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The Great Mujahid: Life Story of Maulana Muhammad Ali

Part 3: Life at Lahore,
From April 1914 to October 1951.

6b. From 1939 to June 1947: Three campaigns for Quran publication
5. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
6. Non-English material

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Part 3
Life at Lahore
April 1914 to October 1951

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6b. From 1939 to June 1947

(Second of three sections)

Three campaigns for Quran publication

Three ways for service of the Holy Quran

During the three years 1943, 1944 and 1945, Maulana Muhammad Ali laid the foundations of three grand schemes for the service of the Holy Quran, and he began work on these schemes during the remaining six or seven years of his life. He thus showed the Jama‘at the path to follow in order to fulfil the role of being heirs of the Promised Messiah and carry out the tasks entrusted to him by Allah. After this there was another large-scale scheme, that of distributing literature, which he promoted in the last two years of his life. He raised funds for it himself and went much of the way towards accomplishing this scheme in his own lifetime. During these last years of his life he devoted all his efforts to establishing some permanent basis for the service of the Holy Quran, and to achieve this his first proposal was to set up a ‘Quran Publication Trust’ which later on took the form of the ‘Quran Translations Fund’.

Proposal for ‘Quran Publication Trust’

In September 1943, before the last ten days of Ramadan, Maulana Muhammad Ali made an appeal to the Jama‘at, in the paper Paigham Sulh, for a special prayer. He wrote as follows:

“It was the 14th or 15th of the month of Sha‘ban … about half an hour before my usual waking time, a state of half drowsiness descended upon me and in that state the following words were on my lips which I kept on repeating: Rabbi qarrib-ni ilai-ka, qarrib nusrata-ka illaya, ‘O my Lord, draw me towards You and bring Your help near me’, till it was time for me to rise. I feel that the time of help from Allah the Most High is drawing nearer, whether it comes in my lifetime or comes to the Jama‘at after me, and I want to appeal to you for a special prayer.

The dearest wish in the heart of the Promised Messiah was to have the Holy Quran translated into different languages and sent to non-Muslims. Exactly this has been the highest goal of our Jama‘at, and what God has enabled our small Jama‘at to do in this respect no Islamic state or other Muslim organization has been able to do. However, so far we have not laid a permanent foundation for this work. Now on the 13th and 14th of Ramadan a proposal has come from afar which gives a strong hope of placing this work on a permanent basis. It is suggested to establish a Trust for the publication of the Quran with a capital of 100,000 Rupees to translate the Holy Quran into various languages and distribute it among non-Muslims. By the grace of God signs of success of this scheme have immediately appeared, and instead of 100,000 Rupees perhaps funds of 200,000 Rupees may be raised by December. So it occurred to me that we should lay the foundation of this task during the blessed month of Ramadan, the month that is specially associated with the revelation of the Quran. … While on the one hand I am taking some practical steps to set this up, on the other hand I would like to request members of the Jama‘at, in tahajjud prayers during these last ten days of Ramadan which include the night Lailat-ul-Qadr, to pray specially for success in this mission. Our work is to spread the Quran in the world, and that can only be done by translating it into other languages and making it reach the people. To win the hearts of the people is the Quran’s own work, and that will happen for sure because it is the promise of Allah the Most High Himself: ‘We have not revealed to you the Quran that you may be unsuccessful’ [the Quran, 20:2]. Neither did he fail to whom the Quran was revealed nor will those fail who spread the Quran in the world.”

(Paigham Sulh, 22 September 1943)

It has been mentioned before that on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee Maulana Muhammad Ali had tried to place the work of the propagation of the Quran on a firm footing so that it would continue to be done into the future by the help of a permanent fund dedicated for this purpose. On that earlier occasion also he had requested the Jama‘at to pray for 40 days; as this work was ordained by God, so only by praying to Him could the resources be found to establish a permanent basis for it and to develop it further. However, at that time also the General Council of the Anjuman did not agree to allocate the Jubilee Fund to the propagation of the Quran but decided to spend it on consolidation of the Jama‘at. No notable consolidation of the Jama‘at was achieved, only an opportunity was lost for the propagation of the Quran. Now he put this suggestion again before the Jama‘at, and laid stress on prayer because by falling before God the same zeal and passion for the propagation of the Quran that dominated his own heart could perhaps be fired up in other hearts as well. In his Friday khutba on 15 October 1943 he further explained his proposal in the following words:

“The suggestion to establish a Quran Publication Trust has come from a place much afar, but it is the work of this Jama‘at and if it please Allah this Jama‘at will do it. What does the ‘Quran Publication Trust’ mean? Some funds will be donated by the Anjuman for the propagation of Islam and for some we will ask our friends to donate individually. This 100,000 to 200,000 Rupees could be invested in some business, and the resulting income be used to translate the Holy Quran into different languages of the world.

I mentioned this for the first time in my Friday khutba in Dalhousie, and after the prayers Shaikh Mian Muhammad was the first one to agree, offering to give ten thousand Rupees. It is a matter of being convinced. I hope that, for the sake of the Quran, our Jama‘at will make financial sacrifices, and every one will feel the urge to keep his name remembered forever after him by means of this perpetual endowment. The Holy Quran will be translated into different languages and made available to people, whether free or at a low price or at full price, in languages whether of India or of Europe.

There is no organization at present that has this as its objective. Just think, you cannot find any power or state in the world whose aim is what this Jama‘at is doing, or who has been as successful as this Jama‘at. Keep it in your mind that there is no other task more virtuous than this. Try to support it. This proposal will be launched very soon. I wish to be able to announce at the annual gathering that this trust has started functioning with some funds. Then it will be strengthened as more and more people come to join this effort.”

