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The Great Mujahid: Life Story of Maulana Muhammad Ali

Part 2: Life at Qadian,
From May 1899 to April 1914.

1a. The Promised Messiah's Time (1st of 2 sections)
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Part 2

Life at Qadian
From May 1899 to April 1914

1a. The Promised Messiah’s time

(First of two sections)

Migration to Qadian and the early days

In 1899, after passing his law examination Maulana Muhammad Ali gave up his job at Oriental College and decided to set up his own legal practice. He was also accepted as a candidate for the competitive examination for the posts of Extra Assistant Commissioners. For his legal practice he chose Gurdaspur because it was near Qadian so that he could continue to visit Hazrat Mirza sahib and to translate his writings into English. He rented a house, bought furniture and books and employed a clerk. It appears from his constant correspondence with Hazrat Mirza sahib that he had expressed his wish to spend some time with the Promised Messiah before going to Gurdaspur and Hazrat Mirza sahib was very pleased with this. As the last letter of Hazrat Mirza sahib shows, he invited Maulana Muhammad Ali to stay in Qadian till October. At that time, after completing all the arrangements, Maulana Muhammad Ali was ready to leave Lahore. So on 18 May 1899 he arrived in Qadian and the news of his arrival was published in the Ahmadiyya community’s newspaper Al-Hakam in the following words:

“Maulvi Muhammad Ali sahib, M.A., will stay in Qadian for a few months. He arrived in Dar-ul-Aman on 18 May 1899. As usual he is translating ‘Jesus in India’.”

Because of his deep desire to stay in Hazrat Mirza sahib’s company, and indeed according to the latter’s instructions, Maulana Muhammad Ali soon vacated the house in Gurdaspur, after paying two months rent, so that he could stay in Qadian till October. During this period the proposal arose that a magazine in English should be started for the propagation of Islam. Hazrat Mirza sahib asked Maulana Muhammad Ali to carry out this religious service and Maulana Muhammad Ali accepted without hesitation. The publication of the magazine was delayed and his temporary stay in Qadian kept on being prolonged.

In March 1900 Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote the following note to Hazrat Mirza sahib:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. We praise Him and invoke blessings upon His noble Prophet.

My leader and mentor, Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu.

Yesterday at midday you directed that my humble self should stay here permanently. I want to say something about it. Last May when I came to your service, with the permission to stay here for an extended period, I had no other idea in my mind, and Allah is my witness to that, except that during this long stay a way might be found to enable me to give up all my worldly affairs and stay at your feet. This most cherished desire is still in my heart. Once or twice when I went back to my native town there was no other purpose but to please my parents, and it never occurred to me to settle there. I am at your service and am your servant, and it is you whom I request to pray that God may give me strength to adhere steadfastly to this promise throughout my life and make me die upon the same faith.

I am ready to stay and to work whenever and in whatever way you command me to, sir. Though I am fearful of making this claim, as all guidance is only in Allah’s hands, but I have dared to express this only because you, sir, also require this promise at the time of taking the pledge, that ‘I will hold religion above worldly affairs’. These words mean that the one who takes the pledge must submit himself and all his faculties to the man sent by Allah.

As for accommodation, my only desire is for a house where you are physically near, as is this place where you have allowed me to stay. If I start legal practice I am determined to visit you every week. I do not wish to live far away because distance makes the heart rusty. So wherever you order I will have a house built there. I will now send for money from my home for this purpose.

Humbly, Muhammad Ali, 23 March 1900.

On the back of this letter Hazrat Mirza sahib wrote:

My dear brother Maulvi sahib, Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu.

The arrival of your letter just now has given me so much pleasure that it is beyond description. May God grant your wishes both in this world and the hereafter! I am looking for accommodation for you all the time and hope that suitable houses can be found nearby. But for the time being the house in which you are living will suffice because I had it built only with you in mind. As the female section of the house needs to be bigger to meet all the requisites, so I am thinking about it. I hope that Allah will solve all problems and pave the way to achieve your goals, as He is all-powerful.

