One of the things that is impressive about this early movement, and for this the Khwaja must take the credit, was the simplicity of the message. It is evident that this is one of the things that were most influential in persuading converts to adopt Islam. He preached a message that was free of cultural baggage, a pure message based on faith and belief that encompassed the spirit of Islam. He was always positive, always gentle and always good-natured. It was obvious that he embodied many of the qualities that believers would expect in a man of faith; peacefulness, kindness and a quiet certainty, but failed to witness in the clergy, where dogma and the ecclesiastical hierarchy were the dominant features.
Within a few years, through the work of Kamal-ud-Din and his Muslim Mission Islam had established a definite foothold within England and from this point onwards it grew steadily in significance. The Woking Mission was a focal point for meetings of influential Muslims in this country, where they discussed and planned the future growth and development of Islam in England, including the establishment of a central mosque in London.
‘Within a few years, through the work of Kamal-ud-Din and his Muslim Mission Islam had established a definite foothold within England …’
In 1924 it was estimated that there was a total Muslim population in England of 10,000, of which 1,000 were converts. Obviously in later years many other factors came to play a role in the growth of Islam in this country. But until the 1950’s Woking remained the pre-eminent centre of Islam in Great Britain.
Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din died in 1936, and although the Mission continued after his death the loss of his inspiration and leadership was significant. In fact within a space of 3 years the movement lost not only the Khwaja but also Lord Headley and Muhammad Pickthall.
After the Second World War there was a tremendous influx of Muslim immigrants from the British colonies into Great Britain and they established communities throughout the country. Gradually the influence of the Woking mosque declined as a national centre and from the 1960’s onward it has served mainly as the local mosque for the neighbouring Muslim immigrant population.
There is a moving story that when Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din arrived with a friend in 1912, to find the mosque dirty and neglected. There was a Quran on its stand and he opened it at random. His eyes immediately alighted on the following ayat:
“Most surely the first house appointed for men is the one at Bekka, blessed and a guidance for nations” 3.95
Bekka means place where people gather in multitudes. Immediately he made sajda with tears in his eyes and prayed: “O Creator of Nations a All-Powerful God, Thou madest Mecca the holiest place in the East, and did nations in multitudes to that city. Make this mosque, I pray Thee, in like manner the Mecca in the West”
The Mosque was under Ahmediya administration from the early 19th century, We strongly disagree with the beliefs of the Ahmediya along with most of the Muslim world and scholars.However Muhammad Picktall, Abdullah Qulliam and other big personalities and scholars were all of the classical Sunni/Sufi understanding of Islam and backed by the Sunni scholars from around the world. The Mosque changed administration in the 70’s when the Mosque was being misused and not functioning as a place of worship. All praise to Allah SWT since the 70’s the Mosque has been under the classical understanding of Islam Sunni/Hanafi/Sufi and the Mosque was revived back to serving the community as a place of worship and the centre of Islam in Britain.