100 Years Ago… – Tabligh, letters from heads of states and lectures

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Al Fazl, 17 and 28 March 1921

Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Sadiqra, (1872-1957)

300,000 announcements

A well-known annual reference book is published from New York and widely sold throughout America. It is also kept in libraries, educational institutes and offices. An announcement of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat has been published in it. This book has a circulation of 300,000 and was published on 20 January [1921]. It has almost 900 pages and contains all kinds of information. In spite of its huge size, it only costs half a dollar and its expenses are met with the help of advertisements. Its name is The World Almanac and Encyclopedia 1921

Health in Chicago

The hygiene officer has mentioned in his annual report and newspapers have published it that Chicago is the best city in the world with respect to health. The reason behind it is that in relation to its population size, it has the lowest number of deaths from influenza pandemic, fever, smallpox, etc. Moreover, the number of deaths caused by hitting of motor vehicles is also lower here than in other cities. It has also been mentioned that in the United States in the year 1920, the number of people killed in road accidents by motor cars was 10,000.

Debate with priests

One fine day, two priests came to our house. We had a long discussion. They had no answers and were speechless in every respect. At the end, the subject of Prophet Jesus’as death on the cross was discussed. I said that his death on the cross was proved by the Gospel itself.

Sadiq: Please tell me whether or not Prophet Jesus prayed all night to avoid the cup of death on the cross.

Priest: He prayed indeed, but at the same time, he said, “Not as I [Jesus] will but as God wills.”

Sadiq: This is certainly true. The phrase referring to the will of God is actually present in the prayer of every supplicant. Everything happens by God’s will. No one can force God to do anything. The only thing to consider here is whether Jesus prayed or not. If he did pray, was that prayer accepted or not? You [priests] yourself admit that he did pray. Now as far as the question of acceptance [of that prayer is concerned], look in the Gospel, the book of Hebrews, chapter 5, verse 7:

“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”

Sadiq: Now tell me, who is mentioned here?

Priest: Jesus.

Sadiq: Is there any mention of praying for being rescued from death other than on the night of the cross?

Priest: [It has been mentioned] nowhere else.

Sadiq: It is also written here that the prayer was accepted.

Priest: Yes, it is mentioned here, but Matthew and others have written that he gave his life and on the third day, he said, “I rose from the dead.”

Sadiq: This is also true. As far as he was concerned, he died and the onlookers also thought he was dead. However, God saved him from death in a state of unconsciousness, and it is a common saying in every language that if a person recovers from a serious illness, it is said that he was given a second life.

Lectures

I delivered two lectures on 16 January 1921 and gave another two lectures on 23 January. The numbers of participants in the lectures on both days were reasonable. A session of questions and answers was held after the lectures. Apart from lectures, people come to visit in other days as well. They ask questions and enquire about the Ahmadiyya Jamaat.

Telegram from the president of Brazil

Brazil is a large country in South America. I sent a New Year’s greeting card to the president of Brazil. Moreover, I sent some literature of the Jamaat to convey the message of Islam. In response, a telegram of thank you was received from the president. The telegram was in Spanish, so an American scholar, who is under our tabligh, translated and read it to me.

Letter from the king of Belgium

Another thank-you letter in reply to my tabligh letter has been received from the king of Belgium. As it was in French, we got it translated by the French Council. (Muhammad Sadiq. 22 January 1921.)

Acceptance of Islam

We are grateful to Allah the Almighty that by His grace, a respected American scholar, Mr JL Mart has accepted the religion of Islam with full sincerity of heart and has become another valuable addition to the new convert Muslims of this country. 

On the basis of a divine vision shown to me [by God], Mart Sahib has been given the Islamic name Abdullah. May Allah the Almighty grant him perseverance and make him a source of guidance for others. 

His young children, who are all employed, are under tabligh. We request members of the Jamaat to pray that Allah the Almighty may grant every one of them the strength to enter the rightful religion of Islam with true faith and sincerity. Amin.

Apart from them, a few other esteemed friends are also under tabligh. We pray that Allah the Almighty may guide them all to accept Islam. Amin summa Amin.

Brief work report

16 lectures were held in the months of December and January. Six lectures took place at LM Church, nine at the Ahmadiyya Lecture Hall and one at the Spiritualist Society. Aside from lectures, a debate was held with a Christian sermoniser named Mr Purdel on the prophethood of Hazrat Khatam al-Nabiyyin [Seal of all Prophets – Prophet Muhammadsa]. This humble one presented four proofs from the Bible in the truth of the Holy Prophetsa. One of them was that the word Muhammad is present in the Bible. The Christian sermoniser was left speechless and it had a positive impact on the audience. 

Tabligh is carried out by sending literature of the Jamaat to various cities of this country and exchanging letters [with the people]. The number of letters sent by me in the last two months is 1,950 and the number of letters received is 550. This includes mail and reports from India. However, most of the mail is from this country.

The religious conditions of the new converts to Islam

A new convert to Islam, Fatima Mustafa, uses Arabic wording of Salat in her prayers. Sheikh Abdullah (Mr Mart) and Siddiqatun Nisa (Mrs Garber) have memorised half of the Arabic wording of Salat. Ghulam Rasul (Mr Russell) and Muhammad Yaqub (Mr Walker) are also trying to learn the Arabic language. In addition to the lectures, darses (sermon) of the Holy Quran have been started which are delivered every Thursday.

Expenses

After the lectures and sermons, the attendees are allowed to ask questions [and literature is distributed]. Moreover, literature is also handed over [to numerous people] by walking from place to place. All these different kinds of work require a lot of expenses. 

The cost of almost everything in this country is very high. If you go to a barber shop and get a simple shave, they charge two rupees, and if you get a haircut, they charge three rupees. However, the same is the case of [the barber’s] expenses. For example, the chair he arranges for you to sit and have a shave in costs three hundred rupees alone. 

Hence, the question of expenses is very important over here. The supporters of Islam should pay attention to the work of spreading the message of Islam. All the progress of Islam, external and internal, solely rests on the fact that we ourselves become true Muslims and convert other people to Islam. If Europe and America submit to God and accept Islam, all the disputes can be settled in no time.

Weather

Nowadays, it is snowing over here. The ground and roofs are covered with white snow. It is very cold, but not as extreme as it used to be in the past. People say that they have not experienced such a mild winter in Chicago in the last 40 years. When this humble one reached England, the winter was very mild that year as well. 

وَ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬ذُو‭ ‬الۡفَضۡلِ‭ ‬الۡعَظِيۡمِ

[Surely, Allah is Lord of exceeding bounties and blessings.]

Doctorate degree

The Lincoln Jefferson University of Chicago has awarded this humble the degree of doctor of literature (LittD) in recognition of my services to the welfare of the people and achievements as a scholar. 

Need of our own magazine

We need our own magazine to respond to those articles which are published in newspapers here against Islam and Muslims. In this regard, 200 dollars per month are required for at least one year. Thereafter, the magazine can become independent and self-sufficient, insha-Allah.  To accomplish this, please send as much contribution as possible to me, so that the preparation can be started immediately. 

The president of Panama

[As mentioned in the previous letter], in reply to my tabligh letter and literature, the king of Belgium has sent a letter of thanks and the president of Brazil has sent a telegram of thanks. A New Year’s greeting card has been received from the president of Panama as a token of thanks.

Wassalam, Muhammad Sadiq. 1 February 1921. Chicago, USA

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in the 17 and 28 March 1921 issues of Al Fazl)

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