By Haroon Balogun
Amir of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Nigeria, Dr Mashhud Fashola has described the hundred years of the Jamaat’s existence in Nigeria as a manifestation of Allah’s Grace and Majesty in support of the claim of Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. Dr Fasola said this while giving a review of the 100 years of the group in Nigeria at a special forum organised by the Pan African Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, PAMA, held in London, United Kingdom recently.
Highlighting the achievements of the group in the country in the last 100 years, Dr Fashola stated that the establishment of primary and secondary schools for boys and girls as well as establishment of Muslim Hospitals/Clinic including eye and dental clinics in Kano, Apapa, Bukuru-Jos, Ibadan, Ije-bude Ode, New Bussa, as far back as early 60s were part of the laudable success story.
He added that the jamaat prides itself being the first to commence the translation of the Khutba in local languages; first to translate the Holy Qur’an and other Islamic literature (such as Muslim Prayer Book) into Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo and Etsako; starts the exhibition of Islamic literature in trade fairs and Quranic Exhibitions, established Tertiary Muslim Missionary Training College established in 1987, with outstanding performance in the secondary level of Quran Memorisation for both males and females.
“Others include first Islamic Bookshop in 1932; Muslim organisation to first allow ladies to pray in mosques, having as members Muslim Scholars and Professionals, including Doctors, Professors, Lawyers, Journalists, and Accountants spread across all the branches in the country.
He added: “From the few braches (Jamaats) in the 20s and 30s, Ahmadiyya Jamaat had spread to 497 Jama’ats and over 700 mosques in 53 circuits (regions) spread in all geo-political zones of Nigeria. We have over 250 missionaries including some central missionaries in the field.
“As part of the centenary jubilee programmes, we plan to establish more hospitals, farm settlements, educational institutions across the country, plant 100,000 trees, launch a book on 100 years History of Ahmadiyya in Nigeria, carry out many free medical camps in 100 rural areas, special exhibitions in major centres of the country, meeting with family members and descendants of pioneer Ahmadi Muslims, and hold various inter-faith conferences and Centenary Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention).
Dr. Fashola said the major challenge confronting the group was financing capital projects for development. According to him, “There are many parts of the country where the Jama’at has been invited to assist in establishing mosques, schools, and clinics on account of severely inadequate and poorly managed government educational and medical facilities. But the budget of the Jama’at has always been inadequate in terms of capital development.”
He added that in spite of the love and acceptance of the jamaat in the country, some groups yet speak ill of the jamaat, adding that the jamaat will continue to engage them in dialogue and open debate.