100 Years Ago… – Converts in America, Ahmadis teaching Islam in Nigeria and England

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Al Fazl, 23-27 September 1920

America

By the grace of God, tabligh work is progressing rapidly here. Two more persons converted to Islam after the last report.

The name of the first one is Mr Ralph Tatin. He works on a ship and is the noble son of madam Sadiqatul Nisa. She became a Muslim nearly 10 years ago, but Ralph was under the influence of Christians. However, his mother’s tarbiyat and tabligh continued to draw him towards Islam. Recently, he started to meet me as well. In this way, he accepted Islam after much tabligh and persuasion. He was given the Islamic name Bashir.

The second person is Mr Johnston, who lives in the city of Kingston. He converted to Islam [after accepting the true message] through correspondence.

On the directions of Hazrat Imam Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya, which were published in his article of Al Fazl, Anjuman Hifazat-e-Islam [an association to look after the welfare and interests of Islam] has been established in America. Mr Mahini, editor of an Arabic newspaper, has been elected as its secretary and this humble one has been entrusted with its presidency.

Owing to some ongoing circumstances in this country, it has been deemed appropriate to set up the headquarters of this [Ahmadiyya] mission in Chicago, instead of New York. New York is on one side and Chicago is relatively in the centre. Thus, until further notice, the address for sending mail in future will be as follows:

Mufti Mohammad Sadiq

C/o Post Office General Delivery, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Surprisingly, the inflation in this country continues to rise even though the war is over. Every other day, the milkman or other shopkeepers send a notice that the price of goods will increase by [the equivalent of] half an anna [a unit of currency formerly used in the subcontinent, equal to 1/16 of a rupee] or one anna per pound [weight].

I sent some envelopes to friends with my address on it, but the firsthand experience shows that those envelopes were of low quality and not good enough for such a long journey.

Secondly, now that the address has also changed, no one should bother to use those envelopes.

Newspapers of this country often publish very offensive articles about Islam and the people of Islam. I try to write their answers as soon as [they are published], but the difficultly I experience is that the editors show reluctance in accepting my article because they are either biased themselves or are fearful of their biased readers.

The actual solution of this problem is to publish our own monthly magazine, but it will require at least a hundred dollars a month for the first year.

This week, a rich man’s bird died here and its funeral procession was carried out with great fanfare. Thousands of rupees were wasted and many loafers went to the cemetery along the funeral. This sort of practice is also present here.

([Hazrat Mufti] Muhammad Sadiq[ra], 7 August 1920)

Nigeria

After quoting the news of Maulvi Mubarak Ali Sahib BA, BT’s [tabligh] tour to Nigeria, which was published in the issue of 23 August [1920], the newspaper Humasar Sadaqat, Lahore, states:

“Although we are not Ahmadis, we have to acknowledge the passion and commitment of our Ahmadi friends for the tabligh of Islam. Nigeria is a large country located in the west of Africa. People travelling to Nigeria by ship or train have to travel a long way via the UK. One of our friends from Lahore, who works in a government department in Nigeria, used to reach there in a period of three months. The situation in Nigeria that we have heard from our friend indicates that the state of Islam and its followers in this western part of Africa is very sad and there is a dire need for tabligh of Islam. It would certainly be a remarkable achievement if Maulvi Mubarak Ali Sahib teaches the Muslims of Nigeria, who are living a very low and pitiable life in terms of religious knowledge, the same pure teachings of Islam that brought the darkness of the world to light 1,300 years ago. All except a few of our religious scholars are devoting their full power to the destruction and humiliation of each other, rather than [focusing on] the tabligh of Islam. This [behaviour] presents a very bad picture of Islam to non-Muslim nations. If religious leaders are in state of such transgression, what can we expect from ordinary [Muslims]?” (Humasar Sadaqat, Lahore, 16 September 1920)

We assure the Humasar Sadaqat [newspaper] that Maulvi Mubarak Ali Sahib will spread the same Islam in Nigeria that the Holy Prophetsa brought. Moreover, he will enlighten the people of Nigeria with the same light that shone three hundred years ago, and which has been veiled by those who are mentioned by Sadaqat at the end of their article.

However, the Promised Messiahas removed that [veil] and it [the light of Islam] is shining brighter day by day.

