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October 24th, 2011

Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s biography

Submitted by Ikram.

Abdullah Yusuf Ali – Search for Solace, a Biography

I came across Yusuf Ali’s biography on Google Books. Following are some interesting facts:

Comment about LAM members

Page 79: In April 1927, [Maulana Syed] Sulaiman Nadvi counts Lahori Ahmadis – Maulvi Muhammad Ali, Khwaja Kamaluddin, [Majeed] Salik and [Ghulam Rasoon] Mehr among the learned in Lahore along with Allamah Iqbal, Yusuf Ali and others. [footnote 27 on page 87]

Some observations about Yusuf Ali’s translation of Quran and grasp of Arabic

Page 105: “…Yusuf Ali’s lack of competence in Arabic was also raised: ‘He is publishing an English translation of Qur’an, though I am informed by those who know him personally, he does not know a word of Arabic, his translation being based wholly on other English and Urdu translations.’ [footnote-56]

Page 117, footnote 56: The Light of Ahmadiyya Anjuman Lahore came to defense of Yusuf Ali – read details for yourself.
Page 109: “…His [YA] regular activities included a regular tafsir class at Islamia College, at which a member of staff would read from Qur’an, then Yusuf Ali would follow up with a commentary in English, an arrangement that often led to a mixup…” [footnote – 66]

Page 118, footnote 66: Supporting facts that Yusuf Ali was apparently quite weak in Arabic i.e. Yaran-Maktab: Tehrik-i-Pakistan aur Islamia College, ibic, p. 191-192. On one occasion there was some confusion over which verses were to be discussed and after commencing Yusuf Ali realised that his commentary was not related to what had been read out in Arabic. He quickly rose and left the meeting but later apologised to the staff member.

To this section, I will add my previous post, which stands corroborated in light of above facts and time line of 1930’s:

The following was personally told to me by a senior Jamaat member (now deceased), who was then a young law student in Lahore and a part time assistant to Maulana Muhammad Ali:

“Abdullah Yusuf Ali of Anjuman Himayat Islam would literally almost daily walk across the street (Brandreth Road Lahore) to Ahmadiyya Anjuman to get corrections/reviews by Muhammad Ali for his translation.” [paraphrasing is mine]

Yusuf Ali as loyal British subject

Page 87, footnote 26: From Yusuf Ali’s presidential address to the History and Civics Section of the Punjab Educational Conference, December 1926 – Yusuf Ali’s Empire-Loyalism was in full swing: “Above the Government of India we have an Imperial tie, which is symbolized by the British flag, the flag of the British empire. The flag is a symbol. It is even possible for us to have a distinctive national flag and yet to recognise and cherish the Imperial tie…If you strain at the the leash, the fault may possibly be yours. The leash is elastic. I know of no character more adaptable than the British character, and no institutions more responsive to local needs than British institutions. It is for you to understand them and then to adapt them to your needs in the common bonds of empire.”

Page 82: Suggests that Yusuf Ali was possibly spying for British on his trip to Baghdad in 1928.

The above is a British loyalist who is quite rightly cherished for his English translation of Quran in the Muslim World, and was recipient CBE (Commander of the Order of British Empire) for his service Her Majesty. In the same breath we have other “Sirs” of India including Sir Syed Ahmed Khan of Aligarh fame who wrote the book “Reasons for the Mutiny in India.” Unlike rest of Muslims of India, he never called the 1857 events as war of independence. Sir Muhammad Iqbal of Shikwah/Jawab-e-Shikwah wanted independent country for Muslims as British protectorate. Any how, these greats deserve respect for their services to Muslims of India. On the other hand, I do not recall Mirza Ghulam Ahmad being awarded any British title. I wonder why he is called “British agent” unlike the other title holders? He is the only Muslim in the world who invited the British Queen to Islam, thus following the sunnah of Muhammad PBUH who invited the kings of his time to the faith. Think hard!

Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad in Islamia College

Page 99: Yusuf Ali was re-appointed principal of Islamia College Lahore on April 15, 1935 at a monthly salary of Rupees 1350 per month by a committee under Allamah Muhammad Iqbal. Earlier Muhammad Asad [Leopold Weiss] was hired to teach fiqh at Rupees 250 per month for the initial probation of six months and Rupees 300 per month thereafter.

