100 Years Ago… – Activities in the global Ahmadiyya mission, 1921: Qadian, USA, West Africa and UK

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The Review of Religions (English), October 1921

Qadian

The head of the Ahmadiyya community after a sojourn of three months in the pleasant valley of Kashmir has come back to Qadian. During his stay there, some 70 persons joined the fold of Ahmad[as] at his hands. His health is on its way to recovery. We request our brethren to pray for the speedy convalescence of our Imam. 

Nawab Mubarika Begum and her younger sister Amatul Hafiz Begum, the two blessed daughters of the Promised Messiah[as], reached Qadian along with their noble consorts on 17 October [1921] after a long absence of 18 months from the headquarters. 

Mr FM Sayal [Maulana Fateh Muhammad Sayalra], the head of the London mission, has reached Qadian safe and sound. 

M Rahim Baksh MA [Maulana Abdur Rahim Dardra] was nominated by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih to take his place but on account of financial embarrassment his departure has been indefinitely postponed. 

Maulvi Mubarak Ali BA, the coadjutor of Mr Sayal is living labourious days to make amends for the deficiency caused by the absence of his associate. 

Our American mission

Our readers are already aware that the Lincoln University (USA) had conferred upon Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, the pioneer of our mission in America, the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature for his distinguished scholarship and literary eminence. 

Now the College of Divine Metaphysics St. Louis, has bestowed upon him the title of Doctor of Divinity. We give below the true copy of the diploma: 

“‘In God We Trust’ – United in One – ‘E Plaribus Unum’

“The College of Divine Metaphysics

“By These Presents, Know All Men

“That Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, having satisfactorily and honorably completed a Course of Study and Training in the College of Divine Metaphysics, we, the Board of Trustees, do hereby issue this Diploma and in accordance with the Article of Incorporation under and by authority of the State of Missouri (U. S. Amer.) confer upon him the title of Doctor of Divinity. 

“Given at St. Louis, Mo., 

“July 16th 1921. 

“(Sd.) R. Hartmann, C. M. Porter, M. E. Allen, M. L. Denbig, A. Ulmer, L. Behm, E. Vitt, P. M. Boyd, C. D. Boyd, W. C. Ortgier, T. W. Foby, G. E. Ortgier

“(Sd.) Joseph Percy Green (President)”.

In his latest letter, dated 13 August [1921], Dr Sadiq writes that since his last report he has secured 18 conversions. The number of the new converts in America, now, by the grace of God, is over one hundred. 

Writing about the spread of Bahaism in America, the Dr says, “It is no religion at all and conversion to it entails no sacrifice of the convert’s social, political and religious ideas. The neophyte can retain his old religion and his previous form of worship. He is a Bahai but still a Christian, a Hindu and a Muslim at the same time. They mould their political and social ideas according to the current of the time. Their outstanding principles are:

1. The political and social rights of man and woman are equal. 

2. Polygamy is not allowed. 

3. There should be no war and points of disagreement between different powers should be by an international Court of Justice. 

4. There should be a central tongue. 

5. The prophets are manifestations of God and Bahaullah is the highest manifestation.”

West African mission

In his latest letter Mr Nayyar writes, “The fifth and the last lecture of the series of lectures which I delivered in the Ahmadiyya Hall, Lagos, was on ‘Three Stages of Spiritual Progress’. The four lectures proceeding it went under the headings of: 

1. Muhammad in the Bible 

2. Jesus did not die on the cross 

3. The second advent of the Messiah 

4. How to get rid of sin. 

“The lectures were largely attended and gained more converts and contributed great strength to our mission. One of the audience [members] said to me: ‘But for you, we would have become Christians.’ The lectures have produced such a wholesome influence on the public that even the students of the schools have actually memorised them and now harass their Bible teachers by putting questions to them. Lessons in the Holy Quran and the hadith have infused a new life in the Ahmadis.”

After four months of constant hard work and engagement, Mr Nayyar has left Lagos for Gold Coast where on his way to Logos he had gained 4,000 converts from among the Fantees. He will remain there for some months to train and educate them. 

Before his departure for Gold Coast [Ghana], Mr Nayyar received a telegram from Abeokuta, the Capital of a Muhammaden State located in the interior parts of Africa. Our missionary gave two lectures before a very big audience which included some princes also and we are extremely pleased to inform our readers that Prince Ali Egberonighi, a Chief of 15,000 Muslims became Ahmadi. After handing over the training and education of the Ahmadis of Lagos to a body of 12 notable and influential Maulvis. 

Mr Nayyar started for Gold Coast and reached Saltpond on 8 August [1921]. The Ahmadis of Lagos have sent 51 pounds and 2 shillings for lamps to be suspended in the turret of the Minarat-ul-Masih and 50 pounds for Propagation Fund. 

London mission

Muslim festival at the mosque in London

Striking coincidence

London papers publish photos of the Idul-Azha service as it was being performed by our brethren in London. These photographs are accompanied by such remarks as the following:

“One of the most wonderful scenes in London yesterday was this Muhammadan service held at the ‘Mosque’ in Melrose Road, Southfields.”

The Daily Graphic gives the following account of the service under the heading “Mecca in London”: “One of the most remarkable service which took place yesterday was the celebrating of the feast of Eed-uz-Zuha in a garden at Southfields, where eighteen Muhammadans assembled, and, after carefully so arranging the carpets on the grass that the worshippers should face the east, heard prayers read in Arabic and then a sermon in English.

“A dozen people belonging to other creeds sat around on chairs. All sorts of faiths and demonstrations were represented, one of the men present being a spiritualist. They watched the coloured people performing the ceremonies of their religion with the greatest interest.

“It was an interesting coincidence that the great Muhammadan festival should have coincided with the sensation created in the Christian Church by the speeches of the Dean of Carlyle and other clergymen at Cambridge, throwing doubt on the divinity of Christ. At yesterday’s services in London’s churches thousands of worshippers were thinking deeply and painfully over the Dean of Carlisle’s words – words which go to the very roots of Christianity.”

(Transcribed by Al Hakam from the original in The Review of Religions, October 1921)

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