A Sweet Child Named Jennifer
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
Trinidad is a tiny little island in the Caribbean, lapping up giant green waves from the Atlantic. Just off the coast of Venezuela, the South American nation with most oil reserves in the world. Trinidad too has its oil deposits which feed all kinds of mouths in all kinds of places.
The population of Trinidad is roughly 40 percent from Africa and 40 percent -- mind you this is just a quick count and not an exact number -- from what used to be called the Indian Subcontinent, now comprising of three countries: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The rest is made up of Chinese, White, Arab and all the others.
All kinds of European Colonizers fought numerous bloody battles to get and keep possession of Trinidad and left their bloody mark on the island in many ways. There is even a cove on one of the scraggy coasts of a Sister-Island of Tobago that carries the tell-tale name of Bloody Bay.
European Colonizers brought Africans to the island as slaves. And the same European Colonizers then turned around and imported what they called Indentured Laborers from the Indian Subcontinent.
Sugarcane plantations on the island needed bodies to cultivate and harvest them.
Along with people, from both Africa and Ind-Pak-Bangla Subcontinent, came their culture. And part of their culture was what people so loosely call Religion. While most Indentured Laborers from India were Hindus, many of them were also Muslims.
So, suddenly there was a mushrooming of both Hindu Temples and Islamic Mosques throughout the tiny little island of Trinidad. Thousands of miles away from what would be the natural habitat and native land of these professors and practitioners of Hinduism as well as Islam.
One of the things that impressed me most about Trinidad, and left me in awe almost, was that, in the early 1970's, there were roughly about 100,000 Muslim men, women and children in the island. And, among them, they had 100 mosques, where five times daily "prayers" were held, with varying amounts of regularity.
Allah brought his Deen of Islam to Trinidad in all kinds of ways. Some of them perhaps among the least expected. And one way Allah did this was by raising up some very special individuals from among the sons of the soil to learn and preach Islam to their own people.
Some of these individuals were highly gifted in all kinds of ways. And some of them were also most sincere and dedicated. So, their devotion to the Twin-Task of Learning and Teaching Islam was not a mercenary adventure, as it became in the case of some others later on.
These very special people did not do this for wealth or name or fame or power, as some others ended up doing later on. They did it because they, by Allah's mysterious doing, all of a sudden found Islam. And they fell in love with Islam: with Allah and with Rasulullah, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
And with the Qur'an and with the Hadith.
And they hit the road with the message of Allah's Deen to take it to every home and to every heart throughout the island nation of Trinidad. And, in the process, they made enormous personal and professional "Sacrifices" to keep their pledge to Allah to take his Book to every home and heart that needed it -- and which one did not or does not?
And some of them, through their talents and skills and resources, and through their unrelenting labor and struggle, helped to unleash a revolution of sorts on this tiny little island, making Islam and Qur'an household names all through the length and breadth of the island.
Many generations of young Muslims from traditional Islamic homes, as well as new comers and converts embracing Islam coming from a non-Muslim background, learned Islam at their hands.
My family and I were fortunate enough to know one such individual, may Allah grant him full health and vigor and long life, and give him Istiqaamat.
This word Istiqaamah is from the Qur'an. It means endurance, continuity and firmness in one's striving and struggle to learn, understand, practice and propagate the Deen and the Message of Islam.
It is this that we translate and paraphrase as: Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It -- and which One Does Not?
That man's name is Zabar -- one of the most amazing human beings and one of the most talented and tireless workers for Allah's Deen that I ever met. May Allah bless him.
And that man Zabar, and his wonderful wife, Allah bless her, had a most wonderful daughter. Her name was Jennifer. Jennifer was, then and throughout her later life that I knew her, one of the sweetest children anyone can ask for.
This sweet child Jennifer is no longer with us. For, she, as is the way of all mortals, returned to her maker, two weeks ago.
Innaa Lillahi wa Innaa Ilaihi Raaji'oon.
May Allah grant her Jannat and pour Sabr and Istiqaamat on her parents.
Muslims of Trinidad owe a great deal to this great man Zabar in terms of their Islam and in all kinds of other ways.