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

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The Moslem Sunrise, July 1921

Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra, (1872-1957)

It being the very first attempt to approach the Americans with the mission of Islam, I had to pass through all the difficulties that always confront a beginner of a work. I had no precedent before me to guide me and therefore, much of my time has been spent in making experiences as regards the selection for my headquarters and the ways of approaching Americans. I cannot claim to have done any great work, but I do hope, in the grace of Allah, that in clearing the way for the future missionaries of Islam I have done some pioneer work and sown the seed of truth throughout the land which will grow up in time and show in big, tall, strong trees to feed and shelter thousands, and send out healthy vibration to millions.

The first difficulty I had to encounter was with the immigration officers, who ordered me to return on the same steamer on which I had come, merely because I was a missionary of the Moslem faith, and on my refusal to return and asking permission to appeal to higher authorities in Washington I was placed in the detention house for about seven weeks. Those were the days of great trial, but I count them as the days of blessings, because I found the opportunity of offering prayers to God and meditation and planning the scheme for future work. Moreover, I began my work of preaching quietly among others detained like myself. The first of those who agreed with me there and joined our faith was Brother Hamid (Mr RJ Rochford), who was not allowed to land and was sent back with others. This good brother is now in England and keeps in touch with me by correspondence. He is my first convert to Islam after landing here. He is figuring to come over to Canada, and he is zealous. I hope he will do great work in time to bring others to the blessed fold of Islam.

The names of others who accepted Islam in the detention house are as follows:

Mr Louis C Tillford of British Guiana (Mamoon) 

Mr Andrew Mek Gilme of Jamaica (Khalid) 

Mr David Thomas of Jamaica (Saleem) 

Mr Lloyd Henry of Orange River (Hameed)

Mr Joseph Kane of Poland (Yoosaf) 

Mr Guedla Kohen of Russia (Yaqoob) 

Mr Aetsesu diz Gare tor Mesderstia of Azores (Hossain) 

Mr SC Tessalo of Azores (Ahsan)

Mr Antonia Gilcerco (Hassan) 

Mr Ethen Bodden of Honduras (Saeed) 

Mr Albert Kranmer of Belgium (Mahmood) 

Mr Matthew Feizhitman of Germany (Kareem) 

Mr Alex Beinband of Poland (Haleem) 

Mr K Rossan of Spain (Saeed) 

Mr Florence Clagas of Lisbon (Fazl) 

Mr Paul Virgne of Bones Aeyres (Karm) 

Mr Guaror Vicator of France (Hameed) 

Mr Mario Cowarher (Momin) 

Mr Selle (Ameen)

I had been giving the message of Islam and the Ahmadia movement even to the passengers on the steamer Haverford, out of which, I had secured converts during the days of the voyage in the Atlantic Ocean. Out of those, some were Moslems who joined our order and the rest were non-Moslems. Their names are as follows:

Mr Popovitch of Bosnia (Noor)

Mr John O’Neill (Yahya) 

Mr Wa Hsiang (Chinese) 

Mr Chang Wen Chut (Chinese)

Mr Mu Wen Shu (Chinese)

Mr Wang Han Chen (Chinese)

Mr Ahmad bin Ali of Syria

Names of other converts to Islam in different states of the country who joined our faith during the year of report through correspondence or after meeting me personally: 

Mrs SW Sobolewski, the first American lady who accepted Islam after I started lecturing in New York. She was named Fatima Mustafa to fulfill the dream I had seen over in England before starting for America about my reaching this land and lecturing and converting a lady and naming her as such. She is making good progress in learning prayers in Arabic and studying our books.

Mr Robert Bednell of Greenwich (Abdullah) 

Miss Elizabeth Barton, a learned lady (Zeineb) 

Mr Louis W Lawyer of Connecticut 

Mr Ralph Totten (Basheer), son of Madam Saddiqatun Nisa 

Mr Harold Johnson of New York State 

Mr John Ammo of Illinois (Ahmad)

Mr SAK Oroung of New York (Abdullah) 

Mr W A Pence of Canada 

Mr Lewis Holt of Chicago (Fateh Din) 

Mr Andrew Jacob of Chicago (Muhammad Yaqoob)

Miss Green of Pennsylvania (Fareeda) 

Mr PJ Tallman of Missoura 

Mr Isidore Lenine of Ohio (Omar) 

Mr Alice Russell of Chicago (Ghulam Rasul) 

