Public Meeting in Lahore as Lord Headley accepts Islam

In 1913 Lord Headley, a British nobleman, embraced Islam in England through the work of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, the famous Ahmadiyya missionary to the West. To celebrate this, a big gathering of the Muslims of Lahore was held at Ahmadiyya Buildings, the centre of the Movement in Lahore. We reproduce below the report of this meeting as published at the time (Paigham Sulh, Lahore, 25 November 1913):

In accordance with the announcement, a meeting of the Muslims of Lahore was held on 23rd November 1913 at 3:30 p.m. in Ahmadiyya Buildings, Lahore. Even before the appointed time, Muslim brethren started arriving in crowds, and by the time of the opening of the proceedings the Ahmadiyya mosque and the adjoining marquee were entirely full. Besides Muslims of all sections of society, followers of other religions were also present in large numbers. Khan sahib Shaikh Khair-ud-Din, pensioner, District Traffic Superintendent of the Railways Department, who takes a keen interest in Muslim national affairs, was chosen as President of the meeting. First of all, Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig (a prominent Lahore Ahmadi and friend of Iqbal) recited the Holy Quran. He was followed by Sufi Ghulam Muhammad who recited the poetry of the Promised Messiah in praise of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. After this, Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Husain Shah (another prominent Lahore Ahmadi and friend of Iqbal) delivered a speech for nearly an hour, which derived its force from his sincerity.

After him, Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal, whose heart is full of love for the Muslim nation, made a profound and meaningful speech on the propagation of Islam. He said:

    “The allegation against Islam that it was propagated by the sword is proved to be utterly baseless when we look at world history. Taking India as an example, history shows that Muslims never established any permanent or lengthy rule in Bengal, yet the proportion of Muslims there is greater than in other provinces. Similarly, in the Balkan states, Islam first spread from a Muslim prisoner to his Christian fellow-inmates, and then further afield. In Java Islam spread at a time when Muslim political power in Asia was declining fast. At the present time, the downfall of Muslim political power is complete but the progress of Islam is such that in the island of Madagascar Christian clergymen have held a conference which passed the resolution that, as the daily advance of Islam on the island poses a threat to the French government, it should take measures to stop the spread of Islam. The same is the situation in Africa where Islam is expanding rapidly even though Muslims have no political power worth mentioning in those countries, and that too is due solely to individual efforts. The biggest cause of the decline of the Muslims is the neglect of the task of the propagation of Islam. Thank God that the man who first recognised this shortcoming is Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, who has sacrificed all worldly interests to take this great work upon himself. It is, therefore, our duty not to neglect to help him in any way, and we must not let the question of Ahmadiyyat stand in the way of this noble work, for our God, our Prophet and our Scripture is the same.

In short, his speech was praiseworthy from every angle, and was full of concern for Islam from beginning to end. Afterwards, the following resolutions were passed unanimously:

Resolution no. 1, moved by Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal:

    "A telegram of congratulations should be sent on behalf of the Muslims of Lahore to the Right Honourable Lord Headley, through Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din of the Woking Mosque, England, on his acceptance of Islam. This resolution was passed unanimously by all present."

Resolution no. 3, presented by Nawab Muhammad Salim Khan, Raees of Taitri:

    "This meeting proposes that a campaign for funds be launched among the Indian Muslim population for the Islamic mission of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. A trust should be created, having Ahmadis and other Muslims as members, to receive the contributions, and the funds should be spent to support Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. This resolution was seconded by Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig and Mr. Abdul Majid, and passed unanimously by those present." 

Resolution no. 4: At the proposal of the President of the meeting, and with the unanimous agreement of those present, the following persons were elected as members of the trust:

1. Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Iqbal, M.A., Ph.D., Barrister at law.

2. Khan Bahadur Mirza Sultan Ahmad Khan, E.A.C., Member of the Council of Regency, Bahawalpur.

3. Shaikh Rahmat-ullah, proprietor, English Ware House, Lahore.

4. Nawab Muhammad Salim Khan, Raees of Taitri, the Frontier.

5. Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Husain Shah, L.M.S., Lahore.

6. Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig, L.M.S., Lahore.

7. Mian Charagh-ud-Din, Raees, Government Pensioner.

The Joint Secretaries were declared to be Shaikh Rahmat-ullah and Dr. Mirza Yaqub Baig. The meeting closed with a prayer.

Lord Headley’s visit to Lahore and Iqbal’s speech at the Lahore Ahmadiyya annual gathering.

In 1927 Lord Headley, the famous British convert to Islam who had embraced Islam in 1913 at the hand of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, came to India. During his visit he presided over one of the sessions of the annual conference of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam in Lahore. Large numbers of the general Muslim public, as well as many famous Muslim leaders, attended the session. Given below are some extracts from the report of the proceedings (Paigham Sulh, Lahore, 4 January 1928):

Proceedings on 28th December 1927. The venue for the annual Jalsa [conference] was, as usual, the Ahmadiyya Buildings mosque. However, as today an address was to be presented to Lord Headley, and such large numbers of people were expected to attend to hear his reply that the space in the conference marque would not have sufficed, it was deemed suitable to hold today’s proceedings in the grounds of the Islamia College.

His Lordship arrived at about 3.30 p.m. and took his seat on the podium amidst resounding cries of Allahu Akbar. As soon as he sat down, the Hazrat Amir Maulana Muhammad Ali gave a short address, proposing him for the chair, in which he said …. After Hazrat Amir, Sir Mian Muhammad Shafi rose to support the motion, and said …. He was followed by Maulvi Zafar Ali Khan, who said …. Then Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din spoke …. After him, Dr. Shaikh Sir Muhammad Iqbal rose and said:

    “Sometime ago I wrote the following verse about Europe: Europe has polluted the fountains of knowledge. They say that poetry is a part of prophethood. It may be that God, by means of the efforts of our friend Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din and his supporters, will cause Europe to make these fountains pure and clean again through Islam. At least the time has come when Europe is starting to feel that its salvation lies in Islam, and only in Islam. The movement which began in 1400 c.e., and which led Europe to make many advances in so-called civilization, has been shown to be unsuitable by the people of Europe themselves. Western civilization has been shaken to its foundations. For the last two centuries, it has striven to establish peace in the world, but has met with utter failure. Its well-being now depends on Islam only, and it is our good fortune that we see among us today a member of the British nobility. On the one side, there is a British nobleman, and on the other (pointing towards Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din) a commoner from among us.

Dr. Iqbal continued: 

    “Muslims must be united in the face of their enemies who are on the attack from all sides. In our own country, on the one hand the Hindus are our enemies, bent on extirpating Muslims from India, and believing that they have no right to live in India as Muslims. Those who think thus are foolish. They are under a misconception: Islam can never be driven out of India. It has ruled India for centuries, and shall rule the hearts of the Indians forever.

    “Besides this, the Muslims face an internal danger at this time. A party has arisen among us, asserting that Muslims are not a separate entity in India. Such people are destroying Islam with their own hands. Islam is a distinct entity in this country, and Islam has resolved to maintain its separate identity in this country. Islam shall never be overcome, it shall triumph in the end.”

Someone objected at this point, as to how Islam could triumph while it was under the rule of the British. Sir Muhammad Iqbal said in reply: 

    “Do you not know that the example of the Tartars is being revived today? The very nation to which we are subject shall itself become Muslim. A living proof of this fact is Lord Headley who is among us. The powers of Islam are not limited. One age was that of the sword, today is the age of the pen (applause!). It attacks from within and without, and compels you to accept it in all ways.”