Sadiq’s Diary, from England
21 March 1918
“100 Years Ago…” will go back a hundred years to re-discover the activity of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat. Insha-Allah we will try to present this to our readers regularly.
For this issue, we have found a diary belonging to Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiq Sahibra that was included in Akhbar Faruq on 21 March 1918, exactly a hundred years ago.
In the diary, Hazrat Mufti Sahibra reveals the challenges he was facing serving as a missionary in England and gives insight to his activities.
The Cold Weather
The temperature here [Ventnor, Isle of Wight] has not dropped below thirty degrees Fahrenheit. As compared to London the sun stays out longer here, meaning that you can see it through the clouds.
I previously wrote during Summer that the days can get so long that I once wrote a report in the daylight at half past nine in the evening. In contrast, nowadays the days are so short that candles are already lit at half past four in the evening and some cannot work without candles even at three o’clock in the evening. However, the timings that the English have set for eating and working are fixed and never change.
The conditions here are such that to this day I have not had any clothes made. I am still using the same clothes that my dear brother Maulvi Muhammad Usman sahib had tailored and bought for me in Lahore. The only new garment is an overcoat (lighter than the overcoat I brought from India) purchased by Qazi sahib [Qazi Muhammad Abdullah sahib, an early missionary to England] for me upon my arrival here, and that too for only five pounds.
Nowadays I have been wearing a warm undervest with a cotton waistcoat on top, followed by a woollen sweater, two flannel tops, a woollen waistcoat, a warm coat, thermal leggings, flannel bottoms, one pair of light trousers and two pairs of thick trousers, leather boots strapped over three pairs of socks and a warm turban. This is what I wear inside the house and when going out, a light or heavy overcoat is added depending on the conditions as well as warm gloves. For now, this amount of clothing is sufficient; in future, whatever Allah wills.
At night, I put on a long woollen kurta, flannel pyjamas, three blankets, one shawl and a thick woollen quilt. At times, I also sleep in a warm gown which my dear brother Miyan Chiraghuddin sahib gave to me, may Allah reward him in the best manner and bless his family.
However, alongside this, another important thing is that the rooms for sleeping and eating etc. are separate and they can only stay warm through the use of lighting coal at all times, apart from the bedroom, where if one does not get up throughout the night to re-light the coal, the flame dies out. For this reason, I have arranged for a gas heater in the bedroom.
Qazi sahib had arranged for gas heating at the property we had on [Great] Russell Street and this proved to be very beneficial. The instalment fees are substantial but the cost afterwards equate with the usage of coal and you may switch it on and off as you like.
The reason I write in such minute detail is so that the future missionaries may have good insight into the conditions here. If the future missionaries carefully take into account what I am writing, it will hopefully help them Insha-Allah and thus I will be divinely rewarded.
In my opinion, the tasks here cannot be completed in just a few years. For this purpose, there are yet to be many efforts made especially since our challenge is not merely with Christians or Atheists, but also non-Ahmadi Indians and (more challengingly) those friends who are now severely opposed to us.
My opinion concerning the England mission is that instead of missionaries coming or going after two or three years there should be permanent missionaries who completely sacrifice their lives and all their desires and wishes. They should be such that through their prayer attention, knowledge, love, morals, excellences and every possible effort create an Ahmadi atmosphere.
In my view, in three or four years of service, a person can only just about formulate an appropriate scheme about a certain area. Yes, it is important for missionaries to visit Qadian regularly and, after spending sometime there, return to their duties. And when they reach old age they may return to Qadian with their pensions.
According to Maulvi Sher Ali sahib’s dream, my task would prove as subh-e-sadiq, the dawn of the day. God Almighty is aware of the future, but if I am responsible for playing the role of dawn then either God will send other people to see the sun reach its zenith or He will have me play both roles. Only Allah knows best. I am ready for all situations. Wa Ma Tawfiqi Illa Billahil-‘Aliyyil ‘Azim. [I possess no power; only Allah is the All-Powerful and Great.]
Usage of Medicines
Till now I have not been using many medicines… A doctor here recommended that I use Cod Liver Oil with Malt Extract and I take a little every morning. This is what I take as medicine.
As for food, I cannot digest the bread here. Therefore, I have replaced roti with pure oat biscuits. The meat, fish, tea, milk and fresh fruit here [Ventnor] are very beneficial and I frequently make use of them.
In terms of exercise, I take leisurely walks and occasionally lift dumbbells.
I read a book recently about protecting oneself from the cold and it said that bathing with cold water has many advantages.
Chaudhry Zafrullah Khan sahib once related that he would bathe with cold water in England, something I found very strange because I would not even bathe with cold water in India. But here I have developed such a habit that every morning when I get in the bathroom, I pour two buckets of cold water on me and immediately dry myself with a towel after which I quickly put on my clothes. Although this may not be bathing in its truest sense but I have benefitted from it a great deal.
Due to the early morning bath my body temperature remains hot and protects me from the cold [throughout the day].
Fish and Milk
Whenever fish was cooked back home in India, it was considered extremely harmful to drink milk that day. Everyone at home would be ordered on such days not to have milk.
Here I have observed that fish and milk are consumed together without a worry in the world of whether it can harm them. It may possibly be due to the different atmosphere and climate.
I first experienced this at the home of Mr Saleem of Southsea, who accepted Ahmadiyyat after my tabligh [preaching], where I was presented fish and milk. I felt reluctant but there were some reasons for which I could not decline. Therefore, I recited Bismillahilladhi La Yadhurru Ma’asmihi Shay’un [In the name of Allah, with Whose Name there is protection from every kind of harm] and consumed both. After that, I have been given both items together many times and have consumed them both together.
Alhamdolillah my health is good. Although I rarely step outside due to the extreme cold and opportunities of tabligh here are much less, but compared to London it is less cold here.
Our brother Qazi [Muhammad Abdullah] sahib was very disinclined to me travelling to [Ventnor]. It was his sheer love that he could not bear my departure.
However, he has now written that it was good I left London as it is extremely cold there with snow and mud everywhere. Apparently the fog there is so thick that you can only see a few feet in front of you. If you spend too long in front of the fireplace it becomes difficult to breathe. The maid has fallen ill and is off on sick leave. Some grocery items are not available and he is struggling a great deal.
May Allah, out of His sheer grace, ease his difficulties and the difficulties of all missionaries; may they be safeguarded from every evil and conflict; may their tasks be blessed and may He out of His infinite mercy lead all mankind onto the right path. He alone is the Guide…
Generally my health is good. Allah alone is the Protector and Helper. Wa la Haula Wa La Quwwata Illa Billahil ‘Aliyyil ‘Azim. [There is no strength or power other than that of Allah, the All-Powerful, the Great.]
(Translated from the original Urdu by Qaasid Muin Ahmad)