By Haji Nsereko Mutumba
Sheikh Ahmad Mukasa Mwasansimbi was born on 25th October 1934 at Kiruruga village, Kakiri Sub Country in Busiiro County (current Wakiso District).
His father was Muwalimu Imam Haji Adam Kasule Salongo of Mende-Bbuga village, Mituba IV parish, Mumyuka Sub County in Busiiro County. He belonged to the “Ngeye clan”. He was the Imam of Mende – Kalema Memorial Mosque.
His Grandfather was Silimu Kalungi Mwamula. He was Prince Nuhu Mbogo’s special laundry man who was superb in scrubbing the Prince’s clothes until they were spot free and bright. This earned him the name Mwamula (brightener).Shk. Ahmad Mukasa’s mother was Amina Namayanja of Mamba (Lung Fish) clan.Sheikh Ahmad Mukasa was born in a family of 8 children; four sons and four daughters. One son died and they remained seven as listed below:
Shk. Ahmad Mukasa, Haji Musa Luzzi – Imam Mende Mosque, Haji Kibirige Mayanja (Founder and Chairman of Justice Forum), Mastula Nalule – Wife to Shk. Muhammad Ismail Matovu (O.B to Shk. Ahmad Mukasa), Aisha Nanfuka, Khadijah Nabunya and Fatuma Nakitto.
His first teacher was his father Muwalimu Imam Adam Kasule. He taught him the Holy Quran and gave him other Islamic lessons.
At the age of six, Ahmad Mukasa had read and covered five Juzus (sections) of the Holy Quran courtesy of his father.
In 1946, he joined Sekabaka Nuhu Kalema Memorial Primary School (Where King Kalema was buried) and he was placed under the supervision of Shk. Ali Kulumba who was the then Twale Sheikh of Busiiro County (Now Wakiso District).
In 1948, he finished reading all the chapters of the Holy Quran and Shk. Ali Kulumba is the one who performed the prayers for completing the Quran (Oku’Khatimisa/Kufumba Quran) which involved slaughtering a goat. The young Ahmad Mukasa also received Hijaza (blessings) from Shk. Ali Kulumba.
In 1950, Ahamad Mukasa finished primary six and immediately joined Katuumu Madrasatul Nahwa Al-Islamiyya founded by Shk. Swaib Semakula (Shk. Mukulu). His principle teachers were Shk. Buruhan Semakula and Shk. Mahmood Katende.
In 1954, he reached the level of Muwalimu (Islamic Teacher) and he started teaching at Mende Kalema Primary School and serving as the Imam Mende Kalema Memorial Mosque concurrently.
In 1958, he was appointed atwale Sheikh for Busiiro County.
In 1961, he together with 46 fellow students were ordained Sheikhs at a colourful function presided over by Prince Badru Kakungulu the then Muslim leader.
They were ordained (Okusibwa Ebitambaala) by Shk. Sharif Haddad of Nakasero, Shk. Swaib Semakula and Shk. Muhammad Yakuubu Lubowa at Kibuli Mosque.
Among those ordained on that day were: Shk. Muhammad Ismail Matovu of Ttamu – Singo, Shk. Jafer Bakaaki of Busoga, Shk. Muhammad Wamala of Kooki, Shk. Ibrahim Sebirumbi of Kirwazza – Bulemezi, Shk. Zubair Bakari, Shk. Abdumajid Norman of Namasumbi etc.
In 1964, Shk. Mukasa was spotted as a brilliant Islamic theological teacher by Prince Badru Kakungulu Patron UMEA, Ramadhan Gava Secretary General UMEA and Haji Juma Babinsibire who was UMEA schools Inspector, and appointed to teach at Kibuli S.S.
Between 1958 to 1966, we see Shk. Mukasa as an Imam of Mende Kalema Memorial Mosque, a teacher at Mende Kalema Primary School, a supervisor of Muslim schools in Busiiro Twale, a Twale Sheikh as well as an adult student of Katuumu Madrasatul Nahwa Al-Islamiyya pursuing studies to qualify as a full Sheikh and a teacher at Kibuli S.S.
Between 1964 and 1968, among the students he taught at Kibuli S.S were Badru Kateregga (Now Professor and Proprietor of Kampala University) and Munyagwa (now Medical Doctor – Dentist).
He was appointed the Imam of Kibuli Mosque by Prince Badru Kakungulu and he served in this position from 1966 to 1972.