Page 114-5, footnote 34: Letter 1 – July 12, 1934 & Letter 2 – July 31, 1934 ; Muhammad Asad to Muhammad Iqbal – Read details for yourself.
Page 103: While he was principal of Islamia College, Yusuf Ali was setup by Sikandar Hayat Khan (a Unionist) to seek election in 1937 from a rural seat in Shaikpura, that he accepted. He was to contest against Jinnah’s Muslim League.

Page 106: Yusuf Ali is then duped by the same Sikandar Hayat and Maulvi Ghulam Mohiuddin Qasuri instead won unopposed. I wonder, if this gentleman belonged to the same Qasuri family that usually secures a Ministerial seat in successive Pakistani governments?

30 Responses to “Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s biography”

  1. Maulvi Ghulam Mohiuddin Qasuri’s father, Dr Bootray Khan of Qasur, was a pledged Ahmadi. His name, and I recall along with Maulvi Ghulam Mohiuddin Qasuri’s name, are in a list of members published in one of Hazrat Mirza sahib’s books.

    (The name I have spelt as Bootray is the common word in Urdu meaning ‘old’. I have used the letters “tr” to represent the Urdu letter occurring after “boo”.)

    Maulvi Ghulam Mohiuddin Qasuri had long ceased to have any formal association with the Ahmadiyya Movement. He was general-secretary of Anjuman Hamayat-i Islam in the 1930s, and friend of Dr Mirza Yaqub Baig.

  2. July 24th, 2013 at 10:07 am
    From Ahmed Moosa:

    salaams, i am interested in purchasing a copy of Yusuf Ali's first translation that he did. The ones that are now available are not his works, but revisions by others over the years. i would appreciate any help anyone can give. Or if anyone has a copy for sale kindly contact me on:

  3. July 24th, 2013 at 2:58 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    In 1934 there were two editions, the first and the second. It is almost impossible, if not totally impossible, to find the first edition. The oldest we can find, scanned on some websites, is the second one from 1934. The next one, I believe, in more common circulation for many years, was the 1938 one. After that, the changed ones started appearing.

  4. Only yesterday I was browsing the website On this site, multiple/parallel translations can be read for any given verse (by clicking it) which includes Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s 1938 edition.

    The site categorizes various translations as:

    1. Generally Accepted Translations of the Meaning

    2. Controversial, deprecated, or status undetermined works

    3. Non-Muslim and/or Orientalist works

    4. New and/or Partial Translations, and works in progress

    For a long time it placed Maulana Muhammad Ali in category 2. When it became available, Amatul Rahman Omar (i.e. Nooruddin) was placed under category 1. Recently the latter was shifted to category 2 as well. Shakir is under category 1.

    While on the site I encountered a popup survey in which I wrote the following:

    “Who gives you the moral authority to call certain translations "Controversial, depreciated, or status undermined works". Some of these translations are sitting in this section for years and their status is still ‘undetermined’. Why? Have you tried to resolve the ‘undermined’. Anyone for hire can put the website up but it needs a man of faith, maybe an illiterate like Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) who stood up despite injury to utter Ahad! Ahad! Now you have moved Amatul Rahman Omar's translation into the same category. Little do you know that Amatul Rahman Omar et. al. and Maulana Muhammad Ali believed in absolute finality of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) without any ifs ands or buts. Can you make the same claim? By the way, Shakir's translation is absolute plagiarism of Maulana Muhammad Ali that you can read for yourself in any verse of your choosing. Will you move it into the same section as well? May Allah guide you to moral honesty and stand up for what Bilal stood for, the real Islam Awakened.”

  5. July 25th, 2013 at 10:15 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Another similar website is:  To select a particular translation, click on the word 'Menu' (top right), and then on the resulting page click inside the box under the heading 'Translation' (as there is no down-arrow there, it is not obvious that a drop-down list will appear, but it does appear). In the long list, go to the sub-heading 'English'.

