ASJA’s Spiritual Development

At the spiritual level, the ASJA has been blessed over the years with guidance in Islamic affairs, with the office of Sheikh ul Islam headed by two renowned Alims in the saintly personality of the late Haji Ruknuddeen Sahib (RA) and the scholarly Maulana Fazlur Rahaman Ansari (RA) of Pakistan.

Maulana Siddiq Ahmad Nasir who held the title of Sheikh ul Islam did so for a short period in the 1990's. Haji Ruknuddeen Sahib prior to serving as Sheikh ul Islam of ASJA was appointed Qazi in the year 1928 following the death of Syed Abdul Aziz; his predecessor. He also became the President of the Tackveeyatul Islamic Association but relinquished the post when Moulvi Ameer Ali was elected Mufti preaching the doctrine of Qadianism. Under his leadership Haji Ruknuddeen with full support of Sunnis of the Hanafi Madhab then founded the Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat in 1933. This became an incorporated body in 1935. A1 Haj Maulana Shah Muhammad Hassan Al- Qaderi R.A, a Sufi with a spiritual following was also a founding member of the ASJA. Mention must also be made of Moulvi Nazir Ahmad Simab B.A who served the ASJA as a missionary from 1935 serving as lecturer and teacher until his return to India in August 1937. In 1941 the ASJA again engaged the missionary services of a Moulvi, this time Moulvi Fateh Dad Khan of Guyana who also became the Pesh Imam of the Haji Gokool Mosque in St. James.

The ASJA has also been favoured with missionaries over the years in the persons of the late Moulvi Fateh Dad Khan, Moulvi Ishmael Adam (India) and Moulvi Ahmad Saied (India) who have all rendered noble services to the community. In later years Maulanas Dr. Waffie Mohammed and Imran Hosein became ASJA's graduates from the Aleemiyah Institute in Pakistan. Maulana Nagib Hosein, Maulana Siddiq Nasir of Guyana, Dr. Musa Mohammed of Sudan, Maulana Ayub Ali and Maulana Mustaq Sulaimani have all contributed, and most recently Sheikh Faisal Abdur Razak and Sheikh Feisal Baksh of Canada have made outstanding contributions.

The turning point of Islam and the transformation of the Muslim life in this country and the ASJA as an organisation came with the visit of that revered personality, His Eminence Maulana Abdul Aleem Siddiqui (RA) with Dr. Fazlur Rahaman Ansari (RA) as his secretary in 1950 who gave new dimension to the Islamic image and gave new meaning to religious obligation, values and cultural practices. The dress code for women, the performance of Salaat and education were high on the list of priority topics dealt with by His Eminence, who also encouraged and promoted the performance of Zikr as an exercise towards greater spirituality. One of his major successes was his address to a crowd of seven thousand (7000) at a Rally organised by the ASJA at the Queens Park Savannah Port of Spain bringing together Muslims from far and wide. Three notable converts to Islam include Haji Yusuf Mitchell who was an Architectural draughtsman who later assisted in drawing the plans for some of our colleges and Masjids, Sister Muriel Fatima Donawa, a teacher who eventually became a Minister of Government and Brother Rafaee Scope.

Zikr groups established several Jamaats in this country and strengthened by Maulana Dr. Fazlur Rahaman Ansari in succeeding years after his appointment as Sheikh ul Islam in 1964 bear further testimony to the successful efforts of Maulana Siddiqui. Later, Haji Mohammed Yusuf Francis, a local Sufi leader, established the ‘Halqa’ exercises training his devotees in spiritual development.

It must be noted that His Eminence Maulana Abdul Aleem Siddiqui (RA) was well known not only on the international scene, but in his native country, India, where he continued, until his departure from this world, to educate the Muslims there. He produced a booklet entitled “Elementary Teachings of Islam” which is the standard text used by ASJA in our schools and Maktabs. These books are distributed by the ASJA, free of charge. He also authored the book ‘History of the Codification of Islamic Law’.