100 Years Ago… – Preaching amid friction in Africa and the victory of Islam

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Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra (1883-1948)
Bafodia, Sierra Leone (West Africa) 1967

Second life

Friends! In these [African] countries, where the traveller Nayyar is entrusted with the service of spreading the religion of God and conveying the message of truth, the task of tabligh [preaching] is to risk one’s life and have a constant wish to immediately meet with the angel of death. Despite the fact that the English people are very careful and always stay in the open air, and even return to England for six months after a year, they still continue to suffer from this climate. The Indians are quite often sick and thus far, it has been determined that this atmosphere is not favourable for Indians.

Friends know that I fell seriously ill last May 1921, and by the grace of Allah the Almighty, I regained health. Now, after the days of great hardships and difficulties in the Gold Coast, I again fell ill as soon as I arrived in Nigeria, and I was struck with such a terrible fever that I was on the verge of death. The doctor said, “[He] is very near [to] death.”

At one point, the condition became so severe that I remained unconscious for twelve hours and the medicine could not be ingested to sever the effects of nausea. Therefore, the doctor injected the medicine and Allah the Almighty revived a dead body by the blessings of the holy spirit of the Promised Messiahas and I am now completely healthy.

Islam will again be dominant in 275 years

In a divine vision, I was shown a strange sight and it was that in a state between wakefulness and sleep, I saw two individuals sitting on chairs. As I saw them, they suddenly began to transform. One of them changed into an English duke, and when I saw the other person, an English woman was sitting there. Their chairs began to move towards each other. The man underwent further changes and a crown appeared on his head and a glorious robe appeared on his body, and he transformed into a great king. On the chair in front of him, what I then saw was a queen with a crown on her head and a cross was present on her crown. The back of her chair got away from her and the front part of the chair bent. She leaned towards the king in such a way that her knees joined the king’s knees and it seemed that they were going to get married. At that very moment, I perceived that the king was Islam and the queen was Christianity, and their marriage meant the dominance of Islam. I observed the back of the queen’s chair at that time and saw a shape similar to this: 1, 1, 1/2, 1/4

It was instilled in my heart that this is the time period in which Islam will [again] be dominant. I was then informed that it would happen in 2 + 1/2 + 1/4 years. 

Immediately after waking up from the said vision, I came to the conclusion that the year is equal to a century and thus 200 + 50 + 25 years were meant, i.e. it will take a total of 275 years, as the Promised Messiahas has also mentioned a period of three hundred years. Only Allah knows best.

My difficulties

Difficulties [sometimes] come all at once and if not for God’s blessings, one loses patience and begins to feel the earth is being hard on him despite it not being the case.

Dear friends! On the one hand, I am sick and weak and the doctor advises me to go back to England at once, but on the other, the allied forces of hypocrites and disbelievers are standing in line against faith.

1. The magazines of opponents have started arriving here, and two Punjabi individuals who are unfortunately present here and are known for their irreligiousness, translate these magazines and read them to people who have nothing to do with religion but possess enmity against those [Ahmadis] who place their hands on their chests while offering prayers and advise against drinking alcohol, dancing and lying prostrate before human beings, (this is the identity of Ahmadis here). 

2. There was a large group of mullahs here who used to practice amulets and magic and take money from people. They would receive Zakat and spend it on themselves. The establishment of the [Ahmadiyya] Anjuman and the commencement of regular work have affected the numbers in which these mullahs used to come here. The women and men became free from them and started studying the Holy Quran free of charge. There is no cow sacrifice after completing the study of Surah al-Baqarah, nor are the lentils boiled after Surah al-Tin. Moreover, goats, sheep and chickens are not sacrificed according to their custom after the completion of other Surahs. Therefore, the said mullahs are suffering from the disease of hypocrisy and making hidden plans against the sincere ones. 

3. Finding me absent in the Gold Coast, the Christian preachers have started going to Ahmadi villages and delivering sermons against Islam. 

