Ghana 100-year-old Imam who go to church

Sheikh Osman Sharubutu Image copyright AFP
Image example Sheikh Osman Sharubutu

De chief imam for Ghana no dey talk chaw, but de 100-year-old Muslim cleric know wossop wen e come to making waves - he attend Catholic Church service as part of en birthday celebrations.

Pictures of Sheikh Osman Sharubutu, wey dey sit inside Christ the King Catholic Church for Accra during Easter service, go viral for social media top.

Pictures of Sheikh Osman Sharubutu, sitting attentively in the pews of Accra's Christ the King Catholic Church for an Easter service, went viral on social media.

Image copyright Sadiq Abdulai Abu
Image example Sheikh Sharubutu (in green) bin attend Easter Sunday service

De chief imam for Ghana no dey talk chaw, but de 100-year-old Muslim cleric know wossop wen e come to making waves - he attend Catholic Church service as part of en birthday celebrations.

En church attendance make more significant sake of on de day he visit de Catholic Church den cut pictures plus parish priest Father Andrew Campbell, Islamist suicide bombers unleash attacks for Sri Lanka, wey dem kill more than 250 people for churches den hotels

But no be everyone make happy - some critics condemned en actions as abomination, for Muslim to participate in Christian worship. But Sheikh Sharubutu say he no go worship instead he just visit dem so sey dem go move de relationship between Muslims and Christians from mere tolerance to engagement.

"De chief imam dey change de narrative about Islam from religion wey be noted for wickedness, a religion of conflict, a religion of hate for others, to religion wey en mission be rooted in de virtues of love, peace den forgiveness," en spokesperson Aremeyao Shaibu talk BBC.

Dem no support media player for your device
Leah Sharibu suppose be Buhari May 29 gift to Nigerians - Protesters

De priest wey befriend imam

By Elizabeth Ohene, Accra

Image copyright Sadiq Abdulai Abu

Unlike de chief imam for Ghana, Father Andrew Campbell, de parish priest of Christ de King Catholic Church, no be man of few words wey e be fair to say he dey like stir things up a small.

Dem born de 73-year-old for Ireland and wey he arrive Ghana around 1971 dey job as a missionary. Over 48 years now, he come turn champion of unpopular and unfashionable causes. He adopt de cause of lepers in particular wey he dey campaign so sey menerz no go stigmatise dem but sey dem go treat dem well plus respect.

En church dey across de road from Jubilee House, de seat of Ghana's presidency. Few months ago, dem make am parish priest for Jubilee House. De cleric talk sey en support for some government policies, but he agree sey he go talk when he wan criticise even though he be in-house priest for de presidency.

Sheikh Sharubutu chop top Muslim cleric for Ghana like 26 years dis, wey he always dey insist sey de key teachings for Islam be peace and love, en weekly sermons for Friday prayers at de Central Mosque for de capital attest dey show.

Another favourite theme of de chief imam be sey he dey talk people make dem shun material things sake den tins dey cause greed.

For en residence inside de poor neighbourhood of Fadama, he talk de house people sey make dem always leave en gate open.

For years now, hundreds of township residents dey troop in every morning dey fetch fresh water from taps at de property while others dey visit at night plus bowls so sey dem go serve dem plus hot meals.

E be natural tin sey Islamic leaders go give to charity, but en supporters say de scale of en work dey stands out. He personally sponsor hundreds of students go school for both home and abroad, wey he also establish educational trust fund which he dey take support talented but needy students.

Image example Di chief imam bin stop wetin for be all-out war inside di Ashanti region sake of im gentle approach

For Ghana, Muslims dey make up 18% of de population who be mainly Christian, de country no get history of religious warfare.

Relations sometimes fit make butu-butu - but de chief imam dey try deal plus religious tensions which go fit make fight pae.

Earlier dis year, he rebuke some young Muslim men who attack one church for Accra after dema pastor predicted en death in de coming 12 months.

He talk de boys who go carry machetes den tins sey make dem to forgive de preacher wey he manage defuse de tension, something which make de police chief come than am.

Image copyright AFP
Image example Muslims make up 18% of pipo for Ghana

When gunshots start dey blast through de streets of Old Tafo for Kumasi over some cemetery matter in 2016, he immediately go de Ashanti regional capital.

Dem impose curfew for de town top after one person died for de clashes inside. Den traditional leaders want proof sey de Muslim community dey own section of land for de graveyard der.

De situation nearly turn into serious war after de Muslim youths slap de traditional leader of de Tafo community.

To slap chief dey mean sey you piss on en office, e be taboo matter for Ghana which require sey dem for go war - wey dis matter fit spread to other communities.

Image copyright Office of the National Chief Imam
Image example Osman Sharubutu bin teach Islamic studies as young man

According to Mr Shaibu, de chief imam went go de Tafo chief en palace, and even though he no speak one word saf, he calm de situation plus de humility den meekness of en presence, which prevent further unrest.

Dis be de second time he intercede in cemetery trouble.

In 2012, dem exhume de corpse of one imam for Volta Region wey dem dump am by de roadside sake of community people feel say de Muslims no for bury dema dead for that cemetery.

Sheikh Sharubutu fly go south-eastern region of Ghana wey he negotiate peace deal - dis save de state from using force take manage de riots.

'I dey read without gadgets'

He say en peaceful philosophy dey come from en favourite Koranic verse, which dey advise sey people for be fair plus each other so sey dem get harmonious society: "Allah no dey forbid you from showing kindness, or sey you go deal justly plus those who have no fight you sake of your religion wey dem no drive you out of dema homes. Allah dey love just dealers."

As a young man, he make dis de central message of en lessons as a Muslim teacher for Accra - from there go on to become one of de big Islamic scholars for Ghana.

Sheikh Sharubutu 100 years record:

  • Personally im don conduct more than 5,000 marriage
  • E don lead prayers at more than 4,000 funerals
  • E don lead paryers for more than 10,000 naming ceremonies for children

He make history when dem appoint am chief imam in 1993, at de age of 74, as until then Ghana no get national Muslim lead

People make worried about finding a successor who go fit follow en footsteps, sake of he become so central to sustaining religious peace.

But check like en serene nature be key to en old age, something wey de people who dey come after am go like copy.

"I be old, strong den vital. I dey see, I fit read den write without de support of any gadgets. I dey fit walk on my own - God no tested me plus weakness," his spokesman quote am.

"I dey inside perfect control of my mind, my mind dey form. Placing God at de centre of my life dey give me calmness den inner peace in life."er.

Topics Wey Dem Resemble

Another thing we de for inside dis tori

Around BBC