100 Years Ago… – Grand Mosque of Paris: Honourary Consul General of France appeals to Muslims through Ahmadi Missionary in Mauritius

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Last Updated on 25th November 2022

Al Fazl, 23 October 1922

The Ahmadi missionary to Mauritius, Hafiz Sufi Ghulam Muhammad Sahib, sent a letter to the Government of France through the French Consul in Port Louis, Mauritius, appreciating their initiative to construct a mosque in Paris. 

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Hafiz Sufi Ghulam Muhammad Sahib

In response to Sufi Ghulam Muhammad Sahib’s letter, [apart from the French Consul], the Honourary Consul General of France, Si Kaddour Benghabrit, wrote to him:

“Muslim Institute and Paris Mosque, Florentin Street Lower 30-88, Paris, 2 June 1922.

“From, Si Kaddour Benghabrit, Honourary Consul General of France, President of the Society of Habous and Holy Places of Islam.

“Honourable Muhammad Ahmadi! The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paris, sent me a copy of your letter, in which you have expressed your sincere thanks on behalf of the Muslims of Mauritius to the Government of the French Republic, which has contributed to the construction of a mosque in Paris. In your view, it will be a standing monument of French kind sentiments towards Islam.

“This mosque and its annexes, i.e. library, guest house, restrooms, etc., which shall be built in the very centre of Paris, will come into being with the help of the French government and the donations of those Muslims of the world who are to be honoured through its construction.

“If the Muslims of Mauritius are also desirous of taking part in this work and want to join with their brethren of Africa and Asia in the expenses which will be required for [the construction of the Paris Mosque], this society informs them through you [Hafiz Sufi Ghulam Muhammad Sahib] that a donation campaign has been started in Islamic countries and the collected sums will be deposited in the following bank in Paris:

“Crédit Foncier of Algeria and Tunisia, 43 Cambon Street, Paris. 

“I will be very grateful to you if you acknowledge our society’s appeal that I lay before the Muslims of Mauritius and draw their attention towards this donation and encourage them. Please inform me through a letter about your decision in this regard. 

“My brother in faith, please accept my heartfelt thoughts for you. Benghabrit.”

Si Kaddour Benghabrit
Si Kaddour Benghabrit, Honourary Consul General of France

[The letter of Hafiz Sufi Ghulam Muhammad Sahib (missionary to Mauritius) to the French Consul in Port Louis and their reply is as follows:

“From 

“HG Muhammad Ahmadi, Muslim Missionary, Rose Hill. 14 March 1922. 

“To 

“The French Consul, Port-Louis. 

“Sir, I most respectfully ask your leave for taking the liberty to convey to you the heartfelt gratitude that the Muslim community of the whole world owes to the French Republic because of the generous contribution of a large sum of money in the construction of a mosque in Paris – a standing monument of French kind sentiments towards Islam. 

“May Almighty God open their hearts to receive the heavenly bliss that God has sent down in time in the blessed person of Ahmad[as] of Qadian, Punjab, India, who claimed to be the Promised Messiah[as] of the Latter Days and whose veracity has been fully demonstrated by heavenly signs. The believers in Ahmad[as] are true Muslims because they follow the precepts of the Holy Quran and the blessed practice of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on his noble soul. 

“Islam means peace and consequently Islam is the religion of peace. It does not require any sword or force in propagating religion, which is truth all in all. The Holy Quran says in clear words, “There is no compulsion in religion” (Chap. II, the Quran). Hence those who expect the advent of a bloodthirsty Mahdi and a warrior Messiah go against the clear teachings of the Holy Quran and the authentic traditions of the Holy Prophet[sa]

“Ahmadis no longer look for the advent of any person waging war in the world for the sake of religion. The world is already disgusted thereof. Let the world adhere to the tenets and principles of Ahmad[as] and taste the sweet fruits of peace of all kinds. Then and then alone there will be no war and peace will reign supreme in the world. 

“Again, I thank the French Government for its share in the sacred cause of constructing a mosque in their capital. I will be very glad and grateful if you kindly communicate the heartfelt gratitude of the whole Muslim community to the President of the French Republic. 

“Hoping to receive full consideration for my humble writing. 

“I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant, HG Muhammad Ahmadi.”

Republique Francaise

Consulat dae France, Port Louis. 

Port Louis le 15 March 1922. 

Monsieur, 

J’ai l’honneur de vous accuser reception de votre lettre en date d’hier et jem’ m’empresse de vous en remercier. 

Ce me sera un tre’s agreable devoir de donner connaissance a mon Government des sentiments eleves qu’ arec la eommunaute Musulmane vous professez a son egard. 

Veuillez agreer, monsieur, les assurances de ma consideration distinguee. 

Le Consul DeFrance 

Monsieur, 

Monsieur Muhammad Ahmadi, Muslim Missionary, Rose Hill. 

English translation of the above French passage:

“Port Louis. 15 March 1922.

“Sir, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter with “the date of yesterday and thank you for that earnestly.

“It will be a very agreeable duty for me to apprise my government of the elevated sentiments of the Muslim community which you profess on their behalf. 

“Hoping you will accept all assurances of my distinguished regards for you.

Sir, I am the Consul of France. (Signed)]”

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu, published in the 23 October 1922 issue of Al Fazl)

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