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Sheikh Dr. Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu

Chief Imam of Ghana

Sheikh Dr. Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu

Sheikh Dr. Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu is the Chief Imam of Ghana, the first ever to hold the title. From this position, he has come to exemplify and represent the ideals of faith, scholarship, tolerance, and peace that are central to the religion, gaining the respect and admiration of not only adherents to the faith but Ghanaians from all religions.

Born at Old Fadama in Accra into a prominent Islamic family on April 23, 1919, he showed great promise from a very age. He was devout and keenly interested in Islamic scripture and by age 12, he was able to recite the Quran, becoming one of the youngest Huffaz, a term given to someone who can memorize and recite extensive parts of the Holy Scriptures. To further develop the potential, he saw in his son, Sheikh Osmanu’s father sent him to Kumasi to study under some of the preeminent Islamic scholars of the time.

His experience in Kumasi had a huge impact on him and on his return to Accra, he decided to devote his time to instructing young Muslims on the tenets of the religion. Many of his students went on to become noted scholars in their own right. He himself continued on the path of learning and quickly became noted for his expertise and deep understanding of the religion. In 1974, the Tijaniyya sect to which he belongs nominated him to be the Deputy Imam in the country. Sheikh Osmanu at first refused but was prevailed upon to accept the position.

Sheikh’s qualities proved impossible to hide and a greater calling awaited the scholar and leader. In 1993, he became head of the Tijaniyya sect after his cousin who was holding the post stepped aside due to ill health. After consultations, the four main Islamic sects in the country – Ahlus Sunnahwal Jamaaha, Tijaniyya, Ahmadi and Shia – agreed that the position of National Chief Imam would rotate between them and the office would now become the official mouthpiece of the religion in the country with Sheikh Osmanu becoming the first to ascend to the office.

As Chief Imam, Sheikh Ousmanu has been a great advocate and representative of the religion. Due to his advocacy, two national holidays commemorating Islamic events have been placed on the national calendar. He established the Sheikh Dr. Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu Education Trust Fund to provide financial assistance to needy students and the Nuuru Usmaniya Foundation for Humanitarian Services and Development.

He set up the Islamic Peace and Security Council of Ghana to promote sustainable peace in the country has also established several schools, including seven Islamic schools in the Greater Accra Region. Sheikh Osmanu also led the efforts that culminated in the construction of the National Mosque at Kawukudi, a suburb of Accra.

In 2006, the University of Ghana conferred an honorary doctorate degree on him. Sheikh Osmanu serves on the Ghana Peace Council. He is also referred to as the Grand Mufti. 

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