Calling a meeting of the General Council on 31 October, he presented this proposal to it, but the meeting could not reach a decision. Then at the time of the annual gathering the General Council decided that the Anjuman should start a ‘Quran Translations Fund’, which would be used for producing translations of the Quran. However, later events proved that the proposal to create a separate trust to safeguard the funds was more sound because the Anjuman, whenever facing financial problems, transferred money from the Quran Translations Fund to other expenditure. Though this work commenced on the right lines and translations of the Holy Quran were started in four languages, but after a while the Anjuman’s resolve weakened, and after Maulana Muhammad Ali’s death there was no one to repeatedly emphasise the importance of this work, so the translations started during his life were not completed. Anyhow, at that time it was the General Council’s decision which was acted upon.

The first proposal — Quran Translations Fund

Accordingly, at the annual gathering in December 1943 Maulana Muhammad Ali launched this fund and made an appeal for it. Before the appeal he made a very moving, comprehensive speech. Reciting the verses “And if there could be a Quran with which the mountains were made to pass away…” from chapter Al-Ra‘d (13:31), he said that the Holy Quran intrinsically possesses a tremendous power that clears all obstructions in its way. According to this verse calamities will continue to befall the dwellings of those who deny the Holy Quran, until Allah’s promise to make Islam triumphant is fulfilled. Then regarding the words “or the earth were cloven asunder” which can also signify “the earth will be travelled over”, he said that this Quran will cover the distances of the earth and reach its ends. It is a historical fact that it happened in the past. Thirdly, it is said here: “or the dead were made to speak”. Thus the work of raising the spiritually dead to life was done by the Quran at the time of its revelation and will be done by it again.

Following these words God says: Have the believers lost hope that if Allah please He would certainly guide the whole world? It too will come about as it happened in the past, that tribulations will continue to befall the deniers until the promise of Allah is fulfilled. He mentioned the two phases of opposition to Islam: one which occurred at its beginning and the other by the nations of Gog and Magog. These nations first tried by means of the Crusades to wipe out Islam with the sword, but failing in that they tried more subtle means. It is promised that, after the success of Gog and Magog, Islam will be triumphant.

After this he made an appeal for starting the ‘Quran Translations Fund’, upon which approximately 100,000 Rupees were raised in the form of cash and promises.

At the opening of the annual gathering in 1943, in his Friday khutba on 24 December, he drew the attention of the Jama‘at to the point that each one of its members was a spiritual soldier. He said:

“I want to tell you who we are and what are our objectives. Forty three years ago, with some thoughts of a worldly career, having made some arrangements to start my law practice, and after making preparations for my future, I arrived in Qadian. After I had been staying there for two or three months, when I had rented a property in Gurdaspur and put all the resources together for practising law, Hazrat Mirza sahib told me one day that he intended to start a magazine in English to convey conclusive arguments to Christianity and other religions, and that he wanted me to do this work. I had never, even during my college days, gained experience of speaking or writing in English. If I had given a reply in view of my lack of ability, I would have confessed my handicap and told him that I was not capable of doing that work. Instead I bowed to his command. The Promised Messiah himself wrote the objectives of this magazine and published them in the first issue, writing that in this age there was a great spiritual war going on in the world, and when progress in worldly affairs reaches its peak, that is exactly the time of the progress of religion. I have told you this because our Jama‘at has been formed to wage a spiritual war against the satanic forces. You must all understand this objective well. The man whose coming was promised thirteen hundred years ago has put this objective before you, and moreover he has started you in this battle.”

During 1944 Maulana Muhammad Ali kept on making appeals for the Quran Translations Fund. In addition to his Friday khutbas, he kept writing letters to members personally as well as collectively through Paigham Sulh. On one occasion he said:

“I am in the last phase of my life. I cannot say how much longer I will be granted, but this is your task and you have to do it.”

In one of his khutbas he said:

“During the Promised Messiah’s time, those people who lived there were struck by the fact that, when people from outside came to see him daily, he would go over the same issue of the death of Jesus every time. Those who lived there wondered why the same point was being stressed again and again. But, glory be to God, as a result of one man emphasising this issue so much, people today have generally accepted it, or there are others who recognise the truth within their hearts but dare not discuss it openly.

Repeating certain points is because of their importance and in order to firmly establish them in the world. In the case of the issue of the death of Jesus, it was the foundation of the Promised Messiah’s claim, but in practical matters what Hazrat Mirza sahib has drawn people’s attention to is to make the Holy Quran uppermost in their lives and to propagate it in the world. This was his real aim, and he felt deeply pained in his heart to see that Muslims were no longer concerned about the propagation of the Quran.

I too wish to repeat again and again the necessity of making the Holy Quran uppermost and propagating it, until the same effect is achieved as in the case of the issue of Jesus’ death, and it becomes firmly established in the minds of the Muslims that without propagating the Holy Quran and making it uppermost, there is no salvation for them.”

(Paigham Sulh, 4 May 1944)

In the Friday khutba on 14 April 1944, published in Paigham Sulh dated 19 April 1944, he said:

“The propagation of the Quran is such a magnificent work that it cannot be done by any community except those people who have the most strongly-felt faith in Allah in their hearts. … Hazrat Mirza sahib had tremendous love for the Quran, but when we people read his writings we pay little attention to the need for creating the same passion within us as that which ruled over his heart.

In many of his poems Hazrat Mirza sahib has expressed his love for the Quran. In particular there is a short Persian poem in which he has expressed his deep desire for the propagation of the Quran. He begins it as follows:

Alas, that the beauty of the face of the Quran is not manifest anymore; the fact is, it manifests its own beauty but to recognise it there is no one left.

