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Lord Headley’s visit to India, 1927-28

For convenience, here is collected together a list of links in the article below which go to pages with further details:


News from The Light and Paigham Sulh of Lahore

The Light, 8 December 1927 (p. 6)

Al-Hajj Lord Headley Al-Faruq, President-elect of the ensuing All India Tabligh Conference, is expected to disembark in Bombay on the 16th instant. He is expected to attend the Annual Conference of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore.

(Note: “16th instant” means 16th of the current month, i.e., 16 December.)

The Light, 22 December 1927 (p. 5)

“ Programme of the Conference

The 14th annual gathering of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore, will come off on the 28th, 29th and 30th December, 1927. The Rt. Hon’ble Al-Haj Lord Headley Al-Farooq, the well-known British Muslim will preside. All are cordially invited. The programme will be as follows:

December 28, 7-30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. — Reception and procession of Lord Headley, address to him and his reply to it. …

(Note: We have omitted the remainder of the programme as it is not relevant.)

The Light, 22 December 1927 (p. 6)

Al-Haj Lord Headley

The Rt. Hon’ble Al-Haj Lord Headley Al-Farooq, President-elect of the ensuing Tabligh Conference to be held in Delhi, has landed in Bombay on the 16th instant. He was given a reception befitting his position by Muslims. He will reach Delhi on the 24th and will come to Lahore on the 28th morning to preside over the annual gathering of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam.

The Light, 22 December 1927 (p. 7)

Al-Haj Lord Headley

We are glad to note that the Rt. Hon’ble Al-Haj Lord Headley Al-Farooq, the famous British Muslim peer, landed in Bombay on the 16th instant. It is a well-known fact that Lord Headley, who is a member of the white aristocracy of Britain, unlike most white people, does not entertain any colour-prejudice and deems himself equal to his Muslim brethren all over the world. Although he is now not in his youthful vigour, his energy and earnestness in the work of propagating Islam do not fail to keep pace with those of any Muslim; and he has already given clear proof of the fact. Born and bred in cold climate, he took a voyage to perform the pilgrimage to an arid land like Arabia in its hottest season. Again, not a very long time ago, he accompanied the Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din to South Africa carrying the mission of Islam. And now that the Muslims of India needed his noble services of presiding over the All India Tabligh Conference to be held in Delhi, he could not refuse their invitation on the plea of old age and has taken the trouble of travelling all the way from England. After the Tabligh Conference of Delhi he will preside over the Fourteenth Annual Conference of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam at Lahore where an address of welcome will be presented to him and where he will be led in a procession. We hope the whole Muslim community will appreciate his valuable services and show their appreciation in practice.

The Light, 5 January 1928 (p. 6, under News in Brief)

1. “ Tabligh Conference

The All-India Tabligh Conference was held at Delhi for the first time on the 25th, 26th and 27th December 1927, under the presidentship of Al-Haj the Rt. Hon’ble Lord Headley Al-Farooq, under the auspices of the Central Jamiat Tablighul Islam, Amballa. Some important resolutions were passed.

At this link the booklet containing his address to this Conference at Delhi can be read.

2. “ A Wonderful Procession

Al-Haj Lord Headley came over to Lahore on December 28, 1927, where he was received with tremendous ovation by Muslims and then he drove in a wonderful procession through the walled city and some parts of the new city. Most of the Lahore Muslims of distinction joined the procession. After four hours the huge gathering dispersed at about 1 p.m.

Details of this procession were reported in the Lahore Ahmadiyya Urdu organ, Paigham Sulh, for which see this link.

3. “ Lahore Anjuman’s Anniversary

On 28th December at 3-30 p.m. the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore, began its Fourteenth Anniversary celebration which continued up to December 30. The first meeting was held in the Islamia College ground, Lahore, which was attended by a large number of people.

In opening the celebration Maulana Muhammad Ali, President of the Anjuman, proposed Lord Headley to preside over it. His proposal was supported by Sir Muhammad Shafi and seconded by Maulvi Zafar Ali Khan and Sir Muhammad Iqbal. After this an address of welcome was presented to his Lordship who gave a suitable reply to it. His Lordship delivered a portion of his presidential address in English, the rest being read in Urdu as a large part of the audience did not know English. His Lordship attended the meetings on the following two days also and made two short but interesting speeches in the course of which he thanked his Muslim brothers and sisters for their kindness to him and expressed his love for them.

