100 Years Ago… – Three Christian ladies convert and establishment of Jamaat in Portsmouth and Madagascar


Al Fazl, 30 September & 4 October 1920

Hazrat Maulvi Fateh Muhammad Sayalra

Master Abdul Rahim Sahib Nayyar is currently residing in Portsmouth. Thus, I am writing this week’s London letter. All of the servants of the Ahmadiyya Mission in London are well by the grace of God Almighty and are engaged in their respective works.

Portsmouth is a large port on the south coast of England and by the grace of God, [its people are] taking great interest in [the message of Messiah]. A Jamaat of Ahmadis has now been established there. Since these people are only familiar with the doctrines of Islam and have little knowledge of the practices of Islam, it was deemed essential for a missionary to stay there for a few days to organise them into a Jamaat and teach them practical aspects of Islam.

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A present day view of Portsmouth, where a jamaat was established in 1920

Tabligh in this city began in the year 1914 when I was invited by a society for a lecture, but I never stayed there for more than two days. This was also the case in the time of esteemed Qazi Sahib and Hazrat Mufti Sahib.

Now that the Jamaat has greatly increased in number, it was considered necessary to send Master Sahib there for a [tabligh] tour of two weeks. Moreover, Master Sahib also needed a few weeks’ vacation.

Apart from those who are born in London, it is not a favourable place for one’s health. The atmosphere remains smoggy almost all the time and portrays the picture of:

یَوۡمَ تَاۡتِی السَّمَآءُ بِدُخَانٍ مُّبِیۡنٍ۔ یَّغۡشَی النَّاسَ ؕ ھٰذَا عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ

“The day when the sky will bring forth a visible smoke that will envelop the people. This will be a painful torment.” (Surah al-Dukhan, Ch.44: V.12-13)

Hence, the permanent stay of expatriates in London is detrimental to their health. So the people of Punjab may laugh at this, but for a short period of time, changing [one’s] climate is very necessary.

Allah the Almighty showered special blessings this week. I delivered lectures at two different places in London and people intently listened to them. The lectures were followed by a series of questions and answers. It shows that the people here have started to take a special interest in [the message from] India. Several people came to visit us.

Some of them were going to America and some were heading off to South West Africa. They wished to be informed about our mission in those countries. At their request, the addresses of Hazrat Mufti Sahib and secretary Anjuman Ahmadiyya Lagos were given to them.

Apart from them, we met with the editors of some well-known newspapers and related the situation of the Jamaat and presented some books and magazines to them. They listened to the accounts of the Jamaat with great interest and some even wrote about them in their newspapers.

Three ladies convert to Islam

By the grace of Allah the Almighty, three ladies converted to Islam this week. All praise belongs to Allah Who made it all possible.

ھٰذَا مِنۡ فَضۡلِ رَبِّیۡ یُؤْتِیْہِ مَنْ یَّشَآءُ

“This is from the blessing of Allah and He bestows it on whom He pleases.”

All three are educated, serious and saintly. The letter of one of them is given below and it can be estimated from it as to how much these people are interested in Islam. Mrs Vernon, an educated and saintly lady, wrote in a letter to me:

“You gave me a book on Islam. I return it with thanks and express that I agree with every word of this book. This is a very beautiful teaching that we bow our heads to the ground in the name of Allah the Almighty because He is our only God. He is the Master. Surely, to Him belong the skies and the earth. As Islam teaches us, He is the light of the heavens and the earth.

“The commandments of Islam seem to be more strict than Christianity, but obedience and worship are in fact the name of such submission. What remains of religion without it? The voice of Islam is glorious and fully rules over its followers and pertains to every branch of their life, so that Allah the Almighty always stays in mind. The prayers are arranged in such a way that they come one after the other and before a person could forget Allah the Almighty due to worldly engagements, there comes the time for another prayer and remembrance of Allah. This teaching is very beautiful and it has created a deep impression on my heart. Beyond any doubt, Muslims would get a big share from the spiritual powers that come from prayers and fasting. Christians are afraid of fasting and if they are ordered to fast, they will probably shut down all business in the world. They are not like Muslims, who perform their day to day works while fasting.

“I was not a Christian from my childhood. I cannot even imagine that the whole world can be saved by the death of one person. This teaching is also against the sayings of Jesusas. The rest of the doctrines of Christianity are also as irrational as this [teaching].

“My heart is thirsty for knowledge and spirituality. I am very hopeful that you can help me. I sincerely believe that Allah the Almighty has sent you people to completely purify the spiritual matters.

“All the others who give speeches in Hyde Park have no food for spiritually famished people.

“Peace be upon you all, Mrs Vernon”

This week, I came across a book named Pan Islam written by Mr Berry. The book was published in April this year. This clever and meticulous writer, who has lived in Arabia for a long time, writes, “Christian missionaries have been defeated against Islam and will never succeed.”

For this reason, he goes on to say, “These missionaries should not bother the Muslims at all because it will cause trouble to Christianity.” In this regard, he has particularly mentioned our mission and stated, “When Islamic missions have been established in London and are converting the British to Islam, then what are we producing in the East?”

It is also mentioned that, “These missionaries continue to publish lies about Islam in the West and especially in America, to solicit donations from the people.”

All the said news are pleasing, but we should not be overly happy with these things, because the people here are far away from the light of Allah. If someone wants to see the sight of:

ظُلُمٰتٌ بَعْضُھَا فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ

[Layers of darkness, one upon another] they should visit England. Darkness and suffering are so prevalent that there seems to be no other way out except to pray. Thus, I request for prayers from all friends who are well-wishers of Islam and mankind.

As the whole nation has gone corrupt, it requires the prayers of an entire nation and not just the prayers of one or two persons.

Ahmadiyyat in Madagascar

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Secretary Anjuman Ahmadiyya Mauritius writes:

“Two of our Ahmadi merchants have gone to Madagascar. It is a large island near Mauritius, which is under the control of France and is probably the largest island in the world. As far as we know, Ahmadiyyat has not yet reached it. Thus, these two Ahmadis have been given many small tracts in French, which they will distribute to the people of that place. May God soon establish a mission of our [Jamaat] over there.”

Humbly yours, Zainul Abidin, Mauritius

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