Six things you (probably) didn’t know about Chief Imam

Osmanu started his education at home with his father during the day and his mother at night

Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu is the national Chief Imam. In 2006, the University of Ghana conferred an honorary doctorate degree on him. Sheikh Osmanu serves on the Ghana Peace Council.

He is also referred to as the Grand Mufti.

Here are six things you probably didn’t know about him:

Youngest Huffaz

He was devout and keenly interested in Islamic scripture and by age 12, he was able to recite the Quran, becoming one of the youngest Huffaz, a term given to someone who can memorise and recite extensive parts of the Holy Scriptures.

To further develop his potential, he was sent to Kumasi to study under some of the preeminent Islamic scholars of the time.

His experience in Kumasi had a huge impact on him and on his return to Accra, he decided to devote his time to instructing young Muslims on the tenets of the religion. Many of his students went on to become noted scholars in their own right.

The first-ever to hold the title

Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu is the first-ever to hold the title, Chief Imam. From this position, he has come to exemplify and represent the ideals of faith, scholarship, tolerance, and peace that are central to the religion, gaining the respect and admiration of not only adherents to the faith but Ghanaians from all religions.

He himself continued on the path of learning and quickly became noted for his expertise and deep understanding of the religion. In 1974, the Tijaniyya sect to which he belongs nominated him to be the Deputy Imam in the country. Sheikh Osmanu at first refused but was prevailed upon to accept the position.

Sheikh’s qualities proved impossible to hide and a greater calling awaited the scholar and leader. In 1993, he became head of the Tijaniyya sect after his cousin, who was holding the post, stepped aside due to ill health. After consultations, the four main Islamic sects in the country—Ahlus Sunnahwal Jamaaha, Tijaniyya, Ahmadi and Shia – agreed that the position of National Chief Imam would rotate between them and that the office would now become the official mouthpiece of the religion in the country, with Sheikh Osmanu becoming the first to ascend to the office.

Unique intellectual capacity

The appointment of Sheikh Osmanu as deputy Greater Accra Regional Chief Imam was done in consideration of his unique qualities, intellectual capacity, dedication to teaching, passion for Islam and exemplary lifestyle, but he turned down the offer, which was forced on him by the prominent Muslim chiefs, who persistently asked him to give it serious thought, stressing to him that it could be a divine call to serve God.

Subsequently, when it dawned on Sheikh Osmanu that it was a divine call for him to serve Islam and Muslim communities, he finally accepted the position as the acting Greater Accra Regional Chief Imam until 1993, when he was ceremoniously appointed as the National Chief Imam of Ghana to head the Ghanaian Muslim Communities.

Taught the best of the best

Among his student are Muhammad Munir Dan Alpha, who is now deputising him and even leading national islamic prayers on behalf of his teacher (Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu), Sheikh Ustaz Abdul Aziz, Sheikh Yahyal-Ameen, Mallam Adam Attah (late), Mallam Saeed, Alhaji Jibril Madaha, Mallam Ibrahima Nyass, Mallam Mustapha Yaa Jalala, Mallam Habibu Gora, Sheikh Musa Abdul Kadir (late) and Mallam Zurkanain, to mention just a few.

To sum up, Sheikh Osmanu ranks highly among the erudite and prominent Islamic scholars Ghana has ever produced. Among his contemporaries are Sheikh Kamâludeen, who was chosen directly by Sheikh Osmanu to serve as deputy national Chief Imam and the late Sheikh Alhadji Haroun Rasheed.

A great representative of Islam

As Chief Imam, Sheikh Ousmanu has been a great advocate and representative of the religion. Due to his advocacy, two national holidays commemorating Islamic events have been placed on the national calendar.

He established the Sheikh Dr. Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu Education Trust Fund to provide financial assistance to needy students and the Nuuru Usmaniya Foundation for Humanitarian Services and Development.

He set up the Islamic Peace and Security Council of Ghana to promote sustainable peace in the country and has also established several schools, including seven Islamic schools in the Greater Accra Region. Sheikh Osmanu also led the efforts that culminated in the construction of the National Mosque at Kawukudi, a suburb of Accra.


The accomplishments of Sheikh Dr. Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu at a glance:

1. The establishment of the Office of the National Chief Imam of Ghana in 1992

2. Engineered the realisation and manifestation of two (2) national holidays for Muslims in the official calendar of the Republic of Ghana

3. Establishment of seven Islamic schools; the Answaru-Deen Islamic School Complex, in the Greater Accra region

4. Self-trained, educated, sponsored and empowered over 50 well disciplined and taught students in Islamic studies and they have become force to reckon in the Muslim community in Ghana who have excelled in the field of Islamic knowledge and jurisprudence

5. Personally promoted Islamic education and encouraged the establishment of a unique system of education in Ghana, the marriage of traditional Islamic institutions and secular education, to promote the acquisition of both.

6. Personally promoted and encouraged mutual understanding, dialogue and peaceful coexistence between religions (Interfaith relations) and intra religious beliefs (sects).

7. Self-sponsored (financially) hundreds of students to attain circular education in Ghana and abroad.

8. The establishment of an educational Trust Fund to support brilliant but needy students; the Sheikh Dr. Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu Education Trust Fund (SONSETFUND)

9. The establishment of an organisation that promotes peace, unity and sustainable peace in Ghana and abroad; the Islamic Peace and Security Council of Ghana (IPASEC)

10. The establishment of an orphanage to look after the education and welfare of homeless Muslim kids in Ghana; the Nuuru Usmaniya Foundation for Humanitarian Services and Development (NUSMA

11. The establishment of a first class educational complex in Kasoa, Central Region; Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu Educational Complex

12. Engineered the attraction of the financier organis­­­ation (Hunan Development International Foundation-HUDAI from Turkey) on the ongoing construction of the National Mosque at Kawo Kudi, Kanda, Accra.

13. Personally officiated over 5000 marriages in Ghana alone

14. Led funeral prayers on over 4000 Muslims in Ghana

15. Personally officiated over the naming ceremonies of over 10,000 Muslim children.

16. He was decorated with honors by the premier nation’s university, the University of Ghana, Legon in 2006 with doctorate degree for his works in humanities, teaching, impacting knowledge and peaceful activities.

17. Several other local and foreign universities awarded him with doctorate degrees.

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