Islam in Ghana
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Islam by country|
The spread of Islam into West Africa, beginning with ancient Ghana in the ninth century, was mainly the result of the commercial activities of North African Berber traders, as well being adopted from royal advisers who professed the faith. The empires of both Mali and Songhai that followed ancient Ghana in the Western Sudan adopted the religion. Islam made its entry into the northern territories of modern Ghana around the fourteenth century. Mande speakers (who in Ghana are known as Wangara) traders and clerics carried the religion into the area. The northeastern sector of the country was also influenced by an influx of Hausa Muslim traders from the 16th Century onwards, and a second wave of migrants escaping the fundamentalist jihads of Usman dan Fodio in northern Nigeria during the early nineteenth century.
Most Ghanaian Muslims are Sunni, following the Maliki version of Islamic law. According to Pew Forum on Religious & Publi life 51% are Sunni, 16% Ahmadi and 8% Shia while the majority of the rest do not associate themselves with a particular group, Sufism is not widespread in Ghana; the Tijaniyah and the Qadiriyah brotherhoods, however, are represented.
Despite tensions in the Middle East, North Africa, and Nigeria since the mid-1970s, Ghanaian Muslims and Christians have had excellent relations. Guided by the authority of the Muslim Representative Council, religious, social, and economic matters affecting Muslims have often been redressed through negotiations. The Muslim Council has also been responsible for arranging pilgrimages to Mecca for believers who can afford the journey.
In all metropolitan areas and in many other cities in Ghana, especially in areas with a large Muslim population, there are now Islamic or Arabic schools offering primary, junior secondary and senior secondary education. However, most Muslim parents still send their children to state schools or private Christian schools. The more liberal of these schools show respect for the Muslim students among their ranks, for example by allowing Muslim prayers in their boarding houses or by opening or closing PTA meetings with a Muslim prayer. These developments are quite recent; this may explain the economic and technological gap between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Although the official Ghanaian census reports 16% of Ghanaians as being Muslims, this figure is questioned, particularly by local Muslim groups. A more adequate estimate might be between 40% and 50% , considering the dominance of Islam in the north of Ghana and in the populous neighbourhoods of northern Ghanaians in southern Ghanaian municipalities, known as zongos in Hausa. This would be in line with statistics based on registration with the National Commission on Culture of Ghana under the Religious Bodies Registration Law of 1989, quoted by the Coalition of Muslim Organizations in Ghana.It is also significant that the Kufuor government was deliberately structured around a Christian president and a Muslim vice-president.
Ghanaian Islam is mixed with elements of the traditional religions, such as the belief in witchcraft (called juju). As recent as the 20th of December 2012, three elderly women were found out to be witches by the spiritual chief of Tamale, who was asked to investigate the case by Dakpema Naa (Chief of Tamale) Mahamadu Alhassan Dawunii after unrest in the Tamale neighbourhood of Changle. Similar incidents were earlier reported from Tamale on 3 October 2012 and 14 October 2010.
- "The World's Muslims: Unity and Diversity". Pew Forum on Religious & Public life. August 9 2012. Retrieved August 14 2012.
- Historical Dictionary Of Women In Sub-Saharan Africa By Kathleen E. Sheldon, pg. 109
- http://www.newsfromafrica.org/newsfromafrica/articles/art_7902.html Muslims cry foul over population figures. Amon Salo. Feb 2002
- Muslims cry foul over population figures. Amon Salo. Feb 2002
- International Religious Freedom Report Ghana 2006. US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor