Thursday, April 23, 2009

Profile: Maulvi Dr Abdul Wahab Adam

Story: Hadiza Nuhhu Billa Quansah

He is one person who stands tall when it comes to national peace-building, issues on morality and religion. No wonder he has mediated in several issues which affect the nation and also on behalf of individuals who feel their rights have been trampled upon. 

This honourable person is Maulvi Dr Abdul Wahab Adam, the Ameer (Head) and Missionary in charge of the Ahmadiyya Mission in Ghana. 

The Ameer, who is always dressed in spotless white clothes, with a matching hat, told the Junior Graphic in an interview that as a spiritual leader, his greatest responsibility was to ensure that people did not live in fear but in harmony and in a peaceful environment.  Asked why he loves wearing white clothes, he laughed and jokingly said it was because calico is the cheapest fabric on the market. He, however, explained that he wore white because of the weather, which is usually warm. One noticeable thing about the Ameer is that he is generally knowledgeable in a lot of subjects and can easily pass for a historian. 

When asked who Ahmadis are, the eloquent, soft-spoken Ameer explained that it is a Community of Muslims founded towards the end of the 19th century. The Ahmadis practise the Islam that was taught and practiced by The Holy Prophet Mohammed. 

“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded in 1889 but was introduced in Ghana in the 1920s,” he disclosed.  Initially, it was headed by foreign missionaries. 

Interestingly, Maulvi Dr Abdul Wahab Adam is the first Black African who took charge in 1975 as the spiritual head of the Ghana Mission and has since remained the leader.

Sharing his background, with the Junior Graphic, the Ameer, who is the last of eight children, said he was born to Mr Suleiman K. Adam and Madam Ayesha Akua Woro, both deceased, at Brofoyedru in the Adansi West District of the Ashanti Region.  “I was born on a Sunday and named Ayim after a Chief at Asokwa. I was, therefore, called Akwasi Ayim. But my father, who was a practising Muslim and Honorary Missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, gave me a Muslim name, which is, Abdul Wahab. The name of my father was added to make my full name Abdul Wahab Adam” he added. 

 Explaining the meaning of his name, he said Abdul means 'Servant', while Wahab is an attribute of God which means 'a Great Giver'. No wonder he is a servant of God. While a teenager at Brofoyedru, he spent most of his time helping his parents on their coffee plantation. He collected firewood, fetched water and also swept the compound on a daily basis before setting off for school. 

“Brofoyedru was then a busy commercial centre and, therefore, on market days I helped my mum, who was a trader, to sell some of her wares. I also learnt how to cook, since my parents were always on the move,” he added. He started his early education at the Brofoyedru Methodist School and later continued at the United Senior School for his Middle School Leaving Certificate. He had his secondary education at the T.I. Ahmadiyya Secondary School in Kumasi.  “At school, I did a lot of sporting activities - I played football, volleyball, ping-pong and deck tennis,” he explained. With the help of his late mother, he left for Pakistan to study at the seminary for eight years. He graduated with a Shahid degree (equivalent to a Master's degree) and returned to Ghana in 1960 and was appointed as a Regional Missionary in Brong Ahafo and later Northern Region.  He also served as the Principal of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Missionary Training College then located at Saltpond. After working in Ghana for 11 years, he was recalled to Pakistan, and later sent to the United Kingdom where he became the Deputy Imam of the London Mosque. On his return to Ghana, he was appointed the Ameer (Head) & Missionary-In-Charge of the Mission.

The Ameer speaks many languages, among them English, Urdu, Arabic, and Akan.  He can also express himself a bit in Indonesian, Ki Swahili, Chinese, and German. Due to his peace-building initiatives, he has received various awards from the State, foreign missions and corporate entities. He was recently honoured with a national award (Companion of the Order of the Volta), Leadership Award by the Louisiana State University and Ambassador for Peace award from Korea. He is the Chairman of the Ghana Conference of Religions for Peace, a member of the National Peace Council, the Ghana Integrity Initiative and many others. Just like his parents, the Ameer and his wife have eight children, four boys and four girls. According to him, “children must learn to uphold the rules and regulations governing schools and avoid any act of violence which lead to the destruction of property and loss of lives”.

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