100 Years Ago… – Jalsas in West Africa and new converts in America


Al Fazl, 12 February 1924 & The Moslem Sunrise, January, [February, March] 1924

Al-Haj Hakim Fazl-ur-Rahman Sahib (1901-1955)
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Jalsa in Abadome

Around 40 miles north-east of Saltpond, [Africa], is a town called Abadome, which is a prominent Christian centre, with three or four schools. We have a small jamaat in that area, so a jalsa was scheduled to be held there on 29-30 November [1923]. I reached there on 28 November, but unfortunately, our friends could not reach there as expected. This happened because the people are currently preoccupied due to the cocoa harvest season, needing distant travel to engage in arduous labour and cultivation management. Consequently, only around 100 representatives of the following jamaats were able to attend the jalsa:

Abadome, Abokor, Ekwamkrom, Sikoma, Abuokrom, Akuchi, Aissen Ansuam, Kwamanata, Dadu Mako, Ian Baram, Atbin, etc.

On Thursday, 29 November, the jalsa started after the Zuhr prayer. A lecture on salat and important injunctions of Islam was presented for the edification of the people. Its first part came to an end by 5:30 pm. Then, after Maghrib prayer, starting at 7 o’clock in the evening, the rest of the lecture was delivered and the [first day of the] jalsa concluded at 9 pm with a silent prayer.

The [second day of the] jalsa commenced on 30 November at 9 o’clock in the morning. Some new friends also came to join the gathering. The proceedings of the new day began with a brief review of the previous lecture.

At the Essam Jalsa held on 1-3 August [1923], the Jamaat members requested that I move the Markaz [Centre] from Saltpond to Asyam and also start a school under my supervision. For the purpose of obtaining approval and permission, a request was sent to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih [IIra]. The approval of this proposal has been received by Nazir Talif-o-Isha‘at [Hazrat Syed Zainul Abideenra] through a telegram. At the same jalsa, our brothers suggested buying a car for the needs of the mission. Hence, it was presented before our friends that the permission for the change of the centre has been granted by Hazrat Khalifatul Masihra, so we should take a decision in this regard, moreover, since the full amount of the donation for buying a car has not been collected yet, a recommendation should also be given as to whether it should be bought or not. If it is to be bought, then efforts should be made to collect the rest of the donations. After the conclusion of the jalsa and lunch, the Jumu‘ah prayer was performed. The friends were then requested to give their suggestions.

Brief debate

In the Friday sermon, it was emphasised to present one’s life and property, i.e., sacrifice for the cause of Allah the Almighty, and expand the tabligh [preaching] circle, and especially bring non-Ahmadi Muslims under tabligh. The second session started at 2:30 pm.

Imam Muhammad of Akuchi used to complain a lot about our way of praying [in salat], i.e., placing hands on the chest. Moreover, he would object that we do not count the beads of the tasbih [rosary] and recite wadha’if and durood recommended by some sheikh […]. He always told people about me that “If I see him somewhere, I will tell him what is wrong with praying with hands on the chest and not counting the beads of tasbih, etc.”

I always wanted to meet him. By happenstance, he came to the jalsa and presented his questions. He is a simpleminded, uneducated person, and it is always difficult to answer such people. Nothing can be presented to him from any book, as he cannot read anything. However, divine providence is something remarkable; the person accepted whatever I explained to him, and I then exalted the name of Allah the Almighty. He promised to enter the Jamaat after research and consideration.

After that [brief debate], the second session started and the friends presented their recommendations regarding the change of centre and purchase of a car. It was decided that the car must be bought and the chanda should be collected from the friends who had not yet contributed in this regard. (The total amount required is £325, of which £161 has already been collected. The list of the contributors will be published later, insha-Allah.)

Regarding the shifting of the centre, it was decided that since most of the friends could not attend this jalsa due to the harvest season, another gathering would be held for them in the second week of January 1924. By that time, members of the Jamaat will be finished with the busyness of the harvest and on this occasion, after deep consideration, the final decision to move the centre will be taken while putting our trust in Allah the Almighty.

Victory of truth

In a previous report, I mentioned that a non-Ahmadi mullah by the name of Abbas had challenged us after failing in his attempt to corrupt some of our jamaats’ members. In response to his challenge, Ahmadis sent him registered letters twice, saying that, “We are also ready to engage in a debate [with you], and in fact, in a mubahalah [prayer duel]. Come and accept our challenge.”