Several lectures were delivered in the last two days’ meetings which were held in the mosque of the Ahmadiyya Buildings and attended by a large number of men and women. One of the speakers was Mr. Mohammad Fahmi, an Egyptian journalist, litterateur and poet of note, who is now on a scouting tour in India and who has become a member of the Anjuman.

For further details please refer to the following links:

4. “ A Tea Party to Lord Headley

The Anjuman gave a tea party to Lord Headley in the premises of the Muslim High School, Lahore, on December 31.

5. “ A Public Meeting at Lahore

Under the auspices of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam a public meeting was held in Lahore on January 1, 1928 in which Lord Headley delivered a lecture in the course of which he said that at present the greatest need of the Muslims was unity. Without unity they would never be able to preach their religion which is so much demanded in the West now that Christianity is dwindling and people are turning for guidance to atheism for want of a rational religion like Islam.

From the editorial in The Light, 5 January 1928 (p. 3)

…In his Presidential Address to the Members of the Anjuman Lord Headley referred to the remarkable change of attitude among Europeans towards Islam and towards European converts to Islam. A few years ago, a man who renounced Christianity in favour of Islam would have been regarded by all Christians with honour as a despicable renegade obviously influenced by the most sordid of motives. Today we find even the devoutly Christian ‘Civil and Military Gazette’ respectfully interviewing Lord Headley and reporting without a word of criticism or protest the proceeding of a meeting the main purpose of which was to suggest and to prove that Islam was a religion superior to Christianity. This, surely, is remarkable evidence of the rapid increase during recent years of the prestige of the true Faith among non-Muslims.…

The splendidly enthusiastic reception accorded to Lord Headley by the Muslims of Lahore, was, again, most effective propaganda for Islam. The present writer took part in the procession which passed through the city on the day of Lord Headley’s arrival and he was vastly impressed by the obvious sincerity of the welcome accorded to an English Muslim by his Indian brothers in the Faith. On that day Lahore appeared to be a Muslim city thronged and packed by Muslims exclusively who showered flowers and scents upon the processionists. Repeatedly did the individuals of that great crowd break through the police barriers to seize Lord Headley’s hand or those of the teo Europeans soldiers in uniform who took part in the procession. The humblest of Muslims acted on their right of taking the hands of their English brothers in token of the fraternity among all Muslims and no onlooker viewing that scene could have failed to be deeply impressed by the vitality and beauty of Islam.

The Light, 2 February 1928 (p. 8, under News in Brief)

Lord Headley’s Tour

From Lahore Lord Headley went to Peshawar stopping on his way for a day at Rawalpindi where he was given a grand ovation and a garden party attended by all communities. He was the guest of Khan sahib Shaikh Muhammad Ismail Sahib. In the reception given at Peshawar, and in the procession, there was something unprecedented. Chiefs from Trans-Border and other Frontier Districts travelled hundreds of miles to meet and hail his Lordship with cordial greetings.

His Lordship visited Khyber Pass, where he was the guest of the Chief of an independent tribe. Lord Headley also stepped into Afghan territory where he was welcomed by the people and officials there. On his way back he visited Sargodha and Wazirabad, where he met similar warm receptions, and also like elsewhere addresses were presented. All Tiwana Chiefs came with hearty welcome and took a prominent part in the procession at Sargodha. His Lordship everywhere preached tolerance and non-sectarianism in Islam. His remarks were received with appreciation by his audience everywhere. He also appealed for erection of a mosque in London, and for co-operation in the spread of Islam in the world. Committees have been formed in all the places to arrange for substantial help in response to his appeal.

The Light, 9 February 1928 (p. 6, under News in Brief)

Lord Headley at Secunderabad

Lord Headley reached Secunderabad in the morning of January 26 where he was received by the Political Secretary to the Nizam’s Government. He stays at Hyderabad as the guest of the Nizam.

Nizam Mosque

His Exalted Highness the Nizam of Hyderabad has promised to Lord Headley that for the proposed construction of a mosque in London he himself and his subjects will bear the expenses. For this purpose the Nizam has contributed five lakhs [500,000] of rupees out of his own purse and the balance will be raised by his subjects. The mosque will be called the Nizam Mosque.

Paigham Sulh, 25 January 1928 (p. 4, under Akhbar Ahmadiyya)

Al-Farooq: Last Friday Lord Headley said his Friday prayers at the Ahmadiyya mosque in Lahore. After the prayers he spent a long time in conversations with senior members of the Movement.

