In the name of God, the most Merciful, the most Merciful!


New Literature for a New Era

Education at its best -- for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Authentic. Unique. Powerful. Readable. Absorbing.
Accessible. Electrifying. Groundbreaking.

Driving Islam Home to the World -- One Concept at a Time!

See Islam for all that Islam really is:

Peaceable! Positive! Simple! Sensible! Elegant! Civilized! Constructive! Hopeful! Contemporary! Pragmatic! Problem-Solving! Moderate! Modern! Balanced! Just! Fair! Compassionate! Truthful! Nice! Easy! Fun! Global! Divine! Authentic! Original! Free! (Dr. Pasha)


Islam and Muslims in Beautiful Caribbean

DR.PASHA | March 12, 2008 | Section: Articles | 1239 reads

Read offline:


Islam and Muslims in Beautiful Caribbean

Dr. Pasha

(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?)


Two Islands, One Nation

Small, lush, tropical, tranquil, prosperous, free, laid back, vibrant and active Trinidad & Tobago is unlike most other places in the world. It is a set of two islands, one smaller than the other, that together constitute a country and a member nation of the United Nations.

Geographically, culturally, historically, economically and politically, Trinidad & Tobago is an integral part of the West and yet it is located at a respectable physical distance from both Europe and the United States with large green chunks of the mighty Atlantic separating one from the other.

Blessed with Allah’s bounties in the form of enormous wealth from oil and natural gas, Trinidad & Tobago is perhaps the most affluent nation of the Caribbean and the West Indies, but it is also a nation, like many other nations of the so-called Developing World, that is widely interspersed with pockets of grinding poverty.

It has a surfeit of cars on its roads but is plagued with a rate of air pollution and traffic accidents and fatalities that are alarming. Many of its beautiful beaches are washed over with oil slicks.

Alcohol flows through the veins of Trinidad & Tobago like water, and crime stalks the nation like a chronic nightmare.

Midway between the East and the West

The people of Trinidad & Tobago are a sensitive, proud, hard working, decent, accomplished and highly educated lot. Literacy is over 90 percent and education is free right through the university level.

The spirit of entrepreneurship and personal initiative and enterprise is as common as the national fever for partying, music, fete, frolic, “liming” – hanging out and having a good time – and the annual Christian-secular festival of Carnival that embodies many of these questionable practices.

In many ways perhaps Trinidad & Tobago is a midway point between the more fully developed nations of the West and what many people refer to as the “Third World.” It is a nation the origin of most of whose people is the “East” – mostly Asia and Africa – but whose present location, culture and orientation is mostly of the “West.”

And in more ways than one, Trinidad & Tobago is a checkered microcosm of the world and its multifarious peoples, cultures and traditions. It is in closest proximity to South America and yet in many marked ways it is not a Latin American nation.

Overall, Trinidad & Tobago is a society whose people, leaders and culture are uniquely and amazingly open and sensitive to more than one point of view, whether it is in politics, religion or something else.

Racial and Religious Harmony

Trinidad & Tobago is a land in which white, black and brown people of all faiths and philosophies commingle and coexist in peace and harmony with one another.

Today, religion is being used by narrow-minded bigots and self-serving zealots and charlatans everywhere to exploit society, divide people and the world into hostile camps and visit all kinds of the most unspeakable atrocities on fellow human beings. At a time like this, Trinidad & Tobago has every reason to proudly celebrate its spirit of broad-minded tolerance, peaceful coexistence and racial and religious harmony.

It is a land in which Christians, Hindus, Muslims and others live, work and go about their daily business practicing their “religion” with a spirit of mutual respect and accommodation that is reflective of the basic teachings of Islam in this regard. Historically, it is reminiscent of the racial and religious harmony that prevailed for centuries in Muslim Spain before the Inquisition.

With the two large African and Indian racial and ethnic groups having a comparable share and a complimentary role in the composition of the society, and with a small white and still smaller Chinese and native Caribbean presence playing the role of salt and yeast in the leavening of this wonderful mix, Trinidad & Tobago is the true melting pot of the world in modern times, even though other societies of the world may have from time to time laid claim to that title and delivered only marginally and meagerly on that claim.

In earlier times, it was Islam that taught the world how people of different religious and racial backgrounds must coexist and live in peace and harmony with each other. Islam created the first true racial, religious and cultural melting pot of the world.

In more ways than much of the world realizes, and without actually pressing that expression into service or making too much fuss about it, Trinidad & Tobago embodies what some parts of the world recently have come to call diversity – an oblique reference to mutual tolerance, accommodation, negotiation and respect between and amongst diverse population segments representing diverse racial and ethnic categories, cultural groupings and religious viewpoints.

