Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa:
IN 1947, during the budget session of the Legislative Council of Nigeria (under Sir Arthur Richard Constitution) when the Northerners were for the 1st time represented, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at feted them (the Northern representatives). The occasion took place at the Ahmadiyya Central Mosque, 21/23, Ojo Giwa Street, Lagos and it was presided over by the then Chief Secretary to the Government and Acting Governor General, Sir G. Beresford Stooke. The then Amir of Ahmadiyya Jama’at in Nigeria, Alhaji Maulana Fazil Rahman Hakeem (F.R. Hakeem), congratulated the representatives for having the opportunity to represent their people in the Legislative Council of Nigeria (Legco) and welcomed them to Lagos, on behalf of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at.
Alhaji Tafawa Balewa (who had the opportunity of becoming the first Prime Minister of Nigeria after independence) was chosen as the spokesman for the other representatives including Emir of Zaria, Emir of Gwando and Emir of Katsina at the occasion. In response to the welcome address presented to them by Alhaji Maulana F.R. Hakeem, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa said among other things:
“If today I could stand before any Christian and I am able to discuss about religion with confidence, it was due to the Ahmadiyyat Islamic literature books at my disposal.
General Yakubu Gowon – April 13, 1970 (Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation – 7p.m)
The Head of State, Major General Yakubu Gowon has commended Nigerians for demonstrating their willingness to make peace particularly at the end of the civil war.
He pointed out that there is a good understanding among the various religious groups in the country, adding that if this had not been so, there could have been more trouble in the country.
General Gowon was speaking during an audience he gave to the Supreme Head of the World-wide Ahmadiyya Muslim Organization, Mirza Nasir Ahmad, at his Dodan Barracks residence.
He said that it was remarkable to note that during the crisis, Nigerians, irrespective of their religious differences, co-operated in ensuring the unity of the Federation.
General Gowon expressed appreciation for the contribution of the Ahmadiyya towards the moral, physical and intellectual progress of the nation. He noted that the Movement had built schools and clinics for the welfare of the people.
The Muslim Leader who was at that time, April 1970 visiting Nigeria for the first time had earlier spoken of the patience and tact of the Head of State during the crisis. He said the nation was properly guided under General Gowon’s leadership.
Alhaji Aminu Kano, Honourable Federal Commissioner (Minister) for Health and Education – during Jalsa Salana of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria in 1971 said:
“The Activities of Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission are commendable”
“The Federal Military Government is watching very closely the activities of Ahmadiyya Movement in Nigeria from the angle of health facilities and from the angle of education, that is why I am particularly in this party, I will like to say that in Nigeria today the millions of Nigerians are not able to receive necessary attention and I will like to say that there are only 3,000 doctors in Nigeria while we need 20,000 doctors….
“The Federal Military Government is prepared to help not only state government, not only local government, but also private organisations which cater for the welfare of the society, and Ahmadiyya Mission is one of the societies. So, Mr. Chairman, to like to say that we in Government appreciate very much the activities of any other mission. But because Ahmadiyya Mission interpretes some of the activities of Islam in real terms that’s why we in Government circle recognise the activities of that organisation. I like, therefore, to congratulate you Ahmadis for the number of hospitals you are building as in Lagos, in Kano, in many parts of the country and at the same time the number of schools and institutions you are building in primary schools, in secondary schools, this is exactly what Islam stands for, the elimination of sufferings from people no matter who they are. It is only under the umbrella of Islam that all people of other religions whether they are Jews, Christians, Confuscious and whatever, the religion of Islam under an Islamic Government is prepared for their protection and liberty”.
“So gentlemen, it is my pleasure to say that we in the present government circle are very much appreciative of the activities of Ahmadiyya Mission in Nigeria in the field of education, health and social welfare and this is exactly what we like other Muslims sects to do, that is, other Muslim Organisations in the country so that sufferings and depostism would disappear from the soil of Nigeria.”
In 1976, a group of Arab and Pakistani Mullahs were sent to some African countries by the Rabitat-Al-‘Alami Al-Islam, Macca:
They claimed to have visited Ghana, Sierra-Leone, Gambia, Nigeria and Kenya. In Nigeria they visited Lagos, Ijebu-Ode, Ibadan, Ede, among other places visited, between 1st and 14th August 1976. Different pictures of Ahmadiyya were painted to discourage their listeners from having anything to do with the Jama’at. It is therefore, hoped that it will make an interesting reading, if some of their speeches are brought into focus (as contained in their compiled reports titled: “Africa Speaks the Truth” as well as those of other people.
