyuti to complete the challenging task. He was well-informed and learned about the ways of interpretation.

4. He completed it by trodding the path of his Master (Shaikh) by using the same style of I’jaz which was in accord with his chosen method

5. It became a perfect book without a peer. Such that no similar book of interpretation could excel in fame due to the clarity of its expression.

6. Jalal Al-Suyuti was, when writing the commentary, only 30 years. Yet he caused admiration in us for his treatise.

7. According to Al-Suyuti he completed it. In the same span of time as the time in which God fulfilled His promise to Al-Kalim (Moses).

8. By this statement he meant to say that he prayed fervently to his Lord for thirty days while writing the book. Then topped it with ten days; it was successful by virtue of his understanding

9. And this, in my life, is one of the miracles of our Shaikh. By this feat, he has risen higher than the peers of his time

10. His frame of knowledge is not hidden. From any person who critically examines the gist of his book.

11. Here ends the eulogy of the Jalaalain. I have selected the number twelve for the number of lines of my poem, in allusion to the number of tribes (twelve) of the Prophet Jacob. The poem is perfect in its arrangements (Like how pearls are orderly arranged on threads)

12. May the Lord of the Throne reward our professor (Ustaazana) who explained to us from the commentary? That which was obscured to us,” The poem is self-explanatory. The word I’jaz means Arabic words used by God in the Quran that are pregnant with meanings, such that opponents cannot put forth something similar.


So ended is the life of an Islamic scholar and poet who spent his life educating the youth. His funeral was attended by the National Chief Imam, Ashanti Regional Chief Imam, state officials and party functionaries.

By Khalid Kofi Ahmad and published in Ghanaian Times


Otumfuo renews bond with Zongo communities in Kumasi

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has graced a Quran recitation ceremony put together by the office of Kumasi Zongo Nkosuohene (Development Chief), Ali Barry, in collaboration with the Council of Ulamau in the Ashanti Region to mark the 75th birthday of the Asantehene.

Held at the forecourt of the Manhyia Palace, the Asantehene took the opportunity to urge Muslims in the Ashanti Region to maintain the healthy relations existing between them and the Palace.

He said the friendship between Manhyia and the Muslim community over the years fostered peaceful coexistence and community development and should be sustained for posterity.

The Ashanti Regional Chief Imam Sheikh Abdul Mumin Haroun who led the recitation advised Muslims to maintain peace and harmony with their neighbours and urged all tribal chiefs to remain calm in the face of the misunderstanding surrounding the installation of a new Zongo Chief as Manhyia has taken steps to resolve the crisis. 

Say No To Drugs campaign launched to transform Zongo communities

Launch of Say No To Drugs campaign for Zongo communities – Source: Graphic Online

Alhaji Salamu Amadu, the National Zongo Youth Ambassador for Peace and Development, and the concerned youth from Nima and Mamobi in the Ayawaso North and East Municipalities have launched the Say No To Drugs campaign to combat drug addiction among the youth and guide them towards a drug-free life.

Abdul Fatahu Alhassan, the organizer of the campaign, emphasized that their objective is to ensure that the youth in Zongo communities across the country steer clear of drugs in order to achieve their life goals.

“Our campaign aims to inspire the youth to reject drugs and pursue their dreams and aspirations,” said the organiser of the campaign, Abdul Fatahu Alhassan who hopes to take the campaign across Zongo communities in the country.

Ambassador Alhaji Salamu Amadu who is also the President and Founder of the Afro-Arab Group of Companies, expressed concern about the heightened abuse of drugs in Zongo communities and pledged to support addicts with entrepreneurial skills if they agree to be rehabilitated.

“It saddens me to witness our brothers and sisters in such circumstances. I urge stakeholders to support this commendable initiative led by the Mayor of Nima. I believe that, through a gradual process, our message will resonate with our brothers and sisters, encouraging them to break free from drug addiction and become valuable contributors to our nation,” said Ambassador Alhaji Salamu Amadu.

“In Shaa Allah, the Afro Arab Group is ready to support those who are committed to rehabilitation and provide them with startup capital for their businesses. We also welcome individuals who seek to develop entrepreneurial skills. However, the most crucial step is making a firm decision to distance oneself from drugs,” he added.