This poem shows how deeply he felt that the Holy Quran should reach the whole world.

I see everyone engrossed in his own sorrows, there is no room left in anyone’s heart to sorrow over the propagation of the Quran.

‘Own sorrows’ include all the matters related to our worldly interests.

My soul is burning in grief because of this Holy Book, so consumed by fire am I that there is left no hope for my survival.

O head of all created beings! ask for help, this is the time help is required; for there is no gardener left to take care of your orchard.

Here he addresses the Holy Prophet, asking him also to seek help as there was no gardener left in his orchard.

I would dance with joy a hundred times, if I see that the captivating beauty of the Quran is no longer hidden.

Such was his passion that the beauty of the Holy Quran should be known to the world. The last couplet of this poem is as follows:

O you indifferent, unaware one! gird up your loins to serve the Quran, before the call is sounded that your life is over.

In his Friday khutba on 12 May 1944, while mentioning the Promised Messiah’s passion for spreading the Quran in the world, he said:

“Praising the Holy Quran and its scribes and those who spread it, Allah says: ‘Nay, surely it is a Reminder. So let him, who will, mind it. In honoured books, exalted, purified, in the hands of scribes, noble, virtuous.’ [80:11–16]. That is, the Holy Quran is a means of eminence, whoever wishes let him remember it; it is in honoured scriptures, in the hands of scribes (safara) who are noble and virtuous. The word safara is plural of musafir, derived from safr which has both the meanings of spreading and opening. It bears both the significances of writing the Quran and spreading it. Who are safara? Those who spread the Quran with translation and commentary.

There have been many eminent scribes of the Holy Quran. Allah the Most High raised them and their helpers to the rank of ‘noble, virtuous’, showing how He exalts those who serve the Holy Quran. Besides these, some great Muslim monarchs earned their livelihood by copying out the Holy Quran … You may wonder whether it is allowed for a person to make his living by writing out copies of the Holy Quran. In a hadith in Bukhari the Holy Prophet says: ‘The most worthy thing for which you take remuneration is the Book of Allah’. It means that just as it is allowed to take recompense for every kind of work, so if you do service to the Quran, teach the Quran, write the Quran and take recompense it is lawful. It is very noble work and a highly moral way of making a living.”

(Paigham Sulh, 24 May 1944)

To sum up, this was how intensely and how frequently he stressed to the Jama‘at the work of the publication of the Quran. When an elder of the Jama‘at once made the comment about him “our Hazrat Ameer has pinned all hopes on the Quran”, this truly portrayed the inner feelings of Maulana Muhammad Ali.

The second proposal for the propagation of the Quran — opening of missionary centres

The second major plan for the service of the Quran was launched by Maulana Muhammad Ali in December 1944 at the annual gathering. This was to open further Islamic propagation centres in other countries after the Second World War would be over. The Anjuman already had some missions abroad, although their activities were now hampered due to the war. In many countries where the Anjuman’s missionaries were stationed, sizeable branches of the Jama‘at had been created. Maulana Muhammad Ali proposed that one million Rupees should be raised to expand the work of the missions after the war. Accordingly, funds were collected for this scheme when it was inaugurated at this annual gathering.

Trip to Bombay

To take practical steps to raise funds, Maulana Muhammad Ali undertook first a journey to Bombay and Delhi to put this plan before the general Muslim community and seek their help. On 22 January 1945 he went to Bombay for two weeks, accompanied by Chaudhry Fazal Haq. There he stayed at Malabar Hill at the residence of Mr. Naseer Ahmad Faruqui, who held the post of Collector of Bombay. During this stay he spent most of his time in meeting prominent local Muslims and raising subscriptions from them. Sir Rahmatullah Chana’i and other Muslim leaders, government officials and businessmen gave dinners in his honour, where on every such occasion Maulana Muhammad Ali made speeches putting forward the plan of the Ahmadiyya Jama‘at for the propagation of Islam and appealed for funds. Besides these meetings he also gave classes in the Holy Quran every day at the residence of Mr. Faruqui, attended by large numbers of Ahmadis as well as other Muslims. Due to the erroneous beliefs of the Qadianis, a section of the Muslims expressed strong opposition to the Ahmadiyya Movement during his visit. In this connection he used the newspapers as a means to disseminate true information about the Movement to the public, and many articles by him were published in the Urdu newspapers of Bombay. Apart from other gatherings, he also made speeches at special functions held at the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Radio Club. He also delivered a speech at the Government College Bombay on the topic of ‘The rising of the Sun from the West’.

During this stay in Bombay a total of 44,000 Rupees was collected for the publication of the Quran.

The third proposal — Idara Talim-ul-Quran

The third year, at the annual gathering in December 1945, he announced the third major proposal in this series. This was for the establishment of an institute, the Idara Talim-ul-Quran (Institute for the study and teaching of the Quran), for those doing research on the Quran, where there would also be residential facilities for young people of the Jama‘at to acquire knowledge of the Quran so that scholars and missionaries could be produced to continue the research work. On 26 December 1945 Maulana Muhammad Ali made a very comprehensive and compelling speech at the annual gathering in which he illustrated the greatness and eminence of the Quran, and its triumph in the world, by referring to verses of the Quran itself. Then he went over Hazrat Mirza sahib’s passion for the Holy Quran and his heart-felt longing and fervour in this respect, and mentioned the achievements so far of the Jama‘at in this connection. He also made reference to the first two proposals, that is, translating the Holy Quran and its propagation. Then in connection with the work of teaching the Quran and preparing missionaries he said:

“Who would be the people and where would they come from who would spread these translations of the Holy Quran in the world from our missionary centres? … Unless our children and young people become knowledgeable in the Quran the task of its propagation cannot be fulfilled properly. As to those men who are commissioned by God, for them God Himself makes human resources available so that workers come and offer them their services spontaneously. But after the time of these men commissioned by God, their followers have to make their own plans and preparations as to how to continue this work. … The problem to be solved today is to create a system whereby the mission of the service of Islam and the Quran can continue into the future, and this can only be achieved if there are permanent arrangements for training the workers. … If you do not start making arrangements now for teaching the Quran to your younger generation then this Jama‘at will perish by its own hands and you will fall from your exalted position. … God does not care to rely upon anyone, He does not depend on anyone, the mission of His religion will not stop. If one community becomes neglectful of the service of religion, He will raise another to take its place.”

