100 Years Ago… – State of Christianity in America and spread of Ahmadiyyat in France


Al Fazl, 22 & 26 February 1924

Hazrat Maulvi Muhammad Dinra, (1881-1983)

During the compilation of this report, two individuals converted to Islam and joined the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. May Allah the Almighty grant them perseverance and keep us resolute.


Apparently, Christianity is on the decline in this country [of America]. The foundational principles of Christianity, i.e., the resurrection of Christ, the virgin birth of Jesus, and the Bible as a revelatory word of God, etc., are being abandoned on a large scale.

A bishop in New York by the name of Mr Manning has demanded an answer from one of his priests, Dr Parks, as to why he has renounced these matters in his lecture. A storm arose over this [answerability]. Before this incident, there was a [priest] named Dr Grite, who also openly declared his rejection [of the aforementioned beliefs], and when he was held answerable, he vehemently protested. On this, the bishop kept silent under certain expediencies. On the other hand, 500 priests from his own constituency stood up in support of Dr Parks. This is just the story of New York’s Episcopal Church.

The latest news is that there is a great stir in other sects [of Christianity] as well, namely, Presbyterian, Baptist, Unitarian, and Methodist. The 500 priests supporting Dr Parks belong to a single school of thought called the Modernists. Their beliefs are as follows:

God exists, but He has no body. He is manifest in nature, but in spiritual form. He is completely separate from matter and has no mortal shape.

Heaven and Hell are just an allegory.

Resurrection after death will not happen with this body. The personality will remain, but the body will not be resurrected.

There is no proof of the virgin birth of Christ.

The miracles of the Old Testament are only fictions, and the New Testament is a creation of man. Jesus Christ was not a magician.

The story of [Jesus’] ascension to heaven is a myth.

One can easily figure out the situation of the rest of the country by observing the abandonment [of Christian beliefs] by 500 priests in a very small area. But the surprising thing is that these people still call themselves Christians. Only the teaching remains, and that too, according to most of them, is stolen. In fact, some of them even consider the figure of Christ to be fictitious and still remain Christians.

Accusative answer

Some old-school people are also present in this country, and one of them served as a priest in Iran. This friend is well-versed in Persian. The letters he writes to me are half in Persian and the rest in English. He also knows the Hebrew language.

We are exchanging letters on Christianity and Islam. At first, I gave him very polite and well-researched answers to the best of my knowledge, but he constantly repeated the same objections and simply called my answers false. He emphasised the sinlessness of Christ, and then started raising abusive objections against the Holy Prophetsa and the Holy Quran, like the priests of India.

Understanding that a mean person cannot be set right with polite words, I sent him a small glimpse of the life of Jesus Christ according to the Gospels […]. The priest was really perturbed by this answer, so I wrote to him that he was the one who started all this.

Just imagine that one of his objections was that Maryam[as] is wrongly called the daughter of Imran and the sister of Haroon in the Holy Quran, and that the Prophetsa was also not aware of this. I explained this matter to him in a very polite manner at first, but he said that it was a far-fetched interpretation. Eventually, I was compelled to ask him why Jesus Christ called himself the son of David and the son of Adam? Was he deceiving people? He was very surprised [to hear this]. Now his letters no longer possess that vigour, though he still keeps blaming me.

Visitors from Paris and acceptance of Ahmadiyyat in France

Al Fazl, 26 February 1924

Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra, (1883-1948)
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Image: Library

Brother Mr Muhammad Anderson, who has recently entered the Ahmadiyya Jamaat through Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiq Sahib and is doing trade in Paris, visited London. He came to Ahmadiyya Darut Tabligh twice for the purpose of meeting and acquiring religious knowledge. We had a discussion on the characteristics of Ahmadiyya Jamaat and exchanged ideas on the best means for the spread of Islam. Thereafter, we gave him all the available literature to distribute [in France].

It is through Divine providence that for the last two months, out-of-ordinary means for the spread of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat in France are being provided by God Almighty. On the one hand, Mr Anderson was showing interest in Ahmadiyyat, and on the other, Madame di Simo came [to London] and some literature was sent to France through her.

Then, Allah the Almighty sent the missionary of Islam, Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra, to the capital of France, and through him, great preaching work was done by speeches, meetings, and distribution of literature. He has also sent us the postal addresses of certain people, and we have sent them the French translation of [The Philosophy of the] Teachings of Islam.

MM Sadiq in Paris

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Image: Library

The Chicago Tribune’s Paris edition published a photo of Dr Mufti Muhammad Sadiq Sahib and a fairly good-sized article on his preaching work, the summary of which is as follows:

Dr Sadiq says, ‘Islam is the solution to America’s race problem.’ He is going to Bombay via Paris after converting 700 Chicagoans to the Muslim faith. Mixed congregations of white and black American converts socialise without prejudice at the mosque, 4448 S Wabash Avenue, but [the missionary of Islam] foresees a heated clash between his people and the Ku Klux Klan.

Dr Sadiq looks thoroughly oriental in the bright green gown. His American converts become slightly orientalised as soon as they join the faith. They get an Islamic name. Thus, Willie Buford is Abdul Jabbar. Evalina Johnson now calls herself Hadya, and the name of Bill Kelly of Chicago is [Muhammad Wali …].

He has made several preachers out of his new converts in America. Veils like those of Turkey’s harem women are worn by many of the ladies who now answer the muezzin’s call at the Chicago Mosque and offer salat there.

Le Petit Marseillais

A long article was published in Le Petit Marseillais newspaper on 7 November [1923]. In it, the works of Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra, the brief history of the new converts and the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, and the blessed life of the Promised Messiahas were published in great detail. Apart from this, the incident of the martyrdom of Shahzada Hazrat Abdul Latifra of Kabul was also mentioned.

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu, published in the 22 and 26 February 1924 issue of Al Fazl)

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