Yusuf Nyarko is the reason that Ahmadiyya came to Ghana. Hanson tells us that memories of Nyarko’s dream are recounted in a pamphlet commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the Ahmadiyya in Ghana. The pamphlet states that Nyarko dreamt 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 (See Hanson). Fisher mentions Yusuf Nyarko as a cousin (see page 118) of Benjamin Sam, however, Hanson mentions him as a nephew.

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. … Yusuf Nyarku informed also Chief Mahdi Appah, who was then at Bedum, about his dream. On hearing this he [Appah] sent some people to the towns and villages . . .[calling a meeting of] all the Fante Muslims. .. . They all assembled at Mankessim
and decided that a letter should be written to Qadian .. . asking for an Indian Muslim missionary to be sent to Ghana.”

Local memories identify two persons influencing the interpretation of Yusuf Nyarko’s dream. In most accounts, Nyarko made contact with Amadu Ramanu Pedro after his dream and then informed Mahdi Appah; in others Nyarko recounted his dream first to Appah, who then interacted with Pedro. Although the precise sequence of action is unclear, the narrative thread in all memories connects Appah and Pedro to the interpretive process. Pedro’s role may well have been more pronounced than current memories allow, such as proselytizing the Ahmadiyya to Nyarko before he had his dream. Whatever Pedro’s specific involvement with Nyarko, he passed information to Appah, who was central to interpreting Nyarko’s dream for the Fante Muslim community. Appah had been a personal friend of Binyameen Sam and a leader of the Fante Muslim community, but at the time of Nyarko’s dream, Appah resided in Bedum near his cocoa farm where he had been for nearly two decades.

Mahdi Appah used Yusuf Nyarko’s dream to reassert his authority over Fante Muslims. He did so in part by calling a meeting of Fante Muslims at Mankessim. This town had been the center of an eighteenth-century Fante political coalition and, more recently, the site where late nineteenth-century political activists met to form the Fante Confederation on the eve of the British declaration of the Gold Coast colony. Meeting at Mankessim marked the significance of the meeting. It also avoided Ekrawfo, the historical base of the movement, and enabled Mahdi
Appah and Fante Muslims to discuss the Ahmadiyya in isolation from Yakubu, the savanna Muslim scholar who ran the Arabic school at Ekrawfo in the late igios. Appah could focus attention on the dream and not on issues of Muslim practice that divided the community. In 1919 Mahdi Appah was a newly engaged leader who used his influence to facilitate a meeting, explicitly to discuss a dream but perhaps implicitly to reconcile divisions in the Fante Muslims community created by the criticism of savanna Muslim scholars.

Links and Related Essay’s

The history of Ahmadiyya in Ghana – ahmadiyyafactcheckblog

“Ahmadiyya, A Study in contemporary Islam on the West African Coast” by Humphrey J. Fisher (1963)

Who is Amadu Ramano Pedro in the history of Ahmadiyya in Ghana and Nigeria? – ahmadiyyafactcheckblog

Who were the Fante Muslims? – ahmadiyyafactcheckblog


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