Al Fazl, 28 August 1923
Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra (1883-1948)
Eid-ul-Adha was celebrated in London on 25 July . Before Eid, invitation letters prepared by the imam and members of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat London were sent along with the printed schedule to friends and such associates who had shown their interest in the Jamaat.
The Eid schedule was as follows:
Eid Prayer and Sermon: 11:30 am
Eid Mubarak: Greeting each other in an Islamic way and meeting the people from the East and West under the banner of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa
Lunch: 1 pm
Tea: 4 pm
Keynote Address: By MB Janjua Ahmadi (Barrister-at-Law) of Oxon on Islam as a Cure for Europe’s Diseases
Ahmadiyya Dar at-Tabligh, London
If you want to find the centre of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat in the capital of the British Empire, take a short trip to the heights of Shimla and observe an excellent government bungalow, and keeping that in mind, now envision a great, pleasant piece of land on the suburbs of London, located between the East Putney and Southfields railway stations, which is both within and outside of London [i.e., London’s geographical extent was smaller in 1923, than now that the Ahmadiyya Mosque is in London]. It is a triple-storey cone-shaped house standing apart from the other buildings located in the middle of the greenery-laden orchard. It is known as “Ahmadiyya Mosque” which captivates the heart of the onlooker. The phrase “The Mosque” is written on each of the two folds of its door.
Eid Day activities
On the day of Eid, the orchard and the house were decorated. The door of the mosque was decorated with pots of flowers, and carpets were laid on the tall grass and flat ground of the garden. Plenty of chairs were placed around the carpets for the listeners of the Eid sermon. The refreshments were arranged in the same open area with great care, and all the hygiene measures were taken into account.
Around 90 guests, including Englishmen, Egyptians, Germans, Europeans, and Asian-Africans, arrived on time. At 11 am, the Eid prayer commenced. The sermon was delivered in English. The imam delivered a sermon on the philosophy of sacrifice and gave the example of Hazrat Ibrahimas and Hazrat Ismailas. It was well received by all the non-Ahmadis and Ahmadi Muslims and was also liked by the non-Muslims. In the sermon, the arrival of the Promised Messiahas and the superiority of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat were mentioned. After spiritual nourishment, food was served to the guests in the most sublime manner. It is the grace of Allah the Almighty that despite our disassociation from politics, fair-minded people admire the Jamaat. Every participant in the gathering was happy and returned with a positive impact.
Mentioning our Eid-ul-Adha , the Near East newspaper writes:
Eid-ul-Adha was celebrated yesterday at the Ahmadiyya Mosque, 63 Melrose Road, Southfields. In addition to the Eid prayer and sermon, a lecture by MB Janjua BA (Barrister-at-Law) of Oxen was held in the afternoon on Islam as a Cure for Europe’s Diseases.
The Daily News wrote under the heading “Islam in Southfields”:
“Englishmen, Germans, Indians, East Africans, men and women, met in a garden of the Mosque, at Southfields, yesterday, to celebrate Eed-ul-Azha, or the ‘Festival of Sacrifice,’ the second of the two annual Moslem festivals.
“Praying mats were laid on the grass, and the more devout members removed their shoes. An address was read by the priest [i.e., maulvi], Rev. Abdur Rahim Nayyar[ra].
“After the ceremony, the priest [i.e., Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra] embraced the members of the congregation. Luncheon of curry and fruit was eaten at a table in the garden.” [Daily News, 26 July 1923]
Although there were some difficulties in the arrangements due to the rain, by God’s grace there was still enough space. The mosque’s hall and the place of the mihrab [niche] were combined to make enough room. After the tea party, which was attended by around 120 guests, people gathered for the keynote address. Among those present were Mr and Mrs Dr Henry M. Leon and Mr and Mrs Shaikh Khalid Sheldrake.
Introducing the lecturer to the audience, the Ahmadi missionary, who was also the head of the gathering, mentioned the message and the success of the Promised Messiah’sas [mission]. He then presented the Messiah [of the Age] as the giver of [spiritual] nourishment to the hungry, water [of revelation] to the thirsty, and [divine] light to the dark minds, and drew the attention of the participants to the glorious fulfilment of his prophecy about London. This was followed by a successful lecture by Chaudhry Maula Bakhsh Janjua Sahib, BA, Barrister-at-Law.
After Chaudhry Sahib, Dr Henry M. Leon gave a short speech. Thereafter, the head of the gathering thanked the attendees and said “Eid Mubarak” to all, and then again drew their attention to the message of the Promised Messiahas. The jalsa concluded with a silent prayer.
Lecture by Chaudhry Maula Bakhsh Sahib
Surely, a nation whose youth has a passion for the propagation of the truth lives forever. I congratulate Hazrat Khalifatul Masih [IIra] on the true zeal with which his youth residing in England are preaching. Whether they are West Africans, Indians, or South Africans, all of them are sincere Ahmadis. They believe in the propagation of the Promised Messiah’sas message and consider it a force of life for the whole wide world.
Among them, our honourable Chaudhry Sahib stands out. He came to England from Iraq, embarked on a ship instead of a train, and travelled on both water and land to eventually reach London with his family. After moving here, he passed the bar exam, and now, by the grace of Allah the Almighty, he has obtained a BA Hons degree from Oxford. We pray to God Almighty that he will be successful in his work. Moreover, the Ahmadiyya community will see the addition of another barrister, probably in Lahore. This is Chaudhry Janjua Sahib in terms of his abilities, but in terms of sincerity of faith, he is like a mountain. In spite of some severe hostilities, he continued to progress in the way of Ahmadiyyat, the true Islam. Consequently, Chaudhry Sahib, in a country where a great defamer of Ahmadiyyat once said, “Taking the name of Ahmad (peace be upon him) here [in the UK] is like a deadly poison” while mentioning Islam as a Cure for Europe’s Diseases, openly expressed before the audience under the roof of the Ahmadiyya Mosque that:
“Seeing Europe in an entirely corrupt cultural, political, moral, and religious state, God sent a great prophet. He appeared in the personage of Ahmadas of Qadian. His message of Islam is the lifeforce for Europe.”
This lecture was very successful by the grace of Allah the Almighty.
On the occasion of the Treaty of Lausanne, a congratulatory message was sent to His Excellency, Ismat Pasha. His Excellency gave the following reply:
“Imam of Ahmadia Mosque Islamabad, London. Hearty thanks for your kind message. Ismat.”
His Majesty, the King of Great Britain, visited our district on 28 July . He was presented with a message of welcome. Its handwritten reply has been received from the Home Secretary of the Kingdom of Great Britain. The King and Queen turned to this humble one and answered the greetings in a very affectionate manner.
On the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha, messages of congratulations and greetings were received from His Excellency, the Minister of Afghanistan, and His Excellency, Musa Kazim Pasha, the chairman of the Palestine delegation.
(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu, published in the 28 August 1923 issue of Al Fazl)