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11 AHMADIYYAT IN GHANA (Maulvi Abdul Wahab Adam) Islam inculcates love of one’s country. The Holy Prophet of Islam, on whom be peace and blessings of Allah, is reported to have said Love of one’s country is part of faith. We, therefore, as a Community wish to take this opportunity to renew our loyalty to the Republic of Ghana and pledge our preparedness to contribute our utmost towards the development of our dear country. It is an undeniable fact that at a certain point in history. Islam made a tremendous contribution to world civilization and to the development of the sciences. At the local level Islam’s contribution to the preservation of our rich history as evidenced by the chronicles discovered in Salaga and elsewhere in the country is a well documented fact. Ibn Batuta in his famous eye witness account, written in 1355,makes mention of the fact that when he reached West Africa, he noticed that only Muslims had formal education and for that matter scholars from among the Muslims occupied prominent offices such as Ministers of State, Counsellors, Secretaries and Treasurers in King’s Court. We are further informed that many Chiefs of Asante, including Osei Bonsu, Opoku Frefre and Osei Kwame, who reigned from 1777 to the end of the century, brought into their service an increasing number of literate Muslims and invested them with administrative powers. Records of decisions of their courts were kept by Muslim secretaries. Alas, all this glory of Muslims had virtually disappeared in our time owing to the abandonment of Muslims of the message of the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet of Islam, on whom be peace and blessings of Allah. Thus, the emergence of a Reform Movement such as the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam was a historical necessity to rekindle faith in Islam, rejuvenate it and restore its teachings to its pristine purity. All keen observers of contemporary religious trends in Ghana would agree that the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam has made a tremendous impact on the thoughts and actions of Muslims in this country. 12 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Certain attitudes and actions of Muslims which are taken for granted today were simply inconceivable only a few decades ago. Establishment of secular schools, translation of the Holy Quran and Friday sermons into local languages, public preaching of the message of Islam, harmonious co-existence of Muslims with non-Muslims, organizing Muslims into Youth, Elder or Women’s Associations and even the holding of conferences in the name of Islam, to mention but a few, were all.regarded as sacriligious, if not heretical, only a few decades ago. As we bring our anniversary to a close, here at Saltpond, where the torch was first lit some 69 years ago in this country, we should feel genuinely grateful to Allah for the opportunity to motivate and inspire our fellow Muslims to beneficent endeavours and for the fact that the struggle and toil of the founding fathers have not been in vain, though not without vilification and persecution. Yet the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam has a much greater mission to accomplish. The world today presents an ironic spectacle of the highest progress in science and technology beyond the wildest dreams of even half a century ago on the one hand and the rapid deterioration of moral and spiritual values on the other. Despite Perestroika, despite the removal of the Berlin wall, despite the release of Nelson Mandela and the seeming crumbling of apartheid/which events have, thank God, made the world seem to be a bit safer place to live in, there is still unrest and insecurity in our world today borne out of social injustices, economic imbalances political arrogance and moral and spiritual bankruptcy. The world is still faced with the monster of hard drugs and the scourge of AIDS and despite man’s scientific and technological advancement, there does not appear to be an immediate solution in sight. While man is prepared to spend literally billions of dollars and mountains of gold to combat the monster it is clear that so long as we do not go to the root of the problem to establish, for instance, why do people take to hard drugs and set out to eliminate the cause, any attempt at solution would amount to a mere scratch on the surface. It should be easy to understand that if man’s happiness were to lie only in material wealth’ and if material wealth alone were to be the ultimate goal of man on this earth, then drug addiction would be associated only AHMADIYYAT IN GHANA 13 ‘with the down trodden and not the affluent in the society. But the facts prove the contrary. What then is the problem? The truth is, people resort to drugs use them not only because they want to escape from material worries but also because they lack spiritual fulfilment. Yet, in our world today, everything spiritual is ridiculed as backward, worth the while only of the unenlightened and the down-trodden. God Who is the centre of everything spiritual has come to be considered as non-existent at some point in history, He is certainly dead! There is a distinct difference between a religion and a cult. In the words ofHazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV, the Supreme Head of the world-wide Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, cults are like fashions—they come and go but religions have a value. Religions