Larabanga being a Muslim-dominated community located in the West Gonja Municipality of the Savannah Region is endowed with rich culture.
As the home of the oldest Mosque in Ghana, Larabanga is globally recognised and respected for its enviable tourist sites including the Larabanga Mystic Stone, Ancient Mosque and the Mole National Park.
But as part of JoyNews’ Ghana Month, the focus will be on the Spiritual Boabab Tree and the Ancient Mosque.
According to oral history, the Mosque was built in the year 1421 using ordinary clan mud mixed with grass and supported by wood beams from the local Environment.
Like any Spiritual Leader, Yidana Ibrahim left behind two cultural and religious symbols, the Ancient Mosque and the Boabab Tree to serve the spiritual needs of his descendants including the prevention of strange diseases among others.
In an interview with JoyNews, the tourist guide, Abdallah Ahmed said the founder of Larabanga , Yidana Ibrahim is still cherished by the inhabitants as one still among the living.
“The Boabab Tree you see here is 500 years old. It represents the Spirit of the Founder of Larabanga. He asked his descendants to bury him in the premises of the Mosque within three days. And promised that the tree will grow on top of his grave to serve as a source of food for them.”
“So in order to keep the spirit within the community, when this tree produces more leaves, we harvest them and share among the heads of the twelve clans of Larabanga and they will dry and store them,” he said.
Speaking about the Fire Festival, Mr Ahmed said resident use the leaves of the Boabab Tree and prepare soup and the People of the Community will take it with the blessings of the Founder of the Community.
Mr Abdallah Ahmed speaks about the existence of the oldest Holy Quaran in Ghana.
“The oldest Holy Quran in Ghana which draws people from all over the World to Larabanga for their spiritual needs, was brought from Mecca to Larabanga by its founder. During the Fire Festival, versions of the Quaran are shared among the heads of the Twelve Clans of Larabanga for recitation to cleans the Community and protect us”.
On the Ancient Mosquethe, “the Founder of Larabanga also came and met the foundation of the Mosque even though there wasn’t any evidence of Human existence before. This was after Yidana Ibrahim relocated from Buipe in the Central Gonja District to Larabanga both in the Savannah Region when his host, a Warrior and Founder of the Gonja Kingdom, Ndewura Jakpa who also migrated from a town in Mali called Mandi died.
Mr Ahmed said Yidana Ibrahim was invited from Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Ndewura Jakpa to back him with prayers to enable him conqure his opponents and occupy more lands.
“So after the death of King Ndewura Jakpa, and as a committed Muslim, Mr. Yidana Ibrahim first settled by the Mystic Stone down there. And due to the curving nature of the Mystic Stone side, he later said he would throw his spear and where ever it drops, is where he will build a place of shelter and prayer.”
So two days after throwing the spear, Yidana Ibrahim traced and found it at the present day Ancient Mosque with inscription in Arabic on a piece of paper such as this is where u should build and settle”, he noted.
Meanwhile, the good maintenance culture on the mosque is paying off as many materials especially, the wooden beams both in the middle and sides of the building, have never been replaced since the year 1421 and are still in good shape.