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After 18 years in Saudi…S/Leonean Doctor off to Freetown

After 18 years in Saudi…S/Leonean Doctor off to Freetown

A Sierra Leonean academic Doctor has just embarked on a high-profile life journey to his beloved Sierra Leone, after spending 18 fruitful and formative years at the renowned Islamic University in Madina Al-Munawarah. Dr. Ahmad Ramadan Jalloh (in photo) bagged a distinction with Honours in the studies of ‘AQIDAT’ (Islamic Faith) mid last year.

Many Sierra Leoneans in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), particularly, students, say they are “very proud” of their compatriot for the spectacular successes he attained during his 18 years stay in Madina Al-Munawarah, the city of Prophet Mohammad (may peace and blessing of Allah be upon him).

In that light, most of them say, it is worthy to throw light on some vital aspects of Dr. Ahmed Ramadan Jalloh’s educational, professional and national profiles, so that readers would know who he is, and why the nation should have an idea about this bonafide and patriotic citizen of Sierra Leone.

Who’s Dr. Ramadan?

To begin with, Dr. Ahmed Ramadan Jalloh attended Ahmadiya Muslim Secondary School from 1981-1986 where he earned his O’Level (First Division). Then he attended Sierra Leone Grammar School (1986-1988) where he got his A’Level.

‘Amir,’ as he is fondly called, had worked at the Bank of Sierra Leone in the position of Clerk until he had the golden opportunity to pursue his studies at the Islamic University. It is noteworthy also to say that studying in the Arab world was one of the most challenging tasks Dr. Ramadan ever had. It was challenging in the sense that he had never had any solid academic background in Arabic studies. However, due to his high motivation and determination not to be seen as a failure, in so short a time, Dr. Ramadan was able to master the Arabic language to the level that qualified him to start his undergraduate studies. And indeed, he got enrolled in the College of Islamic Propagation (DA’WA) where he spent five well spent years and graduated in 1999 with distinction.

Owing to his penchant for academic excellence, he pursued his Masters program in the Islamic Creed and deservedly earned his MA in 2004 with distinction.

Due to his outstanding academic performance in both his undergraduate and post graduate programs, the University did not hesitate to grant Dr. Ramadan the rare opportunity to pursue his PhD program in ‘AQIDAT’ (the Islamic Faith). In 2010, Dr. Ramadan successfully discussed his thesis in the presence of two senior Sierra Leone Embassy Diplomatic staff in the persons of, Mr. Ibrahim S. Yilla, Minister Counsellor/ Head of Chancery, and Alhaji M.B Jalloh, the Information Attaché. The occasion was well attended by a good number of Sierra Leone students and nationals and other Africans and Arabs as well. His discussion culminated in his earning distinction with a strong recommendation from the University to get his thesis printed and published in due time at the expense of the University. Needless to say, all the attendees were tremendously impressed by the excellent performance of Dr. Ramadan. He was by all means a source of pride not only for the Sierra Leone nationals who had the opportunity to attend the occasion, but also for the African brothers of different nationalities.

In addition to his above merits, the learned Doctor has qualifications and skills in areas such as: Management of Sites and Caht, Neurolinguistic Program, Brain & Time Management, Optimizing Skills, Dialogue & Negotiations Management, and Educational Principles in the Translation of Islamic Content. Furthermore, he is a multilingual. His linguistic abilities include: English, Arabic, Krio and Urdu.

During his 18 years’ stay in the KSA, Amir made sure not to depend on the academic aspect only, but he also managed in his tight schedule to gain some work experience in other areas.

Professionally, the eloquent Doctor worked as a researcher in the Deanship for Educational Research at the Islamic University; he also held various positions in the following fields such as: The Enlightenment and Guidance Center at the Cemetery of the Martyrs of Uhud in Madina where he worked as Translator & Preacher. He worked as an Online Tutor at Madina International University, and as lecturer at the Islamic University in Madina.

On the national arena, before his departure to the Kingdom, Dr. Ramadan held the position of President of the Sierra Leone Muslim Youth Foundation in Freetown from 1991-1993.

During his stay in the Kingdom, he held a number of high profile positions ranging from secretarial, educational, DA’WA official and president of the Sierra Leone Students’ Union respectively from 1994-2004.

Having recounted in brief, the educational, professional and national successes, achievements and contributions of Dr. Ramadan Jalloh during his nearly two decades stay in the Kingdom; it is now worthy to highlight the pivotal roles he has effectively played in educating and enlightening our Sierra Leone pilgrims over the years.

His role during Haj

With his in-depth knowledge of the teachings of Islam coupled with his God given eloquence, Dr. Ramadan has oftentimes been the center of attraction on both the holy sites of Mina and Arafa. He is a preacher who never bores his audience; for he knows how to present his topics. Being articulate in Arabic and English, (a skill lacking in some of our scholars), Dr. Ramadan would always smoothly sail through the hearts of his audience and capture their full attention. Thus, armed with the articulate powers he is endowed with and his agility and penchant to assist his nationals, Dr. Ramadan will be greatly missed.

“Come the pilgrimage season of 2011, everyone, residents and pilgrims alike, will bitterly realize that a great and effective member of the Sierra Leone community in Saudi Arabia is missing, except if Government includes him in this year’s Haj delegation as it is now in charge of Haj affairs,” remarked a final year student at the Islamic University of Madina.

“Dr. Ramadan has always been a prominent scholar who tirelessly conducts Da’wa sessions during the Haj seasons, expecting reward from no-one but Allah the Almighty,” says Ibrahim Yousuf Sillah, founder and former coordinator of the Da’wa Committee in Riyadh.

Mr. Sillah, who is also the first President of the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Union (SLNU) in the KSA adds that: “Now that Dr. Ramadan is on his way to Sierra Leone, we are confident that he would be a positive addition to the Sierra Leone Association of Islamic Propagandists (Islamic Callers) and will continue to energetically function and promote the Islamic awareness amongst our people in a very smooth but effective fashion. We are indeed hoping that he would excel in our home country as he has invariably done in the Kingdom, or even better.”

Mr. Sillah, who now lectures at the King Saud University, continues on a positive note: “Dr. Ramadan’s presence in our home country will be a big plus to our numerous learned scholars who had returned home and are now serving the nation.”

Many Sierra Leoneans in the KSA believe that with the Doctor’s profound knowledge in Islamic affairs and the methods of spreading the Islamic faith coupled with his expertise to deal with religious affairs, he will certainly be a catalyst in fostering religious tolerance among both our Muslim and Christian communities.

In collaboration with his colleagues already on the ground, Dr. Ramadan is expected to help play a pivotal role in strengthening the cohabitation ties between our two religious sects, namely Muslims and Christians. It is very important that Sierra Leone Muslims and Christians co-exist in total peace and harmony, each sect bearing in mind that Sierra Leone belongs to all and sundry.

As the erudite Doctor is on his way now as at the time of writing this piece, news reached us about massive reception both at the Fourah Bay Community (where he grew up) in the densely populated east end of Freetown and the other Muslim communities are organizing a massive welcome for the home coming of Dr. Ramadan.

Having spent nearly two years in the Kingdom, I believe, in the effective pursuit of H.E., President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s “Agenda for Change,” Dr. Ramadan stands out, among our other revered scholars, to serve as advisor to the authorities to help improve Sierra Leone’s multilateral and bilateral relations with the Arab world.

Considering the vitality of the Arab world, Sierra Leone needs to have in place highly qualified and competent national figures armed with the knowledge and skills and well-versed with the Arab culture and mentality to foster and ameliorate Sierra Leone’s bilateral and multilateral relations with Middle Eastern countries. Like other West African nations such as Senegal, Mali, the Gambia and Guinea, Sierra Leone stands to gain a lot from the Arabs if and when it resolves to appoint some of her nationals who got educated and trained in the various Arab countries in diplomatic and other positions in the Arab world.  Equally, there are numerous competent Sierra Leone nationals who have graduated from prestigious universities in the Arab world.

I think that will also help Sierra Leone to enjoy the delicious fruits of its relations with Arabs. Among their many merits, Africans educated in the Arab world have acquired a high degree of patriotism capable enough to qualify them to effectively represent their home countries in this vital part of the world.

Taking into consideration his patriotism, Dr. Ramadan Jalloh will try to get himself involved, if given the opportunity, in counselling the authorities about how Sierra Leone can maximize its gains from the Arab world.

Reacting to his home return on the telephone last night, Incumbent President of the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Union, Uthman Kargbo says, “Dr. Ramadan will be surely missed and deserves all accolades and appreciation from every well-meaning Sierra Leonean,” but he was also quick to say on behalf of the entire Sierra Leone community in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that: ” His return will be a big loss to the Union, but we wish him and his dear family a safe return to their home country and a successful, fruitful and peaceful residence in Sierra Leone.”

Bidding farewell on the telephone shortly before he left the Prince Mohammad Bin Abdul Aziz International Airport, Madinah, last night, this is what the learned Doctor had to say to all Sierra Leoneans resident in the KSA:

“Please, extend my heartiest thanks and gratitude to all Sierra Leoneans in the KSA. I strongly believe that I would not have made all these achievements without the help of Allah and their support.”

He continued: “I owe a lot to the Embassy’s former and present Ambassadors and their staff. I also owe a lot to former and present leaders of the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Union and all Sierra Leoneans in the Kingdom for their unflinching support throughout these years.”

He added: “Mr. Jalloh, as I am talking to you now, tears of joy are streaming down my face. I am also in an emotional state. Although it’s very difficult to depart a place where you have spent nearly two decades, but I just have to go back home and contribute in my little way to the development of our beloved country.”

Dr. Ramadan concluded: “Let me finally thank all Sierra Leoneans in the KSA, particularly those for whose love for me contributed greatly to my present status. Now that I am returning back home, I would kindly ask all my compatriots to pardon me for whatever mistake on my side towards them as no man is perfect and, for all to assist me with prayers for Allah to help me undertake the great responsibilities awaiting me in Sierra Leone. I thank you all.”

Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Information Attaché, Sierra Leone Embassy, Riyadh – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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