100 Years Ago… – Sowing seeds for the future: Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud announces Europe’s tour of 1924


Al Fazl, 24 June 1924

Hazrat Musleh Maud 1918

Upon receiving the invitation to the Conference of Religions, Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIra convened Shura-e-Aam (General Shura) on 16 May 1924. After prayers, istikharah, and consultation with members of the Jamaat, Huzoorra announced his decision to visit England. This pronouncement was published in the 24 June 1924 issue of Al Fazl. Its summary is as follows:

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra said:

“Brothers! Assalamu alaikum.

“I sought your counsel on how to respond as regards the invitation to Conference of Religions expected to be held in England. I have received replies from 112 anjumans [chapters of the Jamaat in India]. Of these, around 100 support the idea that I should personally attend the conference, while 12 are against it. It appears to be divine providence that a significant majority of the jamaats are in favour of my visit.


“However, before making any decision, I considered it prudent to perform istikharah, [i.e., to implore God for khair so that He may grant goodness in the matter being prayed for]. More than 40 individuals were asked to perform istikharah. When consulted afterwards, roughly 18 people were against the visit, around 24 were in favour, and 2 or 3 were indecisive. Consequently, I decided it was wise enough to make arrangements for a personal visit, as in every form of consultation, those in favour of the tour were in the majority compared to those opposed. […]


“One of the challenges I am facing, as mentioned earlier, is my financial situation, which makes it difficult for me to take on additional burdens. Secondly, I have health concerns, and enduring such a long journey and its associated difficulties might be too much for me. It would be a waste of money if I am unable to utilise the time fully and exert maximum effort after spending such a significant amount, which is something I am reluctant to do. Thirdly, I dislike being away from Qadian for an extended period, especially in a distant and unfamiliar place. Fourthly, considering my health issues and the uncertainties of life, I feel concerned. Lastly, two of my wives are expecting, […] and the thought of my absence weighs heavily on their hearts.

Duty to faith takes precedence

“Despite all these difficulties, I have decided that my duties to faith and nation must take precedence over my personal comfort and the wishes of my relatives. There are many things I am fully aware of but cannot express, and if you were to become aware of them, many of you would feel deep compassion and sympathy. However, I place my trust in the One God, who is علٰي کل شئي قدير [All-Powerful]. He has not abandoned me despite my shortcomings, supporting me in every endeavour and helping me through every difficulty. […] Thus, I proclaim:

اِنَّ صَلَاتِيۡ وَ نُسُکِيۡ وَ مَحۡيَايَ وَ مَمَاتِيۡ لِلّٰہ رَبِّ الۡعٰلَمِيۡنَ

“[‘My Prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are [all] for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.’ (Surah al-An‘am, Ch.6: V.163)]

عَلَيۡہِ تَوَکَّلۡتُ ٭ۖ وَاِلَيۡہِ اُنِيۡبُ

“[‘In Him I put my trust, and to Him I always turn.’ (Surah ash-Shura, Ch. 42: V. 11)]

When is the departure?

“I wish to inform our friends that, unless God Almighty manifests His Will otherwise, we will depart from Bombay [now Mumbai] on 15 July. The exact date of departure from Qadian will be communicated later.

Fulfilling the Holy Prophet’s prophecy

“During this journey, I intend to fulfil a prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa by spending a few days in Damascus. This prophecy pertains to the era of the Promised Messiah, and Prophet Ahmadas has interpreted it to mean that either he or one of his Khulafa will travel to Damascus. Although this will require altering my travel route, such opportunities are rare, and it is essential to make the most of this journey. Furthermore, it is a great blessing to demonstrate a sign of the Jamaat’s truthfulness in this manner.

Significance of Khalifa’s presence at Markaz

“I wish to draw the attention of members to an important point. Some friends have expressed their view that attending the religious conference is imperative because we have received an invitation. Additionally, they believe that this journey could lead to the spread of Islam in Europe, with hundreds of thousands of people embracing this faith. However, I believe it is not appropriate to base their opinions and hopes on these assumptions.

“I have reiterated many times that the Khalifa is not like a visiting speaker who travels wherever there is a need to deliver a lecture. He is not a soldier who goes to fight but a commander who teaches the soldiers to fight. It is not appropriate for him to leave the Markaz [Centre] just to attend a religious conference or deliver a lecture. This was also the practice of the Promised Messiahas and the rightly guided caliphs of the ummah of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa.

