The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Dr Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, last Sunday launched the Sheikh Alhaji Umar Karki Memorial Foundation.
The foundation seeks to promote the legacy of Sheikh Umar who is an Islamic scholar, a poet, a philosopher, a just and selfless leader.
It’s core mandate encompasses secular education, capacity building, support for the less privileged, peace-building and campaign against violence and terrorism.
It was established by Sheikh Sala-Elhajj Bello, a great grandson of Sheikh Umar.
Among other things, the foundation aimed to promote the teaching of Islamic religion, particularly in Kete-Krachi, the hometown of Sheikh Umar, once considered the citadel of Islamic knowledge, by providing scholarships to brilliant but needy students to pursue higher education.
In attendance were Mr Abdoul Kader Toure, the Ambassador of Mali to Ghana, Alhaji Abu Safianu Baba, the Chief of Kete, Ustaz Anas, an Islamic scholar and head of Sheikh Umar family, Dauda Abubakar Umar, also a leading member of the family, chiefs, and opinion leaders.
Launching it, Sheikh Dr Sharubutu urged Muslims to relive the virtues bequeathed to them by Sheikh Alhaj Umar Karki.
The National Chief said he was a direct beneficiary of Sheikh Umar’s teachings and asked Muslims to endeavour to be like the late Sheikh Umar.
He reminded Muslims that knowledge acquisition was central to building an informed and prosperous society.
Turning his attention to the December 7 election, the National Chief Imam advised Muslims not to allow themselves to be used by politicians to foment trouble before, during and after the election.
Sheikh Seebawey Zakaria, a senior lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) who delivered the key note address suggested the collection of Sheikh Umar’s poems, literature, letters and sermons into a book.
He described Sheikh Umar as a fountain of knowledge whose teachings go beyond the shores of Ghana.
Sheikh Zakaria noted that some of Sheikh Umar’s prophesy had come to pass.
For example, Sheikh Zakaria observed that Sheikh Umar’s prophesy that his grave and mosque would float up many years after the Volta Lake had submerged old Kete town where Sheikh Umar died in 1933 had come to pass.
Speaking to the Ghanaian Times in an interview, Sheikh Sala-Elhajj Bello said he believes that “education is the only liberating force that can catalyse development, alleviate poverty, and reduce violence in the world.”
In this regard, he said the foundation would seek the support of benevolent organisations to enable them undertake projects.
The foundation is made up of 10 members, comprising the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), two directors, a secretary, and board members with the National Chief Imam as the Chief Patron.
CAPTION: National Chief Imam and family members of Sheikh Umar at the launch of the foundation.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA