100 Years Ago… – Brief report of one year’s Moslem missionary work in America

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Last Updated on 13th August 2021

The Moslem Sunrise, July 1921

Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra, (1872-1957)

I have been sending communications to the daily papers of America in reply to the articles that appeared therein from time to time. Such communication, about 30 in number, appeared in Philadelphia JournalNew York SunSioux City JournalSioux Falls TribuneNew York TribuneDaily News (Chicago), Highland Park TimesEl-Bayan Mirror and some other papers. Two of these articles are given below for example.

(A) The Sun and New York Herald, dated 9 April 1921:

Islam defended

A denial that it [Islam] teaches its adherents to hate and kill

To The Sun and New York Herald:

“Mr. Hormizd’s criticism on Islam and its sacred book, the Koran, is not at all based on facts. The Quran never teaches ‘to hate and kill unbelievers’, as claimed by Mr. Hormizd. Moreover, it says that ‘there is no forcing in the matter of religion.’

“The war waged by the master Prophet Muhammad[sa] and his successors were all defensive and the Moslems were allowed to fight with and kill only those unbelievers who came down upon them with a sword. It was quite right, just as the American soldiers crossed the Atlantic to fight and kill the soldiers of the Central Powers, even though they were their Christian brethren.

“The Moslems have ruled over Christians and Jews for centuries with great tolerance. No doubt, there have been fanatics in Islam, but in what nation and religion are they not? The wholesale massacre of the Jews in Russia, Poland and Austria even in these days is more worthy the attention of the champions of civilization in America than the exaggerated and misrepresented stories of massacres in the East. Will Mr. Hormizd ascribe these massacres to Christianity, gospels and the Christian Powers? Treat others as you like to be treated.

“If Turks joined the war, they were not waging any holy war right. Right or wrong, theirs was only a political cause.

“‘Even the defensive religious wars are no more allowed in Islam’, proclaims the latest prophet of Islam, Ahmad[as] of India, ‘as no one now interferes with the religious beliefs of the Moslems.’ Naturally, all the Muslim world is in sympathy with the Turks, not because the Turks were engaged in holy war but because they relied on the sincerity of the fourteen terms of peace put forward by the chief of America and the promises made by the British Premier.” 

Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, New York. 8 May [1921].

(B) Highland Park Times, dated 25 February 1921:

Warm controversy of Mohammedanism

Mohammedan leader replies to the article of Rev. Martin in last week’s [Highland Park] Times

“There is a Persian proverb, ‘With the rose, there is a thorn too.’ Right in Highland Park City, just by the mayor, police chief, bankers and educational heads are holding banquets together with the noted Syrians of the place and making speeches to secure and bonds of friendship – yes, right here – appears on the scene that old spirit of the hatred separation of the same page with the report of feelings of Syrian government good citizenship in Highland Park Times and stars abusing not only present Moslems but travels back 1300 years to abuse their very prophet – the best beloved one of their hearts. Love not only your friend but even your enemies, teaches the Christian Church; but after preaching, reading and singing these lines under the church canopy, here comes out the man and uses an offensive language, not for his enemies but for his friends. What a contrast in one’s words and actions! Every Mohammedan respect Jesus as his teacher and prophet, and uses the word blessed with his name. And in response he gets from some Christians the worst abuses for his teacher and still he holds his tongue from saying a word against the head of the church of his opponent. Now who is the real suffering Christian in this case following Christ in spirit – the Moslem, I believe. Nothing can enrage a man more than hearing his prophet being abused – the prophet whom he loves more than his parents.

“The history of the discussions between the Christian missionaries and the Indian Moslems shows that being tired of hearing bad language about their beloved one from the Christians they, at last, took refuge in returning the same words to Jesus with a pretense that they did not know who Jesus was, as the name for the Christ in their books is Eesa and not Jesus. Thus, the Christian missionaries in India have been responsible among other things for perverting the language of the people about Christ. There can be no better proof of the truth of Moslem religion than that there never was seen any saloons, gambling houses of any sort, licensed houses of ill-fame, usury institutions and so forth in Muslim countries still these things were introduced under the influence of European civilizers. All the present Western learnings can be traced back to the days when the European students used to go to Moorish universities in Spain and Morocco to get an education in science and philosophy. The Moslems have always led a peaceful, pious, and clean life.