Mr Joseph Livington Mott of Louisiana State (Shaikh Abdullah Din Muhammad) 

Mrs Calorina Bush (Hameeda) 

Mrs Virginia Olivas (Haleema) 

Mr Mike Abraham of Indiana (Hajrah) 

Mrs Loudicia Joseph of Michigan (Zareefa) 

Miss Loucille Fraser of Michigan (Fatima) 

Miss Frances Joseph of Michigan (Feeroza) 

Mr Kaser Maroo (Momin) 

Mr Seeley (Ameen) 

Mr Lee Hutchinson (Muhammad Ali) 

Mr Moses Johnson (Moosa)

I must add here the name of my dear brother Mir Ahmad FL Andersen, the first Ahmadi Moslem of this country.

The following Moslem gentlemen and ladies in this country joined the blessed Ahmadia movement:

Mr Islam Zenel Chato of Pennsylvania 

Mr Ilajud Din Nuri Sodick of Russia 

Mr Kemal El Quadari of Indiana 

Mr SM Eusoof ben HG Akbar of Tel Honduras 

Madam Siddiqatun Nisa Rahatullah (Ella May Garber), an American lady in Islam for last 10 years has been working for Islam in several places and now intends to do the Ahmadia Islamic work in New York.

Mr Yaseen Osman of Milwaukee 

Mr Muhammed Jad, a Turk in the United States Army 

Mr Abraham Holasi in Pennsylvania 

Mr Othman Karroub 

Mr Subhee Hareeri 

Mr ALA Mustafa 

Mr Hussain Haage of Michigan 

Mr Muhammed Moshaikh of Detroit 

Mr Azeerud Din of Assam 

Mr Ali Sher khan (Indian)

Mr Abdul Azeez (Indian) 

Mr Muhammed Shafi (Indian) 

Mr Ghulam Ahmad of Punjab, now merchant in Chicago 

Mr L Roman of Bengal, now a merchant in Chicago 

Mr Reched Sweydam of Sioux Falls 

Mr Shaikh Ahmad El Haage of Sioux Falls 

Mr Ali Muhammed of Sioux Falls 

Mr Ahmad Es-safa of Sioux Falls

Mr Zaidana Hossain of Sioux Falls 

Mr Kasim Muhammed Sioux Falls 

Mr Hussain Hassan of Sioux Falls 

Mr Abdur Rahman of Indiana 

Mr Ali of Kurdistan 

Names of some of the converts have not been given as their present circumstances do not allow them to get their names published.

Lectures

During the past 12 months, I have delivered about 50 public lectures in the cities of New York, Chicago, Detroit, Dowagiac, Michigan City, Sioux City, Sioux Falls, etc. All of these lectures were previously announced in the daily papers. Subjects of some of the lectures were as follows:

1. Universal spirit of Islam 

2. Beauties of Moslem religion 

3. Prophets and prophecies 

4. Why are the teachers made prophets 

5. The master Prophet Muhammad[sa] 

6. Real mission of Jesus Christ 

7. The Prophet Ahmad[as] 

8. Zoroaster of Persia 

9. Buddha 

10. Krishna

11. Confucius

12. Some accepted prayers 

13. Protection of Muslim religion 

14. Dreams and their interpretation 

15. The object of man’s life and how it can be attained 

16. Arabic, the mother tongue of all languages 

17. Islam 

18. Jesus the Christ

19. Arabic and Hebrew languages compared 

20. Existence of God 

21. El-Quran, the Holy Book 

22. Unity of God 

23. No religious wars 

24. Continuance of revelation 

25. Live and let live 

26. Serve God and humanity 

27. Keep your faith above the world 

28. Be broad-minded 

29. Practical and practicable religion 

30. Jesus Christ’s tomb in India 

31. Cross or Christ

32. No exclusive son Of God 

33. Jesus did not die the accursed death on cross 

34. How are prayers accepted?

Madam Rahatullah (Mrs Garbar) in addition to helping me in the mission work delivered some lectures in our meetings on Islam and Ahmadia movement. The subjects of some of her lectures were as follows:

1. She who is tried 

2. The power of truth 

3. The strong will conquer 

4. Smoke

Heavy correspondence

During past fifteen months the number of mails received is about 4000 and dispatched about 15000. Thanks are due to the Brothers James Sodick, Yusuf Khan, Shaikh Abdullah JL Mott and Sister Rahathullah, who have been helping me in the correspondence work.

(To be continued)

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

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