100 Years Ago… – Lectures at Spiritual Hall and American Indian Association, and new opportunities for tabligh


Al Fazl, 11 June 1923

Hazrat Maulvi Muhammad Dinra (1881-1983)
Map of USA | Pxfuel

Lecture in the Spiritual Hall

Last week, another four individuals joined the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. The work of talim-o-tarbiyat [edification and moral training] is increasing by the day. Arabic lessons are being held twice a week, i.e., Monday and Wednesday. We have just started them, and people are showing great interest. On the other hand, the series of daily meetings inside and outside of the [mission] house is being held on a regular basis.

This week, Hazrat Mufti Sahibra delivered four lectures. He gave a lecture at the Spiritual Hall on Thursday. Allah the Almighty has blessed him with a special gift. No matter what the subject of the lecture is, somehow the message of Islam and Ahmadiyyat emerges as its central theme. The gathering consisted of prominent people. It had a positive impact on them. After the lecture, the moderator suddenly asked me to address briefly, so I also said a few words.

Islam and Christianity

The jalsa, which takes place on Sundays from 11am to 2pm was held according to the schedule. Around 35 people were present at this gathering. Apart from general advice on talim-o-tarbiyat, Hazrat Mufti Sahibra gave an overview of Islam in his sermon. After the sermon, I gave a short speech at his request.

Then, Hazrat Mufti Sahibra delivered a lecture at an educational society at 3:30pm. Its topic was Islam, Christianity and People of Colour. He lectured continuously on the aforementioned subject for an hour. In particular, he emphasised that the world of today is actually following the rules of Islam and abandoning Christianity. Hazrat Muftira Sahib shed light on matters such as self-protection through nikah [marriage], monetary exchange dealings, social norms, administration and governance, talim-o-tarbiyat, kindness towards each other, etc., and the mutual relations of mankind. This was a special lecture of the highest quality. The number of participants was above 80. The hall was filled to capacity.

After the lecture, a long session of questions and answers took place, which continued till 6pm. This lecture had a profound  impact, and it is hoped that many promising people will benefit from it by the grace of Allah the Almighty. An elderly and well-educated friend got up at the end [of the session] and expressed his gratitude in such a way that we hope he will soon accept Ahmadiyyat, insha-Allah. He openly said that, “Christianity has kept us in the dark till today, and now if we can benefit from anything in the world, it is Islam that has been presented by the Mufti.” Since a lot of different types of questions were asked during the session, this friend took some of his own people to task that by asking irrelevant questions, they were depriving themselves of hearing other beneficial things. Apart from others, this friend and his wife expressed their desire to participate in our next gathering.

Lecture at the American Indian Association

At 8pm on the same day, Hazrat Mufti Sahibra had a lecture at the American Indian Association, which was located at an hour’s distance by tram [from the place where he delivered his previous lecture]. There, he gave a lecture for an hour on the work that had already been done and was being carried out in America, and also shed light on Islam and Ahmadiyyat. Thereafter, the questions and answers session continued for a long time. Here too, the number of participants was not less than 40, and all were Indian gentlemen. Some of them showed great interest in the Jamaat. There were only two Muslims in the gathering, and the rest of them were Hindus. Their president was also a Hindu gentleman, who was very kind, friendly, and civilised. After the end of the lecture and the questions and answers session, he precisely thanked Hazrat Mufti Sahibra in the most suitable manner.

Superstitions and the West

Here [in America], some people who are against the idea of the number “13” being unlucky are considered to have a very brave heart and moral strength. The number 13, 13th day [of the month], or whatever thing the number 13 is applied to, is considered a bad omen. Consequently, a person who does not acknowledge the number 13 as an unlucky number is rarely found here. If someone opposes this idea, their names are certainly mentioned in the newspapers. This is the state of current enlightenment.

Lord Carnarvon, who recently discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb, has passed away. Everyone here believes that the king of Egypt, whose tomb he helped discover, killed him. He had an American friend and colleague, who was also ill. His present condition is also very critical. Consequently, the rich people here, whose homes are filled with the ancient relics of the world, are taking out Egyptian monuments and sending them to museums to protect themselves from evil spirits. Moreover, in the homes of some people, such feats are being attributed to these objects that one wonders how these people, who claimed to be the conquerors of all sciences, have become so superstitious that if something moves due to the wind at night, it is considered to be a ghost.

Along with all the aforesaid things, the demonstration of something truly “magical” is also witnessed here:

Four-story houses are detached from the foundations, lifted safely from one place, transported to another place at a distance of many miles, and installed there. During this entire process, there is no disruption, and not even a brick leaves its place. Hence, this worldly progress is also going on simultaneously, but the belief in ghosts is on the rise as well.

Muhammad Din,

Chicago, USA,

18 April 1923.

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu, published in the 11 June 1923 issue of Al Fazl)

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