100 Years Ago… – London Letter

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Al Fazl, 7 October 1919

Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Rahim Nayyarra

Praise of Allah

Observing the lifestyle of Europe, the impact of Christianity, materialism and the dominancy of atheism, then witnessing the sunrise of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat in the heart of London, which is [one of the] world’s largest cities and the capital city of the most powerful empire in the West, my heart and mouth release an exuberant “Alhamdolliah” [all praise belongs to Allah] and I extol the glory of Allah.

Our house from the outside

From almost every station, be it the major railway station of Charring Cross, Waterloo, Victoria or Liverpool Street, you can easily reach Edgware Station through the metropolitan railway or underground tube.

You will arrive at Star Street in a matter of two minutes and leaving three houses on the right hand side, you will find a shining brass plaque on the door of the fourth triple storey house with “Ahmadiyya Movement” written on it. Behind a glass wall adjacent to the plaque, you will see a pasted sample of the Quran – Surah al-Fatihah, published from Qadian. Along with it, you will find small periodicals of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya placed beautifully on the inner side of the glass. Moreover, you will observe a new magazine by the name of A Call to Truth published recently, drawing every passing lady and gentleman towards the truth with all its pages open. Slightly above it, you will see in bold letters, “The Ahmadiyya Library” written in a straight line, manifesting the inner condition of the room. I am certain that though the noise from the heavy traffic consisting of buses and motor cars running on Edgeware Road will draw your attention towards itself, but the sight of this house will make you forget for a while as to where you are. [You will wonder] if you are in Qadian or in London.

In the midst of this happiness, if you focus ahead on the front wall, you will see a delightful and comforting beautiful curtain before you, written on it, the glory of God:

لا الہ الا اللہ محمد رسول اللہ

ان الدین عند اللہ الاسلام

[There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His messenger. Surely, the true religion with Allah is Islam (complete submission)]

In the same pleasant mood, if you look slightly further above, you may observe a triangular board on the third storey of the house placed on a lower level. You can read it if you know the English language or else I will translate it for you:

Our house from the inside

As soon as you knock on the door, a new convert lady will come out and walk you in or the house maid will answer or a familiar face from Qadian will come to meet you at the door. You will find a library and an office of the servant of the Promised Messiahas on the left hand side of the ground floor who is famous by the name of Sadiq and is well-known for the successful religious challenge with Bishop Lefroy in Lahore.

It is quite possible that you meet a new convert lady or gentleman in this room (who is there to pay a visit to Hazrat Mufti Sahib). You will find the books of the Promised Messiahas, a map of London, an English and Arabic calendar, a thermometer, a weighing scale for the letters, stamps and various reference books in this room. On the table, you will see letters with different colours and stamps sent from various parts of the world. After observing this room, you come straight up through the stairs (because from the two adjoining rooms [on the ground], one is occupied by Mrs Florence Abbasi on rent and the other one undergoing repair). There is also a kitchen below as well which does not require a visit.

The central room of the first floor is the “mosque”. You will find “Prayer timings” written on door of this room. Inside, the rug and the prayer mat spread in the middle with the Quran hanging in front will indicate the purpose this room serves.

Chairs placed along the four sides of the wall with three tables, a typewriter, a small press and an English book shelf will suggest to you that owing to the lack of space, this room is being used as a lecture hall as well. In one corner of the room is the office of Nayyar. In the adjacent room, Sadiq and Nayyar spend their nights. On the uppermost floor, you will find one side occupied by Qazi and Sayal, and the residence of the maid and her family in the other room. In the middle of the ground and first floor, there is a toilet and bathroom on one side. Keeping in mind the conditions of London, you will agree with me in saying that a house with seven rooms at such an excellent location, with all the necessary facilities, is very beneficial for the work of tabligh. Our missionaries found this house with great effort and an agreement has been signed off which is effective until 1921.

Mufti Sahib

Qazi Sahib is out of London owing to his ill health and is residing at Hastings near the sea shore and is occupied in tabligh activity over there. Therefore, the honourable occupant of the London residence, “Mr Mufti” (in England, Mr is used to express respect), all alone, with his white beard in the same Qadiani appearance and green attire, is commanding the Muslim spiritual army against the forces of Satan. Relying on my personal knowledge, I can say that the mission of overpowering the dissidents assigned to this general was well executed and is still being done. The matter [of mentioning the name of the Promised Messiahas], which was considered a deadly poison, has become the source of bestowing life to the dead.

Mission in London

Tabligh efforts here consist of:

  1. Meetings
  2. Correspondence
  3. Lectures
  4. Distribution of literature
  5. Alleviating grieved hearts

I can certainly say that Ahmadi missionaries are masterly utilising all these methods with great success. People come to meet on a daily basis and listen to the sermon expressing the truth about the Ahmadiyya Jamaat.

Meetings

During the last week, 20 ladies and gentlemen of both English and Indian origin came to meet us. Below is the list of British Ahmadis among them:

Mr Saeed Wilson from Minster, who stayed as a guest with us for three days. He regularly offered prayers with us. He is an intelligent and noble person. He shows affection towards the Jamaat and spent his time in tabligh to Indian students

Mrs Halima Best Khan, who is a wise and a very noble lady. She, along with her husband, shows fondness towards the Jamaat. They are always willing to help according to their wisdom and intuition. She has two adorable children; one is a girl and the other one, in her lap, is a boy by the name of Abdul Hameed

Miss Best Majeedah is a young modest noble Ahmadi girl. She already knew Bismillah, but now she has also learned Alhamdolillah and Jazakallah in Arabic. She has spared time to understand religion like her sister

Mrs Muhammad Fatima is a noble, virtuous natured and cheerful lady. She knows Surah al-Fatihah in Arabic and reads it very fluently. She knows some Arabic as well. She has a small baby in her lap

Mrs Shah is a young modest natured new convert Muslim lady. She cleaned the room of the mosque with great love and devotion, arranged everything in an order and engaged in writing letters for Mufti Sahib

Apart from them, I happened to meet two other new lady converts: Miss Azizah and Miss Inayat. Moreover, in the current week, Shams-ul-Ulema Maulana Kamaluddin MA of Chittagong has payed a visit twice. A Christian lady by the name of Miss Berry, who is an educated and very sensible girl, is studying Yassarnal Quran [an exercise book to learn the correct pronunciation for reading the Holy Quran] from Hazrat Mufti Sahib.

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