100 Years Ago… – New mosque and mission house in America, new converts and reports in newspapers


The Moslem Sunrise, October 1922

Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra (1872-1957)
America Mosque

[New mosque and mission house]

Alhamdolillah! God be praised, that the Mosque is now complete with its dome outside and arch and necessary furnishings inside. A picture of the Mosque and Mission House is given on page 126 of the Magazine. We are thankful to our Ahmadi brothers in India for the prompt remittance of their share of the donation to the Mosque and to the brothers here who have helped and are still helping towards the expenses of the Mosque and the [Mission] House. 

Since the last magazine was published, I have delivered many lectures in different churches and halls in the city of Chicago, in addition to our regular meetings now held in the Mosque. Thanks are due to Attorney H Wilcox, Lady Marion, Reverend Thomson, Mrs Maddox, Mrs Huegl and other workers for allowing me to use their halls and churches for lectures and talks. 

The correspondence during the last quarter was carried on to the extent of about 400 receipts and 3,500 dispatches. Hundreds of leaflets were distributed by hand in the city. Missionary epistles were written on behalf of the Ahmadiyya Order in America and some literature was sent to many celebrities, including: 

1. Dr Nehemiah Boynton of the World’s Alliance for International Friendship through the Churches, 

2. Stinnes, the famous German financier, and

3. Shaikh-ul-Islam Haidry Zade Ibrahim Effendi of Constantinople.

Cablegram address

Our short address registered at the Chicago Telegraph Office is “Almasjid-Chicago.” Any cablegram from India or any other country with these words will reach us safely, Insha-Allah. The full address is not necessary for telegrams and cablegrams.

New converts

Since the last report published in The Moslem Sunrise for July 1922, the following ladies and gentlemen have accepted Islam and joined the Ahmadiyya Movement. Their new Moslem names are given along with their old American names:

Mr Thomas Haynes (Abdul Kadeem); Mr Eddie Buford (Ilm Deen); Mr G Gray (Islam Deen); Miss Elsie Green (Sleema); Mrs Ruth Proctor (Hameeda); Miss Elma Pope (Kubra); Miss Helen Pope (Sughra); Mr Pope (Kabeer); Mr James Conwell (Abdullah); Mrs Emma Feliciq Conwell (Amatullah); Reverend JH Gibson (Imad-ud-Deen); Mr James H Daniels (Abdul-Qadir); Miss Annabella Ross (Amina); Mrs Virginia L Clarke (Rasheeda); Mr John Sanders (Abdur Rahman); Mr Robert Lee Whitsett (Abdul Kareem); Mr Charles Pelusa (Akhtar); Mr Otto Gall (Akram); Mrs Mattie Brown (Haleema); Miss Boulus Moroon (Noora); Mr Denzil Carr (Abdullah Omar); and Mr FJE Blackwood (Hilawl).

Press notices

1. An editor of The Chicago Defender attended one of our Sunday meetings and wrote a one-column report in his weekly Defender 19 August 1922. Not being well-versed in the Oriental thought, he made some mistakes as all the Westerners do while writing on the East. 

a) I am named by him “Prophet Sadiq” while according to the Eastern Religions every teacher is not a prophet. Prophets are only those who are ordained and named by God as such. 

b) We make no difference among the Prophets as regards their having been raised by God to bless the humanity. We have to believe in and honor and respect all of them. But there are ranks among the prophets, some excel the others as is written in the Holy Quran and the Master-Prophet Muhammad[sa] excels all of them. However, the report is as follows:

Those who are missionaries to Christians

Prophet Sadiq brings Allah’s message into Chicago and makes proselytes

By Roger Didier:

“Salaam, brother!”

The prophet [Mufti Muhammad Sadiq Sahib] interpolated a responsive “salaam” in the course of his lecture and continued his reasoning for and against Christianity, his eyes searching the while for a convenient and comfortable seat for the new or latecomer.

A score of worshipers were already gathered in the newly-domed “Mosque” of the Ahmadia Moslem mission at 4448 Wabash Avenue, and Dr Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, pastor, prophet and proselytizer, calmly discoursed on the evident inconsistencies of the Christian faith. Dr Sadiq looks the part, having the appearance of a brown-skinned Jew, cast in a slender mould, with side-burns that grow into a flowing beard of gospel likeness. His brow is narrow, but high; the eyes, brown, clear and alert; the nose, large and domineering, as with Jews of the older type, and a white moustache covers the ample lips, which are a long way from the top of the head and sit securely on what suggests itself as a square and model chin.

The prophet wears a green baize, full-length jacket with a scarlet red lining, military collar and slits in the sides of the belt that suggest pockets. It is not fastened, nor has its fastenings, and within it can be seen the pastor’s perfectly good American collar clinging to an indifferently tied cravat of green with gold designs. On his head, he wears a skull cap with symbolic markings; on his body, a black-striped white shirt; on his limbs, black trousers, and on his feet, slippers.

