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Mr Jinnah comes to meet Lahore Ahmadiyya members
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Mr Jinnah comes to meet Lahore Ahmadiyya members

1. In Maulana Muhammad Ali’s biography Mujahid-i Kabir it is reported, by a person present at those functions, that Mr Jinnah came to meet Maulana Muhammad Ali and other leading Lahore Ahmadiyya members. We quote two reports below by Maulana Yaqub Khan, one-time editor of The Light, from the English translation of Mujahid-i Kabir published under the title A Mighty Striving:

i) The Quaid-i Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a visitor to Maulana Muhammad Ali from the days when he was known as plain Mr. Jinnah and was one of the leaders of the Congress party. In those days too he was regarded also as a great leader of Muslim India. Once when he came to Lahore Maulana Muhammad Ali gave a tea party in his honour, at which were invited the prominent Muslim figures of Lahore. The party was held in a marquee in the grounds of Islamia College. The Maulana referred, in a brief speech, to the Islamic services of his Anjuman. In those days the Arya Samaj campaign of shuddi [to convert Muslims to the Arya Hindu sect] was at its height and the Anjuman had done much work to counteract it. He also explained the beliefs of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama‘at and said that the real purpose of the Ahmadiyya Movement is to serve Islam, while holding itself above sectarianism. This speech had a good effect. Afterwards, when the guests were talking among themselves, Mr. Jinnah took the Maulana to one side and was discussing this topic with him. I was also standing there, listening. Mr. Jinnah praised the work of the Anjuman and expressed regret at the opposition of the prejudiced among the Muslims. The conversation was in English and one sentence, reflecting Mr. Jinnah’s informality with the Maulana, still resounds in my ears. In connection with the relations of the general Muslim community with the Ahmadiyya Jama‘at Mr. Jinnah said:

Look here, Muhammad Ali! You should also be tactful. Don’t be aggressive in your preachings.

ii) Much later, when the Quaid-i Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had taken up the leadership of the Muslims of India in their demand for Pakistan, he came to a tea party at the Maulana’s invitation at his residence in Muslim Town. The Maulana had also invited members of the Anjuman.

The Quaid-i Azam made a short speech in which, while expressing admiration for the Anjuman’s services, he mentioned an incident regarding the Anjuman’s English weekly organ The Light. He said that once during a conversation the Viceroy of India, Lord Linlithgow, had told him that his [Jinnah’s] recent statement that democracy was not suitable for India had caused commotion in the country and he did not understand how he could oppose such a wonderful system. The Quaid-i Azam said that he told the Viceroy in reply that he would send him a newspaper to read about this. So he sent the Viceroy an issue of The Light which contained an article on the topic that parliamentary democracy was not suitable for India. The next day he returned it with a note saying that he understood his position and what he had stated was justified.

After relating this incident the Quaid-i Azam said:

Your Anjuman is doing very fine work. I receive your paper, The Light. I am a politician and read this paper for political articles, but along with that I also read religious articles. I keep a file of this paper.

He also said that he received letters from other countries containing enquiries about Islam:

Foreigners think that as I am a leader of Muslims they can write to me seeking information about Islam. I pass those letters on to your Anjuman for appropriate answers.


2. In Paigham Sulh (Urdu magazine of Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement), dated 18 October 1978 (p. 15), Mr Mumtaz Ahmad Faruqui (older brother of Mr N.A. Faruqui) recounted the following incidents, which are translated below:

i) A meeting of the Muslim League was held in Lahore. A resolution was presented, probably by Maulvi Zafar Ali Khan, to the effect that “Qadianis”, i.e. the Ahmadiyya community, should be declared as non-Muslim on account of some of its beliefs and expelled from membership of the Muslim League. Quaid-i Azam, who was presiding over the meeting, firmly rejected this resolution. He gave as the main reason that a person who recites the Kalima and calls himself a Muslim, and supports our aims, cannot be expelled by us.

ii) Taking advantage of this visit, Maulana Muhammad Ali, who was Head of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam Lahore, and lived in Muslim Town Lahore, expressed the wish to meet the Quaid-i Azam. The Quaid-i Azam gladly agreed to this, and it was arranged that he would call at Maulana Muhammad Ali’s residence in Muslim Town and partake of afternoon tea. The Maulana arranged for tea for about a dozen persons who were members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama‘at, and somehow I joined this group. Maulvi Yaqub Khan, former editor of The Light, was also there. The Quaid-i Azam arrived promptly on time and we all welcomed him and took him to the meeting room.

