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Muslim soldiers of the Indian Army based in Britain during the Second World War
celebrate Id-ul-Adha at Woking Mosque, 28 December 1941

This photograph was published in The Times, London, July 10, 2009.

Muslim soldiers of the Indian Army based in Britain during the Second World War at Woking Mosque for Id-ul-Adha, 28 December 1941

A report of this function was published in The Islamic Review, September 1942, pages 293-294.
This is reproduced below.

On Sunday, 28th of December 1941, the great Muslim festival of ‘Id-al-Adzha (1360) was celebrated with its usual great success at the Shah Jehan Mosque, Woking. The festival falling in the middle of winter, it was very cold for some days before the event and it was feared that snow and frost would prevent many friends from being present. But the Muslim community in Great Britain is generally fortunate on these occasions and the day of the festival was favoured with brilliant sunshine and it was not so cold as to prevent friends from spending some time chatting and conversing in the sunshine before going for prayers into the well-heated marquee which is generally erected for these functions on the lawn before the Sir Salar Jung Memorial House.

The guests began to arrive at about half-past ten in the morning and by the time of the prayers which were said at half-past eleven o’clock a congregation of some hundred Muslims with their friends had assembled. The congregation was greatly increased by the presence of thirty officers and men of the Indian contingent in Great Britain who had been enabled to be present through the kindness of their commander, Col. R. W. Hills, M.C. These soldiers were under the command of Risaldar-Major Muhammad Ashraf Khan, I.O.M. As customary, all the Muslim peoples were well represented and Muslims from the East said their prayers side by side with their Muslim brothers of Europe.

After the two rak‘ats of prescribed prayer which were led by Maulvi Abdul Majid, M.A., the Imam of the Shah Jehan Mosque, the congregation sat down at his feet to listen to his ‘Id-al-Adzha sermon. This sermon stressed the fundamental equality of mn in Islam without distinction of race or colour. This was clearly displayed by the whole course of Islamic history and these principles had been fully understood by the many nations of Islam and applied by them in their days of power and glory. An amazing manifestation of the idea of brotherhood, not yet really understood by any of the other religions of the world, was to be found in the glorious institution of the pilgrimage to the Holy City of Makka which reached its culmination that day. In Makka Muslims of all races, dressed in the same simple unsewn garment, met on an equal footing and, getting to know one another, helped to spread the mutual understanding and brotherliness so clearly shown in the religion of Islam. By developing and spreading these ideas Islam could be the saviour of sorely-tried humanity and bring mankind back to a proper appreciation and value of the human being as an individual. Christianity could be a great ally to Islam in this work since they both appreciated the value of the individual.

After the sermon the Imam Sahib wished all those present a Happy ‘Id and the guests in their turn wished one another the same with the distinctive Islamic embrace. The congregation then repaired to another tent where a delicious Indian luncheon was served. After lunch most of the guests were obliged to depart as they had some distance to go in order to return to their homes. However, some stayed on in pleasant conversation during the afternoon. By five o’clock in the evening all the friends had departed and the everyday routine was resumed after a very happy and successful celebration of ‘Id-al-Adzha (1360).

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