Spreading Islam in England

Acceptance of Islam

Miss Victoria Norton, who has been engaged in research for almost a month and listened intently to the speeches of missionaries for hours, has finally, (as mentioned in last week’s letter), sincerely announced her conversion to Islam. She has been given the Muslim name of Islam. This esteemed lady is very passionate to share that same light with other people which has illumined her heart.

Hence, she regularly talks to different women and men about the unity of God, the messengership of the Holy Prophetsa, the death of Prophet Jesusas and the arrival of the Promised Messiahas. She belongs to the upper middle class and has a [good] job. Her monthly salary is [the equivalent of] 140 rupees. She spends her spare time in increasing her knowledge and carrying out tabligh. Members of the Jamaat are requested to pray that Allah the Almighty may grant her perseverance and make her a source of guidance for many other people.

Lecture in Eastbourne

At the request of the Spiritualist Society, Eastbourne, Maulvi Fateh Muhammad Sayal Sahib MA delivered two lectures, on the subject of dua [prayer] and the second coming of the Messiah, at their hall situated in Eastbourne.

Eastbourne is located on the coastline and is considered one of England’s most popular summer resorts. Highly qualified people visit this place quite frequently.

By the grace of God, both lectures of Maulvi Sahib were successful. After the speeches, some of the delighted and influenced audience expressed their thoughts in nice words. They strongly confirmed what was said about the teachings of Islam and the second coming of the Messiah and requested the erudite speaker to increase their knowledge by giving more lectures in future.

There was also a great opportunity to carry out individual tabligh in Eastbourne. Hence, the message of truth was conveyed to many blessed souls [in person].

Eid Mubarak

Eid-ul-Adha prayers were led on Tuesday, 24 August [1920] at Ahmadiyya Dar-ul-Tabligh [mission house] by Maulvi Fateh Muhammad Sayal Sahib. After the prayers, the esteemed speaker explained the philosophy of sacrifice and the real purpose of this Eid of Muslims and advised the Western Ahmadis to get ready for any kind of sacrifice for the promulgation of the rightful Jamaat and to progress in righteousness and purity.

During the prayers, the women stood separately in the back row [to offer Salat] and they were informed about the true significance of this Islamic instruction. As the Eid did not come in holidays, some friends had to take special leave and there were some who could not get leave despite their best efforts. Hence, where Miss Victoria Norton took an entire day off, Amatullah was forced to write the following letter because of her busy schedule:

“I will remember 24th and though absent, will join at 11am with you in prayers to Allah.”

The Ahmadiyya Jamaat of London celebrated Eid at the Ahmadiyya Dar-ul-Dawat [tabligh house] and prayed to God, Who has always granted strength to the weak and blessed His minority [communities] to increase in numbers, that He may prevail the ummah of Ahmadas in the Western countries.

Dear friends! London Jamaat wishes you a happy Eid on this auspicious occasion and requests you to pray to Allah the Almighty for their religious and worldly progress.

Second coming of the Messiah

It seems necessary to say this much about the second coming of Messiah that currently, people are thinking a lot about this subject. The people here are in a state of frustration and each sect, according to its own interpretation, believes that the time of the Messiah’s arrival is now very near.

Most of the new sects being formed here emphasise on the second coming [of Messiah] in one way or another. For example, spiritualists and theosophists are two movements. Followers of spiritualism like the theosophists are also anxiously waiting for the appearance of the Messiah.

Moreover, a positive sign is that these new factions believe that the Messiah will not come back from the heaven, but will be [a chosen] person from the people of the world. It is for this reason that talking to these people does not present the same difficulties as talking to the Muslims of India, who possess old school ideas.

Hence, these people listen to our beliefs with great attention and satisfaction. Islam will certainly prove sufficient for this current religious revolution that is emerging in England, insha-Allah.

In spite of all these circumstances, we are surprised when our Lahori friends insist that the time has not yet come to spread the message of Prophet Ahmadas in England. In the sight of Allah the Almighty, the time has come and He has sent the Promised Messiahas. That time has not only come in view of the people of God the Almighty but has also passed according to some. However, our [Paighami] friends are still persistent in denying [this truth]. Let us see how much longer they continue in this stubborn and deliberate disregard of the truth.

([Hazrat] Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyar[ra])

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