Hajj with Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, 1923
- British Foreign Office
documents relating to it
- Departure from London
and stay in Egypt
- Lord Headleys
speech in Cairo
- Report in The
- Related at first annual
meeting of British Muslim Society
3. Lord Headleys
speech in Cairo
In The Islamic Review issue
for September 1923 (p. 313315) there is a report of
Lord Headleys speech in Cairo, which he delivered during
his passage through Egypt along with Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din in
June 1923, while on their way to perform the Hajj.
The report is indicated as reprinted from the Egyptian
Gazette, July 9th, and is quoted below.
LORD HEADLEYS CAIRO SPEECH
Lord Headley prefaced his speech by reciting the first Fatihah
of the Koran, In the name of God, the Compassionate,
the Merciful, Lord of the Judgment Day, Thee we worship, and
for Thy assistance we ask. Guide us in the straight path of
those whom Thou favourest and not of those on whom Thou visitest
Thy displeasure, etc.
Addressing the gathering as Brother Moslems,
Lord Headley went on to say how deeply he had been touched
by the welcome accorded to him and the Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din
ever since the first moment of their arrival at Port Said.
During the journey to Cairo crowds had gathered at the stations
en route, and the same cordiality had been displayed on their
arrival at Cairo station and ever since. The speaker was not
so conceited as to think that there was anything personal
in these demonstrations of friendship; he recognized that
it was simply the desire which was held by everyone nowadays
to see the West joining the East.
He was not going to mince matters: he knew that he was among
brethren, and that anything he said would be taken in good
part. There were in England alone, not speaking of other European
countries, tens of thousands of good Moslems. Probably if
you went up to any of them and said, You are a Moslem,
they would reply, What on earth are you talking about?
I am a Christian. But the answer would be, No,
youre not; youve thrown over all the dogmas with
which the Christian religion has been encumbered.
The brotherhood of man
The teachings of Islam were essentially the doctrine of the
brotherhood of man. All present knew that their absolute duty,
after surrender to the will of God, was their obligation to
their fellow-creatures, to treat them kindly, as they themselves
would wish to be treated. That was a very simple religion;
it was really pure Christianity as taught by the Prophet Jesus
he taught his beautiful lesson and then went away,
all too early. The teachings of Moses, Christ and Mohammed
were all in essence the same, varied a little according to
the locality in which the prophets delivered their messages.
They all taught our duty to God and our neighbour.
The various Christian sects and there were so many
were all the same in principle, but differed in details.
Those differences were in priest-made dogma. There were all
sorts of creeds in which, unless a man believed, the priests
told him that he could not be saved. Most of these articles
of faith were the manufacture of monks who had lived hundreds
of years ago.
Lord Headley referred to various Christian beliefs which,
he said, were laid down by the priests as essential to salvation,
and remarked that Islam did not say Unless you believe
this or that you cannot be saved. The speaker, and Moslems
generally, did not want to abuse anybody. They recognized
the good in other religions and that if a man was born into
another faith it was natural for him to hold to it. But at
the same time the hardship came in when a Moslem was told
by his Christian friends and relatives that he could not be
saved because he was a Mohammedan. Religion must appeal first
to the heart and then to the head. A faith which did not appeal
to both the heart and the reason could not be worth very much.
The speaker did not believe that the young men of today were
becoming more irreligious. Young men nowadays would not sit
in churches, they preferred to go out and play golf, but that
did not mean that they were becoming more irreligious. This
was an age of reason, and any religion, to attract, must appeal
to the reason. That was why Islam was making so strong an
Of course it was very difficult to go into a country and
change things all at once, but despite that, the Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din
was doing a wonderful work in England.
A Moslem for fifty years
The speaker had been a Moslem at heart for fifty years, but
at one time it would have been unkind in fact, cruel
to declare his belief. In 1913, however, all the old
people whom he had had to consider had gone, and he did not
care a penny for what the young people thought, so he felt
that it was time for him to come out and declare himself in
his true colours.
Lord Headley told the story of how, to please
his father, he had been confirmed, against his own real beliefs,
and said that it had always been a problem to him whether
it was his duty then to profess his faith in something which
he rejected, and so tell a lie, or whether he should have
declined to be confirmed, and so break the commandment to
obey his father. As regarded his own son, the speaker had
not in any way tried to influence him. He had told him to
accept whatever faith he could honestly believe in; to be
a Moslem if he thought right, or not if he did not wish to
Lord Headley concluded by again thanking them all for the
welcome they had given him. He did not suppose that he had
many more years to live, but the memory of the reception which
had been given him in Egypt would remain for the rest of his
Notes by Website editor:
The statement in this article, Lord
Headley told the story of how, to please his father, he had
whether he should have declined
to be confirmed, refers to the Christian
rite of confirmation. By this ceremony, a person who
was baptized as a child becomes a full member of the church,
now having attained to an age of understanding.