Eze Dr. Chukwudi Ihenetu, the Nigerian King of the Igbo Community in Ghana, who attended the event as a guest also pledged to cover the cost of rehabilitation for all those who are prepared to renounce drugs.

Battle for Savannah Regional Chief Imam position in force

Source: Nkiligi FM Online

“So long as Gonjaland remains Savannah region, every Yagbon Imam should be the automatic Imam of the region just as every Yagbonwura is the automatic President of the Savannah regional house of Chiefs and that using the Yagbon Imam as Savannah Region Chief Imam will solve many issues in future because there are already existing Islamic Traditional processes in place to elect a Chief Imam for Yagbon and the processes have withstood the test of time”.

This statement was in the petition of Sakpare or Kamagtey Clan of the Gonja Kingdom (Savannah Region) to the King and Overlord of Gonja Yagbonwura Bii-Kunuto Jewu Soale (I) for the acclamation of the Yagbon Imam, Sheikh Kassim Abdulai as the legitimate Chief Imam of the Savannah Region.

It was made at a conference of Gonja Sakpare Imams, Islamic Clerics, Academicians, and Professionals who converged in Buipe in the Central Gonja District of the Savannah Region on Monday 23rd May, 2023.

Alhaji Sumaila Mahama (Somawura) who is the head of the Sakpare Clan in the Wasipe Traditional Area of Gonja presented the Communique indicating that the Savannah Region is not different from Gonjaland and the entire region is under the authority of Gonja and before the region was created, Gonjaland already has the Yagbon Imam as it’s state Imam and the custodian of Islam in the state.

He said it is difficult to delineate Gonja Chieftaincy structure from its Islamic structures and so Imamship per the Gonja tradition is hereditary and that is why the Yagbonwura and each divisional Chief of Gonja is given a Sapkare Imam for the smooth running of the state.

“It is only the lineage of the founder of the Gonja Kingdom Ndewura Jakpa that become Chiefs and so we Sakpares who are the custodians of Islam in Gonja have unanimously selected the Yagbon Imam (Supreme Chief Imam of Gonjaland/Savannah Region and the Custodian of Gonja Islamic Spirituality) as the legitimate Savannah Regional Chief Imam,” he said.

The head of the Gonja Sakpare Clan of Wasipe Traditional Area of Gonja further said the formation of the Gonja state was synonymous with the introduction of Islam and that the Sakpare Imamate of Gonja was founded by Fatigi- Morukpe (an Islamic Jurist).

Alhaji Sumaila also said the religion of Islam was established in the Gonja Kingdom as far back as the 17th Century and Islam has been articulated in the Gonja societies and was made a state religion through the creation of the Sakpare Imamate.

Sectarian Conflict Brewing – The Underground Tensions No One Is Talking About

Religious tolerance is a critical aspect in promoting unity and maintaining harmonious relationships between different religious followers and Ghana has come a long way as a multi-religious society where a myriad of people from different backgrounds live together in mutual respect and tolerance.

Ghana’s constitution provides for freedom of religion, and to practice it freely. Promoting a peaceful coexistence between these religions and their followers is not an easy task. It often needs active participation from its leadership and all relevant stakeholders.

The largest Christianity religion has a population of about 71.3 percent. 19.1 percent practise Islam while traditional African spiritual worshipers and other forms of faith make up about 10 percent of the population.

Often conflicts that arise amongst the religious community are mostly triggered by petty misunderstandings on social and political issues. However, the most dangerous threat to peaceful coexistence comes from inter-faith violence, where members of one faith mobilise to attack other religious minorities at the prompting of extremist clerics or Imams.

Sectarian violence is largely carried out by extremists in these sects as a way to assert their superiority over other doctrines. Most often, such violence involves pockets of clashes between members of the three main sects of Islam within the Zongos – Sunnis, Shias, and Tijanias and this brewing hostility that no one is paying attention to.

Sunni factions regard Shia Muslims as infidels and actively pursue them while Shia religious groups often harass and persecute Tijania and Sunnis. Historically there is an existential theological difference between these sects founded on doctrinal and interpretational differences which have culminated into violent disputes.

