Transformations in Islamic Education in Ghana

by David Owusu-Ansah

Interviews

Interview with Maulvi Wahab bin Adam

Date: June 28, 2005
Maulvi Wahad provided this interview to illustrate the history of the Ahmadiyya Mission in Ghana but most importantly to show the role of the Mission in the provision of secular education in the country. He also illustrated the moderating impact of the Mission on Islam in Ghana at the level that it has worked with other religions in the country.

Interview with Alhajji Shaibu Armiyawo

Date: July 11, 2005
This interview and subsequent ones outside this project focused on the history of education in Ghana and the manner that Muslims in Ghana have reacted toward secular learning. The central issue is how best the Islamic Education Unit (as agency of the Ghana Education Service) can interest Muslims in secular education. The ability of the Unit to do so will contribute to sustaining religious tolerance in the country.

Interview with Al-Hajj Husan Zakaria Umar

Date: July 13, 2005
This interview centered on the nature of Arabic language instruction at Islamic Education Unit schools in Ghana. It also touched on how private proprietor schools are adopting the Islamic Education curriculum without having to join the national Ghana Education Council system. The emphasis is on debunking the idea that Islamic schools are anti-secular and therefore pro-anti Western.

Interview with Osman Braimah Barri

Date: July 13, 2005
Osman Barri makes the argument that Muslim children are capable for secular education. Using his personal story, he also argues that an educated Ghanaian Muslim is capable of remaining loyal to the country and the communities within.

Interview with Al-Hajj Ibrahim Umar

Date: July 14, 2005
Al-Hajj Imam Ibrahim Umar centered his interview on Islamic orthodoxy and expressed concern about the old leadership that he described as more akin to mysticism. The Ahl-Sunna al-Jamait Group, over which he provided leadership, see themselves initially as protecting the integrity of the religion. The Imam also talked about the support he has for secular education—and in the end presents his group as more progressive.

Interview with Al-Hajj Rashid Gbadamosi

Date: July 14, 2005
The central purpose was our discussion of the genesis of the Islamic Education Unit of Ghana and the history of Muslim reactions to secular education. Also discussed in this interview is the increasing role of Iran in the provision of higher education in Ghana through its Islamic University College. As Registrar, the interview explored the institution's course offerings and how the public had reacted to them.

Interview with Rev. Dr. Nathan Samwini,

Date: July 18, 2005
The interview focused on the function and structure of the Ghana Christian Council. The larger idea was to discuss the role of the Council in inter-denominational and inter-faith dialogue in the country.

Interview with Most Reverend Archbishop Justice O. Akrofi

Date: July 19, 2005
Purpose of interview was to have conversation about the role of the Anglican Church of Ghana in the provision of secular education as well as to investigate the methods adopted by the Church for inter-denominational tolerance. The pictures taken to correspond to the interview show a Church that is very well endowed and also very committed to the provision of public education.

Interview with Al-Hajj Afa Sulemana

Date: July 20, 2005
This was a general interview about the Muslim community in Ghana and its internal structures; the nature of traditional leadership and how it is evaluated by the western educated Muslims. We also touched on the issue of inter-religious tolerance in Ghana and the reasons for such a high degree of accommodation.

Interview with Dr. Elom Dovlo

Date: July 11, 2006
The purpose of this interview was to seek independent and scholarly reaction to issues arising from conversations with Ghanaian Muslim leaders. For example, had the national government supported secular education for Muslims sufficiently? What has been the historical relationship between Islamic NGO leaders and the traditional Muslim leadership? The conversation in this interview can serve as commentary on the others in this collection.

Interview with Ms. Abdul Kadiri Ayishetu

Date: July 12, 2006
The interview centered on the activities of the Federation of Muslim Women of Ghana (FOMWAG) and its ability to interest young Muslim girls in schooling. The conversation aimed at exploring the issue of secular education for Muslim girls through the examination of the personal story of the interviewee.

Interview with National Chief Imam Al-Hajj Usman Nuhu Sharabutu

Date: July 16, 2006
The interview seeks a description of the functions of the National Chief Imam in a country where every administration region has its own chief Imam. Also in this interview, the Imam provides responses that will answer critics who question his commitment to secular education. Has the Islamic community leadership over whom Al-Hajj Sharabututhe is chief Imam become traditionalized?

