Despite their adverse condition these people were very God-fearing and held on to their religion with inflexible faith. The spark of Islam they had brought from India was kept ever ablaze by them; deep within, their breasts their love for their religion found prominence above all other avocations. It was an age of faith and as such their beliefs were also built. They made no technical research, but followed a prescribed form of ceremonials in which they had been brought up in their homeland.
Islam as a great spiritual force clearly demonstrated itself in the lives of these people for though they had woven many strange and superstitious ideas around its non-fundamentals; they maintained the Central Doctrines with unadulterated purity. With a fanatical zeal they served their religion with loyalty and devotion and completely resigned themselves to the Will of God.
While the bulk of children were still working in the cane fields, a small percentage of privileged boys received the scanty education which was available. They were taught English through the Canadian Mission schools to which Institution, Indians should never be ungrateful; Urdu and Arabic reading of the Qur'an were privately taught by sacrificing individuals. The girls, however, did not have an equal share in education as the boys. Their place was considered to be the home, hence no English was taught to them and those who could not spare the time to go to the Maktabs owing to pressure of house work remained unfortunate illiterates.
Among the many who kept the dim light of Islam glowing in those gloomy days, the names of the following gentlemen will ever remain shining in the dark horizon of early Islamic history in Trinidad. Sayad Abdul Aziz the foremost and by far the most important character may truthfully be said to be the father of Islamic stabilization in Trinidad. He was one of those who could have read, written and understood Urdu, besides which he was a qualified mathematician and could have solved many a technical problem. Versed in 1slamic jurisprudence he was a genius and was capable of ruling a state. He was a research scholar and was much influenced by the works of Sir Sayad Ahmad Khan. He lived at Princes Town in the south of Trinidad, but his influence was felt all over the Colony. He had a very amiable disposition and scores of boys and young men could always be seen around him imbibing the spirit of Islam at his feet. He organised the first Islamic Society known as the "Islamic Guardian Association".
Shaikh Bahadoor Ali sent his son Yacoob Ali to India. The latter came back as a Hafiz. He had memorized the Qur'an by heart and could chant the inspiring verses in a very melodious tone. This was a great honour and it won for him the admiration of the Muslims of the island.
Among others who taught, or in one form or another assisted in Islamic duties were Zahoor Khan of Couva, Ishmile Khan of California, Meer Hassan, Elahi Baksh and Bheekam Syne of San Fernando, Fateh Ali of Iere Village and Amjad Ali Meah of Princes Town.
While the South was thus paving their way, the North was not far behind. Mr. Abdul Ghany was a seeker of knowledge; he launched into business, which resulted in a very successful career. He maintained at his own expense a maktab at St Joseph for a considerable number of years. Here Urdu and the Qur'an in Arabic taught by Bahoo Khan, an able teacher.
Yarcoob Khan of St.Joseph was another educationist and turned out many a good scholar in Arabic, Urdu and Persian. He paid much attention and laid great stress in reading the Qur'an and pronouncing the Arabic words properly.
Dean Mohammed was a pupil of Yarcoob Khan and possessed an impassioned love for Islam and education. He established a maktab at his home and personally taught scores of students from near and far without any remuneration. He devoted much of his time in research of Islamic techniques and after the close of his daily work and his maktah a group of young men always gathered at his home until late at night discussing religious problems.
There was also Hafiz Nasir-ud-deen at Tacarigua who knew great portions of the Qur'an by heart and who also devoted himself to teaching students in his area. Among teachers of the North were also Subratee Meah of St. Joseph and Baboo Meah of San Juan.
There resided a religious gentleman in Tunapuna - Ruknuddin Meah - who in his later years performed the pilgrimage to Mecca and was afterwards known as Haji Sahib. It was after the death of Sayad Abdul Aziz that Haji Ruknuddin Meah was elected Qazi of the Muslims of Trinidad.
Over fifty mosques scattered all over the Colony stand as living monuments of their religious zeal. They identified themselves-as very thrifty in all occupations: as businessmen, tradesmen and agriculturists, while a great majority continued in their work on the fields. The first generation showed a marked intellectual progress, among them being doctors, lawyers, clerks, bookkeepers, justices of the peace, etc. Though the second generation were better equipped intellectually, yet there never dawned upon them any consciousness for racial or religious preservation. Their term was one of passive adherence, in which they did no harm. For them life was perpetual motion of unconscious improvement and unconscious discovery.
When one reflects upon the condition in which these people came here - disappointed, poor and illiterate in their serfdom - Rip Van Winkle cannot help but admire and congratulate them for having preserved their identity for over a century.