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Obituaries of Maulana Muhammad Ali in Pakistani English language Press

The Dawn, Karachi, 16 October 1951

“Maulvi Muhammad Ali, whose death occurred in Karachi, probably did more writing on Islamic subjects for almost half a century than any contemporary individual. Immersed in scholarly pursuits and gifted with a researcher’s frame of mind, his aims were not academic. He was a missionary who awoke to his calling in life in the environment of the last century when Islam in this sub-continent was a target of concentrated scurrilous attacks from Western missionaries and votaries of a venomous revivalist Hinduism.

A man of his academic distinction, in the late nineties, must have overcome a strong temptation in declining to enter Government service — the inevitable goal of education in those days — and choosing a missionary career. The object to which he dedicated his life was the translation of the Holy Quran into English; and he lived long enough after the first edition of his translation and commentary appeared in 1917, to follow it up with many other works. The best among these subsequent works are believed to be his Muhammad, The Prophet and The Religion of Islam. The former is a biography which pre-eminently serves its purpose; and the latter is almost cyclopaedic in its range of information.

As a missionary Maulvi Muhammad Ali had profitably studied the publicity techniques of European missionaries and his prolific writings reflect his ability to devise a suitable approach to almost every individual section of his readers. Stupendous was the energy that he could put into this task; and as the years grew on him the will-power made up for what was lacking in physical strength. He died working almost till the last. Silent and unassuming as he was, both the man and his works were appropriately reflected in the fact — paradoxical as it might seem — that his writings were better known than the man himself.

His death is a real loss. He will be mourned by a wide circle of friends and admirers. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved family.”

The Star, Lahore, 20 October 1951

“On October 13, at 11.30 a.m. in Karachi, there passed away from this world a well-known scholar and religious leader — Maulana Muhammad Ali, head of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore. Soon after finishing his education, and while still very young, Maulana Muhammad Ali joined the followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, and came to the fore as a writer in English on Islam while he edited the Review of Religions, a monthly organ of the Ahmadiyya Movement of which the first issue came out in January 1902. The monthly journal, devoted to the comparative study of Religion, did yeoman’s service under Maulana Muhammad Ali’s editorship by defending Islam against the onslaught of Christian Missionaries and European Orientalists of the old school whose writings were more marked by a virulent prejudice against Islam than by a spirit of honest enquiry and scholarly research.

After the death of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, Mr. Muhammad Ali was assigned the task of preparing a translation in English of the Holy Quran; but the work could not be finished in the life-time of Maulvi Noor-ud-Din. Moreover, after the death of Maulvi Noor-ud-Din, a split occurred in the Ahmadiyya Movement over some points of belief and doctrine, as well as general policy to be followed in carrying on the mission of the Movement. Maulana Muhammad Ali was the Head of the section that broke away from Qadian and established itself in Lahore, finally coming to be known as Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore.

The translation of the Holy Quran into English, prepared by Maulana Muhammad Ali, was published in 1917, and was at once accepted as a most valuable addition to Islamic literature in English prepared by Muslim scholars and divines themselves, as distinct from what European and American scholars write on the subject, practically always under a deep anti-Islamic bias characteristic of Christian missionaries.

Apart from his translation of the Holy Quran, Maulana Muhammad Ali brought out a translation of Sahih Bukhari, and many other books on subjects connected with the superiority of Islam as a religious and social system. By removing him from our midst, death has thus created a vacuum that will long be felt by all interested in the revival of Islam as the most dominant spiritual force in the lives of the Muslim peoples.”