Woking Muslim Mission, England, 1913–1968

Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din’s arrival in England, 1912
Photographic archive
Film newsreel archive
Contact us
Search the website

Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din’s arrival in England, 1912

with prayers and best wishes of the Ahmadiyya Movement and its Head Maulana Nur-ud-Din

and support of the leaders of the general Muslim community

In this section we have compiled the available historical information covering Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din’s departure from India for England in September 1912, and his arrival and early days in England till the beginning of 1913. This first visit ended when he left England towards the close of August 1914. After performing the hajj on his return journey, he arrived back in India in November 1914.

Khwaja Nazir Ahmad’s account

The following is a brief account of the background to Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din’s arrival in England in 1912, written by his son Khwaja Nazir Ahmad who himself was associated with the Woking Muslim Mission from close to its earliest days. It appeared within a short article by him in the Lahore Ahmadiyya Urdu organ Paigham Sulh, 12th September 1956. p. 2:

Hazrat Khwaja sahib started touring all over India from 1908 onwards, delivering lectures on Islam in various cities. In this connection he was in Bombay in 1912, giving lectures. At one meeting there was a nawab from Hyderabad Deccan, now deceased. The nawab went to see the Khwaja at his place of stay and, during the conversation, asked him to go to England in pursuance of a legal case. He paid the Khwaja a reasonable fee, apart from the fare for the passage, and also gave him sufficient funds for a two year stay in England. Upon Khwaja sahib’s request he gave him permission to do the work of the propagation of Islam while in England. After purchasing the sea ticket, the Khwaja sahib informed Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din by telegram and went to Qadian to see him.

Upon meeting Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din, Hazrat Khwaja sahib related everything to him and requested him for prayer and guidance. Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din then went to give his dars [religious instruction] and announced there that Allah had provided the means for the Khwaja sahib to go to London for the propagation of Islam. He added: Thanks be to Allah that the vision of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad will be fulfilled and the order which Hazrat Mirza gave to the Khwaja sahib many years ago will be acted upon.

Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din then prayed for him and told the Khwaja sahib: “You are going to the followers of the Trinity. First teach them la ilaha ill-allah [There is no God but Allah], this is the starting-point of Islam. When someone agrees with you in this, then teach them Muhammad-ur rasul-ullah [Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah]. This is the culmination of Islam and your work is finished.”

Someone among those present asked: “Is it prohibited to preach Ahmadiyyat?” Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din replied sharply: “After the culmination of Islam, nothing more is necessary. This was the way of Hazrat Mirza. He used to present nothing more than Islam.”

These are the events of September 1912. In December 1912 the Khwaja sahib won the case of the nawab, and in February 1913 he started The Islamic Review.

Coverage in Badr

The events of his departure and early stay in England were covered in the Ahmadiyya community Urdu newspaper Badr published from Qadian. This was in the days before the March 1914 Split in the Ahmadiyya Movement, after which Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din was associated with the Lahore Ahmadiyya group. Below we give all these reports from Badr in chronological order of publication. Brief explanatory insertions are added in square brackets, thus [ ].

1. Departure

The first mention of the departure for England is as follows:

Hazrat Khwaja sahib must be in the Mediterranean at this time. May Allah be His Guardian and Helper. It has been wrongly publicised that he has been sent by a non-Ahmadi millionaire, who paid his expenses, to pursue a court case. Whatever may be the source of his expenses, the fact is that it is his zeal to propagate Islam, and his passion to take the religion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad to all corners of the world, which has found for him out of the grace of God the means of taking him to distant shores. May Allah grant him more! The letter which the Khwaja sahib has sent to Hazrat [Maulana Nur-ud-Din] reads as follows:

Today at 12 noon, after medical examination, I am boarding the ship. ‘In the name of Allah be its sailing and its anchoring. Surely my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful’ [the Quran, 11:41]. I need your prayers, sir. I will write a second letter from Aden. Humble servant, Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, Saturday, 7th September 1912.

Badr, 19 September 1912 (See original report)

Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din has written elsewhere that he stepped ashore in England on 24th September 1912.

2. A prayer

In the next issue of Badr a correspondent writes as follows:

“May Allah the Most High make Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din successful in his journey to England and be pleased with this journey and grant him to return in health and peace and keep his dependants in His own care and safety.”