He addresses his remarks to a non-descript audience and fills you with awe. Yonder in the corner, a huge brown individual wears a ferocious scowl that he manipulated to suit the tenor of the prophet’s observations. Near him is a Hindu, named Bennett, who mixes a light laugh with derision as Christianity receives a setback from Sadiq’s wisdom. Bennett’s arm hovers over the heads of two Hindu children, both under 7, who listen for a while and then go to sleep just like any other children. Next to them is one of India’s finest-looking young men, a former student at the university in Calcutta, who is now taking dentistry at the State University in Iowa. At his side is another Mr Sadiq, young, strong, intelligent and sober-looking. He is fair, has sandy or reddish hair and comes from Russia.

All of the audience has adopted Arabic names. One man is introduced to me as “Ishmael.” He is very much like Mr Sam Johnson of Georgia, and the woman beside him might easily be Johnson’s wife, Eliza. There is the very dark Mr Augustus, who used to belong to St. Mark church in this city, but who now sings a pretty Arabic prayer and acts rather sphinx-like. Half a dozen Garvey cohorts are counted, one in his resplendent uniform. There is one pretty yellow girl and another not-so-pretty.

Starting the service, Prophet Sadiq has had a prayer to Allah played on a Christian victrola with no untoward results. This is followed by the St. Mark Mr Augustus (Brother Abdul Hakeem) delivering himself of a 5-minute supplication to “Allah Be Praised.” As he sang in a rich voice, he held an open hand over his right eye in the manner of an American soldier saluting. As near as could be told by the expression of the rest of the audience, he did well.

To deliver his broadside Dr Sadiq planted himself rather leisurely against the wall behind the table at which he sat. His small, fine hands had just ceased fingering a handsomely bound copy of the Koran. Resting against the wall, he folded his hands and began. There is but one God, said he. All the others are mere prophets, including Jesus. Mahomet[sa] was the last and the equal of the others. None is to be worshipped, not even Jesus or Mahomet[sa]. Only God, the one God, must be served. The Trinity is an illusion – the word is not found in the Christian Bible and its principle cannot be sustained. God created all races, all colors. The Mohammedan faith makes no difference between race or class. One of Mahomet’s[sa] trusted followers, the chief Muezzin, was an Abyssinian, brought from slavery to the royal household. The sultan had no special seat in the mosque. All worshipers are equal in the sight of God. The Koran is the unadorned word of God, the Bible is much the word of man. Mohammedanism is practical, Christianity is not. Some of these “truths” the prophet drove home by standing up straight and pounding his little table.

When he was finished, members of the mission spoke. The university student talked brilliantly of India, Christianity, the Turks and the Armenians. The Garveyite (Mr James Conwell – Brother Abdullah) in uniform gave sententious utterance to the much-mangled history of Africa and the seven seas. A tall […] woman (Mrs Joseph – Sister Saeeda) flayed Jesus and was tolerated, but not endorsed. 

The meeting ended when all had rehearsed the new names and Pastor Sadiq had slipped a nice collection into the slits of his jacket, proving that they were pockets after all. These services are held every Sunday evening at 8 o’clock in the dome-covered house and Mosque at 4448 Wabash avenue.

2. The following communication was sent to the Grand Rapids Daily in reply to an article against the Moslems: 

Why Moslems?

For centuries past, Asia Minor has been the hearth and home of the Turks. According to the Sevres Treaty, a part of Asia Minor was given to the Greeks. The Turks resented that badly and fought against the Greeks while the latter marched in there to occupy the land. The fighting line between the two nations has been swerving East and West. Every time the Greeks could advance successfully, they burned the resisting villages and murdered the inhabitants and vice versa. This war is being waged between two nations, Greeks and Turks. There is no question of religion in it at all. Many a time, Mustafa Kamal Paha has wired to the protesting heads of Christianity that all Christians in the country under his rule are as safe as Moslems and Jews. No one is persecuted for the sake of his religion. But those who rebel against the government have to suffer, whatever nationality they may belong to. Under these circumstances, it is quite wrong to call the Samson Massacres (even if the news is right and unexaggerated) as the Moslems killing Christians and thus to make it a religious question. Islam never taught killing for the sake of the faith. “There is no compulsion in Faith,” says the Moslem Bible, “Al-Quran.” Ahmad[as], the latest Prophet of Islam, directed by Divine revelation, proclaimed that no religious wars were allowed. Dr Mufti Muhammad Sadiq. First Ahmadi Moslem Missionary to America, 203 Hall St., Grand Rapids, Mich.

3. Cleveland Plain Dealer, dated 2 August 1922 – “Mohammadanism is gaining in the United States as a result of the work of Missionaries now active here. There is the Muhammadan Mosque at Highland Park, a suburb of Detroit (and one in Chicago too – Ed). The Missionary work is under the direction of Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, who came here from India.” 

4. Pittsburgh Daily has devoted a whole page to my picture and a long article on our Moslem Mission work in this country. 

5. Chicago Tribune of 22 August [1922] prints my photo and writes: “Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, Moslem Missionary, who is directing the work of spreading the Mohammedan faith in America. Since coming to this country from India he says he has won many converts. He has established a magazine which explains the supposed superiority of the Mohammedan faith over Christianity.” 

In addition to the above, short articles have appeared in the Detroit NewsSpringfield Daily and some other papers.

(Transcribed by Al Hakam from the original in The Moslem Sunrise, October 1922)

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