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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎205r] (409/434)

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The record is made up of 1 file (214 folios). It was created in 31 Aug 1933-20 Mar 1939. It was written in English and French. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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instructions from the King. Suspicion is chiefly directed against those
persons who profess Islam in order to be able to visit a forbidden city,
either out of love of novelty or from a desire to secure notoriety, and this
suspicion will now have been strengthened by the appearance of a book enti
tled “Triumphant Pilgrimage” and the discussion which it has aroused.
This book, which is written by Owen Rutter, purports to give an account of
the visit to Mecca of a British subject born in the United Kingdom who
appears under the name of “Chale”. The real name of this man is
McBryan, and his appearance in Jedda and his admission to Mecca at the
last moment were chronicled in the Jedda Reports in 1936 (January para
graph 36, February paragraph 76). From reviews which have appeared
and from information obtained from Sarawak, where Mr. McBryan was
formerly employed and whence he set out on his pilgrimage, it is evident
that much of the story as related by him through Owen Rutter is untrue and
that his religious professions, albeit supported by circumcision with a flint,
are open to suspicion.
3. It is unlikely that the new law will make any practical change in
regard to recent converts. They will still be regarded with suspicion and
will have to satisfy the King before being allowed to enter either
Mecca or Medina. But the fact that they will not be allowed to perform
the pilgrimage as a matter of course is now laid down by law, so that recent
converts may be aware before they set out upon the journey to the Hejaz of
the conditions which they will have to fulfil.
4. Copies of this despatch are being sent to India and Singapore.
Enclosure to Jedda, despatch No. 17 (217/271/3) of 30th January 1938,
Extract from the Mecca “Umm-ul-Qura”, No. 685 of January 21st,
A Law Concerning Converts to Islam, and Their Entry into the two
An ordinance has been promulgated ratifying this law, and ordering
its enforcement.
Article I. —Any recent convert to Islam shall, on his arrival at Jedda
for the performance of ’Umra or the visit to Medina, present to the reli
gious committee in Jedda documents supporting his claim.
Article II. —Any recent convert to Islam who wishes to enter either
of the two sanctuaries shall submit to the religious committee appointed by
the Government at Jedda certificates legalised by the authorities before
whom he adopted the Moslem faith.
Article III. —Any recent convert to Islam, who possesses certificates
legalised by a high Moslem committee which is recognised in other Moslem
countries, or attested by any of the great Moslem Ulama (learned men) known
to the Government, shall be entitled to enter the two sanctuaries after the
legalisation of his certificates by the religious committee in Jedda.
Article IV. —The application of any recent convert to Islam, who does
not possess the certificates mentioned in the preceding article, shall be dealt
with by the religious committee, and he shall remain in Jedda for a period
of fifteen days on probation; and if his claim is found to be true and his
(belief in) Islam established he shall be permitted to enter the two sanc
tuaries after obtaining a decree from the Sharia Court at Jedda, in accord
ance with the provisions of the preceding article, to the effect that he has
adopted the Islamic faith..
Article V. —The religious committee at Jedda which shall have the
right to examine the certificates of converts to Islam and to examine any
convert to Islam who is not in possession of a certificate shall be composed
of the following persons : —
1. The President of the Sharia Court at Jedda.
188(S) ExAffairsDept.

About this item


The file contains the Foreign Office confidential prints of the Arabia Series for the years 1933 to 1938. It includes correspondence, memoranda, and extracts from newspapers. The correspondence is principally between the British Legation in Jedda and the Foreign Office. Other correspondents include British diplomatic, political, and military offices, foreign diplomats, heads of state, tribal leaders, corporations, and individuals in the Middle East region.

Each annual series is composed of several numbered serials that are often connected to a particular subject. The file covers many subjects related to the affairs of Saudi Arabia.

Included in the file are the following:

  • a memorandum on Arab Unity produced by the Foreign Office dated 12 June 1933 (author unknown), folios 11-13;
  • a memorandum on petroleum in Arabia produced by the Petroleum Department dated 5 August 1933 (author unknown), folios 23-26;
  • a record of interviews with Ibn Sa‘ūd, King of Saudi Arabia, conducted by Reader Bullard and George William Rendel between 20 and 22 March 1937;
  • a memorandum on Yemen by Captain B W Seager, the Frontier Officer, dated 20 July 1937;
  • several records of proceedings of ships on patrol in the Red Sea, including that of HMS Penzance , Hastings , Colombo , Bideford , and Londonderry .

Folios 213-15 are internal office notes.

Extent and format
1 file (214 folios)

The file is arranged chronologically.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the main foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front cover with 1 and terminates at the back cover with 217; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. An additional foliation sequence is also present in parallel between ff 2-215; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled, and are located in the same position as the main sequence.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎205r] (409/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 24 February 2020]

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