100 Years Ago… – Second Ahmadiyya conference in Essam, West Africa


Al Fazl, 25 & 28 March 1924

Al-Haj Hakim Fazl-ur-Rahman Sahib (1901-1955)

Jalsa at Essam

On 9-10 January [1924], the second half-yearly Ahmadiyya Conference was held [in Essam, Africa]. Apart from all the representatives of the Jamaat, around 100 other members were also present in this jalsa.

Outdoor lecture

As friends could not turn up in the expected numbers on 9 January [1924], it was considered appropriate to wait for the people before starting the regular proceedings of the conference.

In order to utilise the busiest hours of the believers in the best possible way and to exalt the name of Allah the Almighty, an outdoor lecture was delivered in the marketplace. Around 100 Christians and idolaters of this town attended this lecture.

The chief of the [Essam] village, who is an open-minded educated Christian, could not attend the lecture due to ill health. However, we went to his house in the evening and conveyed the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat. The book, A Present to the Prince of Wales, was also presented to the chief. He sincerely promised to contemplate this matter. May God Almighty grant him guidance, for He alone is the ultimate guide and teacher.

First day

On the first day [of the conference], meetings were held with friends, and answers to various issues and enquiries were provided from early morning till 9 am.

At 10 am, the regular proceedings of the jalsa commenced. The means of spiritual progress of the Jamaat, explanation of the five pillars of Islam, responses to various allegations of the opponents, and reasons of the truthfulness of Ahmadiyyat were discussed in detail.

The formal proceedings of the first day concluded at 10 pm. During the day, breaks were taken at times of prayers. In those breaks, Zuhr and Asr prayers, and Maghrib and Isha, were performed combined.

From 10 pm to 12 pm, meetings were held again and many questions were answered.

Second day

The first session of the second day started at 8 am and ended at 1 pm. Some time ago, members of the Jamaat had requested that the markaz [centre] of the [Saltpond] Mission should be moved from the coast to the inland. At their request, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II[ra] also gave permission. But later on, after further consideration, they decided that shifting the centre of the mission from the coast would not be as useful as had been previously thought. Consequently, rather than moving it out of Saltpond, it was requested not to change its location. Apparently, Allah the Almighty also approved of this request, as after the initial decision we had rented a house and given some money in advance to the owner for the renovation of the building, but that person passed away and left the house unfinished. Thereafter, his heirs put such conditions before us that it became difficult for us to acquire the property. Apart from that, there was no other suitable place in this village, and on the other hand, the Jamaat here does not have the means to build its own house, though we have bought a piece of land for this purpose. However, the construction costs are very high. Hence, in the first session, this matter was discussed in detail and members forwarded their request to me by mutual consultation that they withdraw their first proposal related to shifting the centre and submit that the mission centre should remain in Saltpond. At 1 pm, this session was dismissed for lunch and Jumuah prayer.

Friday Sermon

In the Friday sermon, insight was provided on the subject of what leads to sin and the courage to commit it. Moreover, the remedy for the removal and avoidance of sin was explained in light of the blessed writings of the Promised Messiahas.

Second session

The second session of the final day of the conference commenced at 3 pm. In this session, the discussion was conducted on financial matters and details were given regarding the special donation collected to buy a car for the needs of the mission. It was decided to appoint a delegation for the purpose of collecting the remaining donations from the jamaats who have not yet fulfilled their promises. This session ended at 5 pm.

Group photo

Late Hazrat Maulvi Obaidullah Sahibra had written to us that the friends of Saint Pierre were very eager to see the photos of Chief Mahdi and members of other jamaats [in Africa]. For this purpose, a photo of the Jamaat members was taken on the occasion of this jalsa [in Essam]. However, unfortunately, the news of his demise reached us through Al Fazl before all the photos could be prepared. To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return!

Conveyance for mission

The growing needs of the mission drew the attention of members to immediately buy a car to avoid further expenses in missionary journeys. However, due to the harvest time, our friends had gone to distant places inland. Consequently, the required donation of 350 pounds could not be collected. It was thus considered appropriate to make a contract with a company to pay the remaining amount through instalments and purchase the car.