    The site has a survey of some of the English translations, but the page isn't easy to find. So here is the link:

    It classifies the English translations under 'Non-Muslim' and 'Muslim'. It doesn't list Maulana Muhammad Ali here, even though the site provides his translation. Muslim ones are listed chronologically. After mentioning the first three obscure, obsolete ones ("…today these works only remain of historical interest."), it lists Pickthall and opens with this opinion:

    "The first serious response to the Orientalist venture into Quran translations was undertaken by Muhammad Marmaduke William Pickthall,… 1930. Back then, the translation was viewed with delight among the Muslim community and skeptic among orientalist circles."

    The writer doesn't know, or doesn't say, but this applied exactly to Maulana Muhammad Ali's translation when it appeared in 1917: "first serious response" and "viewed with delight by the Muslim community".

    Under Muslim translations 'Mohamedali Habib Shakir' is listed, and the review says:

    "Sometimes it is branded as a reworking or blatant plagiarism of Muhammad Ali’s Ahmadiyya translation of 1917, but Shakir probably set out to correct the distortions that the later had allowed to creep into his otherwise solid translation."

    Since the reviewer recognises Maulana Muhammad Ali's translation as "otherwise solid", he should have listed and reviewed his translation as well. Perhaps he was afraid to include him in the 'Muslim' category and, at the same time, ashamed to place him in the 'non-Muslim' category! Once Maulana Maudoodi expressed the opinion that Lahori Ahmadis are neither Muslims nor non-Muslims: they are not Muslims because they believe in Mirza sahib and not non-Muslims because they deny that he was a prophet. So he ruled that Lahori Ahmadi are suspended (mu`allaq) between the two!

    What qualifications Shakir, a banker and financier, had to produce this work is not mentioned in the review.

  6. July 25th, 2013 at 12:22 pm
    From Mohammed Iqbal:

    @ Zahid Sahib,  Is there any link to Maududi's opinion on Lahoris that they are neither Muslims or non Muslims! How funny!

  7. July 25th, 2013 at 2:40 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    This opinion by Maudoodi was published by his opponents in the Khatam-i nubuwwat movement in a poster entitled (in Urdu):

    "Maudoodi does not call Lahori Mirza'is as kafir,
    whereas all Muslims fully believe that all Mirza'is, Lahori or Qadiani, are kafir, and the man who has any doubt that they are kafir is also a kafir"

    They then reproduce an official letter, in reply to someone's query, sent by the Jamaat-i Islami of Pakistan, written by an assistant of Maudoodi and certified by Maudoodi at the end.

    See this poster in pdf format at this link.

    They have drawn a square around the letter. Dated 29 January 1968, it reads as follows:

    Your letter was received. The Lahori Jamaat of the Mirza'is is mu`allaq (suspended) between kufr and Islam. It neither says that it disassociates itself totally from a claimant to prophethood, so that its members could be declared as Muslims, nor does it clearly affirm his prophethood so that it could be called kafir.

    Ghulam Ali
    Special assistant to Maulana Syed Abul Ala Maudoodi

    This reply is according to my directions. Abul Ala.

    May Allah bless Hafiz Sher Mohammad sahib marhoom! He took a mass of material with him to Cape Town, including this poster. After the case concluded in 1985, I had a couple of spare days, and I photocopied much of it, and have it in my possession.

  8. assalamu alaikum. . .i am dr hasan from pakistan. .i want to ask a question from all my ahmadi brothers sitting here. .anybody who has the slitghtest degree of predence and wisdom can see that your jammat is representing the true face of islam,and is not only beating about the bush but doing an excellent job in terms of open discussions and giving logical and historical references to present the truth and dispel the misconceptions of thousands of unguided souls. .kudos till here !

    however. . .what makes me feel amazed is why  this wonderful team of peole just shyies away from taking practical steps. .when some one gets inspired and convinced by ideology,and message of true islam,and wants to join hands, what keeps you people from guiding him enter the fold of islam. .is this sheer sense of insecurity that keeps you from holding the hand of someone seeking light?someone really disturbed by seeing dearth of practical work. .regards

  9. July 27th, 2013 at 11:02 am
    From Abid Aziz:

    Wa Alaikum Assalam Dr. Hasan.

    Thank you for your appreciation.

