100 Years Ago… – Mauritius Letter


The Review of Religions, October and November 1919

Hazrat Hafiz Sufi Ghulam Muhammadra

Hazrat Hafiz Sufi Ghulam Muhammadra, Ahmadi missionary to Mauritius

Ahmadis of Mauritius are under a great trial. But thank God, they are bearing it patiently and cheerfully. Though the long protracted case of the Rose Hill Mosque, which is before the Supreme Court of Mauritius is proving very expensive, yet they are glad because it is bringing many things to light.

It is not a mere struggle for one mosque, but it is a life and death struggle between two forces. By means of this case, the teachings of Ahmadas, Prophet of our age and the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, are being disseminated throughout the colony.

People who disliked even to cast a glance at Ahmadis are spending a lot of money to hear our preaching in the court. The latest sitting was held on 3 and 4 September. The Pesh Imam of the grand Masjid of Port Louis who, in the words of non-Ahmadis, is the Lord Bishop of the Mauritius non-Ahmadi Hanefites, was in the box.

The case will be heard again on 15 and 16 October 1919, with the same witness in the box. Eid-ul-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) was celebrated here in Mauritius on Saturday, 6 September. Almost all Ahmadis of the colony were present in the Rose Hill Mosque where Ahmadis have celebrated this feast four times successively.

It is the only Mosque in Mauritius which has accommodation for both sexes. Two special chambers are attached to the mosque on the right hand side for the use of the females. Both sections of the mosque were full of devotees and the service was led by the writer of this letter.

Here, there is a custom established by the order of the government that whenever any person dies, they are not buried until 24 hours have passed after their death, hence people pass the night in the house where somebody has passed away. On such occasions, I deliver lectures on Ahmadiyyat.

On 18 September, a daughter of brother Mawla Bhunno, a 1 year old, passed away. I was present on that occasion and delivered a lecture on the truth of Ahmad’sas claims. On this occasion, the uncle of the deceased girl, HK Nandeer, gave me a book entitled A New Life of Jesus by DF Strauss, who has proved beyond the shadow of doubt that Jesusas did not die on the cross but was taken down alive from the cross in a state of a swoon and died afterwards a natural death.

I quote here his very words from pages 409 and 410.

“Even as to the resurrection itself they say that the supernatural element exists indeed in the conception of the disciples and the Evangelists but not in the thing itself. It is not to be wondered at, according to them, that excited women took the white linen clothes in the empty sepulcher or strange men in white dresses, for angels. No angel was wanted to roll away the stone, as it might have been done, either accidentally or intentionally, by men’s hands. (According to Schleiermacher, by the work-people of the owner of the garden, who knew nothing of the placing of Jesus in the sepulchre, but only wanted to move the stone to its place at a distance from the opening where it had stood before, in order to give air to the newly formed vault. Compare my Treatise Schleiermacher and the Resurrection of Jesus in Hilgenfeld’s journal of Scientific Theology 1863, p. 386 ff .—Note by Do F Strauss).“

“Finally it may be explained quite naturally, after the circumstances that had preceded, how Jesus should have come alive out of the sepulchre when the stone was taken away. Crucifixion, they maintain, even if the feet as well as the hands are supposed to have been nailed, occasions but very little loss of blood. It kills, therefore, only very slowly by convulsions produced by the straining of the limbs or by gradual starvation. So, if Jesus, supposed indeed to be dead, had been taken down from the cross after about six hours, there is every probability of this supposed death having been only a deathlike swoon, from which, after the descent from the cross, Jesus recovered again in the cool cavern. Covered, as he was with healing ointments and strongly scented spices. On this head it is usual to appeal to an account in Josephus (vita, 75) who says that on one occasion, when he was returning from a military recognisance on which he had been sent, he found several Jewish prisoners who had been crucified. He saw among them three acquaintances whom he begged Titus to give to him. They were immediately taken down and carefully attended to. One was really saved but the two others could not be recovered.”

On 26 September, at the request of Madame Dowjee Atchia, all Ahmadis were invited at her house at Cure Pipe. It was the first occasion that was offered to us to give a discourse on the Holy Quran at that town and we took the opportunity by the forelock. About 40 Ahmadis assembled there. Cure Pipe is the chief residence of the white population and is the second capital of the colony. It has not given us, up to now, even a single Ahmadi. The writer of the letter, Mr Nuruya, and Maulvi Ubaidullah, an Ahmadi Missionary, addressed a well attended meeting in English, French and Urdu respectively. They spoke about the blessings of Islam, the continuation of divine revelation, the signs of the Promised Messiahas and the activities of the Ahmadiyya Movement.

The lectures, which lasted for about three hours, produced a very favourable impression on the educated class and many expressed the desire that such lectures should be repeated. Questions by an Arya Samagist were also answered.

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