ASJA - Trinidad

The Anjuman Sunnat-Ul-Jamaat was established under Ordinance No. 24 of 1935. It became the major rival of the earlier Tackveeyatul Islamic Association, established under Ordinance No. 39 of 1931

    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.

    Masjids were few and far between until the 1930s and 1940s. These were the Queen St. Mosque and the St. James Masjid which was the gift of Haji Gokool Meah. There was one in San Fernando on Mucurapo St as early as 1910 but the majority were converted dwelling houses which were unique in local architecture since the domes and minarets were of tin and were very quaint in appearance. This example seen near Penal in the 1950s stood along the main road opposite the public cemetery until it was replaced in the 1960s by an elaborate and more orthodox concrete mosque.

    Hereunder is a brief history of the Barrackpore Muslim School.  Thanks to Haji Hamza Mohammed and Haroun Khan for their co-operation in making this report possible. Apology to anyone who was inadvertently omitted. Your reward is with Allah.

    The Masjid:

    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)

    ASJA Secretaries

    The following gentlemen provided distinguished service as Secretary of ASJA.

  • Avocat, Trinidad and Tobago, is a village in southern Trinidad, near Fyzabad.

    In 1974 the Muslims of the village determined that a Mosque (a Muslim place of worship) was needed by their Jamaat (congregation).  Here in first hand commentary is the narrative of the struggles of the villagers to meet this goal is recorded by Raffeek Mohammed who was the President of the Building Committee.  The Masjid is pictured below.

  • 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.

    ASJA Presidents

    The following roster of the men who served honourably in the role as President of the Anjuman Sunnatul Jamaat Association (ASJA) of Trinidad and Tobago.  The list is sourced from ASJA's 70th Anniversary Souvenir Magazine 1935 - 2005. 

    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)

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