Saturday 18 March 2023

Islam in Bahamas

The Bahamas, officially the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is an island country within the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies in the North Atlantic. The archipelagic state consists of more than 3,000 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, and is located north of Cuba and northwest of the island of Hispaniola (split between the Dominican Republic and Haiti) and the Turks and Caicos Islands, southeast of the U.S. state of Florida, and east of the Florida Keys. The capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence.

Bahamas is officially a predominately Christian country with a population of about 400,516 (2022 estimate). Of this, Muslims constitute a very marginal minority, something under 1,000. That is adherents of Islam represent even less than 1% of the population. The reason for this rather minuscule Muslim population is that Islam came to this part of the world until very recently. Although, Muslim presence in Bahamas can be noted during the Slave Period, but they could not establish a strong foothold on the Islands being literate and due to harshness and rigors of slavery.

The journey of Islam in the present times began somewhere in the 1960, a Bahamian named Bashan Saladin (formerly Charles Cleare) preached Islam and converted his home into a Mosque. In 1974, Dr. Munir Ahmad who returned from the US as a Dental Specialist and Mr. Mustafa khalil Khalfani joined hands to establish Islam in the country. They were later joined by Br. Faisal Abdurrahmaan Hepburn. After independence, more Bahamians converted to Islam while studying in the US. There are many Muslims here from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, as well as from Turkey and Guyana, who have helped develop the Muslim community in The Bahamas. Many of these work in the Bahamas as doctors, businessmen and teachers.

The development of Islam in the Bahamas since 1970’s constitutes a very important era. Muslims in Bahamas feel that their fore fathers, who were brought here as slaves, were unable to practice their faith and consequently Islam never flourished. Conditions now are much more conducive for the growth and development of this faith which emphasizes the worship of one God alone and the finality of Prophethood with Muhammad, who established Islaam 1430 years ago in Arabia.

The small percentage of Muslims poses a huge challenge to those Muslims who are mostly converts on the island and are striving into live by the tenets of Islam every single day. In the Bahamas, there is one Masjid which is still in the process of being built to completion and an effort is made to have the adhan called for each salat daily. In 1978 when Jamaat-Ul-Islam, the Revolutionary Islamic Movement, was formed and Br. Mustapha Khalil Khalafani was chosen as its leader, the Muslims established Jamaat- Ul-Islam Mosque in Nassau operated by Jamaat Management Consultancy Limited owned by Brother Faisal Abdurrahman Hepburn.
Jamaa' Ahlus Sunnah, Nassau, Bahamas [Photo]

The Mosque rests on two acres of land, white in color with three domes (one large and two small) and one tall minaret.  It is surrounded by newly planted trees, a colorful courtyard and a parking lot.  Women area is separated by a perforated wooden partisan. The five daily prayers are performed punctually in congregation. Over 60 people attend the Friday sermon and prayer.  Other activities include brothers and sisters study circle as well as children’s Sunday school.
On a question in Quora whether there are Muslims in Bahamas, there was an answer by Nan Bowe Hilaire which stated: Yes, there are Muslims in the Bahamas. It’s a good size community there are about 300 maybe more by now. I even went to school with a girl whose family was Muslim she was the only Muslim in the entire school and was well love and respected, in the Bahamas even though there are many religions and some, of course, are more popular than others (Baptist, Catholic) everyone is really open-minded about different religions.
Although, Islam in Nassau is growing with a strong foundation for increasing the Dawa work in the area. Muslims in The Bahamas are still being ignored or marginalized in many ways however primarily because they are still a very small minority. The Bahamas is an excellent travel destination for all people. Also, it welcomes Muslims by offering a wide range of halal food.

The Muslim community is actively involved in social work and other civic activities. The community has made its voice heard on a range of topics, from crime in society to correcting the negative image of Islam and Muslims in the media. The community has work in presenting Islam as a viable alternative to various social ills. The community has also joined hands with the government in socially oriented activities. When the Government established the National Social development council, the community immediately cashed the opportunity to make a contribution. The Council was an amalgamation of civic bodies coming together to tackle the social problems of the nation. The Council was expected to establish commissions to deal with issues such as crime in society, teenage pregnancies, domestic abuse.

I could not get a video on the life of Muslims and their way of life and cultural activities. However, am sharing the video below which gives an insight in the establishment of Islam in the Bahamas by the key figures mentioned earlier in the post:

Disclaimer: The data for this post has been collected from the references given below. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

To know more about life of Muslims in other non-Muslim countries, please visit our Reference Page: Islam and Life of Muslims in Non Muslim Countries

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
Flag Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |
If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on Facebook

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp or any means on social media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More