100 Years Ago… – Progress of Ahmadiyyat in Second Khilafat: Opening of new residence in Putney and progress of Jamaat around the world


The Review of Religions (English), February 1921

Our London mission

Our brethren in England have now shifted to their new residence at Putney, which was purchased last year for the purpose of building a mosque. Reuters telegraphed the following very welcome news from London on 7 February [1921], to all parts of the world:

“A picturesque ceremony took place yesterday when Indians in brilliant turbans and Chief Oluwa of Lagos in silk robes opened the new Islamic institution which is at present housed in a large residence at Putney, pending the erection of a mosque. Some 50 English converts were present at the ceremony. 

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Never-before-seen photo: Chief Oluwa of Lagos, Nigeria with Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra at Melrose Road, London

“Maulawi F. M. Sayal, one of the speakers, said that the Ahmadiyya Islamic Movement was a great hope of peaceful understanding between India and England. He predicted that the British Empire would one day become the true Mussalman Empire without any idea of race or nationality.”

The office at 4 Star Street where our brethren have been working for the last three or four years will for the present be retained as a branch office of the Ahmadiyya movement. 

Lectures are being delivered regularly three times a week at Hyde Park. The people have begun to take more interest in these lectures which are generally followed by a discussion. 

The latest report brings the news of two more persons having embraced Islam. Their names are Mr Gordon and Miss Harvey. Both are earnest persons and have accepted Islam after a long and careful enquiry. 

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Hyde Park, London

A young Ahmadi, named Karm Din, who had been lately studying at Qadian, has worked his way to London by getting himself employed as a cook on board a ship. When questioned as to the object of his visit, the young adventurer said that he had gone there “to make all Christians Muslims.” He has laid his services at the disposal of our friends in England. 

Another brother of ours, named Shaikh Ahmadullah, who obtained a long leave for religious work in England sailed for England on 12 February [1921]. He is accompanied by Ali Muhammad, son of Seth Abdullah Allah Din of Secunderabad. 

Our American mission

Our brother Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, in his latest letter dated 30 December 1920, reports the conversion of two gentlemen who have joined the Ahmadiyya movement. One of them is a member of a respectable family of New Orleans and is named Mr JR Mott. He sends a letter to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih with a subscription. 

Another American lady whose Muslim name is Fatimah Mustafa has already remitted 10 dollars to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih. May God increase their sincerity and enable them to lead the life of true Muslims.

Another gentleman who has joined the Ahmadiyya movement is a native of Bengal who has lived in the United States of America for the last 15 years. He is married there and has practically adopted the country as his home. His real name is Latif-ur-Rahman, but he is known there as Mr Roman. He also sends his subscription to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih. 

Our brother sends the report of a lecture which he delivered at a newly established church called the “Church of Love.” The name of the church attracted him and he went in. Among the men assembled there, there happened to be one who had attended one of our brother’s lectures; he introduced him to the founder of the church, named Mr Wilcocks. The latter requested our brother to address the audience first of all. Our brother consented and when he went to the pulpit, Mr Wilcocks introduced him to the audience in the following words: 

“Professor Sadiq comes from India. As this is the first meeting of our church, I have requested him to open our ‘Church of Love’ with his holy sermon.” 

Our brother then delivered a short speech in which he explained what the word “love” meant, and whom we should love, and he told the audience that one whom we must love more than anything else was God and that this love was to be attained through revelation and he illustrated his remarks by reference to the prophets of God, particularly the Holy Prophet of Arabia, peace and blessings of Allah be on him and Ahmad, the holy messenger of the latter days, peace be on him. 

The audience were much pleased by listening to his lecture, and asked for his address card and many of them attended his next lecture at his house and at the conclusion of the lecture offered voluntary subscriptions. 

Our brother in Syria

Syed Zain-ul-Abidin Wali Ullah Shah, who lived for six years in Syria before and during the war and who has made many friends there, writes to us saying:

“Members of the Ahmadiyya community will surely be pleased to learn that they have got in Beirut a brother who is full of enthusiasm for propagating the Ahmadiyya Islamic principles. His name is Mustafa Khalid and he belongs to a noble family which claims to be descended from Khalid bin Walid. In one of his letters, he says:

“‘Last week I received from you a parcel of books. I thank you very much for this kindness. I shall begin their study next week. I have found The Review of Religions to be one of the very best magazines. It deserves to be written in letters of gold and published in all the languages of the world. I beg you to convey to our holy leader, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, the message that this ignorant country very badly needs such a magazine. I am sure that an Arabic edition of The Review of Religions will prove a great instrument for disseminating our sacred principles among all the Muslims of the world. 

“‘I wish from the bottom of my heart to see a grand future for the Ahmadiyya community. I am proud to consider myself as a member of the community and a servant of its principles. I believe that only such principles can make Islam predominate over all the religions of the world.’”

The havoc of the last war

Thirty million casualties, six million deaths and fifty thousand millions sterling of expenditure is the estimated loss caused by the late war and yet the cry of the warner remains unheeded. 

