Woking Muslim Mission, England, 1913–1968

‘Id-ul-Fitr at Woking, 21 July 1917
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‘Id-ul-Fitr at Woking, 21 July 1917

See this link for photographs from this occasion as published in The African Times and Orient Review in its issue of August 1917. This magazine was published from 158 Fleet Street, London, edited Dusé Mohamed.

A report of the occasion was published in The Islamic Review, August 1917, under the title The Celebration of the Grand Muslim Festival of Eid-ul-Fitr at the Mosque, Woking. It is quoted below.

THE Grand Muslim Festival of Eid-ul-Fîtr this year was celebrated with great éclat at the Mosque, Woking, on Saturday, 2Ist July. The occasion, to all lovers of our Holy Faith, both English and others, is one of great significance. Besidesr affording an invaluable opportunity to all followers of Islam of a fixed annual reunion, it is an occasion for demonstrating to the non-Muslim people in these isles the rapid increase in the number of those who have elected to seek the means of their spiritual well-being under the benign aegis of El-Islam. It shows, besides, what a change popular opinion generally in this country undergoes, and has undergone, in the face of the actual presence of Islam. The gathering of this year’s Eid-ul-Fitr was remarkable in many more ways. The celebration of past years consisted, so far as the elements of new acquisitions to the ranks of Islam were concerned, mainly of those who were charmed with the convincing simplicity at first sight of the “Religion of Nature,” but after three years of sustained activity, and a wider dissemination of its truths, our new brothers and sisters who participated on the occasion this year were those whose homage to Islam has been the result of deep study and ample deliberation. The celebration of Muslim Festivals similar to the present indicates a landmark from year to year of the steady and encouraging progress that the spirit of Islam is making in this leading country of the West. The presence of a great number of followers of other persuasions testified to the fascinating simplicity of its plain and rational teachings.

From an early hour the lawn in front of the Memorial House began to foreshadow the success which marked the event of the day, a few of our friends having arrived the day before. The congregation, which consisted of ladies and gentlemen, represented nearly all parts of the world. There were, to begin with, our English Muslim brothers and sisters, who had mustered in full strength to demonstrate the fact that their love of Islam was wholehearted and strong; there were gentlemen from Persia, Arabia, different parts of Africa, and a large number of ladies and gentlemen belonging to India. The significant presence of the former showed the effect of the stirring days in which we live on the minds of the fair sex in India. It showed that East was no more East in the sense in which it was understood by the regimental ballad-maker of the British Isles. It had, on the other hand, thrown off its insularity, and was now marching abreast of the times.

Punctually at 11.15 the “Takbir” call for prayers was given. This over, the congregation fell in orderly ranks in the leadership of Khwaja Kamaluddin, and two more devout and prayerful “Rakaats” were never offered at the altar of a Muslim’s duty towards his One, Great Allah. Prayer over, the Imam delivered an ample and exhaustive sermon, taking for his text the famous verse of Al-Qur-án : “Say, surely, my prayer and my sacrifice, and my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds, the Creator of all nations, the Sustainer of all races, and the Cherísher of His creatures. No associate has He, and this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who submit.”

He drew out points of difference which stood between the “superman” of the West, as symbolized in the hero of that greatest of German prophets of “kultur,” Nietzsche, and the superman of Al-Qur-án, whose greatness lay in his duty to only one God, through his service towards his fellow-men. We hope to publish it in full in our next issue. The audience felt a new experience in this comparative treatment of the two symbolic figures representing the highest degree of human achievement attainable under the gospel of materialistic advancement of modern times in the West and the elevating and inspiring teachings of Al-Qur-án.

After prayers, the interesting ceremony of wishing “Eid Mubarik” was gone through by the worshippers embracing each other in fraternal affection and goodwill. After a short interval the Eid lunch in true Oriental style was served, the national dish of Islam, the Pulao, occupying the place of honour in the menu. The rice, of the finest quality, for this was sent over from India by our brother, Molvi Sadruddin.

The afternoon was devoted to a sort of happy picnic. After the “Asar” prayers the congregation was enlivened by the recitation of verses from Al-Qur-án by our brother Saada Bey, of Egypt, in the sonorous and genuine Arab style of those whose mother-tongue is the language of Al-Qur-án. A few departed after this interesting ceremony, but a larger number stayed to dinner and the “Maghrab” prayer. After this the congregation began to make their last leave-takings, having enjoyed a most inspiring and beautiful Eid day.

Our earnest prayers go up to the Provider of worldly and spiritual sustenance to favour us with many more happy returns of the auspicious day, which is like a milestone in the continuous progress of Islam in these isles. We earnestly hope that those who have chosen El-Islam as their future guide in life will find in it the source of that abiding happiness which it affords.

In the end, we desire to extend to our brothers and sisters our most sincere expressions of admiration and thankfulness for the noble manner in which, as in previous years, they toiled night and day to make the Eid a success.


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the successor of the Woking Muslim Mission.