    Could you please shed  a little more light on how we shy away from taking practical steps. A little bit of detail will help us answering your question.

  10. July 27th, 2013 at 11:13 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Dear Dr Hasan, Thank you for your compliments. You say that we shy away from guiding those who want to enter Islam. We don't quite understand this comment. Whenever anyone contacts us about Islam, we do our utmost to help him with guidance and information, and free literature as far as possible.

    We are however hampered by the prejudice against us. In the West, Muslim converts and non-Muslims interested in Islam, if they mention to other Muslim organisations that they have contacted us and approve of us, they are told by these organisations to stay away from us. Only a year ago, when Shaikh Hamza Yusuf of the US praised the work of Maulana Muhammad Ali in a talk, he was forced to retract his comments.

    As to Pakistan, where you are from, and it seems you are living there, it is illegal for us to present our beliefs to anyone outside our movement, whether verbally or by literature. We cannot do any practical work of propagation outside our own Jamaat because we would be charged and brought before a court and face a prison sentence.

  11. thank you zahid aziz and abid aziz. . for taking pains to answer my querry. .yes m living in pakistan and i knw that law here does not allow you to preach freely. .but what if someone who studies the ideology of aaii himself,contacts you for further guidance on how to enter the pail of true islam?telling you out of personal experience that people of your jammat here are v reluctant to provide literature and relevant information to someone seeking guidance. .this sounds as if doors are closed for those living in pakistan to embrace true faith. .if its so ,i can jst say that ALLAH is there to acknowlede and count even the unsuccessful efforts and struggle of light seekers.regards

  12. July 27th, 2013 at 6:41 pm
    From Abid Aziz:

    Dr hassan you are correct in what you said about reluctance of our people in Pakistan to provide literature. The reasons are obvious. We are not allowed to preach and face a lot of threats. We cannot provide the details of the kind of specific threats we face but I am sure that if you knew about those threats you will understand our reluctance.

    However a person who sincerely wants to be part of our efforts will not see the doors closed. I can tell you from my experience that those who were sincere did face reluctance but once people felt their sincerity they did help them and gradually some of them became a valueable part of us.

    if you only need literature you can get that on our website if you need a particular book that is not available on our website you can get that from us. I will be happy to mail books to you from USA where i live. If you go to any of our mosques (we cannot call our mosques as mosque in Pakistan) no body will stop you from entering or praying.

    I hope this clarifies our position to you. And once again if you are sincere and do not have any other motive you will see our doors open.

  13. July 27th, 2013 at 9:46 pm
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    @Dr. Hassan sahib,

    Aslam Alikum,

    Every Muslim in Pakistan has TRUE FAITH. Regardless if they are member of our AAIIL or not. We are NOT like Qadianis who call their interpertation of Holy Quran and their beliefs as only "true" Islam.

    We at LAM/AAIIL practice same Islam that rest of Muslim Umma does. Only difference is in some interpertations e.g.

    1-LAM believes EVERY RECITER of Kalima Shahada is Muslim.

    2-Holy Prophet Muhammad SAWS was the LAST prophet. NO NEW or old prophet can come after him.

    3-Believe is Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is NOT must for a Muslim to remain or become a Muslim.

    4-Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib was ONLY reformer (Mujjaddid) of 14th Islamic century.

    5-Revelations of HMGA were only revelations of a saint/ reformer.

    6-By NOT accepting HMGA as appointee of Allah SAWS, NO Muslim becomes a Non-Muslim.

    7-No word of Holy Quran is abrogated.

    8-Eisa AS is physically dead, and he will NOT return to this world.

    9-Jihad does NOT mean to spread Islam by sword.

    10-Dajjal is Christian Caucasian nations.

    11- Allah SWT is LIVING GOD and He has and will communiacte with his chosen righteous people, even after Holy Prophet Muhammad SAWS.

