The Review of Religions [English], September 1922
During the period under report, Brother Dr Sadiq had to undergo special treatment for his eyes by a specialist, Dr Bonine by name. This man is a well-known practitioner whose house is visited by many patients from all parts of the country – people coming to him for special treatment from as far as Europe itself. He is a good-natured man of amiable disposition and leads a simple life. The poor he treats free of charge, sometimes helping them out of his own pocket. Our brother conveyed his message to him and gave him some literature to read. Twice in the week, the brother had to see the doctor for the scraping of his granular lids and their medication and for the rest of the week he was free to roam about in the neighbouring towns. In this way, our brother was able to convey his Islamic message to various towns. His chief topics of address were The Islamic Unity of God and The Glad Tidings about the Advent of the Promised Messiah.
After his treatment, our brother stayed for a few days at Benton Harbour which is a famous waterside resort on account of its being situated on the shores of a lake. There, in a hall, our brother addressed an audience of 30 persons who were very much impressed; most of them said that up to that time they were given to believe that the Muslims worshipped Muhammad and disbelieved in God. Our brother replied that the Muslim disbelief in God was only confined to a triune deity, but they worshipped Allah the one God of the universe.
It was during his stay at Benton Harbour that our brother, happening to pass by a chapel, heard the priest inside telling his flock that the Muslims worshipped Muhammad. Of course, our brother deemed it his duty to go in and tell the simple priest that what he had said about Islam and the Muslims was not true but a misstatement at which the priest expressed his wonder and astonishment. That is, of course, the picture of Islam as painted by Christian missionaries and anti-Islamic propaganda carried on by foreign political societies.
This ignorance of Islam is not confined to the general population alone; people situated in high society as well as well-educated folk who are expected to know better, are not better than others in this respect. There is a daily paper published in that town where our brother was staying. In one of its issues talking of meteors or the falling stars, the editor in order to show his learning, wrote that once a stone from a shooting star fell in Arabia which the superstitious Muslims put in their Kaaba and which they now worship as something supernatural. To corroborate what he had written he alleged that even now, Muslims in the East preserve such relics and worship them. No sooner did our brother read this misstatement than he hurried to the office of the learned editor and acquainted him with the statement of facts. The latter was very thankful for this information and for a long time he detained our brother inquiring about his mission, work and the condition of India. He promised to correct his previous misstatement but when in the evening the daily edition was out, though it contained a long article on our brother’s missionary work, and his conversion of some two hundred Christians into Muslims, the starting of Moslem Sunrise and his lectures in Benton Harbour, it did not at all refer to its publication of a false statement.
In the town of Benton Harbour, there lives a Christian sect called Israel. These people number about a thousand all of whom are Americans and their chief articles of faith are as follows:
1. No true Christian ever dies. All true Christians remain alive in this very body. Those who die are imperfect Christians.
2. It is wrong to shave off one’s hair from any part of the body. Like the Sikhs of the Punjab, they wear long hair.
3. All flesh is unlawful. Like some Brahmans of India, they live on vegetables.
4. They think it wrong to amass money. All live in a house, eat together, and whatever one earns he deposits in the common treasury and the society bears the expenses of all.
For two hours, our brother talked to a party of them and conveyed the message of the Holy Messenger[sa] of God to them. As soon as he left them and came out of their precincts, he met a white-haired octogenarian who said that he too once belonged to Israel [sect] but as he had objected to their misuse of his money, therefore, they had turned him out and now the case was before the court.
In the period under report, twenty-three Christians became Muslims.
Lady Jane Hooper who is no mean lecturer herself and at whose instance our brother delivered several lectures in her hall at Detroit, has solemnly entered into the fold of Islam and has openly declared herself an Ahmadi. Though she is past sixty, her health is quite good and she has promised our brother that in future she would convey through her lectures the message of the Promised Messiah[as].
Our brother addressed congratulatory letters to:
1. The New Pope on his instalment,
2. Princess Mary on her wedding,
3. HM King of Egypt and HE Abdul Khaliq Thabit Pasha, the Prime Minister on the new status of Egypt,
4. General Smuts on his suppression of the communistic revolt and
5. Viscount Peel on his assumption of the charge of the India Office.
In all these, the message of Ahmad[as] was included. Moreover, our brother wrote a sympathetic letter to Mr Montague on his relinquishing charge of India Office. The message of the Promised Messiah[as] was also conveyed to Prince Ibrahim, the heir apparent of Egypt who was in America as well as to a famous German Surgeon who is an expert in operating upon lame and crippled children and who was touring the country operating free of charge. In short, our brother has a unique way of missing no opportunity to convey the message of Islam to high and low alike.