Wassalam. Humbly, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, 23 March 1900.

In short, at the age of twenty five years when a bright worldly future was before him, Maulana Muhammad Ali set the most outstanding personal example of putting religion above worldly interests and, following the instruction of the Imam of the time, he left everything and went to join the Promised Messiah.

Residing in the Promised Messiah’s house

When in May 1899 Maulana Muhammad Ali arrived in Qadian, the Promised Messiah gave him accommodation on the third storey of his own house. The ground floor was for guests, while he and his family occupied the middle storey. This storey was adjacent to the Masjid-i-Mubarak and there was a hatch from one room into this mosque through which Hazrat Mirza sahib used to enter the mosque. On one side of the same floor lived Maulana Nur-ud-Din. It was above his room, on the third storey, that Hazrat Mirza sahib made space for Maulana Muhammad Ali.

He had a room and a small courtyard. There was a stairway in the room which went down to the Promised Messiah’s courtyard and the other door opened into the small courtyard. The door of the small courtyard opened on the roof of the Masjid-i-Mubarak. This roof was used in the summer for maghrib and isha prayers, and it was here also that Hazrat Mirza sahib used to sit for his evening gatherings. Next to his room was Maulana Abdul Karim’s room, and his courtyard was also adjacent to the roof of the Masjid-i-Mubarak. From the courtyard next to Maulana Muhammad Ali’s room there was a little stairway going down into a tiny room, and this place served as his office. It was in there that he produced those invaluable English writings for the magazine the Review of Religions, whose language was so perfect that it was alleged that the Promised Messiah must be keeping an Englishman to do the writing!

After going to stay in the Promised Messiah’s company Maulana Muhammad Ali had no other worldly aspirations. Meals came twice daily from the community kitchen (langar) and he received a small subsistence for other living expenses. What was available all the time, however, was the company of the Promised Messiah and the priceless blessing of his spiritual grace and benevolence.

Hazrat Mirza sahib was very affectionate to him. He used to take personal care to have him sent his breakfast daily and would not be satisfied till he ascertained from the servant who took the breakfast that the Maulana had eaten it properly. At that time Qadian was a small village but because of the Promised Messiah’s blessing it was turning into a place visited by all, both the famous and the ordinary. However, many necessities of life were not available. Whenever Hazrat Mirza sahib happened to receive a consignment of fresh fruit from outside Qadian, he would make it a special point to see that Maulana Muhammad Ali got his share. The Maulana related the following incident:

“Once in summer someone brought ice. The Promised Messiah called me and he was sitting with blocks of ice and a large vessel containing milk in front of him. He poured out a glass of milk, added sugar and ice to it and gave it to me. I accepted it gratefully and drank it. Then he poured out another glass of milk with sugar and ice. I could not refuse as it was being offered by him, so I drank it. Then he poured out a glass a third time, which I declined. The Promised Messiah smiled and said: You drank twice of your own accord, now drink a third time for my sake. So I drank the third one as well, and I felt no difficulty or burden while doing so.”{Footnote 1}

In short, Hazrat Mirza sahib cared for Maulana Muhammad Ali like a loving father. He found a suitable marriage partner for him as well and married him as if he were his own son. On 4 April 1901 he was married to Fatima, daughter of Nabi Bakhsh, at Gurdaspur, according to the wish of the Promised Messiah.

In addition to being close to and having the constant company of Hazrat Mirza sahib, Maulana Muhammad Ali also attended Maulana Nur-ud-Din’s daily teaching of the Holy Quran. He has acknowledged on many occasions and in many ways that he received knowledge and understanding of the Quran from these two great saints. In the Preface of Bayan-ul-Quran, his Urdu translation of the Holy Quran with commentary, he wrote:

“Finally, it is important to mention that, although in this humble service of the Holy Quran I have had much benefit from the work of the classical scholars, but the man who in my life inspired me with the love of the Holy Quran and the desire to serve it was the Mujaddid of this century, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib of Qadian. Then the man who enabled me to understand the Quran was my revered teacher Hazrat Maulvi Nur-ud-Din sahib. If anyone benefits from my work and prays for me, he must also include these two righteous men in his prayer. I am but dust; any fragrance anyone perceives in this work is the spirit breathed by these others.”

