A Respectful Disagreement Over The Chief Imam From The Grand Mufti Of Liberia


The closure of Voice FM headed by Mr. Henry Costa clearly demonstrates the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led government inability to tolerate opposing views on national issues drastically affecting the ordinary people.






The Editor,

The Grand Mufti is one of the most senior religious authorities in the country. His main role is to give opinions (Fatwas) on legal matters and on social affairs. In Saudi Arabia, the court system is deeply guided and influenced by the opinion of the Grand Mufti. The office has a political arrangement which was created by King Abdul Aziz in 1953 with the first appointment of Mohammed Ibn Ibn Ibrahim Al As-Sheik.  Almost all of the Grand Muftis have vast experience and solid background in Islamic jurisprudence and moral philosophy regarding Islamic thoughts. I don’t know the case of Liberia.

Historically in Saudi Arabia, this office has been usually filled by the descendants of Mohammed Ibn Abd al-Wahhab ( a member of the Al ash-sheikh). If you read the history of Arabia, it will interest you to know that there has only been one Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia who was not a member of the ‘Al-ash Sheikh’.  Due to the political nature of this office, in 1996, King Faisal abolished the office of Grand Mufti and replaced it with the Ministry of Justice. The position was restored in 1993 with the appointment of Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz. The current Mufti In the person of Abdul-Azix Ibn Abdullah Al Shaykh was appointed in 1999 by King Fahd after the death of Ibn Baz.

Reading from my Liberian file, I still didn’t come to an understanding of how the appointment of Grand Mufti is done in Liberia. Hope Sheik Musa Bamba can educate me.

I think the Secretary-General of the Inter-Religious Council, Sheik Musa Bamba is mixing things here. He argues that we can’t have a Grand Mufti and the same time we have a chief Iman. When did you get to know this?

Do you know that my late uncle, Prof. Sheik Imam Vamuyan Abdullah was the chief Iman of Liberia while Sheik Sumawolo was the Grand Mufti of Liberia? The same with Imam Kandakai Sheriff as Cheif Imam of Liberia also? Let it be known here today that no one is arguing that Sheik Sumawolo is not an Imam. He is an imam because of his training in Imamiship; and most often, Grand Muftis around the world are imams. But the issue of chief imam varies from one country to another. In Saudi Arabia, chief imams are appointed at various masjids by the king.

In other jurisdictions like Liberia, it is done through consensus of the Imam council. Unlike Grand Mufti, Imam is a non-political position. The position provides Islamic leadership and uses as the title of a ‘worship leader’ of a mosque and Muslim community. Contextually, Imams may lead Islamic worship services, serve as community leaders, and provide religious guidance.

In my mind, your fight against Imam Krayee, Chief Imam of Liberia is not based on Quranic evidence and his inability to serve the position, but it is based on decorated triviality, hatred and tribalism. Islam is not associated with any tribe in Liberia. In Islam, as it is in humanity, there is no preferential treatment when it comes to worship Allah. Even in the mosque during prayer, everyone one is treated equally. I am also sensing that you are fighting a proxy war against Imam Krayee in support of those who are in the belief that Imam Krayee was not born in Islam and the Imam is a Shia Muslim. Who are you to determine who is the real Muslim here?

Even those of you who are considered as ‘born in Islam’ are still doing unorthodox things in the religion. Islamic scholarships and assistance for hajj are given by countries in Arabia, but many of you use your positions to squander these opportunities for your private use.

Do you really think you are good Muslims? Funds were given for capacity building and infrastructure development in Liberia such as building mosques and Islamic schools. Where can we find these projects? The only Islamic radio station that suppose to be used as a medium to propagate Islam, Radio Al-Falaq can most often run out of fuels and other equipment. What have been your role in solving some of these problems? You can’t even boast of an Islamic Daycare/School which should serve as a good foundation of Islamic knowledge. How can we prepare our next generation for future challenge? There are many Christian run universities in Liberia. What leadership role did you play for us to have a Muslim University in Liberia?

You don’t have to badly treat Imam Krayee as a converted Muslim from the Krahn ethnic group. He didn’t choose to be a Khran man at birth, he met himself as a Krahn man from Allah. He doesn’t need to be a Madingo, Vai, Fula, Mende or other related tribes to be called Chief Imam of Liberia. We should even be happy not only because of this entrance in Islamic but because of his academic and intellectual dexterities in propagating our religion.

I stand with Imam Krayee!

I stand by Imam Krayee !

I stand for Imam Krayee!

Islam first, Islam last!!

Vallai M. Dorley

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