100 Years Ago… – Eid-ul-Fitr in London and gathering of the Muslims from the world over

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Last Updated on 22nd July 2022

Al Fazl, 6 July 1922; The Review of Religions [English], September 1922

Hazrat Maulvi Mubarak Ali BA BT

Lecture in a Church

Mubarak Ali Bangali Sb
Hazrat Maulvi Mubarak Ali BA BT

The missionary work of the Ahmadia Movement in this country is being carried on with zeal. At the request of the secretary of the “Church of the Spirit”, my humble self gave a lecture at Camberwell on 7 May [1922] on “Islamic Method for Spiritual Progress”. About 300 people were present. It was a Sunday. I was asked to say a prayer in the usual service. I stood on the pulpit and recited Surah Al-Fatihah and recited its meaning in English.

Then, I began my lecture in the course of which I first explained what is meant by spiritual progress and by what signs we can know a spiritual man, that a truly spiritual man is a Khalifa or a representative of God, His image on earth, and that the due observance of prayer, fasting and kindness towards humanity leads to this goal. I also explained the significance of Durood in which a Moslem invokes blessings on Prophet Muhammad[sa] and pray for the elevation of ranks of all other prophets and righteous men. I mentioned also Tahajjud prayer and study of the Holy Quran, and also shed light on sacred books of other religions. 

At the end of the lecture, the secretary stood up and said that she was so impressed with the lecture that if ever she adopted any religion, it would be no other than this beautiful Islam. 

Many people came to shake hands with me and to tell me that they highly appreciated my speech. 

A friend also wrote to me that the audience was highly impressed with the lecture. 

A Present to His Royal Highness: The Prince of Wales” in the hands of the honourable people of London

I received 48 copies of “A Present to His Royal Highness: The Prince of Wales”.According to the instructions of His Holiness, I have sold some copies and distributed the others among the learned and distinguished people. Among those to whom the book was sent included the editors of the greatest London newspapers, and Professor EG Brown of Cambridge, Professor Nicholson of Cambridge, Professor Sir TW Arnold (author of “The Preaching of Islam”), Lord Balfour, Lord Headley, the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for India, Sir Oliver Lodge, the great scientist and student of Psychic Research, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the great leader of the Spiritualist Movement in Europe). Many of them have promised to read the book. 

Among those to whom visits were paid of late are mentioned below:

1. His Highness Izzat Pasha, Grand Vizier of Turkey,

2. The Minister Plenipotentiary of Afghanistan (thrice), 

3. The Ambassador of Turkey,

4. Sir Edward Denison Ross, Director of London School of Oriental Studies,

5. Professor Sir TW Arnold (author of “The Preaching of Islam”),

6. Nawab Hamidullah Khan of Toru,

7. Sir Michael O’Dwyer, Ex-Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab, 

8. And the Palestine Arab Delegation.

In course of the conversation, a reference was made to the Ahmadia Movement to each of these. To the Moslems it was specially told that the best way of the reformation, advancement and regeneration of the Moslems was in the following: 

1. To become true Moslems and not in name only. 

2. To organise themselves on a spiritual basis.

3. To spread Islam among other peoples. 

4. And that the Ahmadia Movement is exactly carrying them out.

The efforts have been made to keep in touch with the Ahmadi Moslems outside London. Consequently, whenever the Moslems of Southsea and Brighton come to London, they stay with us. The Sunday lectures and the speeches in Hyde Park are being carried on as usual. During the month of Ramadan, I used to preach in Hyde Park only on Sunday afternoons, and I had a large audience on every occasion by the grace of God. Brother Azizuddin Sahib also preaches in Hyde Park and whenever he goes out on a tour on account of business, he misses no opportunity to preach to individuals and to give open-air lectures in parks. In his recent tour in the north of England, he gave two open-air lectures one of which was very successful. 

Ramadan in London

Though the days were very long – more than 16 hours – thank God we could observe the fast and offer Tarawih prayers in which the entire Holy Quran was once recited. Among the non-Ahmadi Moslems who duly observed fasting, the Afghan Minister and his staff deserve special mention. 

Eid-ul-Fitr

We celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr on Sunday 28 May [1922]. Thank God that this time we had more visitors than on any previous occasion. The Moslems and non-Moslems from different parts of India, Afghanistan, Persia, Russia, Palestine, Turkey, Egypt, East Africa and West Africa flocked to the Mosque. Several learned Bengali, Hindus, highly educated West African Christians, and Parsee ladies were among them. There were many English ladies and gentlemen a number of whom were Moslems. The prayer was said in the gardens of the Mosque at 11:30. In the sermon after the prayers, I explained the significance of this festival and of the injunction of fasting in Islam. In the second part of my sermon, I briefly referred to the Ahmadia Movement in the following way: 

The goal of India is higher than Swaraj. India has a spiritual message for the world and that is to establish the spiritual supremacy over materialism. The Ahmadia Movement offers a sure and sound basis for nation-building in India and for the realisation of her spiritual destiny. Christianity has lost its hold on the civilised world. The spiritual vacuum thus produced can be filled up by Islam and Islam alone. 

At 12:30, the visitors were entertained in the gardens with Indian dishes. The weather was very fine and warm; the trees in the garden wore a rich garment of soft green foliage and flowers. I don’t know which was more enjoyed by the guests, the dishes, the weather, the scenery or the company of the people from different parts of the world. Most of the guests passed the whole day here which shows that they enjoyed it heartily. 

The streams of distinguished visitors continued to flow during the whole day. The Afghan Minister with his staff, the Turkish Ambassador with his two sons, the English ladies and gentlemen of the neighbourhood, the members of the Palestine-Arab delegation, and other Moslem friends came on in succession till 8 pm. All these visitors were entertained with tea and light refreshments. Besides the honoured guests mentioned above, the other names worthy of mention are: 

1. Mr Jewanji (the Moslem Merchant Prince of East Africa),

2. Professor SN Roy MA of Lucknow College,

3. Chaudhry Maula Bakhsh Janjua IDSM, Barrister-at-Law, 

4. Dr MH Dutt, Lahore,

5. Mr Nelson Williams, Barrister-at-Law, Sierra Leone,

6. Dr T Ahmad MB, Bengal,

7. Miss Muhammad Ali MB, Lahore, 

8. Mr GS Dara, Advocate, Lahore,

9. And the Editor of the “Hind”.

There were several others, professors, doctors and barristers of India and West Africa who have not left their names. 

Mr Nelson Williams told me he was very much interested in Islam and requested me to give him some books on Islam. I gave him some tracts and lent him some books. 

Maulvi Mubarak Ali BA BT. The Ahmadiyya Mosque, 63 Melrose Road, Southfields, SW 18, London. 1 June 1922.

(Transcribed and edited by Al Hakam from the original in The Review of Religions, September 1922)

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