Woking Muslim Mission, England, 1913–1968

Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din

Speech at Allahabad Convention of Religions, January 1911
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Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din’s acclaimed speech at the Allahabad Convention of Religions, January 1911

In January 1911 a conference under the name Convention of Religions in India was held at Allahabad. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din delivered a speech at this convention on 9 January.

(Note: Maulana Muhammad Ali had also been invited but as he could not go in person he sent a lecture which was read out by Maulana Sadr-ud-Din. The text of Maulana Muhammad Ali’s lecture was published in the Review of Religions, January 1911, the magazine of the Ahmadiyya Movement published from Qadian, of which the Maulana was the editor. Some years later this lecture was revised in the form of his well-known booklet Islam, The Religion of Humanity.)

In the Ahmadiyya community newspaper Badr some reports about the convention were published in its issues during January and February 1911. In one issue it quoted a review of the convention from the famous Muslim newspaper Paisa Akhbar. We translate below extracts from that review:

“The most regrettable aspect of this Conference was the apathy and indifference of our Muslim brothers. … After all, this religious conference was in India, a country in which the Ulama have written volumes upon volumes in calling one another kafir and false, and to degrade one another, but none of them made an appearance on this occasion to prove the truth of Islam. … Very few Muslims were to be seen at the convention. On the benches and chairs in the hall mostly Hindus and Christians were to be seen. Perhaps no more than one-twentieth of the audience were Muslims. …

It was a blessing of God that there were two papers by Muslims read out at this occasion, and by good fortune those two papers were acknowledged as the inspiring ones of the convention. One was by Maulvi Muhammad Ali, M.A., editor of the Review of Religions, Qadian, which was in eloquent English. The European people among the audience, having heard it, gave the opinion that there was probably no other paper of this standard. It explained the philosophy of Islam and its pillars, and condensed a vast amount of knowledge within a few pages. This paper was read on the second day of the conference, and it was the only one listened to with intense attention and pleasure by all present, regardless of their religion, and praised by everyone, whereas the other papers were listened to with ordinary attention.

On the first day there were papers on behalf of two different sects of the Hindu religion, and for the Jews the paper by Mr Isaac was worthy of praise. However, the paper which created such a general delight among the audience that every few minutes the hall echoed with “cheers” was the last paper [by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din]. It was delivered at a time when everyone was tired from the exertions of the day. In the paper, it was shown that the true religion of Islam, which is in consonance with human nature, has been taught from the beginning of time by various sacred personages and messengers in different countries; and when the time came that all the parts of the world were to form a common bond, this religion reached its complete form in the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the religion brought by him.

The author of this paper was Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, lawyer of the Chief Court, Punjab. By gradually presenting various events, and accepting all other religions in their original form as being from God, he led the audience to a point where they had no choice but to acknowledge the religion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad as being the final and definitive one. This paper was highly valued, and proved to be the one which fulfilled the objectives of the convention of religions. The organizers of the convention accepted the value of these two papers on Islam with much generosity. After the Khwaja sahib finished delivering his paper, the President of the Convention, Maharajah Bahadur Warbhanga, rose from his chair to shake his hand. Justice Sarwacharan Matar and other Hindus congratulated him. The Justice also said that not even twenty conferences of Hindus and Muslims could do as much useful work as this one paper.

A correspondent of a respected American newspaper, who had come to take part in this conference, so much liked these two Muslim papers that he intends to print photographs of the authors. Praise be to Allah, it is a matter of the greatest pleasure that Islam was victorious in this convention, no matter by the hands of which person.”

— As quoted in Badr, 2 February 1911, p. 6. See at this link the review as reproduced in Badr.

A speech before Muslims on the day before

A report in Badr says that on the day before his speech, 8 January, Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din gave a lecture at the Muslim Club, Allahabad, on the topic ‘The living and Perfect Prophet’. During this lecture he said:

“Friends! I received education in a Christian Mission college, and I developed a close connection with the reverend professors there. All the attractions of Christianity, natural and artificial, had influenced me. May God bless my guide and leader, Hazrat Mirza sahib. If he had not guided me, probably today in some church hall in Allahabad you would have heard me proclaiming “Jesus is our Lord” and making speeches in support of the doctrines of the cross, but today you are seeing me speaking in support of Islam and its founder. God had granted me the skill of public speaking. It would have been employed for one purpose or another: either I would be your lecturer or a preacher of Christianity. At exactly the critical juncture when the attractions of Christianity had brought me fully under their spell, my guide rescued me from this European enchantment.”

Badr, 26 January 1911, p. 6.

Speech at Convention

At this link we have provided the text of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din’s speech to the convention.
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