100 Years Ago… – The message of Ahmadiyyat delivered in the royal palace, Nigeria and 10 Ahmadiyya mosques in one city

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Al Fazl, 8 August 1921

Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra, (1883-1948)

A very difficult task

The roots of Christianity are very strongly established in this country, the idol of trinity is very grave and the Christian influence is immense. The education, wealth, trade and government positions are all in the hands of Christians. […] 

The Christian clergy, with great cleverness, selfishness and to distract Muslims, proclaimed that Islam was progressing in Africa. However, the reality is only that the African idolaters become better idolaters by dressing like Muslims, possessing their names and changing their looks in some cases. Hence, the number of such Muslims in Lagos, the capital of Nigeria, is about 35,000 and the number of Christians is 20,000. Regardless, the Christians have 40 schools and 11,000 boys and girls study in them. Every Christian sect has missions and schools. Contrarily, a Muhammadan school for Muslims has been set up in which 100 boys and girls receive primary education.

In light of these circumstances, who can say that Islam is progressing in Africa? However, if anything can be said about it, then it is only this that the work of the missionary of Islam is very difficult:

ہر‭ ‬طرف‭ ‬كفر‭ ‬است‭ ‬جوشاں‭ ‬ہمچو‭ ‬افواج‭ ‬یزىد

دین‭ ‬حق‭ ‬بیمار‭ ‬و‭ ‬بے‭ ‬كس‭ ‬ہمچو‭ ‬زین‭ ‬العابدین

[“Infidelity is spreading everywhere like Yazid’s forces, and Islam is sick and helpless like Zain-ul-Abideenra.”]

New convert Ahmadis

Since coming to West Africa, more than 14,000 people have joined the Ahmadiyya Jamaat by taking bai‘at of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II[ra] at the hand of this humble one. These people also include nominal Muslims, Christians and idolaters. I sent the news of 4,000 new convert Ahmadis via telegram from the Gold Coast, but actually, they are about 6,000 people and a few hundred of them know Salat and fasting. All the others are new Muslims. The same is the situation over here [in Nigeria].

Hence, those who take bai‘at at my hand and are called new Ahmadis, are all new Muslims in the first place. Then, with the exception of a few hundred but including those who at least claim that they love the prophet, I can express with a heart full of praise for Allah the Almighty that with the support of God Almighty, more than 10,000 non-Muslims in the Gold Coast and Nigeria have thus far converted to Islam. All praise belongs to Allah Who made it all possible!

Christians are ready to convert to Islam

Friends will be happy to hear that a significant number of Christians in various parts of West Africa are ready to convert to Islam. Insha-Allah, I will be able to report after a short period of time that thousands of Christians have converted to Islam. At the time, I only convey this news to you that about 100 young English-speaking Muslims in Lagos were ready to convert to Christianity, but they refrained from doing so after my arrival and by the grace of God Almighty remained Muslims. Now, they are gathering the strength and joining the Ahmadiyya Jamaat one by one.

Prince of Lagos

The prince Eleko of Lagos, who is the current ruling successor of the idolators’ dynasty called Docimo i.e. the former rulers of Lagos, has started to take interest in my sermons. At his special request, I was invited to the palace and from a high stage built for sermons, I preached to a gathering of thousands and delivered the message of the Promised Messiahas. Eleko and all his chiefs participated in the sermon. The reports indicate that he is very impressed. When the political atmosphere, which is not clear for him these days, becomes clear, we are hopeful from Allah the Almighty that Eleko and his leaders will accept Islam.

