The Ahmadiyya in the Gold Coast: Muslim Cosmopolitans in the British Empire

John H. Hanson

Copyright Date: 2017

Published by: Indiana University Press

Pages: 302 for reviews of this bookCiteBook Info

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  1. Front MatterFront Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of ContentsTable of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface and AcknowledgmentsPreface and Acknowledgments (pp. vii-x)
  4. Note on MapsNote on Maps (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Note on Terminology and SpellingNote on Terminology and Spelling (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. List of AbbreviationsList of Abbreviations (pp. xv-xviii)
  7. IntroductionIntroduction (pp. 1-28) Abdul Rahim Nayyar arrived at Saltpond in theBritishGold Coast (colonial Ghana) on the ocean steamer SS Burutu as the sun was setting on February 28, 1921. His green turban attracted the attention of the harbor police, who escorted him to meet the British district commissioner. Maulvi Nayyar, a thirtyseven-year-old South Asian man, served as a missionary for the Ahmadiyya, a Muslim community formed in British India, and he was stopping at Saltpond on his way to Lagos, Nigeria.¹ Nayyar affirmed his peaceful intentions, and the district commissioner released him to meet his host, Amadu Ramanu Pedro, who…SaveCite
  8. Part I. Preparing the Way in the Gold Coast
    • 1 The Hausa Force and the Religious Marketplace in the Fante States1 The Hausa Force and the Religious Marketplace in the Fante States (pp. 31-59) T. B. Picot, chairman of the Wesleyan Methodist Mission in the Gold Coast, went to Kumasi, the Asante capital, in 1876 to press theasanteheneto relax constraints on Methodist evangelism. Picot traveled shortly after British imperial troops had returned from their invasion of Asante in 1873–1874, a war that left Kumasi looted and burned but Asante still outside the domain of the newly declared British Gold Coast colony. Buoyed by the British victory, Picot sought to build on the Methodist presence in the Fante states of the Gold Coast, where they had been active from the 1830s…SaveCite
    • 2 Binyameen Sam’s Fante Muslim Community2 Binyameen Sam’s Fante Muslim Community (pp. 60-92) Sam came upon Kwabena Abeka in Narebehi, a rainforest village in the Gold Coast. Abeka was a decade younger than Sam, but they shared the experience of having attended the Methodist primary school at the coastal town of Anomabu in the mid-nineteenth century. The cash-crop boom in neighboring regions led them to leave: Binyameen Sam became a palm oil broker in Ekumfi, and Abeka was a trader further east in Gomoa. They met when Sam toured Gomoa in hopes of recruiting new members into the Fante Muslim community. Drawing on their shared Methodist upbringing, Binyameen Sam convinced Abeka that…SaveCite
  9. Part II. Ahmadiyya Genesis and Expansion to London and Lagos
    • 3 The Genesis of the Ahmadiyya in British India3 The Genesis of the Ahmadiyya in British India (pp. 95-122) Ahmad had a series of visionary experiences that inspired him to found the Ahmadiyya in 1889. One occurred in early adulthood when the Prophet Muhammad reportedly appeared as a light in Ghulam Ahmad’s dream and nurtured him with words and fruit from his garden.¹ This dream, evocative of the pinnacle of Sufi mystical experiences, did not lead to an embrace of Su-fism, the dominant Muslim expression in Punjab at the time. Instead, Ghulam Ahmad received additional visions and became convinced that he was God’s choice to reform Islam and to win new converts through nonviolent means as the Mahdi…SaveCite
    • 4 Ahmadiyya Expansion to London and Lagos4 Ahmadiyya Expansion to London and Lagos (pp. 123-141) connections carried the Ahmadiyya to West Africa. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community founded a mission in London in 1914 to take its message to Britain, and its missionaries came into contact with two Africans, Dusé Mohamed Ali and Muhammad Lawal Basil Agusto. Dusé Mohamed Ali, a pan-Africanist intellectual claiming roots in northeastern Africa, edited theAfrican Times and Orient Reviewfrom London during the 1910s before moving to the United States and then settling permanently in Lagos, Nigeria; M. L. B. Agusto, an Afro-Brazilian Muslim at Lagos, founded an English-language Muslim school during the 1910s and later studied law in…SaveCite