Paigham Sulh, 22 May 1928 (p. 1, under Akhbar Ahmadiyya)

Visit to Kashmir by Rt. Hon. Lord Headley

4 May 1928 — Today at 6.00 pm Lord Headley, accompanied by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, missionary of Islam, and Sir Abbas Ali Baig, arrived in Srinagar. The local [Lahore] Ahmadiyya community of Srinagar had made special arrangements as hosts with great attention and devotion. To welcome them, standing in a formation of two rows, the rows facing each other, were: Maulana Maulvi Muhammad Abdullah, lawyer High Court, Khan Sahib Mirza Ghulam Mustafa, the great chief (Raees Azam) of Kashmir, Khwaja Sad-ud-Din Shal, Khwaja Abdul Majeed, Khan Sahib Munshi Siraj-ud-Din, Maulvi Bashir Ahmad, conversator of Murree, Dr Abdul Wahid, Munshi Asadullah, Advocate, Khwaja Muzaffar-ud-Din, Pleader, Pir Qamar-ud-Din, lawyer, Maulvi Ghulam Hasan, lawyer, Pir Qamar-ud-Din, general merchant, Ghulam Rasul Butt, and many other distinguished members of the Jama‘at [i.e., Lahore Ahmadiyya community]. A crowd of other Muslims was also there to welcome them, also standing in two rows facing each other. There was much expression of pleasure and excitement in the city. Upon his lordship’s arrival, cries of Allahu Akbar were raised in the warmth of the welcome, and flowers were showered.

After leaving the motor car and meeting people at the appointed venue, his lordship stood up and made a speech under the poplar trees. Its Urdu translation was read out by Khan Sahib Munshi Siraj-ud-Din. The large audience listened to the speech with rapt attention. His lordship, in strong words, warned Muslims against the deadly poison of sectarianism, disunity and disintegration, and this impressed all the audience. After the conclusion of the speech, Khan Sahib Munshi Siraj-ud-Din presented some spontaneous poetic verses which delighted even the most serious of the audience so much that they could not contain their smiles.

Afterwards, a photograph was taken of his lordship and his companions with the gathering of Muslims. The public were discharged after the taking of the photograph, and in the evening his lordship and leading persons of the city were given a dinner by the Jama‘at [Lahore] Ahmadiyya of Srinagar.

I am writing this report today, Sunday, from Dal Lake, the day when his lordship is due to attend a garden party at 6.00 pm at Shalimar Gardens, given by Khan Sahib Khan Abdul Majeed, Director-General, Co-operative Society.

6 May 1928.

Sincerely,

Qari Kashmiri, from Srinagar.

Below is the photograph referred to in this report, taken from The Islamic Review, April–May 1933:

This photograph can be viewed in large size at this link.

Paigham Sulh, 5 June 1928 (p. 5, under Akhbar Ahmadiyya)

Lord Headley had gone to Kashmir for a few days in the company of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. He returned from there two or three days ago, and left for Bombay to return to England. It is hoped that he will visit India again in the coming winter to complete his campaign for the building of a mosque in London.

(Note by Website: The visit mentioned never took place. Land for the proposed mosque was purchased in Mornington Avenue, West Kensington, London, and a trust called The Nizamiah Mosque Trust created. In 1937, two years after Lord Headley’s death, the foundation stone of the mosque was laid. See photographs of the foundation stone laying: photo 1, photo 2. After the Second World War, the assets and funds of the Nizamiah Mosque Trust were passed to London Central Mosque Trust which today controls the Central London Mosque in Regent’s Park, London. Even today the ‘London Nizamiah Mosque Trust’ is on the register of the UK Charity Commission and is shown as a linked charity of The London Central Mosque Fund.)

Talk and article by Lord Headley after return to England

After his return to England, Lord Headley delivered a lecture to the British Muslim Society in London on 29 July 1928. Its text was published in The Islamic Review, September 1928. Here is a link to his article.

Photograph

The photograph below was taken during Lord Headley’s visit to India during 1927-28. He is on the left, with Maulana Ghulam Hasan Khan of Peshawar, who was a prominent figure in the Ahmadiyya Movement since the time of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The scan below was made from a copy of the photograph in possession of great-grandchildren of Maulana Ghulam Hasan.

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