100 Years Ago… – “I shall humiliate him who seeks to humiliate you”: Ahmadiyya victory in Ceylon

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Al Hakam, 28 September 1920

All praise belongs to Allah that with His grace, a trying time for us has finally ended and we have witnessed a great victory of Ahmadiyyat. Both my brothers and Muhammad Sharif were acquitted of all the charges that were filed against them out of religious bigotry.

Our opponents, who had hoped that the judge would sentence them to at least five years in prison and who had gathered in court with great enthusiasm, returned with great regret after the verdict was announced.

Consequently, Allah the Almighty established the truth of the following revelation of Hazrat Ahmadas:

اِنِّیْ مُھِیْنٌ مَّنْ اَرَادَ اِھَانَتَکَ

“I shall humiliate him who seeks to humiliate you.”

As you are well aware, we are being put to test in every way and enduring hardships upon hardships. Ever since Ahmadiyyat was established in this small Island, we have been facing trouble after trouble, but owing to the blessings of Allah the Almighty, we are not worried at all, even if we experience much greater difficulties.

By the grace of God the Almighty, we are ready to face them at all times. The reason for this [resoluteness] is that we witness fresh signs of the truthfulness of Hazrat Ahmadas every single day. Before I give you a brief account of the proceedings, it will be interesting for you to note that the opponents have now started to change their attitude because of our great victory.

Most of the time, they are seen discussing this miraculous victory we have had over them by the grace of God. As we were going through this divine trial, some prejudiced, ill-informed and unfaithful people, deceived by the provocative words of some fanatical and irrational mullahs, tried their best to uproot Ahmadiyyat from the island of Lanka. They wanted to block all avenues of progress for this Jamaat of a handful of people.

In order to achieve this goal, they took the services of [two well-known] lawyers, Mr MBA Ka (advocate) and Mr Sam Kadarga, and contrived all possible schemes against us. However, all praise be to Allah Who saved us by means of His flawless and excellent plan, and He is the best of planners.

Now, I will tell you briefly as to how the case was heard by Justice Felix Dias in the Supreme Court.

First day

The three persons accused were escorted to the court on Thursday, 29 July [1920], at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Mr Stanley Obeyesekere CC along with his assistants, Mr MBA and Mr Sam Kadarga, appeared as plaintiffs. Defendants were represented by Mr C Brooke Elliott and HG Garron. The first gentleman, [Mr Brooke] is an Englishman. The court was filled with highly interested audience.

Mr Stanley Obeyesekere opened the session with a 20-minute introductory speech. The first witness then appeared from Mr Stanley’s side. Mr Brooke Elliott’s turn came after an hour and the proceedings were adjourned for the second day.

Second day

At 11am the next day, Mr Brooke Elliott began his first day’s proceedings and asked very logical and wise questions to all the witnesses who appeared one after the other. He even proved to the judge that their testimonies were completely fabricated and fictitious. As it became clear to the judge that their testimonies were unsubstantial and false, the honourable judge did not consider it necessary to let them present any more of their witness.

Mr Elliott then stood up and addressed [the jury], which was assembled to deliberate fully on this matter and give a decision. Its members were Europeans, two Singair and two Tamil linguists. He completed his speech after an hour or so. It was a great speech and everyone listened to him very keenly and attentively.

Thereafter, he presented my father before the judge and asked Mr Safudeen, “Is he, Mr Lye, the father of the first two accused?” He replied in the affirmative. He then asked Safudeen, “Has this old man, (referring to my father), served as the head clerk of Justice Walter Pereira and Mr Arthur Railway?” He admitted that he had. At that moment, the honourable judge scolded him and said, “Don’t you know how to acknowledge the services of a person with such a social position?”

Mr Brooke Elliott also expressed that the other accused was the secretary of Anjuman Ahmadiyya Ceylon and the editor of the newspaper, The Message. Moreover, he is from the promulgators of the progressive Jamaat of Islam. The erudite speaker also explained the cause of all that trouble and mentioned the hostility of the people [against the Ahmadis].

The judge then handed over the papers to [the jury] for the decision. The honourable members returned to their seats after 40 minutes with the following unanimous decision:

“All the three accused are not guilty of murder. However, the first and the second [accused] have inflicted a slight blow to Safudeen during an instant reaction.”

Thereafter, Mr Brooke Elliott said to the judge that the defendants were unfairly jailed for three months and requested that they should [only] be made to pay some fine for the minor injury they caused to Safudeen.

Hence, the judge acquitted the third accused and imposed a fine of 25 rupees each on the first two as a penalty for the slight beating, which was immediately paid. Finally, they were released after three months of suffering which they had to endure for the sake of Islam.

A great number of relatives, friends and well-wishers congratulated them on their release. After a while, they went to the Anjuman’s office with members of the Jamaat. There, they exalted the glory of God and offered supererogatory prayers to express gratitude. People continued to visit us for seven days in a row and we received many congratulatory letters and telegrams.

In short, the final outcome was thanks to God Almighty … I am also very grateful to the markaz of the Jamaat [Qadian] and its members, for they helped us in every way during this difficult time.

Wassalam, T A Lye

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