4. The financial difficulties of India and the trade downturn in these countries are such a burden that I have no other choice except for the grace of God and to pray before Him by laying prostrate on the threshold of the One Who accepts the prayers. Friends should also pray. I hope from Allah the Almighty that I will overcome all these difficulties. The strong army of faith will achieve a significant victory against the disbelievers and hypocrites, because Allah the Almighty will never do anything against His Sunnah [way of God].

Report from Gold Coast

The superintendent of the dar-ul-tabligh [mission house] writes:

“The Ahmadiyya madrasa [school] has been closed for ten days. Maulvi Muhammad Ishaq Sahib has gone to the Gomoa region for preaching. There are reports from the village of Abora that the Christian priests of the Wesleyan mission are disturbing them. A proposal to raise 100 pounds for the Abora school is under consideration by the jamaat there.”

Second letter: A telegram has been received from Swedru to send a missionary for the inauguration of their mosque. Consequently, Maulvi Muhammad Ishaq Sahib is going there. The chanda is being collected in Abora and everything is running smoothly.

The Gold Coast mission is of great concern to me and I am requesting for a new missionary in spite of financial difficulties because the effect of a missionary’s presence on the uneducated people is far greater than that of speeches and literature. Moreover, there are a lot of members of the Jamaatand thus far, 375 pounds, 6 shillings and 3 pence have been spent on preaching in the new settlement.

Report from French Dahomey

The honourable Maulvi Muhammad Ismail Sheta, in-charge Dahomey reports:

“The dars [religious sermon] of the Holy Quran is being held. A series of weekly speeches has been started. The first task is to make them aware of the commands and prohibitions of Islam, and I am doing this by the grace of God. A group of young people, consisting of educated gentlemen of French madrasas, have come to believe in the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, but for taking bai‘at, they are planning on requesting you to come to Yurto Nodo. I do not miss any opportunity to preach. On Milad al-Nabi (birth of the Holy Prophetsa), I visited two new mosques here and gave comprehensive speeches and informed the people about the appearance of the Promised Messiahas.

Dar-ul-tabligh in Sierra Leone

I thank Allah the Almighty that I am witnessing the following scene in my difficult situation:

غم‭ ‬مخور‭ ‬كہ‭ ‬ہم‭ ‬دریں‭ ‬تشویش

خرمئ‭ ‬وصل‭ ‬یار‭ ‬مے‭ ‬بینم

[“Be not sad that even in this difficult time, I receive good news of meeting my Friend (i.e. the support of God).”]

By the sheer blessings of God Almighty, arrangements have been made to open a dar-ul-tabligh in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. Maulvi Al-Hadi S Egbaji, missionary to Sierra Leone, and Mrs Egbaji have departed on the last (Royal Mail Ship) RMS Ikabu to Freetown, and both of them have promised that they will give preference to tabligh work over there. Maulvi Sahib has very generously presented one of his houses for the dar-ul-tabligh without any rent. In it, they will make a dar-ul-kutub [library] and hold jalsas for tabligh.

Work in Lagos

1. I have not started outdoor lectures, but I still give speeches every Sunday in the Ahmadiyya Hall. I have started a series [of speeches] on the signs of the Promised Messiahas because it is very necessary.

2. We have started a missionary training class.

3. The dars [of the Holy Quran] for women has also been started.

Moreover, a dars of the Holy Quran is held daily in the Yoruba language from 7 to 8 pm in the Ahmadiyya Hall. In other parts of the city, local Ahmadis teach the Holy Quran in their own constituencies. The “Ahmadiyya School Lagos” will start from 1 March [1922], insha-Allah. The necessary equipment has been purchased for 50 pounds. The Anjuman is considering constructing a permanent building for the madrasa and for this purpose it has proposed to purchase a piece of land for 500 pounds.

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in the 3 April 1922 issue of Al Fazl)

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