Born in 1955 at Point Fortin, Trinidad.
At the age of seventeen, having been involved in the work of Tabligh, Shaykh Abdul Salam left for India in 1973 where he pursued Islamic studies. During a period of seven years he completed the Maulana and Qaari courses at Darul Uloom Sabeelur Rashaad, Bangalore, India and then went to Darul Uloom, Deoband to study Ahadith.
Shaykh was my teacher in Tafseer Jalalain, Hidaayah, Mishkaat Shareef, Abu Dawood and Bukhari Shareef. His nature is unique and he emphaises the teaching of manners and etiquettes, which are ever so necessary for every student. His loving nature only increases one’s love for him but his delicate nature always left me alert and aware of his feelings and also of exercising the best of manners.
Shaykh Abdul Salam is one of the gems of the Caribbean and South America.
When we went to Darul Uloom, Sabeelur Rashaad, Bangalore, with Maulana this year, it was amazing how much love and respect the people there showed him. People would travel for hours to get to Darul Uloom and then wait for more hours and some for even days so that he would go to their place. They did not just invite him, they waited until he was ready to go with them. It made us, his students, appreciate him even more. His classmates told us that amongst all the students at Darul Uloom at that time, Shaykh was the most loved by both teachers and students, including Barey Hazrat.
Shaykh was a very special student of the world renowned Scholar, Hazrat Maulana Anzar Shah Kashmiri. He was also a student of Barey Hazrat Maulana Abu Saood, Hazrat Mufti Ashraf Ali and Maulana Meeran Sahib of Banglore. He was also blessed to be in the company of Shaykh Maulana Zakariyyah and also with Mufti Mahmudul Hassan Gangohi while he was studying in Deoband.
Our Shaykh Hazrat Maulana Yusuf Motala told us that one day, while in the Majlis of Shaykh Zakariyyah, Maulana Abdul Salam and Mufti Shabil were sitting right in front of him. Some people were suggesting that they move to the back because they were young and they could not understand Urdu. Hazrat Shaykh said: ‘Leave them right here, because we don’t know what Allah has in plan for them.’ Whenever he comes to Trinidad now, which is normally for our Khatme Bukhari, he recalls this incident and feels very happy. This was the insight of Hazrat Shaykh.
Shaykh Abdul Salam is a fatherly figure whom Muslims of all ages, races and backgrounds look up to as a role model. Embodied in him are many characteristics of Rasulullah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). He is loved by everyone, all bodies have utmost respect for him. He is a very spiritual person with much experience of life.
The religion of Islam has outlined a complete way of life whilst balancing the rights given to each individual.
These rights are distributed and balanced to create harmony between various people, whether it be family members, colleagues, friends, teachers, students etc.
On this point my respected Shaykh, Maulana Abdul Salam, is a practical example when dealing with us with respect to his rights as our teacher. When he would want us to return to school at a certain time, or to complete a certain task, then he would never command by saying ‘Do this’ as this would be within his rights and require us to abide; and failing to do so would make us sinful.
Instead, he would request through words such as ‘Can you…’ which, whilst not exercising his rights, conveys the message of what he wants.
Shaykh has shown us that the rights in Islam are there as a guidance to ensure that the needs of individuals are not violated and that each person is aware of their rights and responsibilities. However, many a time, it is more beneficial to forego your rights, in order to display your love and affection to those you love and also saving them from an obligation which could have led to the individual becoming sinful.
Alhamdulillah, if we consider our rights in this manner then it will create an atmosphere of love and affection with those close to us. At the same time each person will learn to do things for another not because they ‘have to’ but rather because they ‘want to.’
May Allah give us all the understanding of this lesson our Shaykh taught us, to create an atmosphere of love and affection within our school, homes and lives.
One special quality of Shaykh’s teaching, as most students would tell you, is that when you sit in his class, you don’t have to review for his exams. Such is the quality of his Dars.
Shaykh has that quality that every student is very comfortable with him. He is very compassionate.
Since Shaykh is someone who likes to explore, he travelled to various parts of India and Pakistan even while studying.
He returned to Trinidad in 1981 and assisted Mufti Shabil with Darul Uloom Trinidad & Tobago in 1984. Maulana is a Director and Administrator of Darul Uloom, Trinidad and Tobago.
His efforts to propagate Islam and to promote Darul Uloom T&T extended beyond the narrow boundaries of T&T. He travelled to nearby countries such as Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Grenada, Suriname, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, etc.
Since his return to Trinidad, Shaukh has been actively involved in educational pursuits. Unlike Mufti Shabil, he was not one to write but he would give lectures all over the country. May Allah accept all his efforts.
Every year, Shaykh would tell his graduating students that, you will be a shining torch and you would either show people the correct way or burn them. Let us be the ones to show the people the correct way.
One rank is given to those endowed with knowledge and another to those who disseminate such knowledge, and it is such people who belong to the category, ‘the best of you.’ Shaykh has always been involved in teaching, Tazkiyyah and Tabligh. From my observation in traveling with Shaykh Abdul Salam, I don’t think anyone can point to him on the Day of Judgment and say he did not invite them to Islam.
I am fortunate to have been given the opportunity to travel with Maulana many times. I have traveled to Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Guyana, U.K., India and made Umrah with him.
Shaykh was given Khilafat by Hazrat Maulana Mughisi, of Ajrara, India, who is a Khalifa of Shaykh Abu Hasan Ali Nadwi. Shaykh is also a very special mureed of Shaykh Yusuf Motala.
He is the Khateeb, resident Aalim and Director of Masjid ul Muttaqeen (Munroe Road Masjid).
Shaykh takes active part in the work of Tabligh. He carries students in Jamaat for the upliftment of Deen among the masses and he is very close and very much loved by Hafiz Patel of Dewsbury and Maulana Ahmad Laat of Nizamudeen Markaz.
Due to his sermons and simple down to earth and modest lifestyle, Shaykh commands respect from Muslims all over the world. He has a simple, eloquent and distinctive style of explaining the purpose of human life and its creation and often uses practical examples to support his point. He has delivered lectures to all types of communities in society, including such attendees as doctors, engineers, professors, businessmen, government officials, ministers and politicians. His untiring efforts brought real Islamic values in the lives of many.
Currently, together with teaching at Darul Uloom, Shaykhs holds Zikr Majlis every day after Fajr at Masjidul Muttaqeen and some days at Darul Uloom. He also has Tafseer Majlis every Monday at Masjidul Muttaqeen. Islahi Majlis is held every Thursday at Masjidul Muttaqeen.
‘All the teachers of these Madaris need to have the qualities and compassion of Maulana Abdul Salam to their students.’ (Maulana Qamruzaman Ilahabadi)
‘We are fortunate to travel with Maulana on many occasions and one of the many things we observe was that he was very meticulous and consistent with his Amaals and he causes your Imaan to increase.’ (Students).
Once, Allah allowed Maulana to address the nation. Maulana Shiraz told us that Maulana has the special ability to speak comprehensively using very few words. His words may be few but the message is voluminous.
May Allah grant him a long and healthy life. May Allah let the masses benefit from him in all ways and forms, Ameen.