However, the truth prevailed and he did not accept our challenge. All this was made possible by the grace of Allah and the guidance of جري اللّٰہِ في حُللِ الأنبياء [‘The champion of God in the mantle of prophets’]:

چہ ہيبت ہا بدادند اين جواں را

کہ نايد کس بميدان محمد

[“What awe has been instilled in this youth, that no one dares to enter this Muhammadan arena.”]

One feels very satisfied if the adversary is vanquished in a competition; however, if the enemy does not even appear in the competition, it is a very clear victory.

17 new converts

Our enemy was trying to corrupt our former Ahmadis, but Allah the Almighty, on the other hand, is blessing us with new friends. On the occasion of Abadome Jalsa, 16 friends joined the Ahmadiyya Jamaat and entered into the allegiance of the Promised Messiahas. 15 out of them were non-Ahmadi Muslims and one was an idol-worshipper who converted to Islam Ahmadiyyat. On my return to Saltpond from the jalsa, a letter from a Christian was received, who is under tabligh for a period of time. He is an educated gentleman and a resident of Kittah, located more than 600 miles up the coast from Saltpond. Allah the Almighty has guided him and he has been named Sultan. The Islamic names of all new converts are as follows:

1. Barkat, 2. Saeed, 3. Yaqub, 4. Yusuf, 5. Adam, 6. Salman, 7. Adam, 8. Dawood, 9. Adam, 10. Musa, 11. Al-Hasan, 12. Musa, 13. Adam, 14. Yaqub, 15. Ishaq, 16. Usman and 17. Sultan.

May Allah bless every new convert with perseverance, amin.

In the town of Kittah, where Brother Sultan converted to Islam Ahmadiyyat, there are another three educated Christians under tabligh and letters are being exchanged with them. Members of Jamaat are requested to pray that Allah may grant them guidance, amin.

Prayer request

I request that my friends pray for their brothers living in distant lands. I humbly request prayers as these people are uninformed and did not enjoy the company of the Promised Messiahas or any of his Khulafa. Seeing them makes me feel regretful and my heart melts with tears. These people are poor and the level of impoverishment here is higher as compared to our country. However, there are still many among them who give preference to the service of Allah the Almighty over their own works. They even sacrifice their savings on food and present them as chanda. I am certain that their edification will bring out many pearls from the dust [of ignorance]. Their lost shine due to the dust [of ignorance will be rekindled]. […]

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu, published in the 12 February 1924 issue of Al Fazl)

New converts of America and ode to Prophet Ahmad

The Moslem Sunrise, January, [February, March], 1924

List of the new converts since the last [names] published in the Moslem Sunrise for October 1923.

The number of total converts during this period has been 217 and the total number of converts to date is 991. May God give them all steadfastness of purpose, steadiness, and sincerity. The American names of the new converts, together with their Muslim names, are given below:

Miss Mary Campbell, Kaamilah; Ben Taudy; Mr Wekan Kelly, Karm Din; Miss Sophia Sheftus, Safiyya; Miss Laura Battle, Zuleikha; Miss Adaline Neeson, Naeema; Mr Leslie Isabell, Ismatullah; Mr James Lane, Obeidur Rehman; Mr Andy Harrison, Obeidus Salaam; Mr Steven Vakall, Ataullah; Miss Rosa Vakall, Amatasalaam; Mr William Webster, Ataur Rehman; Mr Ella Perry, Ataur Rahim; Mr WV Hogan, Obada; Miss Lula Hogan, Amatul Kareem; Mr Charles McDade, Addie; Mr Rufus Herron, Amr; Miss Luella Herron, Amatullah; Mr George Martin, Abbas; Miss Georgia Martin, Bahar; Mr John Floyd, Osman; Mr Harrison Goodlow, Alee; Mr Richmond Williams, Ateeq; Miss Marlee Williams, Ateeqa; Mr Newman Johnson, Ateequr Rehman; Ella Johnson, Raunaq; Mr William Wright, Utba; Mrs Lena Wright, Laila; Mrs Willie Weaver, Fatima; Mr S McCurdy, Aqueel; Abtass Bees, Jannat; Maudy Bees, Rauza; Mr WP Boykins, Urva; Alberta Turner, Adnan; Mr Gabe Jackson, Imran; Mr Peter J Edwards, Onn; Mr Jasper Brown, Aamil; Mr Reuben Jackson, Uqba; Mr Steven Brown, Eessa; Mr Robert Brook, Ammaar; Mr James Darts, Aarif; Mr GL Robinson, Iyaaz; Mr Edward Jenkins, Ayyaaz; Mr Lewis Matthews, Aasim; Miss Georgia F Nelson, Affeefa; Mr Israel Richardson, Ikraima; Mr Frances Mincey, Abdullah; Miss PQV Callaway Amatur Rehman; Miss Louisa Collins, Habeeba; Mrs Maggie Dringan, Olfat; Miss Hattie Bellamy, Anas; Mr John L Bellamy, Ghulam Ullah; Mr Pallie W Scott, Ghulam Muhammad; Mr PI Paddocks, Ghulam Qadir; Miss Victoria Lowry, Raoofan; Mr Gus Daniels, Ghulam Rasool; Mr Henry Thomas, Majeed; Miss Mary Thomas, Shareefan; Miss Nellie Harreld, Hameeda; Mr Mingo Neals, Abdur Rehman; Mr CM Richmond, Abdur Rasheid; Mr Sam Woodward, Abdul Karim; Mrs Younne Augers, Hawa Ally; Miss Dorothy Rhamsing, Haleema; Miss Eleanor Rhamsing, Saleema; Mr Alphonso, Kareem; Mr William Wilson, Walidad; Mr Alfred Wilson, Alif Din; Mr GR Fox, Talha; Mr Geo HB Summmons, Ata Ilaahee; Mr Ervin Watson, Ata Ullah; Mr Arnold A Garner, Ata Rabbee; Mr H Devenport, Allahdad; Mr AH Hicks, Abdur Rehman; TW Boyington, Mr William Rice, Rehm Din; Miss Savilla Partee, Fazl Bee; Mr Adam Brasfield, Masood; Mr Eugene J Kyle, Fazl Kareem; Mr William Ross, Rahimullah; Mr Albert Clark, Qadeer Bakhsh; Mr William Smith, Samee Ullah; Mr Neal McGill, Ghulam Alee; Mr PS Werhington, Waleedad; Mr James Robinson, Jamal Din; Miss FJ Stanberry, Farhat; Mr D Harrison, Haleem; Miss Lula Washington, Lulu; Mr Oscar McBride, Usman; Mr DE Longford, Lutfur Rehman; Mr Theodore Collins, Kaleemullah; Miss SM Eulans, Aimanah; Mr Jim Evans, Jamilur Rehman; Miss Gertrude Freeman, Fatima; Mr Ira Lovett, Olfat; Miss May C Gunter, Moneera; Mr JE Bennet, Aleema; Mrs EL Ellis, Jalal Din; Mr WM Perry, Piyar Muhammad; Miss Mattie Craig, Matab; Mr Edward Turner, Tofail Ahmad; Mr Sauel Hadden, Hameedullah; Mr Carlis Benford, Ibraheem; Mrs E Turner, Hajira; Mrs Julia Benford, Sakeena; Mrs Ella Harrison, Hurmat Bee; Mrs E Torres de Sampson, Busharat; Earnest Sampson, Bashir Ahmad; Emeralde Erastus Sampson, Barkat; Yuola Lucia Sampson, Shreefan; Mr Hal Price May, Abdul Mannan; Mr Elijah Aikens, Ilyas; Mr FGH Lewis, Ilm Din, Mr Hal Price May, Abdul Mannan; Mr Acy Blackman, Bilal; Mrs Francis Plummer, Fatima, Miss MC Brown, Bano; Mr James Martin, Moneer; Mr Nero McCrae, Mahmud; Mr Gus Bryant, Behram; Mrs G Bryant, Maimoona; Master Gus Bryant, Bazurg; Master Eddie W Bryant, Mehdi; Mr John A Doddridge, Daaood; Mr Christ Vaney, Shaakir; Mr John Lloyd, Lal Din; Mr William Warren, Waris Din; Mr Albert Alexander, Skander Alee; Mr M Fridge, Fareed; Mr Claude Addison, Ahmad Din; Mr John Patterson, Jan Muhammad; Mr Perry Needam, Piyar Muhammad; Mrs Carrie Hackney, Haleema; Mrs Rhode Wilson, Rehmat; Mr George Jackson, Ghulam Jaleel; Mr JB Cot, Karim Din; Mr William Green, Vilayet Alee; Miss Emma Poindepter, Ameena; Mr ASM Earl, Omar; Mr Gus Daniels, Daanial; Mr OJ Jackson, Off; Mr John Mallory, Affaan; Miss Emma Watson, Walliyya; Mr WL Edwards, Abdul Momin; Miss Sarah Osborne, Amatul Munim; Miss Martha Price, Omama; Mr Samuel Hatter, Hameedullah; Miss Gertrue Staries, Hafeeza; Miss Handy McQueen, Aaamirah; Miss Ammie McQueen, Mallahat; Mr Lawrence Gilespie, Abdul Muktadir; Miss Mollie Collier, Najma; Mr Robert White, Abdul Muhyee; Mr William McHenry, Abdul Malik; Mr Edgar Dorsey, Abdul Mateen; Mr Carter Thomas, Abdul Naseer, Mr Henry Taylor, Abdul Noor; Mr PW Wright, Abdul Naasir; Mr Edward Nolan, Abdul Wahid; Mr Paul Duckswater, Abdul Maheed; Mr Alex Barr, Abdul Wadood; Mr William Goens, Abdul Wahab; Mr Arden Goins, Abdul Wakeel; Mr Edward Butter, Abdul Haddee; Miss Mary Miller, Mominah; Mr Arthur Dodson, Obaidullah; Mr Israel Hamilton, Haamid; Mrs Fannie Thomas, Fatima; Mr Andrew J Williams, Vilayet; Mr. Levi Coleman, Kalaam; Mrs Addie Weatherby, Aalia; Mrs Lemon Weatherby, Lateef Walee; Mrs Rosa Tasker, Rasheeda; Mrs Lucinda Fridge, Freeda; Mr Andy G Cummings, Ghulam Ahmad; Mr William Goode, Karam Dad; Mr Walter Jones, Ghulam Jeelaani; Mr LA Graham, Mahboob Alee; Mr Charles Pierce, Mahbood Ilaahee; Mr Simpson Bennet, Baddour; Mr E Summons, Suleiman; Mr Paul Daniels, Abdullah; Mr Jacob Johnson, Yakoob; Mr Joseph Blackwood, Bairam, Mr Charles Disley, Daood; Mr James Williams, Ayyoub; Mr Raymond Clark, Abdur Rehman; Mr William Hompton, Salaamullah; Mr Charles L Kinney, Kaleemullah; Mr Chas Curtis, Kareemullah; Mr L Bell, Hafeezullah; Mr James Smith, Ameenullah; Mr C Cooke, Amaanullah; Mr John Haskell, Shafaatullah; Mr Joseph Kelly, Karaamatullah; Mr James W Watson, Jama‘at Alee; Mr Stephen Vance, Abdul Ghanee; Mr Charles Belford, Najaf Alee; Mr Fred Bradford, Shuja‘at Alee; Mr Sol Spoulding, Ameer Alee; Miss Maria B Haskell, Naeema; Mr Henry Bellingly, Fakeer Alee; Mr WH Houtson, Hadee Alee; Mr John M Banks, Mumtaz Alee; Celestine V Banks, Mohammad Ismaeel; Vesta L Banks, Dildar Alee; Carl M Banks, Dilawar Alee; and Mr OW Wrigght, Rajab Alee.

