Islamic Review


149 Oriental Road
Woking, GU22 7AN
United Kingdom
Other names: 

The Islamic Review and Muslim India

Date began: 
01 Jan 1913
Precise date began unknown: 
Date ended: 
01 Jan 1967
Precise date ended unknown: 

The Islamic Review was the organ of the Shah Jahan Mosque at Woking. It was inaugurated in 1913 by the then Imam of the mosque, Khwaja Kamaluddin, and ran until 1967. During its lifespan, the periodical had a series of editors who often also preached at the mosque or served as Imam there for a period of time. It had numerous regular contributors. It was widely distributed, free of charge.

There is much emphasis in the periodical on the misrepresentation of Islam in the British press and misconceptions about Islam on the part of the British people. Indeed, a key aim of the journal seems to be to challenge these by articulating the similarities between Islam and Christianity and the compatibility of Islam with British life. The journal suggests a progressive approach to Islam on the part of the mosque, with an emphasis on inter-faith dialogue and rational argument. Numerous pieces explain and defend Islam’s view on women, often in response to articles in the British press representing Muslim culture as polygamous and Muslim women as oppressed, as well as the religion’s attitude towards alcohol, fasting and prayer, for example. The similarity of their concerns to the concerns of British Muslims now is striking. The journal also includes several testimonials by English converts to Islam including Lord Headley whose conversion triggered numerous articles in the press. Further content includes articles on the celebration of Eid at the Woking mosque, as well as sermons and photographs, and reviews of books about Islam.

Key Individuals' Details: 

Editors: Aftab-ud-Din Ahmad, Khwaja Nazir Ahmed, Khwaja Kamaluddin, Muhammad Yakub Khan, Abdul Majid, Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall.


Contributors: Aftab-ud-Din Ahmad, K. S. Ahmed, Saiyed Maqbool Ahmed, Begum Sultan Mir Amir-ud-Din, W. B. Bashyr-Pickard, Abdul Karim, Edith M. Chase, Maryam A. Ghani, M. Fathulla Khan, M. Wali Khan, Mushir Hosain Kidwai, B. M. K. Lodi, N. C. Mehta, Syed Muzaffar-ud-Din Nadvi, R. S. Nehra, Khalid Sheldrake, M. Z. Siddiqi, C. A. Soorma, T. L. Vaswani, A. C. A. Wadood, H. G. Wells, Kenneth Williams.

Secondary works: 

Ahmad, Nasir, Eid Sermons at the Shah Jehan Mosque, Woking, England, 1931-1940 (Lahore, Aftab-ud-Din Memorial Benevolent Trust, 2002)

Ally, M. M., ‘History of Muslims in Britain, 1850-1980’, unpublished MA dissertation (University of Birmingham, 1981)

Ansari, Humayun, ‘The Infidel Within’: Muslims in Britain since 1800 (London: Hurst, 2004)

Salamat, Muslim P., A Miracle at Woking: A History of the Shahjahan Mosque (London: Phillimore, 2008)


Ahmed, K. S., ‘Islam in England’, Islamic Review 25.2 (February 1937), pp. 42-4


This article describes the celebration of the Eid festival at the Shah Jahan Mosque at Woking. It is accompanied by photographs.


As usual, nearly every member of the Muslim community in England had been informed several days beforehand of the Eid day. This enabled Muslims from different parts of the British Isles, representing various classes, races and countries, to congregate at the Mosque at Woking on this auspicious occasion.

Here in England, during the previous four weeks, we had been passing through a period of most uncertain weather and, on the eve of the Eid, rain fell in torrents continuing far into the night. However, as the darkness of the night gave place to the first rosy streaks of the dawn, the sun, for the first time for a full month, shone brightly and clearly in the azure sky.

This was indeed a happy sign, although admirable arrangements had been made for the comfort of the guests, to enable them to be independent, to a certain extent, of the English climate.

Special trains from London soon began to bring the devotees, many picturesquely and colourfully dressed, to their destination, and the Faithful began to assemble in groups on the rich carpets spread in the large electrically-lit and well-heated Marquee on the lawn of the Mosque grounds.

Here were Fezes in shades of red, top-hats, soft hats, turbans, caps and astrakhan hats, gorgeously covered robes and graceful saris, lounge suits, frock-coats and even ‘plus fours.’ Here were English Muslim ladies and gentlemen from different counties of the British Isles, representatives from Turkey, Iran, Russia, Nigeria, Egypt and India. Here were they all, rich and poor, ready to unite in prayer to Allah, and to prostrate themselves as one before the Almighty, testifying to that vast and all-embracing spirit of brotherhood which is Islam’s unique and peculiar gift to mankind.

It was indeed a demonstration of the common fraternity of mankind, unique in this land where not only political and social differences but also religious and sectarian schisms are rife.


This extract emphasizes the commitment of Muslims to practising their faith in Britain as early as the 1930s, and probably before then. By describing Eid celebrations in the context of rainy English weather, the passage locates Islam firmly within Britain. The description of bright coloured clothing adorning the grounds of the mosque further suggests the ways in which this minority religion transformed the geography of a small Surrey town. The passage conveys a sense of the mosque as a focal point for Muslims in Britain, where divisions of ‘race’, class and nationality are transgressed through faith.

Archive source: 

Islamic Review, SV 503, British Library, St Pancras