Al Fazl, 20-23 November 1923
Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra (1872-1957)
My brother Maulvi Muhammad Din Sahib BA, missionary of Islam, writes from Chicago:
“God’s providence seems to be at work in the delay of your return. You had to go [to Qadian] by way of Japan. If you had left here [America] for Japan on 1 July , you would probably have reached there in August and stayed there for September. [This was the exact time when] the wrath of Allah the Almighty descended there [in the form of an earthquake]. All praise belongs to God Almighty that He prevented you from going there [i.e., Japan].”
The aforementioned statement of Maulvi [Muhammad Din] Sahib is absolutely true. Certainly, I intended to return to India passing through Japan. After staying with Maulvi Muhammad Din Sahib for 3 months, on 1 July , I handed over the charge [of American mission] to him and got ready for my return journey. However, the travel costs were not received. So instead of going to Japan, I started visiting different cities in America. If I had gone to Japan, I would have certainly been there on the day of the earthquake, but God Almighty knew. […] I was thus not able to go to Japan. After the earthquake, considering it was not appropriate to go there, I left for India by way of France.
The present state of France and tabligh
As I have mentioned in the previous report, I left America and arrived in France. I had to stay here for a few weeks waiting for the ship. All ships for October, November, and December were already booked, as usually many people buy tickets weeks in advance and reserve their seats. By a stroke of good fortune, I have found an empty seat on the ship named Majula scheduled for 9 November . I am trying my level best to secure this seat.
At the same time, I am probing the situation in France to see what kind of efforts can be made here for the propagation of Islam. The French people are mostly Catholic and very unyielding. However, they respect foreigners a lot, especially if they know that there is a scholar [in their midst] from another country. When I went to see the wonderful library here, the secretary personally came out to meet me. After showing me around the library, he accompanied me to the front door, took off his hat, and bowed to say goodbye. Once, I requested a policeman for directions, he also took off his hat, greeted me, and then told me the way.
As compared to America, there is relatively less religious freedom here. I happened to meet a French new convert here. He was of the opinion that the person best suited for preaching here should be someone who does not look like a missionary, yet carries out the work [of tabligh] without raising suspicion. If he does not do so, he will not be able to do anything due to strong opposition.
The people of France are very fond of art. The whole city is full of paintings and statues. Many great museums are just filled with paintings and carved and moulded statues. Most of the paintings and statues here hold historical significance.
The trade of India’s fancy goods can thrive here. A few Indian traders are also present [in France]. If Globe Trading Agency opens a branch here, it can probably earn more profit here than in England.
Lectures and an article
Thus far, I have delivered two lectures here [in Paris, France]. After I finished speaking, both of my lectures were translated into French by a friend who also knows English. Moreover, I wrote an article in English and specifically mentioned the characteristics of Ahmadiyya Jamaat in it. A French new convert translated this article into French and presented it in a [literary] society. The message of Islam Ahmadiyyat was also conveyed to a few Egyptian students as well as some Muslims from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco were also preached to.
Maharaja of Kapurthala
I met His Highness Maharaja [Sir Jagatjit Singh Sahib Bahadur] of Kapurthala in Paris. He exhibited great morals and showed immense respect. I presented the magazine, Moslem Sunrise to him and briefly mentioned my work in America. He was really happy and said, “Your works are highly commendable.” Maharaja Sahib added, “I am planning to build a magnificent mosque in the state [of Kapurthala]. Its layout is being prepared in Paris.” He enquired about the difference between Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis. I explained the difference in detail. He said, “It was a pleasure meeting you. I extend an invitation for us to convene again in India when you reach there.”
Prince Samad Khan
One day, Prince Samad Khan, Ambassador of Iran [to France] met me by chance in the street. I was standing in a square observing the daily quests of the French world when a distinguished person in French dress approached me, took off his hat, and said, “Assalamu Alaikum.” I thought that he might be an elder from Arabia, so I asked in Arabic, “What is your name?” He replied, “I am not acquainted with Arabic. I am from Iran, and I speak French and Persian.” Consequently, we had a good conversation in the Persian language, and he was very happy to know that I could speak Persian. He invited me to his house and showed me the magnificent room with the throne of the Shah of Iran in Paris. He enquired in detail about our American mission and the accounts of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. At the end, he said, “I am at your disposal, and please consider this house as your own. Moreover, kindly encourage the friends of your blessed mission travelling through this route to visit here and delight me with their company.”
Need for tabligh in Spain
A friend who has travelled to Spain met me and mentioned that there are scores of families in Spain who were Muslims, but after the Christian conquests in this country, they were subjected to such atrocities that they found it difficult to express their Islam. Consequently, they abandoned the values of Islam due to the fear of the government. Gradually, living side by side with the Christians, they assimilated with the Christian faith. However, their [Islamic] family values and traditions are still found in them. Deep down within their hearts, they adore the faith of Islam. Thus, a lot of people can revert to Islam if there is someone to inspire them and put a new spirit in them.
A few individuals are under tabligh [being preached to] in Paris. May Allah bless them with Islam.
19 October 1923.
(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu, published in the 20-23 November 1923 issue of Al Fazl)