Ahmadiyya Muslim Community In Solomon Island
Musa Bin Masran
Ahmadiyya Muslim Missionary to the Solomon Islands
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, now established in the Solomon Islands, was registered as an organisation in April 2003. I was first sent to Solomon Islands as a missionary in May 2001 during the ethnic tensions. The purpose of this visit was to look for some Ahmadis who had scattered throughout Honiara and other islands.
Maulana Hafiz Jibrial, an Ahmadiyya Muslim Missionary from Ghana had visited the Solomon Islands in 1987. He came again in 1990 after which, for 10 years, members of the tiny Ahmadiyya Muslim community did not have a missionary.
I spent six months in the Islands during my first visit from March to July then August to November in 2001. I quickly met Mr. Mubashir Martin Rasu, an engineer with the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority. I also met Mr. Abdus Samad Narasia, Mr. Magnigazepo (Christopher) Narasia, Mr. Ahmad John Tasima Katalake. Later I met Mr. Abdullah Seremita.
That six-month period in 2001 was occupied with establishing and building the Ahmadiyya community. New converts started coming and joined the small group as we made progress in tabligh. More people, young and old, from different islands entered the community. Later, people from South Malaita, Savo, Russell and the main island Guadalcanal accepted Islam and Ahmadiyyat.
During those days we were still not registered. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association eventually became registered in March, 2003. It was not until January 6, 2004 that I returned to the Solomon Islands. I spend three months there, then left the country before finally getting clearance and permanent residence from the Solomon Islands Immigration and Labour Department in Honiara. I returned to Honiara in June 2004.
It was a challenge for a new community, and until all necessary paperwork came through and we reorganised the community, there were many problems. In the early part of my stay, a great deal of time was needed to re-establish the organisation and the community. The Solomon Islands has long been home to many established churches like the Catholic Church, the United Church, the South Sea Evangelical Church, and Seventh Day Adventists, most of whom had came to the Solomons in the early 20th century.
I found also that during the absence of any Ahmadiyya Muslim missionary activities in the Solomon Islands, non Ahmadi activities became more intense. Maulana Hafiz Jibrail, after his second visit to the Solomon Islands in the 1990s, also noticed that non Ahmadis from Fiji had taken the opportunity to spread misinformation about Ahmadiyyat.
Another unfriendly Jamaat visits the Solomon Islands and tries to pull the Ahmadis into their community. It also spreads false propaganda against Ahmadis.
Tabligh and stall at Trade Show:
In the first week of July 2004, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Registered Trustees Incorporated joined the National Trade Show, the first such event organised by the Government after the ethnic tension. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association joined an early morning march with a banner and this participation helped build a very good relation with the public. During the National Trade Show, Ahmadis had a stall where the public could come and share in the information about Islam and Ahmadiyyat.
The stall was very popular. Pamphlets and brochures were distributed. The National Trade Show was visited by between 20,000 and 40,000 people. The response from the public showed an interest in Islam and Ahmadiyyat.
Press and radio coverage:
The Solomon Star, the national newspaper and the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation all held exclusive interviews with Mr. Mubashir Martin Rasu, the President of the Ahmadiyya Association for the Solomon Islands, and this media coverage made the public aware of the establishment of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the Solomon Islands and of Islamic issues in general.
The renewed interest:
The Ahmadiyyat Mission Centre at Kolale, West Kola Ridge in Honiara was, after this, more openly visited by youths, students, church leaders, politician, journalists, teachers, and chieftains, who came as individuals or in groups. The mission centre is located above Honiara Hotel and above the Assemblies of God of Church and provides easy access for the public. The centre at West Kola Ridge will now become our permanent home.
The community now has many influential and helpful members. One such is Muhammad Assad Leslie, an Ahmadi member from Russell, Central Province, who became an Ahmadi in 2001. Even from the beginning he approached his tribe and his people to accept Islam and Ahmadiyyat. The Paramount Chief, Chief Jason of Russell and Muhammad Assad’s uncle, has spent time at the Mission Centre, and has become a very good friend of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Chief Jason’s two sons have already joined the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Muhammad Assad Leslie is the future Paramount Chief of Russell. Now the Ahmadi community is steadily becoming accepted by his tribe and his people.
The community in other provinces:
The Ahmadi community is also established in other provinces in Solomon Islands. These include North and South Malaita, and Vella La Vella in the Western Province. Mr. Abdul Gaffur Edward Mekawo is an active Ahmadi at Nangu Village, Temotu Province and Mr. Abdul Basit John de Beux, in Vella La Vella.
The community is gaining more friends among the Melanesian, Polynesian and Micronesian peoples. In East Rennel, a landowner Mr. Steward, through the East Rennel Foundation Trust has invited the AMA to work together to build health services such as a community clinic with voluntary doctors. This is the first approach from the community at large, showing a very friendly inclination towards the Ahmadi community.
The economic crisis in the country following the tensions has meant that parents are facing many financial problems to provide financial support to children who are schooling. Too many students drop out of school because parents cannot not pay the fees. The Ahmadi community, at the present time, supports and sponsors four children, all in primary school.
A good example of a student now sponsored by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is Franklin, aged 10 years, who can now attend school, at Primary One level. His father is Mr. Muhammad Sabir David Samo, who converted and accepted ‘baiat’ in Rove Prison, Honiara. Muhammad Sabir is a very sincere Ahmadi and he studies and memorised his Surah Al Fatiha very well. I visit him regularly at Rove.
Lajna Imaillah Honiara:
The Lajna Imaillah in Honiara now has regular sewing and cooking program for ladies. At the same time they learn about Islam and Ahmadiyyat. Sewing and cooking programs give the Ahmadis ladies skills and activities at the centre. More new mubayyin mean more talim-o-tarbiyyat programs at the Mission Centre.
More guests come and learn at the Mission Centre, which has had regular visit from people from the provinces to learn more about Islam and Ahmadiyyat The future of Islam Ahmadiyyat appears to be bright in Guadacanal, Russell, Malaita, Western Province, Choisuel, Temotu Province as more chiefs make direct contact with the Ahmadi community.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community can proudly claim to have a strong record so far in the Solomon Islands in the matter of gaining more friends and trust.
May Allah bless the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Solomon Islands. Amen.
This piece is taken from the website of Ahmadiyyat In Solomon Islands.
See on-line at: http://www.ahmadiyya.org.au/sol/maini.htm