100 Years Ago… – Preaching efforts and new converts: A report on Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya’s progress in Lagos


Al Fazl, 19 March 1923

Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra (1883-1948)
Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyar 1
Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra

Letter from Secretary Tabligh Lagos

By the grace of God Almighty, brother alfa [religious scholar] Shodande, a gifted, intelligent and capable preacher, is discharging the important duty of preaching as an honourary missionary [in Lagos, Africa]. With the permission of the missionary in charge of Lagos, he writes:

“All praise belongs to Allah the Almighty. By God’s grace, you boarded the ship and disembarked safely. Before the arrival of your telegram, the news was spreading far and wide in the town [of Lagos] that you had embraced the Angel of Death between Lagos and Secondi. No wise man could believe this news. However, some of our good and sincere people did not believe us when we denied [this news]. Only the arrival of your telegram comforted their hearts. Moreover, there are many people who are waiting for your handwritten letter for more satisfaction.

Tabligh gatherings

“Outdoor [tabligh] gatherings are being held as usual on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Many people are taking an interest in the teachings of Ahmadiyya Jamaat. The details of the recent tabligh gathering are as follows:

2 January [1923]: Imam Qasim R Ajose delivered a preaching sermon at Ahmadiyya Mosque Epetedo

6 January [1923]: Imam Qasim R Ajose delivered a preaching sermon on Oshodi Street

7 January [1923]: Alfa Joshua Dande delivered a preaching sermon on Luther Street

13 January [1923]: Alfa Joshua Dande delivered a preaching sermon at Pastor Square

Some Christian seekers after truth asked several questions and got their answers.

Advice from a Christian friend

“A Christian friend, after accepting that he did not believe in the divinity of the son of Mary, said:

‘If the Ahmadiyya Jamaat excludes the instruction of “do not prostrate before Man” from its tenets, many people will join the Jamaat because the rest of its teaching draws one towards reformation as per the need of the time.’

“This honourable friend’s attention was drawn towards [the verses of] Acts 10:25-16 [As Peter was about to enter, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet to worship him. But Peter helped him up. ‘Stand up’, he said, ‘I am only a man myself’] and Revelation 22:8-9 [And I am John, who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown me these things. But he said to me, ‘Do not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers, the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!’]. He was convinced that God has forbidden us to prostrate before Man.

Friday sermon and prayer

“Friday prayers are being held with regularity and I am happy to report that our chief imam is making significant progress in the quality of his sermons.

Preaching sermons in prison

“Imam Ajose regularly goes to deliver sermons to the inmates in the prison. Every Friday, a 30-minute sermon from 5:15pm to 5:45pm is given [in the prison] and [the officials] ensure the attendance of the inmates.

New converts

“Mr Damar Amin Awal has joined the Jamaat along with his children. I am sending the request of his bai‘at to present it before Hazrat Khalifatul Masih [IIra]. Since we are out of bai‘at forms, I am postponing the requests of other individuals. We are arranging to print the new bai‘at forms here. After they are printed, the aforementioned bai‘at requests will be sent with their signatures.

Dars for women

“There has been a change of schedule in the dars [of the Holy Quran] for women and its time is now fixed on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.

Missionary class

“In their conference held on 1-2 January [1923], majlis-e-muntazim has decided to start a missionary class. On 16 January [1923], 10 men were selected to be educated and trained for this purpose.

Branch Abeokuta

“Mr Gabriel Martin and I [alfa Shodende] went to Abeokuta and met Mr Hamid and on 24 December [1922], it was decided that I should go to Abeokuta in April [1923] to bring the jamaat there under a proper system. Due to the weakness of Mr […], there is negligence in the work of preaching [in that jamaat].


“Dear Maulvi [Nayyar]! There was much more I wanted to say, but there is very little time tonight and the mail is about to be sent, so please accept this short report. I will write a detailed report later. I conclude the letter with due respect and salaam. And I am your affectionate son.

“YPO Shodende. 18 January 1923.”

News from other sources

Chief Yunus Amini Shan regularly goes to the mosque. In April [1923], Mr Gabriel Martin will come to London to study law at a university here, insha-Allah. Madrasa [school] is being run effectively. Distinguished men among the new converts have started to participate in the evening classes.

Abdur Rahim Nayyar, London.

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu, published in the 19 March 1923 issue of Al Fazl)

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