Obituary: Dr Sheik Mohammed Rashad Kabir-Abdullee

Sheik RashaadDr Shek Muhammad Rashad  ( full name:  Muhammad Rashad Kabir  Abdulle Mummayyaa Carcar ) was born in 1934, in Eastern Oromia, Carcar Laga Arba, in a village called Jarjare. He was born to an ordinary Oromo peasant parents. Young Muhammad Rashad began his academic career when he joined his father’s informal Madarasa. His father, Kabir Abdulle, was an Islamic scholar and the imam of the local mosque. Soon after, he was sent to attend further Islamic studies at Carcar and Harar ulamas. Because Muhammadrashad was one of the top achievers of his time, he was again sent to Saudi Arabia for higher education. Upon completion of his short-term studies, he was went to Palestine in 1950 where he completed his secondary school. In 1951, he received a scholarship from Syria where he received his BA in Islamic and Linguistic studies from the University of FATHGUL-ISLAMI. In 1957, he won full scholarship to attend  a post graduate program at Al Azhar University’s  ( the oldest and biggest university in the Islamic world) in Egypt. He graduated top of his class and was awarded the National Medal of Achievement from the then president of Egypt, Jamal Abdulnasr in 1963.

Dr Shek Muhammadrashad  conducted research in wide range of academic and religious fields. He produced a detailed theological and historical development of Islam in East Africa. He has also written extensively on the History of Horn of Africa especially that of Oromo, Afar and Somali people in relation to the competing Islamic and Christian powers. He spent over 15 years conducting research on the Oromo and Somali languages which later became the focus of his thesis for PhD in linguistic studies which he received from the UK.

Sheikh Mohammedrashad was  a preeminent intellectual who made immense contribution to his people’s struggle, particularly in the development of Afan Oromo. Educated under the famous nationalist spiritual leader Sheik Bakri Saphalo who invented an Oromo script, Sheik Mohammedrashad began searching for ways of developing a writing system for the language at early age. It was following the advice of his mentor that  he went abroad to pursue formal education.

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 Saudi 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,  geerarsa,

Because of his scholarly endeavors, the Oromo Studies Association bestowed on him its ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2009. In 2010,  the Oromiyaa Radio and Television (ORTO) recognized him for his contribution towards development of the Afan Oromo alphabet.  In 2009 he returned to his homeland where he resettled in Adama town and continued to write to his last days. Sheik Mohammedrashad was recently evicted from his house in Adama and forced to relocate to Dire Dawa because of his public declaration of refusal to endorse the Ethiopian government’s campaign of indoctrination to the Al Habash.  Fiercely independent and unquestionably loyal to his people, Sheik Mohammed Rashad  passed away with dignity on May 25, 2013 at age 79.

30 comments for “Obituary: Dr Sheik Mohammed Rashad Kabir-Abdullee

  1. Abdulbasix Kadiir(Saphaloo xiqqaa)
    May 25, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Hayyuu keenya jaalatama kabajama Shek Muhammedrashad hoji ummata oromootif bu’aa qabu baayyee hojatee jira. arra lubbuun isaa dabrutti gaddinuus hojiin inni gama amantii fi sabummaatin hojjate yeroo hunda nu boonsa nu jajjabeessa waan taheef isaaf rabbiin haa rahmatuu ummata oromoofi maati isaatif jajjabina hawwaaf.

  2. Toola Biru
    May 25, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    We have lost a true Oromo religious scholar who dedicated his life for the cause of the Oromo in general and Oromummaa in particular. This genuine hero never confused religion with Oromo identity; therefore, he developed Afaan Oromo as the foundation of Oromummaa.There were many confused Oromo individuals and Adares who opposed his translation of the Quran to Afaan Oromo, and agitated Suaid authorities against him. He maintained his religious and intellectual integrity until his death. The lack of materials, such house and money, did not force him to bow down to the Tigrayan ethno-facists and their Trojan horse, OPDO. There is no wonder that this great elderly Oromo was evicted from his home from Adama by thieves, thugs and terrorists. The lack of one’s government brings such kind of humiliation in your own land. How long we Oromos continue to harvest such humiliation?