Interview with Mamuna Bintu al-Shaban

Date: July 20, 2006
Mamuna Bintu al-Shaban tells a personal story about the struggles of education for Muslim girls in Ghana but most importantly, she tells of the benefits that secular education provides for those who sustain the interest.

Interview with Ahmed Tijan-Hassan

Date: July 24, 2006
The interview focuses on the challenges faced by the least endowed Muslim communities as they embrace secular education for their children at Muslim-run schools.

Interview with Shaykh Muhammed Kamil

Date: July 2006
The major theme for this interview was on the issue of secular education for Muslim children. Azariyya School is a Muslim-proprietor program that has accepted a government secular curriculum but combines it with the school’s own Islamic religious education. How do such schools, where almost all the students are Muslims, contribute to national integration?

Images

Accra Central Mosque (2)

Accra Central Mosque (2)

Date: 2005
The Central Mosque in Accra (in this picture) was constructed in the 1970s to serve the Abossey Okai Muslim community. Since the 1980s following the burning and demolition of the Central Mosque at the central market at Mokola, the Abossey Okai Mosque has served as Central Mosque for Accra. This mosque and another at Cow Lane in the capital attract large crowds for Friday prayers.
Rev. Dr. Nathan Samwini

Rev. Dr. Nathan Samwini

Date: 2005
Picture shows the Rev. Dr. Nathan Samwini of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG). The organization acts as a forum for joint action by member churches in collaboration with the Ghana Catholic Secretariat and lately with Muslim organizations in Ghana. The Rev. Dr. Samwini, is CCG's researcher on Islam.
Accra Central Mosque (1)

Accra Central Mosque (1)

Date: 2005
The Central Mosque in Accra (in this picture) was constructed in the 1970s to serve the Abossey Okai Muslim community. Since the 1980s following the burning and demolition of the Central Mosque at the central market at Mokola, the Abossey Okai Mosque has served as Central Mosque for Accra. This mosque and another at Cow Lane in the capital attract large crowds for Friday prayers.
Imam Husayn Mosque

Imam Husayn Mosque

Date: 2005
The Shiite Mosque at Mamobi (Accra). The Imam Husayn Mosque is the main Shitte Mosque (mainly for the Iranian community of Ghana and the Ghanaian students who have studied in Iran on that country’s educational scholarship. The Ahl-Bait Foundation of Iran, for example sponsors western schools in Ghana-including their University College in Accra.
Dr. Mark Sey

Dr. Mark Sey

Date: 2005
Dr. Mark Sey, Senior Lecturer at the Religious Studies Department of the University of Cape, in picture with Alhajj Braimah Bari. Dr. Sey's is a leading recorder of Islamic traditions in Ghana. He is the only scholar who has done research on Muslim youth in Ghana.
Mumuni Sulemana

Mumuni Sulemana

Date: 2005
Mr. Mumuni Sulemana (Afa Sulley) is a lecturer at the Religious Studies Department of the University of Ghana. Also, he is a research on Islamic non-governmental organization in the country. He is an active participant in the discussion on Islam and the modernization of education in the country.
Most Rev. Dr. Archbishop of West Africa and Bishop of Accra

Most Rev. Dr. Archbishop of West Africa and Bishop of Accra

Date: 2005
Bishop of Accra, and Archbishop of the Province of West Africa
Maulvi Amir Wahab bin Adam (3)

Maulvi Amir Wahab bin Adam (3)

Date: 2005
The Head of Mission of the Ahmadiyya Islamic Mission in Ghana, West Africa. Maulvi Adam is the first African to head the Mission activities in Ghana since the movement was introduced to the country in 1921
Maulvi Amir Wahab bin Adam (2)

Maulvi Amir Wahab bin Adam (2)

Date: 2005
The Head of Mission of the Ahmadiyya Islamic Mission in Ghana, West Africa. Maulvi Adam is the first African to head the Mission activities in Ghana since the movement was introduced to the country in 1921
Maulvi Amir Wahab bin Adam (1)

Maulvi Amir Wahab bin Adam (1)

Date: 2005
The Head of Mission of the Ahmadiyya Islamic Mission in Ghana, West Africa. Maulvi Adam is the first African to head the Mission activities in Ghana since the movement was introduced to the country in 1921
Alhajj Braimah Bari

Alhajj Braimah Bari

Date: 2005
Alhajj Braimah Bari is former translator at the Organization for African Unity at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He is now retired and leading western educated member of the Ghana Muslim community.
Mosque, Ghana

Mosque, Ghana

Date: 2005
The Kumasi Mosque of the Ahmadiyya Islamic Mission in Ghana, West Africa. The Ahmadiyya Mission had been established in Ghana since 1921
After afternoon prayers at the Fadame Residence Mosque of the National Chief Imam

After afternoon prayers at the Fadame Residence Mosque of the National Chief Imam

Date: 2006
Three men sitting in front of the Fadame Mosque after afternoon prayers.
Dr. Sey with National Chief Imam

Dr. Sey with National Chief Imam

Date: 2006
A visit to the National Chief Imam. Sheikh Sharubutu seated and Dr. Sey knelling.
Fadame Residence of National Chief Imam

Fadame Residence of National Chief Imam

Date: 2006
Residence of National Imam from the roadside view
National Chief Imam of Ghana

National Chief Imam of Ghana

Date: 2006
National Chief Imam Nuhu Sharubutu is a leader in the provision of Islamic religious education in Ghana
The Most Holy Trinity Cathedral, Anglican Church (Accra) (2)

The Most Holy Trinity Cathedral, Anglican Church (Accra) (2)

Date: 2006
The Most Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Anglican Church on High Street (Accra). The High Street Church is the premise of the Office of the Anglican Bishop of Accra and the current Archbishop of the Province of West Africa, The Most Rev’d Dr. Justice O. Akrofi. The Anglican Church of Ghana, like other well established Christian organizations, peacefully co-exist with Muslims in the country.
Principal of Falahiyya Islamic School, Cape Coast

Principal of Falahiyya Islamic School, Cape Coast

Date: 2006
Falahiyya Islamic School is in Cape Coast and it is conducted as a public secular program K-9 (6 year primary and three year Junior Sec School). The picture was taken at the front veranda of school. Dr. Mark Sey (in white top) teaches Islamic Studies at the University of Cape Coast
Principal of Falahiyya Islamic School, Cape Coast

Principal of Falahiyya Islamic School, Cape Coast

Date: 2006
Principal Ahmed Tijan Hassan at his Office at the Falahiyya Islamic School in Cape Coast
Male Students at an Islamic-secular school

Male Students at an Islamic-secular school

Date: 2006
Male students dressed appropriately for school at the Azariyya Islamic Education Unit School.
Two Female Students at an Islamic/secular school

Two Female Students at an Islamic/secular school

Date: 2006
Two Female students dressed appropriately for school at the Azariyya Islamic Education Unit School
Principal Muhammad Kamil of Azariyya Islamic School, Tafo, Mile 6, near Kumasi in Ghana

Principal Muhammad Kamil of Azariyya Islamic School, Tafo, Mile 6, near Kumasi in Ghana

Date: 2006
Picture was taken after an interview with the principal and some member of his staff. This Islamic Education Unit Azariyya Islamic school has over 1,000 students from kindergarten to Senior secondary school at one location
Women and Islamic Education

Women and Islamic Education

Date: 2006
Madam Mamuna Bintu al-Shaban is a trained and certified teacher at the Islamic Education Unit Azariyya Islamic school at Tafo (near Kumasi, in Ghana
Women and Islamic Education

Women and Islamic Education

Date: 2006
Madam Ayishetu Kadiri is a member of the Ghana Federation of Muslim Women-organization dedicated to the improvement of Muslim women.
The Most Holy Trinity Cathedral, Anglican Church (Accra) (1)

The Most Holy Trinity Cathedral, Anglican Church (Accra) (1)

Date: 2006
The Most Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Anglican Church on High Street (Accra). The High Street Church is the premise of the Office of the Anglican Bishop of Accra and the current Archbishop of the Province of West Africa, The Most Rev’d Dr. Justice O. Akrofi. The Anglican Church of Ghana, like other well established Christian organizations, peacefully co-exist with Muslims in the country.
Principal of Falahiyya Islamic School, Cape Coast

Principal of Falahiyya Islamic School, Cape Coast

Date: 2006
Falahiyya Islamic School is in Cape Coast and it is conducted as a public secular program K-9 (6 year primary and three year Junior Sec School). The picture was taken at the front veranda of school. Dr. Mark Sey (in white top) teaches Islamic Studies at the University of Cape Coast
Educational Complex: Institute of Islamic Education, Nima (2)

Educational Complex: Institute of Islamic Education, Nima (2)

The building complex of the Institute of Islamic education. The program belongs to the Ahl-Sunnah Muslim group (described also as a Wahabi brotherhood). The co-educational Islamic institution subscribes to the secular cum Islamic religious education advocated under the Ghana Islamic Education Unit of the national education service.
Rev. Professor Elom Dovlo

Rev. Professor Elom Dovlo

Reverend Dr. Elom Dovlo is professor of Religious Studies at the University of Ghana (Legon). Though his main scholarship is on the history of Christianity in Ghana, he is also known for his work with Muslim scholars whose research products are on various aspects of Islam in Ghana.
Educational Complex: Institute of Islamic Education, Nima (3)

Educational Complex: Institute of Islamic Education, Nima (3)

The building complex of the Institute of Islamic education. The program belongs to the Ahl-Sunnah Muslim group (described also as a Wahabi brotherhood). The co-educational Islamic institution subscribes to the secular cum Islamic religious education advocated under the Ghana Islamic Education Unit of the national education service.
Institute of Islamic Studies Students (1)

Institute of Islamic Studies Students (1)

Pictures of students at the Institute of Islamic Studies complex at Nima (Accra). Though girls at the school wear the head cover, they mix with male students both in classes and at the playground. Students at the school range from the Junior Secondary level (in secular subject) to a Senior Secondary (in Islamic subjects).
Kotobroaba Market Mosque, Cape Coast

Kotobroaba Market Mosque, Cape Coast

Central Mosque of Cape Coast and the Central region of Ghana. Constructed at a strategic location of the Kotokroaba Market) (pre-1900 and improved upon over the decades), the mosque has a great presence as part of the important structures of this historic native, colonial, and modern city. As the market and automobile lot serving the market expanded over the years, the mosque has become very central to the Kotokroaba Market where many of the stores that stretch on the roadside are Muslim-owned.
Institute of Islamic Studies Students (2)

Institute of Islamic Studies Students (2)

Pictures of students at the Institute of Islamic Studies complex at Nima (Accra). Though girls at the school wear the head cover, they mix with male students both in classes and at the playground. Students at the school range from the Junior Secondary level (in secular subject) to a Senior Secondary (in Islamic subjects).
Abura Sunni Mosque side by side Ahmadiyya Mosque) (3)

Abura Sunni Mosque side by side Ahmadiyya Mosque) (3)

Sunni Mosque at the Cape Coast suburb of Abura (with minaret) is located side by side an Ahmadiyya Mosque (white building to the left in images 009 and 011). Despite initial conflict between Ahmadis and Sunni Muslims in Ghana during the 1920s, both Muslim groups live peacefully together—an image truly represented in the picture.
Abura Sunni Mosque side by side Ahmadiyya Mosque) (2)

Abura Sunni Mosque side by side Ahmadiyya Mosque) (2)

Sunni Mosque at the Cape Coast suburb of Abura (with minaret) is located side by side an Ahmadiyya Mosque (white building to the left in images 009 and 011). Despite initial conflict between Ahmadis and Sunni Muslims in Ghana during the 1920s, both Muslim groups live peacefully together—an image truly represented in the picture.
Village Mosque and School (Primary School) (3)

Village Mosque and School (Primary School) (3)