(Paigham Sulh, 20 February 1946)

With that he put forward the proposal to establish an institution where, besides general education, there would be arrangements to provide teaching in the Quran to young people from an early age. They would be taught the Holy Quran, the Hadith and the history of Islam, and be so trained that they would love the work of the service of the Holy Quran. Missionaries could also be trained in this institute as well as scholars who would do research on the Quran and find solutions to modern problems from this Holy Book in order to provide guidance to the world. A part of the work of this institute would be to cater for the education of the poor of the Jama‘at.

On this new proposal being put, members of the Jama‘at gave promises of almost 100,000 Rupees at once, immediately following his speech. After the annual gathering he repeated this proposal to the entire community by a letter written on 16 January. At that time the intention was to build the institute on land of almost 200 kanals{footnote 1} outside Muslim Town, Lahore, which he had bought for the Anjuman with funds from the Irshad-i Ilahi scheme, because the new campus of the Punjab University was also later to be built adjacent to this land. However, the plan for the institute could not be put into practice during his lifetime because the Improvement Trust did not make any decision about this land for a long time. Anyhow, the first step in this direction that was taken was to establish a hostel in the Muslim High School number 2 where accommodation and arrangements for religious education were provided for pupils studying in Lahore.

Emphasising service of the Quran

Besides laying down the foundations of these three schemes for the service of the Quran and its propagation in the world, Maulana Muhammad Ali used to urge the importance of this work over and over again, as has been mentioned earlier. His khutbas and writings of these years are so thoroughly imbued with this passion that no biography of his could be complete without giving the fullest expression to these feelings. This love for the Quran manifests itself in his khutbas in many different ways and forms.

In the Friday khutba of 11 January 1946 (published 30 January), explaining the Quranic verses “Surely it is a bounteous Quran, in a book that is protected, which none touches save the purified ones” (56:77–79) as testifying that this Quran is ‘bounteous’, that is, its benefits are open to all, and these are attainable by those whose hearts have been purified, he said:

“It is a remarkable fact of Islamic history that those who brought about a transformation in the world through the Quran were only those people who had a very strong connection with God and whose hearts were pure. … Our work is also to spread the Quran in the world. So I want to draw your attention to the fact that we can only make the world benefit from the Quran if our own hearts are pure and we establish a close relationship with God.

You must remember it well that the heart is pure only when it is cleansed of love of everything except the love of God. The strongest love is love for wealth. There is no bigger idol than mammon before which people bow down. To remove love for this false god from the heart and replace it with love of God is actually the first step towards purification of the heart. The Holy Prophet Muhammad was told very plainly: ‘Take charity out of their property — you would cleanse them and purify them thereby’ [the Quran, 9:103].

This is the teaching we have inherited from the Imam of the Age. … This is what purifies the hearts. Reduce love for wealth so that you may establish a close bond with God the Most High and the wonders of the Quran may be revealed to the world.”

In his khutbas of 25 January and 1 February 1946, explaining the meaning of the verse of Sura Fatiha “Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help”, he said that the true concept of worship is to render perfect obedience and submission with humility. A person can only achieve the true meaning of obedience in its fullest sense when he is absorbed every moment in concern for doing the work commanded by his master. The work commanded by God is work for His religion. When we say iyya-ka na‘budu (“Thee do we serve”) then this worship will reach its perfection only when we entirely dedicate ourselves to the service of the religion of God, and by iyya-ka nasta‘in (“Thee do we beseech for help”) the Holy Prophet Muhammad showed the help of God as a great reality because he took worship to its perfection in the true sense. We too today, by using this weapon, can recreate the miracle shown by Islam in the world. Whoever will help the cause of the religion of God, God will most surely help him, provided that we prove ourselves true to the words iyya-ka na‘budu.

Similarly on another occasion, in his Friday khutba on 16 August 1946, he explained the verse “when My servants asks you about Me, (say) I am near” (the Quran, 2:186) as follows. In this verse it is taught that God is very near to His servants, indicating that it is not difficult to attain closeness to Him. However, most people, even while believing in Him, cannot get close to Him, and men of spiritual knowledge have also declared that it is very difficult to attain nearness to God. In fact, the secret underlying this closeness and remoteness is disclosed by the word ‘My servants’ (‘ibádí). Whoever will become a servant (‘abd) of God, he will draw near to God and God will draw near to him. And who is an ‘abd? It is the one who always looks to observing the commandments of God, and who reaches perfection in serving God. To bring human beings near to God was the magnificent task entrusted to the most perfect ‘abd — the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Exalting the name of God in the world is the work which brings a person closest to God. By deciding to do just that one work we can, in one step, bridge the gap that exists between us and God. Then, after mentioning that it was just this work which the Promised Messiah entrusted to us, he said:

