Ghana’s National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, is 101 years old today, Thursday, April 23, 2020.
The Chief Imam is widely recognised across the country as an exceptional leader and an epitome of peace.
Last year on Sunday, April 21, 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 the National Chief Imam Sheikh Dr Osmanu 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 tendency 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 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 is 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.
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.