An Enlightened Democracy

Trinidad & Tobago is also a resource-rich society with a great and vibrant present and an even greater and more vibrant future that is full of promise, potential and excitement. It has a higher literacy rate than most societies of the world and an economic base and infrastructure that are geared to propel it in the ranks of the developed societies of the world by the year 2020.

Above all, Trinidad & Tobago is a free, proud, self-respecting and enlightened democracy, where freedom strains and rings from every beach, valley and mountaintop. And where independence of spirit reigns in the heart of every individual no matter how high or low his or her education or economic or social status.

American Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King, first prime minister of Trinidad & Tobago Eric Williams and others who so valiantly struggled for freedom, opportunity and dignity for their people, would have been happy to see their vision of freedom, equality and opportunity for the Western Hemisphere coming true on this island of a little over a million souls, a mere dot on the map, but a true giant among nations when it comes to commitment and respect for and adherence to the lofty notions of human rights, civil liberties, freedom, democracy and equality for its people.

A Solid Base of Informed Citizenry

It is true that economics, politics, good government, law and order, viable infrastructure, strong industrial and agricultural base and a rigorous educational system all play a part in ensuring for a society such as Trinidad & Tobago a great present and a greater-still future. But none of this could be sustained for long without a citizen base that is truly informed and enlightened on the one hand and that is also at the same time adequately skilled and trained in everyday living as well as in the dynamics of community building.

In many ways, the one thing that sets Trinidad & Tobago apart from the rest of the world is its people. Whether in business, politics, education, sports, art, religion or culture, rarely do such abundance, richness, depth and diversity of talent exist in other parts of the world on such a small parcel of land, among such a miniscule population, by comparative standards.

It is true that the executive, the legislative and the judiciary branches of the government play their respective roles in training and educating its people and in the running and building of the Trinidad & Tobago of today and tomorrow, as does the standard educational system in the form of schools and universities. But at the same time, the role of citizen initiative and enterprise in building a peaceful, prosperous, free, democratic, law-abiding, tolerant, egalitarian, enterprising and vibrant society for tomorrow can hardly be ignored or underestimated.

Totalitarian, Authoritarian vs. Truly Free Societies

In totalitarian and authoritarian societies, the citizenry is generally rendered dependent, ineffective and beholden to the paternalistic directives and favors of the government. Others in other societies and communities use all kinds of propaganda techniques and fraudulent devices to keep their people uninformed and misinformed about the realities of the day to better control and manipulate them to their own nefarious ends.

That is why in truly free and responsible democracies, especially in a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, resource-rich, culturally vibrant, economically active and religiously diverse and tolerant modern democracy such as Trinidad & Tobago, government work and responsibility to inform and educate its citizens must be buttressed and augmented by independent and ongoing citizen initiative and enterprise at citizenry training and education.

That is the true spirit of Islam: Each one, teach one.

Or as Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, put it: Kullukum raa’in wa kullukum mas-oolun ‘an ra-‘iyyatihi.

Paraphrase: Every one of you is a leader and God Almighty will hold every one of you responsible for whatever is in your care.

The question then is how can ordinary citizens – as individuals and groups – pool their talents and skills to train their fellow-citizens in the requirements of such things as culture and communication that are vital for survival and success in today’s competitive world and tomorrow’s expanding economy and prepare them to assume their rightful role in a more fully developed society consonant with a 2020 development vision and goal?

A Leadership Role for Islam and Muslims

Islam and Muslims have been a part of Trinidad and Tobago for the past at least 150 years. That is was when the British brought Muslim contract workers – Indentured Labor – from the Indian Subcontinent to fill the role of slaves at sugar plantations when slavery was abolished.

A significant part of that contract labor force from India was Muslim, with an even larger part being Hindu.

Before that, Muslims may have been a part of Columbus’s crew in the 15th Century. Muslims most likely formed a significant slice of the slave populations that the European nations plucked out of Africa and transported to the Americas as part of the European slave trade in African men, women and children in subsequent centuries.

But regardless, it is the descendents of the contract workers from India that form the bulk of the Muslim presence in Trinidad & Tobago today. The other major component of Islamic presence on the islands is of African ancestry, mostly descendents of the slaves who over the past several decades have discovered Islam and embraced it.

Even though the percentage of Muslims in the population may not be more than 6 or 7 percent, Muslims have their role cut out for them: for Islam as well as for themselves as Muslims.

It is a role of leadership.

In Islam, Leadership Means Service

And if they are serious in fulfilling this role then the first thing Muslims of Trinidad & Tobago need to realize is that the truly Islamic model of leadership is one of service. That means those who aspire to be the leaders of their communities and societies must become their servants.