Imams of these sects use every opportunity especially on the pulpit to spread hate speech and sectarian propaganda which fosters an atmosphere of intolerance and prejudice.

Sectarian clashes were more common in the early 1990s and 2000s than they are now however violent reaction has been witnessed from followers of either sect over claims that one Islamic scholar from the other side had made provocative statements.

Mostly vigilante attacks by individuals or mobs are organized by members of rival sects who carry out these attacks in the name of their sect.

Such acts of violence and intimidation committed against people of different sects are inconsistent with the tenets of the Islamic faith but the potential for it to be used as a weapon in an already fragile security situation calls for deeper examination to forestall any eventualities.

A crucial component of these sectarian groups is their religious education and there are growing concerns about the influence of foreign organisations in the propagation of specific Islamic doctrines throughout Africa.

Countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt etc provide financial and logistical support through mosque-building and other development projects. This is done in accordance with sectarian beliefs as they enjoy widespread and deeply entrenched support from their members.

It must be noted that sectarian affiliations are deeply felt and people who identify themselves as members are mostly not knowledgeable but active participants in rituals often tied to their identity.

Sectarian violence was rife in Ghana during the early 90s and according to reports intra-Muslim conflict between Shia Muslims and Sunnis in Wa led to the burning down of a Sunni- mosque.

While Animosities between the Tijanis and Sunnis are quite common and resulted in an outbreak of violence in 1995 in Wenchi Zongo, Bono Region. The Shias are not left out of these tensions and in the first five months of 2012 witnessed the first open conflict between them and the Sunnis.

Periodically areas like Asokore Mampong Municipality including Aboabo are monitored as potential hotspots for possible sectarian tension and violence.

There have been recent specific incidents or attacks perpetrated by members of these groups where a Sunni imam’s home at Mamobi was shitbombed for apparently enraging members of the Shia sect in one of his preachings and the tit-for-tat violence continues on an ongoing basis.

A more common occurrence of intra-sectarian violence happens within the family unit and in 2013 one such incident took an ugly turn when a prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Hussain who had a fallout with his nephews Afro and Tawfiq Guni threatened them with death.

He had been their guardian since they lost their father at an early age but the difference in sectarian practices had generated heated disputes between them and had often led to violent quarrels in their home.

Neighbours had raised alarm on what they described as veiled threats to life. Eventually, when they disappeared from the neighbourhood, it was feared that the uncle might have succeeded in carrying out the threat.

Often when some of these incidents happen, victims are afraid to live in their community and find sanctuary in other areas until tensions calm down. However, if they don’t return then the worse is feared.

Sometimes a difference in opinion on the teachings of Islam could trigger an unending feud among scholars and members. One such instance was when Sunni Sheik Ibrahim AbuBakri Tawfiq Anas was warned by security authorities for using certain unprintable language on the National Chief Imam of Ghana Sheikh Usman Nuhu Sharubutu who is a Tijania cleric.

The Sunni imam was reprimanded for his words due to the potential to inflame passions and lead to violent sectarian clashes.

Although the cleric later apologized for his utterances, it doesn’t stop him or others from repeating the same.

Responding to the recent rise in sectarian violence, the Islamic Society For Peace and Cooperation bemoaned the immense hatred that is currently ongoing among Muslims. They explained that people who claim to love Allah and his messenger must adhere to the teachings of the Quran and the sayings of the prophets. He said such behaviours are not Islamic and that clerics should be mindful of their proselytisation.

He said Islam is more predominant in the Zongo communities and some parts of inner cities thus attention should be focused on bringing socio-economic development to consolidate the stability the community enjoys while supporting national development.

He said if care is not taken, in the long run, these actions may threaten to destabilise the country in various ways as these tensions continue to build up underground.

He added that Ghana has a fragile security situation and mixing it with religion worsens an already bad situation.

Source: NewsGhana

After Sulley Muntari, Black Sherif brings glory to Konongo Zongo

The young rapper from Konongo Zongo in the Ashanti Region recently won the Artiste of the Year at the 24th edition of the Ghana Music Awards.

He made a historic trip to his town where he was received like a king with a rousing welcome. The townspeople came out on the streets to cheer and follow his convoy as he waves at them in celebration.