Similarly, in the Preface to his world-famous English translation of the Holy Quran with commentary he wrote:

“And lastly, the greatest religious leader of the present time, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, has inspired me with all that is best in this work. I have drunk deep at the fountain of knowledge which this great Reformer — Mujaddid of the present century and founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement — has made to flow. There is one more person whose name I must mention in this connection, the late Maulawi Hakim Nur-ud-Din, who in his last long illness patiently went through much the greater part of the explanatory notes and made many valuable suggestions. To him, indeed, the Muslim world owes a deep debt of gratitude as the leader of the new turn given to the exposition of the Holy Quran. He has done his work and passed away silently, but it is a fact that he spent the whole of his life in studying the Holy Quran, and must be ranked with the greatest expositors of the Holy Book.”

Right from the beginning Maulana Muhammad Ali liked to collect writings of Western thinkers and authors on religion and study them and read them out to Hazrat Mirza sahib. He would bear in mind their criticism of Islam while translating Hazrat Mirza sahib’s writings into English or writing his own articles. He also managed to find time to teach a few classes in the Talim-ul-Islam School. As the secretary of the management committee of this school it was also his duty to deal with administrative matters and raise financial contributions. A glimpse of his engagements of those days can be seen in the following extract from the Ahmadiyya newspaper Al-Hakam of 30 November 1900:

“The services to religion of Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali, M.A., LL.B., are enviable. For nearly two years he has been busy serving Islam in Qadian. During the last two or three years all the posters and books published in English are the outcome of the Maulvi sahib’s efforts in the way of Allah. These days he is reading out an English book about the Anti-Christ to the Promised Messiah. … Despite his heavy schedule he has written many powerful articles in reply to Golarwi in the newspapers ‘Am and Chaudveen Sadi, and he is also writing English articles in a Christian newspaper of Calcutta. … As the Middle annual examination is drawing nearer, he has set aside a part of his valuable time these days for the school, purely to serve the community, to earn the pleasure of Allah and for the satisfaction of the Imam of the time.”

In Al-Hakam of 10 September 1900 it is reported:

“Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali sahib is reading out the writings of some Western philosophers to the Hazrat sahib.”

The early writings of the Promised Messiah about Maulana Muhammad Ali

From the very beginning that Maulana Muhammad Ali took up abode in Qadian, Hazrat Mirza sahib made a close and careful observation of his character and mode of life, and came to certain conclusions which he expressed as follows:

“Among the most sincere friends in our community is Maulvi Muhammad Ali, M.A., who, besides his other qualifications, has also just now passed his law examination. For the past few months, at much loss to his own work, he has been staying with me in Qadian to perform a service to religion by translating some of my writings into English. …

During this period in which he has been with me, I have been observing him, both openly and discreetly, to assess his moral character, observance of religion and goodness of behaviour. So, thanks be to God, that I have found him to be a most excellent man as regards religion and good behaviour in all ways. He is unassuming, modest, of a righteous nature, and pious. He is to be envied for many qualities. … It is obvious that such promising young men possessing these qualities, who are able and honourable, cannot be found by searching.”

(Announcement dated 9 August 1899, Majmu‘a Ishtiharat, vol. 3, p. 137, number 206)

After that in October 1899 he wrote on another occasion:

“I am very happy that another good young man, having found the grace of God, has joined our community, that is Maulvi Muhammad Ali, M.A., Pleader. I have very good expectations of him. For a long time he has borne a worldly loss in order to stay in Qadian to serve the religion, and is learning the deep knowledge of the Holy Quran from Hazrat Maulvi Hakim Nur-ud-Din.

