Id-ul-Fitr at Woking, 21 July 1917
See this link for photographs from this occasion as published in The African Times and Orient Review in its issue of August 1917. This magazine was published from 158 Fleet Street, London, edited Dusé Mohamed.
A report of the occasion was published in The Islamic Review, August 1917, under the title The Celebration of the Grand
Muslim Festival of Eid-ul-Fitr at the Mosque, Woking. It is quoted below.
THE Grand Muslim Festival of Eid-ul-Fîtr this year was celebrated with great éclat at the Mosque, Woking, on Saturday,
2Ist July. The occasion, to all lovers of our Holy Faith, both
English and others, is one of great signiﬁcance. Besidesr
affording an invaluable opportunity to all followers of Islam
of a ﬁxed annual reunion, it is an occasion for demonstrating
to the non-Muslim people in these isles the rapid increase in
the number of those who have elected to seek the means
of their spiritual well-being under the benign aegis of El-Islam. It shows, besides, what a change popular opinion
generally in this country undergoes, and has undergone, in
the face of the actual presence of Islam. The gathering
of this year’s Eid-ul-Fitr was remarkable in many more
ways. The celebration of past years consisted, so far as
the elements of new acquisitions to the ranks of Islam were
concerned, mainly of those who were charmed with the convincing simplicity at ﬁrst sight of the “Religion of Nature,”
but after three years of sustained activity, and a wider dissemination of its truths, our new brothers and sisters who
participated on the occasion this year were those whose
homage to Islam has been the result of deep study and ample
deliberation. The celebration of Muslim Festivals similar to the
present indicates a landmark from year to year of the steady
and encouraging progress that the spirit of Islam is making in
this leading country of the West. The presence of a great
number of followers of other persuasions testiﬁed to the fascinating simplicity of its plain and rational teachings.
From an early hour the lawn in front of the Memorial
House began to foreshadow the success which marked the
event of the day, a few of our friends having arrived the day
before. The congregation, which consisted of ladies and gentlemen, represented nearly all parts of the world. There were, to
begin with, our English Muslim brothers and sisters, who had
mustered in full strength to demonstrate the fact that their
love of Islam was wholehearted and strong; there were gentlemen from Persia, Arabia, different parts of Africa, and a large number of ladies and gentlemen belonging to India. The
signiﬁcant presence of the former showed the effect of the
stirring days in which we live on the minds of the fair sex
in India. It showed that East was no more East in the
sense in which it was understood by the regimental ballad-maker of the British Isles. It had, on the other hand, thrown
off its insularity, and was now marching abreast of the times.
Punctually at 11.15 the “Takbir” call for prayers was given.
This over, the congregation fell in orderly ranks in the leadership of Khwaja Kamaluddin, and two more devout and prayerful
“Rakaats” were never offered at the altar of a Muslim’s duty
towards his One, Great Allah. Prayer over, the Imam delivered
an ample and exhaustive sermon, taking for his text the famous
verse of Al-Qur-án : “Say, surely, my prayer and my sacriﬁce,
and my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the
worlds, the Creator of all nations, the Sustainer of all races,
and the Cherísher of His creatures. No associate has He, and
this am I commanded, and I am the ﬁrst of those who submit.”
He drew out points of difference which stood between the
“superman” of the West, as symbolized in the hero of that
greatest of German prophets of “kultur,” Nietzsche, and the
superman of Al-Qur-án, whose greatness lay in his duty to only
one God, through his service towards his fellow-men. We hope
to publish it in full in our next issue. The audience felt a new
experience in this comparative treatment of the two symbolic
ﬁgures representing the highest degree of human achievement
attainable under the gospel of materialistic advancement of
modern times in the West and the elevating and inspiring
teachings of Al-Qur-án.
After prayers, the interesting ceremony of wishing “Eid
Mubarik” was gone through by the worshippers embracing
each other in fraternal affection and goodwill. After a short
interval the Eid lunch in true Oriental style was served, the
national dish of Islam, the Pulao, occupying the place of honour
in the menu. The rice, of the ﬁnest quality, for this was sent
over from India by our brother, Molvi Sadruddin.
The afternoon was devoted to a sort of happy picnic. After
the “Asar” prayers the congregation was enlivened by the
recitation of verses from Al-Qur-án by our brother Saada Bey,
of Egypt, in the sonorous and genuine Arab style of those
whose mother-tongue is the language of Al-Qur-án. A few departed after this interesting ceremony, but a larger number
stayed to dinner and the “Maghrab” prayer. After this the
congregation began to make their last leave-takings, having
enjoyed a most inspiring and beautiful Eid day.
Our earnest prayers go up to the Provider of worldly and
spiritual sustenance to favour us with many more happy returns
of the auspicious day, which is like a milestone in the continuous
progress of Islam in these isles. We earnestly hope that those
who have chosen El-Islam as their future guide in life will ﬁnd
in it the source of that abiding happiness which it affords.
In the end, we desire to extend to our brothers and sisters
our most sincere expressions of admiration and thankfulness for
the noble manner in which, as in previous years, they toiled
night and day to make the Eid a success.
ABDUL QAYUM MALIK.