Tabligh of Ahmadiyyat

I am regularly spreading the truth [of Ahmadiyyat] through outdoor speeches, meetings and lectures in the Ahmadiyya Lecture Hall. The program of speeches is as follows:

1. Dars [religious sermon] of the Holy Quran at the central Ahmadiyya Mosque on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays for men and Thursdays for women

2. Two outdoor speeches on Saturday evenings

3. Friday sermons for which people have especially started to come from different parts of the city

4. Weekly sermons to Christians at the Ahmadiyya Hall without the help of an interpreter

5. Weekly sermons to Ahmadis at the Ahmadiyya Hall without the help of an interpreter

6. A session of questions and answers on the matters of Ahmadiyyat without the help of an interpreter 

7. A session of questions and answers on the matters of Ahmadiyyat with the help of an interpreter 

8. The new Ahmadi converts’ Yoruba class for translation of Salat and education by Mr. Ajose, Imam of Ahmadiyya Mosque

Apart from him, all the imams of Ahmadiyya mosques are serving as sermonizers. Regular sermons are being delivered in the villages. We have 10 mosques in the city and each imam is preaching in his area.

Nigerian authorities

The British officials here are very sensible and moral. The commissioner of Police, Major Walker, and His Excellency, Colonel Moore Hoss Lieutenant Governor, are compassionate and noble natured. Both of them treat this humble one with respect and dignity, which the earthly rulers should keep with the Ahmadis’ missionaries for their own good. May Allah grant them the best of rewards.

Nigerian newspapers

There are five newspapers here. One is run by Christians and the other is owned by Muslims. In both of them, various articles are published about this humble one on regular basis. This week, The African Messenger, while mentioning Eid-ul-Fitr, presented my sermon, works and the news of ten thousand new Ahmadis in excellent words. Likewise, The Times of Nigeria has published the news of 10,000 Ahmadis in good words.

Prohibition of prostrating before human beings

The Muslims here are accustomed to prostrating to humans according to the old idolatrous practice. The Ahmadiyya Jamaat, in accordance with its local rules and regulations, has declared a complete avoidance of this ritual as part and parcel of Ahmadiyyat. I have also emphasised this matter in my sermons. 

By the grace of God Almighty, this bad practice is ending in Lagos. As the number of Ahmadis is now in thousands and Ahmadi men and women are discontinuing this practice and forbidding their children from it, the other parts of the population are also being influenced by this. One of the prominent signs of an Ahmadi is that they do not prostrate before anyone except God.

Miscellaneous

There is a dispute among the Muslims of this place over the imamate and management of the Victoria Mosque, which is ongoing for the last five years. The majority of the population is against the imam and there was a misunderstanding between the government and the majority of the Muslim population, which has been removed by my efforts and the issue of the mosque will be resolved soon, insha-Allah. The news of my arrival in the country and tabligh and sermons that the Mahdi has appeared, has reached the inland. However, I am still very busy in Lagos and so I cannot go inland. There is sincerity and enthusiasm in the Jamaat but only a few young gentlemen who are now growing in number are real volunteers. All the others are illiterate who do not yet understand the needs of the Jamaat, but I am hopeful from Allah the Almighty that they will become aware of this soon.

My health

My condition was serious and my heart muscles were affected. However, Allah the Almighty has granted me perfect health and we are hopeful that He will bless Ahmadiyyat with so much progress in Nigeria that its light from Lagos will reach the inland of Africa and the following phenomenon will be manifested with full glory:

يَدۡخُلُوۡنَ‭ ‬فِىۡ‭ ‬دِيۡنِ‭ ‬اللّٰهِ‭ ‬اَفۡوَاجًا

[“(And thou seest men) entering the religion of Allah in troops.”]

Its commencement has started with the grace of God Almighty.

Prayer request

I am weak, powerless and less educated. There is a lot of work and I am alone. At least four missionaries are needed in only Lagos. The work of Gold Coast and Sierra Leone is alongside it. My health was not good already and now, the abundance of work, worries and lack of good food is making me weak and old. I need prayers and I request all my friends to pray for me. It is not possible for me to write letters to each and every one of them.

Al Fazl, 15 August 1921

Congratulations: An Ahmadi Prince

On the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha, the joy and happiness of the readers will surely be greatly increased by this good news that Maulvi Abdur Rahim Sahib, the missionary to West Africa, has informed us via telegram that the prince [Eleko of Lagos] has joined the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. All praise belongs to Allah Who made it all possible.

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original in the 8 and 15 August 1921 issues of Al Fazl)

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