I am sure that my foresight will not go wrong in this, that this young man will make progress in the path of God, and I am sure that by the grace of God he will prove to be so firm in righteousness and love of religion that he will set an example worthy to be followed by his peers. O God, let it be so! Amen, again amen.

(Announcement dated 4 October 1899, Majmu‘a Ishtiharat, vol. 3, p. 157–158, number 208)

Publication of the Review of Religions

As has already been mentioned, at first Maulana Muhammad Ali came to Qadian for a temporary stay but this stay kept on being extended. The object was that he should translate into English some of the submissions of Hazrat Mirza sahib addressed to the government and certain other writings, which included Faryad-i Dard. In the Announcement quoted above, Hazrat Mirza sahib also wrote in a footnote:

“All those books of mine which are published after translation into English are translated by Maulvi Muhammad Ali, M.A.”

Other reasons for prolonging his stay were that he would benefit from Hazrat Mirza sahib’s company and take lessons in the Quran from Maulana Nur-ud-Din.

However, during this stay Hazrat Mirza sahib was to take another important step in the fulfilment of his mission. He wrote:

“It was always a matter of sadness and anxiety for me that all those truths, the spiritual knowledge, the sound arguments in support of the religion of Islam, and the teachings giving satisfaction to the human soul, which have been disclosed to me and are still being made known to me, have not yet benefited the English-educated people of this country or the seekers-after-truth of Europe. This pain was so intense that it was no longer bearable. But God Almighty intends that before I pass away from this temporary abode all my aims should be fulfilled so that my last journey is not one of disappointment. So to fulfil this object, which is the real purpose of my life, there is a suggestion that … a magazine in English be published for the fulfillment of the objectives mentioned above.”

(Announcement dated 15 January 1901; see Majmu‘a Ishtiharat, vol. 3, pages 393–394, number 234)

To edit this journal a very capable writer of English was needed. So Hazrat Mirza sahib asked Maulana Muhammad Ali to remain in Qadian to do this service to the cause of the faith. The Maulana considered it his good fortune and, as has been mentioned, cancelled all the arrangements to set up his legal practice. But the publication of the magazine was delayed. On 15 January 1901 Hazrat Mirza sahib had made his first declaration about this magazine in the announcement entitled ‘An Important Proposal’, from which we have quoted above. At that time there was no organisation nor any funds available for the publication of the magazine. At the invitation of Hazrat Mirza sahib some friends gathered in Qadian and decided that the magazine should be financed by subscriptions, and to collect the subscriptions and manage the magazine an organisation by the name of Anjuman-i  Isha‘at-i Islam be created. The office bearers of the Anjuman were declared to be the following:

1. Hazrat Mirza sahib  Patron
2. Maulana Nur-ud-Din     President
3. Maulana Abdul Karim     Vice President
4. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din Secretary
5. Maulana Muhammad Ali Assistant Secretary

Maulana Muhammad Ali and Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din were to be the joint editors. Due to certain reasons the publication of the magazine was further delayed. During this period Maulana Muhammad Ali continued to prepare articles for the magazine and to translate Hazrat Mirza sahib’s writings. In November 1901 it was decided that the office bearers of the Anjuman must be local residents, so Maulana Muhammad Ali was made Secretary and the magazine was to be published in Qadian.

From January 1902 this magazine started publication as a monthly under the editorship of Maulana Muhammad Ali, and its Urdu translation was also issued as a magazine.

Maulana Muhammad Ali was regularly employed as the editor from April 1901. His salary till 31 December 1901 was fixed at 60 Rupees a month, and from 1 January 1902 it was to be 100 Rupees a month, but the records of the Anjuman of Qadian show that for a long time Maulana Muhammad Ali decided to take only 20 Rupees a month for his needs. It is entered in the records in his own writing:

From 1 April 1901, permanent salary of Editor Review: 20 Rupees.

