Founding of The
Islamic Review, 1913
In this section we have compiled contemporary
reports relating to the founding of The Islamic Review.
1. Proposal to publish articles in a magazine
In Badr, 27 February 1913, a letter by Khwaja
Kamal-ud-Din addressed to members of the Ahmadiyya Movement
is printed, containing some proposals for publishing his articles
in England in association with an existing magazine. It is
entitled Plan to propagate Islam through newspapers in
England. Translated below are some extracts from his letter:
assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu
I had written a long letter to honoured brother
Maulvi Muhammad Ali from here requesting that it should
be read at the annual gathering [salana jalsa], and
probably it will have been read. At the end of that letter
I had argued that what can be achieved by the pen here,
as well as in the rest of the Western world, cannot be done
by speech, nor by the sword or cannon.
In India my
experience showed that what can be achieved by speech cannot
be achieved by the pen. Here it is the reverse.
I started writing articles on various religious subjects
and sending them to newspapers. However, they were returned
with thanks because, firstly, those publications had no
interest in religion, and secondly, they strictly follow
each its own editorial policy.
Therefore the need arose to start our own magazine
or newspaper, because no newspaper can publish our articles
all the time. It occurred to me that Hazrat Maulvi
Muhammad Ali could come here and the English edition, at
least, of The Review of Religions be transferred
to this country. I emphasised this in my letter mentioned
above. But I learnt from letters received after this from
Qadian that the Maulana has yet to remain with Hazrat
Khalifat-ul-Masih [Maulana Nur-ud-Din] for several more
months in order to complete the English translation of the
Holy Quran. Moreover, my suggestion would require an expenditure
of more than 15,000 Rupees over the next year, which the
community would not be able to support in view of the present
building fund. Pondering over this problem, God has shown
me a solution. I have made a special arrangement with a
monthly magazine here that every month they will give me
space in it equal to a half of The Review of Religions
for my articles. In return, we have to help them by providing
subscribers and increasing the sale of certain special issues.
I have sent details of this arrangement to Qadian. The cost
of this will be 1500 Rupees.
All I wish is that some brothers buy at least
one issue, and some others send me the price of one issue
which I can distribute from here on their behalf.
This work will inshallah begin on 1st
January  and I ask my brothers who wish to help me
in this task to do so soon and whatever they want to give
they should give it before the end of January direct to
Shaikh Rahmatullah sahib, Proprietor, English Warehouse,
Lahore. He will forward me all the money.
In the end I again request that all of you should
pray for my good. Now it is only the service of Islam and
service of the community that is keeping me in this country.
May Allah have mercy. I am in good health.
Seeker of prayers,
13 December 1912
c/o National Bank of India, 26 Bishopsgate, London
Badr, 27 February 1913, pages 56
2. Proposal to start own magazine
The above proposal appears not to have been carried
any further, as in the next issue of Badr (6th March
1913) Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din explains his plan to start his own
magazine. The heading of his letter consists of the following
words of the Holy Quran:
Who will be my helpers in
the way of Allah?
(man ansari ilallah, the Quran, 61:14)
The letter is introduced by a note by Maulana Nur-ud-Din
himself. Shown below is the image of the heading of the letter
and the introductory note by Maulana Nur-ud-Din:
The translation of this note is as follows:
and Muslims generally should ponder over this letter, which
is a heart-felt plea by its author. You should read it with
deep sympathy. I pray to Allah that you give it your full
attention. Three thousand is not much for a magazine. You
can be a subscriber or you can provide financial assistance,
as you wish. Whatever you do, provide encouragement for
the Khwaja sahib. And surely Allah will help him who
helps Him [the Quran, 22:40].
26 February 1913
The translation of the body of the letter is as
guide and master the Promised Messiah, peace be upon him,
raised this same call many years ago, and upon this call God
the Most High granted him a whole company of helpers who performed
such a distinguished service to Islam that the people of India
acknowledged it. Today, sitting thousands of miles away in
the land of the Christians, I again make this call and hope
to God the Most High that it will not be in vain. In actual
fact, the Being Who can fulfil all my hopes and aspirations
and make me succeed in my objectives is that same Glorious
Almighty Who, by sending me to this land all of a sudden,
opened before me a vast field for spreading the Word of God,
but the same God has taught me that in a state of dire need
I should raise the cry: Who will be my helpers in the
way of Allah?
Not one week passes but the sons of
Al-Dajjal are defeated and humiliated at the hands
of the servant of the [Promised] Messiah. There is also useful
work being done through private communication. But to produce
long-lasting results, a sustained effort is required. I wrote
in a letter the conclusions I have come to in regard to the
question of the propagation of Islam in Western countries,
which was read at the annual gathering [of the Ahmadiyya Movement
in Qadian in December 1912]. The purport was that either a
magazine should be issued from here or The Review of Religions
should be transferred. Later I learnt that the needs of the
community and its other expenses do not allow the expenditure
of fifteen to twenty thousand Rupees which would be entailed
in transferring The Review of Religions to this country.
Then, after special prayers for this object and advice, I
decided to bring out a monthly magazine from here.
My brief stay has shown me that the
world here is so alienated from religion that people are not
interested in any matter pertaining to religion. A magazine
devoted purely to theological subjects will probably not be
read by anyone even if it is free, let alone that people would
buy it. Therefore it has been decided that a small part of
it be devoted to topics in ethics, morality, economics, education
and politics. The world considers these as subjects apart
from religion, but Islam includes them all. So it is our intention
that, while the real object and purpose of this magazine would
only be religious, but to induce some minds to read it there
should also be content about other subjects, and that too
should be given from an Islamic point of view. If such matter
is included, there is a close friend of mine who has offered
to distribute free a certain number of copies of the magazine
at his own expense.
