Tribute by Abdul Majeed
(Abdul Majeed Salik 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 in Urdu
was published in the Lahore Ahmadiyya paper Paigham Sulh,
of 26 December 1951. 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 relations
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 - Ed.], 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.