Under Comments it is noted:

The actual amount received has been entered. According to the decision, it was to be 60 Rupees till 31 December 1901 and 100 Rupees from 1 January 1902. (Signed) Muhammad Ali.

Because of taking this low salary he lived in financial stringency. He also had a wife to support. The result of drawing much less salary than his entitlement for some years was that he ran into debt. When Hazrat Mirza sahib became aware of this situation from some other source he gave the following instructions in writing:

“I have discovered that Maulvi Muhammad Ali sahib, editor of the magazine, has run up a debt of nearly 1500 Rupees, the only reason for which is that in the first three years of the magazine’s life he has been drawing only a paltry sum out of his appointed salary. It is clear from the accounts of the magazine that if he receives his full salary for the initial years he is at present entitled to a much larger sum than his debt. Therefore, as there is no surety of life, I instruct that 1500 Rupees be paid to him forthwith out of the magazine fund.

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.”

In the beginning most of the articles in the magazine were written by Hazrat Mirza sahib and translated into English by Maulana Muhammad Ali, though the Maulana himself also wrote some articles. Afterwards his own contribution increased and ultimately nearly the whole magazine consisted of the Maulana’s writings. Many outstanding articles came from his pen which were well received by the Muslim as well as the non-Muslim readership, on topics such as heaven and hell, the seclusion of women, polygamy, slavery, Islamic wars, inheritance, usury, divorce, the collection and arrangement of Quranic verses, preservation of the Hadith reports of the Holy Prophet Muhammad etc.{Footnote 2}

In the same way, the writings of the Christian missionaries against Islam were refuted with such strong arguments in powerful series of articles that it shook the Christian world.

Apart from the high scholarly quality of the articles, the fluency and eloquence of the English language of the magazine was widely acknowledged. So much so that many readers thought that the editor must be an Englishman, kept concealed by the Mirza of Qadian, writing under the pseudonym Muhammad Ali. Hence in April 1902 the English Editor of the English magazine Calcutta Review wrote in a disparaging way that it was as plain as daylight that whatever was written in this magazine was from the pen of an Englishman, and it was exactly like when the Prophet Muhammad had a Syrian Christian as his helper whom they called the angel Gabriel. Then he warned this Englishman to give it up.

In the Ahmadiyya newspaper Badr, volume 1, number 2, dated 17 November 1902, it is reported from the talks of the Promised Messiah:

“Maulvi Muhammad Ali sahib read out a letter from Mr. Khalid Snow [an English convert to Islam] in which the writer has expressed his surprise at the fact that the English used in the magazine was written by Maulana Muhammad Ali. … Supporting Mir Nasir Nawab, Hazrat Mirza sahib said: ‘Maulvi sahib’s writing such excellent English is nothing but a miracle, so even the English people think that we have employed a European who writes for the magazine’. Maulvi Muhammad Ali sahib said: It is only a blessing of God because before this I have never published a single word.” (Ruhani Khaza’in No. 2, vol. 4, p. 114–115)

Similarly, some years later in an issue of Badr dated 15 November 1906 it is reported in the talks of the Promised Messiah:

“The Review of Religions was being mentioned. A man praised it and said that its articles were of high quality. [Hazrat Mirza sahib] said: Its editor Maulvi Muhammad Ali sahib is an able and learned man. He has the M.A. degree, and along with it a religious bent of mind. He always passed with top marks and his name had gone forward for E.A.C. But leaving all this he has settled here. This is why God Almighty has blessed his writing.” (7 November 1906, Ruhani Khaza’in No. 2, vol. 9, p. 90)

The Review of Religions was the first journal which presented Islam in the English language with such vigour and eloquence, and proved its superiority over other religions with such incontestable arguments, that learned people among both the Muslims and the non-Muslims were spellbound. Hundreds of Western-educated young Muslims, who were under the influence of Christian missionaries or of irreligious Western thinkers, came back into the fold of Islam with their faith renewed. As Christianity was the main target of this magazine, it caused consternation in the Christian missionary camp. The triumph of Islam over other faiths by means of argument began to seem a real prospect.

