Few months back, agents of the Ethiopian government circulated a video claiming that the renown linguist and religious scholar Dr. Sheik Mohammed Rashaa Kabir Abdulle supported the government’s decision to impose the Al Habash politico-religious ideology on the Muslim population. The video showed leaders of the old Mejlis chatting with Sheik Mohammed Rashad. While many were shocked, very few believed that the pious man who spent his entire life dedicated to advancing the freedom and intellectual growth of his people would support such devious agenda. Now Sheik Mohammed Rashad has sent out a press release denouncing the government’s claims and reaffirming that he remains a loyal servant of his people and would never collaborate with their enemies.
In the press release Sheik Mohammed Rashad states that he knew Sheik Abdullahi Harari ( leader of the Al habash) since 1957 when they attended a university together in Damascus, Syria. However their relationship ended few years later when Sheik Mohammed Rashad left Damascus for Cairo [ to pursue his graduate studies at Al Azhar University]. Explaining how the video used by the government came to existence he states that the Mejlis leaders came to Adama claiming that they wanted to pay a visit as he has been sick for the last few years. After meeting him, they told him that they would like to take him to hospital in Fifninne. There they took him to a hotel where he was supposed to be staying while awaiting treatment. Unknown to him, the Mejlis was having conference at the same hotel. Thus a government official approached him and asked him to say few words to the gathering as the Oromo would listen to and benefit from his words of wisdom. He emphatically denies having any prior knowledge about the agenda of the meeting ( promoting al Habash). Afterwards, the government released a heavily edited video ( whose audio does not match the pictures), purportedly showing the Sheik endorsing Al Habash. Therefore, the Sheikh pleads with the public not to believe the government propaganda.
Sheikh Mohammed Rashad is a preeminent Oromo intellectual who made immense contribution to his people’s struggle, particularly in the development of Afan Oromo. Educated under the the famous nationalist spiritual leader Sheik Bakri Saphalo who invented an Oromo script, Sheik Rashad began searching for ways of developing a writing system for the language at early age. Following the advise of his mentor, he went abroad to pursue formal education. He attended universities in Damascus and Palestine. He later joined Al-Azhar University in Cairo where he received his doctorate. He graduated top of his class and was awarded the National Medal of Achievement from the then president of Egypt, Jamal Abdulnasr in 1963.
Upon graduation, the Al Azhar University appointed him to be the magistrate for their branch school in Mogadishu, Somalia. Later he was hired by the Somali government in the department of education as linguistic expert. This new job gave him an opportunity to study the Oromo language further using the available Somali sources. His comparative studies on Somali and Afan Oromo resulted in him developing the Qubee Afan Oromo as it is used today. Along with other Oromo refugees such as the linguist and poet Ayub Abubakar, he started the first Afan Oromo radio broadcast in Mogadishu. Later, while Ayub was killed, Sheikh Rashad was forced to leave Mogadishu for Suadi Arabia due to fear of reprisal from the Ethiopian government that was threatened by the radio and his literature. There he continued with independent scholarly work producing several publish and unpublished manuscripts on religion, language and history. His publications include.
- The first Quran translation in Afaan Oromo
- Translated over 40 Hadith books from Arabic to Afaan Oromo
- Produced this first Somali- Afan Oromo dictionary
- Numerous articles on Islam with particular emphcises on Eastern Africa
- Hadji and Umra guidance book for Oromo pilgrims
- Translation of Towhid in writing and audio form
- Collection of poems in Afan Oromo
- Children stories in Afan Oromo
- History of prophet Muhammad in Afan Oromo
- History of Islam in Afan Oromo
- Arabic-Oromo dictionary ( the first)
- Collection of Oromo traditional songs such miriysaa, dhiichisa, shaggooyyee, geerarsa,
Because such this great scholarly endeavors , the Oromo Studies Association bestowed on him its ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2009. In his late 80’s, Sheikh Mohammed Rashad currently lives in Adama town where he continue to write.
Below is Sheik Mohammed Rashad’s press release
Labsa: An namni na jala deema malee nama nama jala deemuu miti
Yaa Ilmaan Oromoo yookaan ilmaan Islaamaa wannin addaan isinii baasu takkaayuu isinii ibsu barbaada. An sheikh Abdallaahi Hararii dur wal beyna ammata 60 dura kharaa Suuriyaa ( Dimishqa ) wajji dheynee an xiqqoo wajji qara`ee 1957 san booda achittin dhiise kharaa Misraa deemee eegasii walin qunnamne oduu isaa nin dhagaya garuu wal quban qabnu. Yaa ilmaan Oromoo akkuma duraan na beytan sanin jira hin jijjiiramne Maallaqni nan jirjiiru, daragaan nan jirjiirtu, Qur`aana fii Hadiisa jala deemuutu dirqama malee waan biraa jala hin deemnu. Waan biyya kheessa deemu khana quban qabu an durirraa khopaa kiyya dalaguu ture nama takkalletti hin irkanne waan ummata Oromo fayyadu malee takkaa hin daleyne.
Garuu filima interneetirraa dabarsanii jaalawan kiyya waan dabarsan irraa hin aarinaa wanni sababaan an achitti argameef wal’aansa sif goona naan je`an Finfinnee na fidanii Hoteelatti wal qunnamne malee teessoo ajandaa isaanii quban qabu. Namni tokko naan ibsine yaada isaanii mootummaan natti dhuftee khoottuu bakka tana waa xiqqo dubbadhu naan je`an ati Oromoon si dhageessi, si jaalatti waa xiqqo yaada nuu dabarsi je`an malee namni aqiidaa amma magaalaa kheessa deemtu tana fudhadhu naan je`e hin jiru odoo naan je`anii jiraatanillee ani na beytan an namni na jala deema malee nama nama jala deemu miti . Yaa ilmaan Oromoo kan biyya alaatifii biyya kheesa jirtan hundi wanni isin beysisuu barbaadu an biyyaa Adaama amata 5 kheessa jira namni tokko Majlisarraa dhufee kan na ziyaaree yaada wal dabarfanne yookaa yaada amma biyya kheessa deemaa jiru khana dhufanii nan gaafanne, yaada narraa fudhanne ( an akkuma quba qabdan na dhukkuba deemuu hin dandayu harkaa fii miilaatu narratti du`ee jira waan biyya kheessa deemu khana quban qabuu ammoo odoon quban qabaadhallee deebisa isii nin qaba odoon fayyaa qabaadhe ammoo waan biyya kheesa deemu khana ittin dhiisu.
Yaa jaalawwan kiyya wanni isinii dhaamu akka maqaa waliin xureesine isiniin je`a. ammo yaada tokko tokko bakkan chiisutti nan dhagaya akka walitti hin mufanne kan ala jirtan, kan biyya keessa jirtan hundi yaada khiyya hiikkaa qur`aana kiyya itti deebi`aa laala weyb saayti khana laala
Galatooma isiniin je`a