“A warner came to the world but the world accepted him not; but God will accept him and prove his truth by powerful signs.” That was the revelation given to the prophet Ahmad, peace be on him. 

Stop interest and stop war

Baron Hayashi, the new Japanese Ambassador in London, in a recent interview spoke to the correspondent of The Daily Telegraph

“Let those to whom you have referred as suspecting us of harbouring bellicon [sic] designs but reflect on their very impracticability. In our war with Russia, we had to have recourse for financial credits and supplies of war material to Great Britain, the United States and other rich nations. But to-day in this half ruined world credits for normal business purposes are almost unobtainable on any scale, while the requirements of modern mechanical warfare are incomparably greater than fifteen years since.” Thus, it is the credits which make large carnages possible. And credit follows the allurements of profit. Islam prohibits the giving or taking of interest on loans and thus serves to prevent war on big scales.” 

Britain’s war debts

Mr Raymond Frennell, the financier, in a letter to The Times refers to the impending visit of Lord Chalmers to Washington with the object of discussing the rearrangement of the payment of Britain’s war debts to America. 

Mr Frennell infers that Britain in proposing to pay is apparently not considering what course shall be pursued with regard to her European Allies’ indebtedness to her, which, even excluding Russia’s heavy debt, exceeds Britain’s debt to the United States. Mr Frennell asks if nations which fought along-side for right, liberty and truth, should exact from each other the uttermost payment for services rendered. He suggests that the levying of repayments on a business basis among the Allies will jeopardise future peace and friendliness and will prevent stability of exchanges, the flourishing of trade and the disappearance of unemployment. 

We suggest the Islamic recipe for such cases. Forego interest, accept only the principal. 

A record of disasters

A resolution on the Land Revenue Administration of Bengal for last year, says that the year started unfavourably. Northern Bengal had not recovered fully from the effects of the floods of 1918. Western Bengal was feeling the effect of drought and the consequent failure of crops, while prices of all necessaries of life were ruling very high over the whole of Bengal. The phenomenal cyclone of September 1919, which passed through parts of Jessore, Khulna, Faridpur, Dacca, Mymensing and Tipperah, left death and desolation in its track. About 3,500 lives were lost and some 38,950 head of cattle wore killed. 

China famine

The latest detailed information to hand regarding the famine in China discloses an appealing state of affairs. In the middle of last month 15,500,000 people were destitute. A sum equivalent to £716,500 was immediately available to meet the distress, this amount being sufficient to maintain 500,000, until the spring harvest. The remaining 15,000,000, according to The Time’s correspondent at Peking, were inevitably doomed to death unless further assistance could be provided. The aid rendered by the Chinese government was reported to be altogether unsatisfactory and inadequate, and the people were complaining loudly against the taxation which was being imposed for famine relief, because they believed that none of the proceeds would reach the famine stricken. In any extent, the correspondent asserted, the amount that would filter through into the famine area from this source would save only 1,000,000, leaving 14,000,000 to starve. 

Earthquake in China

A telegram from Shanghai says that the famine district of Kansu Province experienced an earthquake on 16 December [1920]. Two thousand persons are known to be dead. Panglean and several other cities have been wrecked. 

Holy See’s attack on the YMCA

The YMCA is attacked in a decree of the Holy Office, asking Bishops to watch “organisations which while professing absolute freedom of thought in religious matters instil indifferentism and apostasy to the Catholic religion in the minds of their adherents.” 

The decree mentions the YMCA, which it says is upheld by many Catholics who are ignorant of its real nature. The decree declares that it corrupts the faith of youths and recalls the Canon Law which forbids papers and periodicals of organisations favouring religious rationalism. It requests the Bishops to communicate to the Holy See within six months the decisions taken at regional congresses on the subject. 

When religion is made a cover for politics

The following notes are quoted from The Leader, Allahabad:

The Zemindar in one of its articles in favour of non-cooperation says:

“On one side there is hell. On the other side there is heaven. Which way will you choose, Mussalmans?” What an appeal to reason is there not here? 

Swami Shradhanand delivered his famous oration during the Satyagraha disturbances at Delhi from the pulpit of the Juma Mosque. Maulana Abul Kalam, according to the correspondent of a Lucknow Urdu daily, was allowed to offer payers (نماز) inside a Hindu temple at Jheria. Things are moving fast. Are they not? 

The following fatwa (religious decree) has been issued by Maulana Abul Kalam: 

“In accordance with the tenets of Islam, it is unlawful to attend government or aided colleges which may be affiliated to an official university (vide the Zemindar of 24 October).” 

What about the schools? Do the tenets of Islam permit the acquisition of knowledge in government or aided schools? If not, where lies the difference between schools and colleges for purposes of non-cooperation? We suppose Mr Gandhi will soon be able to issue a decree, enjoining that it is not in accordance with the Hindu Shastras to receive education in government or aided institutions. The popularity of non-cooperation must indeed be a myth if religious compulsion is necessary to enlist followers to the NCO movement.

(Transcribed by Al Hakam from the original article in The Review of Religions [English], February 1921)

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