Confusion rocks selection of new imam in Ho

The confusion is between the acting regional chief imam, Alfa Anas, and the son of the deceased chief imam, Alhaji Muniru Ali

It’s barely a decade since the demise of the Volta regional chief Imam, and who will succeed the deceased continues to be a struggle between two factions.

The confusion is between the acting regional chief imam, Alfa Anas, and the son of the deceased chief imam, Alhaji Muniru Ali.

Alhaji Muniru Ali has the point that his father was the Imam, and he (Muniru) is the right heir to the position.

On the other hand, Alfa Anas argued that, according to Islam, the “Imamship” is not based on “heredity,” hence Alhaji Muniru Ali cannot succeed his father.

What are Muslim scholars saying?

Ibrahim Khalilulahi Usman, journalist and Islamic tutor at Wataniya Amiriya, Kumasi, said, “The selection of an imam in Islam adheres to a precise structure outlined in the Qur’an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

“Merit is a key criterion, requiring profound knowledge in the Qur’an, jurisprudence, and other Islamic disciplines. The chosen individual must possess a sound mind, trustworthiness, and leadership qualities,” he said.

Amiriya added, “unfortunately, ignorance and selfishness among some Ghanaian Muslims have transformed the solemn role of an Imam into a ceremonial position. Being an Imam entails significant spiritual and social responsibilities, involving leadership in both spiritual guidance and day-to-day religious affairs.”

Fresh development at the Ho Zongo

Followers of Alfa Anas say, according to Islamic rules and teachings, acting and deputy imams succeed in the position in the absence (alive or dead) of the substantive Imam; meanwhile, followers of Ali Muniru oppose this doctrine.

Over the years, the two factions held press conferences on several occasions on the case. The Volta Regional and the Ho Municipal Security Councils have looked at the matter from different perspectives, but peace is not prevailing.

Asogli Traditional Council, led by Agbogbomefia of Asogli State, Togbe Afede XIV, is also playing an important role in making sure that there is understanding and peace among the Muslim folks.

The case was also sent to the national chief imam, Shiek Osman Nuhu Sharubutu many times to be looked at, but all these efforts yielded no result because neither Alfa Anas nor Alhaji Muniru Ali were ready to step down.

Recently, some chiefs from Asogli State visited the national chief imam over the issue again. Chief Imam Shiek Osman Nuhu Sharubutu was scheduled to visit Ho on Thursday (18 January 2024).

Prior to the visit, followers of Alfa Anas alleged in a press conference held on Wednesday (17 January 2024) alleging that “some Asogli chiefs have convinced the national chief imam to come and install Alhaji Muniru Ali.”

Abdul Manaf, a resident of Ho Zongo, said, “Some of us were not in the community but later had to find ourselves here, and we need to fight for the religion. The current chief imam has been serving the community for the past years, for more than thirteen years.”

“The majority is for Alfa Anas, so there is no way we’ll install Alhaji Muniru as chief Imam. We’ll fight for Alfa Anas and the religion till our last breath,” Manaf added.

At the press conference, they alleged that Alhaji Muniru Ali is bribing some Asogli chiefs. They also alleged that some Asogli chiefs are on the side of Alhaji Muniru Ali because of his (Muniru) maternal connection to the landowners of Ho – the chiefs.

The youth are, however, calling on the office of the national chief imam not to install Alhaji Muniru Ali because if he does, there will be no peace among them.

They say Muniru Ali is a politician, and he just wants to become chief imam for his parochial interests and not to serve the community. Muniru Ali served as chairman of the National Hajj Board under the NDC government.

They also called on Asogli chiefs to stay away from Islamic issues, just as Muslims also do not interfere in their chieftaincy matters.

The aggrieved youth say some Asogli chiefs should be blamed whenever conflicts arise among them because the they have continued to jeopardise development for the past years.

Reporting by Albert Kuzor in the Volta Region

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