The Woking Muslim Mission and Mosque during 1914
See also: The Woking Muslim Mission and the First World War, 1914–1918
Summary of the year
The year 1914 was a momentous year in the history of the world as the First World War began in August of that year (in terms of British history). This was a cataclysmic event which transformed the world. Naturally, reports of the Woking Muslim Mission work and articles in The Islamic Review of 1914 contain much mention of the outbreak of this devastating war and its effects.
Another reason why the year 1914 was critical for the Woking Muslim Mission was that, following the death of Maulana Nur-ud-Din in March 1914, a split took place in the Ahmadiyya Movement. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, and his helper Munshi Nur Ahmad, sided with the Lahore section of the Ahmadiyya Movement, newly established at Lahore as the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam, and headed by Maulana Muhammad Ali. After that, in the Ahmadiyya Movement, the Woking Mission was supported only by the Lahore group.
To relieve Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam Lahore sent Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, who arrived at Woking in June 1914. Accompanying him on this journey to England, out of personal interest, was Mirza Sultan Ahmad, eldest son of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who was not a member of the Ahmadiyya Movement.
It appears that Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din’s plan was to leave England for India in early August 1914, and to bring Lord Headley with him, performing the pilgrimage to Makkah on the way. With the outbreak of the War, we find that Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din had difficulty in obtaining passage, and the plan for Lord Headley to accompany him had to be cancelled since, due to the War, Lord Headley could not travel, leaving his family behind. He was able to board a ship on 28 August (Paigham Sulh, 1st September 1914), accompanied by Mirza Sultan Ahmad. Before this, the first Id-ul-Fitr under the Woking Mission at the Woking Mosque was held on Sunday 23rd August.
Performing the Pilgrimage on the way, they came ashore at Bombay on 22 November. From there Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din took the train to Lahore. Many people from Lahore had travelled to Amritsar just to greet him the day before the train reached Lahore.
Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din arrived in Lahore on 28 November 1914. He was welcomed by a crowd of nearly 4000 Muslims and well-known Muslim leaders at Lahore Railway station at 9.00 a.m. From there a procession brought him to Ahmadiyya Buildings, where a meeting was held which lasted till sunset time. Among those who welcomed him was one named as “Dr Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal, Barrister at law”. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din’s arrival and this meeting is reported in Paigham Sulh by the editor in a manner like live news is reported today breathlessly:
“It is 1.00 p.m. now. The Khwaja sahib is sitting in his house, surrounded by people all around him. He is to speak at 3.30 and perform the opening of the college [Isha‘at Islam College of the Anjuman]. I have found a few spare minutes to write these lines and hand them to the copyist for him to write out. I now go to perform wudu for zuhr prayer. Wassalam (Editor), 28 November, 1.00 p.m.” (Paigham Sulh, 1 December 1914, p. 1)
The editor’s next reports in the same issue are signed off at 28 November after isha, 29 November after zuhr, and 29 November 3.00 p.m., conveying a great sense of excitement. For more details, see: Return of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din to Lahore, November-December 1914.