  14. rashid sb and abid sb ! assalamu alaikum and jazak ALLAH for your kind replies. . pertaining to sir rashid sb's useful info,i would like to say that i knw this difference in ideology of aaii from qadian group. .and these differences are what make aaiil look logical and convincing. . .the fact that aaiil does not rush to declare other muslims as non muslims is a sighn of its maturity and openness as required by true islam. .i however have a qstn to put. .i have been studying the ideology and history of the jammat for quite a months now.whai i found was it still has only negligible members in pak and the jammat is not growing as it should. .no offences intended,but the fact is that the qadian jammat is relatively more active in spreading its ideology and aaii is,and  m not happy to say, a little closed to peole who want to proper functional centers exist except in lahore,no knowledable persons available,no proper jammia in even big cities of pak. .i can understand the constraints but with far more logical,convincing,mature and acceptable ideology to offer,the work of guiding and absorbing people interestd must continue even if active preaching is not possible as per law in pakistan. .thanks and regards

  15. and apropos respected  mr.abids rejoinder,m thankful that you took pains to explain things.jazak ALLAH. .

    HOWEVER skeptical attitudes like that shown in the last of ur msg discourage people and strenthen the wall of reluctance and closeness that has been erected aroud the jammat coupled with sheer dearth of functional centers in pakistan. .no one who wants to stay in pakistan and has a good setup over here,would like to invite troubles by engaging in discussions like this. . .hope i have clarified my position

  16. @DR. Hasan. Thank you for your postings on this form. Please allow me to be a little direct with you. Members of our small peaceful organization continue to be harassed, persecuted and killed for doing nothing other than minding their own business while keeping out of other people’s way. The laws give us a limited space to exist in Pakistan. And even that limited breathing room is violated by individuals ranging from extremists to ordinary people just on their whim. We are an easy target that few care what happens to. Are you asking us to now give these people an actual excuse to come after us?

    You are the not the first person to ask us why we are not more active in Pakistan. Your tone is more polite, others have shown even anger at why we don’t go out and present our views to the general public. I am bemused by this attitude. If you and others like you are so convinced that we have the right views, then why not speak out to the general public, take a stand for the sake of truth, fairness and taqwa and get the laws changed? Then if we fail to present our views to the public, perhaps you are right to chide us.

  17. July 29th, 2013 at 4:03 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    My comment in this discussion is that, sad to say, there are no hoards of people in Pakistan queuing up to find out the truth (about anything), and those few who might be interested in the truth are deterred the moment they have to face any repurcussions, legal or social, and ostracism from society, for accepting that truth.

    I recall that in the 1974-1984 period, when the Qadiani Jamaat khalifas were still in Pakistan, we used to be told by members of their Jamaat that when the annual jalsa at Rabwah is held, the government posts policemen there to keep a check on what is being said in the speeches, and that those policemen, after hearing the speeches, become so impressed that they join the Jamaat! Can anyone imagine that policemen in Pakistan, who are in gross disrepute because of their bad character and corrupt behaviour, are such lovers of the truth and true religious beliefs that they accept the truth the moment they hear it?

    I apologise if this offends any person in Pakistan.

  18. July 30th, 2013 at 3:27 am
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    @Dr Hasan sahib,

    HMGA saw in a vision that he was asked to pick one group, to continue his mission of propgation of Islam, between the two groups. One group comprising of 100,000 (one hundred thousand) people and other of 5,000 (five thousands). He picked the smaller group. The purpose is who is carrying the correct message, the qadianis or Lahori-ahmadis? If we make HMGA as a judge than it is clear LAM/AAIIL is continuing the mission.

    This idea of Qadianis more in number, and active….is ONLY Qadiani justification.

    HMGA wanted to empower General Muslims by giving in their hands the tools they need for propagation of Islam. Although, not to the extent we at LAM wish, but the fact of the matter is that if you care to read any Top Islamic scholar in Islam, especially in the West in last 50 years, if they reference any scholarly work on Islam they refer to LAM/AAIIL literature and absolutely none of Qadiani literature. Wonder why??? Because Qadiani literature is worth NOT on the piece of paper it is printed.

  19. Although, I was neither born in Pakistan nor have I formally lived there, I have been quite intrigued by the lack of people (en masse) of non-HIndustani (Pakistan/India) origin or background that are part of either the Qadiyani or Lahore 'movement'. In general, Lahori/Qadiyani movement leaders also are not well versed in the language of Islam – Arabic. There is no formal scholar either. Whereas you will see in Shia and Sunni Islam, converts or scholars will study the Arabic language as a first, i.e. Dr Bilal Philips, Sh Hamza Yusuf, Dr Yasir Qadhi and the list goes on. 

