100 Years Ago… – A glimpse of the Ahmadiyya London Mission: Summary of Qazi Abdullah Sahib’s address

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Al Fazl, 4 December 1919

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Although detailed accounts of the Ahmadiyya London Mission have been published in newspapers of the Jamaat and various other periodicals of the country, verbal narrations possess a unique aroma.

It is wished from the associates who return to Dar-ul-Aman [Qadian] from foreign countries after performing their tabligh responsibilities that they narrate their experiences and incidents before the audience.

One of the great benefits of this practice is that a passion and enthusiasm is instilled in the participants to serve religion after listening to these accounts.

For the same reason, respected Qazi Sahib was requested to narrate his experiences before the members of the Jamaat. Hence, a written announcement was published by Nazir Talif-o-Ishaat [Central publications and propagations directorate] on 30 November that respected Qazi Sahib will share his experiences and accounts of the Ahmadiyya London Mission at 3pm in Masjid Aqsa.

When members of the Jamaat gathered at the said time, Qazi Sahib stood up and recited Surah al-Fatihah after Tashahud. Then, he stated:

“My friends, know that I used to live a quiet life here and I did not have any opportunity to deliver a lecture, but it is an act of God that the thought of sending me to a foreign country was produced in the heart of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II [may Allah be pleased with him]. The moment he informed me about my appointment for this task, I was astonished and fear overtook me, that what would an unskilled and incompetent person like me do over there? Thereafter, I began to pray before God, “O Lord, You know that I am unqualified and do not possess any capability within me, so please, help me.” When I prayed like this repeatedly, I received a divine inspiration:

اِنْ یَنْصُرْکُمُ اللہُ فَلَا غَالِبَ لَکُمْ

“‘Nothing shall overcome you if you stand to serve the religion of Allah.’ Hence, I witnessed the outcome of this glad tiding when I reached that country and had discussions with prominent persons of Christianity and their bishops were also invited to demonstrate the truth of their religious doctrines, but by the grace of God, no one was able to face me.

“It shows that once God Almighty desires for someone to perform any work, then no matter how incompetent that person may be, He grants enough ability to them that the expertise of the world become insignificant before them. So, whatever I have done, only God is worthy of praise for it, the One Who takes work from the unskilled.

“Brothers, you must be aware of the fact that I suffered from a severe illness in London, which still has an impact on me. Apart from that, I experienced travel fatigue, which I experienced for a whole 30 days. Moreover, I am suffering from influenza and sore throat. Therefore, I will not be able to speak for too long and I will briefly narrate some incidents before the audience.

“I left here at the end of 1915, during the war. There were difficulties in boarding from Bombay [now Mumbai]. So, I went through the route of Colombo. Although the Germans had not announced that the ship which we would embark upon would be drowned by them, nevertheless their submarines were scattered in the area. Therefore, the ship moved along the way in a zig-zag pattern. All the lights were turned off at night so that the enemy may not launch a surprise attack. Every person had a lifebelt that remained with them during sleeping hours as well. After around two weeks of travel, the ship reached Marseilles and there, we were informed about the rule of war.

“During those days, Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad Sahib was residing 12 miles from London as his eyes used to hurt, so I had to live there as well. We were staying at a house. At that time, our tabligh was of private nature. Four months after reaching there, I delivered a lecture in Brane, which proved to be very successful, by the grace of God. Some days later, Chaudhry Sahib returned and I was left all alone. I shifted to another house, but the land lady of that house turned out to be full of prejudice. The loss which I suffered while living there was that whoever would come to meet me, she would say to them, ‘He is an antichrist.’ I explained to her, ‘We are not the antichrist. The antichrists are those who possess the attributes of the antichrist.’

“Thereafter, I considered it appropriate to make my headquarters in London. Hence, I moved to a house on Russel Street, near the British Museum. Mr Koreo also lived there, who became a Muslim through the efforts of Chaudhry Sahib. He is an intellectual person. His work is to provide the translation of English newspapers to Italy and to translate the periodicals of Italy for the English newspapers. I started working with him. In this way, I established a markaz over there. I fixed [a board] on the house having “Ahmadiyya Movement” written on it in bold letters. Seeing it, a lot of people used to visit us.

“Representatives of various newspapers used to come as well. Some of them used to publish the same details as informed by us. Certain others stooped to mockery, but their mockery was also beneficial for us. My duty was to perform tabligh through correspondence and educate and carry out the tarbiyat of those people who had already become Muslims.

“A great way for a missionary to be noticed over there is to keep away from their traditional clothing. In fact, he should wear a unique dress because if he wears the same clothes as theirs, then they have no reason to notice them. I used to wear a turban over there. During the lectures and meetings, I used to wear it. However, when I would visit a shop to purchase something, I used to wear a cap because if someone visits a shop wearing a turban, they think that the person is a Raja or Maharaja who is strongly following his tradition and has not been influenced by their way of dressing etc. in any way.

“It was a constant concern that owing to this misconception, they may charge more for less expensive things. Hence, it was my practice to wear a cap while shopping and a turban on other occasions. I used to send regular reports to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih comprising of all the works that were performed there. However, the conditions changed when Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiq Sahib arrived in 1917. The work began on a large scale. By the blessings of God, we started achieving success by the day and our reports began to publish in newspapers of Hindustan on a regular basis.

“Presently, we happen to have a house of our own there. Outside the house, ‘Al-Masjid’ is written in bold letters which is followed by the words:

اِنَّ الدِّیْنَ عِنْدَ اللہِ الْاِسْلَام

and written beneath is:

أَشْھَدُ أَنْ لَّا إِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ وَأَشْھَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُہٗ وَ رَسُوْلُہٗ

“This also is a means of attracting people’s attention. A lot of people come to meet us. Some of them are reformed and some come closer, while certain others return in the same vein as they had come. When I was here, I used to think how it would be possible that, when we have the truth and we present it with strong evidence, that the people will be able to deny it! However, when I reached there, I realised that Allah reforms those whom He pleases.

“Currently, Master Abdul Rahim [Nayyar] Sahib and Chaudhry [Fateh Muhammad Siyal] Sahib have reached there and work is being carried out, which is a blessing of God. Now, there is a need of enormously strong funds. The markaz has been established and there is a pressing priority of expanding the work. It is the objective of Hazrat Khaliftul Masih that a large number of people go there who can afford to live on their own and they should stay in contact with the Markaz. We are hopeful that God Almighty will produce great results.

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