On 1st June 1972, Sheikh Ahmad Mukasa was appointed Secretary for Religious Affairs in the newly formed Uganda Muslim Supreme Council thereby becoming the pioneer officer in this position. He served in this position from 1972 to 1993 thereby becoming the longest UMSC Secretary for Religious Affairs under leadership of Maulana Abdul Razak Matovu who was the first chief Kadhi to Mufti Shk. Ibrahim Saad Luwemba.
Meanwhile, while teaching at Kibuli, he enrolled for an English correspondence course at Makerere University until 1980. He attained an equivalent of Senior IV.
When the liberation war started in 1980, Shk. Ahmad Mukasa migrated to Nakaswa in Mukono where he stayed with Shk. Obeid Kamulegeya until 1986 when the war was over.
He returned and resumed teaching at Mende Kalema Secondary School until 1993 when he was elected Interim Mufti of Uganda in the Mbarara unity conference chaired by Prof. George W. Kanyeihamba, a decision which was challenged by the then Mufti of Uganda Shk. Ibrahim Saad Luwemba who was at the UMSC Headquarters Old Kampala and Sheikh Mukasa with his management established his headquarters at Kibuli.
He served in this capacity until the year 2000 when he handed over to the duly universal elected Mufti of Uganda Shk. Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje.
Sheikh Mukasa is the one who swore in the Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje and handed over the keys of office to him on 1st January 2001 at a colourful ceremony presided over by His Excellency the President of Uganda Gen. Yoweri K. Museveni.
In 2001, Sheikh Mukasa was one of the four man delegation that met the then Libyan Leader Col. Gaddafi in Sirti and Benghazi to negotiate the construction of the National Mosque. The delegation was led by His Eminence the Mufti of Uganda Shk. Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje. The other members were Haji Serugo Kasenene and Shk. Anas Sesimba.
In 2013, he was elected Chairman of Kibuli based Muslim Community. Early this year (February 2014), Shk. Ahmad Mukasa was elected Shk. Islam by Kibuli Muslim Community members led by Prince Kassim Nakibinge.
Sheikh Mukasa once served as the Young Men Muslim Association Deputy Asst. Secretary General. This youth group of elite Muslims is based at Kibuli with its Patron Prince Badru Kakungulu.
He is a signatory to the constitution of the recently registered Uganda Muslim Community of Kibuli.
After completing his studies at Katuumu, Shk. Ahmad Mukasa embarked on constructing a new Mosque and New Classrooms at Mende. He later established Mende Kalema Muslim Secondary School.
During his tenure as Twale Sheikh of Busiiro County, Shk. Ahmad Mukasa over saw the establishment of a Mosque and a School in each of the eight Sub-Counties in Busiiro Twale (County).These Include Kyebando Muslim Primary School and Mosque, Entebbe Kitubulu Muslim Primary School and Mosque, Kasanje Primary School and Mosque, Kambe Muslim Primary School and Mosque (at Naddangira), Kyengeza Muslim Primary School and Mosque, Kiroro Muslim Primary School and Mosque, Kajansi (Bweya) Primary School and Mosque among others.
These schools and Mosques have given birth to many others in different parts of Busiiro County, Buganda, and Uganda at large.
As a parent, Shk. Ahmad Mukasa put into action what he preaches by educating both his sons and daughters to higher levels.
He also paid school fees for his young brother – now Haji Muhammad Kibirige Mayanja Founder president of JEEMA and currently chairman of the same party.
Sheikh Mukasa was entrusted with the will of Prince Badru Kakungulu which he kept for more than 13 years.He was also appointed one of the Guardians to Prince Kassim Nakibinge alongside Rev. Polycarp Kakooza, Abubakar Kakyaama Mayanja, Dr. Sulaiman Kiggundu, Shk. Muhammad Semakula and others.Surprisingly, the will we have talked about was a single copy which was never challenged by anybody.
A Darasah which he started in 1980 in the Mosques of Bwaise, Alidina, Wakiso and Mende have produced very articulate and renowned Sheikhs. One of them is Sheikh Edirisa of Mulago. This Darasa is now concentrated at his home in Mende.
