King Faisal at the Woking Mosque

The Light (UK), November 2005 Issue (p. 8)

Most of us must have seen that photograph of the then Crown Prince Faisal (later King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975) visiting the Woking Mosque, with the Imam Maulana Aftab-ud-Din Ahmad stan­ding alongside, which has been printed in this Bulletin and elsewhere before. We now have access to the report of his visit that was published in The Islamic Review in its May 1939 issue. The photograph and the report are now on the Woking Muslim Mission website at the page: [view a photograph]

We learn the following facts from the report. The visit took place on Sunday 19th February 1939 and was hosted by

“the Muslim Society in Great Britain”,

whose Chairman, Ismail de-Yorke, read out the address of welcome. Faisal had visited the Mosque previously as well. The purpose of Faisal’s visit to the U.K. was to represent Saudi Arabia at the Palestine Conference in London,

“on the outcome of which rests the fate of our co-religionists in Palestine”,

adds the report.

Over two hundred persons assembled to welcome him as he arrived at the Mosque in his royal car.

“The press photographers rushed forward. Cameras clicked as the Princes stepped out of the car”.

Maulana Aftab-ud-Din Ahmad con­duc­ted the guests into the marquee. The welcome address paid tribute to the services to Islam of King Saud for improving the facilities for pilgrims going for the Hajj. The address ended with the prayer that Allah may

“enable you to so steer the course of the forthcoming discussion as to make the justice and reason of the Arab demands evident even to the most hostile section of the British politicians and incline the Palestine question to a solution satisfying to the Arab World”.

Among those present were: Lady Headley (Lord Headley having died in 1935), the Prime Minister of Iraq Nuri-al-Said, and Sir Feroz Khan Noon who later held high political office in Pakistan.