100 Years Ago… – Worldwide preaching efforts and collaboration of Ahmadi missionaries 


The Review of Religions [English], October & November 1922

America Mosque


Brother Dr Sadiq is now much better, and the mission work is proceeding apace. Sympathy, that should be the keynote of a missionary’s life, is to be found to a prominent degree in our brother. Hearing that a great tornado swept off a portion of San Salvador and the death toll was very heavy, the brother lost no time in writing a letter of sympathy to the President of the Republic conveying the message of Ahmad who he said was the Noah for this age.

During the last two weeks, our brother delivered seven lectures and secured eleven more new converts to Islam. Idul Zuha was observed on Friday, 4 August [1922], the assemblage consisting of 40 persons, men and women. The tramway strike is much interfering with our brother’s missionary activities.

[Al-Masjid Chicago]

For our present purposes, the mosque has been completed and fitted up with the necessary fixtures. “Almasjid Chicago” is the telegraphic address which has been registered at the post office. Now telegrams can be received directly at this address. 

The Moslem Sunrise” has been registered at the post office and now it enjoys the same postal facilities that are accorded to other papers, thus appreciably lessening the postal charges. The sum of one thousand dollars that was to be paid as the first instalment towards the price of the house that has been turned into a mosque has already been supplied to our brother who, has managed to meet other needs from the local funds and it is hoped that the remaining instalments will be met by the local members. The present, and it is devoutly to be hoped the permanent address of our American Mission is as follows:

4448 Wabash Ave, Chicago, Ill, America.

[Class difficulties in the West]

Among the difficulties that our brother had to meet with, the chief one is the social distance between one class from the other. People of high standing and status do not, as a rule, mix with the middle-class people and vice versa; the one is inspired by undue pride and the other by undue hatred and jealousy. 

So, in his choice of a central locality, our brother had to keep in view this class antagonism and rivalry. It is yet too early to speak whether his choice will meet the demands of both. It is as a matter of fact this class hatred that Islam aims at rooting out, but in view of the prevailing prejudices, our brother has had to keep the interests of both in mind.

As Islamic ideas permeate, we hope that this class antagonism will give way to Islamic fraternity and equality. And then will dawn a new and a happier era for the people of the West.


[…] Opening of schools

The council of elders as well as the executive committee at Lagos, [Africa], have decided to open the Talim-ul-Islam Ahmadiyya School. For the time being, the female prayer apartment of the chief mosque with slight alterations is being used as a schoolroom as well as the prayer apartment. A senior Cambridge master and his three assistants form the staff of the school. An application for the acquisition of a site for the proposed high school has been placed with the government. The high level of expenses may be gauged from the fact that the land for house construction costs three times as much as in London. 

In spite of the fact that there have been more than 200 applications for an open site, the government has promised to consider our Community’s application and give it preference over others.

In addition to this, there is also a proposal to start a school at Epetado. Now that the Christians of Lagos have decided to exclude Muslim students from their schools, hence in future it seems that the Ahmadiyya Movement will have to bear the cost of Muslim education.

Some of the hostile Christian papers have begun to take favourable notice of our Movement. For instance, the “Pioneer” of Nigeria that up to now maintained a very hostile attitude, in its latest issue speaks admiringly of the Movement and says that the sole avenue of Muslim regeneration lies in the teachings of Ahmadiyyat. Mr Nayyar, it proceeds, not only convinces by arguments and reasons but also by emphasising loyalty and faithfulness to the established government he is doing very useful work. 

Similarly, the “African Messenger” says that through the influence of Ahmadiyyat a good deal can be achieved by way of reformation and regeneration among the Muslim masses provided selfish and vested interests do not come in between brother Nayyar and his reforming activities. Elsewhere, the same paper urges upon the government and its readers the need of welcoming this purely religious movement and quotes with approval the remark of a high-placed government official who said that he welcomed the Ahmadiyya Movement and expressed his belief that if the Muslims there imbibed the Ahmadiyya teachings and Islamic point of view and acted up to them, he was sure they would very soon rid themselves of the dense curtain of ignorance and fanaticism which had up to this time characterised their general activities. He averred, moreover, says the paper, that there were certain interested parties that did not wish to see the benighted Muslims get out of their rut of ignorance, their sole motive being exploitation.