The following joined the Ahmadiyya Movement:

1. Mohammad Sany O Adeoba, 2. GM Abdullah, 3. M Alee, 4. Shaikh Ismael and 5. A Malik Mondal.

Ode to Prophet of the Day

Who is this coming from a far-off land’

Pointing the way to God?

Who is this coming to blot out sin

Treading where the Prophet trod?

Who is this coming from the Punjab Land

Begging man to look higher?

Who is the winnower with the mighty fan?

Ah! ’tis the “Promised Messiah.”

“God Speed,” came a whisper from [Muhammad]’s tomb

In Medina where he rests in peace,

“Speed on,” was the whisper from Kashmir’s vale

Where the blessed Jesus sleeps at ease.

“Best wishes,” cried a voice from Moab’s land,

Where the Holy Moses laid his lance.

A breeze brot “Succeed” from the great Bo Tree

Where the Buddha folded his hands.

“I’m the ‘Promised Messiah,’ says the Punjab Man

By bit and spur, he rides,

“Against my spirit, no man can stand

Ye hypocrites, step aside.”

Rushing, he comes like a mighty wind,

Old Isla Islam’s heart is afire.

Ghulam Ahmad of Quadian Land’

The long-looked-for Messiah.

– Sheik Armad Din.

(Transcribed and edited by Al Hakam from the original in The Moslem Sunrise, January, [February, March], 1924)

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