The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu, has urged Ghanaians to protect the prevailing peace between Muslims and Christians in the country as it is a blessing from Allah.
He said it was the peace that allowed for interaction between Muslims and Christians in all endeavours and engendered understanding among them.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic at his Fadama residence in Accra moments before he left for the Abossey Okai Central Mosque to lead the Friday (Jummah) prayers, Sheikh Sharubutu, who was glowing in his all-white flowing gown, said other countries were not enjoying the peace being enjoyed in Ghana.
He, therefore said, it was crucial for Ghanaians to jealously guard the peaceful coexistence among adherents of the various religious faiths and pray for other countries to also enjoy the same bliss of harmony among religious groups.
The National Chief Imam made headlines in local and international media, including the BBC for visiting the Christ the King Catholic Church near the Jubilee House in Accra as part of his 100th anniversary celebration in April this year.
He received a lot of praise for that singular peaceful posture, which he had demonstrated throughout his reign as the National Chief Imam for more than two decades.
It formed part of Sheikh Sharubutu’s life-long commitment to promoting inter-faith dialogue and a peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians, the two dominant religions in Ghana.
Quoting a verse from the Holy Qur’an, the National Chief Imam said Allah enjoined Muslims to be kind to Christians provided that they (the Christians) did not attack Muslims or prevent them from practicing their religion.
“There was nothing wrong for Muslims to demonstrate kindness to Christians with the view to cementing their cordial relations,” he stated.
“Allah does not forbid you (as Muslims) because of religion, from the people who do not attack you and who do not throw you out of your homes.
Allah does not forbid you from being kind to them. You have to do justice between you”, he added.
“The peace existing between Muslims and Christians is a great blessing from Allah and we should not take it for granted,” Shiekh Sharubutu emphasised.
The Chief Imam said all human beings traced their roots to Adam and Eve.
“We are all one from Adam and Eve.
Our roots are one and there was no need for any discrimination or hostility amongst us on the basis of religion, race, colour or gender.
“We are all descendants of Adam and Eve.
There is no reason why we should not live in peace with one another or why we should discriminate against anybody.
The best in the sight of Allah is the most pious,” he said.
Allah has placed us in tribes, big tribes and small tribes, so that we know each other and coexist but not to fight, he stressed.
Giving a practical example, Sheikh Sharubutu told the Graphic team, which included Muslims and Christians that their coming to meet him was made possible courtesy the peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians.
“It is because of peace that you came here. Without peace, you will not be here. We are all one. Allah says we should live in peace with Christians”, he said.
“Some of Ghana’s neighbouring countries have experienced religious attacks and other conflicts in recent times and the prayer has been that we do not go through such unrests”, he added.
The National Chief Imam prayed to Allah to also bless other countries that were experiencing conflict to also enjoy the peace and tranquility prevailing in the country.
Responding to a question on the position of women in Islam, Sheikh Sharubutu said Allah gave due recognition to women, and indicated that in the Holy Qur’an whenever Allah mentioned believing men he mentioned believing women; fasting men and fasting women, among others.
Besides, he said, Allah had prepared a special place for believing women in the hereafter.