100 Years Ago… – Lagos: ‘Alhamdulillah! Won the [Jami‘ Masjid] case.’


Al Fazl, 5 March 1923

by Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra (1883-1948)
768px Nigeria Regions map

Final days in Lagos

After returning from Northern Nigeria, I was unwell in Lagos for about four months. I suffered from a continuous, intermittent fever. In September [1922], the doctor advised me, “You should go to London immediately for a change of climate, otherwise, your life will be in danger.” I gave the excuse of the [mosque] case [to stay in Africa]. At the request of the [Lagos] Jamaat, the doctor gave me permission on the condition that I would rest and not work at all. A missionary and a man of my nature cannot fully comply with this condition [of not working]. Hence, in December [1922], my health deteriorated and the doctor [appointed someone] to keep a close watch over me. The friends who would come to meet me were only allowed to sign the guest book. Despite these strict restrictions, my condition worsened and I was forced to be admitted to a government hospital. I stayed in the hospital for eleven days and during that time I bought a ticket on the ship “Adda” to England. I was allowed to stay out of the hospital for only two days. Soon after, under medical advice, I was compelled to go to England to rest and experience a change of climate.

During the days of my illness, the local missionaries were constantly engaged in work and the series of new conversions to Islam Ahmadiyyat continued.

The Ahmadiyya Tabligh Delegation is entrusted with the task of guiding Muslim inmates in government prisons and overseeing their religious needs. Every Friday evening, Ahmadi missionaries go and deliver a sermon before them.

The jalsas [religious gatherings] are being held and duroos of the Holy Quran are being delivered on a regular basis.

My British friends came to visit me in the hospital and the wife of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, who is a respected British official, kept sending flower bouquets and English magazines to the hospital at regular intervals.

The General Secretary [Lagos] and other dignitaries of the Anjuman [Ahmadiyya Lagos] kept visiting and presenting the reports to me. Hence, though I was bedridden, the work continued with the grace of Allah the Almighty.

Honourable new converts

Before my departure, many people joined Ahmadiyyat. Secretary Tabligh Lagos will soon publish the total number of new converts [who have joined the Jamaat] in the last few months, insha-Allah. It was very difficult for me to count them. It is the grace and blessing of God Almighty that among these new converts, there is also a chief of Lagos named Muhammad Yunus Enmashan, who openly accepted Ahmadiyyat a day before my departure. Now, he has started coming regularly to the Jami‘ Masjid as well. Apart from them, a distinguished scholar, Mr Bologan, headmaster of the Muhammadan School, Badore, has also joined the Jamaat. May Allah the Almighty grant them perseverance and help them guide thousands of other individuals.

Ship journey

Except for a few days, the entire two-week voyage of my ship was under a doctor’s supervision. I secured a spacious room in the first class of the ship. Captain Taft would personally come to attend to me in my room. I was on a very healthy diet. Everything was well arranged [in my room] and I had a specific table as well. However, as I was already weak and the sea was also very turbulent, I went through a lot of pain. In the given circumstances, the doctor and the captain felt the need to change my room and give me a special room on the upper deck, right in the middle of the ship. But still, the illness did not leave me. On the way, I disembarked in Accra and Sierra Leone and met with officials and friends […]. It is unfortunate that, owing to his ill health, Maulvi Fazlur Rehman Sahib could not come to Secondi and meet me as proposed.


I set off from Lagos on 21 December [1922] and disembarked in England on 6 January [1923]. I was like a handful of dust, but Allah the Almighty blessed me with a second life. My body is getting stronger and I feel like working again. Now, apart from some weakness, I have no fever, etc., and my digestion is also getting better, alhamdulillah.

Meeting with authorities

On the day of my departure, along with Imam Ajose and the missionary in charge of Lagos, I met with all the executive officials of the Lagos State and Supreme Government of Nigeria. All of them assured us of impartiality and support from the government in educational matters and the protection of our mission’s rights. On the way, I met the Governor of the Gold Coast, His Excellency, General [Frederick Gordon] Guggisberg and other officials in Accra. I presented the aims and purposes of the Jamaat to him. I thank Allah the Almighty that the earlier doubts, which were spread everywhere due to the so-called “propagators of Islam” who mix politics and religion, are now being removed from the Ahmadiyya Tabligh Delegation.


