Woking Muslim Mission, England, 1913–1968
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The Woking Mosque Fountain

The Woking Mosque Fountain

This photo from the late 1940s shows the Woking Mosque Fountain and reveals its depth. The photo has been provided by Suhail Ahmad, whose mother, Mrs Louise Zubaida Drew, appears in the photo.

Sitting around the Fountain, from right to left, are:

  1. Dr Shaikh Muhammad Abdullah (Imam of the Woking Mosque after the Second World War till his death in 1956, and earlier Imam of the Berlin Mosque in the 1930s).
  2. Amelia Amina, mother of Louise Zubaida Drew.
  3. Child Khalid Abdullah, son of Dr Abdullah.
  4. Mrs Louise Zubaida Drew
  5. Mrs Mahmuda Abdullah
  6. Child Faruq Abdullah (on floor), son of Dr Abdullah.
  7. Child Tariq Abdullah (in lap), son of Dr Abdullah.
  8. Unknown lady with Tariq Abdullah in lap.
  9. Sussane Saeeda, sister of Louise Zubaida Drew.
  10. Aneesa, daughter of Sussane.

About Mrs Louise Zubaida Drew (1908–2006)

Mrs Louise Zubaida Drew, wife of the late Dr Mirza Aziz-ur-Rahman (d. 1937), former Imam of the Berlin Mosque, Germany, died in Woking, England, on 25 May 2006 and her funeral prayers were led by Mr Nasir Ahmad on 31 May at Brookwood Cemetery, Woking.

Below we quote from the address presented in her memory at her funeral by Mr Nasir Ahmad:

Today we have gathered here to offer our last respects and to seek Allah’s forgiveness and mercy for the departed sister, Mrs Louise Zubaida Drew, generally known among her relations and old friends as Tente Liza. It was only recently that bro. Khalid Abdullah told me that tente in German means “aunt.” We thought it was her pet name.

It was at the Mosque in Berlin that Tente Liza entered the fold of Islam at the hand of the late Dr Shaikh Muhammad Abdullah, who was at that time the Imam of the Islamic Centre there. Later, her sister, Sussane Saeeda, also became a Muslim. Incidentally, the latter taught German to Dr S. M. Abdullah in the initial stages. Both sisters and their mother, Amelia Amina, became so close to this saintly Imam of the Mosque, who held a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Berlin, and his noble wife, the late Mahmuda Abdullah, that they were just like members of the Abdullah family. Both sisters were regular visitors to the Mosque in Berlin. Later on, Tente Liza started assisting the Imam as well.

It was during this period that Tente Liza became acquainted with a talented young man, Mirza Aziz-ur-Rahman, who had completed his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Berlin University in 1927. He had also acted as Imam of the Mosque in Berlin for some months in the absence of Dr Sh. Muhammad Abdullah, who had gone to Makka to perform Umrah. Dr Mirza Aziz-ur-Rahman belonged to an educated family of Lahore. His father, the late Mirza Khuda Bakhsh, was a well-known religious scholar, highly proficient in Arabic and Urdu. He wrote a well-known and scholarly work, Asl-i Musaffa, in two volumes. Dr Aziz-ur-Rahman’s second brother, Mirza Khalil-ur-Rahman, retired as the Headmaster of a High School in Lahore. His youngest brother, Mirza Hameed-ur-Rahman, retired as Secretary of the Institute of Hygiene in Lahore. And today we have his daughter, Farah, attending the funeral of her aunt.

Soon after their marriage, sometime in 1937, the happy couple left by ship for India, and on the way visited various European countries. They stayed in Sarajevo for some time and that proved to be their last moments of happiness spent together. After staying for some time in Lahore, Dr Aziz-ur-Rahman had an attack of acute appendicitis, which caused his death. It was devastating for the young Louisa. Her bond of love and affection for Dr Aziz-ur-Rahman remained alive and the happy memories of his companionship lay buried in her heart all these years. Thus it was her last wish that Dr Aziz-ur-Rahman’s photograph be buried with her body.

After some time she was married to my late wife’s uncle, Shaikh Nazir Ahmad. Sister Louisa, with her son, Suhail Ahmad, came to England for a short while in 1954 to look after her ailing mother, who later died in a German nursing home in September 1954. Sh. Nazir Ahmad died in 1961.

At the start of World War II, the Abdullah family had to leave Berlin for India but their contacts with friends and particularly with this family continued and relationships grew over the years. It was in 1947 when the late Dr Abdullah became Imam of the Shah Jehan Mosque at Woking that he helped the family to come over to England in 1948. Sister Sussane Saeeda died only last year. And today we have sister Aneesa, her daughter, to say farewell to her dear aunt, Sister Louisa, who celebrated her 98th birthday on 18 May, 2006.

Sister Louisa was a gifted artist in watercolour and oil and she loved music and singing. She also loved travelling. In her collection of photographs one can see that while passing through Europe and the Middle East, and even in India accompanying her husband, she visited almost every scenic and historical place and kept a record of them in photographs with beautiful descriptions written in her handwriting.

The only male member of this small family who migrated from Germany to England is brother Suhail Ahmad. Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers are with him, his cousin Aneesa, and his nephews and nieces on this very sad demise and departure of a very noble and kind lady. May the soul of our sister Louisa rest in peace and may Allah in His grace forgive her failings and grant her peace and comfort in the next life.

The above obituary was published in The Light, U.K. Edition, July 2006, available at this link as a pdf file.

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the successor of the Woking Muslim Mission.