A Short History Of
Islam In The
It was early in the 18th century that Islam was first
introduced in the Caribbean and the
The first batch of Muslims from Africa belonged to the
Mandingo and Fulani tribes of
The pattern was the same in all the areas. Anti·-Islamic propaganda was not lacking in any of the slave camps in any of the countries, but the slaves who were Muslims died as true Muslims (May Allah Bless them forevermore).
It was a great tragedy, however, that in spite of their best efforts, these poor African Muslim slaves could not pass on their religion to their children. Their children were brutally taken away from their parents and given over to the custody of others who baptised them in their faith. The inhuman disintegration of the family structure of the Muslim slaves was the best weapon of the European masters in ensuring that the offspring of their slaves would be robbed of their Islamic heritage.
On May 5th 1838, the first boats with indentured East Indians on board -- SS Hesperus and SS Whitby -- arrived in Guyana. The Fatel Razak arrived in Trinidad on May 30th 1845 with the second batch of Muslims in the Caribbean. They were the indentured labourers from
It was those few educated ones among the Muslims who, helped by Allah's grace to maintain the regular observance of their religious practices among the Muslim immigrants, ensured the preservation of Islam for the benefit of their offspring. To do this, they had to overcome the methodical and untiring efforts of other missionaries, who were given every encouragement and assistance by the estate owners in their efforts to win over the immigrants to their faith, as if it was not enough to have the missionaries harass the Muslim labourers from observing their festival occasions. To give one example, those Muslims who congregated to observe their Eid prayers at the Palmists Estate were flogged for offering their first Eid prayers in Trinidad. On another occasion, many defenceless Muslim immigrants were shot down like dogs by Captain Baker and his Platoon of armed policemen, simply because they wanted to carry out a peaceful observance of a religious occasion.
As can be well imagined, the indentured immigrants in each territory suffered many hardships and deprivations, but whether they had come from India, Indonesia, Morocco, or Algeria, they possessed one great asset in common, that is their complete faith in the truth of Islam, as the true religion extended by God for mankind, and as believers that "There is no other deity except Almighty God (Allah)," and in the divine messenger-ship of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (U.W.B.P.), they had a religion worthy to live by and to die for.
With the challenge of the other Missionaries before them,
the Muslim labourers responded to the call of their
leaders for solidarity, and for the preservation and propagation of Islam. It
happened everywhere whether in
On the ending of the indentured system, when they were released from their contracts, the Muslims came into their own as equal citizens in their respective new homelands. They now built mosques in every district and near to each mosque a religious instruction school. Thus they were able to preserve their religious practices and traditions for their offspring.
Today Islam is on the march in each and everyone
of these countries to which our predecessors came as slaves or as indentured labourers. Many people who were formerly nonMuslims are now becoming Muslims. In Trinidad and in
The, Muslims of these Nations such as
The Muslims of these countries are grateful for the service rendered to them in the cause of Islam by visiting Muslim missionaries from India, Pakistan, Indonesia, as well as the U.A.E., Arabia, and Egypt, who have helped to revive the religious consciousness of the Muslims in these countries from time to time in the past hundred and thirty years. The present generation of Muslims is particularly grateful for the great contribution made to Islam in more recent years by His Exalted Eminence, the late Maulana Abdul Aleem Siddiqui, R.A., and in more recent times by his Eminence Dr. Fazlur Rahman Ansari and Maulana Noorani Siddiqui.
At the present time, local students from these countries are
being sent to centres of Islamic learning in the U.A.E.,
Those who make the false allegation that Islam was spread by
the sword should study the spread of Islam in the
Posted August 21, 2009. This article was printed in the April-June
2009 issue of "The Message," a United Islamic Association (UIA) publication,