100 Years Ago… – ‘Father listen! I will leave your house but I will not leave Ahmad’


Al Fazl, 12 October 1922

Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra (1883-1948)
Ebute Ero Street Lagos

Eid in Lagos

In this month, one of the most significant events was our Eid-ul-Adha which was celebrated on 4 August 1922. There is a lot of hue and cry in the city of Lagos during this event. The Muslim festivals here are particularly famous for their noise and all kinds of disturbance. 

The grandeur with which the Ahmadiyya Jamaat celebrated its Eid was an example and a marvel for everyone, friends and foes alike. Around four hundred young men, in groups of two, wearing white uniforms and draped in flags, graced the long procession. Among them were professionals, high government officials, clerks, and luminaries of the prestigious families of Lagos (who are now common people but were previously nobles and chiefs). Behind them was the sceptre-bearer of the imam. The sceptre of the imam is covered with silver. He was followed by a devoted African imam called “Limamu Ahmadiyya” and an Indian with a green turban called “Ebu al-Ahmadiyya”, i.e. the master of Ahmadiyyat. Behind them, African alfas (clerics), tafseeri (teacher of the Quran), olori amakeo (head of students), amakeos (students of the Quran) were walking. Riders on horses accompanied the procession and the flagbearers and general public were behind. Everyone was chanting the slogans of Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaha illa-Allah wa Allahu akbar, wa Lillahi l-hamd in a very impactful voice.

They reached the Eid Gah in the form of a procession and went from there to the Jame‘ Masjid [central mosque] in the same manner. The Ahmadiyya Jamaat drew the attention of the non-Ahmadis and showed the Christians the splendour of Islam through this kind of demonstration for the first time. It had a significant impact on the people of the city, alhamdulillah.

Eid Sermon

The issues related to Eid-ul-Adha were published in advance on a couple of pages. Moreover, it was announced that the Eid prayer will be held in the Eid Gah at ten o’clock and the sermon will be delivered at half past ten. Although my name was mentioned in the announcement, it was considered appropriate that imam Dabri  deliver the sermon. Consequently, imam Dabri delivered the sermon at the Eid Gah and for the first time followed the traditions of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. The summary of this sermon is as follows:

“It is through the blessings of Allah the Almighty that you witnessed the divine light. As prophesied, the alfa [cleric] came to teach the Holy Quran and brought the message of the Mahdi, who is the general of the Messenger of Allah, Muhammadsa. You should reform yourselves, because God does not like faith without action. You should purify your hearts. Unfortunate is the one who does not believe in the Mahdi, for all is darkness except him. You should sacrifice your desires. You do not give Zakat and are slow to spend in the way of God. You should leave negligence now and build a relationship of obedience with the government because Allah has sent the government as a protector for Ahmadis.”

Impact of Ahmadiyyat on the people of the city

I am grateful to Allah the Almighty that my hard work is yielding good results. Many young men are quitting alcohol and people of the city are secretly becoming Ahmadis. The youths are afraid of their parents, and the parents are scolding them that they should not convert to Ahmadiyyat. Every youngster in Lagos is an Ahmadi and Ahmadiyyat is talked about in every household. An old Christian priest asked a young man, “Are you an Ahmadi?” After receiving the answer in the affirmative, he said, “The Ahmadiyya Movement is the hope of our country.”

The same views are being strongly expressed in different sections of society. The general opposition is on the decline, but cases of individual cruelty are still ongoing.

Salat of Ahmadis and the cruel father

The young Dawood is a tall gentleman from a good family. He is a clerk in the railways [department]. His father is a famous man but is ignorant. He is against his son because he prays for too long. Once, poor Dawood came to me crying and said:

“Tonight, at four o’clock my father started beating me during Tahajjud prayer. I remained silent after the first beating, but on the second time, due to the intensity of the pain, I could not control myself and left the house. I performed the prayer outside. My father says, ‘You offer long Ahmadi salat. When you are performing individual prayer in the mosque, a man comes, finishes his prayer and leaves and another person comes and finishes his prayer and leaves, but you do not complete even one rak‘at during that time. Your alfa has taught you magic. Now that white man […] is your father and not me. I am giving you three days to leave my house.’”

What was the answer of dear Dawood?

“Father listen! I will leave your house but I will not leave Ahmad[as].” 

This is just one incident among the daily hardships that the Lagos Ahmadi brothers have to endure, but these difficulties are the forerunners of the rewards.

New converts

In the days of the report under discussion, 16 people took bai‘at. The most prominent among them is a young man who is the son of a non-Ahmadi Deputy Chief Imam. Apart from him, another two highly educated and prestigious individuals are also included among the new converts. May Allah the Almighty grant all of them perseverance.

French Dahomey

The missionary in charge in Dahomey, Maulvi Ismail Sheta, carried out a month-long tour of the interior parts of the country and spread the message of Ahmadiyyat. The translation of his report will be published in a coming issue of Al Fazl. The present conditions are very promising. I have submitted a request to meet the Governor of French West Africa. The door to this path will also open, insha-Allah.

Gold Coast

Maulvi Fazlur Rehman Sahib has not been well for the past few days. He was suffering from a fever, but he remained busy with work. He regularly delivers dars from the Holy Quran and takes advantage of every opportunity to preach.

Sierra Leone

Maulvi Al-Hadi Egbaji, the missionary to Sierra Leone, could not do much work there due to bad health. However, he has now started to preach with great enthusiasm. May Allah the Almighty grant him the best of rewards.

Abdur Rahim Nayyar, 

10 August 1922.

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu, published in the 12 October 1922 issue of Al Fazl)

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