Woking Muslim Mission
The Woking Muslim Mission was founded in 1913 by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din (d. December 1932) at the Mosque in Woking, 30 miles southwest of London and was managed by members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement (Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i-Islam, AAIL). It was run by Lahore Ahmadiyya missionaries until the mid-1960s.
The Woking Mosque was built by Dr G.W. Leitner (d. 1899) in 1889. It was only opened up and used on special occasions. In 1913 Leitner's son was on the point of selling the mosque to a developer. The Indian lawyer and follower of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, just arrived in England, was inspired to establish an Islamic mission in the mosque. The Khwaja, with the help of some prominent Indian Muslims in England, such as Syed Ameer Ali, went to court and had the Mosque placed under a Trust.
The Woking Mosque and mission remained the pre-eminent centre of Islam in Great Britain from 1913 to the mid-1960s.
The Woking Muslim Mission was established by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din. His first stay in England was from September 1912 until August 1914. He established the mission with the encouragement of Maulana Noor-ud-Din, head of the Ahmadiyya Movement till March 1914. After the split in the Ahmadiyya Movement in 1914 Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din was associated with the Lahore Branch.
Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din started his work from the inspiration of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who had a deep desire to present Islam to the West. In February 1913 the Khwaja started a monthly periodical, The Islamic Review, which for over 55 years was the main Islamic publication in the West.
At Eid occasions, from 1913 to the mid-1960s, Muslims from all nations present in England at the time gathered at the Woking Mosque. Woking in those days became a replica in miniature of Mecca in the West, a multinational spectacle that could be matched in its multitude only with Hajj in Mecca itself.
People converting to Islam in England during the years 1913 to the mid-1960s did so generally through this mission. In 1924 it was estimated that there was a total Muslim population in England of 10,000, of which 1,000 were converts.
The book Islam, Our Choice, containing accounts by Muslim converts of how they came to embrace Islam, was originally compiled and published by the Woking Muslim Mission. It has subsequently been re-published all over the world by other Muslim publishers who have deleted the name of the Woking Muslim Mission and of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din from within the accounts given by the converts.
- History of the Mosque, page 2, viewed at July 15th, 2008
- British Muslim Heritage – London’s Mosques
- Brief history of the Woking Muslim Mission
- About Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din (1870–1932), Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din: Entry in Who's Who
- Founding of The Islamic Review, 1913
- The Mosque at Woking: A miniature of Mecca in the days of the Pilgrimage
- History of the Mosque, page 3, viewed at July 15th, 2008