Ulema uddin

Articles authored by traditional Ulema of Dinul Islam
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How many of us would have known that the expression "cool as Gokool" referred to Haji Gokool Meah (1847-1939) who came on an indenture ship when he was just six years old and grew to be businessman, cocoa proprietor and cinema magnate, builder of the Globe and Empire cinemas in the 1930's? Gokool drank his cup of dhal every day, and in the face of racial prejudice conducted his business with an icy calm that became proverbial, hence "cool as Gokool". [Extracted from Caribbean History Archives]

Hafiz Yacoob Ali

Yacoob Ali, born in 1875, at age thirteen in 1888, was sent back to Oudh, India by his father Shaikh Bahadoor Ali to get 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 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.  Hafiz Yacoob established several maktabs (classes to provide religious instructions -ed).   Hafiz Yacoob is pictured here (facing the camera).

During the Holy Month of Ramadan, he visited several mosques and completed recitations of the Holy Quran in a period of five nights per Jamaat.  On one occasion he was approached by a Charlieville Jamaat to a Khatam-ul-Quran (complete recitation of the Holy Quran) when there were only two Taraweeh left in the Holy Month.  He accepted and was able to complete fifteen "Siparahs" that is half the Quran Shareef in that time.  He is credited with having trained hundreds of Muslims in the Arabic and Urdu languages. 

He was the father of Haji Sheik Fazloo Rahaman and former President General of ASJA, Haji Shaffick Rahaman.  He was the brother of succeeding Imams of San Fernando Jama Masjid, Sheik Kurban Ali and Sakawat Ali.  He was also the brother-in-law of Imam Syed Muhammad Hosein.

Westmoreland witness to Hosay processions in the early twentieth century remembers that “Hosay represented mystery, beauty and violence. Non Indians, fascinated by the highly crafted Tazia, were often driven away forcefully by those in the procession. Looking or touching was forbidden, and dangerous. Fighting broke out…[chiefly] from each believer’s desire to be the first to launch his own shrine into the sea, an act which brings great blessing and good fortune…” She adds, more prosaically, that “the police were always on the alert during Hosay, and the Savanna-la-mar Hospital usually admitted a number of the wounded.

When Muhammad Ali visited Guyana

Muhammad Ali in picture with the Muslim leadership of Guyana

Dr. Syed Husain Pasha

Dr. Syed Husain Pasha is an educator, scholar, mentor, organizer and community leader of exceptional talent, training and experience. His background combines authentic traditional Islamic education and training with a Ph.D. from one of the premier research universities in the West. His lectures, seminars, camps, community clean-up and other programs and activities provide extraordinary training, education and motivation in Islam and in life in general.

Zimeena grateful upon receiving her exam score

Georgetown June 30 2008:

As reported in Guyana Chronicle:

Outgoing, brave, and sensitive Zimeena Rasheed gives credit to Mr. Wilfred Success of West Ruimveldt Primary School at C. V. Nunes Primary School for her success.   She said her best subjects are mathematics, science, and she like participating in debates and dramatic poetry.

She said that by phone Mr Success, a close friend of the grandmother, would discuss the various areas of study with her, sometimes for long periods.

Like her classmate her parents are to decide whether they would further their education in the city.

As reported in Starbroek News:

Eleven-year-old Zimeena Rasheed of Queenstown, Essequibo Coast, and pupil of CV Nunes Primary, who is also in fifth place, told Stabroek News that she feels contented since she worked very hard towards her success. The confident and well spoken Zimeena said she took extra lessons and studied early in the mornings leading up to her exams. She said her siblings along with her parents stayed up late and encouraged her throughout her studies.

She said the exams were not all easy; Science, Mathematics and English were okay, but Social Studies was very challenging.

Zimeena expressed sincere gratitude to her family, teacher and friends. She also congratulated her colleague, top pupil Yogeeta Persaud, with whom she had always competed.

Ridwaan's lost for words upon hearing of his achievement

Georgetown June 30 2008: 

As reported in Guyana Chronicle:- Eleven-year-old Ridwaan Safi said that he is elated to carry on what has become a family ‘thing’. Like his fellow classmate Arianna, Ridwaan was placed among the country’s top 10 National Grade Six candidates.

Ridwaan, who says that he is aspiring to become a doctor like his father, copped the fifth position with a total of 551 marks. This young man, who seemed lost for words after he was told of his performance, said that he was surprised.

Ridwaan said that he felt as though he was at a disadvantage since he was involved in an accident a few months prior to his preparation for the exams and hadn’t much time for studies. Now with the exams out of the way, Ridwaan said that he is now gearing his mind for two months of relaxation as he was promised a vacation by his parents.

Back in 2006 Ridwaan’s elder brother, Fawwaz, placed third in the country for the final sitting of the Secondary Schools Entrance Examination. Ridwaan added that he also feels very honoured to have his school earn a place in the country’s top 10.

