Malawi’s Grand Mufti Abbas Qassim has expressed his dismay over his removal as the chairman of Supreme Council of Ulama in Malawi suggesting that the incumbent Sheikh Imran Shareef and other key members conspired to unceremoniously remove him from the position.
Mufti Abbas in an interview with Insight Bulletin, December 2011 edition said ‘it is true that I am no longer the chairman of the Muslim Scholars body and I heard it from some people that they have removed me from the position due to old age; I can’t do anything.’
But General secretary of the grouping which has since changed its name from Ulama Council to Supreme Council of Malawi, Sheikh Hanif Kazembe and Sheikh Shareef himself brushed off the claims saying proper procedures were followed in replacing the Grand Mufti.
Sheikh Shareef who once served as General Secretary of the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) is being deputised by Muhammad Osman Mtalika who works for the Malawi’s Islamic Information Bureau.
Ironically, both Sheikh Shareef and Sheikh Mtalika had their bids for becoming the leader of MAM in April last year crushed off miserably when they scooped a meagre 23 and 2 votes respectively against the whooping 129 votes amassed by Sheikh Idrissa Muhammad, who was subsequently given the mandate to lead the Muslim mother body for five years. Sheikh Kazembe also contested on the vice chairperson position but lost to Sheikh Shoaibu Katudu Madzi Ibrahim.
”I did not like the way they handled the whole process. They didn’t inform me in advance about their intention to have me replaced. It is not as if I was clinging to the position, but the way they did it was not professional. They would have come to inform me politely about the move,” lamented the Grand Mufti Abbas.
The removal of the Mufti Abbas raises a lot of questions on the motives of the Council’s hierachy as apparently most figures who failed to clinch positions in MAM April election have either formed or joined organisations that are competing with MAM in several developmental activities in the Muslim community.
When asked on how he was elected, as the chairperson Sheikh Shareef did not elaborate the detail saying he is an interested party in the issue and said by commenting further, he would somehow create enmity between him and his predecessor.
”Please contact the Secretary General who is in the right position to explain on what happened for me to become the chairman,” he said.
When contacted Sheikh Hanif also dodged the question on how they conducted their elections the two but said, ‘the Grand Mufti remains the leader’.
”What you should know is that by the virtue of him being the Grand Mufti in this country, he is the leader of the Council. But Sheikh Shareef and his colleague heads the Executive Committee only,” Sheikh Hanif clarified.
However, Grand Mufti said he is now a mere member of the Council – seemingly, because he is one of the greatest Muslim Scholars who has imparted knowledge to many Malawian Muslims.
Asked why they have decided in changing the positions now after several years when the Grand Mufti has been in the leadership position, Sheikh Hanif said, ‘they don’t want to overload the Mufti with several responsibilities since he is old.’
He then quashed the allegations that the Mufti was not aware of the development by saying he is always consulted on any issue regarding the Council as a leader of Muslims in the country.
If the mufti has been bull-dozed then its not gud. Let them organise the failed ijtima.
These guys are desperate to be leaders at any cost.How come after failing the position of MAM chairmanship,immediteately formed this grouping.Its a shame for these Sheikhs to the community.Let alone over riding the respected Grand MuftAbbas Qasm.You dont force respect from people or force position to them.People elect or appoint you to be their leaders as specific period,so if qualifications of leadership lacks in you at a given time then none will appoint you.Sheikhs if you are tired to be called Sheikhs just join political parties and be part of rulling or opposition parties.Otherwise forming opposition forums within the muslim organisations will not help in our unity as muslims.Its high time muslims realised the importance of unity for sake of islamic growth.Lets respect our Muft Sheikh Abbas Qasm.We dont recogonise you guys in your potifolios .Respect yourselves we gonna respectb you,if you dont ,then you are calling the for the wrath of ALLAH The ALmighty.
Islam is away of life why brothers not consulting each other?Let's follow the Prophets way pliz,by they are all respectable Shaikhs,talk to each other amicably pliz Ibeg.
The Ulamma Council of Malawi/The Ulamma SUpreme Council of Zambia, this organisation is made up of ulamas in Malawi. People who supposed to set good precedence in our religion. Unfortunately, if what this story is alluding to is true, then I don't think that is what ulamas in Malawi should be proud of. This is confusion and not leadership. As ulamas, what guidance will they give the Malawi ummah? What is it that our ulamas always fight for in these organisations? May be is true that is possible to keep a million facts and yet still remain uneducated. Where a process of learning has taken place, there must be a change in behaviour. This change can either be positive or negative. But definitely, we need the positive change. The change that will inspire the ummah not the one that will leave the ummah in dissarray. The humble request to the ulamas is that please, provide a fruitful leadership and stop this habit of fighting for positions. We can do better than this people.
I feel like the move has a secret agenda. May the agenda be in favour of us.
Reorganise the failed Ijitima and dont devide muslims