“From the powerful inner sentiments of the Promised Messiah, different people absorbed different aspects. My dead heart was raised to life by his passion for the propagation of Islam. It is one of the rays of the light emanating from his heart that has left an impression on my heart and infused a fervent desire in me to try to spread the Quran in the world. This is my heart’s desire, more than that, it is my obsession. Although some people are irritated by this obsession, so much so that one elder feels the need to vent his anger by writing me an abusive letter after almost every khutba of mine, yet I feel that my passion is still not strong enough. Although in each one of my khutbas I draw people’s attention to the propagation of the Quran or its translation or its teachings or acting upon the Quran, my words have not much effect because I am a weak person myself. … I am sure that the day this entire Jama‘at becomes infused with this passion, the whole Muslim nation that day would be raised to a new life, and when the same deep anxiety for the propagation of the Quran which made the Promised Messiah’s heart restless is infused in the hearts of the whole community, that will be the day of the triumph of Islam.” (Paigham Sulh, 28 August 1946)

Second journey to Hyderabad

To make these three schemes successful Maulana Muhammad Ali visited many branches of the Jama‘at outside Lahore and toured various cities in his efforts to get assistance for these plans. In March 1946 he visited Hyderabad Deccan a second time. His first visit in 1942 had made a tremendous impact there and had been of much advantage to the cause of Islam and its propagation. The Ahmadis of Deccan and other supporters of the Jama‘at there wanted him to pay another visit. So on 7 March he left Lahore, with Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi and Maulana Sadr-ud-Din also accompanying him. He arrived in Delhi on the morning of 8 March and led the Friday prayer there. The same day he left for Hyderabad by the Grand Trunk Express train service. On the morning of 10 March, they were received by Ahmadis as well as non-Ahmadi friends at Sikanderabad station. He stayed at the residence of Abdul Karim Babu Khan. During his stay, which was till 20 March, he had extensive meetings and talks with people from different walks of life and of diverse outlook, and the leaders and Ulama of the state. Receptions were given in his honour by dignitaries such as Mir Laiq Ali, Khan Bahadur Ishfaq Ahmad, Maulvi Abdul Latif and Nawab Ali Nawaz Jang, where he made speeches. In addition to this, on 12 March a public meeting was held under the chairmanship of Nawab Maqsud Jang in Sikanderabad where Maulana Muhammad Ali made a speech entitled Quran Karim Umm-ul-Kitab Aur Jami‘a Hai (‘The Holy Quran is Chief of all Scriptures and a comprehensive Book’). On 14 March he addressed a public meeting in Hyderabad, held under the chairmanship of Nawab Nazar Yar Jang, on the topic of the magnificent transformation brought about by the Quran in the world. On 19 March he visited Osmania University, especially going to see its department of translation Da’irat-ul-Ma‘arif. The same day he went to the residence of the late Nawab Bahadur Yar Jang, who had been one of his admirers, to pay his condolences. During the Maulana’s first visit to Hyderabad the late Nawab had given him a most heart-felt and warm welcome and also chaired a public meeting.

On 20 March he left Hyderabad and arrived in Delhi on 22 March. After leading the Friday prayers in Delhi he left for Lahore, arriving on 23 March.

From 1946 to June 1947

At the annual gathering in December 1946, Maulana Muhammad Ali reiterated before the Jama‘at the same three campaigns which had been going on previously. In his speech on 26 December, expounding the verse “all praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds”, he said that while God the Most High does provide physical sustenance for all human beings these words refer also to the nourishment of the soul. Those persons in the world who are concerned about improving the material condition of mankind excel the ordinary human beings, but surpassing them are those persons who are concerned also with the spiritual welfare of humanity. The first forty years of the Holy Prophet’s life were spent in caring for the livelihood and physical needs of people, and as everyone knows he provided support and refuge to fatherless children and widows. However, that great man had another anxiety in his heart, and after reaching the age of forty years he was elevated to that most exalted position. That must also be the real aim of his followers. The Maulana then recounted in detail the current state of affairs in the world and the need for the propagation of the Quran. He mentioned in this connection the Promised Messiah’s heartfelt desire, and urged the Jama‘at to keep the three campaigns always in the forefront of their minds.

During this annual gathering, and after that in his Friday khutbas, apart from these proposals he also made appeals for funds to repair the Berlin Mosque. Although God the Most High had protected the Berlin Mosque from destruction, its dome and one of its minarets were damaged. So in 1947 arrangements were made for repair. Dr. Shaikh Muhammad Abdullah had gone to Berlin at the end of the war and the Mission had been re-opened.

In 1946 there was another increase in the property of the Anjuman when almost 1400 acres of land were acquired in the province of Sindh at a low price from the government. For this purchase Maulana Muhammad Ali himself went to Karachi and with the efforts of some other members of the Jama‘at the transaction was completed.

This land was bought with money from the Quran Translations Fund and the Idara Talim-ul-Quran Fund in order to provide a permanent source of income for these projects. Similarly, some 225 acres of land were purchased at Malir near Karachi from these funds at low prices, which later became very valuable property for the Anjuman and was sold for hundreds of thousands of Rupees.

Founding of the American Mission

In April 1946 a mission was established in the U.S.A. and Bashir Ahmad Minto left for San Francisco for this purpose. Maulana Muhammad Ali and all other leading figures of the Jama‘at went to Lahore railway station to bid him farewell. This was the first mission established under the second scheme mentioned above to open propagation centres.

Translation of the Quran in Javanese language

In April 1946 news came from Batavia (Indonesia) that the translation of the Holy Quran into the Javanese language had been completed. This was done by the Jama‘at which was founded there by Mirza Wali Ahmad Baig. Like the Dutch translation this was also translated from Maulana Muhammad Ali’s English translation and commentary.

