Woking Muslim Mission, England, 1913–1968

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Mr. F. Hameedullah Bowman

The photograph and caption below is reproduced from the Islamic Review, March 1940, opposite opening page:

The above issue of the Islamic Review also contains an article by Mr. Bowman about his acceptance of Islam. It is reproduced below.



In response to a request from the Imam Sahib; I have much pleasure in outlining the circumstances in which I first heard the truths of Islam. My mother, Alice Bertha Bowman, poetess and novelist, whose writings have been appreciatively accepted by Royalty, contributed, many years ago, articles and verses to “The Allahabad Review.” This paper was published in India by the late Sarbuland Jung M. Hameedullah, afterwards Chief Justice of the Deccan. As a small boy, I read this publication and others in which her contributions appeared, and I conceived an early ambition to see my own name in print, especially as my mother’s story, “A Romance of Llangollen,” had won an authorship prize in “The Anglo-Indian Week’s Times.” I myself showed aptitude for literature at school and became editor of the Fifth Form Magazine. I was contributing to the public press before I left school, and Mr. Hameedullah, then a barrister, took a keen interest in my literary progress. I adopted his name. Now that he has, alas, passed away, my devoted gratitude is retained by his family, and I regularly correspond with his distinguished son, Mr. Mahmudullah, Home Secretary of the United Provinces of India, who so ably maintains the high traditions of his ancient Delhi ancestry.

When I was at school, there was a Muslim mosque in Liverpool and I attended many services there with my mother. So interested did I become that I even tried to emulate the local Sheikh, and, in a home-made robe, I mounted a box at home to address my own meeting of neighbours and spread the truths of the Muslim Faith. The mosque eventually closed, and, for some time, I was out of touch with the Faith. I went on the stage, wrote many professionally toured plays, produced shows myself, had my stories and serials published by the leading London firms, wrote films and acted in some of them, and composed various songs.

I have always sympathised with suffering animals, which was one of the characteristics of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. His humanity extended to the lowest of creatures. I am now President of the Animal Service Association, which I founded for the protection of the beasts of burden. My latest song is “Women and War,” a plea for peace. I have for some years been the editor of my own paper, “The Talking Picture News,” and had the honour of being presented to King George the Fifth at the June Levee in 1934 at St. James’s Palace.

I noticed this year that the Imam Sahib of the Waking Mosque was to deliver an address on Islam at the Southport Religious Conference, so I went over to hear him. It gave me great pleasure to meet him afterwards, when we had a most interesting chat. I hope we shall keep in touch with each other. I was born in Liverpool, and my people were Protestants. I have, however, always preferred to think for myself, and the Muslim view of God has always appealed to me.

Website Editor’s Note: In Mr. Bowman’s account, the statement “When I was at school, there was a Muslim mosque in Liverpool… ” refers to the mosque established by Abdullah Quilliam. For further details, please see our page on Quilliam.

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.