    May 25, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    innaa lillaahi wa innaa ileyhi raajiun(nuuti hundni umaama Rabbiti deebiin kenYaas garuma isaati)
    Goootaa fi Hayyuu ilma oromooo kan ta’an Dr. SH. Mohammad Rashaad du’aan boqochuu isaani yooniin dhagayuu gaddaa fi rifaatu guddaaa natii dhagahame maati isani hawaasa muslimaa fii deeggartootaa fi hiriyyota isaani hundaaf Rabbiin isin ha sabbarsisu isin hajabessu jachuun barbaada.
    Dr.Sh. Mahammad Rashaad aaalima aamantaa islaamaa qofa oSOO HINtaane hayyuu fi qabsaawaa ilmaan oromoo maraaf walabummaaf, qaroomaa fi dadamaqinsa hawaasichi argatu qabuuf umrii isaa guutu nama hojjate tuRe kanaaf sabni hundi gadda kessa akka jiru nati dhagahama.
    Rabbin sheeka KeNYA kANA Jannataan isaan haa qananisu.

  4. Shangale Ali
    May 25, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    I am deeply saddened to learn the passing away of Dr Mohammed Rashad Abdulle, one of the greatest Oromo nationalists and distinguished Islamic scholars. I wish to offer my sincere condolences to his family, friends and people who knew him.

    Dr M. R. Abdulle was a unique person who never mixed religion and politics, the two most sensitive topics. I was fortunate to meet him in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in October 1988. I also had the opportunity to interview him on our program, 3ZZZ Community Radio station, Melbourne in 2007 about his life experiences in general, which was fascinating.

    May his soul rest in peace!!!

    He will be missed and his legacy will continue to live for forever.

    Shangale Ali

  5. Joh M Joh
    May 25, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Rabbiin Janattan sii ha qananisu Heddu sii jaalana yomiiyyu sin irranfanu Shekka kenyaa

  6. May 25, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Rabbiin Jannatul firdoowsiin sihaaqananiisuu,

  7. waqo
    May 25, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Abbot, gurri keeysan bars baraaff haa. Jiraatu.

  8. Ramadan Muhamad
    May 25, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    sabaaf yaaduun akkana! Dr.Muhamad Rashad abbaa qubee afaan Oromoo ti,hayyuu abbaa seenaa waan gaarii hojjeteef seenaan barabaraan isaan yaadata.Rabbiin jannatul firdawsi siif hakennu.

  9. Afendi Muteki
    May 25, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Rabbiin Rahmata Haa godhuuf. Ahlii fii ummata Oromoo hundaafuu Rabbiin Sabrii haa kannu.

  10. Anwar
    May 25, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    We have lost a grand mufti, but his legacy will live on. What a man, what a teacher, what a scholar!

    May Allah bestow upon him His mercy and reward him for his great deeds.

  11. May 26, 2013 at 5:39 am

    A big loss for the Oromo People. We Oromo refugees in Cairo are very much saddened about the passing away of Dr. Sheik Mohamed Rashad Kabir Abdulle. Dr. Sheik Mohamed Rashad is one of the greatest Oromo nationalists and distinguished Islamic scholars. He devoted all his life in promoting the right Oromo people.

    We, Oromo refugees in Cairo-Egypt wish to offer our sincere condolences to his family, friends and people who knew him.

    May Allah bestow upon him His mercy and reward him for his great deeds.

  12. May 26, 2013 at 6:42 am

    May Allah bestow upon him His mercy and reward him for his great deeds.Rabbiin Rahmata Haa godhuuf. Ahlii fii ummata Oromoo hundaafuu Rabbiin Sabrii haa kannu.

