Al Fazl, 24 & 27 July 1922
Hazrat Maulana Abdur Rahim Nayyarra (1883-1948)
The sky was cloudy
The readers must be surprised at the fewer number of my letters in Al Fazl, because for the last three years more or less, in spite of the dense fog of London and the rainy season of Africa, I have been preserving the honour of my name [i.e. Nayyar (The Shining Star)] and sending the bright rays of tabligh endeavours to India by putting in all my efforts. However, for some time now, on the one hand, my health has not been the same as it was in England, and on the other, I have been completely occupied. Moreover, I had to take up arms against the opposing forces. There was strong opposition by the non-Ahmadis. The internal mischief of the hypocritical mullahs and the united attacks of the enemies of the faith had to be repelled. Alhamdulillah, now the clouds of opposition are dispersing and the sky that was previously covered with the clouds of difficulty is clearing up. Insha-Allah, Nayyar will now shine again through his letters.
Lailatul-Qadr [The Night of Destiny]
Lailatul-Qadr [The Night of Destiny] was celebrated here on the night of 27 Ramadan, i.e. 25 May 1922. The people stay awake all night and recite the Holy Quran. The Ahmadiyya Jamaat held a jalsa and all the prominent people of the Jamaat participated in it. There was a lot of excitement. I delivered a speech from 10am to 2pm and explained the core beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. I also gave the interpretation of Innaa Anzal-naahu fi Lailatil-Qadr [“Surely, We (God) sent it down on the Night of Destiny”]. A lot of non-Ahmadis including some eminent personalities were also present at the gathering. Some Christians were present as well. The effect of this jalsa was that some people were cured of the disease of hypocrisy, certain individuals repented from apostasy, and many new ones entered into the Jamaat.
Since the crescent of Eid was sighted on the evening of 27 May 1922 and many reliable testimonies were received, I decided that Eid will be held on Sunday, 28 May 1922. The non-Ahmadis generally follow our decision. Consequently, Eid was celebrated on 28 May 1922. The printed notice was already published by the secretary of the Jamaat. The announcement was pasted on the walls of the city and its words were as follows:
“Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Lagos will offer the Eid-ul-Fitr prayer in the ground of Ekoi. The waiting and the offering of prayer from 9am to 10am. The sermon will be delivered from 10am to 10:30am. Dua [silent prayer] will be carried out from 10:30am to 11am. The members of all religions and nations are invited. The seats for the distinguished people will be arranged under the shady trees.”
According to this programme, by the grace of Allah the Almighty, the Eid prayer was offered by a huge gathering and the Chief Imam Dairi accompanied me to my residence. Moreover, the Eid sermon was a source of satisfaction, comfort and an occasion of happiness for the Jamaat members.
The sermonisers of the Jamaat are opposed and even stoned due to ignorance, and at one place three young men were injured so much that their heads started to bleed. However, the sincere members are engaged in their work. They regularly give individual sermons on the local level in every corner of the city, and an advertised sermon is delivered twice a week in a particular part where I give a speech. Ahmadiyyat has now penetrated into every home by the grace of Allah. Half of Lagos are hidden Ahmadis. In every household, there are two sides in the debate [regarding Ahmadiyyat]. Some scholars are also interested in seeking knowledge and their messengers come with questions and return with satisfactory answers by the grace of Allah. One of these alfas [maulvis] is a true scholar of Hadith and Quran, and he has stopped people from opposing the Jamaat. He has implicitly testified to our truthfulness as well. He wants to meet me but is afraid of the people.
Opposition and our response
The practice of stoning the sermonisers that had become common is now on the decline, but the songs have taken its place. The young children have been taught songs by some mischief-makers, in which instead of “Ahmadiyya,” they say “Amodiya”. The meaning of the latter word in the Yoruba language is “small children.” They desire to belittle the Jamaat by casting this slur. Some Ahmadi women have prepared a response to it in the form of a song and helped their children to memorise it. The little Ahmadi children respond in their own way and say: “O opponents! You call us small children. Listen! We are great. God has caused us to excel. […]”
The rest of the taunts are answered by the Jamaat according to the teachings of the Promised Messiahas with silence. The heads of some dear members were injured and one friend was beaten by his cruel father so much that the doctor had to nurse his wounds.
Birthday of the king
The police presented parades on the birthday of the king and the governor paid a visit. The prominent members of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat also went to the parade ground. After the demonstrations of the police, chief Imam Dairi and Imam Ajose, missionary Lagos, went to greet the governor at the government house. On this day, i.e. the evening of 3 June 1922, Alfa Joshua Ostiase Shodande, Assistant Missionary Lagos, delivered a lecture on the Promised Messiah’s guidance regarding the government of Great Britain in a magnificent gathering at Kamias Square. The notice of this lecture was given in advance and it was pasted on the walls of Lagos and on the door of the government house. This notice was very beautifully printed by a dear friend who works in the press. It had “Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Lagos” written at the top and at the end of it was the English translation [of the following verse of the Holy Quran]:
اَطِیۡعُوا اللّٰہَ وَاَطِیۡعُوا الرَّسُوۡلَ وَاُولِی الۡاَمۡرِ مِنۡکُمۡ
[“Obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority among you.” (Surah an-Nisa, Ch.4: V.60)]
This jalsa, which was held for the first time in Lagos, has drawn the attention of many people to the Ahmadiyya Jamaat.
Al Fazl, 27 July 1922
On the occasion of Eid, I sent the following message on behalf of the tabligh delegation to the non-Ahmadi leaders through a printed letter:
“Dear! On behalf of the Ahmadiyya tabligh delegation, I sincerely wish you Eid Mubarak and I pray for your religious and worldly advancement. The best gift I can offer you on this occasion is the message of the Promised Messiahas. I present it as follows:
“Dear brothers! The Messengersa of Allah said:
ستفترق امتی علی ثلاث و سبعین فرقۃ کلّھا فی النّار الّا واحدۃ منھا
‘My ummah will split into 73 sects. All of them are in the fire except for one sect.’
ان اللہ يبعث لهذه الأمة على رأس كل مائة سنة من يجدد لها دينھا
‘Verily, Allah will appoint for this ummah, at the head of every century, one who will revive its religion for it.’
من لم يعرف امام زمانہ فقد مات ميتة الجاھلیّۃ
‘One who does not recognise the Imam of his age will die in disbelief.’ (For example, Abu Jahl.)
“O dear brothers! Which Islamic Jamaat is following the path that leads to the pleasure of Allah and the Messengersa? Where is the Promised Reformer of the 14th century? Hasn’t 20 years passed since that century?
“Dear! Look for the Imam of this age, because without the divine wisdom of the Imam, you will be under the wrath of God. I am ready to help you today and call your attention towards the claims of Syedna Ahmadas, the Reformer of the World and the Promised Mahdi and Messiah.”
Along with this [message], some Arabic couplets of the Promised Messiahas were also presented.
New converts and new Ahmadis
After the last report, two Christians, one idolator and 16 non-Ahmadis entered the pledge of allegiance. These 19 individuals took bai‘at in the mosque and their names were written down. Apart from them, there are many who participate in dars [religious sermons], lectures and Jumuah prayers, and consider themselves Ahmadis but are not very open [about it]. Allah the Almighty is about to bring the time of complete success very soon.
Brother Fazl Rahman has reached Gold Coast safely and is busy after taking charge. Friends are requested to pray that Allah protects this dear gentleman from afflictions. Nigeria and Gold Coast are two separate regions. The language is different and the habits and customs of the people are also different. The mail is sometimes not received for two months. If it comes very quickly, then you get the mail after 15 to 20 days. In the Gold Coast, water scarcity, food unavailability, poverty, transportation difficulties, complete ignorance of people, moreover, financial constraints, etc., are such difficulties that are seriously felt. Thus, friends are requested to pray for him a lot. I would have kept him with me but the people of the Gold Coast were getting anxious and the opponents had started to cook up schemes. The Christians had started doing mischief on the one hand and the non-Ahmadis belonging to the Hausa [tribe] on the other. They were trying to mislead the Ahmadis. Therefore, he was quickly sent to his appointed place.
Brother Fazl Rahman’s friends must continue to write to him letters of consolation and affection, and send him detailed information about the situation in India. His postal address is as follows:
Maulvi Fazal Rahman Hakeem, Missionary Ahmadia Movement, Commercial Road, Saltpond, Gold Coast, West Africa.
(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu in the 24 and 27 July 1922 issue of Al Fazl)