The ROR of Nov-1916 reproduces a letter from Agusto, he gives a list of 21 Ahmadi’s, including Qasim R. Ajose. Ajose is directly mentioned in the Moslem Sunrise of April-1922 (see pages 93-94) as someone who was left in-charge when the Ahmadi Maulvi Nayyar left for Ghana in late 1921.
By 1927, Qasim R. Ajose was the missionary-in-charge and school supervisor, Ahmadiyya Movement, Lagos, British West Africa 1925–1935 (modern day Nigeria)(see his photo in the below and how it appeared in the ROR of Jan-1927). He seems to have met Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyar in 1922. Nayyar did not make inroads within the other factions with the exception of the Quranic group, primarily based in Okepopo and Aroloya. After an agreement to merge with Ahmadiyya, Imam Dabiri of the Quranic group was selected as Chief Imam. Dabiri was succeeded in the 1930s by Imam Ajose. Imam Dabiri would lead the prayers for the newly converted West Africans, who prayed via Maliki fiqh, Nayyar doesn’t seem to have ever led the prayer (see Fisher). Nayyar gave speeches in english which were translated by Ajose and others (see Fisher). Nayyar left by late 1922, and Ahmadiyya sources claim Nayyar left a local Nigerian in-charge, a man named Imam Dabiri. He was succeeded by Imam Qasim R. Ajose, missionary-in-charge and school supervisor, Ahmadiyya Movement, Lagos (see ROR, Jan-1927). In 1932, during controversy wherein many sects of Ahmadiyya were being created, Ajose was appointed the imam (see Fisher, page 106).
After 1935, he created a splinter sect of Ahmadi’s who were disloyal to the Khalifa (see Fisher also, page 109). West African Ahmadi’s had issues with the Indian-Ahmadi-imam’s and always wanted Imam Qasim R. Ajose to lead the prayer (see Fisher). Ajose had apparently replaced Imam Dabiri, who was the West-African face of Ahmadiyya in Nigeria uptil the early 1930’s. Fisher wrote his name as K.R. Ajose.
Out of nowhere, Lawal Basil Agusto sends 21 membership forms, fully signed (See Fisher, page 97). Jibril Martin seems to have joined around this time. This is the beginning of the Ahmadiyya jamaat in Nigeria. Agusto opens up a small Muslim school at No. 62, Bamgbose Street, Lagos island. He seems to have ran and operated this school himself for about a year. Ahmadiyya ideas were secondary, a secular education was primary (see Fisher).
The ROR of Nov-1916 reproduces a letter from Agusto, he gives a list of 21 Ahmadi’s, including Qasim R. Ajose.
The Moslem Sunrise (April-1922) reports that Nayyar is working in West Africa. They have his photo on page 93. His report is given, he alleges that he converted 200 people to Qadianism in the Gold Coast (aka Ghana). Nayyar claims to have attended/held an annual conference and announced plans to start a missionary training school. He has travelled all over the country (and paid for by the locals) and even worked in Salt Pond. He then talks about his work in Nigeria, he explains how for the first time ever, women came to Eid, this was allowed by the Ahmadi’s. He then mentions Mr. Ajose as the imam of old Ahmadi’s (what does that even mean?), he also mention’s his co-workers, Messrs, Shodeinde and Lawal. Jibril Martin is also mentioned as a convert and Imam Dabiri, who isn’t really sure about Ahmadiyya, he remains the imam, he died roughly 10 years later and Mr. Ajose took over as the main imam of the masjid.
The english ROR of Jan-1927 reports that a nigerian was made an Imam by the Ahmadiyya movement, his name is listed as Imam Qasim R. Ajose, missionary-in-charge and school supervisor, Ahmadiyya Movement, Lagos. Ahmadiyya sources claim that he succeeded Imam Dabiri. Many years later, Imam Ajose would leave the Qadiani-Ahmadi’s and create his own form of Ahmadiyya. Is also report that reports that Jibril Martin was given a going away party, as he left the UK for Nigeria.
Between 1933 and 1940
Internal wrangling caused a split within the mission into two factions. A group was loyal to Imam Ajose and another group was loyal to F. R. Hakeem a Pakistani and representative of the Khalifa who aspired to replace Imam Ajose as lead Imam. Unlike, Nayyar’s mellow demeanor, Hakim was heavily involved in the affairs of the Ahmadi’s and his presence caused dissension in the group. A faction surrounded Imam Ajose and sought some form of local autonomy while Hakeem wanted strict adherence to the Ahmadi doctrines. The Khalifa withdrew recognition of the Ajose group and in 1940, the Hakeem led Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission was formally inaugurated in the country with the support of the Khalifa. The Ajose group maintained the name, the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam and the Hakeem group was launched with the name Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission later came to represent the core of the Ahmadi’s in Nigeria. The movement split again in the 1930s over the issue of foreign control. A Nigerian branch of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam took shape under the leadership of Alhaji Jibril Martin, a leader of the Nigerian Youth Movement.
Imam Ajose is also mentioned in the ROR of May-1934.
He is mentioned in the ROR of Nov-1934, they mention how he has been acquitted of his charge. They mention how he was in-charge since Nayyar left in 1922.
The ROR of Nov-1934 has a letter from F. R. Hakeem, dated August 17, 1934, F. R. Hakeem gives his report on his activities in Ghana (Gold Coast) and Lagos (Nigeria). F. R. Hakeem alleges that the Chief of Saltpond asked him for his blessing before becoming Chief. F. R. Hakeem also alleges that a Chief of Chiefs asked him to pray for his success. F. R. Hakeem claims to have met the Sultan of a Muslim Empire in Northern Nigeria called “Sokoto”. F. R. Hakeem presented MGA as a Mahdi only as he met him. F. R. Hakeem claims that 136 people have joined Ahmadiyya since his last communication from Nigeria. F. R. Hakeem mentions Imam Qasim R. Ajose and how he has split from the Qadiani-Ahmadi’s. The ROR of Nov-1934 reports that Maulvi F. R. Hakeem arrived in Lagos, Nigeria on July 26th, 1934. There is a famous case of the Ahmadi’s fighting for control of a local Sunni mosque, which Ahmadi’s had won (Adepopo Mosque).
_____________________________________________________________________________________________Links and Related Essay’s
- “The Ahmadiyya Movement in Nigeria”. Harvard Divinity School. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
- Animashaun, Bashir (2012) Jibril Felix Martin (1888 – 1959) and the spread of Western education among Muslims in 20th century Lagos. Ilorin Journal of History and International Studies Vol 3 No 1 2012
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