Today, printing is very different from the process used in past times. As compared to modern technology, early printing process was challenging and demanding. Until the early twentieth century, compositors completed each step of printing by hand, and a skilful compositor could type limited number of characters or letters in an hour while a computer can assemble the same number of characters in seconds. Nowadays, more words are being printed every month than were printed a year in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. At present, even a student using a personal computer is simultaneously doing the jobs of writer, editor and compositor.
Modern equipment has made printing reasonably priced and easily available with the help of laptops, tablets and digital cellular technology. Our forefathers, including the noble Companionsra of the Promised Messiahas, however, went through difficult times in the field of printing. We are eating the fruits of their untiring and arduous endeavors, which they continued to make with full devotion. A portrayal of those hardships and the resolute passion of our ancestors can be observed in the below appeal of Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira, first editor of Al Hakam, which he made to the associates of Al Hakam:
Al Hakam, 7-14 December 1918
Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira
We are grateful to God Almighty and all praise be to Him that Al Hakam magnificently continues to publish through this age even though there is a lack of paper and printing equipment. Publishing consistency has not been affected although there is a global outbreak of influenza. Despite the fact that a strong appeal of assistance to expand publication has not been made, an entire year of publishing is successfully coming to an end. We are grateful to the associates of Al Hakam who have valued its worth and helped support its continuation. In the limited publication of Al Hakam, there are some individuals who have not made an advance annual payment which is very much necessary. Moreover some have returned its VP (value payable) post. Although I have not an iota of doubt in their generosity, I request them that they should understand the requirements of this long-serving worker (Al Hakam).
Since the launch of Al Hakam, twenty-two years back, it has been sent to all subscribers by value payable post to collect annual payment in the first week of December. In continuation of the same cycle, this issue should have been sent through value payable post because advanced payment would have helped in storing paper and obtaining the required equipment for printing which is vital in present circumstances. I have always been mindful of the fact that Al Hakam should play a beneficial role in serving the cause (of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya). Neither do I indulge in futile discussions nor do I have any desire to waste valuable time of the Jamaat in irrelevant discourse. So, Al Hakam has been playing its part to caution and safeguard the interests of the Jamaat against harmful circumstances. It has been a duty of Al Hakam to keep the (individuals of the) Jamaat well-acquainted with their obligations and the requirements of the Jamaat, as well as to help pave a way towards the objectives laid down by the Promised Messiahas and it will continue to fulfill these responsibilities with the blessings and mercy of God Almighty.
The influence and impact of Al Hakam is associated with the expansion of its publication. More or less, three hundred rupees per month are required for an up to date weekly issue. In the second year of this new era, I am determined to publish it on a weekly basis with the blessings and mercy of God Almighty, thus everyone should realise their responsibility.
A single individual gave one hundred thousand rupees for a newspaper in Karachi, so is it not possible for at least one hundred devout persons of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya who are sincere and prefer religion over worldly desires to give one year’s expenses for Al Hakam? I am not pessimistic by the grace of God Almighty. I have high hopes and I earnestly believe that the One who helped continue Al Hakam’s publication in such poor economic conditions after its initiation to the age of this resolute Khalifat, He shall never let go of it in the future. My friends! These are the days to work as you may not find these days again.
I understand that the present circumstances have broadened requirements and reduced the means of income, but I still believe that these conditions will not affect our associates. In brief, three hundred rupees per month are needed for the continuation of a regular, up-to-date weekly Al Hakam. I would urge all to make all efforts to assist in this cause. There are different ways to contribute to this cause, but the easiest way is to expand the circle of subscribers, and dedicated pious individuals should donate for this cause. This a souvenir of the profound era of the Promised Messiahas; therefore, help in its continuation and nourish it with sentiments of love and sincerity.
Now I announce that Al Hakam of 28 December 1918 will be sent by value payable post to collect annual payments and any separate notification will not be made, thus everyone should consider this as a final notification. I hope that everyone to whom it will be sent by value payable post will certainly collect it.
Ten Thousand Copies of Special Issue of Al Hakam
In the previous issue of Al Hakam an appeal was made for publishing a special issue of ten thousand copies. If a hundred devout persons purchase a hundred issues each, then this special edition will be published free of cost. A sincere and passionate individual, Hazrat Seith Abdullah Bhai Alla-Din Sahib of Sikandrabad has requested for a hundred issues. This edition is a special Jalsa issue which will Insha-Allah (God willing) be a very special one in its qualities and uniqueness, but its publication depends on the request of ten thousand issues. Thus, it is up to the people of the Jamaat whether to get it published or not.
(Translated by Al Hakam)