100 Years Ago… – Meetings with esteemed persons in London


Al Fazl, 25 August 1921

Hazrat Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad Sayalra, (1887-1960)

This is the last report [by me] about Dar-ul-Tabligh [mission house], London, which I am presenting as a gift to the readers of Al Fazl because I am returning to India via Mecca with the permission of Hazrat Amirul Momineen [Khalifatul Masih IIra].

Three Ahmadis are leaving London for Hajj. Brother Shamshad Ali Khan ICS, Brother Usman Al-Mahdi Fisher (Barrister) and this humble one. Friends are requested to pray for the success of our journey and that may Allah the Almighty forgive us our shortcomings and accept our Hajj-e-Baitullah [pilgrimage to the House of Allah, Ka‘bah] and may our future be better than our past.

In the days of this report, by the grace of Allah the Almighty, we had the opportunity to preach to some esteemed persons. 

We met the Turkish Consul at London, Rashid Pasha, through his son, Yamni Bey. He is a very old-fashioned Turk and has a special interest in Sufism. We talked about the Promised Messiahas and the Ahmadiyya Jamaat for two hours. He agreed with most of the things and invited me, Maulvi Mubarak Ali Sahib and Mr Usman Al-Mahdi, to dinner. After the meal, we had a discussion about Ahmadiyyat and Islam for five hours. Rashid Pasha and his son, Shafiq Bey left with a positive impression by the grace of God. We hope that through the blessings of Allah, the door to the tabligh of Islam Ahmadiyyat in Turkey will open through them.

In the said days, I met a famous English writer and columnist who was very surprised to hear accounts of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat and said, “Please write for me a brief history of the Promised Messiah[as] and also write about what the Ahmadiyya Jamaat is doing nowadays, so that I can write articles in the American and UK newspapers on this subject.” Thus, at his request, I wrote some notes for him within a day. This friend will probably visit India with the Prince of Wales, and he also intends to visit Qadian on that tour.

I also met an English writer, Mr Headley, in a lecture. The lecturer was a Brahmin. The lecture was very remarkable but very difficult. After the lecture, people asked questions so that more light be shed on the subject but the lecturer went even deeper.

Mr Headley was one of those who was trying his best to understand. I had an idea when I saw his interest and wonder and so I invited him to the mosque. He arrived on Sunday morning and we talked for two hours. At the end, he expressed interest in coming again and enquiring about the accounts of the Promised Messiahas and especially about the matter of divine revelation. 

Mr Headley said, “I love India and Indians and I have been trying to understand Indian affairs for two years, but I had not fully grasped it. However, everything has become crystal clear after two hours of conversation with you. After further research, I will present these points again and again to the people of England through my books and writings.” It is quite possible that this friend will soon convert to Ahmadiyyat.

The country of Nigeria is divided into two parts, northern and southern [Nigeria]. The south is mostly populated by native Africans. Sixty per cent of them are Muslims, twenty per cent are Christians and twenty per cent are idolaters. This is the region where our Maulvi Abdur Rahim Sahib Nayyar is preaching and Allah the Almighty has given us significant victory there. This is the situation in the south.

All of the north belongs to Muslims. Its inhabitants are half Arab and half African. They are very kind and straightforward people. It was not long before the northern region, known to the Arabs as Najriah (نجريه), which was a great Islamic empire, was conquered by English traders in around 1895 and annexed to Britain. Now, its chiefs run the country under British rule, just as the Rajas of India do. One of its chiefs, named Kashino arrived in London while journeying to perform Hajj. I met him and presented some books as gifts. Their educated people speak Arabic, so I talked to him in Arabic. He was accompanied by an imam who can speak and write very good Arabic. They promised to meet me in Mecca. Maulvi Mubarak Ali Sahib was also with me in the first meeting. Today, again, Maulvi Sahib has gone to meet them according to their wish. I did not have much time as I am [preparing] to leave, so I could not go [with Maulvi Sahib].

[From, Fateh Muhammad Sayal. 15 July 1921]

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original in the 25 August 1921 issue of Al Fazl)

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