100 Years Ago… – Ahmadiyyat in Mauritius: Correspondent of Al Fazl talks to an Ahmadi from Mauritius

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On 24 July [1921], Elahi Bakhsh Sahib Bhunno Ahmadi, a respected landlord from Mauritius, arrived in Dar-ul-Aman [Qadian]. The next day, a correspondent of Al Fazl met him and enquired about some details, which are listed below:

A long time ago, the family of Elahi Bakhsh Sahib Bhunno [family name] left India and settled in Mauritius. They own a large plot of land there. He alone owns 500 bighas [one bigha roughly equals to 1/5th of an acre] of land in which sugarcane is cultivated. His son, Ghulam Hussain Sahib Bhunno, who has been living in India for four years, passed the entrance exam in Qadian and this year passed the FSc exam from Islamia College, Lahore. Now, he is going abroad for medical studies. 

Elahi Bakhsh Sahib is around 45 years old and signs of wisdom and piety are visible on his face. He is of good height and can express his thoughts in the Urdu language.

The Al Fazl correspondent asked him how he came to Qadian. In response, he said:

“I left home with the intention of performing Hajj of the ‘Baitullah’[House of Allah – the Holy Ka‘bah], but I reached Bombay [now Mumbai] when the last ship to Jeddah had left. Therefore, with much regret, I had to postpone my plan of Hajj this year.

“Then, I thought it appropriate to come to the land of Qadian as coming here was also a good deed. Anyway, after Hajj, my intention was to visit Qadian.”

Question: How many Ahmadis are there in Mauritius?

Answer: I cannot tell the exact figure, but there are about 500 or more women, men, children and the elderly.

Question: How much chanda does that Jamaat contribute?

Answer: I cannot estimate the exact amount of chanda because I have never calculated it. However, I can say this much, that all the expenses there are borne by the Jamaat [members] themselves. Thousands of rupees were spent by the Mauritius Jamaat in the court case of the mosque.

Question: Is there any particular predicament in the tabligh of Ahmadiyyat over there. Pray tell if there is any?

Answer: There is no predicament as far as the government is concerned. Due to some insurrection on the part of the common mullahs, the people had grown in opposition. Owing to this, they used to avoid meeting Ahmadis, but now this hatred and opposition is waning. Due to the illness of Sufi (Ghulam Muhammad) Sahib, tabligh has slowed down a bit.

Question: What kind of suffering do Ahmadis have to endure from their opponents?

Answer: In the early days [of the Jamaat], the opponents also used to beat Ahmadis, but for some time now, they have lost their vigour. Ahmadis are firmly established in two places: Rose Hill and Saint Pierre. Although their numbers are smaller than those of their opponents, still they are sufficient, and since most of the Ahmadis are generally prosperous with the grace of God, they are beyond the reach of their opponents and in fact, have an influence on them.

Question: How have Ahmadis treated their opponents from the beginning up till now in comparison to this mistreatment by their opponents?

Answer: Ahmadis have always treated non-Ahmadis in the best possible way. A notable example is the days of influenza, when people were dying in large numbers. At that time, Ahmadis did their best to help non-Ahmadis there in providing for their treatment, medicine, shrouds and burials. 

Question: How is the Jamaat there in terms of sincerity and love for Ahmadiyyat?

Answer: The Mauritius Jamaat, by the grace of God, is exceptional in their sincerity with their faith and Ahmadiyyat. When they were attacked by their opponents, they endured it with great patience and perseverance. Then, in the court case of the mosque, the Ahmadis there presented money in abundance. All this was because they have full faith in Ahmadiyyat. Otherwise, it was not possible for a person to sacrifice themselves for such a belief without having absolute faith in it. They are so firm and steadfast in their faith, by the grace of God, that they are not at all ready to deviate from their belief and they will not care to sacrifice their lives for this.

Question: When did the last person join the Jamaat while you were there [in Mauritius]?

Answer: I know about [converts of] Saint Pierre. It has probably been two or three months, i.e. since the decision on the mosque case, when four people have joined the Ahmadiyya Jamaat.

Question: (After presenting Ahl-e-Hadith newspaper of 3 June 1921) You may not have heard the name of this newspaper. It is the newspaper of Maulvi Sanaullah Amritsari, the archenemy of the Jamaat. A letter has been published in it on behalf of a person named Muhammad Hussain who is probably a buyer of the Ahl-e-Hadith newspaper, by an anonymous person who says that he is a well-wisher of Islam. I would like to hear your response on it, particularly about certain information that has been presented in it. This person states:

Mirzais [Ahmadis] missionaries have been coming here [to Mauritius] for the last six years and around 40 or 50 people have converted to Qadianism [Ahmadiyyat].” Is this figure of Ahmadis correct?

Answer: I have already told you that there are at least 500 Ahmadis there. This person who says the total number of Ahmadis is 40 or 50 is absolutely wrong. By the grace of God, the number of Ahmadis in our own family alone amounts to this figure.

(Elahi Bakhsh Sahib has two male siblings as well and they both have many more children, all of whom are Ahmadis.)

Question: The correspondent of Ahl-e-Hadith has written that the Ahmadis, like their master, had declared their success in the mosque case as a sign of their truthfulness. What do you say about this? Is he true in his claim? Did the Ahmadis declare their success in the mosque trial as the standard for the truthfulness of the Promised Messiahas?

Answer: This is completely wrong. The Ahmadis have never laid down any condition to their opponents in this regard.

Question: Thirdly, the correspondent of Ahl-e-Hadith has written, “Now they [Ahmadis] are strictly forbidden to enter any mosque. [These people] cannot deliver sermons or preach. The whole Mirzai ummah is dead and an absolute silence has overtaken them.” What is the reality behind this?

Answer: You can never silence a liar. This is also totally erroneous because the government has recognised the right of Ahmadis to offer prayers in every mosque and there is no restriction for them. However, it was not allowed to offer congregational prayers in other mosques just to curb the mischief of non-Ahmadis. By the blessings of God, our tabligh continues in every place.

Question: The last thing Ahl-e-Hadith’s correspondent wrote is, “Around 12 Mirzais [Ahmadis] repented from false beliefs after the imam’s sermon.” Is this true?

Answer: (Upon hearing this, Elahi Bakhsh Sahib got impassioned and said in a slightly louder voice than usual): Is it possible that around 12 Ahmadis felt inspired by such an imam to leave Ahmadiyyat who carried out the nikah of a married woman, while she was still married to another man?

If the correspondent, with whom we are not acquainted, is truthful, he should produce the names and addresses of those 12 persons who, inspired by the sermon of the imam, have repented from Ahmadiyyat at his hands. Due to the said actions of the imam, such misfortune has struck him that many people, having the same belief and faith like his, do not offer prayers behind him, let alone an Ahmadi getting influenced by his sermon and renounce his faith at his hands.

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original in the 1 August 1921 issue of Al Fazl)

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