The influence this journal had on Westerners can be illustrated by the following two examples. Chaudhry Hakim Ali, an Ahmadi land owner of the Sargoda district, had this magazine issued to Mr. Malcolm Haley, incharge of settlements, Sargoda (who later on as Sir Malcolm Haley became governor of the Punjab). Sometime later when the Chaudhry sahib met him, Mr. Haley told him that he had put him in a dilemma by getting this magazine issued to him because whenever he read it he was convinced that Islam was the only true religion and it worried him so much that he could not sleep. Another instance that Dr. Basharat Ahmad has noted in his book Mujaddid-i Azam was reported to him by Faqir Iftikhar-ud-Din of Rawalpindi about an English superior officer of his who used to receive this magazine free. He asked him to get it stopped because he could not refrain from reading it and when he read it he feared that by not accepting the true religion he might be judged guilty by God.

In September 1903 Hazrat Mirza sahib published an Announcement about this magazine, from which we quote an extract below because it throws light on the objectives of this Movement:

“As our community would know, the real object for which I have been sent by God the Most High is that the errors and wrong beliefs spread by Christianity should be removed and the people of the world are drawn towards Islam, and this purpose mentioned above be fulfilled which has been referred to in the words of Hadith as ‘breaking the cross’. For these purposes an English magazine has been launched and its publication has proved very effective in many parts of Europe and America, starting to win many hearts.” (Majmu‘a Ishtiharat, vol. 3, p. 496, number 253)

Urging the promotion of this plan he goes on to write:

“Whoever will help me in my aims according to my wishes during my lifetime, I hope he will be with me on the day of Judgment also.” (ibid., p. 497)

In short, during his lifetime Hazrat Mirza sahib chose Maulana Muhammad Ali for the fulfilment of his mission. This magazine continued to be published very splendidly and magnificently, many highly valuable articles on Islam appeared in it, and it went on performing a glorious service to Islam. This was the first organ of the press which in those days was changing the views of the English speaking world about Islam. It was not only distributed to the Western educated people of India but also to the outside world in large numbers. Till March 1914 when Maulana Muhammad Ali was editor, it continued to flourish in its glory. But after the death of Maulana Nur-ud-Din, when Maulana Muhammad Ali had to leave everything behind in Qadian and come to Lahore, this magazine went into other hands and the quality of its articles deteriorated so that it became just another ordinary periodical.

Hazrat Mirza sahib’s wishes regarding propagation of Islam

For the propagation of Islam, besides issuing a journal Hazrat Mirza sahib had also two other desires: to have the Quran translated into English with commentary and sent to the West, and the writing and distribution of a comprehensive book in English on the doctrines of Islam.

After claiming to be Promised Messiah, he expressed his aspiration in his first book Izala Auham in the following words:

“I would advise that, instead of these missionaries, writings of an excellent and high standard should be sent into these countries. If my people help me heart and soul I wish to prepare a commentary of the Quran which should be sent to them after it has been rendered into the English language. I cannot refrain from stating clearly that this is my work, and that definitely no one else can do it as I can, or as he can who is an offshoot of mine and thus is included in me.” (p. 773; book published 1891)

Eight years later, in December 1899, he said in his talks:

“I want to write a book on Islam and Maulvi Muhammad Ali sahib should translate it. It will consist of three parts: firstly, what are our duties to Allah, secondly what are our duties towards our own souls, and thirdly what are the rights of our fellow human beings upon us.” (Ruhani Khaza’in No. 2, vol. 1, p. 392)

On another occasion it is reported in the talks of the Promised Messiah:

“On 13 February 1907 Hazrat Mirza sahib sent for Maulvi Muhammad Ali sahib and said:

