100 Years Ago… – Missionaries in West Africa and Mauritius

Al-Haj Hakim Fazl-ur-Rahman Sahib (1901-1955)

Al-Haj Hakim Fazl-ur-Rahman Sahib was born in Faizullah Chak, India in 1901 to Hazrat Hafiz Nabi Bakhsh Sahibra who was a companion of the Promised Messiahas. On the instructions of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, Khalifatul Masih II, Hakim Fazl-ur-Rahman Sahib went to Africa in 1922 to spread the message of the Promised Messiahas. He returned to Qadian in October 1929 and left for Nigeria in February 1933 under the direction of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra. His parents died in India during his stay in Africa. In October 1947, when he returned to his country, he served as the Afsar Langar Khana for a few years. On 28 August 1955, after being ill for some time, he passed away and was buried in the Bahishti Maqbarah. He carried out tabligh and served Islam Ahmadiyyat in Africa for around 21 years.


Departure from Qadian

On 23 January 1922, I [Al-Haj Hakim Fazl-ur-Rahman Sahib] left Qadian at nine o’clock in the morning and after reaching Bombay [now Mumbai], I had to stay for a month waiting for the ship.

Finally, I boarded the ship on 22 February [1922]. Hazrat Maulvi Sher Ali Sahib, who had come to Bombay for the printing [of the book], A Present to the Prince of Wales, Syed Basharat Ahmad Sahib, Ibrahim Bhai Sahib Hyderabadi, Chaudhry Sarwar Ali Sahib, and Master Fazal Ilahi Sahib, came along to bid me farewell on the ship. Hazrat Maulvi Sher Ali Sahib stood on the ship with other friends and prayed for me. He recited the prayer:

بِسۡمِ اللّٰهِ مَ‍‍جۡرٖهَا وَمُرۡسٰهَا ؕ اِنَّ رَبِّيۡ لَغَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِيۡمٌ

[“In the name of Allah be its course and its mooring. My Lord is assuredly Most Forgiving, Merciful.”]

Then, all the friends returned after saying, “May God be your protector.”

On 9 March [1922], I reached Marseilles. I got sick while crossing the Mediterranean Sea, but as Marseilles is a very cold place, I could not follow the doctor’s advice to rest there for three days. Moreover, one of the main reasons for not staying [in Marseilles] was that I was not familiar with their language. Owing to this [language issue], I particularly faced difficulties in Paris.

I reached London on 11 March [1922]. Maulvi Mubarak Ali Sahib and Ali Muhammad Abdullah Sahib welcomed me at the railway station.

On Wednesday, 22 March [1922], I left Liverpool for Lagos, [Africa], on the ship named “SS Appam.” [When I left London for Liverpool], all the friends came along to the railway station to say goodbye.

I left Liverpool at around four o’clock in the morning, and on account of the extreme cold in the Bay of Biscay, for five days I sat in my cabin, wearing warm clothes and covering myself with quilts. Although the rooms were heated, the blankets on the ship were not enough for me.

On Friday, 17 April [1922], I finally reached Lagos at four o’clock in the evening. Many friends welcomed me along with Maulvi Abdur Rahmin Sahib Nayyar and my photograph was also taken on the ship. On reaching the city, I met and preached to some officials and prominent Muslims. I had the opportunity to stay in Lagos for 32 days. All the friends, one after the other, expressed great affection towards me. Especially among the youth, there was a strong passion and enthusiasm. Mr Martin, the General Secretary, in whose house I used to stay, was very affectionate towards me.

During that time, apart from answering numerous questions of the friends, I gave four lectures and most of them comprised the translated extracts of the books of the Promised Messiahas.

On Tuesday, 9 May [1922], I embarked the ship named “Sir George” for Saltpond, which is our markaz [centre] for that colony. I reached there in the evening of Saturday, 13 May [1922]. Apparently, I was now 1000 miles closer to India. Here, I have to do everything myself and the time has come to stand on my own feet. In Lagos, Maulvi Abdur Rahim Sahib Nayyar looked after me like his own child and his kindness continues here as well. He is concerned about me more than I am about myself. May Allah bless him and his children with His special blessings in this world and [increase their] faith. The Jamaat here is spread across villages and far-off places. I have seen some places but travelling in these countries [of Africa] is not easy.

On the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, five people joined the Jamaat. Moreover, 117 people converted to Islam Ahmadiyyat in a certain place in the first week of July, alhamdulillah. Friends are requested to pray for them.

Pressing need

The Review of Religions used to publish an English translation of the Promised Messiah’s book, Masih Hindustan Mein (Jesus in India), which was also printed separately. I desperately need this book. If any friend has it and wants to get the reward by participating in preaching work, please send it to me through registry. I can even pay for it. If there is no separate book, then send those issues of The Review of Religions [English] in which it was published.

Fazl-ur-Rahman Al-Hakim.

Ahmadia Movement, Commercial Road, Saltpond (Gold Coast), West Africa.


Maulvi Ubaidullah Sahib

Maulvi Ubaidullah, the missionary to Mauritius, writes to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II[ra]:

“I am engaged in the edification and moral training of Ahmadi children. Apart from this, dars of the Holy Quran is delivered at night after Maghrib prayer, and every Thursday, the sayings of the Promised Messiahas and the first Khalifa or Huzoor’s sermons and some important writings are presented. In the same way, after two or four months, when Al Fazl arrives, some of its extracts are presented [to members of the Jamaat].

“During the month of Ramadan, women were given dars of a quarter of the Holy Quran every day. Ever since Huzoor[ra] entrusted the women with the donation of the London Mission, it has been regularly collected here by the grace and blessings of God Almighty.

“From this month, I have made a new request to the children that each child should contribute some amount from their pocket money every week. Consequently, most of the children have promised about one anna [a unit of currency formerly used in the subcontinent, equal to 1/16 of a rupee] per week, while others have promised 1/2 anna and 1/4 anna weekly without any demand. For the future, I have nominated a child who will collect the contributions from them on a weekly basis. Some children asked me what those donations were for. I requested some of their peers to answer that question. Thus, they replied, “We will publish books and spread our religion to those who are not Muslims.” On this answer, some other children, who had not yet heard about the aforementioned donation, said: “Alright, then we will also contribute.” Consequently, some of them immediately presented their donation. I am hopeful from God Almighty and with the prayers of Huzoor[ra], I firmly believe these plants will soon become great trees of Ahmadiyyat in this country.

In the month of May [1922], I had a discussion with three Christians on the divinity of Christ, the trinity and the second coming of the Messiah, and also on the issue of atonement. My wife and I discussed divinity and atonement with two Christian women as well.

The English book, A Present to the Prince of Wales, will open doors for preaching in France, because upon its arrival here [in Mauritius], efforts will be made to translate it into clear French language, insha-Allah, and God willing, it will serve as a complete source of tabligh to the Bourbon, the people of Madagascar. A detailed sketch of Ahmadiyyat will be present before them.

Now, by God’s grace, the Bhunnoo family has bought a huge house which has been converted into an auditorium. Insha-Allah, a series of regular lectures will now be started in it from this week, because previously we did not have any public place in Saint Pierre where we could hold lectures freely.

On the day of Eid, by the grace of God, two men took bai‘at. May God grant them perseverance.

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu published in the 14 September 1922 issue of Al Fazl)

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