Last trip to Dalhousie

At the end of May 1947 Maulana Muhammad Ali started getting fever again. In that state he left for Dalhousie where he recovered. From June 1947 begins that phase when he took in hand the work of revising the English translation and commentary of the Holy Quran. At that time there erupted a monumental upheaval in the country as Pakistan came into existence amidst horrific communal riots. Maulana Muhammad Ali, his family and some other members of the Jama‘at had to leave Dalhousie under the most dangerous life threatening conditions for Lahore in Pakistan. This will be covered in the next chapter.

Special spiritual exertions in the month of Ramadan

Throughout these years there was a distinctive feature in Maulana Muhammad Ali’s khutbas and writings, that every year in the month of Ramadan he exhorted the Jama‘at to undertake a spiritual exertion (mujahida) in two forms. One was to fall in prayer before God and beseech Him tearfully in tahajjud prayers to enable us to carry out the work of the propagation of Islam and the Quran, and the other was to make financial sacrifices. In this connection he has written many heart-felt, moving prayers in his letters published in Paigham Sulh and entreated every member of the Jama‘at that at least in the month of Ramadan they should treat the tahajjud prayer as obligatory for them. For instance, in September 1939 he suggested three types of supplications which were published in several issues of Paigham Sulh in the form of a block. These prayers were as follows:

1. Prayer for spiritual fostering by Allah:

‘All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.’ O God, Your providence comprehends every iota of the universe. You have provided the very best means for the physical development of human beings. Now provide for Your creation, who have moved far off from You and are lost in darkness racing towards destruction, spiritual nourishment through the Quran. Acquaint their hearts with the bliss that is attained by bowing at Your threshold.

O God, Who granted the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his Companions unique success enabling them to transform the destinies of the entire countries and nations, foster and nourish us and our Jama‘at today to make it reach the pinnacle of success in spreading the Quran and propagating Islam in the world. Let the foundations for the propagation of Your religion be laid by our hands, upon which an edifice continues to be raised till the Day of Judgment.

2. Prayer for triumph over unbelief:

‘Forgive us, grant us protection, have mercy on us. You are our Patron, grant us victory over the disbelieving people!’ O God, unbelief is dominant over the world. Love of worldly things and wealth have taken hold of human hearts. Human beings are being led astray by possession of physical power, material resources and outward adornments. But, O God, it is Your promise that You shall make Islam triumph in the world. It is Your promise that after falling into the greatest deviation and wrongdoing people will again turn to You. Fulfil this promise of Yours today and let the truth overcome falsehood and let Islam triumph over unbelief.

O God, the armies of unbelief and misguidance are attacking with full force. Your strength in the past too has been manifested through weak human beings. Let it be manifest today through this small Jama‘at. We are weak, humble and sinners but we have a strong zeal to see Islam prevail over unbelief. Forgive us our faults, grant us protection, save us from stumbling, and be our helper and make this weak Jama‘at of Islam overcome the vast strength of unbelief. O God, make the Quran and Muhammad Rasulullah and Islam triumphant in the world, and wipe off the forces of unbelief and misguidance.

3. Prayer for help from Allah:

‘Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help.’ O God, we do as much as it is in our power to obey You and to spread Your name and Your Word in the world, but we are weak and cannot fully discharge our duty of obeying You. Help us and produce within us the greatest strength to obey You.

O God, spreading Your name in the world is the exalted mission for which You had been appointing Your chosen ones, and it was only with Your help that they succeeded in achieving this magnificent goal. One such chosen man of Yours has entrusted us with this task, but we are small in numbers, weak, and lacking in means. We are opposed not only by outsiders but also by our own who hamper our way. Guide us through Your graciousness and infuse in us the same strength with which You have ever filled Your chosen ones, and create in our hearts the same light with which You have been illuminating the hearts of Your chosen ones.

O God, spreading Your message in the world is the most difficult of tasks in the world. Whenever such a reformation came about, it was not because of the strength of any man or army but it was from Your aid and succour. So we seek from You that help and aid which You have been bestowing upon Your chosen ones.

Similarly in September 1940 in a letter entitled Mujahida ka Mahina (‘A month of spiritual exertion’), while explaining the Quranic verse, “And those who strive hard for Us, We shall certainly guide them in Our ways” (29:69), he wrote that success or otherwise is in God’s hands. Our duty is to seek and struggle. To strive hard is the condition. Death is inevitable but if it comes when we are searching for the means to spread His religion then there could be no more successful and happier end to one’s life than that. If we do not succeed then those who would continue the work after us shall find success. In this world there are people who are playing with blood and fire for the sake of material gains. Can we not shed a few tears for the propagation of the Divine religion which would enrich humanity in a spiritual sense? Then he added:

“We must pray for only one objective, and that is for the triumph of Islam. When we recite Sura Fatiha the same purpose should be before our minds.

Al-hamdu li-llahi Rabb il-‘alamin (‘All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the worlds’). O God, You are the nourisher unto perfection of all the worlds. Now nourish those by means of the Quran who are deprived of this blessing of Yours. Nourish us as well and provide for us the means by which we can spread Your Quran and Your name in the world. Yes, nourish the Jama‘at whose sole aim is to take this spiritual sustenance of Yours to the world.

Ar-Rahman-ir-Rahim (‘The Beneficent, the Merciful’). Your mercy is so boundless that it is aroused even without humans asking for it. It is by Your mercy that the efforts of human beings come to fruition. By Your beneficence provide guidance through the Quran to those who are engulfed in darkness. Make successful our insignificant efforts, that we may take Your holy message to these people.

Maliki yaum-id-din (‘Master of the day of Judgment’). O God, we are Your humble, unworthy servants. There are shortcomings in us, in myself, in my Jama‘at. Sometimes Your orders are even disobeyed. By means of Your authority of judgment, forgive our faults and infringements, and let them not be obstacles to the success of our efforts.

