100 Years Ago… – Fourth day of Hazrat Nayyar’s tabligh tour of West Africa: Winneba and Senya Beraku


Al Fazl, 19 January 1922

Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra (1883-1948)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud
This photo was taken in 1924 during Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’sra tour of Europe. Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra can be seen standing on Huzoor’s right


After taking leave from the chief of Ajumako, we travelled eleven miles on both foot and hammock, and reached Winneba [present-day Ghana] at night, where we stayed at the residence of a Christian chief. A number of learned Christians immediately stormed the house and a healthy series of questions and answers began. All praise belongs to Allah that the Christian chief had a positive impact and he said, “Yours is no doubt a perfect religion.”

After successfully defending the said attack, as I hadn’t been able to rest from the previous two nights, I thanked Allah and had a good rest on that day and waited for the fourth day.

Syrian, Senegalese, and Moroccan

On this day, I had to travel 11 miles and the number 11 came for the third time during [my tabligh] tour. Winneba, like Saltpond, is a small port and the district centre. From here, the road leads to a place called Senya Beraku [present-day Ghana]. This place was my destination that day. The people of the town wanted to see me and a Syrian Muslim merchant wanted to meet in particular. Thus, I left and met that dear friend who showed great admiration. The message of the holy Messiahas was presented to him. One Senegalese and two Moroccans also met me in his shop. All the four gentlemen were conveyed the call of:

اِسْمَعُوْا‭ ‬صَوْتَ‭ ‬السَّمَاءِ‭ ‬جَاءَالْمَسِيْحُ‭ ‬جَاءَ‭ ‬الْمَسِيْحُ

[“Listen to the heavenly voice that says, ‘The Messiah has come! The Messiah has come!’”]. They listened to it with great interest and admiration, and asked questions about the DajjalDabbatul-Ard [a worm of the earth, as mentioned in the Quran] and Gog and Magog, which were answered verbally. Moreover, a copy of [the magazine] Ahmad al-Masih al-Maud was also presented to them. Some Christians also gathered and one of them openly asked for the “Islamic mode of worship”, which was given to him. The people expressed great delight. I am also pleased with the efforts of the Christian missionaries, who have mobilised people everywhere for the acceptance of the Promised Messiahas.

وَإِذْ‭ ‬فَرَقْنَا‭ ‬بِكُمُ‭ ‬الْبَحْرَ 

[“And (remember the time) when We divided the sea for you”]

On this day, it was raining. As it was raining heavily, we had to wait for about two hours in a house on the coast so that the rain stopped. The rain stopped and since the road was closed, walking along the seashore was the nearest possible route, so that route was taken. An English-speaking Muslim by the name of Adam, who had lived in England, became our guide, and the hammock boys who had accompanied me for 22 miles went back. The second group from a nearby village took their place. 

We were all Ahmadis and we started to walk along the coast. The first thing I saw was a ship lying half-stranded on the shore, which had suffered from the raging waves of the sea. I observed her dreadful face and small waves hiding and appearing from within the ship like mischievous, playful children. 

Thereafter, we crossed an estuary or the wide tidal mouth of a river in a boat, and putting our trust in God, I urged the boatman to exert his full strength. After crossing that river, we offered Zuhr and Asr prayers in congregation between the three waters. Then, brooding and looking at the fishermen’s huts, pigs, dogs, sheep, and the long and wide nets and boats, we journeyed a little, while the sea was on our right and the river to the left. With their feet piercing the sand and showing signs of tiredness, the sincere hammock bearers requested me through a spokesman to get on the hammock. 

At that time, it was a strange stage in the journey. The sea level was constantly rising until it reached a point where there was the sea on the one side and a high impassable wall on the other side. Passing through that place was at the mercy of the sea. It was impossible to pass through it at the time of high tide, but it was all the more dangerous to pass during the low tide, especially when the sea is turbulent. The waves were appearing like a drunken elephant because of the rain and in spite of the strong chain of the low tide, they [waves] were crashing on the shore. The hammock bearers became alert and would stop for a while and when they saw the wave receding, they would run for a while and cross the dangerous place. When they would run, I would swing around like a baby in a cradle. Sometimes I would slip here and there, but I had learned to put my hands firmly on the roof timber and lie down in the swing with my eyes closed. Thus, I practically applied it at that time. 

Once, there came an occasion when the hammock bearers stopped running. When I opened my eyes, I saw the hands of the white foam, burqa-clad waves wrapped around the black legs. I feared that it might be the day when I was to be given the punishment for any cruel act committed under influence of nafs-e-ammarah [the self inclined to evil]. However, the thought of being the companion of Mosesas and the blessing of:

وَإِذْ‭ ‬فَرَقْنَا‭ ‬بِكُمُ‭ ‬الْبَحْرَ

[“And (remember the time) when We divided the sea for you”] comforted me. That period passed in the blink of an eye and the hammock left again. The waves receded while grinning and looking back at me with their eyes wide open. 

I spent the night in Braco and gave two lectures the next day. Then, I saw the same scene on my return from there and I practically witnessed the interpretation of the Word of Allah the Almighty. Thence, the fourth day came to an end.

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in Al Fazl, 19 January 1922)

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