Shahrazaad surprised with her top 10 result

Georgetown June 30 2008:

As reported in Guyana Chronicle:  For Shahrazaad Khan it was surprising as she too, like the other students was not expecting to be placed among the country’s top 10. Shahrazaed secured the fourth place position with a total of 552 marks. Like her fellow classmate, Shahrazaad said that she would rather stay at her current school instead of going to the school at which she would be placed.

She said that she was confident of doing well at the exams but not that well. Now that the exams results are out Shahrazaad said that she feels much more relaxed and will be looking forward to some form of relaxation now that the anxiety is all over with.

As reported in Starbroek News:

Shahrazaad Khan, 11, of LBI, East Coast Demerara grabbed the fourth spot in the country.

The soft spoken girl said she was shocked after learning how well she did and was on her way home when she got the news. She said her mother who was with her turned around and drove back to the school so she could celebrate with her teachers and classmates.

She recalled that the examinations' preparation was hard and pointed out that she took a decision not to stay up too late. Shahrazaad loves reading and is a huge fan of author, JK Rowling. She has read every book in the Harry Potter series and plans on reading anything new from the author.

She is undecided on a particular career but plans on working extremely hard as she continues with her studies. Shahrazaad said her parents; Sabina and Shazadh Khan offered endless support and that her teachers were the best. She is looking forward to attending QC later this year.

Sayyid Rajab excited about his exam results

Georgetown June 30 2008:

As reported in the Guyana Chronicle:  “I am happy, excited and most, of all shocked,” were the first words of 12 year-old Sayyid Rajab after he was told that he was placed second among the country’s top 10 candidates.

This young man, who attends the Isa Islamic School, walked away with a total of 556 of a possible of 578. This aspiring scientist said he was always confident that he would excel at the examination because of his preparation but did not expect to place among the country’s top 10.

“In all my exams I would place first or second. I never went below that so I knew that I would have done well,” young Sayyid said. However despite being placed at one of the country’s top secondary schools, Sayyid said he would rather stay at his current school.

“I want to stay here because I wouldn’t want to leave my friends and because of the Islamic teachings,” he added. He said he owes his success to his parents and his class teacher.

As reported in the Starbroek News:

The reality of placing second in the country was yet to sink in for Sayyid Rajab, who was speechless for a brief period, but got talking after colleagues and teachers at his school started praising his performance. "I am shocked and happy to say the least. This is a great moment and after working so hard for it, I am really excited. I was told that I could top the country but I am happy with what I got," the 12-year-old Better Hope, East Coast Demerara resident said.

Sayyid said he had many late nights that often ended at midnight but according to him, it was not all work. He also spent time playing table tennis, watched an occasional television programme and surfed the internet.

He joined the Isa Islamic School from the nursery school level and is grateful to all his teachers for the hours and the extra effort they put into his schooling. Sayyid named his parents; Shakira Jameel and Gregory Rajab as his biggest supporters but he praised Allah for guiding him through it. Though he is unsure as to which career path he will take, the young man said that it will definitely be something in the field of science because that is the subject he enjoys the most.

As he spoke with Stabroek News, Sayyid's colleagues kept showing up and congratulating him, and one child remarked that if this is what it means to come second in the country then he will aim for the same.

AbdulWahid Hamid

AbdulWahid Hamid, writer, editor, educationalist, teacher and community activist, was born in Trinidad in 1943. His paternal grandfather had migrated to the Caribbean from Kanpur (Cawnpore) in India while his grandmother as a young Hindu girl of 14 was kidnapped off the streets by British agents in India and taken to Trinidad as an 'indentured labourer'.

His best-selling 'Islam: the Natural Way' has been translated into several languages including French, Spanish, Turkish, Bossanski, Urdu and Malay. He has recently published 'Burnishing the Heart', selections from the Qur'an for self-awareness with some personal reflections.

Earlier publications include a pioneering course for the teaching of Qur'anic Arabic, and life histories of the Companions of the Prophet based on original Arabic sources. He has edited numerous books including the important 'The Meccan Crucible' by Zakaria Bashier, and more recently M. S. Kayani's 'Pondering the Qur'an' and 'The Quest for Sanity - reflections on September 11 and the Aftermath'.

Prior to arriving in Britain in 1964, AbdulWahid was a primary school teacher and had a brief sojourn as a student at Al-Azhar in Cairo. In London, while doing further 'A' levels in Latin and History, he joined the Labour Party but left in disgust at Harold Wilson's Rhodesia policy. AbdulWahid studied history and Arabic at the School of Oriental & African Studies.

A life-long activist and mentor, he has been president of the London Islamic Circle, general secretary of the Federation of Students' Islamic Societies, editor of 'The Muslim' a member of the team that launched 'Impact International' in 1970, and a mainstay of community initiatives both in Trinidad and Britain, in particular the founding and development of The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). He was a member of the MCB panel that presented evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Religious Offences in October 2002.

He was responsible for the major refurbishment of the Rabitah Centre and Mosque, Goodge Street, Central London under the supervision of the architect Ayyub Malik and the graphic designer Zafar Malik. His career has included work as a university lecturer and an educational consultant in Saudi Arabia and the teaching of Qur'anic Arabic in London, Chicago, Toronto, Trinidad and Bahrain.

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