Badr, 26 September 1912 (See original report)

3. Parting advice by Maulana Nur-ud-Din

In the next issue of Badr some parting advice to Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din given by Maulana Nur-ud-Din is reported as follows:

After the zuhr dars Hazrat Khalifat-ul-Masih addressed Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din and said: Let me mention some things to you as well. You are going to England. Don’t show pride at any of your qualities.

‘Very great works are achieved in England. There are very great trials and tribulations there and also conveniences and facilities. There are some terribly evil people there, but there are also some very upright people. I believe that it is a place where there are some very good and righteous people. If it did not contain some good people, it would cease to exist.

Safeguard yourself from alcohol, swine flesh and bad company. I have many claims over you, so take heed of my advice. Definitely serve your religion there according to your capacity. Make progress in your profession there as well.

A letter takes one week to reach here. So write to me one letter a week, and if that is not possible then a postcard.’

After praying for him, the Khwaja sahib was bid farewell.

Badr, 3 October 1912 (See original report)

This occasion appears to be the one referred to in the article by Khwaja Nazir Ahmad quoted above.

4. Two brief news items

“The first thing that Hazrat Khwaja sahib has done is that, after seeing that Muslim students in London are neglectful of performing Friday prayers, he has rented some premises at his own expense where he will lead them in prayer. May Allah reward him well, and may Allah grant him more progress.”

Badr, 24 October 1912, p. 2 (See original report)

“The Khwaja sahib is well in London. He intends to enrol in a college to further his education. He writes in his letter: There is much scope here for propagation of Islam and a great need for it. At present he is staying with Dr. Ibadullah of Amritsar.”

Badr, 31 October 1912, p. 2 (See original report)

5. A letter by Maulana Nur-ud-Din

Respected! assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu.

Listen Khwaja, if you have too many expectations, always remember the holy words ‘let their false hopes beguile them’ [15:3], and it clearly says in the Holy Quran: ‘No soul knows what it will earn on the morrow’ [31:34].

Then, adhere firmly to seeking Divine protection and dua [supplicatory prayer]. Today dua is ridiculed, but my dear you should engage in it very much. The best prayer is Sura al-hamd. It contains ‘Thee do we serve and Thee do we ask for help’, both referring to progress. I had heard that there is a mosque in London [meaning England] and it is in Woking. Dr. Leitner had collected donations for the mosque.

London is undoubtedly a testing place. But there is a saying in Arabic: After a test, man either rises in dignity or falls in degradation. Do get admission in a college, this is important.

22 October 1912

Badr, 31 October 1912, p. 3 (See original report)

In the first Quranic verse quoted in this letter (15:3), the words ‘let their false hopes beguile them’ refer to unbelievers whose false hopes prevented them from embracing Islam.

6. A poem

In the same issue of Badr as above, there is a poem by a correspondent, whose first section of eight verses is in praise of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. Its two opening verses can be translated as follows:

“My Khwaja! so far it was India which was devoted to you, but now the whole world is your admirer

The Mahdi, the guide, knew your rank from the day, when he received revelation from God about you husn-i bayan [‘eloquence of expression’].”

This shows that it was well-known in the pre-Split Ahmadiyya Movement that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had said that he received the revelation husn-i bayan about Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, indicating that his style and skill of public speaking would attract people.

In the last two verses of this poem, the poet addresses Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad about Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. These may be translated as follows:

“Becoming an armed soldier through the prayer of the Nur of the Din [the light of the religion] of the Holy Prophet, into the arena has marched your gladiator, O Messiah,

May the help of God pour down upon him like rain, as your ladla [dearest one] is like a graceful cypress tree in a foreign land.”

(1) The words “the Nur of the Din of the Holy Prophet”, i.e., the light of the religion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, refer to Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s name.

(2) Ladla: During Hazrat Mirza’s lifetime people referred to Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din as his ladla murid, meaning his dearest, most beloved, favourite disciple. This was on account of the great love that the Promised Messiah had for Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. Interestingly, the editor of Badr has added a footnote to this poem on the word ladla which says:

“Why shouldn’t it be so? He is the ladla murid of our leader.”

This shows that this appellation for Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, as the Promised Messiah’s most beloved disciple, was widely known in the pre-Split Ahmadiyya Movement.

