100 Years Ago… – Eid-ul-Adha gathering in London and a new English convert


Al Fazl, 26 September 1921

Hazrat Malik Muhammad Hussainra was born around 1887 in Rohtas, District Jhelum. Malik Sahib received his early education from Qadian and was a classmate of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra

Hazrat Malik Sahibra went to Africa around 1913 and worked in the office of the principal medical officer, before moving to Nairobi Court. He got familiar with the law there. He left for England in 1920 and returned to Africa as a barrister in 1922. He started practising in Nairobi, Africa, and soon became one of Nairobi’s leading Indian barristers. He had special expertise in criminal cases. In 1923, he was elected as a member of the legislative council. As municipal commissioner of Nairobi, he rendered outstanding services to the welfare of his Indian brethren.

Malik Sahibra used to proudly say that once, as a child, he was in the company of the Promised Messiahas and Huzooras said to him, “You will progress.” Malik Sahibra said, “Seeing my parents’ financial difficulties and family poverty, I used to wonder how this would be possible. However, God gave me the opportunity to become a barrister under unexpected circumstances. I then became a member of the legislative council and was called ‘Honourable’. For a poor man like me, this progress is nothing short of a miracle.” (Al Fazl, 19 June 1935)

Malik Muhammad Hussain Sahibra passed away on 4 April 1935, when he was around 48 years old. Many dignitaries, including the chief justice, high court judges and lawyers, attended his funeral. Below is a report by Hazrat Malik Muhammad Hussainra:

Festival in London
Newspaper cuttings of the Eid-ul-Adha gathering in 1921 from the Birmingham Gazette (left) and the Daily Mirror (right)

Hazrat Malik Muhammad Hussainra (Circa 1887-1935)

Dear Editor Al Fazl [newspaper], assalamo alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Eid-ul-Adha was celebrated here [in London] on Sunday, 14 August [1921]. Apart from Ahmadi brothers, newly converted European friends attended the Eid prayer as well. Moreover, non-Muslim gentlemen and ladies were also present. 

Maulvi Mubarak Ali Sahib delivered the sermon and made it so interesting that the audience thoroughly enjoyed it. During the sermon, Maulvi Sahib shed light on the reality and real purpose of the sacrifice in a very comprehensive manner.

I informed you in a previous letter that educated Englishmen are being preached to. Today, I received a letter from one of them, which I am sending [with this report]. 

All praise belongs to Allah that this young man has converted to Islam and joined the Ahmadiyya Jamaat! This gentleman was a Roman Catholic. He works as an engineer and is a very noble young man. Friends are requested to pray for his perseverance. Apart from them, a Russian is being preached to as well and hopefully, in a week or so, you will be given the good news about him as well.

Maulvi Mubarak Ali Sahib and other friends give lectures etc. and a series of meetings are also being held on a regular basis. 

On the day of Eid, Seith Jeevan Ji Sahib, who is an influential Seith, along with Mr Verma Sahib, Barrister from Nairobi, Africa, visited the mosque as a delegate on behalf of the Indians. He saw the proposed sketch of the mosque and for a long time, talked to Maulvi Mubarak Ali about the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. He emphatically said, “You [the Ahmadiyya Jamaat] should establish your mission in Africa, i.e. East Africa. It is important to give Islamic education to the people there.”

We are very grateful to Allah that this time there was considerable gathering on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha. Another thing that is very interesting is that on the day we were celebrating Eid, at a mission conference on that day, a famous priest, the Dean of Carlyle, invalidated the divinity of Christ in his address. This [announcement] caused a stir in the whole Christian world. The newspapers of that place have described it in a very strange way.

A couple of newspapers recorded photos of our Eid prayer and sermon, and wrote, “The strange thing today was that Muslims were praying here and Christianity was bombed by the Dean of Carlyle. What a strange incident and coincidence.” […] 

Letter of Mr Edward Bacon

“Dear brother! I thank you for your kindness in sending me your sermon to read. You will be very happy to learn that from today, you may consider me your Muslim brother. It has been almost six months since I got to know about Ahmadiyyat and I am very happy about that. Some of the thoughts that were in my heart during that period of time will not be without interest to you:

“When I first came to visit the mosque, I was dissatisfied at that time with the religion that has been taught to me, and I had doubts in my heart about the Roman Catholic teaching, which used to disturb me. I also examined other sects of Christianity, but they proved so futile that I had to abandon all forms of Christianity and follow the Roman Catholic teaching. 

“On the other hand, after regularly visiting the mosque, I felt that my efforts were coming to fruition. My conversation with you and Mr Sayal, and recently with Mr Augusto, made me realise that Islam is certainly a supreme religion which helps in achieving spiritual progress. Gradually, the teachings of Islam penetrated my soul.

“Suddenly, my old beliefs vanished, and without any effort on my part, this process, which happened naturally, did its work on me. Instead of those false beliefs, the truth of Islam came to me and I now have a true and firm belief in the truth of Islam. I think that if, now, I continue to be a so-called member of another religion for any further extent, then it will be an insult to the grace and mercy of God Almighty.

“The Almighty God has shown me the truth and righteousness and it is incumbent upon me to accept this truth with gratitude.

“Brother Sayal gave me a small green Salat book and I prayed as per its instructions from time to time. However, this week, I have been praying regularly since Monday. I am very grateful that according to the instructions given in the book, I can perform ablutions properly. I have felt the positive effects [of Salat] on me since last Sunday.

“I thank you and all the other brethren for the kindness with which you have patiently and steadfastly shown me the way to this great blessing, which is the greatest thing for mortal men, i.e. [the path] of truth and righteousness, but I am sure you won’t be too surprised.

“Wassalam, Your Edward A Bacon

“[PS]: We will meet on Sunday, insha-Allah!

[From, Hazrat Malik Muhammad Hussainra (Barrister-at-law), London. 18 August 1921]

“Mecca in London”

The London newspaper, Daily Graphic, along with giving two separate pictures of the occasion of the Eid prayer and the sermon at the Ahmadiyya Mosque in London, under the above-mentioned headline, in its issue of 15 August [1921], states:

“One of the most remarkable services which took place yesterday was the celebrating of the feast of Eed-uz-Zuha in a garden at Southfields, where eighteen Muhammadans assembled, and, after carefully so arranging the carpets on the grass that the worshippers should face the east, heard prayers read in Arabic and then a sermon in English.

“Two or three Muslims were wearing turbans. A native African [was also present]. The general invitation was given through announcements in which these words were published that, ‘Everyone is invited wholeheartedly.’

“What a strange sight it was when Mecca was [seen] in London. The announcements also had these words that, ‘The nearest station to Southfields and East Putney, District Railway Bus Number: 30-14-85-96-38, Tram Number: 82.’

“All sorts of faiths and demonstrations were represented, one of the men present being a spiritualist. They watched the coloured people performing the ceremonies of their religion with the greatest interest. Sometimes they had to wait while the sermon was stopped due to the noise of the passing train.

“Lord Headley was the only Muslim peer to attend the ceremonies at Woking.

“The heavy and laden branches of the fruit trees of Southfield Garden drew our attention to the strange contrast between the swaying palm leaves and the shining minarets of the holy city of Mecca, where the thoughts of all Muslims were united once.” 

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original in the 26 September 1921 issue of Al Fazl)

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