Whilst staying with Dr Bonine, our brother during his peregrinations in his off days, happened to visit South Bend, Indiana State, which is a thriving town with a population of about sixty thousand people. Our brother met an editor of a daily paper to whom he explained the general ignorance about Islam. The editor very kindly found space for our brother’s article on Islam which was published in its issue of 9 May . The whole town became astir with the news, and two lectures were arranged one under the presidency of Priest Silva Schieffer in the Monroe Hall and the other under the presidency of Priest Thompson in the Woodman Hall. Though priests of Christianity, they were liberal and generous enough to listen to what our brother had to say and at the conclusion of the lectures on behalf of the public they acknowledged their indebtedness to our brother’s illuminating lectures. Some of the audience offered to become subscribers for the “Moslem Sunrise” while others secured address cards from our brother for future correspondence. Some of them evinced a desire to see our brother at his hotel but as he had to go off to see his doctor therefore very reluctantly, he had to postpone this meeting. Anyway, the seed is sown and Insha’Allah, a time is coming when this seed will sprout into a big harvest.
During the last week under report, our brother was in Chicago. In addition to the distribution of Ahmadiyya literature and general propaganda [tabligh] work our brother had to deliver three lectures in Chicago itself. The first was in the Masonic Temple, the second in 154 Randolph Building, and the third in Sans Francisco and Monroe Street Church. In all three lectures, misrepresentations against Islam were exposed. Three more ladies and 2 more gentlemen joined our movement. Our brother intends to establish a permanent central office at Chicago for which money is required. The importance of a permanent central office cannot be overlooked in these days of wide publicity and we look to the Ahmadiyya Community to shoulder this burden also.
(Latest news says that he has secured one, [i.e. permanent central office]. [Editor, The Review of Religions])
Brother Nayyar has had to face growing opposition not only at the hands of the Christian missionaries but also from the ignorant Muslim priests who are known as Alfas in that part of the country. Finding their livelihood of fleecing the too confident and credulous public gone, they have taken up preaching against the Ahmadiyya movement for as soon as a person enters into the fold of Ahmadiyya, he no longer believes in their amulets and charms and incantations, neither does he follow the other polytheistic rites, hence these people find every day their opportunity of growing fat at the expense of the people slipping from their hands.
Brother Nayyar has drawn up a syllabus of his propaganda [tabligh] work which he is following these days. Firstly, regular daily discourses on the Holy Quran and the sayings of the Holy Prophet[sa]. Secondly, special lectures for the females, thrice a week. Thirdly, two lectures every Sunday, the first between 5 and 7 and the second between 7:30 and 9:30, the first for the young men and the second for the old folk. This is all due to a lack of accommodation. Fourthly, open-air lectures. Fifthly, Friday sermons; and sixthly, individual religious talks and interviews.
For the purpose of efficient working, the town of Lagos has been divided into three circles, each with its own special committee. This work has been taken up in right earnest. In one of these circles, the Ahmadis have been forcibly ejected from a mosque, therefore there is a proposal to build our own mosque and a meeting hall. There is, moreover, a proposal to start a High School, and correspondence for the acquisition of some three and a half acres of land for the mission work is being carried on. The Ahmadiyya Community there hopes with the help of God to have a mosque and a school for every circle in addition to the central mosque and school.
(Latest news state that a great advance is made in this direction and the beginning has been made. [Editor, The Review of Religions])
A few miles outside of Lagos there is a place called Agigi which has its own Ahmadiyya Community. There, our young men under the leadership of old and respected members, are trying to set up their own place of worship.
The arrival of brother Hakim Fazlur Rahman has created a regular stir. Everybody is saying that “Ahmadiyya movement means business.” (He has made 117 new conversions according to the latest news about him. [Editor, The Review of Religions])
Some of the educated Christians have become fully convinced of the truth of Islam and they openly declare that their thoughts about Islam have undergone a radical change. Their pastors and ministers, now doubt whether they can make any headway among the Muslims. The Ahmadiyya preachers have set the whole educated native Christian community amoving.
