100 Years Ago… – Mufti Sahib’s tabligh in Detroit, change of London mission and converts in West Africa


The Review of Religions (English), April 1921

Our American mission 

Doctor Mufti Muhammad Sadiq [Sahib] informs us that he held a debate with a Christian gentleman on The Prophethood of the Holy Prophet[sa]. Our learned doctor advanced four irrefutable arguments from the Bible on the truth of the Holy Prophet’s[sa] mission, one of the arguments being the occurrence of the word Muhammad in the Bible. The Christian gentleman was struck dumb and the audience fully understood the hollowness of his position. 

While our Brother is gaining new converts, he [Christian claimant of prophethood] is not regardless of their education and training. He [Mufti Sahib] daily gives them lessons on the Holy Quran and they are learning with all avidity and eagerness Namaz (prayers) and other fundamental principles of Islam. 

Mufti Sahib has received letters of thanks from the King of Belgium and the President of Brazil for sending them important and valuable literature and for congratulating them on the New Year’s Day. 

During the period under report Mufti Sahib held a discussion with some Christian savants who came to see him, the subject of the discussion being that Jesus had not died on the cross. Mufti Sahib proved from the Bible that Jesus had in all humility supplicated [to] his Father [God] to let the cup of death pass from him, and that his prayer was granted (Hebrew, 5:1). How could then it, in light of such bare and incontrovertible facts, be said, that he died on the cross. Mufti Sahib’s argument met with silence from the Christian side. 

In his latest letter, Mufti Sahib informs us that he was invited to give a lecture in Detroit. The lecture was on The Good Manners of the Holy Prophet[sa]. The Mufti challenged the Orthodox Christians to evince the same broadmindedness and magnanimity as the Holy Prophet[sa] did by allowing the Christians to say their prayers in his mosque at Medina. 

Mufti Sahib’s demand met with flat refusal from all quarters. The Christian Ministers avowed that to give their church to a Muslim to lecture in was nothing less than to give their fortress to the Germans. 

Mufti Sahib’s challenge sent a thrill of excitement throughout the town and representatives of various papers, many honourable gentlemen, lawyers, managers of banks and the editor of the Free Press – came to see him and many feasts were arranged in his honour. 

Mufti Sahib is nowadays on a lecturing tour and all letters should be sent to the following address:

Doctor Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, 74 Victor Avenue, Highland Park Mich. USA 

An old scene in America

London mission 

Our missionaries in London are carrying on their work with unabated energy and unrelaxed earnestness. News has been received of the safe arrival in London of our brother Sheikh Ahmad Ullah. He is the third man who has ventured to put up with the separation of those dear and near to him to preach Islam in so distant and expensive a country at his own expense. Mr Sayal in his latest letter writes: 

“We have shifted to our new Darul Tabligh (propagation house) and in order to celebrate the opening of the new building and give farewell address to Mr Nayyar, a general meeting was convoked in which some eighty persons of high social standing and those interested in Islam, representatives of various papers, secretaries and presidents of many societies were invited. Among those present particularly noticeable were Professor Leon, Sir TW Arnold, author of The Preaching of Islam, Mr Khalid Sheldrake and above all, Chief Oluwa of Lagos. Professor Haroon Mustafa Leon was voted to the chair.”

Mr Nayyar, Khalid Sheldrake, and Mr FM Sayal, and the president spoke. Before the meeting was adjourned, some of the gentlemen present admitted that their views about Islam and the prophet of Islam had undergone a thorough transformation and that their antipathy and aversion gave place to liking and attraction towards Islam. Some of the London papers published the proceedings of the meeting. 

The new address of the Ahmadiyyia Mission is as follows:

Ahmadiyyia Mosque, No. 63 Melrose Road, London, and telegraphic address is: Islamabad London. 

West Africa: Cheering News

At last, the day of hope dawned on Islam after a long and un-intermitted night of despondence and we saw with our own eyes the long forgotten sight depicted in the Holy Quran in the words: “And then seest men entering the religion of God in troops.” A cable from West Africa brought the most welcome news that four thousand Fanti-Muslims had joined the fold of Ahmad[as]. God be praised.

Our Brother Mr Nayyar gained this big host of converts after a brief stay of two or three days in Sierra Leone. His letter written on board the ship is replete with glad tidings. To some 30 Englishmen, he writes, he preached Islam and his conversations with them made such a deep impression on them that three of them chose for themselves Muslim names of Habeeb, Mahboob and Mohibb, respectively. Mr Habeeb went into the dining room 1 and said, “I am no longer William Herbert Murrell, I have been now christened Habeeb; call me by that name.”

Five African Christians accepted Islam on board the ship, and they were named Abdur Rahim, Abdur Rahman, Abdullah, Abdul Aziz and Abdul Hayy, instead of John Macaulay, T Owens, Thom Peter, Thom Wilson and Jack Thompson. 

On his arrival in Serra Leone, he was accorded a highly cordial reception. Mosques and Government Muslim Schools were decorated and Mr Nayyar in a big gathering of fifteen thousand people spoke on the truth and beauties of Islam. Mr Khair Din who had become Ahmadi after a close study of Ahmadia literature for many long years acted as his interpreter. The Muslims were much pleased to hear him but for the Christians that was a day of mourning. After a brief stay of two or three days, having sown seeds of Ahmadiyyat and having secured 4,000 conversions, the preacher of Islam and apostle of the Promised Messiah[as] left Seirra Leone for Nigeria on board the Barugo. 

The officer second to the captain of the ship who knows nine languages accepted Islam. He was named Ahmad Frank Bowen and chose the name of Afifa Bowen for his wife (who is not yet converted) and Mubarak Bowen for his son. […]

 (Transcribed by Al Hakam from the original article in The Review of Religions [English], April 1921)

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