April 23 2019, marks the 100th birthday of one of the most influential Ghanaians alive, the Chief Imam, Sheikh Dr. Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu.
Though he lives a life shy of media and public attention, Sheikh Sharubutu’s impact and influence on religious tolerance and peace in Ghana cannot be underestimated.
Last Sunday, he re-emphasized the aforementioned impact by joining Christians at the Christ the King Church in Accra to commemorate Easter.
In honour of his century birthday, we look at his journey and he how he has risen to become a symbol of peace not only in Ghana, but in the West African sub-region as well.
Born at Fadama in Accra in 1919, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu traces his ancestry from the Hausa lineage in Northern Nigeria.
He was born to the late Sheikh Nuhu Bin Mohammed Sharabutu and the late Ayishatu Abbas (Mma Tasidi).
His parents taught him Qur’anic recitation and Tajweed as well as essay writing in Arabic. By age 12, had mastered the recitation of the whole of the Holy Qur’an and had become one of the youngest Huffaz at the time to have memorized numerous verses and Suras (chapters) of it.
His maternal uncle, Sheikh Muhammad Mazawaje Abbas who was then Imam of Tijaniyya in Ghana, saw the devotion, interest and hard work in Osman and introduced him to Tijaniyya special programmes for meditation.
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In 1974, after lengthy debates and consultations among the country`s traditional Muslims (Tijaniyyas) and concerned parties, it was agreed by consensus that Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu should be appointed to deputy Imam of Tijaniyya in Ghana.
In 1992, the office of National Chief Imam of Ghana gained presidential approval backed by government policy.
Sheikh Osman was appointed by the committee and approved by government in 1993 to occupy the newly created office as the first National Chief Imam of the Republic of Ghana and invested at a simple but colorful ceremony.
He has built many Arabic Schools, Islamic Centers and Mosques. He spends huge sums of money organizing conferences, seminars and symposia on thorny Islamic issues prevailing in the Islamic societies and the country as a whole.
In 2002, he foundered The Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu Education Trust Fund (SONSETFUND); an Non-governmental organization committed to supporting education in deprived communities in Ghana.
He set up and presently chairs the ISLAMIC PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL (IPASEC). The council is mandated to devise, adopt, run and implement projects and policy initiatives on peace and security within the Muslim and Zongo Communities in Ghana.
He has personally sponsors hundreds of needy Muslim children mostly from the disadvantaged and vulnerable Muslim communities in Ghana.