The Sierra Leone Web




In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Amir and Missionary-in-charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'ats in Sierra Leone
Distinguished Guests
Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at
Ladies and Gentlemen:


Let me begin by expressing my sincere thanks for the warm welcome you have accorded me and for the opportunity to be present at this annual religious conference.

From Sydney, Australia, and Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, to Columbus Ohio in the United States of America, and here in Bo, Sierra Leone, the conferences and international conventions of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at, are a source of inspiration for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Irrespective of their themes, these gatherings serve as a reminder that Islam is a religion of peace, a religion of tolerance, a religion of love and affection, a religion of rational thinking, and a religion of compassion. Furthermore, it has become an international religion. These distinguishing beliefs of the Muslim faith which the Ahmadiyya Movement is committed to propagate are relevant today in a world where there is so much confusion, so much misconception about the role of Islam in society. I have no doubt that this conference will, among other things, reinvigorate its participants to promote the teachings of the founder of the Movement, Hadzrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. At the same time you will also be helping to correct misconceptions about Islam and its role in society.

I understand that there are today over a thousand Ahmadiyya Mosques in Sierra Leone. Consistent with its missionary work worldwide, the Ahmadiyya Mission has also translated the Holy Quran into Mende. However, the Movement has gone beyond that. The Jama'at knows fully well that true religion is not merely the propagation of faith. It goes beyond attending to the spiritual well-being of its followers. Faith must be translated into deeds. Faith and works are inextricably linked. In other words, religion must take care of both the spiritual social and humanitarian needs of society. In the Holy Quran we are told those that have faith and also do good works will be admitted to the gardens watered by running streams, in which, by their Lord's grace, they shall abide forever.

The Ahmadiyya Mission is firmly based on faith and works. Indeed, we recall that this was why Ahmed Alhadi and the Muslims of Freetown welcomed the Ahmadiyyas in Freetown in the 1920's, some eighty-five years ago. Religious historians tell us that Ahmed Alhadi was greatly impressed by the Movement's work in the field of education. The Catholics and Protestant missions had already led the way in the establishment of schools, clinics, hospitals and other social amenities.

Our country has benefited immensely in the field of education provided by missionaries at all levels. I should say that without those pioneers, this country would have never enjoyed the nomenclature of "The Athens of West Africa". We note with satisfaction the fact that the Ahmadiyya Movement has kept its tradition of faith and works in Sierra Leone throughout the years. It should take pride in its own contribution to the development of education in Sierra Leone. For instance, the first resident Missionary of the Movement in Sierra Leone, the late Alhaji Nazir Ahmad Ali of blessed memory, opened the first Muslim Primary School at Rokupr in the Kambia District in 1938. Incidentally, after many years of service he passed away and was buried here in Bo.

The contribution of the Movement to education is highlighted in the "Nusrat Jehan Scheme" launched by the Third Khalifa of the Jama'at, the late Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad, who I understand visited Sierra Leone in 1970. Under that scheme, 160 primary and 26 secondary schools have been established in the country. We also note that the scheme is not limited to education. It includes health related projects, such as the five clinics that are now in operation in the country to enhance our national health and sanitation delivery programmes.

We are also pleased that as part of its faith and works missions, the Movement has also extended its services in the area of humanitarian relief under its worldwide "Humanity First" organisation. It provided assistance in the form of food, clothing, and artificial limbs to Sierra Leoneans, particularly victims of the rebel war. In addition, it has also provided medical treatment, including eye operations, free of charge, as well as computers to Ahmadiyya Muslim schools in Freetown, Kenema, Lungi and here in Bo.

We appreciate the effort of the Movement in combining the propagation and teaching of the Islamic faith with the social needs of the Believers. I should like to pay tribute to the Amir, teachers, doctors, health workers and religious leaders of the Movement who have served and continue to serve in the various regions of Sierra Leone. True to the teachings of your great founder, Hadzrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, you are each, in your own way, sowing and nurturing the seeds of peace, love, compassion and tolerance.

You are in fact fulfilling your responsibilities as Muslims. And speaking of responsibilities, permit me to quote from a letter written by Maulana Muhammad Alie to members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya community and published sixty-one years to the day, in which he offered some direction and advice on what each member can do to strengthen the objectives of the Movement:

"Our Jama'at can grow in strength only when all its individuals realize their responsibilities and strive hard to fulfil them."

May peace and the blessing of Allah be upon you all as you deliberate in this conference, and as you pursue the noble cause of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at.

Once again, I thank you for your kind invitation, and for your attention.