Zaid Mustapha

By Zaid Mustapha
Published on 02/17/2009
The picture on the inside front cover of this booklet was taken in the year 1936. The men featured in this photograph represent the pioneers or stalwarts of ASJA. It was not possible to identify all of these men but for the purpose of giving a lesson of Islamic History in our country to our youths, we will mention some of these original ASJA members. If you know anyone in the picture not identified, please let us know.  (Source The Nur-E-Islam Masjid brochure for free distribution for function on 15th October, 1989)

The Picture

(Standing From Left To Right ).

Aziz Mohammed, Taheeb Ali, Meharwan Mohammed, Backreedee Meah, Abbass

Hosein, Haji Rooknodeen Sahib, S.M. Hosein, Aziz Mohammed (Tunapuna),

Mohammed Ibrahim, Hausildar Meah, Nawab Ali, Sheik Hashim Muzaffar.

(Sitting From Left To Right).

1. Not Identified 2. Not Identified 3. Not Identified

4. Belbagai 5. Ishmael Ali 6. Ghulam Hosein 7. Not Identified

8. Peru Meah 9. Hassan Khan 10. Not Identified

11. Hafiz Yacoob Ali 12. Badaloo Meah 13. Not Identified

14. Not Identified 15. S.M. Mustapha 16. Not Identified

17. Khairat Ali Meah

Hafiz Yacoob Ali

Yacoob Ali, at age thirteen in 1888, was sent back to India by his father to acquire an Islamic education. He returned ten years later as a hafiz (one who memorize the Holy Qur'an in its entirety - ed) and qari (one who masters the art of reciting the Holy Qur'an -ed) and established several maktabs (classes to provide religious instructions -ed). [Sourced from Digital Islam].

Reverend KJ Grant1 in his works, “ My Missionary Memories”, states-

The followers of Mohammad were not ashamed to declare their faith or offer their prayers wherever they may be .Vividly before my mind is a picture of a company of twelve to fifteen men, who met together for prayers…the scene was most impressive and could be witnessed every Friday wherever there was a Mohammadan group...... a devout Muslim of considerable wealth and living not far from us sent his son to be educated as a mullah or priest. He returned after a period of five to six years bearing the title of “Hafiz” which is given to one who committed to memory the whole Koran in its original Arabic.

Investigations reveal that this youth, and certainly the first local Hafiz referred to by Rev. Grant, was Yacoob Ali, the father of the late Haji Shaffikul Rahaman (former president general of ASJA) (Extracted from paper "An overview of Muslim Educational Institutions in Trinidad by Farouk Khan")

1. Reverend K. J. Grant was one of the clerics, who in the tradition of the Presbyterian Canadian Mission, came to Trinidad in the 1870s to minister to the Indentured Indians