“If the Detroit churches are not open for me to preach in, I do not care a bit. No Moslem here cares to see me preach in the churches. Moreover, the churches are not suitably furnished for our services. My challenge was to broad-mindedness of the Christian pastors in comparison with that shown by our Holy Prophet[sa]. I was sure that the Christian ‘Love your enemies’ was only to preach and not to practice. But I wanted to get it out of their mouths and I have got it. Now don’t worry please, I do not any of your churches. I have never heard of any Shaikh Abdul Haq writing so bitterly against Christians. It may be a fictitious propaganda against Islam like many of the Armenian stories. And many such things are being said just to embitter the feelings against the Moslems. But if it is right, then the said Shaikh might have met some Christians of the type of our writer abusing his prophet and all Moslems which might have turned the Shaikh mad to return such word.”

Issues challenge

“Will my dear Christian writer if you have any genuine proof with you of what you say against Islam and Moslems better come forward in an opening meeting to hold a debate with me with any equal time for both of us and I will prove by facts from history that the Moslems lands compared with the so-called Christian countries have always lived a better moral, sober, intellectual and social life, and that our prophet is the most perfect model exemplar and ideal in all the phases of life. Here is your chance and you must not lose it. 

“Whether you accept my challenge or not, I assure you of one thing – even among your Christians in America the number of those who do no more believe in the divinity of Jesus and his ascension to the Heaven is more than those of strictly orthodox and is always increasing and thus the people are coming near to Islam. The day is not far that the clouds of the misunderstandings against Islam will disperse and the country will see many mosques and minarets with the people worshipping one God and living their religion instead of only preaching it.”

Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, 624 Stimson Place, Detroit

Arabian hospitality

Arabians have a world-wide reputation for hospitality. Those living in the villages and the desert make pic bonfires at night to guide a stranger to their houses to rest, for protection, lodging and board, all free. Thanks to Allah, I have met examples of this hospitality right here in America and the venerable personalities of Mr. and Mrs. Restum, Mr. Shamee of Detroit, Mr. and Mrs. Karroub, Mr. SA Zehra Highland Park, Mr. and Mrs. F Aldeen of Dowagiac, Mr. and Mrs. Neffeu of Michigan City, Mr. and Mrs. M Hassen and Mr. Allaway of Sioux Falls, Mr. Ghulam Ahmad Ahmadi, Mr. L Roman Ahmadi of Chicago. Jaza ho mulla hol khair fid dunia wal akhirah [May Allah grant them the best of rewards in this world and the hereafter].

Thanks are due to Mr. Alley Riza for arranging my lectures in Detroit and Mr. Sam Haage for accompanying me to Iowa and South Dakota state.

Thanks

I must acknowledge my thanks to the following Clergymen and Secretaries or Managers of various Churches and Halls who invited me to speak in their Churches, etc., on various days: Mr. Robert Downie of Unitarian Church, Detroit; Miss Melhado and Mrs. Ada MacDougall of practical psychology, Rev. Craigg of Church of Christ, Dowagiac; Elder of Church of Christ, Detroit; Mr. H Wilcox, founder of the Church of Love Mission, Chicago etc.

Thanks are also due to the Ahmadi brethren in India who, with their kind, sympathetic and nice frequent letters containing their sincere prayers and good wishes for me kept me cheerful and hopeful. Their number is great, but just for example I give a few names: Qazi Muhammad Zahur-ud-Din Akmal, Babu Akbar Ali, Seth Abdulla Allah Din, Maulvi Muhammad Omar Din, Maulvi Muhammad Ihsanal-Haq, our elaborate writer, Mirza Kabirud Din Ahmad, Maulana Maulvi, Muhammad Abdul Wahid, Dr Syed Abdus Sattar Shah, Syed Muhammad Mohsin, Syed Abid Hossain, Qazi Muhammad Yusuf, Shaikh Muhammad Amin (bar-at-law), Seth Muhammad Ghaus, Chaudhari Sadar Ali, Hajee Musa Khan, Professor Abdur Rahim Nayyar, Bro. FM Sayal, Hafiz Sufi Ghulam Muhammad, Maulvi Muhammad Osman.

Central America

Mr. SM Eusoof ben HG Akbar of Spanish Honduras, who was in correspondence with me for some time, has joined the Ahmadia movement. Some literature has been sent to this brother for distribution in Central America.

[A lady who] had seen me two years ago

I met a lady in Chicago named Mrs. Tatum, who told me that she had seen me more than two years ago in her dream just wearing the same turban and Indian dress. In one of her letters, she writes:

“I have enjoyed reading your wonderful pamphlets – in that dream I had seen you with your arms folded, smiling, but sincere. I believe God sent you here.” 

(To be continued…)

(Transcribed by Al Hakam from the original in The Moslem Sunrise, July 1921)

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