ASJA - Trinidad
This lecture, A Young Soldier of lslam: Haji Ruknudeen Sahib, examines the contributions made by this indentured immigrant who came to these shores some 120 years ago and spent 75 years in service to the Muslim community. A humble man, dedicated to the cause of lslam he joins the legions of other men such as Syed Abdul Aziz, Yacoob Ali Meer Hassan, Beekham Syne, Zahoor Khan, lshmile Khan, Hafiz Naziruddeen, Baboo Meah, Abdul Ghany (Gany), Yacoob Khan, Subrate Meah, Mohammed Ibrahim, John Mohammed, etc. who made sterling contributions to the consolidation and propagation of lslam in Trinidad and whose stories also need to be written and understood by my generation and younger generations. Like many of my generation, had it not been for the legacy I grew-up surrounded by, the trials, the tribulations and the triumphs of the Muslim community would have been largely ignored, for I benefited from the struggles of our fore parents and did not need to interrogate what existed. It is also a struggle that takes on new twists and turns in my generation and those after me. How to be Muslim in a globalized world with its distinct myriad images of individuality and modernization, with attendant norms and values that runs counter to the very principles of Islam; submission to the will of Allah, humility, goodwill, community, cooperation and service? This challenge is made even more acute as we also live in an lslamophobic (as defined by Runnymede Trust, 1997) world. The struggle to constantly adapt, to live a life in service of lslam in a new world by Ruknudeen provides lessons for all of us even fifty years after his death.
Maulana Hassan was a member of the sole existing jamaat in San Fernando. When conflict arose he decided to leave and start another Jamaat. He got together with Brothers Asgarali Syne, Sheikh Bahadur Ali, Soman Ghany and Hafiz Yacoob Ali and they decided to pursue the matter. They raised over fourteen hundred dollars and from it purchased the parcel of land on which it now stands for one hundred and fifty dollars ($150.00). The parcel of land measured fifty feet by one hundred feet.
In 1913 they started in earnest with the erection of our Masjid and laid it's foundation progressing steadily. When the structure was substantially completed need was seen for another entrance. There had only been one at the time. More land was needed. Hafiz Yacoob Ali who owned the adjacent land southwards donated a piece of it and it is on this land a second entrance was built. Around 1917 the building was finally completed and namaz performed in it. It is a two storey structure of reinforced concrete, still retaining its original architecture.
(Extracted from brochure titled Khatam-ul-Qur'aan dated 12th April 1987)
This item was sourced from ASJA's 70th Anniversary Souvenir Magazine 1935 - 2005.
The day was October 31st, the year 1935 and the Legislative Council of Trinidad and Tobago had passed an ordinance to incorporate certain persons as Trustees of the Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ASJA) with the four Incorporated Trustees being Syed Mohammed Hosein [First President], John Mohammed [First Vice President] with Buckredee Meah and Mustapha Khan as Trustees. Today, seventy (70) years later ASJA continues to be the largest single Muslim organisation in Trinidad and Tobago providing the community with leadership, guidance, maturity and stability which has been responsible for recognition by the national community and successive Governments over the years since its humble, yet auspicious beginning in 1935.