“Therefore, I am personally opposed to the view that I should leave the Markaz in response to an invitation from a religious conference. One member astutely pointed out that if another conference is held on a much bigger scale next year, will we again request our Khalifa to attend? This is a very valid concern. Religious conferences can be held annually, and if a large number of people’s attention is sincerely turned towards faith, they can be organised on a grand scale. However, the Khalifa of the Time cannot leave their Markaz for these events, or else, it will become all the more difficult for them to maintain their presence at the Centre.  […]

“From my personal experience, I know that Khilafat is an extremely demanding duty. Its responsibilities are so immense that without the grace of God Almighty, the person holding this office would not endure for long. However, as God Almighty is the Guardian of this institute, He Himself grants the necessary support for the smooth continuation of its works.

Foreign visits and duties of Khulafa

“In short, foreign visits to attend events and deliver lectures, even when invited by prestigious religious conferences, go against the duties of the Khulafa. In fact, such visits can create numerous difficulties. It is conceivable that, in the future, invitations could come from religious conferences in America, Japan, and other countries. If the Khalifa were to attend all these events, it would initiate an endless cycle. Conversely, if they did not attend, the people of those countries might perceive it as disrespect due to their extreme nationalism, which would hinder the Jamaat’s efforts in tabligh [preaching]. European nations, in particular, are highly sensitive to national pride; what we may see as trivial, they consider matters of life and death. Therefore, I oppose the idea of attending religious conferences in response to receiving an invitation and I align with those who are against the visit.

View on the outcome of the journey

“Likewise, I disagree with expecting any out-of-ordinary victory as a result of such a brief journey. The people of Europe are distinct from us in every aspect, be it religion, culture, morals, or habits. The Promised Messiahas and I visited Lahore and Delhi. What extraordinary revolution occurred as a result of our few-day stays in those places? Neither thousands upon thousands of people joined the Jamaat, nor did their views change drastically. The Holy Prophetsa received delegations from various nations, but there were no immediate effects. If our own countrymen, who are similar to us in many ways, are not significantly impacted by a short visit and require continuous spiritual connection and purification, how can those who are spiritually devoid be expected to join the Jamaat in large numbers after a few days of company and a single lecture?

Unprecedented revolutions happen by God’s Will

“I do not deny that unprecedented revolutions can occur, but they do not happen because of an individual’s presence or lecture. Such changes happen with the immense support of the All-Powerful God. The Promised Messiahas stayed in Delhi, Lahore, and Ludhiana for several weeks without manifesting any significant change. However, before his journey to Jhelum for a court case, he received a revelation from God Almighty indicating he would witness Allah’s succour during the visit. Consequently, 1100 people performed bai‘at (pledge of allegiance) during his three-day visit. Such transformations occur by the Will of Allah the Almighty, not merely through the visit of any individual, influential or otherwise. We cannot control Allah’s decree and cannot decide for ourselves that ‘This will surely be His Will, so we ought to do this work.’  Therefore, we should not base our advice on such hopes. If it is Allah’s Will to manifest a sign, the walls of disbelief will begin to crumble inevitably. Otherwise, under normal circumstances, even guiding one individual during a few weeks’ stay seems a monumental task.

A great revolution in the West

“There is no doubt that it is the Will of God Almighty to bring about a revolutionary change in the West. The Holy Prophet’ssa prophecy about the “rising of the sun from the West” is a testament to this fact. The divine vision of the Promised Messiahas, witnessing the people of Western countries joining this Jamaat, also supports this credence. Moreover, I have personally had two divine visions, which I shared long before the proposal to visit England, both affirming our future success in the West.”

Huzoorra then narrated his aforementioned two divine visions. In the second vision, someone referred to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra as “William the Conqueror.”  Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud[ra] continued: 

“William [1028-1087] was an ancient king who conquered England [in the 11 century AD]. […] When I narrated this vision to members of the Jamaat, Mufti [Muhammad Sadiqra] consulted an English dictionary for the meaning of ‘William.’ We found that it means ‘the one with a solid opinion,’ ‘the one with firm determinations,’ or, in other words, Ulul ‘Azm [the one with firm resolve and determination]. Thus, it would translate as Ulul ‘Azm Fateh [Conqueror with firm resolve and determination]. 