    Additionally, in the past 1500 years or so since the advent of Islam, there have been many reformers in Islam, whether from the Shias, Sufis or Sunnis. There is a negligible amount of those reformers who claimed what MIrza Ghulam of Qadiyan claimed and/or what his followers have claimed. 

    Logically, and most converts/reverts will agree here (I only quote converts because they come to Islam with a desire to embrace what is pure and true to an unbiased mind), our understanding of Islam today should be the same as was the understanding of the Prophet SAW and the righteous generation(salaf al-salih). This begs the following questions:

    1) Did the Prophet SAW and the righteous generation Eesa A.S. to be phsyically dead and for him not to return? 
    2) Did the Prophet SAW and the righteous generation understand Dajjal to be a person or did they take it metaphorically?
    3) What was their understanding of Jihad?

    A point to be noted is that isolated or rogue opinions that support any Islamic ideology are not very convincing and should be deemed irrelvant. 


  20. Would you care to provide what you consider to be the right answers to these three questions that you are posing?

    It is curious how Maulana Muhammad Ali, being "not at all well versed" in Arabic, managed to translate the Quran into two languages, English and Urdu, to translate Sahih Bukhari into Urdu, and a selection of hadith into English in his 'Manual of Hadith'. Moreover, he was able to refer to and quote extensively from Arabic sources in his book 'The Religion of Islam'.

    Again it is strange how Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, being "not at all well versed" in Arabic, was able to direct the translation of the Quran from Arabic into German, and Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi was able to succeed in public debates against Arya pandits and Christian preachers who had mastered Islam and Arabic specifically for the purpose of attacking Islam.

    And then in the 1980s, it was a mystery how Maulana Hafiz Sher Muhammad was able, without being well-versed in Arabic, to confront the top-most anti-Ahmadiyya Ulama of Pakistan in Cape Town courts and quote from classical Arabic sources to refute these great scholars' standpoints. Or perhaps I was dreaming when I thought I saw him reading and translating these Arabic sources in front of my eyes.

    Also, strangely, an ignorant person like me, devoid of all knowedge of Islam and Arabic, was able to update the language of Maulana Muhammad Ali's English translation of the Quran (and I await your comments about my mistakes and errors in that updating).

  21. I may also add this. Followers of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad are the ones who believe that Arabic is Ummul-alsina ('mother of all languages'). Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din wrote a book of this title in Urdu in 1915 to further the research of Hazrat Mirza sahib on this point. In it he appeals to all Muslims to take up this research. He writes in it:

    "Remember that to spread the Arabic language is to spread Islam. Service to Arabic should not be the work of a particular sect of Islam. You should consider it as the primary service to Islam (appendix, p. 7; link to book).

    Last Friday I attended jumu`a prayers at the Berlin Mosque of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement. Our Imam, Amir Aziz, addressed the congregation in both German and Arabic. I saw Arabs sitting there listening to him in Arabic.

  22. Had I not read 'The Religion Of Islam' I would not have converted. I dare say that this is the case for a lot of other people. For example, see this video from Senator Andre Carson speak on how reading Maulana Muhammad Ali's work saved him. 

    Bilal Phillips, Hamza Yusuf and Yasir Qadhi have made me want to leave Islam in the past but, alhamdulillah, I have the works of the likes of Maulana Muhammad Ali and Dr. Aziz as well as Muhyiddin ibn Arabi and Maulana Rumi to remind me what Islam as taught by the Holy Prophet is really about. Truth stands clear from error.


  23. How well versed in Arabic was Syed Abul A'la Maududi, one of the greatest scholars of Sunni Islam of the last century? Does anyone know about any book, article or leaflet he wrote in Arabic? He was the receipient of the prestigious Faisal award in its inaugural year. Arguably the greatest scholar of Arabic among the non Arabs of the last century, Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (Ali Miyan) had to wait till next year to receive the coveted prize.

  24. Any academic support outside of Ahmadiyya circles that Arabic is mother of all languages?  I haven't seen much.  There isn't much validity to the idea yet.