1. On the approach and attitude of Ahmadis to religious presentation, they said:
“It is a sad note that the Qadianis came to Africa through the waywardness of the rulling party at a time when the students and educated Muslims there were yearning for a change in presentation of the religion. The nation had entered the annals of reason and at that time there was a need for the traditional legacy and knowledge of Islam to be presented according to their current requirements. The Qadiani approach to religion was modern and it enticed young Muslims to follow…
“….It is unfortunate that most of Maliki scholars were content with classical presentations of religion. The grammatical analysis of Tafseer Jalalain could benefit only the Ulama and it did not serve to enlighten youthful intelligence. They stood in need of an approach which could attract, guide and satisfy the common man. It was a time when, on the instruction of their colonial masters, the Qadianis landed on the West African coast. The British decided to cut the non-Arab Muslims off from the Arabs and it helped their aim if the Friday Khutbah (sermon) was not delivered in Arabic. The Qadianis introduced the Friday Khutbah in local dialects and opposed the policy of carrying Arabic to non-Arab countries. This Qadiani step attracted many of the intelligentia. They met the need of the time and in some areas, they were welcomed and considered a well-cultured group of Muslims. They folded their hands in prayer whereas the Maliki Ulama did not. It is the Sunnah of the Prophet (may peace be upon him) to fold the hands in prayer and the rightly proven traditions, support this. The Qadianis were aided in their claim of being a modified group by this adoption of Sunnah.”
Will it not amount to self contradiction on the part of these Mullahs if, inspite of their views of Ahmadiyyat (as quoted above) they still hold to the declaration that the Ahmadis are non-Muslims?
2. Under “The Miracle of Islam”, the Mullahs said:
“We have a divine promise that Allah Himself is the Preserver of faith and no one can succeeded in altering any word of the Quran, neither in form nor in spirit. It has not been left to man to safeguard Islam’s bonafides but Allah has always everlastingly done this and so no heretical movement has ever been successful…”
3. Reporting on the Address they delivered at the Anwar-ul-Islam Central Mosque, Lagos on Tuesday, August 10, 1974, they declared:
“It is necessary to clarify here that the name of this Jama’at was TAHREEK AHMADIA, LAGOS and this Mosque was a Qadiani centre at one time. The Mirzais entrapped the people by using the name of Islam. However, when the people were informed of this great fraud, that the Qadianis belong to a new faith and were in fact planted in India by the British, they retreated. They knew that the Qadianis were actually rivals to the Muslims. The members then corrected their beliefs and named their Mosque ‘Anwar-ul-Islam’. At the main gate of the Mosque a blackboard had been placed stating: ‘Mosque Anwar-ul-Islam which was formerly called Tahreek Ahmadia Lagos’. “Their Imam, Maulvi F.I. Anweri was also Qadiani but later on he embraced Islam after finding most of the Qadiani references incorrect…”
Records at our disposal showed that Maulvi F.I. Anweri first came to Nigeria as the Amir and Missionary Inchargge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at in 1968 and he was re-assigned in 1972. He was posted back in 1983, also as the Amir and Missionary Inchargge of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at and in April 1986 he was re-assigned to the International Headquarters of the Jama’at in Rabwah, Pakistan.
Chief (Dr.) Clement M.S. Isong, Governor of Cross River State at the 30th Jalsa Salana of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria – December 1979
“I must note, first of all, that the record of the activities of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission (Nigeria) has been a very enviable one. The Mission has not only successfully competed with other religious organisations in the provision and expansion of medical and educational facilities for numerous Nigerians, but has dedicated itself to reforming our fast decaying society by preaching the high moral and spiritual values of Islam among its members”.
Chief Bisi Onabanjo, Governor of Ogun State during the 30th Jalsa Salana – December 1979
“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission has contributed in no small measure to the social and economic development of this country, particularly in the field of education. While I congratulate the officers and members of the Mission for their past achievements in this direction, it is my hope that they will not relent their efforts and that the Mission will by its actions continue to show itself as a progressive organisation”.
Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, Governor of Lagos State, at the 30th Jalsa Salana of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria – December 1979
“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, a branch of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Qadian which has a very large worldwide followership and this is hardly surprising for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission is actively involved not only in propagating Islam as a religion, but also its contribution and achievement in the field of education, medical and social welfare of Nigerians irrespective of creed or ethnic affinity. I am personally aware of the good work that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission has done in the establishment of Primary and Secondary Schools. The various Health Clinics and Dispensaries being run by your Mission in many parts of the country bear eloquent testimony to your commitment to our great country”.
