In celebration of the centenary of Ahmadiyyat in Ghana since 1921, I have selected Sheikh Ahmad Nazir for discussion of his short biography.
This selection is based primarily, on his Arabic scholarship, besides his being an excellent educationist, a forceful missionary and an Amir of the Ahmaddiyya Movement in Islam. The following is a list of Amirs who have steered the affairs of the Movement from inception up to date.
They are: 1) Alhaj Maulana Abdur Rahman Nayyar.(1921-1922), 2) Alhaj Maulana F.R.Hakeem (1922- 1929), 1933-1935) , 3) Alhaj Maulana Nazir Ahmad Ali (1936-1937,1946- 1950) ,4) Alhaj Maulana Ahmad Mubasshir(1950-1954,1955-1961) ,5) Maulana Basharat Ahmad Bashir(1970-1972), 6) Alhaj Maulana Attah Ullah Kaleem (1961-1970,1972), 7) Maulana (Dr) Abdul Wahhab Adam(1974-2014), 8) Alhaj Maulana Muhammad Bin Salih, the current Amir (2014- )
The first six Amirs are Pakistanis, while some are Indians. The last two Amirs are Ghanaians. The word Amir means a commander or one who orders others to do things. It derives from the Arabic Amara, meaning to order or command.
The term dates as far back as the time of the early history of Islam when Amirs were appointed by Khalifas to govern territories conquered by the Muslim armies. The Khalifas of the Muslim world himself bore the title of Amir Al-Muminiin, meaning commander of the Faithful. In the current instance of Ahmaddiyyat the highest authority bears the same titles of Khalifa or Amir Al-Muminiin, while his subordinate missionaries in the various countries of the world are his Amirs. According to an authentic Hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace: “He who obeys my Amir obeys me and he who disobeys my Amir disobeys me.” With this brief introduction to the title Amir and its roles in Islam and in Ahmadiyyat let me begin the brief discussion on Amir Mubasshir, the fourth Amir. I have selected him for his scholarship in accordance with the following authentic Hadith of the Holy Prophet Muhammad: “Al-Ulamaa (Divines, Scholars) are the inheritors of the Prophets. “Also: “The scholars (Divines) of my dispensation are like the Prophets of Israil”.
Shaikh Mubasshir shall always be remembered for his Arabic book called “Qaulul Swarih Fii Zuhur Al-Mahdi, “that translates as: “Clear and cogent arguments about the appearance of the Messiah”. Arguments from the book are based on Quranic verses with heavy support from the Hadith (Sayings) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. He then seals his arguments with views of past eminent Muslim scholars which perfectly tally with the views of Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of India, who claims to have fulfilled the advent of the expected Messiah of the Muslims in the latter days. Let me pass the following brief comment on the quality of the Arabic language used by Shaikh Mubasshir in his book. Mubasshir, throughout the book, uses effective and beautiful language in delivering his well reasoned arguments. A few of such expressions include the title of the book: “Al-Qaul Al-Sariih”, which literally means “Clear sayings”, but which essentially refers to the use of clear and potent arguments in discussions. Another of such expressions also include “Haajat Maasat”, meaning “Urgent or Pressing needs”. In other words there was a pressing and most urgent need to compose the book to answer the many questions and objections raised by the Muslim dispensation in connection with the advent of the Promised Messiah and the Mahdi, on whom be peace. Mubasshir begins his discussions from the natural death of Christ using the Quran, Hadith and the Arabic language. He does this most convincingly. He then seals his argument with similar views on the subject expressed by past Scholars and eminent Commentators. Having dealt a death below to the continued existence of Christ in the heavens he then likens the second coming of the Messiah to the coming of the Elijah that was spiritually fulfilled by the coming of John the Baptist. The uniqueness of the book lies in the fact that there is no subject matter that he discusses without quoting the view or views of a past and eminent scholar (Salaf) in support. Thereby telling the Muslim Word that whatever Ahmadiyyat says has been said by the Salaf, past opinion leaders of Islam.
Mubasshir was the Amir and Missionary In-Charge of Ahmadiyyat from 1936-1961 for over a period of 25 years. Among his achievements are: As an Amir and scholar he taught missionaries and many youths Arabic and Islamic theology. As an educationist he laid down solid foundations for the educational progress of Ahmadiyyat in Ghana. He was responsible for the establishment of T.I. Ahmaddiyya Secondary School, Kumasi popularly called Amass. For well over 25years Amass was the only Muslim Secondary School in the country till Islamic Secondary/Commercial School was also established in Kumasi (Abrepo). He is said to have established the Swedru Arabic School in 1955 now defunct. He also established a number of missionary houses for the propagation of Ahmadiyyat. He also supervised the writing down of the constitution of Ahmadiyyat in Ghana. He also made Ahmadiyyat grow economically in Ghana. Quoting Mr Humphrey John Foster in his thesis “A study in Contempory Islam in West Africa “He writes about Mubasshir as follows: “Alhaj Maulri Nazir Ahmad Mubasshir possesses organising capacity and spiritual intensity. A Mubasshir’s administration has been a time of educational expansion.
Mubasshir by his scholarship and achievements has become an icon or one of the leading icons of Amirs of Ahmadiyyat in Ghana.
BY KHALID KOFI AHMAD