In the expenditure upon this magazine,
I do not include my labour as editor and the work of brother
Dr. Ibadullah as manager. May God reward the good doctor greatly!
It is to cover the printing, publication, paper, postage and
other necessary expenses that, leaving aside the help offered
by my friend, I want our brethren to subscribe to two thousand
copies at this time. Of these, I will distribute free one
thousand copies here and in America, Africa and Europe. This
is actually a very small number because many thousands of
copies must be distributed here free in order to have any
effect, and a continuing and sustained effort is required
to produce any result.
I would like my brethren, whether
they can read English or not, to subscribe. Those knowing
only Urdu will receive the Urdu translation. I have set the
subscription at five Rupees annually, which is not much under
the circumstances mentioned above. I would like some brethren
not to take note of the price but to help me at this time
with whatever they can afford. By the grace of God I have,
up to now, published some books in India on the same basis
and in the past three or four years continuously tried to
render service to the Movement. With the help of my brethren,
God did not let my work go to waste. After working in India,
now the Divine purpose has brought me here. I have the tools
in my hands for clearing the weeds and ploughing the land
but I find here many rough plains, rocky hills, thorny bushes
and wildernesses. It is God only Who can strengthen my hands
and make firm my feet.
I have appointed
Munshi Nur Ahmad as my agent to visit you in various towns
and cities and appeal on my behalf. May Allah the Most High
inspire your hearts for this end, and if this work is according
to His will and purpose then may He open your hearts and hands
for my help.
Address: National Bank of India, 26 Bishopsgate, London
Badr, 6 March 1913,
3. Announcements of founding
In the same issue of Badr,
the news of the launch of the magazine is published under
the heading Muslim India and Islamic Review. It reads:
my last letter I informed brethren that I planned to issue
from here a permanent monthly magazine. All the articles
have gone to press and next week, inshallah, the
magazine whose title is given above will reach our friends.
It contains some of my discussions with bishops and Christian
scholars of divinity here in which they have admitted the
weakness of their standpoint. May Allah the Most High make
this magazine a means of guidance for the people here. Brethren,
I appeal to you to render me help by your pen and money.
Please do not hesitate. Remember well the verse [of the
Promised Messiah]: As I have been given light for
the Christian peoples. I pray that Allah the Most
High grant me to spread this light among the Christian people.
c/o National Bank of India, 26 Bishopsgate, London
In The Review of Religions
this news is published as follows:
The Muslim India and Islamic
In the article Islam and the
World, published in this number of the Review,
Mr. Parkinson speaks of a crying need of the Muslim world,
viz. a periodical in the English language to be published
from London and translated into other languages of the Islamic
world. The periodical is, of course, to be devoted to the
discussion of subjects Islamic. We are glad to announce
that a periodical of the type suggested by Mr. Parkinson
has already been started in London under the editorship
of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, Ahmadi, B.A., LL.B., and the first
number of the paper is already out, and is expected to reach
India by the next mail. We wish this highly laudable enterprise
every success and make an urgent appeal to all the Muslims
to freely give the Khwaja all the support he deserves. The
name of the periodical is The Muslim India and Islamic
Review, and the annual subscription is Rs. 5.
All remittances and literary communications
should be sent addressed to Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, care of
National Bank of India, 26 Bishopsgate, London.
The Review of Religions,
March 1913, p. 132.
The Mr. Parkinson mentioned here is
the British convert to Islam, writer and poet, John
4. Report of a visit by agent Nur
In No. 2 above,
Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din has written in his letter published in
Badr, 6 March 1913 that I have appointed Munshi
Nur Ahmad as my agent to visit you in various towns and cities
and appeal on my behalf. A report of such a visit to
Lucknow is published in Badr, 22 May 1913, by the Secretary
of the local Ahmadiyya branch. It is translated below:
Ahmad sahib, the agent of the Khwaja sahib, came
to Lucknow and stayed at my house. He met all the lawyers,
religious scholars and speech-makers of Lucknow. The letter
to the Turks and a specimen of The Islamic Review
was distributed as a gift. Some promised to become subscribers
and others promised to make donations.
On 25 March 1913 at 4 p.m. all of
us Ahmadi brethren went to meet Maulana Shibli Naumani at
his residence. After greetings etc., talk began. Praise
for the Khwaja sahib was on everyones lips.
What they felt inwardly only Allah can know. What I liked
best was what was said by the expert theologian Abul Kalam
Azad who was sitting on one side of Maulana Shibli Naumani.
There is a spirit that is
driving these persons of the Ahmadiyya community, and
this fact cannot be denied. Everyone must help the Khwaja
sahib. After going to Calcutta I will send 200 Rupees.
Then he addressed me and said:
In reply to your letter,
I had written to you that Jesus, peace be upon him, has
died. You must have received it.
I said that I had received it and
had filed it.
Humbly, Kabir-ud-Din Ahmad,
Secretary, Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Lucknow.
Badr, 22 May 1913,
Maulana Shibli Naumani (d. 1914) was
a famous Urdu literary figure and historian of Islam renowned
for his biography of the Holy Prophet Muhammad entitled Sirat-un-Nabi.
Abul Kalam Azad (d. 1958) was an Islamic religious scholar
and author who also held high political and ministerial offices
in India later in his life.
Note: The original name of
The Islamic Review when its publication started in
February 1913 was Muslim India and the Islamic Review
but by 1914 it was changed to The Islamic Review and Muslim
India. In 1921 it was shortened to The Islamic Review.