100 Years Ago… – First Indian Ahmadi woman in Europe and tabligh to Sir Shankar Narayan

Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra (1883-1948)
Photo by Jakob Braun on Unsplash

First Indian Ahmadi lady in London

Hazrat Maulvi Ghulam Farid Sahib[ra] MA, the missionary of Islam Ahmadiyyat, has currently moved from Germany to England. He, along with his family, has relocated from Berlin to London. His wife is eager to spread the message of Islam and, by the grace of Allah, their child, who had been ill for a long time, has now recovered. She desires to participate in the blessed work of tabligh while fully observing Islamic veiling. We request our friends to pray that Allah grants their elder child complete health and keeps the younger one healthy too, relieving the parents from the worries caused by their children’s illness, and granting them success in their mission of spreading the truth, amin.  

State of ignorance prevails

The Ahmadiyya Jamaat’s tabligh delegation has a platform among the preachers at the entrance of London’s central park, and countless people of God listen to the truth twice a week. 

Many men and women from various branches of Christianity preach at this place. Among them is an elderly woman who is very enthusiastic about spreading her faith. Last week, she came to our gathering in the evening, and asked this question: 

“Does your religion consider women to be soulless?” 

I answered her in detail, and she remarked, “Oh! So you are not a Turk.”  

Speech in a society

I often visit various societies because it provides an opportunity to meet people and spread the truth [of Islam]. In one society I attended, a Brahmo woman was giving a speech. While discussing Muslims, this esteemed Indian lecturer used words, either deliberately or unintentionally, that implied that the arrival of Muslims had destroyed India’s previous civilisation. Following this speech, keeping in view the political changes in India, our friend, the Honourable Lord Headley, advised people to be grateful to the British Empire and to treat Muslims, of whom the Lord said he was one, with justice. 

After Lord Headley, a Pandit said a few words, and then it was my [Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyar’sra] turn. I pointed out to the [female] lecturer that India’s previous civilisation had already perished before the arrival of Muslims, and the country was in a very destitute state. The Muslims revived it, and a person with the blood of Ram Chandra in his veins and the religion of Muhammadsa in his heart cannot tolerate any injustice. 

The [Aryas] came to India, displaced the original inhabitants, and took their place. Then the Muslims arrived and, instead of displacing or enslaving the original inhabitants, they prospered them. Then came the British, and did their work. Just as those who were considered enemies in the recent past became the sons of the land today, history will continue to repeat itself. According to the Ahmadiyya viewpoint, the time has come for Indian Hindus, Indian Muslims, and Indian British to unite and make India free and prosperous. After me, a priest gave a speech and said that, “I reiterate the sentiments of my Muslim friend and consider myself an Indian British.” 

In this way, I continue to fulfil my duty of introducing the Jamaat and serving my religion, country, and nation.  

Anglo-Indian Temperance Association

On 20 May [1924], the annual conference of the Anglo-Indian Temperance Association took place. Esteemed Englishmen and Indians were present, including Sir Shankar Narayan Nair and Sir Ali Imam. Sir Shankar Narayan emphasised that both [major] religions of India prohibit alcohol, but the British influence has introduced this bad habit into the lives of Indians. It is necessary to eradicate it not only from India but from the world. “It is a well-established fact,” Sir Narayan stated, “that the habits of the dominant people are imitated, and when English officials drink alcohol, the public imitates them.” Alcohol cannot be eradicated from India until the financial condition of the country is improved and expenses are reduced. 

After the speeches, I met with Lord Clyde, Sir Narayan, and various other people from different countries, some of whom were Christians. I informed them about the teachings of Ahmadiyya Jamaat.  

New convert youth

During my stay in England this time, which has lasted for more than a year, I have not mentioned the name of any new convert. This is because I always keep in mind the instruction of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih [IIra], who said, “On the Day of Judgement, Allah the Almighty will not ask how many people you converted to Islam, but rather God will ask you about the [moral and spiritual] state of the converted people.” 

I have worked for the pleasure of God Almighty and to fulfil my duty. During this period, I delivered 280 speeches, wrote 2192 letters, and conveyed the message of truth to thousands of people. However, I did not publish the name of any new convert. I thank Allah the Almighty that I can finally announce the entry of a young man into the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. He is an English youth from a noble family. His father is a bishop, and he himself is educated and affluent. For now, I simply request friends to pray for his steadfastness and the fulfilment of his future plans. He has been given the Islamic name of Muhammad. May Allah bless him with success, amin.  

West Africa

Despite the opposition by the new apostasy movement in Lagos and the indication of Khwaja Kamaluddin Sahib’s arrival, God’s work is proceeding excellently. New people join the Jamaat every day. 

In the Gold Coast, [Al-Haj] Hakim Fazl-ur-Rahman Sahib is diligently engaged in preaching. During Ramadan, he helped prepare new imams and sent them to distant centres to lead Tarawih prayers, and he himself planned to go on a tour after Ramadan. 

In Freetown, Sierra Leone, our brother Musa K Garber is making every possible effort to preach the truth [of Islam]. 

Our esteemed brother chief imam Muhammad Dabri, Amir of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat Nigeria, after being ill for a few weeks, has now, by the grace of Allah, returned home safely. 

Imam Qasim R Ajose’s health was also not good. Friends are requested to pray for members of the Jamaat in Nigeria. The General Secretary of Lagos writes: 

“Even if Khwaja comes here, our faith, by the grace of God, cannot be shaken, and the community will, God willing, remain strong like a mountain.”

اللّٰهُمَّ‭  ‬ايَّدَهُمْ‭ ‬بِنَصْرِكَ ‬الْعَزِيْزِ

[“O Allah! Help them with Your mighty help.”]

– Abdur Rahim Nayyar (2 May 1924)

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu, published in the 8 July 1924 issue of Al Fazl)

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