    • IllustrationsIllustrations (pp. 142-160)
  10. Part III. Ahmadiyya Arrival and Consolidation in the Gold Coast
    • 5 Ahmadiyya Arrival in the Gold Coast5 Ahmadiyya Arrival in the Gold Coast (pp. 163-180) Nyarko, Binyameen Sam’s relative, reportedly had a dream that led the Fante Muslim community to invite the Ahmadiyya to the Gold Coast.¹ Memories of Nyarko’s dream are recounted in a pamphlet commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the Ahmadiyya in Ghana. The pamphlet states that Nyarkodreamt that he was praying with white men. He informed one Mr. Abdul Rahman Pedro, a Nigerian who was residing at Saltpond, six miles from Mankessim. On hearing this he [Pedro] told Mr. Yusuf Nyarku [sic ] that he had read about a Muslim Mission in India with a branch in London. . ….SaveCite
    • 6 Ahmadiyya Consolidation in the Gold Coast6 Ahmadiyya Consolidation in the Gold Coast (pp. 181-198) Fazlul Rahman Hakeem, recently arrived as the first residential Ahmadi missionary in the Gold Coast, stepped off the bus at Swedru, where it made a scheduled rest stop on its route. There Maulvi Hakeem met Steven J. Johnston, the thirty-year-old African manager of a British provisions store. Maulvi Hakeem discussed the Ahmadiyya with Johnston, a former Cape Coast resident whose parents hoped would become an Anglican priest but who instead pursued a business career. Maulvi Hakeem left an Ahmadi pamphlet with Johnston, and they corresponded as he read it and posed questions. Johnston eventually decided to join, took Jamal…SaveCite
    • 7 Ahmadiyya Expansion to Asante7 Ahmadiyya Expansion to Asante (pp. 199-217) Fazlul Rahman Hakeem extolled the efforts of African lay preachers in the expansion of the Ahmadiyya in Asante. Maulvi Hakeem identified one by name, Nana Sadiq, whom he praised as the leader of the rapidly growing Ahmadi community in southern Asante during the 1920s.¹ Also acknowledging Nana Sadiq’s leading role in Ahmadiyya proselytism was the British colonial of-ficer A. C. Duncan-Johnstone.² Another was Ishmael Kwaku Addo of Asokwa, who was 101 years old when I interviewed in 2005. Ishmael Addo had been a Christian, as were many others in Adanse, where the Methodist mission had established a presence in…SaveCite
    • 8 Ahmadiyya Expansion to Wa8 Ahmadiyya Expansion to Wa (pp. 218-239) Yusuf, a pioneering Asante Ahmadi Muslim from Peminase, crossed paths with Mallam Salih, an immigrant Muslim scholar from Wa. Salih, who ran an Arabic school for Wala migrants working on Asante cocoa farms, noticed that Yusuf performedsalatdifferently from savanna Muslims. The two discussed religious issues, and Yusuf told Salih about the Ahmadiyya. Salih sought more information from Maulvi Ali, the Ahmadi missionary at Saltpond, who convinced Salih to accept the Ahmadiyya and become a missionary to establish the movement at Wa.¹ Salih and a small group of Wala Ahmadi Muslims faced stiff and sometimes violent opposition led…SaveCite
  11. ConclusionConclusion (pp. 240-248) young men fled Ebubonko, a village in the Gold Coast, to avoid conscription into British military service abroad during the Second World War. Their hideout was in virgin rainforest, close to where they previously had farmed cocoa. One of the young men, Kobina Tawiah, left the hideout one day to purchase supplies at a nearby village and met an Ahmadi missionary popularly known as “Teacher Bain.” Bashir ud-Din Bain was a former African Christian who had accepted the Ahmadiyya and trained to become a missionary.¹ Bain persuaded Kobina Tawiah to take him to meet the others, and during repeated…SaveCite
  12. GlossaryGlossary (pp. 249-252)
  13. BibliographyBibliography (pp. 253-276)
  14. IndexIndex (pp. 277-288)
  15. Back MatterBack Matter (pp. 289-289)


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