Hakim Fazl-ur-Rahman

Brother F Rahman in spite of physical infirmities is devoting himself heart and soul to his propaganda [preaching] work. He teaches Quran to the Saltpond Muslims and young Hausas; he instructs the teachers and the taught at Saltpond in the rudiments of religion; he is inspecting various communal centres; and moreover, he is busy devising means whereby a network of schools might be spread over the whole of that ilaqa [region]. He generally travels on foot, contenting himself sometimes with eating parched millet or dry bread with salt to point. In spite of the heavy rains and indisposition, he does not spare himself; he is where his duty requires him. As reported in our last issue, he has been successful in securing 117 more new converts.

In addition to Brother Fazl-ul-Rahman, there is Imam Muhammad Ismail Sheta who plies his trade and propagation work together. He writes to say that he was going into the interior of French Dahomey where, in addition to his business, he has a mind to preach the gospel of truth, [i.e. message of the Promised Messiahas], among the natives. […]


Brother Hafiz Ghulam Muhammad, our Mauritius missionary, writes that two more new converts have been secured.

A well-known Madrasi Hindu citizen of Rosehill invited the whole of Rosehill Ahmadiyya Community to a rich feast and to prepare Muslim dishes he requisitioned the services of a Muhammadan cook. The whole assemblage while assembled at the gathering were besprinkled with precious sweet-scented waters and essence of rose. In short, nothing was left undone to make it a perfect Eastern gathering.

The postprandial speeches that followed exhibited warm and sincere outpourings of the hearts. Brother Ghulam Muhammad proposing a vote of thanks to the kind host remarked that they, the Ahmadis, felt thankful to God for the fact that, though outcasted and excommunicated by their own fellow Muslims, they could count as their brethren the Hindus who so warmly and affectionately welcomed them. He, therefore, urged upon his kind host the necessity to extend the same liberality of thought and breadth of vision to the Quranic teachings as he had done in inviting them to a sumptuous dinner. If his kind host found, our brother proceeded, that the Quranic teachings are based on truth and well-established arguments, then it was only in the fitness of things that he joined the fold of Islam and thus once more establish that his high-mindedness and generosity were not simply confined to the worldly things and material considerations. We are all, he said, the creation of God, who wishes us to sympathise with each other. 

We, the Ahmadis, recognised all the messengers of God, be they Indians or non-Indians. Rama and Krishna were both prophets of God who were raised to lead men to the right path of God. The only difference between us and the non-Ahmadi Muslims was that we recognised all these messengers and that according to our point of view, none of these former prophets was now alive, as is mistakenly believed by a certain people and that the prophet of the present age was Mirza Ghulam Ahmad[as] of Qadian. Spiritually we believe all these holy personages to be alive, but so far as corporeal existence is concerned, we make no exception in favour of anyone.

This short speech by our brother was followed by the host, who in the first place confessed with all humility that he had not done all that should have been done in honour of his honoured guests. He, moreover, appreciated the honour of having under his roof no less a personage than our brother whose fame had gone far beyond the confines of Mauritius, and as to their island home, there was no house but remembered and knew our brother’s most striking personality. 

Then he thanked once more all his guests, one and all, and asked permission to garland our brother as a fitting end to that evening’s gathering.

Hazrat Hafiz Ghulam Muhammadra

[Ahmadi Missionaries stay in contact and learn from one another]

It is more gratifying to learn that our various missionaries abroad are keeping in touch with each other relative to the progress of their work and the methods pursued. Brothers Dr Sadiq and Professor Nayyar are in constant communication with our Mauritius missionaries. Professor Nayyar requiring French literature on our Movement for his French Dahomey Mission branch was at once supplied with requisite booklets and pamphlets. 