The Maulana, greeting Quaid-i Azam, lauded his services to the nation and briefly shed light on the propagation work of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama‘at. He then presented Quaid-i Azam with a gift of his writings and other publications of the Movement. Quaid-i Azam smiled and thanked him. He picked up the English translation of the Quran which was on top and said:

“There is a copy of this in my library, and I study it regularly.”

Then he stood up and said that he was familiar with the work of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama‘at, and he regularly receives The Light, the English weekly, which he reads with special attention. Then he said:

“When I put forward my view for the first time that Western style democracy is not suitable for India, it caused an outcry all over the country and there was a storm of criticism. It went to the extent that Lord Wavell, Viceroy of India, sent me a message in Simla saying that he too was puzzled by my view, and asking me to clarify. In those days, I received The Light paper from Lahore which contained an editorial with a cogent and clear discussion on this topic, supporting the validity of this view. I liked it very much and I merely sent Lord Wavell that paper to read. A few days later Lord Wavell returned that paper to me with a note saying that he now understood my point.”

This praise by the Quaid-i Azam was a monumental tribute he paid to the work of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama‘at. The late Maulvi Yaqub Khan, editor of The Light, was enormously proud of this. The Quaid-i Azam held this favourable opinion about the Lahore Ahmadiyya Jama‘at till his dying day.


Added 27 December 2016

More on the article in The Light

In the two accounts quoted above, one written by Maulana Yaqub Khan and the other by Mumtaz Ahmad Faruqui, an occasion is mentioned at which Mr Jinnah referred to an article in the Lahore Ahmadiyya English organ The Light:

  1. “He said that once during a conversation the Viceroy of India, Lord Linlithgow, had told him that his [Jinnah’s] recent statement that democracy was not suitable for India had caused commotion in the country and he did not understand how he could oppose such a wonderful system. The Quaid-i Azam said that he told the Viceroy in reply that he would send him a newspaper to read about this. So he sent the Viceroy an issue of The Light which contained an article on the topic that parliamentary democracy was not suitable for India.”
  2. “In those days, I received The Light paper from Lahore which contained an editorial with a cogent and clear discussion on this topic, supporting the validity of this view. I liked it very much and I merely sent Lord Wavell that paper to read.”

The name of the Viceroy is given differently in the two accounts. Lord Linlithgow was Viceroy from 1936 to 1943 and Lord Wavell from 1943 to 1947. It appears that the Viceroy in question would have been Lord Wavell, and the name of Lord Linlithgow is an error.

As to identifying the article of The Light in question, it is found mentioned in a lengthy note in vol. 5 of the collection Khutbaat Muhammad Ali, which has been added by the compiler for explanatory purposes. (This collection consists of the sermons of Maulana Muhammad Ali, Head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, as they appeared in the Lahore Ahmadiyya Urdu organ Paigham Sulh over the years 1914 to 1951. See this link.)

In this note, the compiler, after quoting the report by Maulana Yaqub Khan from Mujahid-i Kabir which we have given above under 1 (ii), writes that the article mentioned by Mr Jinnah in this conversation was published in The Light dated 24 February 1946 on page 3, and was by Dr Abdul Hayy Saeed, son of Dr Saeed Ahmad Khan, the third Head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement. After this, the compiler has reproduced the text of the article in English (see Khutbaat Muhammad Ali, v. 5, pages 131– 136).

At this link we provide a scanned image of this article as it was published in The Light, entitled: Is democracy suited to the genius of India?

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