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Ahmadiyya's Contribution to National Development

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Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)
March 8, 2004
Posted to the web March 8, 2004

Ahmadiyya's Contribution to National Development

I. K. Gyasi

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana will hold its 75th National Annual Convention at its Conference Centre at Ashongman from Thursday, March 11 to Saturday, March 13,2004. The theme of the Convention is UNITY IN DIVERSITY: THE PATH TO NATIONAL STABILITY AND DEVELOPMENT. [Correction By Alislam: Jalsa Dates are March 18 - March 19, 2004]

As usual, delegates will come from Nigeria, the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Chiefs, other Ghanaian dignitaries and foreign envoys accredited to the country will also grace the occasion.

To the Mission, however, what will make the Convention special is the expected arrival of the present Spiritual Head of the World-Wide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad. He is the Fifth Head of the Community.

Of course, other Heads of the Community had paid visits to the country in the past. But Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has a special personal, religious and educational attachment to the country he is expected to visit.

Long before his appointment as the Spiritual Head of the Community on April 22, 2003, he had served for a total of eight years in the country.

He served as the Headmaster of T.I. Ahmadiyya Secondary School, Salaga, for two years. He later became the Headmaster of T.I. Ahmadiyya Secondary School at Essakyir in the Central Region for four years.

For two more years, he was the Manager of the Ahmadiyya Agricultural Farm in Northern Ghana. He successfully demonstrated that wheat could be grown in the country. He holds a Master's Degree in Agricultural Economics.

Ever since the first Pakistani missionary arrived in the then Gold Coast in 1921 to plant the seed of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, the Mission has unceasingly striven to promote the religious, moral, spiritual, social and economic development of its members as well as working for religious tolerance and understanding between Muslim and Muslim and Muslim and non-Muslim.

Sometimes the question is asked, "What is the difference between you Ahmadis and the Muslims?" Of course, Ahmadis are also Muslims.

To be sure, there are differences of interpretation, just as in the Christian world, one comes across differences in interpretation, doctrine
and even in liturgy.

Differences in interpretation notwithstanding, Ahmadi Muslims believe, like the other Muslims, that there is no God but Allah and the Holy
Prophet Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah.

Ahmadi Muslims are enjoined to say the five compulsory daily prayers apart from the "optional" prayers. They are enjoined to pay the poor rate, keep the Ramadan fast and, where circumstances permit, perform the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Unfortunately, it is true that there have been attempts, both locally and internationally, to brand Ahmadis as non-Muslims and to prevent them from performing the pilgrimage.

That propaganda has not stopped the Ahmadi Community from pursuing its spiritual, moral, religious and other goals. Many are Alhajis and

As a religious organization, the Mission in Ghana, like the worldwide Community, is strictly politically non-partisan. However, individual
members are free to belong to any political party of their choice.

Ordinary individual members can also hold offices of State or of political parties. But no one is allowed to display party paraphernalia at any of the Mission's gatherings.

In keeping with the tenets of Islam, the Mission in Ghana has not lost sight of the fact that concentration on spirituality and religious
observances alone does not make a complete human being.

The Mission considers secular knowledge as very important. Thus, the Mission lost no time in establishing an elementary school at Saltpond where the first Missionary landed. Mr. Justice G.E.K. Aikins, one-time Ghana" Attorney General and retired Supreme Court Justice, is always proud to acknowledge the fact that he is a product of that school.

The Mission founded the first Muslim secondary school, T.I. Ahmadiyya Secondary School in Kumasi.

That was in 1950. In its 54 years of existence, that School has turned out a large number of people playing very significant roles in the country and elsewhere.

The field is wide: teaching, law, medicine, accountancy, business, church and mosque, traditional ruler ship, banking and so on.

Rt. Rev, Dr. Sam Prempeh, the Spiritual Head of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, and Maulvi A. Wahab Adam, the Spiritual Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana, are only two of the many products of the school making meaningful contributions to the development and progress of the country.

The T.I. Ahmadiyya Secondary School in Kumasi is the only one sited in the major city in the country. Apart from that school, the Mission went ahead to establish secondary schools at Fomena, Salaga, Potsin, Essakyir and Asokore (Ashanti).

All of them were eventually taken over by the State, likewise the Nusrat Jahan Training College which the Mission established in the Upper West Region. The Mission also has a number of basic schools in the country.

Right from their inception, these schools opened their doors to all without regard to religious beliefs, gender or nationality.

Apart from developing the individual mentally and thus provide him a tool for his livelihood, the Mission also believes that health is crucial to
the development and progress of the individual.

Once again, conscious of the fact hat the non-urban areas of the country generally tend to suffer neglect, the Mission decided to site its
hospitals and clinics, largely in the non-urban areas.

The Mission's health facilities can be found at Boadi near Kumasi, Asante Asokore, Techiman in the Brong Ahafo region, Swedru in the Central region, Daboase in the Western region, Kokofu in the Ashanti region and Kaleo in the Upper West region.

Some of these hospitals provide treatment in the so-called Western way while the rest provide homeopathic treatment. Medical and surgical treatments are available at some of the hospitals.

The Ahmadiyya Mission carries out preaching activities with the view to converting people to Islam.

The Mission in its preaching avoids the use of force or inflammatory language. If there is force used, it is the sheer force of its arguments
and not the force of a knife, gun, spear or bow and arrow.

In addition to open-air preaching, the Mission uses the medium of the radio and television. Its television programme, ISLAM IN PERSPECTIVE, has been well received by both Muslims and non-Muslims. Indeed, it seems to have had its imitators.

The Mission places so much importance on religious peace and understanding that, years ago, the Head of the Mission in Ghana, Maulvi A. Wahab Adam, proposed the setting up of Council of Religious Understanding.

Even before that, the Mission had provided a platform for representatives of various religions - Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, for example - to state the beauty of their religions.

At its conventions, representatives of other religions are also invited to give fraternal messages. These invitations are invariably honoured.

Depending mainly on contributions by members, the Mission has, nevertheless, not shirked its responsibility in the matter of charity.
From to time, the Mission has given out cash or material contributions to the needy.

While stressing the need for members to be charitable, the Mission also expects its members and members of the wider society to strive with their hands and their brains to work hard for an honest living.

The theme for this year's Convention deserves much attention. We in this country belong to many different ethnic groups. We come from different regions of the country. We belong to different religious faiths or different sects of the same faith. We belong to different political

We follow different football clubs and are very passionate in our feelings for those clubs.

The old school tie binds us to different schools associations. We have joined various social groups, especially while we are outside our
traditional areas.

Our views are predictably different. But we should see these differences in the nature of the various colours of the yarns that go to make the kente cloth, for example.

The greens and golds and blues and reds and blacks all stand out distinctly. But together, they produce a tapestry that is pleasing to the
eye. Try to take out a single strand and the whole artistic creation begins to unravel.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission believes that, like the yarns of the kente cloth, the country can make progress when we stick together.


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