“These visions indicate that Allah the Almighty has decreed significant goodness for the West, and it is likely associated with one of my journeys there. I say ‘likely’ because sometimes dreams represent not just the individual but their successors as well. However, despite these visions, we cannot assert that these results will manifest immediately following this journey. Rather, it is possible that the seeds [of great victories] will be sown during the journey, with the fruits to be reaped later.

Grounding decisions in apparent realities

“In brief, while we possess absolute trust in the grace of Allah the Almighty, we must never attempt to impose our will over God’s Will and must not do shirk, because both these acts intensify His displeasure. Our decisions should be based on apparent realities, accompanied by prayers that may the Will of God Almighty not only make our decision a source of immense blessings but also help us achieve its objectives.

Journey’s objectives

“In my view, the objectives of this journey [are twofold]. First, to fulfil the divine vision of the Promised Messiahas, who saw himself in these places, thereby manifesting that one of his successors would visit them. Second, it addresses the religious need for our Jamaat to carry out Islam’s tabligh on a global scale. Since it is our duty to bring the entire world into the fold of Islam, it is essential to establish a proper system for this task. [After its establishment], we should have sincere confidence that this system will fulfil our objective and accomplish the duty incumbent upon us. As for the grace of Allah the Almighty, it rests solely in the hands of God Almighty. Once we fulfil our duties, we can hope that His grace will descend, for this work of spreading Islam belongs to Him, not us.

“To establish such a system, it is essential for the Khalifa of the Age to personally observe the state of Western countries. The greatest challenge we face nowadays comes from Western ideologies. Islam is dominant over all other religions in its arguments. However, the tendencies and culture of the West are as contrary to Islam as night is to day – so much so that they cannot coexist. Though Europe might be ready to accept Islamic beliefs, it is not at all prepared to abandon its practices. Additionally, it seeks to eradicate Islam completely by influencing Asia and Africa to adopt its mindset. The ways and lifestyles of its people are so different from ours that making decisions about them from afar is like trying to understand the Moon while standing on Earth – perhaps even more challenging. The Moon can at least be observed through a telescope, but reforming a living nation requires understanding their inner thoughts and biases, not just their outward appearances.

Tabligh expenditures in the West

“We have already spent over 150,000 rupees on our tabligh endeavours in the West, and our annual expending is around 16 thousand rupees. […] If we wish to continue these efforts successfully and justify this expenditure before God Almighty, it is crucial for the Khalifa of the Time to personally visit these places. By understanding their challenges and consulting with diverse groups of people, the Khalifa can formulate a comprehensive scheme for all missionaries to implement. Every day that passes without such a scheme results in wasted funds. If, after two years, we devise a scheme that is different from the current one, it would mean that around 40 thousand rupees spent in the intervening period would be wasted. While subsidiary changes are inevitable, setting the fundamentals ensures stability and prevents damage. […]

“Therefore, keeping the aforementioned needs in sight and considering the invitation to the Conference of Religions as a divine plan, I have decided to undertake this journey despite the difficulties. This is not merely to attend the Conference of Religions but to establish a permanent scheme for tabligh in the Western countries and to become acquainted with their detailed circumstances. These nations pose significant hurdles to the spread of Islam, and it is our foremost duty to overcome them. Hence, I do not see this religious conference as the sole purpose of my visit, nor do I intend to go just for the sake of it. I believe God Almighty has reminded us of our duty through this invitation. 

Great sacrifices for significant achievements

“Members of the Jamaat should remember that significant achievements require great sacrifices. Religions confined to a single country cannot achieve global victory. Consider the Hindus; despite being 240 million [1924], almost equal to the Muslim population worldwide, they are not highly regarded outside as their religion does not possess a global status because it is primarily confined to India. The progress of religions lies in their global spread. A religion with fewer members but established with missions across the globe has more opportunities to spread than a larger one confined to a single country.

“Thus, if we truly wish to fulfil our duty of spreading our faith, we must carry out tabligh in all parts of the world. For this, it is essential to formulate a complete grand scheme that considers all fundamental points. Otherwise, a significant amount of money will be wasted, and we will be required to repeatedly amend our system.”

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu, published in the 24 June 1924 issue of Al Fazl)

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