  13. sufian Ibrahim
    May 26, 2013 at 6:51 am

    innaa lillaahi wa innaa ileyhi raajiun, I wish his soul rest in Jennah along with that of those righteous people, it is a loss not only to the oromos but to the humanity, he was an asset of the horn African people

  14. May 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Rabbiin siha’araramu. we lost big intellectual and knowledgeable person always history never forget you. Ararama ribbii sikadhana
    duti mana hundaati eeynuu irra hin oolu. hojaa keetiin rabbiin haqaa ragaa siihabayu

  15. Mohammed Alpha
    May 26, 2013 at 1:41 pm


  16. Somali islam
    May 26, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    may Allah shower his mercy upon him and grant him Jannah. Amen. Without doubt, Sheikh Mohmed Rashad was one of the greatest Oromo scholars and renowned translators of the holly Quran.

  17. Raji Abebe
    May 26, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    rabbii jannata isaaf haa kennu qabana isaa keessa nuuf haa tursu

  18. Lallabaa
    May 26, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Oromo are keep loseing the icon the last dacate 5 to 6 years, my god bless him for all his achievements and dedication educating many Oromos In Muslim school, also for conturbuting finding qubbee Affain oromoo.

    Mattii issati rabbin Obbesse haa Kennuu, essanlee jenatani haa qananissu.

  19. Dejene
    May 27, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Dr. M. Rashad is Oromo’s son who devoted the whole of his life for his people. He invented alphabets for Oromo language at the dark age. He is the most intellectual person of this century. He is plato or Aristotle of today. He does never die, because he is Oromos vision so that as long as Oromo and history exists he is alive.
    Let me invite you to one of his poem (he wrote in 1970 in Afan Oromo as it is today in Qubee)


    Yaa Afaan Oromoo
    Rabbitu si guddisee
    Nama siin dubbatu
    Sumaaf heddummeessee
    Si afaan gaarii
    Akkatti si bal’see
    Nama xiqqaa guddaa
    Hunda siin guddisee
    Adunyaan si beekaa
    Anilleen si wallaaluu
    Karaa keetiin malee
    Nuh immoo alaa hin galluu
    Ormi adunyaa dhaa
    Yoo dubbii kee kaasee
    Afaan muuziqaa dhaa
    Jedhee tin si faarsee
    Yaa afaan Oromoo
    Yaa ka Zalaalamii
    Kan sii jedhee du’u hammamii (x2)
    Yaa afaan Oromoo
    Yaa ka Zalaalamii
    Kan sii jedhee du’u hammamii (x2)
    Garaan waa si hin gannu
    Duri illeen wallaalluu
    Waan ati jaalattu
    Waa sii godhuu hin oolluu
    Mee akkamiin si gannaa
    Nuti siin mul’annaa
    Odoo ati baddee
    Matumaan dhabamnaa
    Karaa kan kee kanaan
    Harka tokko taanaa
    Sumaan gurgurannee
    Wal irraa bitannaa
    Yoo nu karaa banne
    Siin karaatti deebinaa
    Yoo nu dhukkubsannee
    Sumaan wal gaafannaa
    Yaa Afaan Oromoo
    Mee akkamiin si gannaa
    Salaamtaa jaalalaa
    Siin walii erginaa
    Yaa Afaan Oromoo
    Mee akkamiin si gannaa
    Si gannu immoo mee akkamiin
    Ilmaan kee jedhamnaa?
    Nuti yoo si dhabnee
    Matumaan dhabamnaa
    Mee miidhuma keenyaa
    Akkamiin himannaa?
    Turjumaan kaatee
    Yoo nuuf waa himattee
    Rakkoo adunyaa dhaa
    Mataan keessa buutee
    Takka si balleessaa
    Takka turjumaanaa
    Yoom jiruu adunyaa dhaa
    Akkanaan hubannaa
    Yaa Afaan Oromoo
    Yaa haadha guddinaa
    Har’aa fi boru illeen
    Nuti siin mul’annaa
    Gooytaan haa guddisu
    Warra si mul’isee
    Dachee haa seensisuu
    Warra si saph’lisee
    Namni si saph’lise
    Rakkatuuf jiraataa
    Gaafa tasaa geessee
    Biiluu kee irraa baataa
    Yaa Afaan Oromoo
    Bar ati dureessaa
    Waanum dhabde hin qabduu
    Waan beekumsaa keessaa

