100 Years Ago… – Ahmadiyya news from Qadian and London


The Review of Religions [English], January, February & March 1923

Qadian 1


Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih [IIra], Head of the Ahmadiyya Community, had indifferent health before the annual Jalsa (i.e., gathering) of the Ahmadiyya Community, which was held as usual in the Christmas [holidays] of 1922. The injury that he had sustained in the leg last year gave him some trouble; the pain having revived on account of the coming of winter. Thank God he was better in the Jalsa days and besides granting a large number of interviews to the members of the Community who had come to Qadian from all parts of the country, he delivered two public lectures, each of which lasted for more than four hours. He also gave two lectures to the female members of the Community. This hard work, which was in addition to his ordinary duties, which he never relinquished, told on his weak health and he had a rather severe attack of cold, cough and fever and had to be in bed for more than a fortnight in January [1923]. This necessitated a change and on medical advice, he went to the riverside for a trip. His trips, however, are never quite complete holidays for him, for though away from the headquarters, he always has to do a lot of work in connection with his official duties. His Holiness came back to Qadian on 1 March 1923 and is now, thank God, enjoying much better health.

The Ahmadiyya Secretariat at Qadian has been busy in the discharge of its duties. There has been a slight slackening in the work of the office of the General Secretary, Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Qadian. Dr Khalifa Rashid-ud-Din LMS, General Secretary, went on leave and no suitable substitute could be found on account of all the local prominent members of the Community being rather over-busy in their respective spheres of work. The doctor, who is an old companion of the Promised Messiahas has temporarily started medical practice at Lahore. We wish him long life and prosperity and an early return to Qadian, which he so dearly loves but has been forced by circumstances to leave temporarily.

The Secretary for Missionary Work to His Holiness is to be congratulated on the very able and efficient work of his department in the last few months. Successful meetings and controversies [i.e., debates] have been held in the different parts of the Punjab, notably at Amritsar, Kapurthala, Jalalpur, Gujranwala and Delhi. Preachers and missionaries have been touring the country and calling men to truth and righteousness. 

Maulvi Sanaullah of Amritsar, who is a notorious enemy of the Ahmadiyya Community, made a bold entry into the Hyderabad State of Southern India and began a series of public attacks against the Ahmadiyya Movement and its Holy Founder. This necessitated the sending of Ahmadi missionaries to the Nizam’s dominions. Sheikh Abdur Rahman Misri and Maulvi Fazl Din Vakil were consequently sent off to Hyderabad and their reports show that they have been very busy refuting his charges and inviting people to the fold of Ahmadas. Seth Abdullah Allah Din of Secunderabad, whom our readers best know as the compiler of “The Claims and Teachings of Ahmad”, issued a challenge to Maulvi Sanaullah to enter into a Mubahala duel, i.e., invoking the curse of God on whichever of the two parties be enemy of the truth and then waiting for God’s decision for a year – a criterion for testing truth held out by the Quran. Seth Allah Din offered a sum of 10,000 rupees to the Maulvi if he entered into the Mubahala duel with our missionaries and came out successful at the end of the year and further promised to sever his connections with the Ahmadiyya Movement if God’s wrath did not overtake the Maulvi within that period. But the Maulvi would not listen to his proposal.

Another important feature of the missionary work of the department is the new wave of missionary activity in the neighbourhood of Qadian. Chaudhry Fateh Mohammad Sayal MA, Secretary for Missionary Work to His Holiness, has inaugurated an elaborate scheme of missionary work for the immediate neighbourhood of Qadian and every Friday parties of zealous and devout Ahmadis are to be seen marching out of Qadian to the various villages roundabout. The pious efforts of these silent workers have already begun to bear fruit, for hardly a week passes without the ranks of the Ahmadiyya Community being considerably swelled with new converts from the neighbourhood.

Last but not least is the work of our missionary department in connection with the so-called “low castes”. Very little attention has been given so far by us to the uplifting of the large masses of the [so-called] “untouchables” of India, and it is a painful confession that the Christian missionaries in India are ahead of us in this respect. The “untouchables” of India are fast embracing Christianity and hundreds of thousands from these depressed classes have already gone over to the Christian missionaries. Our Khalifa has been of late rousing the activities of his secretaries and has been telling them that the message of Islam is for all mankind. The mightiest king and the ablest of scholars are as human as a street sweeper. Nay the poor neglected ignorant man has a better claim on our attention and sympathy than his more fortunate brethren; and it is a pity these men have been so far neglected by us. Consequently, the Secretary for Missionary Work has now taken up the work in hand in right earnest and besides many honorary workers, a special paid preacher has been appointed solely for work among the low castes. The Secretary has also appealed to the outstation Ahmadiyya Anjumans to begin the work in earnest. This, as anticipated, has roused the apprehensions of the Christian missionaries who had so far almost monopolised this field. A few days ago, a European Christian missionary, who probably belonged to the Batala Mission, came over to Qadian, ostensibly as a visitor desiring to study our movement and our activities, but, as there were reasons to believe, with the purpose of knowing what we were doing in connection with the low castes and how far our efforts were meeting with success. He was shown around our various institutions and was entertained by the Secretary.


london 849563 1920

Our London Mission is in a prosperous state. Professor Abdur Rahim Nayyar has come back to England from Nigeria and will stay there for some time before coming back to Qadian. Brother Mubarak Ali BA of Bengal, who is in charge of the London Mission, has temporarily gone to Germany, where it has been decided to establish a mission. It is just possible that Brother Mubarak Ali may be transferred from London to Berlin to be the first Ahmadi Muslim missionary in Germany. In this case, there will be a vacancy in the London Mission staff, which will probably be filled by some new missionary from the headquarters. Maulvi Mohammad Din BA, en route to the USA, stayed in London and gave very useful help to our London missionaries. There is however one thing in connection with the London Mission which appears to us a great drawback on the activities of the said Mission and which if looked to will, God helping, greatly facilitate our work in England. We mean a monthly magazine devoted to and conducted by the Mission. A powerful organ will greatly shorten our labours, extend our influence and be a rallying point for the converts. Any regular mission without a local journal is badly handicapped and our London Mission is no exception. Our missionaries must have made abnormal efforts to have been so successful without a journal to facilitate their work and without possessing even a mosque in the beginning.

(Transcribed by Al Hakam from the original in The Review of Religions [English], January, February and March 1923)

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