Here are some words attributed to Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in this regard:

Sayyidul qaumi khaadimuhum.

Offhand, I cannot recall the reference for this statement, nor can I even vouch whether it is a Hadith or not or how reliable or strong it is as a Hadith. But regardless, these words make a lot of sense and here is how I would paraphrase them: “A leader of a people must really be their servant.”

So, the Muslims of Trinidad & Tobago – just like Muslims in any other part of the world – must realize that their true and proper role in the societies in which Allah has placed them is to serve and help that society and its members in every way they can.

That is the role of Islam and Muslims in this world.

Muslims: An Education People Par Excellence

One way Islam and Muslims can fulfill this historic leadership role in the world whether it is in Trinidad & Tobago or elsewhere is for Muslims to become an education people par excellence. That means Muslims must become the truly education people of the world that Islam meant them to be such that every time the world opens its mouth and mentions the word “Muslim,” it must automatically associate that word with the best and highest forms and levels of education and educational leadership in the world.

That means, wherever they are in the world in general and in Trinidad & Tobago in particular, Muslims must aim at building the finest educational institutions and setting and reaching the highest levels and standards of the finest and most well-rounded education for themselves, their families and for the societies in which they live.

They must inculcate in themselves and teach everyone else in society the noble and glorious Islamic concepts of freedom, equality, justice, fairness, integrity, truth, compassion, charity and basic human decency. They must steep themselves in the fear and love of God and become walking, talking, living Qur’an.

Sunnat Is Building a Better World for All

That means Muslims must become in our own time and in every place in the world a true reflection of the Sunnat – life, teachings and practical example – of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.

And this must be not merely in the way he dressed or ate his food, and not just in how did his Wudu or performed his Salaah or Namaaz, but also how he spent his days and nights serving his family, community and society, and how he devoted his entire life to building a better society and better world for all of Allah’s creation, Muslim as well as non-Muslim, human as well as non-human.

That is the challenge facing the wonderful Muslims of Trinidad & Tobago today, just as it is also the challenge facing Muslims everywhere else in the rest of the world today, just as it was also the challenge facing Muslims everywhere in every period of Islam’s history on earth.

For, that was precisely the challenge to fulfill which Allah sent his prophets, Allah bless them all, and raised up Islam and Muslims in this world: to invite and bring everyone to Allah’s way and to make this world a better place for all of Allah’s slaves on earth.


© 2008 Syed Husain Pasha

Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional 
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at] 
AOL [dot] com or




Jump to Article:

