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The Classics

Muslims get a beautiful place of worship

Published:Friday | February 3, 2023 | 7:29 AM
Muslim Mosque, The first in Jamaica at Windsor Road, Spanish Town, St Catherine.

The opening of Jamaica's first mosque was a proud and historic moment for the Jamaican Islamic community. The beautiful structure off Windsor Road was donated by Mr Mohamed Khan.

Opening of Jamaica’s first mosque

Published Sunday, February 9, 1958

 

On Sunday, February 2, the first mosque in Jamaica was opened in Spanish Town. The mosque, a beautiful structure, is well-built and compares well with most mosques in British Guiana and Trinidad. It is situated in a quiet spot off Windsor Road and enjoys the peaceful atmosphere of its surroundings.

The founding of a mosque here in Jamaica is the result of the activities of the Islamic Society of the University College of the West Indies under the leadership of Mr Nazir Abdool.

The mosque and its site were donated by Mr Mohamed Khan of Spanish Town, who always dreamed of making such a contribution to his religion during his lifetime.

Five principles

THE opening ceremony started with prayers by Hajji Mukhtar of New York, USA. The chairman, Mr Nazir Abdool, then spoke generally on the religion of Islam and the huge following it enjoys in the world today.

“There are,” he said, “about three million Muslims in the world today, and this is ample proof of the peace of mind it brings to human hearts.” He outlined the five principles on which Islam stands. They were faith in God, daily prayer, roza (or Fasting), zabast (or Charity), and haj (or puigrimage to the Holy City of Mecca).

Mike Lolita Mohan Ram of The University College West Indies, a Hindu, spoke next, and she wanted to pointed out that worship and devotion to God brought eternal bliss and happiness. She congratulated those who had been instrumental in having the mosque built.

Osman then sang a guzzal (holy song) after which Mr Wahid Ali, medical student, at the ICWI spoke.

The beginning

ALI said that the erection of a mosque was only the beginning and that it depended on the members of the Jamaica Muslim Organisation whether Islam was going to thrive on the island. He encouraged Muslims to associate themselves closely with the mosque and to look upon it as the symbol of their own love for Islam as it would help them along the path to becoming devoted Muslims.

During his talk, he quoted references from Arab countries and the Far East.

Blake, chairman of the East Indian Progressive Society, urged Muslims to follow their faith according to the rules laid down in the Holy Quran. He said the East Indian Progressive Society wholly supported the Jamaica Muslim Organisation and would be glad to be of assistance in the future. He handed the secretary of the Jamaica Muslim Organisation a copy of the Muslim Marriage Law recently passed by the government which recognised Muslim marriages as legal contracts.

For those in the audience who could not understand English completely, Mr R. Tewarl, president of the Hindu Saniu, spoke to them in Urdu and more or less summarised what had been said before.

When the floor was thrown open to those of the audience who wished to speak, Miss Mary Mulai of Kingston Senior School expressed thanks for the invitation to the ceremony, which she said was very entertaining. She appreciated the speeches made, especially since they were so enlightening. She expressed admiration for the sacrifice. Mr Khan made for the Muslims of Jamaica and hoped that his efforts would bear fruit.

At the end of the function, the Tazeem, or closing prayer, was sung by all the Muslims present, and vamaz (prayers) were said. Dinner was served at Mr Khan’s residence.

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