Maulana Muhammad Ali — Secret of his Success

by Dr. Zahid Aziz, England

The Light (Pakistan), 24th October 1981 Issue (Vol. 61, No. 20, pp. 23–25)

On the 13th October this year, it will be thirty years since the passing away of Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali (God’s mercy be on him). We are sure that, at some stage in the future, when fair-minded and truth-seeking Muslim historians research and pen the history of their religion, the late Maulana will be hailed as the greatest writer on Islam in the English language. Such is the deep, ineffaceable mark that this giant of a saint and scholar has made upon us that, in these uncertain and troubled times, we constantly look back to his achievements, to his plans, to his appeals and exhortations, and to his success, in order to find its way into the future. Of course, when we thus examine our past, our aim is to determine the cause of the victories won at the late Maulana’s blessed hands, and to try to reproduce those causes in our own time.

Faith, Confidence and Hard Work:

The three words above sum up the secret of success of the late Hazrat Maulana. He had the deepest faith in the truth of Islam and ultimate success of the mission of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and he ceaselessly worked hard towards this end. And to him success was not to be considered in terms of immediate, glamorous results, but as laying down the foundations, as he has advised:

“First sow the seeds; only after that can you hope to reap the harvest” (Muslih al-Mau‘ud, p. 19).

Most people become unduly exhilarated by some outward signs of success, and thoroughly disheartened by apparent failure. The Maulana did not fall prey to this attitude, and we too must resist any such temptation.


What was it that made the Maulana relinquish a glorious worldly career and go to live in a village with a man opposed and persecuted by all? What was it that, in 1914, made the Maulana give up a high position in a rapidly-expanding organisation to come to Lahore with just a few comrades to start right from scratch? The answer is: faith in the ultimate success of the “Promised Messiah’s” mission. The right course which his rock-like faith enabled him to follow ultimately benefitted millions of people around the world who were guided by his writings to true Islam. The great lesson we learn from the Maulana’s staunch faith is that, however hopeless a situation we find ourselves in, or however overawing and daunting our task and ultimate aim may appear to be, if we maintain faith, success shall finally be ours.


In his writings, speeches, missionary work, etc., the Maulana displays great confidence in presenting Islam as well as Hazrat Mirza’s mission. He certainly conceived this mission as a struggle to bring about the triumph of Islam over other religions, and there can be no two opinions that this indeed is the aim of Ahmadiyyat because the Quranic verse to be fulfilled through this Move­ment explicitly declares that Islam is to triumph over all other religions. Indeed, one of the greatest achievements of Ahmadiyyat, brought about primarily by the Maulana’s writings, is to have restored the Muslim’s confidence that, even in this age, Islam was still the supreme religion.

Our progress now too depends upon being confident and bold, while also humble and gentle, in presenting Islam. We should preach, to Muslims as well as non-Muslims, that the solutions to all problems lie in the Holy Quran which refutes all false beliefs and ideas when­ever such may be found. We should pre­sent Islam, as does the Maulana in his writings, as the perfect, all-inclusive, and all-comprehensive faith which con­tains within itself all the good points to be found in other religions. Maulana Muhammad Ali never harboured any “Inferiority complex” about Islam or Ahmadiyyat, and we should take a lesson from this.

Hard Work:

Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali worked supremely hard in the cause of Islam. His numerous and voluminous English and Urdu writings by them­selves testify to this fact, but it is staggering to think that, besides being an author, he was also busy as the administrative head of an organisation and the spiritual leader of a commun­ity. The Maulana worked devotedly, paying attention to all the details in­volved. He did not regard any work as beneath his dignity, so that even though he was a world-renowned author he would himself read and correct the proofs and arrange the printing, etc. It was due to this care and attention to detail that his books during his life-time were printed and produced to a very high standard.

We must adopt the attitude to work exemplified by the late Hazrat Maulana, of care, devotion, zeal, eagerness to make improvements and most important of all, not to consider ourselves as too great to bother about small matters of detail. The lax and shoddy workmanship is only due to a lack of confidence, a lack of pride, indifference, and considering humble work to be beneath one’s “dignity” to do. All these factors can be corrected if we vow to follow the Maulana’s example.

In conclusion, I should say that we achieve very little by merely dwelling on past glories, and therefore the aim in re-kindling the memory of Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali is to learn lessons from his great character and deeds, and to try to put those lessons into practical effect. May God make us grateful for our great heritage, for the knowledge and literature we obtained from our forebearers such as the Maulana without any exertion on our part, for the fact that we now proudly hold our heads high as Muslims rather than being embarrassed by attacks on Islam, and may God enable us to follow and honour our elders. Ameen!