While serving as Interim Mufti, Shk. Ahmad Mukasa held several meetings aimed at uniting Muslim leaders in Uganda.“In 2000, I defied my colleagues who included Shk. Obeid Kamulegeya, Shk. Zubair Kayongo and Shk. Kulumba and decided to endorse the 2000 UMSC Elections as well as officially handing over to the duly elected Mufti of Uganda Shk. Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje. I made this painful decision in the name of Muslim unity in Uganda” Shk. Ahmad Mukasa told the author.
Another special attribute about Shk. Ahmad Mukasa is that he focused on developing his home area, something that many Muslim leaders have failed to do.
1.Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje (The Mufti of Uganda):
Sheikh Ahmad Mukasa is someone who respects his age and status. I have never heard him utter any word of abuse whatsoever, be it against me or any other person. I must also add that he is the one who swore me into the office of the Mufti of Uganda. Shk. Mukasa is indeed a role model.
2.Mr. Kibirige Mayanja:
Shk. Mukasa has been the pillar of our family for all the time. He is the one who educated us his brothers and sisters right from primary to university. He also educated children who are not family members. This was all in addition to his biological children who are over 30 in number.He has been a devoted teacher in various schools which include Mende Islamic Primary and Secondary and Kibuli S.S.
At Kibuli, he was not only a teacher but also at the forefront of formulating the National Syllabus for Islamic Religious Education for O and A level classes.
The syllabus became examinable by the East African examination council and the then Uganda National Examination Board.
He has devoted much of his life to Muslim education. He is one of the few Sheikhs if not the only Sheikh who decided to upgrade his own secular education and religious education. He can now be compared to someone holding a master’s degree.
He inspired me, taught me at home, paid my school fees at Taamu Madrasa school belonging to Shk. Muhammad Matovu his OB at Katuumu where I stayed for three years and then taught me in class at Kibuli from S.I to S VI.
He is a very hardworking man and he has been successful in all activities that he has involved himself in.He is a successful farmer and he personally takes part in digging and looking after his animals.He is one Sheikh who has devoted his life to teaching and self-education. He loves education very much to the extent that he was able to learn English and sharpen his Arabic language through self-education.
While serving as the Twale Sheikh for Busiiro County (Wakiso), he traversed the whole county using a bicycle as his means of transport.
3.Sheikh Abubakar Musoke (Former Private Secretary to His Eminence Chief Kadhi of Uganda 1972-74, former principal of Bilal Islamic Institute, a holder of 1st class Sharia Degree from Madina University, a master’s degree student of peace and conflict resolution – IUIU as well as a prominent Muslim Cleric).
‘Sheikh Ahmad Mukasa has always been a straight forward person. He respects himself and his adherents. Despite serving in various capacities, he has no dark spot. He is an educationist.
4.Shk. Nkangi Ibrahim (former District Kadhi – West Buganda, one of the founder members of UMSC and currently Senior Special adviser to His Eminence Mufti)
Sheikh Ahmad Mukasa is the one who initiated me into Muslim leadership. This happened when he was the Twale Sheikh of Busiiro County. He put me in charge of Muslim education in the whole of Busiiro County (Wakiso District).
He is also my teacher. I attended his Darasas and I benefited a lot as a Sheikh and Muslim leader. He still conducts Darasas at his home.
He loves education a lot and he has educated most of his children to high levels.
When he was the UMSC Secretary for Religious Affairs, Shk. Mukasa was a very good administrator to the extent that he efficiently handled issues brought my District Kadhis without bothering the Mufti.
He is someone who eats out of his hard work. He gets hold of a hoe and goes digging in alongside his family members. He is very disciplined, gentle, straight forward and diplomatic in his approach. He respects himself and others.
Sheikh Ahmad Mukasa is married with four wives listed below:
· Sauda Nasuuna – 1954
· Sarah Namakula
· Madina Nalwadda
· Madina Nakyobe
Children and Grand Children
Sheikh Ahmad Mukasa has over 50 children, Grand Children and Great Grand Children.He ensured that his children get proper education. Those who heeded to his call got the required education.Some of them are listed below with their education qualifications.
1. Hajji Muhammad Mayanja Kibirige
2. Hajat Hawa Nakubulwa
3. Hajat Aminah Nakalitta Namayanja
My father is a progressive man. At a time when, to most parents, male children were superior to their female counterparts, Dad ensured that his daughters were as well if not better educated than his sons. During the war when funds were scarce, he halted the progress of our brothers’ education but never the girls.