Muslim administered secular primary school structure next to a Mosque. A perfect representation of the wave of Muslim-sponsored schools under the Ghana Islamic Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service. The picture represented here is the village of Nyinasin Muslim Mosque and School in the Central Region near Kakum.
Village Mosque and School (Primary School) (1)

Village Mosque and School (Primary School) (1)

Muslim administered secular primary school structure next to a Mosque. A perfect representation of the wave of Muslim-sponsored schools under the Ghana Islamic Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service. The picture represented here is the village of Nyinasin Muslim Mosque and School in the Central Region near Kakum.
Plaque

Plaque

Plaque showing the map of Ghana with information about the distribution of Ahmadiyya Mission accomplishments in Ghana. Information shows number of healthcare facilities, mission offices, and schools.
Ahmadiyya Mosque

Ahmadiyya Mosque

Central Mosque of the Ahmadiyya Mission in Ghana at Accra (at the compound of the Mission Head Office at the Nyaniba Estate in Accra). This is one example of the several splendid mosques of the Ahmadiyya Mission in Ghana
Abura Sunni Mosque side by side Ahmadiyya Mosque) (1)

Abura Sunni Mosque side by side Ahmadiyya Mosque) (1)

Sunni Mosque at the Cape Coast suburb of Abura (with minaret) is located side by side an Ahmadiyya Mosque (white building to the left in images 009 and 011). Despite initial conflict between Ahmadis and Sunni Muslims in Ghana during the 1920s, both Muslim groups live peacefully together- an image truly represented in the picture.
Institute of Islamic Studies Students (3)

Institute of Islamic Studies Students (3)

Pictures of students at the Institute of Islamic Studies complex at Nima (Accra). Though girls at the school wear the head cover, they mix with male students both in classes and at the playground. Students at the school range from the Junior Secondary level (in secular subject) to a Senior Secondary (in Islamic subjects).
Educational Complex: Institute of Islamic Education, Nima (1)

Educational Complex: Institute of Islamic Education, Nima (1)

The building complex of the Institute of Islamic education. The program belongs to the Ahl-Sunnah Muslim group (described also as a Wahabi brotherhood). The co-educational Islamic institution subscribes to the secular cum Islamic religious education advocated under the Ghana Islamic Education Unit of the national education service.
Alhajj Shaibu Armiyawo, Islamic Education Unit

Alhajj Shaibu Armiyawo, Islamic Education Unit

Alhajj Shaibu Armiyawo is (2005) Acting Manager of the Greater Accra Office of the Islamic Education Unit. A former graduate of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, Shaibu Armiyawo is a leading and dynamic advocator of secular education for Muslim children in Ghana.
Alhajj Banda Mosque, Accra (1)

Alhajj Banda Mosque, Accra (1)

Located at the Airport Residential area of Accra, near the Nyaho Clinic, the Alhajj Banda Mosque is one of the newer Muslim structures built in the overwhelmingly non-Muslim residential areas of the city of Accra—a possible sign of new wealth and mobility in the country. Alhajj Banda himself is a wealthy businessman and active promoter of the Muslim community since the mid-1950s. He is patron of the Islamic Education Fund.
Mamobi Mosque, Accra, showing dual minarets. (1)

Mamobi Mosque, Accra, showing dual minarets. (1)

From a major link road in Accra, the Mamobi Mosque is seen at a distance. The about two-mile stretch covering the Accra neighborhoods of Mamobi and Nima are overwhelmingly settled by Muslims. There are other Muslim neighborhoods in Accra (such as Fadame, Sukura, and Madina) not represented in the image.
Anglican School Block

Anglican School Block

The large structure (2-level yellow block) is a historical Anglican school of Accra. Built on the premise of The Most Holy Trinity Cathedral (High Street), the school has many famous alumni. Currently, the school is one of several Anglican Junior Secondary Schools in the country. On this same premise is also an Anglican Senior Secondary School.
Mamobi Mosque, Accra, showing dual minarets. (2)

Mamobi Mosque, Accra, showing dual minarets. (2)

From a major link road in Accra, the Mamobi Mosque is seen at a distance. The about two-mile stretch covering the Accra neighborhoods of Mamobi and Nima are overwhelmingly settled by Muslims. There are other Muslim neighborhoods in Accra (such as Fadame, Sukura, and Madina) not represented in the image.
Islamic University Education

