100 Years Ago… – A new convert, lectures in the UK and meeting with Dr Rabindranath Tagore


Al Fazl, 2 & 6 June 1921

Hazrat Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad Sayalra (1887-1960)

I have not been able to write a letter for almost a month because I was ill. I was suffering from a type of influenza that made me very sick for about two weeks. Now, by the grace of Allah, I am feeling well.

According to the present state of affairs, regular [missionary] work has started in our new house by the grace of Allah and we are getting acquainted with the neighbours as well. 

Last Sunday, in addition to our old friends and acquaintances, about a dozen people from the neighbourhood came to pay us a visit, which is a significant number with respect to this country.

A new convert Muslim

In the period of the report under discussion, Allah the Almighty has blessed us with another new Muslim brother. His name is Cornelius Riordan (رىردان) and he is a resident of Norwich. Friends are requested to pray for his perseverance.

Dr Tagore

Dr [Rabindranath] Tagore, the famous poet of Bengal, has come to London these days. I met him at his house and conveyed the message of the Promised Messiahas. He was very delighted to hear that Allah the Almighty had blessed the land of India with the emergence of His prophet.

Mr Tagore is establishing an international university for Asia in Bengal so that Asia, like Europe, may present its sciences and arts in a unified manner. He asked me to appoint one of our professors in this university so that the students could get acquainted with our views. Moreover, he insisted that, “As I am going to India now, you must meet me there at the university headquarters when you come [to India].” 

During the discussion, I said that the real reason behind the unity of Europe is the oneness of religion. Although there are many sects in Europe, the religion of the majority is Christianity and that is why there is uniformity in the civilisation, sciences and social standards of all the people of Europe. 

On the contrary, Asia is divided into three camps – Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. There must be a power that should substitute these three religions with only one religion. Thereafter, Asia will also be as strong as Europe. 

Of the three religions mentioned above, only Islam has the potential to be a universal religion, so Hindus and Buddhists should convert to Islam. 

On hearing this, Dr Tagore said, “I have no prejudice against the religion of Islam and I even read the Quran at times. So, when the university will be established and an educational centre will be created for all of Asia, then we will decide about a religion as well.”

Old London
An old scene of London, Circa 1920

Lectures for tabligh

In the month of April [1921], regular weekly lectures were held in the mosque and at Star Street. In addition, speeches were given in various parks and lectures were delivered in three different societies as well.

My lecture on Islamic law was held in Walworth. After the lecture, questions and answers started and after that, the president said in his speech, “We pray that the laws of Islam based on truth and wisdom be established in England as well.” This lecture took place on 15 April [1921].

On 18 April [1921], Maulvi Mubarak Ali Sahib gave a lecture at the Society of Philology on the accounts of the Promised Messiahas and Hazrat Maulana Khalifa Ira. The audience liked this lecture and the participants requested another lecture on this subject.

On 22 April [1921], a London based society aiming to unite East and West, invited me to attend a lecture. There, again, I got the opportunity to present the spiritual benefits of Islam to the people.

[Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad Sayal MA, 10 May 1921]

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in the 2 & 6 June 1921 issue of Al Fazl)

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here