His Excellency, Alhaji (Usman Aliyu) Shehu Shagari, President -30th Jalsa Salana – December 1979
“…. I have observed with satisfaction the steady progress being made by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in the field of gospel propagation and the establishment of schools, hospitals and clinics.
The Mission’s efforts in this direction have been commendable and worthy of emulation by all voluntary organisations. My administration fully supports the initiative of all well-meaning Nigerians to establish through communal efforts, schools, hospitals and other social services provided that they render service without any sectional or religious inhibition … The Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission should justifiably be proud with the quality of men and women produced by its educational institutions and who are now rendering invaluable services to the development of this country…”
Hazrat Hafiz Nasir Ahmad (r.a.) on 21st August 1980 – Ahmadiyya Central Mosque, Lagos.
“In 1970 my impression was that you were not fully awake, half asleep, half awake, (the Ahmadiyya Jama’atm Nigeria). In rthis visit of mine I find that most of you are fully awake now. I pray to Allah that He gives you strength in Islam. Mere lip service doesn’t please our Allah. For this you must study Quran, every one of you. To understand Quran-e-Azeem, you must know the manifestation of Allah’s attributes in this universe. To know the manifestation of Allah’s attributes, in this universe, you must study physics, chemistry, mathematics, geography and all other sciences”.
The Cross River State Commissioner for Development, Youth Sport and Culture, Mr. O.B. Iwara at the 10th Annual Ijtema of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Organisation – 10th April 1981
“My Ministry is appreciative of your role and contribution in encouraging virtues of truthfulness and honesty among the youth in your Association. My Ministry, therefore, in this regard, had since 1980 given to the Cross River State Branch of the Muslim Youth Organisation a yearly subvention of N1,000.00 to aid the organisation in its programmes and will continue to give the Association the necessary encouragement to do its best at all times”.
“I am proud of the achievements of the Cross River State Branch of the Muslim Youth Organisation. They have been champions for two consecutive years now in football and table tennis contests. I wish them further achievements in future contests”.
Bauchi State Governor, Alhaji Tatari Ali – Jalsa Salana 1981
“On behalf of myself, the Government and entire people of Bauchi State, I wish you the best of luck and successful annual conference. In a world polluted largely by mundane and material consideration, social and political tension and several acts of brigandage, the unflagging Jihad of our Mission aimed at the spiritual retrieval of the body politic of Islam is a very laudable objective which requires every support and encouragement”.
“The Jihad is more significant when we take into account that your religious activities are going on pari-passu with medical and educational services designed to enhance the intellectual and physical health of the society”.
Kano State Commissioner for Lands and Survey, Alhaji Wada Abubakar – at the 7th Annual Speech and Prize-Giving Day 3rd July 1981 – Fazl-I-Omar Ahmadiyya Secondary School, Kano
“…. That a religious Mission could take such keen interest and devote resources on such vital aspect of secular life as functional education is very commendable and worthy of emulation by other organisations. Such a move by an organisation of your type gives any Government or authority the hope that in the near future education in this country shall be the concern of everybody be they in private life, government or any other organisation. I, therefore, commend the attention of all missions in the country religious or otherwise to widen the scope of their activities to include efforts of establishing educational institutions for the communities among whom they settle and under their various accomplishments.
“For now, many commercial missions in the country appear only to be concerned with how much profit they could make in our midst and to their respective countries. This is not good enough. At this juncture, I wish on behalf of myself and the Kano State Government, to register an appreciation on the contribution of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at in the State and appeal to them to maintain the gesture. I assure you of the government’s preparedness to supplement all such efforts at all time”.
Ondo State Governor, Chief Michael Ajasin at Jama’at’s 31st Jalsa Salana
“I am well aware of the immense contributions of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission to the social and educational development of this country. It is my sincere wish and hope that you will continuously strive to improve on these laudable achievements for the benefit of mankind and the eternal glory of God…
“Religions possesses dynamic forces which if well channelled, can contribute a great deal in uplifting the moral standard of our people. It is a great agent of unity, peace, concord and harmony. Since the basic tenets of Islam emphasises love and brotherhood, I will enjoin you at all time to place premium on these attributes which will foster these beautiful demands of Islam and build a strong and virile nation”.
The Honourable Commissioner for Local Government, North-Western State:
When he paid a visit to Ahmadiyya Secondary School at Minna, and while addressing the students said among other things:
“….. On behalf of my Government, I thank Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission for their coming forward and helping us in this field. It is worth mentioning that this Muslim Organisation has so far opened two schools in this state. One in Gusau and this one in Minna. I and my Government really appreciate this help by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Missions and are thankful to them indeed”. (The Truth September 8, 1972).
This piece is taken from the website of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria.