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Some tributes to Maulana Muhammad Ali at his death
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Some tributes to Maulana Muhammad Ali at his death

Feroz Khan Noon

Sir Malik Feroz Khan Noon (d. 1970) was a public servant, diplomat and politician during British rule of India and later a Pakistani statesman and prime minister. He was governor of the Pakistani province of East Bengal at the time when Maulana Muhammad Ali died. He wrote the following letter to Mr. N. A. Faruqui, brother-in-law of Maulana Muhammad Ali and a high-ranking civil servant. It was published in The Light, 8 November 1951.

16th October 1951

My dear Faruqui

I was very sorry to read in the papers of the demise of Maulana Muhammad Ali. Please accept my deepest sympathy. It is a loss which not only I but the whole Muslim world will share with you fully. His works will remain forever and I do not know of any man who has done so much for the revival of Islam as your brother-in-law, not even during the last 500 years.

Feroz Khan Noon

Khwaja Hasan Nizami of Dehli

Khwaja Hasan Nizami (d. 1955) was a writer, sufi leader and successor of a saint of Dehli, India. His tribute to Maulana Muhammad Ali was reproduced in the Lahore Ahmadiyya paper Paigham Sulh, of 26 December 1951, taken from his own journal. It is translated below. (This translation first appeared in The Light and Islamic Review, September-October 1992 and September-October 2001.)

“Maulana Muhammad Ali was the head of the Lahore Jama‘at of the Ahmadis. His death was recently reported by Lahore radio. He did not agree with the khilafat of Qadian, and so he had formed a separate Jama‘at. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din belonged to his group. Maulana Muhammad Ali also translated the Holy Quran into English. In connection with the work of the propagation of Islam, I had cause to meet the Maulana from the very beginning of my life till today. I consider him to be a very great and very successful worker. May Allah grant him protection, and patience to the bereaved.

I inform my disciples and their leaders in India and Pakistan to hold meetings of reading the Fatiha for him. He has rendered so much service to the Quran and Islam that I believe it essential to hold the reading of the Fatiha for him.”

(Munadi, September-October 1951)

Abdul Majeed Salik

Abdul Majeed Salik (d. 1959) was a journalist, poet and author. He was editor of a Muslim daily, the Inqilab and wrote the book Zikr-i Iqbal about the life of Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal. He lived close to Maulana Muhammad Ali’s house in Lahore in the Muslim Town suburb. The street in which he lived was later named Salik Street in his honour. His tribute was published in the Lahore Ahmadiyya paper Paigham Sulh, of 26 December 1951. It is translated below. (An English translation of most of it first appeared in The Light and Islamic Review, September-October 1992. It was republished in the September-October 2001 issue with the addition of further material from the original Urdu article.)

“It was 1912. I had gone from Batala to Qadian to meet some friends. I went to see Maulana Hakim Nur-ud-Din, marhum and maghfur, in connection with the illness of a relation. It was the morning time, and the Hakim sahib was sitting in the front yard of his house attending to the needs of a crowd of people, consisting of both his followers and other needy persons. If one was having his pulse taken, another had come to seek medical knowledge, and yet another was waiting his turn to ask a question about religion. I too went and sat among the waiting people.

When my turn came I showed him the document detailing my relation’s illness, which the Hakim sahib read very carefully. While doing so, he asked me where I had come from …

[Mr. Salik narrates here his conversation with Maulana Nur-ud-Din, which we omit, and then he continues] …

My talk with him was going on when a man came to see him. The Hakim sahib left all his work and turned his attention to him. After saying one or two things to him, he introduced me to him, saying: This young man is Abdul Majeed Salik, grandson of Maulvi Mir Muhammad of Batala. Then he said to me: Meet Maulvi Muhammad Ali sahib. I met the Maulvi sahib with much admiration. I had been hearing for long that Maulvi Muhammad Ali, M.A., Ll.B., was a very skilled writer of the English language and was translating the Holy Quran into English, but it was only today that I met him. Then the Maulvi sahib asked the Hakim sahib the meanings of some places in the Holy Quran and discussed with him the meanings of certain words. Having finished, he bade me farewell with great affection and left.

After this, I next met Maulvi Muhammad Ali sahib when I was appointed editor of Zamindar in Lahore. At that time Maulvi Zafar Ali Khan and Dr. Iqbal had friendly relations with Maulvi Muhammad Ali, Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, Dr. Yaqub Baig, Dr. Syed Muhammad Husain Shah and Shaikh Rahmatullah, but I met these revered elders only infrequently. After the publication of the Inqilab started, I met Maulana Muhammad Ali quite often. The Maulana used to live in a house adjacent to the mosque in Ahmadiyya Buildings and I used to go to meet him sometimes. He was very kind to me and highly praised the religious and political services of Inqilab.

Maulana Muhammad Ali became a true and staunch Muslim by living in the company of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Not only that, the greatness of the religion of Islam was so impressed upon his mind and heart that he devoted the whole of his life for its propagation. Every moment in his life was spent in the service of the faith. Besides the English translation of the Holy Quran, he wrote countless books on religious subjects. In my opinion, the best of these is the book The Religion of Islam, by studying which an English-knowing person can acquire such detailed knowledge about the religion which even the fully-qualified maulvis do not possess.

For the last fifteen years, Maulana Muhammad Ali had been living in Muslim Town [a suburb of Lahore], where I also have my residence. So we used to meet often in various gatherings and functions. Despite his religious and pious nature, he was quite informal. He was, no doubt, an Ahmadi, but his relations with other Muslims were extremely sincere and fraternal. One reason was that he was the head of that group of Ahmadis whose beliefs are not intolerant. Secondly, he was by nature peace-loving. He used to give sympathetic support to the campaigns and movements of the Muslims, and did not tolerate takfir of them, because he believed that calling Muslims as kafir was inconsistent with the work of propagation. He presented the message of Islam not only to India but to the Western world as well. And it is a fact that he possessed the capability of doing so in every way. He was not only a learned man of the religion, but also a high-ranking commentator of the Quran and mujtahid. He was an English writer of the highest standard, who well understood the Western mind. He presented Islam to Western-educated people as well as to Westerners themselves in such a style that they could not help becoming convinced of the greatness of this faith. I believe that hundreds of seekers-after-truth in the Western countries became Muslims by reading the writings and books of Maulana Muhammad Ali, and it is as a result of his efforts that today the name of Islam is mentioned with respect in the West, hostility towards Islam having become infrequent. The selfless service of Islam, over a long period, will surely be a source of Allah’s mercy for Maulana Muhammad Ali, because Allah never wastes the efforts and exertions of the true servants of his faith.

There is no doubt that there was a little difference of belief between him and the general Muslims, but that difference was by no means so serious that the Muslims should ignore his services and fail to appreciate him. I am extremely dismayed to see that, when quite ordinary poets and writers die, the press and the radio devote hundreds of pages in their honour and relay endless speeches boring the listeners, but at the death of Maulana Muhammad Ali they did nothing. Muslim newspapers and magazines should have published detailed articles about his life and his work of the propagation of Islam, and talks should have been broadcast on the radio about his work. However, most newspapers did no more than publish just the news of his death. Two or three newspapers wrote notes which were about twenty lines in length. This is a reflection of the ingratitude and lack of appreciation of these times. However, in the religious circles in Western countries, regret was expressed at the death of the Maulana, and articles were written about his services. But the most important thing is that the Maulana will find his reward with Almighty Allah. The man whose work is accepted by Allah cannot have any concern about its acceptance by the world.

May Allah grant the Maulana shelter under the shadow of His mercy, make his services to the religion a cause for his forgiveness and for his elevation in rank, and grant that educated Muslims follow his example — Amin.