The passion and love with which Lagos Jamaat bade me farewell can never be erased from my heart. The sincerity and affectionate tears of female members of the Jamaat, the prayers of imams and alfas [religious scholars], and the madrasa [school] students standing in rows at the port with their flags held high, are still before my very eyes. “Khuda Hafiz Maulvi” was written on their flags. The pupils, who now number 550 in the school, first recited a na‘at [poem in praise of the Holy Prophetsa] in Arabic. Then, they presented the British national anthem in Yoruba and English languages. During the three months, the good work accomplished  by the teachers and the way they taught the children and attracted them towards religion, was a very pleasing gift from me. I especially thanked them for all their hard work.

Rumours about my death

After I left [Lagos], some mischievous individuals spread the news of my death in Lagos city. Lagos Jamaat was very worried, but when my telegram reached them, they were at peace, alhamdulillah, and the opponents were embarrassed. Unfortunately, the people there think that the power to spread the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat is possessed by a single man. They do not understand that these are the works of Allah the Almighty. If God wills, He can employ stones for this work. Hence, God is doing all the work and Nayyar has come back to life, alhamdulillah.

After I left Lagos

Below is a summary of the affectionate letters received from Lagos:

Missionary-in-Charge Lagos writes:

“All the works are being carried out smoothly. Regular dars of the Holy Quran is being delivered. Evening classes are being held in Jami‘ Masjid. New converts are progressing in their sincerity. The chief, Yunus Enmashan, has come to the mosque for the first time. The school is being run exceptionally well.”

Imam Qasim R Ajose, chief Zakaria Yatino, and […] says:

“We hope that you are feeling better now. Looking forward to having you back [in Lagos] once you regain health.”

Chief Ibrahim Ebu writes:

“Just as children follow in the footsteps of their forefathers, so are the Chief Imam, the Council of Elders Executive Committee, missionaries, and teachers in school, performing their duties diligently.”

Abdul Karim Yatino says:

“Now, please start teaching us the lesson of Hadith from London by writing to us.”

President Yaqub writes:

“[After you left], if the faith of your pupils’ has not progressed, it has not in any way lessened.”

By the grace and blessings of God Almighty, the work is going well. The substitute missionary is diligently engaged in work. I thank Allah the Almighty for giving me happiness and satisfaction through them.

Gold Coast

Due to illness, Maulvi Fazlur Rehman Hakeem Sahib could not make the proposed visit and hold the [Ahmadiyya] Conference. However, he will hold the second Gold Coast Ahmadiyya Conference on 10 February 1923, insha-Allah. I have also sent him an address to present at this [conference]. There is a lot to do in Gold Coast, but the expenses are exorbitant. Most of the people of the [Gold Coast] Jamaat are poor and uneducated. Moreover, they are scattered from place to place. The means of transportation are very expensive and scarce. On the other hand, the self-centred Hausa maulvis, who do not know Islam except to make money by giving amulets and to fill their pockets by deceiving the ignorant, are against the Ahmadiyya Tabligh Delegation. Friends, please pray for our missionary’s good health and for the [Gold Coast] Jamaat to become strong and stand on its own two feet.

We won the mosque case

I am very grateful to Allah the Almighty that, by His sheer grace, He honoured the servants of the Promised Messiahas. On 6 February 1923, the case of Jami‘ Masjid [central mosque] Lagos was decided in favour of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat.

The following telegrams were exchanged between Lagos and London:

Lagos: “Alhamdulillah! Won the [Jami‘ Masjid] case.”

London: “Congratulations. Praise be to Allah. [We are] grateful to the government. Forgive the opponents.”

From, Abdur Rahim Nayyar

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu, published in the 5 March 1923 issue of Al Fazl)

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here