Badr, 31 October 1912, p. 6 (See original report)

7. Another poem

In the next issue of Badr the following brief letter to the editor appears, containing a poem:

It is obvious that the departure of Hazrat Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, B.A., Ll.B., Pleader, Lahore, to London for the propagation of Islam, is a matter of the greatest pleasure not only for the Ahmadiyya Movement but for every Muslim. As a natural result, every Muslim’s heart should be full of prayers for his success and victory. This humble servant has given expression to his feelings about this blessed work in the following section of poetry entitled Message of a servant:

O Kamal-ud-Din you are so far away in London, what courage, what devotion on your part

In one motion the wind went from east to west, making the seas blush because of your departure

All you did was for the religion of God, so He will Himself provide encouragement for you

The angel will be coming to say ‘Fear not, nor grieve’, you will be valued in the upper realm

Not only mine, but the prayer of every Muslim will be with you, your story is a paradise for the ear

I pray the Lord that your mission be successful, may your life be a source of life for Islam

Put into every sea your ship of trust in God, the eternal grace of God will itself make it sail.

Humble writer, Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Husain, Amritsar

Badr, 7 November 1912, p. 2, col. 1 (See original report)

In column 3 of the same issue of Badr the following brief news appears:

“In London the Khwaja sahib is receiving teaching in English public speaking. Friends are requested to continue praying for him.” (See original report)

8. ‘Id-ul-Adha in London

A brief report of an ‘Id prayer in London is next contained in Badr as follows:

Hazrat Khwaja sahib writes from London:

‘Id here was celebrated at Caxton Hall. There was a gathering of fifty to sixty people. We distributed a poster there. All were pleased. However, today for Friday prayers no one came in time for the prayer. A room has been rented for 45 Rupees per month where prayers will be conducted, and it has been announced that those wishing to enquire about Islam can come.

Also, the Khwaja sahib has started writing a booklet on the truth of Islam. All friends should continue prayers that Allah the Most High be his Helper and Supporter. Hazrat Khalifat-ul-Masih has written to the Khwaja sahib advising him to continue praying with deep feeling.

Badr, 19 December 1912, p. 1 (See original report)

The ‘Id-ul-Adha mentioned here was held in India on 20th November 1912.

9. Plea and prayers from Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, his reaction to the poems in his praise

A letter from Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din to the editor of Badr (Mufti Muhammad Sadiq), published under the title Heart-felt Plea from Khwaja sahib, is as follows:

May Allah the Most High reward you well. You remembered one who is so far away. I receive your newspaper every week, and it contains enough material to cover me with embarrassment. My friends are writing poems in my praise and you are kind enough to be giving them space in the paper. Please pray for me. Reading these poems makes me burst into tears: O God, the high expectations that my community has of me, I am not able to fulfil them. I did not promise anyone that I am going as a preacher of Islam. It is an overwhelming passion which carries me here and there. O my Master, have mercy on me. O Lord, I am overcome, so help me. I am in a place of trial, where all around there are means of profligate living, indulgence and sport. Wherever you look, people are busy in a strange way. The thought of God long left the minds of people here. Now even women are becoming disenchanted with Christianity. No doubt, custom and tradition compel them to go to church, but they have no faith in the Bible. There is no talk of religion, nor any interest in it. What can I do? I am wondering about this. Certainly, I am bowing before God the Most High and crying with a painful heart: O God, my own community and my other Muslim brethren are looking towards me with expectant eyes; with Your grace let these hopes be fulfilled; I possess no ability, no pretension to anything, I am unworthy, incapable and useless in the extreme. But my heart is eaten up by grief that Islam, which gives life to the intellect and revives the soul, is today in a forlorn state. That Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, who is the king of spirituality, civilisation and knowledge, is not valued by the unjust world of today. O Master, show a miracle of Your power, extend Your helping hand and once again make the resplendence of Islam illumine the world. O Master, Your promises are right and true. Today people are determined to destroy us, so come to our aid. Your Islam will definitely spread in this land. Those spreading it will, after all, only be human. But if You, O Lord, by Your grace, can make a sinful and incapable man worthy of doing every kind of work, then listen to the prayer of this distantly-located one. You, O Lord, know well that today I have no worldly business in England. No mundane purpose is making me stay here. Only You know my heart, may You fulfil the desire that is in it.

Today I have found my heart full of pain, so I have written whatever came into it. Please pray for me and ask friends to do the same.


