Syed Husain Pasha, a vibrant Islamic activist who hailed from India. He was a missionary in Trinidad in the early 1970s. “Pasha introduced to a group of young African and East Indian Muslims, a dynamic face of Islam in Trinidad. Islam traditionally had been centered around the spiritual aspect of the religion. Pasha presented the works of contemporary Islamic scholars to these young Muslims showing Islam as an economic, political, social, military, cultural and spiritual force – a complete way of life. Pasha was forced 10 leave Trinidad due to pressure from traditionalist Muslims. Those trained by Pasha then organized themselves into the Islamic Trust, a service bureau. These young Muslims, bursting to spread the good news of a vitalized and dynamic Islam, soon set up classes in various mosques. Their brand of Islam was not accepted by the traditionalists and their workers were more often turned out of mosques. There were many confrontations, but today the policy of these Muslims is “toward conciliation without compromising Islam. The Trust aimed at educating and propagating Islam, upgrading the performance of Muslim institutions and organizations and acting as a cementing force for the Muslims of the entire region. The Trust brought out a monthly publication called The Muslim Standard which dealt, apart from Islamic topics, with national and international issues.”1
“In the decade of seventies, Muslims, particularly the young in Trinidad, were becoming part of the Islamic resurgence that was taking place in the world. At an informal lecture and meeting at the Curepe Masjid in 1974, an idea of having an Islamic Bank in Trinidad emerged. Present at that meeting was the prominent Islamic Missionary, Syed Husain Pasha (on a return visit). The meeting strongly felt the need of evolving an interest-free economic system. Muslims are prohibited from taking or giving of Interest by Allah. The Prophet Muhammad (ASW) also spoke against interest or Riba: “Allah had cursed the receiver, the giver of interest and also the witness and scribe of the interest transaction, they are alike”.1 This provided the initial spark that ultimately led to The Muslim Credit Union Co-operative Society Limited of Trinidad and Tobago (M.C.U.) achieving legal status as a Credit Union from the Ministry of Social Security and Co-operatives on 18 November, 1983.
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. His way of teaching is unique, personal and powerful. It combines time-honoured Islamic sciences and traditions with contemporary Western scholarship and knowledge in a way that is all his own. In the early 1970s, Dr. Pasha authored a highly effective method for teaching the Qur’an to English speakers that has been successfully used in the West for upward of 30 years. Dr. Pasha is also a highly insightful social and Islamic thinker and a dynamic speaker in several languages. His ideas on how Muslims must understand and apply Islam in the West in the 21st Century are among the most challenging in today’s troubled world. They have been at the cutting edge of Islamic thinking in the West for the past three decades. During much of this time, Dr. Pasha has been a vocal advocate of Muslims reaching out to their non-Muslim neighbours in the West with the teachings of Islam and with the message of love, service and neighbourliness that he says Islam embodies. For the past several decades, Dr. Pasha has been calling on Muslims in the West to wake up to their civic, social and moral responsibilities in their respective Western societies and homes in the true Islamic spirit of citizen participants. Son of a long and distinguished family line on both his father’s and mother’s side, Dr. Pasha is a strong believer in the message and methodology of his ancestors to be of service to people, Muslim as well as non-Muslim.
“Love and fear of Allah must translate in service to humanity, regardless of race or religion. That is a central part of the message of Islam and of the model of the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!” (Dr. Pasha).
“The question – and the choice – before Muslims in the West, and everywhere else, today, is quite clear: It is to reach out or not to reach out. It is that simple!” (Dr. Pasha).2
1 A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF ISLAMIC INSTITUTIONS AND DA’WAH ORGANIZATIONS IN ENGLISH SPEAKING TERRITORIES OF THE CARIBBEAN by Muhammad Abdul Jabar