Longdenville, Trinidad & Tobago: Masjid ul Nur Longdenville Jamaat (congregation) started from very humble beginnings possibly as early as 1918. Situated on the Caparo Brasso Valley Road, Longdenville now called Main Road, Longdenville.
At that time the Muslims in the area saw the need of building a Masjid to serve the Islamic spiritual needs of the Muslims living and working in the area and near environs. At that time there was the then Tait and Lyle sugar estates in Longdenville, the Clay Block factories (now Trinidad Aggregate Products and ABEL), agricultural estates and farmlands.
The land was donated by Ameer Kanhai (aka Kanhai Meah from Railway Road, Longdenville, near Trinidad Clay Products back entrance (now ABEL). A Tapia house structure with a thatched roof was initially built and later developed into a clay structure.
Unfortunately, thereafter due to a split in the Islamic Ideology amongst the membership, another Masjid was constructed at Cemetary Street, Longdenville. Sadly, due to this split and in the absence of a full-time Imam, the Masjid was left abandoned for a few years during the 1940’s.
Haji Shair Ali who moved into the area from Caroni upon discovering this mobilized support and assistance from the families in Longdenville, Palmiste, Raghunanan Road and Enterprise sought the help from future Imam Abbass Ali and managed to revive the Masjid and ultimately its membership.
Whilst Haji Shair Ali never accepted the Imam’s position, he filled in whatever capacity required, and ensured that the most appropriate person was appointed as Imam.
He was widely regarded as the pillar and key person in Masjid ul Nur, Longdenville from the 1940’s until his death in 1989. He taught Maktab Classes not only in the Masjid but also in several areas like Palmiste, Todd’s Road, Raghunanan Road, Talparo, Las Lomas, Brazil, etc.
With the resurgence of the Jamaat, the Masjid became affiliated with ASJA (Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association) and was very much involved in their regional meeting and programs. (Region B).
Maulana Fazlur Rahman Ansari Visit
In the Early 1960’s, a regional lecture at the Masjid by visiting lecturer Maulana Fazlur Rahman Ansari of Pakistan culminated with a sod-turning ceremony which signaled many new beginnings for the Jamaat. Present was also Haji Shaffick Rahaman, then President General of ASJA and Imam Ishmael Mohammed.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s, Region B Meelad un Nabi functions were hosted including lecturers like Maulana Noorani of Pakistan, Dr. Wahid Ali (then President of the Senate), Haji Kamaluddin Mohammed (then Government Minister), to name a few. Bro. Shamad Ali became the Chairman Region B ASJA and was quite instrumental in securing these lectures and our participation.
Also, during this period Young members of our Jamaat participated and excelled in ASJA’s National and Regional Quranic Recitation and Qaseeda singing Competitions, gaining an invitation to live Broadcast on Radio (Trinidad Broadcasting Network) of our members rendering Qaseedas and also to UWI National Meelad un Nabi function.
During the 1990’s and 2000’s, we also hosted lectures by Maulana Imran Hosein, Maulana Suleimani, and Shabir of Canada, Maulana Chisti, Maulana Kavir, Mufti Asrarul Haqq, the Spiritual head of ASJA.
A Musallah (Praying area) was constructed at Thompson Road, Palmiste for the convenience of the membership of Palmiste and environs, following which a full Masjid was established in the 1990’s. Bro. Haman Akbar Ramjohn became the first Imam there until Maulana Imran Abdool was appointed as Imam.
List of Imams.
- Ameer Kanhai Meah 1st Imam approx. 1918-?
- Imam Basheer Khan approx. 1950-1955
- Imam Ishmael Mohammed approx. 1950-1955
- Asst. Imam Sheikh Shakeer late 1950’s (moved to San Juan)
- Imam Abbass Ali (1960-1976)
- Imam Inshan Ali (1976-1982)
- Imam Kazim Ali (1982- Aug. 2015)
- Imam Maulana Shazeer Hoosein (Aug 2016-Jan 2017)
- Imam Salahudeen Mohammed July 2017 -present
Assistant Imams: Fazal Ali, Sham Riaz Ali, Akbar Ramjohn, Shaffikul Salim
Maktab teachers: Abdool Ghany, Sheikh Shakeer (Studied in Cairo, Egypt), Bro. Syne, Bros. Ghool Khan, Farhad Khan, Haji Shair Ali, Sisters Ishra Mohammed, Isha Mohammed, Brothers Shafayat Hosein, Sham Riaz Ali, Roshan Ali, Maulana Shazeer Hoosein.
Infrastructural Development A Tapia house structure with a thatched roof was built and later developed into a clay structure.
A one storey Concrete structured building was erected. The sod was turned for the construction of new building in the 1960’s by a prominent visiting Islamic Scholar Maulana Fazlur Rahman Ansari from Pakistan, thus signaling the beginning of a new chapter in the Jamaat’s history.
To date, many infrastructural upgrades have taken place including the construction of the Majid Hall and enclosure of surrounding corridors in the late 1990’s and the addition of an upper storey for the Men Praying area around 2005/2006.
Further upgrades were done in the Masjid Hall in 2009 (ceiling). Recently in May/June 2018 with modernization and expansion of Hall, corridors, Kitchen and Ladies Bathroom.
With a hope for continuing development Insha Allah, Masjid ul Nur Longdenville continues to be the Centre for Islamic Propagation and prayer for the Muslims in the area as well as those many Muslims who simply pass through our Masjid.
Originally published in Masjid An Nur, Longdenville, Ramadan / June 2018 Eid Magazine. You can download a pdf of the magazine here.