As the country bade farewell to a longstanding servant of the Islamic community, Haji Yacoob Ali, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Rural Developments and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein are among many who paid tribute.
Ali, 86, the longest-serving President General of the Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association (ASJA), died on Tuesday.
He passed at the Augustus Long Hospital in Pointe-a-Pierre after being transferred from the Point Fortin Hospital over the weekend.
With his casket draped in gold and green, members of the faith and his family praised Allah for his life at his Janazah in Cunupia yesterday.
Ali’s death saddened Persad-Bissessar, who described him as a man of impeccable character and a true patriot. She said Ali dedicated many years to building the ASJA, ensuring its capacity to fulfil its role in the national community.
“In addition, Haji Ali focused on tremendous outreach to lift many members of the society out of poverty and social distress,” Persad-Bissessar said.
She said Ali would be remembered for his many good deeds, kindness and generosity.
Hosein said Ali was a spiritual leader and mentor in the Muslim faith, known by many for decades of service to the community.
“He will be remembered for his wisdom and guidance in all matters of Islam. Haji Ali was always willing to help others in need and did so wholeheartedly and generously. He lived his life in worship to Almighty Allah and was a role model to Muslim brothers and sisters across Trinidad & Tobago,” Hosein said.
San Juan/Barataria MP, Saddam Hosein, said the ASJA managed many masjids and schools under Ali’s leadership. He said Ali also advanced the institutional development of the ASJA through advocacy and a strong presence in the Muslim community.
“He has played an integral role in the educational sector of our country, of which I am a proud alumnus of the ASJA Boys’ College, Charlieville. Perhaps, one of the most fundamental aspects of Haji Ali’s life was the motto which he espoused, that success in life is not what we have but how much we are prepared to give.”
Saddam said this motto was appropriate now more than ever as the world continues to grapple with the economic and social hardships brought by COVID-19.
India’s High Commissioner to T&T Arun Kumar Sahu has also issued condolences.
“It’s saddening to receive the news of the passing away of Haji Yacoob Ali, the longest-serving President of the Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association (ASJA). With his demise, the Trinibagonian Islamic society lost a piece of their history. The community will miss his guidance and mentorship. His kindness, generosity and humanitarian service will be deeply missed. With a heavy heart, on behalf of the High Commission of India in Port of Spain, I express my deepest condolences to his family, friends and the Muslim brothers and sisters of Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.