100 Years Ago… – New markaz at Melrose Road, London and outreach efforts


Al Fazl, 10 February 1921

Hazrat Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad Sayalra (1887-1960)

By the grace of God Almighty, the [London] mission’s work is being carried out on a regular basis. 

Hazrat Ch Fateh Muhammad Sial ra
Hazrat Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad Sayalra

Maulvi Abdul Rahim Sahib Nayyar is preparing to go to Nigeria. Consequently, Maulvi Mubarak Ali Sahib BA BT, is currently performing the duties of secretary. Public and private lectures are being held regularly and Bhai Azizuddin Ahmad Sahib and Maulvi Mubarak Ali Sahib are mostly delivering them. 

On Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, Maulvi Mubarak Ali Sahib gave three lectures in public which were listened to with great interest. 

After the lectures, sessions of interesting questions and answers took place. Allah the Almighty always grant strength to our missionaries to successfully answer every question.

On Sunday, Mr Gordon, who is an English gentleman and a seeker of truth, delivered a speech on interest. In a nutshell, he said that interest is destroying Europe and we can only get rid of it if Islamic principles are followed. However, Mr Gordon also spoke against rents of houses and land income, stressing that there is a flaw in Islamic teaching that it does not prohibit rent and land income because there is no difference between interest and profit gained from land and house rents. 

Responding to this, I said that there is a difference between interest and house rents. I read the following verse of the Holy Quran:

ذٰلِكَ‭ ‬بِاَنَّهُمۡ‭ ‬قَالُوۡۤا‭ ‬اِنَّمَا‭ ‬الۡبَيۡعُ‭ ‬مِثۡلُ‭ ‬الرِّبٰوا

[“That is because they say: ‘Trade is also like interest’” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.276)] and explained that the confusion of the world lies in the fact that in their view, trade – i.e. profit of buying and selling – and interest are one and the same thing. 

It is for this reason that Islam has outlined two basic principles so as to remove all doubts. Firstly, exchange of the same goods should not take place. Secondly, there should be a possibility of both profit and loss. A person who lends 100 rupees on 10 percent interest rate, it is as if he sells 100 rupees for 110 rupees and this is certainly a vain practice. 

London Old Bond Street geograph 3066999 by Ben Brooksbank
An old scene of London | Wiki Commons

On the other hand, if a person builds a house by 100 rupees and rents it out and allocates an annual rent of 10 rupees, then in this case, the money is being exchanged with a house. Moreover, the house may have to be repaired or it may collapse, so the owner’s risk of loss is also present. Likewise, the profit gained from land is not as simple as it looks. I am a landlord myself and am aware of the dangers and difficulties which are faced by landowners. [Owing to these difficulties] the smart and less experienced people of every nation focus on trade, while strong willed and courageous men pay attention towards land.

Friends know that a house and a piece of land for a mosque were purchased in London about four months ago. By the grace of Allah the Almighty, this house has been repaired and from now onwards, this house will serve as the markaz [centre] for tabligh activities. Hence, the postal address for future correspondences is as follows:

No 63 Melrose Road, London, SW 18

A lot of time and money has been spent on repairing, buying new equipment and moving to [the new markaz]. We request every member of the Jamaat to pray that Allah the Almighty makes this markaz a blessing for Islam and Muslims.

[The house on] 4 Star Street has been retained as a branch of the [London] mission. It will not cost us a penny because only one room has been set aside for tabligh and the rest have been rented out to some friends. This rent covers all the expenses.

Letters are being sent to various people for informing them about the new markaz and announcements have been sent to 52 newspapers which will be published for three weeks. Moreover, letters are being sent to friends and associates as well. 

An inaugural jalsa is also being planned which is due to be held on 6 February [1921]. Members of the Jamaat are requested to specially pray to Allah the Almighty that He spreads the light of true Islam in these gloomy countries.


Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad Sayal MA

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in the 10 February 1921 issue of Al Fazl)

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