100 Years Ago… – Tabligh to Egyptian Legation and lectures in West Africa


Al Fazl, 15 & 18 April 1924

Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra (1883-1948)
Nayyar Sahib
Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra with members of the community in West Africa

Ambassadors of Egypt and Turkey

Ambassadors of the Republic of Turkey and Egypt have recently arrived in London. Upon their arrival, messages of welcome were sent to them via telegram from this humble servant of the Prince of Peace, the Promised Messiahas. Their replies have also been received by telegram. It is our policy to not indulge in politics, so instead of a political address, an invitation was extended to the minister of Egyptian Legation. He was invited over to a formal tea and also presented the message of True Islam.

Head of Egyptian Legation

The head of Egyptian Legation is a young, educated, and morally upright person. He speaks Arabic, Turkish and French fluently. Moreover, he is broad-minded, knowledgeable, and intellectual. In Ahmadiyya Dar at-Tabligh, this gentleman spent 3 hours along with Dr Henry M Leon. We had a long discussion on an array of issues, and this exchange of views took place in the Arabic language. He already believes in the natural death of Prophet Jesusas, so the claims of the Promised Messiahas were presented to him from the actual writings of Prophet Ahmadas. Then, the criterion of truthfulness was explained to him through the Holy Quran. This young man also asked about the interpretation of some verses. For example, he enquired about the interpretation of the following verse:

وَاِنۡ مِّنۡ اَھْلِ الۡکِتٰبِ اِلَّا لَيُؤۡمِنَنَّ بِہٖ قَبۡلَ مَوۡتِہٖ

[“And there is none among the People of the Book but will believe in it before his death; (and on the Day of Resurrection, he [Jesus] shall be a witness against them).” (Surah an-Nisa, Ch.4: V.160)]

Upon hearing the Ahmadiyya viewpoint and commentary [of the above verse], he expressed his delight and showed interest in studying the books of the Promised Messiahas.


An Irish gentleman, Mr O’Brien, and another friend named Mr Marines are under tabligh [being preached to]. Both individuals are pondering over the claims of the Promised Messiahas, and are viewing Islam from a perspective that should truly be before a religious person and is necessary for those seeking spirituality.


On 16 February [1924], three Ahmadi youths from Lagos, Africa, will be arriving in London via a ship named “SS ABA” to acquire knowledge of Arabic and perform the duty of Hajj [pilgrimage to Mecca].

Conspiracies of Jamaat’s rivals

The magazine, Islamic Review, published under the supervision of Khawaja Kamaluddin Sahib, contains a letter from the Secretary of Afghan Legation in its recent issue. In this letter, it is declared that Ahmadiyya Community is not present in Afghanistan and the mention of Ahmadiyya Jamaat published in the informational card by the imam of Ahmadiyya Mosque in London regarding their presence in Afghanistan is incorrect.

Why was this letter published in the above-mentioned magazine and what is its purpose? Why did the Afghan Legation consider it necessary to publish it?

It is not our responsibility to address these questions; we only know that the seed of Ahmadiyyat was sown in the land of Afghanistan during the blessed era of the Promised Messiahas. This seed was watered by the blood of Ahmadi martyrs and no power of the world can cut down this tree and its fruits. If any government intends to cut it down, they will be confronted by the Gardener who planted this tree:

اے آنکہ سُوئے من بد ويدي بصد تبر 

از باغبان بترس کہ من شاخ مثمرم

[“O you who are advancing towards me armed with a hundred hatchets, be warned of the Gardener, for I am a fruit-bearing branch.” (Tadhkirah [English], p. 649)]

The Afghan Embassy in London has made the announcement either on their own or on behalf of the Afghan government that they are not aware of it. However, in this age, no civilised government of the world should interfere in religious freedom, nor should any religious or political authority oppose a particular religious group in this manner.

Journey to Asikuma and tabligh lecture in Brakwa

Al Fazl, 18 April 1924

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

We have a jamaat in the town of Asikuma, 32 miles from Saltpond, Africa. Unfortunately, some conflicts have arisen within it, hindering the effective proceeding of religious matters. On 27 December 1923, I travelled to this village. At a distance of 27 miles [from Saltpond], we have another small jamaat in a village called Baidun. I spent the day of 27 December and the night of 28 among them, advising Ahmadi men and women there. Since the inhabitants and members of our Community, there are farmers by profession, they sometimes show negligence in carrying out communal affairs. Therefore, they were advised to be more vigilant in the future [in discharging their duties]. Additionally, I intended to give a public lecture in the village, but as I had to depart for Asikuma soon, this plan was postponed to another time, and instead, the idol worshipers of the village and their leader were preached to extensively.

Arrival in Asikuma

Departing from Baidun, I arrived in Asikuma at 11 am along with Mr Klassen, General Secretary Mission and Interpreter. Our friends there were waiting for me and had come out of the town to welcome me. However, as I could not arrive at the appointed time, they returned to their village.

Friday Sermon

Upon arriving at the residence, this humble one answered the enquiries from a person regarding the burial shroud matters. As per usual, the Friday sermon was delivered in English with the help of an interpreter. Friends were advised to show kindness and live affectionately. Thereafter, they were instructed to submit their grievances for redressal.

Meeting with the chief

The village chief, known locally as “ahin” (king), is a trained member of the Roman Catholic mission but remains frequently intoxicated. A meeting was held with him and the message of Islam was briefly presented. He was then invited to attend our lecture and say a few words to the people.

Resolution of complaints

The complaints of friends were heard, witnesses were sought, and the decisions were issued, urging them to live in love and affection for the future.

Outdoor lecture

At 5 pm, a lecture was arranged in the marketplace. Since Asikuma is a place of strife, and those were Christmas days, there was concern that some intoxicated people might disrupt the lecture. I therefore requested help with arrangements from my kind-hearted friend, Mr Fraser, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Saltpond, who immediately dispatched two constables from Asikuma police station. The chief was present in the gathering with his associates. Nearly 300 people of diverse faiths, including idolaters, Christians and non-Ahmadis, were present. With the support and strength granted by Allah the Almighty, the lecture lasted for more than two hours, and the audience was powerfully and openly invited to One God, His Messengersa, and the Latter-Day Messiahas. After this lecture, the questions of some Christians were also answered.


On 30 December [1923], I travelled to Brakwa from Asikuma. There, we have only three members of our Jamaat. At one time, there were many Muslims, but all of them left, except for these 3 Ahmadi Muslims. The reason for this [renunciation of Islam] is stated that before the establishment of Ahmadiyya Jamaat here, a Muslim died in this village. His heirs prepared a good spacious grave for him. But the Hausa people, who are natives of Borno, Northern Nigeria, and mostly engage in the work of grave-digging in these areas, told the heirs that this grave was not appropriate, and then dug up a narrow and small grave for their deceased. A dead body could not fit in this grave. Therefore, they broke the bones of their dead and buried him in it. After that, those people developed hatred, and apostatised. Only Allah knows best!

People in these areas like to bury their dead in coffins but the Hausa people do not allow it. This restriction is proving to be a barrier for some people who are sincerely willing to accept Islam. Of course, burying in a coffin or a grave is one and the same thing. They can bury their deceased either way, but there is a national custom that people cannot break. Now, when I am asked about it, I explain that the coffin is an unnecessary thing. Why waste money? Yes, if you can easily afford it, there is no harm in burying in it. Many people’s hearts are inclining towards Islam in this manner. Consequently, in addition to many other reasons, the Hausa people have found another reason for their opposition [against us].

Lecture in Brakwa

At 1:30 pm, an outdoor lecture was delivered in the marketplace. By the grace and strength granted by Allah the Almighty, the lecture and the questions-and-answers session continued for one and a half hours. Pagans, Christians and non-Ahmadi women and men along with the chief of this village all attended the lecture. Everyone listened to the lecture with great calm and interest, and then questions were asked about shrouding and burial. They expressed, “We are quite satisfied,” and promised to embrace Islam after further consideration.

فالحمد للّٰه الذي ايدنا بروح القدس

[“All praise is due to Allah, who strengthened us with the spirit of holiness.”]

When Christians hear of Jesusas of Nazareth’s escape from the cursed death of the cross, their astonishment knows no bounds. The white-haired elderly men who converted to Christianity in their childhood said, “This is the first time in their life they have heard that Prophet Jesusas did not die on the cross.”

A little schoolboy began to wonder about what is taught in schools, that there are three: Father, the son, and the holy spirit. He asked, “I cannot understand how three could be one.” This humble one replied, “You have presented a very difficult problem and even I cannot solve it. Many Christians are standing here. Ask someone to explain it to you and me as well.” This led to a strange burst of laughter.

New converts

In Brakwa, four idolaters; three women and one man, converted to Islam and entered the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. Apart from them, two non-Ahmadis have also accepted Islam Ahmadiyyat. During this journey, a total of 9 women and men entered the Jamaat. Their Islamic names are as follows:

Sulaiman, Adam, Yaqub, Abdullah, Sulaiman, Halima, Zainab, Fatima, and Adam.

May Allah grant perseverance to all of them.

Serving fellow countrymen

Even in this distant land, Allah the Almighty sometimes provides the opportunity for the hospitality of our fellow countrymen and the chance to preach to them. A few Hindu traders from the Sindh region reside in this area. They come to my place in Saltpond from time to time. Apart from food and accommodation, they are also invited to spiritual nourishment and protection. Unlike Punjab, discrimination on the basis of caste is not prevalent among the people of Sindh. Many Islamic teachings are also found in them.

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu, published in the 15 and 18 April 1924 issue of Al Fazl)

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