Before Black Sherif, there was another Muslim superstar called Sulley Muntari who is a very popular football from Konongo. Muntari was born in Konongo on August 27, 1984, and spent his early years there. Konongo is a town with a strong football culture and Muntari’s passion for the sport developed at a young age. He began playing football on the streets of Konongo, honing his skills and dreaming of a career in the sport.

Muntari’s talent and dedication to football caught the attention of scouts, leading to his enrollment in the Right to Dream Academy, a football academy in Accra. This opportunity allowed him to further develop his abilities and pursue his dreams of becoming a professional footballer.

As Muntari’s career progressed, he achieved significant success both domestically and internationally. He played for various renowned football clubs, including Udinese, Inter Milan, Portsmouth, and AC Milan. He also represented the Ghana national team, earning caps and participating in major tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup.

Throughout his career, Muntari has maintained a connection to his roots in Konongo. He often visits the town and engages with the local community, inspiring aspiring young footballers and supporting initiatives that promote sports and education. Muntari’s journey from the streets of Konongo to becoming an internationally recognized footballer serves as an inspiration to many young athletes in the region.

Beyond his connection to Konongo, Muntari has also been involved in philanthropic endeavours and has used his platform to make a positive impact. He established the Sulley Muntari Foundation, which aims to provide educational and healthcare opportunities to underprivileged children in Ghana and other African countries.

The new Sherif in town, whose real name is Mohammed Ismail Sherif, rose to fame with his unique style of music, combining elements of Afrobeats, Highlife, and Hip-hop. His story is one of determination, perseverance, and a deep connection with his audience.

Black Sherif discovered his passion for music at a young age. He was influenced by artists such as Sarkodie, Davido, and Wizkid, who inspired him to pursue a career in music. Despite facing financial challenges, Black Sherif remained focused on his dream and began writing and recording songs.

Black Sherif began his career in 2019 with the release of his song “Cry for Me” on YouTube. His debut single “Money” was released on May 25, 2020, along with a music video. In May 2021, his single “First Sermon” was released, further increasing his audience. It became his breakthrough hit and catapulted him to national recognition.

The song spoke about the struggles of everyday life, poverty, and the desire for financial freedom. Its relatable lyrics and catchy melodies struck a chord with listeners across Ghana and beyond.

It quickly became an anthem for the youth, who found solace in Black Sherif’s music, which reflected their realities and aspirations. The song’s success paved the way for Black Sherif to release more hit singles, including “Second Sermon” and “Destiny.” These tracks further showcased his storytelling abilities, raw emotions, and lyrical prowess.

One of the defining aspects of Black Sherif’s music is his ability to address societal issues and shed light on the challenges faced by the Ghanaian youth. His lyrics often tackle themes of poverty, love, mental health, and the pursuit of dreams. This authenticity and vulnerability have earned him a loyal fan base that appreciates his ability to connect on a deeper level.

Black Sherif’s rise to stardom has been rapid, but he remains humble and dedicated to his craft. He continues to release music that resonates with his audience and has performed at various concerts and events across Ghana. His energetic stage presence and captivating performances have further solidified his reputation as an emerging force in the Ghanaian music industry.

With his unique blend of genres, relatable storytelling, and undeniable talent, Black Sherif has captured the hearts of many music enthusiasts. His authenticity and commitment to his artistry make him an exciting prospect for the future of Ghanaian music. As his career continues to evolve, fans eagerly anticipate more soul-stirring music and impactful messages from this young and promising artist.

Catholic, Muslim leaders of Ghana engage in dialogue

The second Annual National Catholic/Muslim Leaders’ Dialogue Conference was held on Thursday, May 11, 2023, in Accra with a call to promote religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

Organised by the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) and the Office of the National Chief Imam, the conference was aimed at deepening the relationship between Christians and Muslims for national development.

The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Usmanu Nuhu Sharubutu, who chaired the dialogue, urged all to live a life aimed at religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence. He urged Christians and Muslims to do Allah’s will by being grateful for the peace the nation enjoyed at a time when some countries in the region were facing socioeconomic and political instability.

A Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana Department for the Study of Religions, Dr Rabiyatu Ammah, urged Muslims to desist from taking some teachings of the Quran out of context to avoid confrontations with people of other faiths. 

“Who told you that the Quran says slay them wherever you see them if they are not of your own? I admit that some attitudes of Muslims create negative impressions about Islam,” she said. She admonished Muslims to practise the core values and virtues of Islam, which were peace and unity because that was the true teaching. 

Accra New Town is the king of Zongo football as they win community gala

Accra New Town won the GHS10,000 at stake at the African Games Zongo Football Competition after walloping Madina 4-0 in the final on Sunday.

Bernard Cofie, 30, also from Accra New Town emerged the top-scorer after netting 4 goals in 3 games. The winners took home a giant trophy sponsored by P5 Ventures. Skipper Cofie struck thrice with Mubarak Yahaya adding the other goal.

Eight (8) Muslim communities featuring Maamobi, Sukura, Madina, New Town, Cow Lane, Fadama, Nima, and Tudu competed for the ultimate.

The rationale behind the African Games Zongo Football Competition was to sensitise everybody, particularly the Muslim community about the 13th African Games.

Nima earned GHS8,000 for finishing in second place while third-placed Maamobi pocketed GHS6,000.

Bernard Cofie, 30, also from Accra New Town emerged the top-scorer

First Ghanaian Hajj pilgrims arrive in Medina, Saudi Arabia

400 pilgrims who departed the Kotoka International Airport in Accra to Saudi Arabia have been received by Ambassador Habib Tijani, Ambassador of Ghana to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Medina.

According to the Chairman of the Hajj Board, Sheikh Ibrahim C. Quaye, four flights will move from the Tamale Airport while five will be moving from Accra, from June 30, 2022.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, on Thursday in Accra, Sheikh Quaye said due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, Saudi Authorities placed a ban on Hajj for all foreign pilgrims since 2020.

He said during the two-year ban, over 2000 pilgrims voluntarily opted to leave their fares with the Hajj board with the understanding that they would be considered before other pilgrims when the Hajj commenced in future.

“After the ban on Hajj was lifted this year, quotas of all participating countries have been drastically reduced. Ghana’s quota is 3,069 instead of the 2020 quota of 6,000 pilgrims, and so we will consider those who left their monies with us first before any other pilgrim.”

Sheikh Quaye was however quick to note that all the pilgrims had made an additional payment of GHS 7000.00 to the previous amount of GHS 19, 500 they paid.

He mentioned that the package for new applicants for this year is GHS 39,000.

The Chairman said the Board had concluded all negotiations and arrangements with service providers in Macca, Jeddah and Madina on housing, transport, medical, flight and other services, saying they had fulfilled their pledge to Muslims on changing the face of Hajj in Ghana for the better.

“It is during our term that Ghana has been described as the best among the non-Arab countries in Hajj, and we are poised to even do more in the coming years to gain more recognition.”

In relation to complaints about the high fees for this year’s Hajj, he said the fees charged for the package were due to an increment in charges by service providers, saying that the Board had worked assiduously with assistance from the Government to arrive at the package.

He added that the Saudis hinted earlier and confirmed during a Hajj conference in Jeddah recently that this year’s Hajj would be very expensive due to the increment of Value Added Tax (VAT) from five to 15 per cent, the demolition and reconstruction of buildings and hotels in Mecca, the huge investment made in Mina and Arafat by the Kingdom, and the general economic situation.

Sheikh Quaye mentioned that this year, the Saudis had also put in place strict control measures for this year’s Hajj including registering online through e-hajj, age limit of 65 years and testing requirements, vaccination requirements, quarantine requirements, and medical insurance, among others.

He urged Ghanaians to support the board and pray for a successful Hajj this year while calling on potential pilgrims to abide by all rules and regulations in Saudi Arabia in order to have a smooth pilgrimage.

Hajj is the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which every adult Muslim must make at least once in his or her lifetime. It is the fifth pillar of Islam, performed during the month of Dhul-Hijjaha, the last month of the Islamic calendar.

Source: Zongo Media/ GNA

These are some images, courtesy of the Pilgrims Affairs Office of Ghana.

Here are images of the second flight carrying pilgrims to Medina.