Similarly, to brother Fazl-ur-Rahman at Saltpond, was despatched literature in French with which our Mauritius Mission seems to be well supplied. French being the first language of Mauritius our brother has with assiduous care mastered it, and it is to his untiring energy and devotion that we have French literature also available. 

It would not be out of place to state here that our Mauritius Community, no less than brother Ghulam Mahammad, deserves the best thanks of our whole community for the energy and devotion that they are showing in the cause of truth.

Brother Ghulam Muhammad and Hafiz Ubaidullah do not merely confine their activities to preaching alone. They are looking after the moral and spiritual upliftment of their brethren too. There are regular Quran classes, some of which have made marked progress.

Idul Zuha was observed on Saturday, 5 August [1922], with brother Ghulam Muhammad visiting Phoenix the same evening. A Hindu Mehta who knows Gujarati very well has recently joined our Movement. He is an intelligent young man and he has with avidity devoted himself to a further study of religion.


Brother Sheikh Mahmud Ahmad writes from Cairo:

It is four months since I have been here. All this time, I have been busy doing my mission work in one way or the other. Up to this time no opposition has been set up to my missionary activities. If ever I have met with any obstacles, these have been at the hands of my Indian compatriots residing here. Yet Divine providence has been wonderfully in evidence in support of me. Thank God some of my bitterest foes have turned into the fastest of friends; such power has been vouchsafed to me in the performance of this divinely ordained duty. Glory be to God!

Mian Rahmatullah, an Indian tailor who has been residing in Cairo for a good many years, has with his whole family entered into the bai‘at of the Second Khalifa, [Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra]. He says that he joined the Movement in the lifetime of the Promised Messiah[as], but time and distance had kept him out of touch with the Movement.

There is another, Hamid Abdul Aziz, a native of Egypt. He is a poet and has a perfect command of speech. He is a good lecturer too, and he is said to have worked under Zaghlul Pasha while political demonstrations were at their height in this country. This young man has joined our Movement and he is sincerely and ardently devoting himself to the work of propagation. He has taken to public preaching and he keeps in touch with me and consults me on every point he feels any difficulty about. It is to be devoutly hoped that God will vouchsafe these new converts constancy and firmness in faith.

Sheikh Mahmud Ahmad Sahib, son of Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira


Through the efforts of brother Abdul Karim an Ahmadiyya Community was established in this town [of Alexandria]. Five of those who were converted at his hands, it is to be deeply regretted, had been carried off by death. Among the survivors, there is a young man, Muhammad Wasfi by name, who is very zealous and ardent in the cause of Ahmadiyyat. Through his efforts the number of our Alexandrian Community counts more than twenty, one of them a Bey who joined our movement during the week under report.

Muhammad Wasfi

He is a young man with a saintly life. He is in the government service. In his off time, he is busy with his religious work. He came over to me from Alexandria on 22 of July [1922] and long did we discuss over the methods and means of propagation. I drew his attention to the regular organization of his Alexandrian brethren-in-faith into a regular community by establishing a regular Anjuman. Brother Wasfi has promised to set apart a portion of his house for this communal business where the opening ceremony was to take place and the work of propagation taken in hand. 

It is to be hoped that the Alexandrian brethren will take to subscribing regularly to carry on the missionary work. Brother Wasfi has invited me to Alexandria which I hope I shall be able to do in the next month and stay there for a day or two. 


These people are steeped in European fashion. Religion is almost forgotten. Female dress is immodest. The ulemas [religious scholars] are no better off than their lay brethren. One day, I had to see a friend of mine who happened to be in a coffee house. To my confusion and dismay, I found the learned gentlemen playing billiards. 

(Transcribed and edited by Al Hakam from the original published in The Review of Religions, October and November 1922)

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