    (Dr. Sheek Muhammed Rashaad; Bara 1970; Moqdishoo)

  20. May 27, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Kulu nabsin Zaa’iqatul mootti. Inna liillaahi Wana ileehi Raaji’uun. Dr Adulrashad Abdulee Rbbiin Janata isaa ol aanaa Janatul firdowsaa haa kennuf. Rabbiin Qabrrii isaa haabaldhiisuuf.Rabbiin Haa araaramuufi. Ilmaan isaa ,Ahala isaattii fi Ummata Oromoo hundaafuu sabrrii fi immaana haa nuuf keenuu.

  21. ayub
    May 27, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    wow he well be missed. he is beter place know. we thank you for all your hard work.

  22. Jelil Abdella
    May 28, 2013 at 5:17 am

    A tremendous loss, indeed. Dr. Rashad’s passing away is huge blow to the Oromo people. I am terribly saddened by the loss of this gigantic Oromo scholar. May God bless his soul. I would like to offer my condolence and deepest sorrow to his family and all the Oromo people who lost this one-of-a kind great man.

  23. May 29, 2013 at 6:30 am

    DR.shirk M.Rashad yayyuu if foota
    DHIMMA SABAA Durrsu sabboona rakkinafi
    Bodkin him jijjiirin ture. Kanaafu rabbumti
    guddaan janatul fardosin Isabel ha qananniisu nutis
    rabbin wan inni
    Jireenya issaa adunya irrati hojataa bahe Jana Oslo kararrati
    hindhifnee warraa balance fabulous nuhagodhu walunaanu
    zshiek Rashad ammoo Rabin rahmata hagodhuuf

  24. abdure
    May 29, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Inna lillahi wa inna ilehi raaji3uun rabbiin guddaan jannatul firdowsiin isa haa gammachiisu
    DR shekh muhammed rashaad waan guddaa ummata oromoo fayyadu dalagee addunyaa tanarra gale kitaabonni inni afaan kheenyatti hiikhe fii qur’aanni inni afaan kenyaan nuuf hiikhee hu hanga hin qabu .inni daandii guddaa takka nuuf banee khute rabbiin nutiis warra waan inni nuu dhiise deeme khanatti fayyadamu nu haa godhu


    Dr muhammed rashaad is aour HERO we love him rest in peace.

  25. Tofik A
    May 29, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Rabbin janaata furdosin sii haqananisu rahamata sii haakanu.Yaa ummata oromo kan lubbun jirtaan Dr.Mahammadrashaad gahe isaa bahate jiraa hanga danda’u garu nuf wantokko dhisee jira nuti bakkan gahu qabna .Ayun oromo adunya irra du’an boqqota jira kanafu itti yaadu qabna.

  26. abdella urji
    January 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    rabbiin jannatal firdosiin isaani haa hiru nuti hayyuu cimaa dhabnee garuu hojii da’awaa, barreessuu ,ummataa barsiisu isaani hojjattaa turan akka itti fufu gochuu qabna maatii isaanii fi ummataa oromoo hundaaf jajjabinaa hawwa!!!!!!!!!!

  27. May 14, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Inna lillaahi wo’ileeyhi raaji’uun.hayyichi guddaan muslimaa fi oromoo sh Muhammad du’aan addunyaa kanarraa waaan boqataniif,RABBIIN jannataan isaan haa qananiisu jechaa ummata muslimaa, ummata oromoo fi maatii isaaniif jajjabinaa fi obsa hawwaaf.

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