  25. Other Muslims ought also to be interested in this research since it raises the status of the language of the scripture and religion of Islam as a whole. After all, Hazrat Mirza sahib was not trying to get a special position assigned to his own native language of Punjabi!

    I take the section below from an article I wrote in 2001. It shows that he based this idea on statements occurring in the Quran.


    Another service to Islam by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad relates to the Arabic language. He writes in a book entitled Minan-ur-Rahman that he prayed and cried before Allah, broken heartedly, regarding the condition of the Muslims, that Islam was under heavy attack by the unbelievers and the Ulama were completely heedless and indifferent to these attacks, and doing nothing. So as a result of his prayer Allah opened up to him the secrets of certain verses of the Quran and gave him a powerful weapon for the support of Islam and the Muslims. One of these verses is:

    Wa ka-dhalika auhai-na ilai-ka Quran-an ‘arabiyyan li-tunzira umm-ul-qura wa man haula-ha: “And thus have We revealed to you an Arabic Quran that you may warn the mother-town and those around it.” (42:7)

    He writes that “those around it” means the whole world and adds:

    “It has been disclosed to me that this verse and the indications within it refer to the virtues of the Arabic language, and they point to the fact that Arabic is the mother of the languages, and the Quran is the original of the previous scriptures, and Makkah is the mother of the whole earth … Arabic is the mother of the languages and is from Allah, and the rest of the languages are like its sons and daughters” (See Ruhani Khaza'in, v. 9, p. 183-184)

    “You know that our Rasul, the Khatam-un-nabiyyin, was the warner for all the nations. Allah, the most truthful of the truthful, gave him this name. This proves that Makkah is the mother of the whole world … and this also proves that Arabic is the mother of the languages because Makkah is the mother of all habitations. It also proves that the Quran is the mother of the holy books, and this is why it was revealed in the language which is perfect and comprehensive. The order of God required that His Book, which is the perfect and the last, be revealed in the language which is the root of all languages, the mother of all languages of mankind, and that is clear (mubin) Arabic. You have heard that in the Quran Allah has used the word bayan to describe the Arabic language and called it mubin. This refers to the eloquence of this language and to its high position in the eyes of God.” (ibid., p. 207, 208)

    In this book he discusses some features of the Arabic language and shows that Arabic, out of all languages, has the expressiveness, articulation and eloquence which suits it to carry the last, most perfect word of God.

  26. There is yet another theory that Aramaic preceded Arabic and all semitic tongues sprang up from Aramaic. What are the merits of this arguement? See the Wikipedia article on Aramaic.

  27. October 1st, 2017 at 5:27 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    I don't have sufficient knowledge of this subject to answer your question.

  28. October 1st, 2017 at 7:55 pm
    From Abdul Momin:

    Some useful (though very brief) information concerning Aramaic can be found in the article: "Is Allah God?" by Daniel Pipes at the following link:

    According to the above article, Aramaic was spoken at the time of Jesus. But what was the language of the people living in Arabia at that time?

  29. Just some points:

    -According linguists Aramaic is classified as a Northwestern semitic language while Arabic is a central semitic language. So it is not possible that Arabic comes from Aramaic.

    – linguists have theorized of a proto semitic language as the originator of semitic languages.

    – Arabic is probably the most closely related language to the proto-semitic language because of its conservative structure due to being preserved in the relatively isolated Arabian desert and surounded/sheltered by other semitic languages from outside influences.

    -So I think the Promised Messiah (as) is still correct since Arabic is the most preserved and conservative semitic language, that it is the mother of all languages.

    – I personally believe that Quranic Arabic and the original proto-semitic language are probably mutually intelligible.

    – However, Arabic was a primarily oral language and did borrow the Aramaic alphabet. However, the alphabet has no relationship to a languages age. Otherwise, some languages have not come into existant as they donnot have alphabets.

  30.  Saad Malhi sahib, Is there such a thing as Quranic Arabic? Quran is primarily in the Qureishi dialect with a sprinkling of other dialects as well. Of course, there are also exotic theories which says the original language of the Quran was and still is Aramaic. Please peruse the link.

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