100 Years Ago… – Passion of Ahmadis in Saltpond, Ghana and challenges faced by Hazrat Nayyar

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Al Fazl, 6 February 1922

Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra (1883-1948)

Outdoor gatherings

The Ahmadiyya dar-ul-tabligh [mission house] is located at such a place that it is absolutely right to call it the central place of the city. There is only one fine spacious ground in the whole town in the midst of the populace and this ground lies right in front of the dar-ul-tabligh.

With the help of the superintendent of police, the liquor sellers (instruments of satan) have removed their stalls from the front of the mission [house]. The outdoor gatherings are being held in the evening at the aforementioned ground from 19 October [1921]. The people of the town happily participate in these gatherings and the new mission is the talk of the town in many homes.

Two gatherings

In an outdoor gathering, the missionary Yaqub recited a naat [poem in praise of the Holy Prophetsa] in Fante in a very pleasant voice and Maulvi Muhammad Ishaq Sahib, student of missionary class, cherished the audience with the recitation of the Holy Quran along with its Ahmadiyya commentary. Since it was the first gathering, I came downstairs after the silent prayer and joined the meeting.

I gave a short sermon in Arabic that was simultaneously translated into Fante by Muhammad Ishaq Sahib and presented [to the audience]. I hear various good reports from different parts of the town about that short sermon.

Another outdoor gathering was held in which the missionary Yusuf gave a speech in Fante language and Maulvi Muhammad Ishaq Sahib delivered a dars of the Holy Quran.

I am grateful to God Almighty for rendering my insignificant efforts fruitful. Muhammad Ishaq Sahib now understands Ahmadiyyat very well. In the said meeting, the students, apart from reciting the Arabic words of naat, also read aloud the following:

اسمعوا صوت السماء جاء المسیح جاء المسیح

حمدًا حمدًا حمدًا لِلّٰہ حمدًا حمدًا حمدًا

شکرًا شکرًا شکرًا لِلّٰہ شکرًا شکرًا شکرًا

In addition, choral poems were presented by students in Fante, most of which I could not understand except for their pleasant voices, but the few words I did discern are:

“O disbelievers, Muhammad[sa], the Messenger has come, so believe in him. The Promised Messiah[as] has appeared, so believe in him. All the Mahdis have arrived, so believe in them. Look at our mission and believe. Look at our white maulvi and believe. See Abdur Rahim and believe.”

Series of lectures

A series of lectures began on 22 October [1921] at the Ahmadiyya Hall, located on Commercial Road, adjacent to Millers Factory, Riverside, Saltpond, [Africa], as planned and advertised.

For the first time, learned Christians listened to the lectures of the missionary of Islam. Although the clergy forbade them to listen to my lectures, people still came [in droves]. A healthy series of questions and answers was also held.

All praise belongs to Allah, for many of the misconceptions were removed. Hopefully, many noble souls will convert to Islam. I am glad that Saltpond, which is the centre of the mission in the Gold Coast but had not yet benefited from the preaching of the true Islam, finally got its fair share.

Library and dars

In the Ahmadiyya Library, many interested readers come and study the books and the newspapers. The dars [religious sermon] of the Quran and hadith are delivered daily in the morning and the time for Bible is from 7:30 pm to 8 pm. Some Christians take part in the latter sermon.

Preaching to European friends

Around a dozen European government employees and businessmen live here [in Saltpond]. A series of preaching has been started among them. Some of them come to visit the dar-ul-tabligh. Hence, last week, Mrs Richardson, George (an Englishman) and Mr Nico (resident of Switzerland) came over for tea and various matters of Islam were discussed. The former and the latter are both greatly influenced [by the teachings of Islam]. Mr Nico has started studying Arabic language and takes lessons from me. His way of greeting is now “Assalamu alaikum”. May Allah the Almighty guide this gentleman so that Ahmadiyyat may go to Switzerland [through him]. Allah the Almighty is capable of doing anything.

Need of prayers

The jamaat here is completely new and thus, they lack in ample [religious] knowledge. The level of education in Lagos is better, but there is also opposition. Some ignorant mullahs are preaching that allowing women to attend Eid and Friday prayers is kufr [disbelief], and that Ahmadis are kafirs [disbelievers], therefore killing of kafirs is permissible. May Allah grant guidance to these mullahs. Loneliness, overwork, scarcity of funds and the opposition of ignorant enemies concern me. Please pray for me. I need prayers, prayers and prayers.

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in the 6 February 1922 issue of Al Fazl)

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