Letters to the Editor: Shillong Islam Mission
by Maulana Aftab-ud-Din Ahmad
The Light (Pakistan), 8th December 1929 Issue (Vol. 8, No. 48, pp. 4, 7)
Sir, — It has been more than two months since I appeared last before your readers with the news of our activities here. After that some physical troubles rendered me unfit for work. Consequently, I had to take leave and make a sojourn in Bengal for over a month. Only the other day I have returned to Shillong [Meghalaya, India] and have resumed my duties. After my return here, my spirits, which had naturally begun to feel drowsy on account of this pretty long period of inactivity, got a fresh awakening on the evening of the 20th October, when Mr. S. B. Rodericks — an elite Khasi gentleman — a man of wealth, position, and high character, declared his faith in Islam, in the midst of a big assembly of Muslims, gathered in the Mission House that evening to witness the function. In Islam he was given the name of Saif-ur-Rahman. He recounted to the audience the whole history of his conversion — from his first receiving a Khasi book on Islam, while he was at Lokra, right up to his final decision to embrace the faith openly and formally. After this he approached and embraced each of the brothers present at the spot, with a deep earnestness of the soul. It was, indeed, an inspiring heavenly sight to observe in the midst of all round disheartening sign of degeneration in the Muslim community. Moulvi Anwarul Haque Mukkerjee then congratulated the new brother on behalf of the gathering and forecasted to him the difficulties that are sure to beset a man coming to the fold of Islam from outside, moved by his courage of conviction. He admonished the new brother to remain firm even in the midst of most trying circumstances even as the Holy Prophet did when he first tried to establish the religion of Islam in the benighted world of humanity. Maulvi Talmizur Rahman Sahib, Personal Assistant to the Commissioner, Surma Valley, who rose next, deplored the general apathy of the Muslims towards the souls that were pining for a spiritual shelter in Islam. Still more deplorable, he said, was the fact that even when some souls came to the fold by dint of their own indomitable enquiring spirit, leaving their prosperous and more advanced communities, leaving their own kith and kin, nay even tortured at their hands — they were not given a brother’s share of sympathy and help from the indifferent Muslim Community. He suggested, at the end, the opening of a strong fund for the relief of such distressed new converts. I, as one in charge of the Mission, had to tell him and the assembly that there was already such a fund in existence, however, humble it might be, in connection with the Mission, and that it remained for the Muslim public of Shillong and outside to devise means of strengthening it and making it more useful.
The brothers were then entertained to a light refreshment and the gathering dispersed.