Iyya-ka na‘budu wa iyya-ka nasta‘in (‘Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help’). We serve You and wish to exalt Your name in the world. This is the sole aim of our lives. But we are small in numbers and weak while the task is mammoth. We who are exhausted, weak, humble and sinful, beg only You for help. Grant this Jama‘at the success which You bestow on people who spread Your name in the world.

Ihdi-nas-sirat al-mustaqim, sirat-allazina an‘amta ‘alai-him (‘Guide us on the right path, the path of those upon whom You bestowed favours’). You have been showering Your servants with the greatest favours. You have never let those fail who made it their aim in life to exalt Your name. Guiding us on the straight path, confer on us the same favour which You granted to those before us. Blow the breeze of Your help upon us as You made it flow for them and open the doors of Your bounty upon us in the same way.

Ghair-il-maghdubi ‘alaihim wa la-ddallin (‘Not those upon whom wrath is brought down, nor those who go astray’). O Master, let it not be that we make worldly gain to be our objective and give up spreading religion, as is the state of the Muslims today, or that we become extremists and destroy our powers for the sake of establishing a wrong belief, as our Qadiani friends are doing.”

In the same way, taking the powerful prayer which is at the end of Sura Al-Baqarah, he expressed his feelings and passion with each sentence of this prayer and ended with its final prayer, “so grant us victory over the unbelieving people”, as follows:

“O God, Your Holy Word that was revealed for the guidance of the world is not being spread even by its believers. But it is Your promise that You will make it prevail in the world. We too heard the voice of one who came to call to Your message, and our feeble hands came forward to take this great burden. It was this voice which revived our dead hearts. But our Jama‘at is like an ant facing the mountain of unbelief. It is Your promise that has strengthened our hearts. We need Your help above all. We know we are unworthy and not fit to receive Your help, but, O God, Your religion, Your Quran and Your Prophet are deserving of Your help. Let help for them be today manifested through our hands, may Your light illuminate our dark hearts, and may we witness with our own eyes the fulfilment of Your promise.”

(Paigham Sulh, 26 September 1940)

In September 1942, explaining that fasting in Ramadan is not merely an effort to endure hunger and thirst but it is a struggle of three more kinds, he said:

“Man can perform great feats using his God-given powers. He can bring into his service winds, waters and electricity, and he can conquer countries. However, he is unable to change the state of human hearts by his own power. For this purpose another power is needed which is obtained by bowing before God in prayer. Gaining strength by praying to God is not merely a claim: it is the greatest reality, the highest truth. The best-known fact in the world is that whoever bows before God the world bows before him. So the first condition for the Jama‘at which is engaged in inviting people to God is that it must bow before God and seek strength from that fountain of power.”

After this he has given some deeply moving prayers which he has urged to be repeated again and again, and said:

“All of us must cherish but one desire, and only this must fill our hearts when we bow before God: that may the Divine religion, the Quran and Muhammad the Messenger of Allah be triumphant … Ask only of this, yearn only for this, shed tears only for this, seek that which has been destined to happen. … It is these prayers that will take you to that height of closeness to God where every prayer of a human being is answered.”

Then in the next letter he wrote that in the spiritual exertions of Ramadan the fourth and the most difficult struggle is the purification of one’s heart, and this is achieved by giving your money in the way of God. God the Most High has declared in many places spending money in the way of Allah to be the means for man to attain spiritual cleansing and purification. The one who has not learnt to give money, is unaware of the significance of prayer also.

In the same way, the issues of Paigham Sulh of every year are full of such writings by him. In 1945, in connection with the spiritual exertions made in the month of Ramadan, he mentioned the relationship between Ramadan and the Quran and explained that there are three types of struggle (jihad) to do with the Holy Quran: academic, practical and missionary. The first step is to acquire knowledge of the Quran, above that is to act upon it, and then even more difficult than that is the struggle of propagation. He then went over in detail all the things this Jama‘at, as bearer of the Quran, could do in order to perform these types of jihad in the most effective way.

The royalty issue

It has been mentioned earlier how, according to the decisions of the Anjuman, the arrangements for paying royalty were first instituted and continued to be followed. However, there were some persons in the Jama‘at who, to gain importance for themselves and to find some fault with Maulana Muhammad Ali, made this issue into a basis for accusation. It is true that in a democratic system everyone has a right to criticise and the leader of the community must be blameless of all allegations. However, democracy also requires that the majority decisions must be accepted by all and given precedence by each person over his personal opinion. This matter was brought before the Anjuman probably more frequently than any other, and there were more clear-cut decisions of the Anjuman approving royalty than its decisions probably on any other subject. But some persons, who did not have the moral courage to ask for their dissenting views to be recorded whenever the General Council was making its decision, were always spreading rumours behind the back. For years they tried to put misgivings into the minds of the members of the Jama‘at, by suggesting that this arrangement was causing a financial loss to the Anjuman. In fact Maulana Muhammad Ali was not a burden for the Anjuman, rather the Anjuman was deriving much financial benefit from this arrangement.

Events up to 1938 have already been mentioned. In 1939, after Maulana Muhammad Ali’s illness, this question was raised again, this time in the form of the allegation that the Anjuman was making a loss in running the Book Depot (through which Maulana Muhammad Ali’s books were sold). So at the end of 1939 a sub-committee was appointed to investigate the matter, with Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, Dr. Ghulam Muhammad, Shaikh Muhammad Din Jan and Master Faqirullah as its members. (Resolution No. 117 of the General Council, dated 29 October 1939).