Related content
Waa Islaamaah! That is what I say: Waa Islaamaah! It is a distress cry - about the condition of Islam today. Poor, poor Islam! That is what it means: Waa Islaamaah! And I will tell you why I am crying Waa Islaamaah! ...
Don't be surprised by what I am about to say now. When you look around, when you travel, when you try and contact people, when you make all kinds of efforts, and get in touch with those who you think are people in positions ...
While Iman could be a condition of your heart, Islam is all about discipline. Consequently, in a very real sense, there is no Islam without adherence to a Jama'at and commitment to a leadership. That is why Islam demands that you, ...
To a lot of Muslims engaged in leadership activities in this world I wish to say this: Do keep in mind that there is Life after Death. While this earthly life will pass, Life after Death will stay forever. Therefore, even as ...
Islam, among other things, is about an elected and publicly accountable government and independent judiciary. Qur’an laid down these principles quite clearly and precisely – among many others – for everyone to read, understand and implement in their lives and societies ...
We call on the world – the entire world, Muslim as well as non-Muslim; in the East as well as in the West – to declare and celebrate Thursday, May 23, 2013, as WORLD DAY OF DEMOCRACY. This year, May 23 ...
Once again, I don’t know why I am writing this. Nor am I absolutely certain about what I mean by at least some of what I am saying. In any case, here is the thought. And I have expressed it before. Democracy ...
"Good people must try not only to love God in Heaven, they must also love human beings -- and all of God's creation -- on earth and seek to serve them the best way they know how. That is Islam!" (Dr. Pasha)
I have spent a lifetime learning, reading, analyzing, researching and thinking through Islam on the one hand and Democracy on the other hand. And here is some of what I found. In any society, where there is no democracy, there can be ...
I have been saying this for years. No, make it decades. "Islam Is Democracy!" That means where there is no democracy, there can be no Islam.  Period. No matter how hard you try to fit the square peg of Islam in the round hole ...
Islam means taking responsibility. And that means showing initiative when and where needed. Initiative shows leadership. And Islam is leadership. And that really is the foundation of true democracy and decentralization of power. Kullukum Raa-in, says the Hadith. END
Good Muslims go to mosque, engage in community activities, and stay away from bad things -- what in Islam will be called Munkaraat. Well, Bad Things -- things Muslims should not be doing. But often Good Muslims' list of Mukaraat is partial and ...
Islam came to liberate humanity from all kinds of slavery -- and vices. And it did so quite successfully. Among the top modes of slavery Islam set humanity free from were Hereditary Kingship and Traditional Priesthood.  In fact, Allah had kept Pre-Islam ...
Dr. Pasha has issued a call to world Muslims to observe a World Day of Repentance this 'Aashoora, 1433. Muslims are human and as humans they have done many things over the centuries that are contrary to the best interests of ...
Those who love freedom and democracy for Egypt and the Great Egyptian People – and for all the other peoples, nations and societies of this world – must show that love by maybe fasting and praying and begging God for ...
How much clearer can the issue of Democracy = Islam = Deen = Shari'ah be? Finally, the world seems to be getting around to understanding this equation.  But notwithstanding those who haven't got a clue, it seems to me that the message ...
"People, Muslims included, have opinions about America – and who can blame them. And they want to express those opinions – and they should. For, that is what America is all about: the right of the people everywhere to have ...
What most people forget is that no part of this life, and nothing whatsoever that they have in this life, is theirs to begin with. Someone gave it all to them. God Almighty: that is who gave it to them. ...
"It was during the first few days of the month of Muharram that Moses (Alaihis Salam) set his followers free from the tyranny of the Pharaohs. He parted the sea with his staff and led his people to freedom in ...
"Tyranny has many faces and they are all from the Devil. In case anyone has trouble understanding this simple equation, let me make it as clear as I possibly can: A so-called “Religious” Dictatorship or “Islamic” Dictatorship is still a dictatorship. It ...
“To the extent Democracy implies rights, freedoms and opportunities for participation and representation for “The People,” it is from God and it embodies the essence and spirit of Islam.  Dictatorship on the other hand, any kind or type of dictatorship, whether it ...
“When it comes to Muslims, I have often wondered which leadership is worse: leadership that is corrupt, tyrannical, authoritarian and unprincipled or leadership that is naïve and foolish and uninformed.” (Dr. Pasha)
It is that time again: Elections! And if you are Muslim, you must vote. There are no ifs or buts about it. As Muslim, you have no choice but to vote. For, Islam means voting. And it means elections. Others may get ...
When God wants something to happen, he just says “Be!” and it happens. That is the ultimate Rule by Decree. It is Rule by Royal Fiat. That is because God is King. And that is because God is the Owner and the Master and ...
Are Elections Haram? Says Who? And Based on What? Part 1
Pasha Hour International of Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Islam Is All About Discipline — and Leadership [Quote – 467]
To Would-be Muslim Leaders, a Reminder about Life after Death [Quote – 454]
Elected Government and Independent Judiciary [Quote – 440]
WORLD DAY OF DEMOCRACY — Fa-Hal Antum Muslimoon? Will You Submit?
Between a Quorum and a Crowd [Quote – 403]
God in Heaven, Human Beings on Earth [Quote – 356]
Islam and Democracy: Real vs. Unreal [Quote – 494]
Islam Is Democracy, period! [Quote – 533]
If Not Elections and Democracy, Then What?
Shouldn’t Someone Tell Foster Friess This?
Why Do We Worry So Much about Typos – And other Errors in Our Writings?
Islam Is Leadership:How Islam Sets the World Free [Quote – 660]
Mosque Managers: How Many Good Muslims End Up [Quote – 639]
Hereditary Monarchy and Priesthood: Islam vs. Muslims [Quote – 604]
Killing of Husain: World Day of Repentance
Three Slogans Every Muslim Must Learn and Teach
A Call to Prayer & Fasting for Egypt
Democracy-Islam Isomorphism
Thank God for America – and for Islam [Quote – 255]
It Ain’t Yours to Begin with [Quote – 253]
Ending Tyranny … from Moses to Husain [Quote – 236]
A Dictatorship Is a Dictatorship, Is a Dictatorship, Is a Dictatorship [Quote – 205]
Democracy Is from God and Dictatorship Is from the Devil [Quote – 204]
Not Much of a Choice between a Tyrant and a Fool as a Leader [Quote – 121]
How Much of Muslim Leadership Do You Think Is “Sold Out”? [Quote – 120]
If You Are Muslim, You Must Vote!
Government of the People: That Is Islam!

Home | Writings | Audio | Quote-Unquote