100 Years Ago… – Qadian to London: Nayyar’s Travelogue


Al Fazl 30 September 1919

20 July 1919: I cannot find the strength to leave my chair. Going to the lower deck [of the ship] is troublesome [for me]. Occasionally, the waves splash water on those sitting on the top deck. In the midst of these troublesome circumstances, nothing alive is visible beyond the ship, for miles on end. All one can hear is the sound of the ship. The [cheerful] cries of English toddlers and their screams of joy while playing is charming. Their noise is a source of amusement for men who have families and remind [us] of the small faces [of our children], who are the delight of our eyes. In this condition, I turned towards the waters of the Arabian Peninsula and with eyes full of tears and a heavy heart, I put its raging waters to shame by recalling its past glory when it was an Islamic sea. I then said:

“O’ muddy water of Arabia, you are presently away from your real purity. Neither do your northern shores possess the name of the blessed and pure Islam nor do your eastern and western coasts possess the sign of purity and light of that Holy Being which was manifested by the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. Most certainly, you were a Muslim at one time. But now it is the time for you to become a [truly faithful] Muslim, rather than a Muslim by name. Instead of this hurtful rage, [you] should become an Ahmadi by displaying your graceful nature. Thereafter, you will become an honourable, pure and clear water and your past glory will be restored.”

21 July 1919:  I cannot move from my place but Allah Almighty inspired a noble Hindu gentleman to come to me and listen to my discourse. The name of this gentleman is Mr R Hindo and he is a pundit from Kashmir. He is on a tour of Europe. He will observe the standard of education and general state of women living in south of France, Portugal and Spain. He said to me that these were Islamic countries and they must have had [Islamic] civilisation. I simply replied by saying:

دل میں اِک درد اٹھا آنکھوں میں آنسو آئے

بیٹھے بیٹھے ہمیں کیا جانئے کیا یاد آیا

[“Pain arose in my heart and my eyes are full of tears. You cannot imagine what came to my mind all of a sudden”]

Dear Hindo! if the traces of Islam are not to be found in these countries any more, then say to the land thither that Islam in the days of its progression refrained from cruelty in that place. My eyes were full of tears in reality and the map of transformation over time came before me:

بدلتا ہے رنگ آسماں کیسے کیسے

[ “How diverse are the changes in the shades of the sky!”]

22 July 1919: The weather is unpleasant as usual, and the storm is violent. Today, the sun sparkled a little. Black birds are seen flying over the water. These are marine Black Egrets which roost over the waves of the ocean. The captain of the ship is a clever person and his viceroy’s daughter is on board the ship as well. Therefore, the ship has been diverted from the center of the ocean and being steered near the coastline. A dangerous “wind storm” is on its way. The captain is making effort, so that the ship escapes this “windy grasp”.

24 July 1919: Today, I had the opportunity to discourse with some Muslims and to distribute Ahmadiyya literature.

25 July 1919: Circling around a 300-mile radius and escaping the “wind storm”, the ship has reached near the coast of Arabia today. By chance, we have found a small and new steam launch boat of the government. Disembarking upon the land of Arabia, we sent a telegram to his holiness Hazrat Khalifatul Masihra, conveying our safe arrival in Aden [in Yemen], after escaping the storm. We offered congregational prayers of Zuhr and Asr in a mosque. Then, we had a look at the port of Aden.

The ancient town of Aden is a five-minute drive from here on a motor car and motors are easily available over here. Anyhow, we have seen the complete picture [of Aden] in the small town by the port. The green tea-houses are full of Arabs. They are playing ganjfa [a game of cards].

The entire trade is in the hands of the Greeks, Jews and French. There are shops of Parsees and Hindu merchants as well. Muslims are repulsive towards studying. Currently, attention has been drawn towards it. An Arabian [study] club has been formed and an Islamic Anjuman has been established as well. Leather trade can very well be carried out here if Ahmadi merchants pay attention towards it. The production of honey and coffee is better here than any other place across the globe. This is a tax-free port. The ponds here were created by Shaddad [a wicked king who is said to have built a paradise] and are remarkable places of recreation]. A brother who feels affection towards Ahmadis met us as well. He will distribute our literature, Insha-Allah. He requests way-passenger brothers not to leave [Aden] without meeting him. His address can be gathered from the office of Talif [central publications and propagations directorate].

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