Islamic University Education

At the entrance of the Islamic University College in Accra (Ghana). The Iranian Ahl-Bait Foundation-sponsored University College is the first tertiary Islamic institution in Ghana. In addition to religious education, the institution’s degree programs include undergraduate work in business, marketing, and accounting.
Christian Council of Ghana Building

Christian Council of Ghana Building

Front view of the Christian Council of Ghana building at Osu (Accra). The organization is a secretariat of the protestant churches of Ghana as a forum for joint action on issues—especially on political and religions reconciliation and conflict resolution.
Village Mosque and School (Primary School) (2)

Village Mosque and School (Primary School) (2)

Muslim administered secular primary school structure next to a Mosque. A perfect representation of the wave of Muslim-sponsored schools under the Ghana Islamic Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service. The picture represented here is the village of Nyinasin Muslim Mosque and School in the Central Region near Kakum.
Alhajj Umar Ibrahim Imam (Head of the Ahl-Sunnah al-Jamaat, Ghana) (2)

Alhajj Umar Ibrahim Imam (Head of the Ahl-Sunnah al-Jamaat, Ghana) (2)

Alhajj Umar Ibrahim Imam (seated) is head of the Ahl-Sunnah al-Jamaat group in Ghana and also the proprietor of the Institute of Islamic Studies school in Nina (Accra). In picture are also three aides to the Imam (in caps) and Dr. Sey of the Department of Religious Studies at the extreme left (standing). The Al—Sunnah movement has a history of conflict with the majority traditional Tijaniyya. In recent times, however, peaceful relations have developed between the two Muslim groups.
Alhajj Umar Ibrahim Imam (Head of the Ahl-Sunnah al-Jamaat, Ghana) (1)

Alhajj Umar Ibrahim Imam (Head of the Ahl-Sunnah al-Jamaat, Ghana) (1)

Alhajj Umar Ibrahim Imam (seated) is head of the Ahl-Sunnah al-Jamaat group in Ghana and also the proprietor of the Institute of Islamic Studies school in Nina (Accra). In picture are also three aides to the Imam (in caps) and Dr. Sey of the Department of Religious Studies at the extreme left (standing). The Al-Sunnah movement has a history of conflict with the majority traditional Tijaniyya. In recent times, however, peaceful relations have developed between the two Muslim groups.
Islamic Education (1)

Islamic Education (1)

The Adab Islamic Mission School at Nima, Accra. In picture (seated in second roll in cap) is Alhajj Zakaria (proprietor of school). Dr. Mark Sey of the Religious Studies Department at the University of Cape Coast is seated next to Alhajj Zakaria. The Muslim Junior Secondary School is one of many such programs providing secular education to Muslim children in the country.
Alhajj Banda Mosque, Accra (2)

Alhajj Banda Mosque, Accra (2)

Located at the Airport Residential area of Accra, near the Nyaho Clinic, the Alhajj Banda Mosque is one of the newer Muslim structures built in the overwhelmingly non-Muslim residential areas of the city of Accra—a possible sign of new wealth and mobility in the country. Alhajj Banda himself is a wealthy businessman and active promoter of the Muslim community since the mid-1950s. He is patron of the Islamic Education Fund.
Alhajj Rashid Gbandamoshi

Alhajj Rashid Gbandamoshi

Former Director of the Ghana Education Service, Alhajj Rashid Gbandamoshi is Registrar of the Islamic University College in Ghana. He was among the earliest persons in the Ghana Education Service to advocate for bringing the traditional Islamic Quranic education under a system that allowed students in these schools to be introduction of secular subjects.
Islamic Education (2)

Islamic Education (2)

The Adab Islamic Mission School at Nima, Accra. In picture (seated in second roll in cap) is Alhajj Zakaria (proprietor of school). Dr. Mark Sey of the Religious Studies Department at the University of Cape Coast is seated next to Alhajj Zakaria. The Muslim Junior Secondary School is one of many such programs providing secular education to Muslim children in the country.