100 Years Ago… – Tabligh engagements and various challenges in America

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Al Fazl, 2 August 1920

Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra

Difficulties of new work

I wrote the [previous] report (number 3) on 17 March [1920]. After that, due to the busy schedule of the case of entry in America and then, being engaged in the search for a house and office after reaching New York, I was unable to write reports and could not even write a reply to letters.

A lone man on a journey in a foreign country faces a lot of challenges. When this humble one reached the UK, brother Qazi Abdullah Sahib was already there. A house [for accommodation] was present and Qazi Sahib had more than a year’s worth of experience about the country’s state of affairs.

Thus, everything was made easy. He used to carry out all the household chores and continued to do so till the end. I only supported them in their tabligh work. However, the situation is quite the contrary here.

It is a new country, new mission, new work, no residential arrangements, no furniture and no other such comforts. A lot of work is to be done and I have to do it all by myself.

Moreover, the prices are very high. London’s accommodation seemed expensive to us as compared to India. However, after arriving here, I found out that living in London is very affordable. I had earlier rented a house but had to leave due to the mischief of unwelcoming Christians.

Now, I have hired another house. We put our trust in Allah the Almighty who will fulfill every requirement by His grace.

Acknowledgements from the British Council

I sent an address to the British Council in this country, which was presented by the Ahmadiyya Jamaat to the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab on 17 December 1919 and was later reprinted and distributed by friends in London, along with other literature and documents of the Jamaat. It was regarded with great appreciation. The British Consul General in New York thanked this humble one and wrote, “I request you to send all that you publish in this country about the Ahmadiyya Jamaat to me as well.”

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Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra

A seven hundred-mile journey

In the time of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira, the first long journey that I had to take was to Munger. This humble one was sent there along with Hazrat Maulana Syed Sarwar Shah Sahib. We were the first two Ahmadi missionaries to Munger. Presently, the head of Jamaat Munger, Khalil Ahmad Sahib himself goes to other cities as a sermoniser.

ذٰلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاءُ

“That is Allah’s grace; He bestows it on whom He pleases.”

That was a thousand-mile journey and its report was published in the newspaper, Al Badr, under the heading, “Safar alf mila” [a thousand-mile journey]. Thereafter, I undertook even longer expeditions in India. However, I did not have the chance to travel such long distances in England. England is a small country and the cold and humidity there did not permit me to go outside.

Now, I have come to a country that is even bigger than India. Only two months have passed since I was allowed to enter the country and I have received a telegram from the city of Detroit, 700 miles away from New York, that a few respectables over there have heard of me and arranged a lecture.

Thus, I had to take this journey. 700 miles were covered in 14 hours and the one way fare was 27 dollars.

Restful train [journey]

Trains here are like moving hotels. They have attached food compartments. At about 8 o’clock in the evening, the servants make the beds. The beds have new sheets, blankets, pillows and all the essentials. Each passenger has a separate bed and there are two beds to one room. There is a separate place for washing hands with soap, towel and each necessary item ready. There is nothing distressful.

Tabligh on the train

Most of my time on the train was at night, which was spent sleeping. However, in the morning, a few magazines that were in my possession were distributed and little discussions were held. A gentleman, who seemed to be prepared for some reason, converted to Islam. Allah the Almighty guides whom He wills. I did not even talk to him much and as his station was close and he got off soon after.

Now, more about his state of affairs shall be found out through correspondence, insha-Allah. His name is Mr Robert Bednell.

Lecture

On Sunday afternoon, 13 June [1920], my lecture was held in a large hall full of listeners. The subject of my talk was “The attributes of Islam and the blessings of unity”. It had a great effect on the audience. After the lecture, some Arabs recited their qasaid [poems], in which they mentioned my arrival in the country for the support of Islam. Thereafter, a respectable lady, Miss Barton, whom I was already preaching through correspondence, converted to Islam in the same gathering. She was given the Islamic name Zainab. This woman is a college educated person and her parents and relatives are strongly opposing her owing to her conversion to Islam.

Readers are requested to pray that Allah the Almighty grants her perseverance by His grace.

Tabligh to presidential candidates

There is a lot of hubbub about the presidential election these days. There are about 150 candidates in total. I have written letters and conveyed to them the message of Islam. Moreover, I have sent them magazines in support of Islam. Today, the Fajr azan was at 2am over here; sunrise was at 4:23am; sunset was at 7:40pm; the starting time of Isha prayer was 10pm; the total darkness of the night was only four hours and the temperature was 60 degrees.

Dispelling misconceptions about

Islam There are many misconceptions about Islam in this country. A gentleman criticised Islam in a public lecture. Coincidently, I was there and so I responded. The lecturer was embarrassed and it had a great impact on the audience. The series of Islamic lectures will start from the next Sunday, insha-Allah.

(Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, New York, 22 June 1920)

Al Fazl, 5-9 August 1920

Gratefulness

Before I write a report on my work here, I would like to thank all those who heard the news of my detention and expressed sympathy for this humble one and wrote supporting articles in newspapers and held Jalsas against this action of American authorities and passed resolutions.

However, I was allowed to enter before these articles could reach me here. The newspapers Al Fazl, Al Hakam, Nur and Faruq are our own. Thus far, I have not received any other newspaper except for Al Fazl and Nur. However, I hope that others also wrote articles. I have received news that the newspaper Hamdam and Wakeel wrote articles [in my support]. May Allah grant all of them the best of reward.

Paighamis [Lahori Ahmadis] should pay attention I have also heard that Maulvi Muhammad Ali Sahib and his associates also participated in such meetings and passed the resolution. I express thanks to them as well. In the newspaper, Paigham, the following verse of the Promised Messiah’sas couplet:

کبھی نصرت نہیں ملتی درِ مولیٰ سے گندوں کو

“The evil ones never obtain help from God’s door” has been applied on this humble one and the real reason of my detention has been suggested that I was not worthy of support. I do not wish to say anything in response to this personal attack. However, I would certainly like to draw the attention of the people of Paigham that the prayers of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih[ra] and the blessings of Khilafat have shown this miracle that even an incompetent one like me and according to you, an evil one, finally received help, to which you are also witnesses.

Hence, if a talented person like you, who considers himself virtuous, had associated himself with the blessings of Khilafat, you would have achieved great heights. There is still time; it is never too late to make amends. Reflect upon it. Leave your opposition. Nothing good comes from this. Join your own people and God will immensely bless and honour you. The truthfulness of Khilafat is now shining like the sun. Its blessings are becoming more visible by the day. Mahmud’s prayers and attention showed such wonders that the one who was evil in your view gained God’s support.

Thus, which miracles do you wish to see after this extraordinary marvel? Who else are you waiting for after Mahmud?

Thanks from the president of France

Readers must have read in the newspapers about the incident of the President of France, Paul Deschanel’s fall from a moving train. In this regard, I wrote him a letter of sympathy on behalf of the Ahmadis over here and sent him some books of the Jamaat.

In response, Mr Deschanel has expressed gratitude and written to me with his own hand. An enthusiastic Turkish Ahmadi Mr Muhammad Gad of Turkey, who is serving in the American military and has joined the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, is engaged in carrying out tabligh to the people of America in the military. He says that people strongly oppose and mock him … but he has been conveying the message to everyone and handing over my address to them. May Allah guide them. He says, “At least after hearing about your tabligh efforts, everyone has started to honour you and take your name with respect.”

Penalties for high profits

According to the law of this country, taking excessive profit is also a crime in the eyes of the law. A well-known businessman named Gumble announced discount rates. The police caught him selling a coat which was worth five and half dollars and was being sold at 20 dollars. Mr Gumble Sahib is being prosecuted for it.

Inflation

Thus far, inflation is rising here. Last Wednesday, our milk seller sent a printed notice that the price of milk will increase from 1 July. Some daily newspapers have raised prices in this very week. There is a great shortage of paper and the price of each item is rising. Several reasons are presented for this [inflation]. One is that the American government is sending a lot of food to help [people in] the devastated areas of Europe. Food prices have skyrocketed due to food shortages.

As a result, the wages of the workers are being affected and everything is becoming expensive. Our maid in London only took one pound and ate her own food. Here, a maid used to work only eight hours a day in the house where I used to live and apart from food, she used to take the equivalent of 4 pounds a week.

Therefore, I have not yet hired a maid for cooking. There is only one for cleaning the house who comes for a short time. I have meals at the hotel or cook some tea and eggs myself. I do not know how to cook though. Qazi Abdullah Sahib was also skilled in such works as well. In the time of need, he would prepare something not only for himself but also for me.

A young man of Tatar has converted to Ahmadiyyat here. Sometimes he cooks and sends something. He is a very sincere person. He works as an agent by profession. He is a native of Russia but lives in America now. His name is Mr James Sadiq.

Two new converts

With the help and guidance of Allah the Almighty, two persons have entered the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. One of them is an Arab gentleman who runs a business of sweets in this country. He is a scholar and a member of a respected Syrian family. His name is Abdul Rahman Al-Qadri. He resides in Fort Wayne located in the state of Indiana. He came to know about the Jamaat through correspondence and entered the fold of Ahmadiyyat by sending the letter [of allegiance].

The second person is a lady named Mrs Young who has long been a convert to Islam. However, she is not very familiar with Islamic customs. Her Islamic name is Siddiqa. At first, she came to know about Ahmadiyyat through correspondence. Later, she met me in Detroit. Her hometown is in پری لیکس where her father resides. Due to religious differences, the people there do not consider them good.

Article in Arabic newspaper

My journey to Detroit and the accounts of the lecture were published in an Arabic newspaper called Al-Bayan. That issue of the newspaper has been sent to be presented before Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II[ra].

(Muhammad Sadiq, 2 July 1920)

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