Badr, 9 January 1913, p. 2 (See original report)

10. Three letters of Maulana Nur-ud-Din to Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din

In Badr, 20 March 1913, there is an item headed: Three letters of the Khalifat-ul-Masih to Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. The third of these is the only one dated, carrying the date of 5 November 1912. These are as follows:

Letter no. 1

“Dear Khwaja. If women in London hold power then tell me one thing. What is the law in London regarding husbands who neither give their wives an abode, nor give them any income, nor treat them well? Does their law think of the following:

‘That you may find quiet of mind in them and He put between you love and compassion’ [the Quran, 30:21], ‘and treat them kindly’ [the Quran, 4:19], ‘and women have rights similar to those against them’ [the Quran, 2:228].

Here, thousands of women are without homes. The law neither allows them to obtain divorce nor does it settle them [in their homes]. What can be done? If the law of the Quran was enforced they would get separation. I am sending Masnawi and its commentary, and Futuh-ul-Ghain the excellent book on tasawwuf. Derive benefit from them. Anyhow, I prefer the Quran.

Khwaja! There is no religion or ideology there which can defeat Islam or destroy the Quran. Of course, there are allurements and drinks which are dangerously attacking young men. May Allah the Most High keep you safe. How can those people be admirers of tasawwuf, when day and night there are addicted to conquering lands, and nothing more? I was addicted to books. You have asked me for books, so what should I ask of you? Just that you should study the Holy Quran, try to understand it well, and explain it to others. Act upon it yourself. At least, read Surah al-Baqarah again and again. Wassalam

— Nur-ud-Din”

Letter no. 2

assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu.

I received your rather surpirsing letter. … Khwaja, people of London are modernist by nature. They love modern matters. You are a lawyer, and now I wish that Allah may let it be that you return here as a barrister or having obtained an even higher degree — ameen, O Lord of the worlds! It would be wrong for me to debate with you. I wrote in my book entitled Nur-ud-Din that Dharm Pal will not remain in the Arya Samaj for long because he is of a modernist nature. Eventually he discarded the Vedas and is a bitter foe of [Pandit] Dayanand [founder of the Arya Samaj]. It is their modernism that has made those people conquerors of countries. Now only China, Constantinople and Syria remain. The president of China is a Christian, Syria is full of Christians, and Constantinople is like a slaughtered animal. ‘The end of all affairs is with Allah. He inherits the earth and all that is upon it, and He gives it as inheritance to whom he pleases.’

Do get admission in a college. You should give people the teaching La ilaha ill-Allah (There is no God but Allah) and Muhammad-ur Rasulullah (Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) and the teaching contained in the words of adhan (Call to Prayer). Hazrat Mirza sahib did not know English, yet many English-knowing persons became his disciples.To have mastery over a language is a blessing and a grace, but for it to have influence over people and to be beneficial is only the work of Allah the Most High. Wassalam.

— Nur-ud-Din

Did Omar Khayyam or Hafiz create a following? This fervour of a few days is of no value. The whole world cannot follow the same teaching, and will never do. There are different natures. They do something in the fervour of the moment, and then their minds get absorbed into something else. You should follow the footsteps of the prophets. There will be blessing in it. Tasawwuf does not amount to words and talk but is a matter of action. I am sending a commentary of Masnawi. There is a chapter in Masnawi with that heading. Think over it, and think deeply. It will become clear to you. Masnawi is not a book of tasawwuf but of theology. The debate is with the opponents of the Quran and the Holy Prophet’s teachings. The Divinity of Jesus and Atonement are the only two issues on which we have a debate with Christians, that is all.”

Letter no. 3

“My dear, may Allah protect you and keep you safe. assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu.

Your delightful letter was received. May Allah reward you with the best reward. London is not a city the religion of which can compare with Islam. Of course, the presence of alcohol and young women there can make a strong attack upon young men. ‘There is no protection except for one whom Allah protects.’ Just as they attack a man’s faith and physical powers, they also attack his money, May Allah grant you to attain your object and bring you back having achieved success. May the Friday prayers be blessed for you. Wassalam.

— Praying for you, Nur-ud-Din, 5 November 1912.”

Badr, 9 January 1913, p. 2 (See original report)

Related links:

See scanned images of all the Urdu reports

This website is created and published by the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam Lahore (U.K.), Wembley, London,
the successor of the Woking Muslim Mission.