100 Years Ago… – “Missionary of Islam in America” – The Evening Sun

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Al Fazl, 25 October 1920

A well-known American newspaper, The Evening Sun, has published an article about Mufti Muhammad Sadiq Sahib in its 17 August 1920 issue. Several hundred thousand of its copies are printed and published from New York. The article is presented below (Editor, Al Fazl):

“Moslem mission starts in New York

“Head of institution thinks that America affords fertile ground for conversion

“Cites prohibition as step towards religion of orient

“Koran being retranslated, as form in use is viewed as being unfair

“New York, Aug 17 [1920]:

“America is becoming Mohammadan in spirit, says Prof MM Sadiq, who has started in Madisen Avenue, the first Islamic mission station in the United States. He is hopeful that the benighted occident may yet see the light and be gathered into the fold of the master prophet. He sees in prohibition a hopeful sign. We are 1300 years behind Muhammadans in the taking of this progressive step, he notes in passing; but the point he emphasises is that we have taken it and by so much conformed to the teachings of the great Arabian Seer.

“Greater freedom in the matter of divorce laws, he quotes as a forward step towards the advanced liberality of Oriental enlightenment. In the matter defensive warfare, he sees our taking stand for preparedness, as a sign away from the non-resistance taught by Christ and towards the militancy Mohammad favored.

“Retranslating Koran

“To further the spread of Mohammadan teachings in English speaking countries a committee of Indian Mohammadans of whom he is one, is retranslating the Koran. The translation we already have, he points out, has been made by men of alien race and religions, Christian missionaries mostly, and shows it in its bias and coloring.

“Professor Sadiq calls himself a reformed Muhammadan, which means that he accepts Ahmad of Qadian, the Latter Day Messenger …

“According to the Mohammadan’s thought, he explains, Ahmad, who died in 1908, bear the sense of relation to the most great law giver, Mohammad, as Christ does to the lesser Jewish law giver, Moses. The same period of 1400 years elapsed, he points out, between the coming of Mohammad and his interpreter, Ahmad, as did between the coming of Moses and Jesus. That is, according to Mohammadan history, Jesus came merely to explain and re-spiritualise the teachings of Moses. Moses is rated above Jesus, second only to Mohammad.

“Oppose religious wars

“The reformed Mohammadan, [Mufti Sahib] differs from the old orthodox variety, chiefly in that he has discarded the belief in the righteousness of religious wars. They believe in the working of signs as an efficient and proper method of winning men to their creed. Such a sign, we are told Ahmad wrought in his village in 1902. “Bubonic plague was decimating the population of India when Ahmad prophesied that it should not touch his community. Ahmadis, in which, along with many unbelievers, there lived several hundred thousand of his followers. The village was, as a matter of fact, entirely free from the epidemic that year. Ungrateful heretics thereupon announced that it was no doubt in their honor, not Ahmad’s, that the place has been specially protected. Ahmad prophesied then that the following summer the unbelievers should be stricken and the faithful saved. And it was according to Professor Sadiq, even so …

“Professor Sadiq’s very interesting missionary career began three years ago in England. He claims to have made about 200 British converts in three years and established a permanent mission. Also he appended to his signature several inches of alphabet which indicate that he has been made a bachelor of philology. Fellow of the College of Chromatics, Fellow of the College of Physicians, member of the Royal Asiatic Society, etc. Professor Sadiq speaks fluently Arabic, Hebrew, Hindustani, Punjabee, Persian, Esperanto and English.

“Professor Sadiq was detained several weeks in Philadelphia by the immigration officials on the arrival in this country, he says. He made 15 converts in the detention house, he states. Altogether, as a result of his three months labors in this city, he says, 30 proselytes have come over to his banner, about one-third of them American born.” (The Evening Sun, 17 August 1920)

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