[Christianity faced nothing like it]
Before the advent of Ahmadiyya missionaries, there was a strong tendency among educated Muslims in favour of Christianity. But now this is all stopped. There are no new educated converts to Christianity from among the Muslims, and those who had gone over to it are now only waiting for an opportunity to come back. As soon as a decent mosque and a Society Hall suitable to their position in life is secured or built, it is hoped many of them would flock back under the banner of Islam. This is not an empty vaunt. It is well borne out by the Missionary Review of the World. It does not, of course, mention by name what the foe it dreads is, but the context makes it clear that it is the Ahmadiyya preaching that has brought about such a wonderful change. It says that Christianity has never had to face anything like the one it has to face now. It is the determination of the Muslims to bring all the Non- Muslim African population into the fold of Islam.
Mr Ibrahim Louis, who is a reis [chief] of a part of the country in the neighbourhood of Lagos and who possesses a central place of residence in the town and which is being used as the headquarters of the movement for Lagos, has ever been an admirer of our movement and in spite of strong adverse influences has stuck to the friendship that he has formed for our movement. He has openly declared his adhesion to our faith and brother Nayyar had to undertake a journey of some 12 miles upcountry to carry out the initiation ceremony.
A new circle of propaganda work had to be created of which the village of Abroa forms the nucleus, and the whole circle has been named as Agigi. A good mosque has been built by a sincere and newly converted reis, while Mr Muhammad Saul Louis, a highly educated and sincere young man, has been put in charge of the mosque as well as the propaganda work of this circle. The Christian opposition here is strong. We hope and pray that with God’s help the new preacher’s difficulties will all be got over.
Two very successful lectures were delivered by brother Nayyar on the occasion of Lailatul Qadr and Eid, and both of them had a good effect on the audience including Christians.
The intensity of growing opposition to our movement may be realised from the fact that on one occasion our preachers were so well pelted with stones that three of them came out with their heads bleeding. But the work of God is proceeding apace; there can be no going back. In addition to stone throwing people who have a regular distaste for truth have hit upon another method of teasing and annoying and that is the youngsters are made to sing about defamatory verses against our creed, and instead of “Ahmadiyya” our brethren there are insultingly called “Amodiyya” which in their speech signifies a contemptuous youngster. It is at it should be, for Jesus says that none but the children can enter the kingdom of heaven.
On the occasion of the Eid festival, brother Nayyar sent a printed circular to the non-Ahmadi notables, the contents of which are as follows:
“On behalf of the Ahmadiyya Preaching Delegation, I wish you a happy Eid and pray for your well-being, temporally and spiritually. The best token of this well-wishing that I can present you on this auspicious occasion is the message of the Promised Messiah[as]. My respected brother in faith! the prophet of God, Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, has said:
1. My people will split into seventy-three divisions, one alone being the rightly guided.
2. Verily God shall raise for my people at the beginning of every new century a reformer who is to renew and reinvigorate the faith.
3. He who does not recognise and believe in the spiritual leader of the time dies the death of the days of ignorance (like Abu Jahl).
“Now brother, it is for you to decide which division of the Muslims is treading the right path? Where is the reformer of the 14th century? Is it not the 40th year of the [hijra] century?
“Dear brother, search for the Imam of the time, for without his recognition you incur the wrath of God. I am here at your disposal. I bring to you the glad tidings of the advent of the Promised Reformer, the Mahdi and Messiah of the age. I am:
“Yours sincerely, Nayyar.”
During the period under report, 55 persons including nine Christians and other non-Muslims joined our movement. There are many more who regularly attend our lectures, and discourses on the Holy Quran and the ahadith.
From the latest issue of the Moslem Sunrise, we learn that brother MH Musa Khan, our Missionary in Australia is regularly publishing and circulating his valuable periodical “The Muslim Sunshine” whose tenth number is already out. We learn, moreover, that the latest number contains an interesting comparison of the Promised Messiah’s statement with what the Christian writers have said of the Islamic Sword and Pen. This is all very gratifying but we wonder why our brother has up to this time left us quite in the dark about his various activities. We wish we could receive regular reports about his work and if unfortunately, he cannot find time to despatch separate reports to various destinations at least he would do us the favour of publishing the same in his periodical “The Muslim Sunshine” and send the same directly to us.
Our young volunteer missionary Shaikh Mahmud Ahmad, son of Shaikh Yakub Ali, the Pioneer Journalist of Ahmadiyya movement, having crossed the ocean has pitched his missionary tent in Cairo. In the short time that he has been there, he has created a regular stir and he has already been successful in winning over a “Bey” to the Ahmadiyya faith. We do hope that his work will be for the glorification of Allah.
(Transcribed by Al Hakam from the original published in The Review of Religions, September 1922)