are established for a serious service to mankind. The two words, serious and service, are deeply linked with religion and that is why they carry weight. The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian claimed to be the Promised Messiah and Mehdi whose advent was awaited by followers of all religions of the world: Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and Zoroastrians. In this capacity, he was not only to remove the doubts of those who felt that God was dead but also to demonstrate practically to the world that God speaks today as He spoke in the past and that man can establish a living relationship with the Living God through total submission to His will. He demonstrated to the world that it is in the establishment of such a close relationship with his Creator that man can find eternal bliss, that such bliss is attainable and that its attainment would free the world of all its injustices and imbalances and make the world a just, peaceful and tranquil place for all. This is the message that, as a Community, we have the tremendous responsibility to deliver to the whole world. We are aware that we are far from achieving our aim of proclaiming this message to all. However, we know that the foundation has been laid, through Allah’s grace, during the first Century of our existence as a Community. It is not a mere coincidence that during the Centenary Year, such great 14 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS upheavals and tremendous changes have taken place in the world as have left man stunned and bewildered and have literally shaken the world to its very foundation. All the upheavals and changes are in accordance with prophecies. They are all in the divine scheme of paving the way for the triumph of forces of light over forces of darkness. Some prophecies about the ascendance of Ahmadiyyat made by the Founder of the Movement a century ago on the basis of divine revelations are: The time approaching when God will grant worldwide popularity to this Movement and this dispensation will spread in the East and the West and in the North and in the South until it covers the whole world. This is the revelation from God on high from Whom nothing is impossible.(Tohfa Golarwiyah, P. 56 ) Again he says: O Mankind! hearken, this is the prophecy of God Who created the heavens and the earth. He will spread this Movement in all the countries of the world and will give it supremacy over all through reason and argument. Remember that no one will descend from the heavens. All our opponents who are living at present will die and not one of them will see Jesus, Son of Mary descend from the sky and then their children who survive them will also pass away and then their children who survive them will also pass away and none of them will see Jesus, Son of Mary, coming down from the heavens. Then God will create restlessness in their hearts: that the day of the glory of the Cross has passed away and the world has taken on another shape but Jesus, Son of Mary, has still not come down from the sky. Then all of a sudden, all men of wisdom will discard this belief and the third century from today will not have been completed when all those who had been waiting for Jesus, both Muslims and Christians, will despair of his coming and entertain misgivings and shall give up their belief and there will be only one Preceptor. I came only to sow the seed. That . seed has been sown. It will now grow, blossom and bear fruit and none can check its growth. Explaining further this remarkable ascendancy of the Movement, the Promised Messiah said: God the Excellent has informed me again and again that He will AHMADIYYAT IN GHANA 15 grant me great glory and will instil my love into the hearts of people and will cause my Movement to spread in the entire world and will make my sect supreme above all other sects and members of my sect shall attain such excellence in knowledge and learning that by the light of their truth and by dint of their arguments and heavenly signs, they will confound all. Every nation will drink of this fountain and this Movement will grow and prosper so that finally it will encompass the whole world. Many obstacles will be encountered and many trials will come but God will remove all of them from the way and fulfil His promise. And God spoke to me saying: I mil shower blessings after blessings on you so much so that kings will seek blessings from your clothen. So, O Ye who hear, remember these words and keep these prophecies secure in your boxes, for it is the Word of God which must one day come to pass. (Tazkiratush Shahadatain) He also said on the basis of divine revelation: / see my followers in Russia like the sands of the ocean. (Tazkara) While as members of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam we have an unshakeable faith in these prophecies and they make us feel very humble because they impose upon us tremendous responsibilities. It is our sincere prayer that Allah may, out of His grace, enable us to discharge our responsibilities in a manner that is pleasing to Him. La the end, let us pray for unity, peace, progress and prosperity of Ghana, our Motherland. Let us also pray for Allah’s guidance for the leaders of our dear country. Let us pray that peace should prevail throughout the world; but since there can be no peace without justice, let us also remember to pray that Allah may, out of His grace, grant our world such justice as would promote peace all over the world. ****************