Ghana Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission Holds 85th Annual National Convention (1)

Alhaji Maulvi Mohammed Bin Salih

“Humanity is but a single brotherhood; so make peace with your brethren “

–The Holy Qur’an

“Love for All, Hatred for None”

Ahmadi Creed

The Ghana Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission held its 85th annual national convention (Jalsa) at the Mission’s farm Bagh-e-Ahmad (Garden of Ahmad) located at Pomadze, near Winneba junction, Central Region, between Thursdays 12th – Saturday 14th, January, 2007. The convention was held under the theme: “Engendering Patriotism, the Role of Religion”.

Among the many distinguished dignitaries who graced the occasion were the newly elected President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Vice-President, Alhaji Dr.Muhamadu Bawumia, Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Asante, Chairman of the Ghana Peace Council,  His Eminence, the Most Rev. Charles Palmer Buckle, the Catholic Archbishop of Accra and a member of the Board of Directors of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, heads and representatives of religious bodies including the Christian Council, traditional chiefs and parliamentarians. As usual delegations came from far and wide including the African sub-continent. The chief host was Alhaji Maulvi Mohammed Bin Salih, Ameer (Head) and Missionary-in-Charge of the Ghana Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission who also gave a thought provoking opening address and opening prayer.

The visit by the president and the vice-president represented their first their religious function since their election to the high office of the presidency of the nation and offered the president the opportunity to deliver a nation building speech during which he retreated his party’s mission to fight corruption. Some of the distinguished invited guests also had the opportunity to deliver soul inspiring fraternal messages which were well received by the convention. The convention also received a divine message from the current Supreme Head of the World-wide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community himself, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V, from the International Headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Worldwide Mission in London. It should be of interest to the general public to note the special relationship between the current Supreme Head and the Spiritual Head of the World-wide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Khalifatul Masih V.

Khalifatul Masih V was the special guest of honour during the 75th national annual convention held at the mission’s conference centre, Bustan-E-Ahmad (Garden of Ahmad) located between Agbogba and Old Ashongman, Accra, between Thursdays 18th– Friday 19th March, 2004. That convention was held under the theme: “Unity in Diversity: The Path to National Stability and Development”. That presence of Khalifatul Masih V at the 75th. Convention represented the first trip of the Spiritual Head outside the International Headquarters in London since his election as the Supreme Head.  This fact is not surprising. 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 this our dear country Ghana. 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 Farm in Northern Ghana. In that position, he successfully demonstrated that wheat could be grown in the country. There can, therefore, be no doubt the sacred place Ghana must have in the heart of the Masroor. Therefore, the fact that the 75th convention witnessed the presence of   Khalifatul Masih V constituted a spiritual homecoming for the revered leader. In the past, other heads of the World-wide Ahmadiyya Community had paid visits to the country at various times. But then that particular occasion was a special one.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat (Community) is a religious organisation, international in its composition, with established communities in about 175 countries in all the five continents. At present, its total membership exceeds 35 million worldwide, and the numbers are increasing rapidly day by day. This is the most dynamic denomination of Islam in modern history.

The Ahmadiyya Jamaat (Community) was established in 1889 by Hadrat Mirza Ghulam (1835-1908) in a small and remote village Qadian, in the Punjab, India. He claimed to be the expected Reformer of the Latter Days, the awaited one of the world community of religions. The movement he started is an embodiment of the benevolent message of Islam-peace, universal brotherhood, and submission to the Will of God in its pristine purity. After the demise of Hadrat Ahmad, the Community elected its head, as the Khalifatul Masih, i.e. Successor of the Messiah. Currently, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad is the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat as Khalifatui Masih V.

Convinced of its divine mission of revival of moral and spiritual values in human society, the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, within a century, has reached far corners of the earth. Wherever the Jamaat is established, it endeavors to exert a constructive influence of Islam through moral rejuvenation, social projects, educational institutes, health services, Islamic publications and construction of mosques, despite being bitterly persecuted in some countries. Ahmadi Muslims have earned the distinction of being law-abiding, peaceful, persevering and loyal members of the communities and countries in which they reside. Some of them have earned international distinction for outstanding services. Among them are late Sir Mohammed Zafarulla Khan who was President of the 17th General Assembly of the UN and later the President and Judge of the International Court of Justice, at the Hague, and Dr. Abdus Salam, the 1979 Nobel Laureate in Physics.

The Movement was created under Divine guidance with the object to rejuvenate Islamic moral and spiritual values. It encourages interfaith dialogue and diligently tries to correct misunderstandings about Islam. It advocates peace, tolerance and understanding among followers of different faiths. It firmly believes in and acts upon the Quranic teaching: “There is no compulsion in religion”. It strongly rejects terrorism in any form and for any reason. The members of the Ahmadiyya Community are required to illustrate in their daily lives all the social, moral and spiritual values inculcated by Islam. They are drawn from every walk of life and are practical men and women pursuing the whole range of beneficent activities according to the teachings of Islam. They do not reject the normal values of life and have set enviable examples of full, successful and highly beneficent lives. The distinguishing feature of their lives is co-existence of the moral and spiritual along with but above the material and physical, in personal, social and communal spheres.

In this, the community has faced severe opposition from Muslim clerics who wield substantial political influence. The mulla has little representation in

the parliament, but as keeper of the pulpit, he has extensive potential for mischief and disruption of law and order. Various governments, democratic as well as military, have succumbed to the temptation of appeasing the Mulla who has an insatiable appetite for persecution of Ahmadis. Consequently, Mr. Bhutto, the late Prime Minister of Pakistan, amended that country’s Constitution in 1974 to impose non-Muslim minority status upon Ahmadis. In 1984, General Zia, the dictator president, promulgated the notorious Anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX, whereby Ahmadis were deprived of their religious freedom. It also gave an open cheque to the administration, the Mulla and anyone else who needed it, to legally persecute members of this docile and peace-loving community. Ahmadi-specific and other religious laws, like the Blasphemy Law, have taken their heavy toll. Ahmadis continue to be subjected to harassment, loot, arson, assault and murder ever since.

They are, perhaps, the only community in the world who has decided not to respond violence with violence. They hope to create a better world through their suffering, forbearance and supplications.