On 16 January 1924, departing from Essam, I reached Accra at 10 o’clock in the night. This is the second time I visited Accra. Instead of sojourning at Messrs Dialdas and Sons, this time I stayed with Messrs Moolchand Chauharmal because they insisted that, “You stayed with your former friends the first time, so this time over, you should stay with us.” I had to stay there for six days. During this period, they fulfilled their duty of hospitality, manifesting great admiration for their country [and compatriot].

Tabligh to fellow-countryman

In the factory [of our hosts], a friend, who had recently arrived from India, was filled with great enthusiasm for the movements of Swaraj and Shuddhi. Consequently, while sitting in a foreign country, Allah the Almighty granted this humble one the opportunity to convey the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat to his fellow countrymen. We had a detailed discussion on the Islam of Hazrat Baba Guru Nanakrh, the irrationality of the concept of reincarnation, the truthfulness of Hazrat Krishna of Qadian, peace be upon him, the atrocities of Hindus on the helpless Malkanas, the filthy accusations against the noble Aurangzeb, and the question of British Government’s benevolences, etc. During the few moments we got to sit at his house, this was our only occupation. In those few minutes, the complete sketch of tabligh in India came before my very eyes. All praise belongs to Allah who gave me this opportunity.

This time, I also had the opportunity to convey the news of the arrival of Hazrat Mahdias to the nominal Muslims, (who often speak Arabic language). I sent a message to their community through a deputy imam of Accra that I am endeavouring to open an Arabic-English school in Saltpond, so they should send their kids as well. He conveyed this message to his people word for word. However, these people like to live in the darkness [of ignorance]. The name of this deputy imam is Muhammad Abbas and he was the one who wrote letters to some of our jamaats in an unsuccessful attempt to turn them away from the True [Islam, i.e., Ahmadiyyat]. But I did not inform him of this correspondence, though I knew full well about it. In this way, by reiterating the [disparaging] contents of his letters and giving detailed responses through his lips, I crushed the head of falsehood. Upon hearing those words [from his mouth], the people openly said, “Some devil has given them false news, but now, we are satisfied.”

Efforts for a lecture in Accra

When I travelled to Accra, I did not come prepared for a lecture, etc., or bring any books with me, as I thought I would only buy a car and return the same day. But as the car was not ready, I had to wait there for six days. During this period, I met the president of the Native [Literary] Club there and tried my best to hold a lecture, but unfortunately, it could not be arranged. The real issue is that the hearts of the civilised world, (who call themselves civilised), have become averse to Islam due to the unlawful practices of the non-Ahmadi Muslims here. Just as in Europe and America, Islam is assessed by the [moral] state of the Turks, in the same way, people here judge Islam by the examples of these non-Ahmadis. Thus, the need for the propagation of Islam is not limited to Europe and America, in fact, there are also such patients in the land of Africa who need [spiritual] healers. Rather, the disease of these people has become more deadly due to being merged with ignorance.

The people of Europe and America participate in lectures because they live in educated countries, and there is always eagerness in their hearts to learn more about new things. However, the people here do not even listen to the lectures as they lack knowledge. Consequently, there is a pressing need to extensively publish our literature, and having a press of our own; we should distribute small pamphlets like rain showers upon these people [of Africa].

New converts

During the compilation of this report, by the grace of God Almighty, 6 men and women joined the Ahmadiyya Jamaat and entered into the obedience of Syedna Mahmud, [Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra]. May Allah grant them perseverance. The new converts included a non-Ahmadi Muslim and a Christian, while the rest of them were idol worshipers.

Their Islamic names are as follows:








In January 1924, a total of 79 letters were received and 80 were dispatched. Our correspondence mostly consisted of responses to enquiries pertaining to religious issues.

Additionally, the available literature [of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat] was sent to those seeking the True [Islam]. We hope that beneficial outcomes may ensue with the help of Allah the Almighty.

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu, published in the 25 and 28 March 1924 issue of Al Fazl)

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