‘I want to fulfil the duty of the propagation of Islam to the Western people by having an English book written, and this is your work. The reason why Islam today is not spreading in those countries, and if someone does become a Muslim he is very weak, is that those people do not know the truth about Islam, nor has it been presented to them. It is their right that they should be shown the true Islam which God has made manifest to me. … All those arguments that God has taught me to prove Islam to be true should be collected together in one place. If a comprehensive book along these lines is compiled it is hoped that people would benefit from it greatly’.”
(Badr, 18 February 1907;  Ruhani Khaza’in No. 2, vol. 9, pages 191–192)

Thus, just as after expressing the aims of his life Hazrat Mirza sahib chose Maulana Muhammad Ali to be the editor of the magazine, it was also his wish for other writings that they too should be produced by Maulana Muhammad Ali.

First photograph of Maulana Muhammad Ali

It once happened in those early days that a photographer was called to Qadian and, apart from taking other photographs, he took a photograph of Maulana Muhammad Ali as well. This was the first photograph taken of the Maulana. He mentioned it in his Friday khutba on 14 January 1944 as follows:

“I want to tell you about an incident that occurred in the earliest days. I do not know how it happened. It was perhaps 1901 or 1902. I was living in Qadian and probably the Review of Religions had already started. The Promised Messiah called a photographer to have his photograph taken for inclusion in his books because there were people in the West, where those writings would go, who could form an opinion about the subject from his photograph. I cannot remember if any other group photo was taken but what I do recall is that by his bidding my photograph was also taken.

“This is an ordinary event, but the strange thing, or what we can call God’s work, is that in the photo on the right side there is a hand holding a book, upon which it is written: Quran Sharif. Where did it come from? At that time no one had in mind translating the Holy Quran. Hazrat Mirza sahib had entertained this desire for long but there were no resources available and in those early days no one could even imagine that I would translate the Holy Quran. However, it happened due to the working of God that there was a Quran in my very first photograph. Who was that man, why did he have a Quran in his hand, how did he manage to stand on my right side so that the Quran could appear in the photograph, I cannot explain.” (Paigham Sulh, 16 February 1944)


Footnotes

Footnote 1
This incident has also a symbolic meaning. Milk symbolizes knowledge. The Holy Prophet related a dream in which he drank milk abundantly from a cup and then gave what was left to Hazrat Umar. The Holy Prophet interpreted the drinking of milk in this dream as being given knowledge (Bukhari, 3:22). In this incident the first two glasses signify the Maulana being given knowledge of Islam and the third glass, drunk to please Hazrat Mirza sahib, signifies his knowledge of the claims of the Promised Messiah.

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Footnote 2
Regarding this last article, Dr. Basharat Ahmad notes the following incident in his book Mujaddid-i Azam (the biography of Hazrat Mirza sahib): “In the days when Maulana Muhammad Ali’s article on the preservation of Hadith reports appeared in the Review of Religions, having read it it occurred to me that in order to write an article based on such thorough, detailed and deep research he must surely have had help from Maulana Nur-ud-Din or Maulana Muhammad Ahsan of Amroha as these two revered figures were the leading lights in the field of Hadith in those days. However, it so happened one day that I and Maulana Muhammad Ahsan were sitting on the top of the Masjid-i-Mubarak before maghrib prayers when Maulana Nur-ud-Din arrived, with a copy of the Review of Religions in hand. After greeting Maulana Ahsan he asked him if he had read the article on the preservation of Hadith. Maulana Ahsan replied in the affirmative. Maulana Nur-ud-Din said: ‘We think that only people like us, the religious scholars, have deep knowledge of Hadith, but Maulvi Muhammad Ali has done such excellent research in this field also that I am astonished.’ Maulana Ahsan also agreed with this. I then realized that these two scholars had no part in Maulana Muhammad Ali’s research, and that it was all his own effort, labour and knowledge at which scholars of Hadith of this high status were expressing amazement.”

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