Regarding the report submitted by this committee to the Anjuman, Maulana Muhammad Ali later wrote as follows:{footnote 2}

“On the basis of many false assumptions, mistaken notions and wrong figures the conclusion has been drawn that the Book Depot is running at a heavy loss and in the past twenty years it has lost 33,000 Rupees. A most glaring error in the report is that when the Book Depot came into being with the publication of the English Translation of the Quran the Anjuman’s initial expenditure on it is shown as 54,000 Rupees whereas the true figure was 34,000 Rupees. Then 54,000 Rupees are added as interest. The fact is that if the expenses were incurred starting in 1917 then by its sale, which began a year later, not only was the 34,000 Rupees recouped but by the end of 1921 a sum of 91,500 Rupees had been received into Anjuman’s funds from the sale of the Holy Quran. Perhaps not even the proverbial Hindu or Jewish money lender ever dared charge such high interest.

“But the matter does not end there. Besides this, the sub-committee assumed a fictitious sum of 40,000 Rupees spent on free distribution and added to it 20,000 Rupees as interest. The fact is that funds for free distribution came from external donations. Just one such sum of 7,500 Rupees was donated by Seth Muhammad Ali Habib, and similarly from time to time other friends donated considerable sums for free distribution of literature, so it would not be surprising if in twenty years these amounted to 40,000 Rupees. But it is quite incomprehensible how a committee which is involved in the propagation of Islam could think of adding 20,000 Rupees to this as interest. So with one stroke of the pen this sub-committee turned the expenditure of 34,000 Rupees into 54,000 Rupees, added a further 54,000 Rupees of interest to it, assumed a fictitious sum of 40,000 Rupees for free distribution of publications, and added 20,000 Rupees to it as interest, making the real figure of 34,000 Rupees into 168,000 Rupees. Thus 34,000 Rupees was increased by an imaginary figure of 134,000 Rupees. This is a miracle indeed. On the other hand, in its zeal to show a lower income from sales the sub-committee even left out the names of some books which were sold for 20,000 Rupees. In some cases only the second and third editions were shown, not mentioning at all the first editions whose total price amounts to 26,800 Rupees. The sales of some books were shown lower than the actual. On the one hand the original capital invested of 34,000 Rupees was inflated to 168,000 Rupees, and on the other hand the income from the sale of books was reduced by an amount of 137,800 Rupees to show that the Book Depot was running at a loss.

“The story does not end here. When the committee assessed the existing stock they calculated that the total number of my books in stock was 25,000 and stated that their sale would take from ten to twenty years, from which the income would be 20,000 Rupees. I there and then offered to buy the stock for 20,000 Rupees, which I would pay over ten years in annual instalments of 2,000 Rupees. But all these were fictitious figures and myths. After sometime the late Malik Sher Muhammad assessed the stock and it was found to be worth more than 150,000 Rupees. At this time{footnote 3} by the grace of God it must be worth probably more than 600,000 Rupees. It is only due to the grace of God that a small investment of 34,000 Rupees has been blessed so much that today there is not only a stock worth 600,000 Rupees but also a great number of people have benefitted from this treasure of knowledge.”

On the report of this sub-committee the Anjuman asked Maulana Muhammad Ali for details as well. So he presented a document of several pages containing confirmed facts and figures, which is worth reading. The Anjuman did not question the sub-committee but gave the following decision:

“Resolution No. 19, dated 28 April 1940. The report of the sub-committee was presented. The details submitted by Hazrat Ameer [Maulana Muhammad Ali] were also presented. In the Anjuman’s view the figures of the sub-committee are not correct. The Anjuman considers that it did not suffer any loss because of Maulana Muhammad Ali’s books, rather it made a profit. (2) From 1st November 1938 the rate of royalty is approved at 33½%, and as before 350 Rupees per month will be paid and any additional amount will be considered as an honorarium.”

However, the Anjuman never took up the matter with the sub-committee. If Maulana Muhammad Ali had not put forward the real facts, this report would probably have been accepted without question.

In 1938, at the suggestion of Malik Sher Muhammad, a civil agency was established to improve arrangements for the sale of books. From 1941 till 1945 this issue was the target of attack. In this connection in May 1945 this matter was raised in a regrettable manner in the absence of Maulana Muhammad Ali. Some claims were circulated in public without investigation and before the Anjuman had reached any decision, so much so that these stories were published word for word in the Qadiani newspaper Al-Fazl. In the end all these reports proved to be wrong, but the campaign against the civil agency continued and eventually the agency was closed down in 1946. What happened afterwards is clear from the written statement of Mian Ghulam Rasul which was put before the Management Committee of the Anjuman by Resolution No. 624, dated 19 March 1948, in which he wrote that all this happened because of “the emotions of some members”.

It seems appropriate to include here the last decision taken about royalty, which was in 1948. According to Resolution No. 5 of the General Council, dated 27/28 May 1948, and on Khwaja Nazir Ahmad’s proposal, the Anjuman decided that royalty should be paid at the rate of 33 1/3% subject to a minimum of 800 Rupees per month. This remained in force till Maulana Muhammad Ali’s death.


(To return to the referring text for any footnote, click on the footnote number.)

[1]. A kanal is a unit of measurement of land area and is equivalent to 605 square yards or one-eighth of an acre.

[2]. This extract is taken from the last writing of Maulana Muhammad Ali which bears his signature dated 13 August 1951, two months before his death. At this time too, that is in 1940, Maulana Muhammad Ali submitted a detailed statement to the Anjuman on this committee’s report which is in the records of the Anjuman. He proved from confirmed facts and figures that the report of the committee was totally flawed.

[3]. Close to the time of his death in 1951.


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