“Educate a girl/woman educate a nation”
May the Almighty Allah Grant him and his family the best in life and the hereafter.
(Janah Firdaus Ameen)
4. Hajji Noordeen Mpanga Kalule
He has always been there for me, for us all without discrimination. We discuss everything with him. In fact we call him Chairman. He is a wonderful Dad. The best gift he has given to all of us his sons and daughters is education. I see him not only as my father but a friend.
My father is one of those special people who eats what he grows by his own hands. In other words, he eats from his sweat. He is a very hardworking and foresighted father who weighs every word that he utters. Above all, he does not ask for favours.
5. Ass. Prof. Dr. Umar Ahmed Kasule
Dad is an orderly, principled, patient and dedicated person who taught me hard work with patience.
6. Mayanja Muhammad Junior
7. Ibrahim Kakande Mukasa
8. Hindu Namuga
9. Nakande Leillah
10. Idrisa Kalungi Mukasa
11. Mustafa Ahmed Kawooya
12. Rashida Nakayiza Ssejjoba
13. Hajji Hamza Ssebunya
14. Hajat Hajarah Nantaba Walusimbi
15. Nalule Masitula
16. Twaha Ahmed Kasule
17. Aidah Bamboola Mukasa
18. Hadijah Nabunya Mukasa
19. Hajat Faridah Nakawooya Lukwago
20. Abdallah Ahmed Kasule
21. Ahmed Kabuye
22. Nattabi Mariam Mukasa
The Holy Qur’an says that every child should appreciate his parents every hour. SURA AL-ISRA. Our beloved Dad we appreciate you every hour of how you groomed us. And I pray to the Almighty Allah to reward you abundantly
23. Hanifah Nagayi Mukasa
24. Adinan Ahmed Gayi
25. Counsel Kalule Ahmed Mukasa
27. Joweria Rahma Nakubulwa
28. Mpanga Yasin Bin Ahmed
29. Sheikh Ismael Kibirige
30. Nakalitta Jauhara Mukasa
31. Sheikh Kasim Mwasa
32. Erias Mukasa
33. Zubedda Nabayimbazi
34. Hussein Kafero Mukasa
35. Noor Naluze Mukasa
36. Hamza Sali Mukasa
37. Uthman Buyungo
38. Sheikh Mahmood Serwanga
GRAND SONS AND GRAND DAUGHTERS OF SHIEKH AL-ISLAM AHMED MUKASA
1. Ahmed Ssempebwa Kakyama
2. Eisah Kakyama Mayanja
3. Sauda Mayanja Kayama
4. Nakayiza Rashida
5. Umar Sozi
6. Huzaifah Kasule
7. Nanfuka Aisha
Sheikh Al Islam Ahmad Mukasa Mwasansimbi is retired at his home in Mende. He has continued to be an active farmer. He has two Eucalyptus forests comprising of over 12000 trees. This is in addition to coffee plantations, banana plantations and many other food crops.
During my last interview with him, he prepared for me Matooke and beans (Akatogo) which was very delicious. All these came from his garden.
He and his family were busy constructing a family mosque which they want to complete before his 80th birthday which falls on 25th October 2014.
I conclude by saying that Sheikh Ahmad Mukasa is a gentleman and a dedicated religious leader. He preaches in a wise and well measured manner. He is among the few Sheikhs who have never used abusive or vulgar language in his preaching. I first had his preaching in 1971on radio Uganda following the overthrow of Obote I. I found his preaching very educative and inspiring.
One of the factors that held back the progress of Muslims in Uganda was illiteracy. Sheikh Mukasa realized this and throughout his life, he believed in education and promoted it starting with himself and his family.
According to a Turkish Muslim scholar Fethulla Gulen, ‘real’ life is possible only through knowledge, those who neglect learning and teaching are considered “dead” even though they are still alive for we were created to learn and to communicate what we have learned to others.
Basing on the above statement, Shk. Ahmad Mukasa Mwasansimbi is not among the dead. He is alive by his deeds.
This distinguished Sheikh will clock 80 years of age on 25th Oct 2014. Happy birthday to you Sheikh Al Islam Mwasansimbi and many happy returns.
He is a Sheikh worth his title and an elder worth his age. Indeed Sheikh Ahmad Mukasa is a Muslim hero though unsung.
The writer is the Public Relations Officer – Uganda Muslim Supreme Council
Tel: 0701409504 or 0772409504