The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement In Islam
Sheikh Muhammad Tufail
Biography By : Nasir Ahmad
I am extremely pleased to see so many of you gathered here for the Evening of Songs organised in memory of our esteemed elder, a dedicated missionary and a lover of humanity – the late Maulana Sheikh Muhammad Tufail. May his soul rest in eternal peace. His simple but thought-provoking lectures, his homely but penetrating conversation and above all, his friendly overtures, infused zeal and devotion for Islam in men, women and children of this country and elsewhere. Maulana Tufail, during his stay in this country, endeavoured to create an interest in the study and understanding of the Quran through different means. His wonderful work, The Quran Reader, is an important contribution in this field. In a short time it became so popular that publishers in India and Pakistan brought out its reprint editions to cater for its demand in those countries. The singing of hymns in churches and schools in the West is a regular feature and is also a part of the religious and cultural life in this country. Songs of Islam over the years has proved to be his unique and most popular contribution in this field for Muslims. It is no exaggeration to say that songs of Islam are being sung at almost all religious functions throughout this country and also in Guyana, Suriname, Holland and England. Previously people were singing songs from Maulood-i Akbar and Maulood-i Dil Pazeer, which were meaningless to the people of the new generation. Maulana’s selections and his own contributions brought fresh and inspiring ideas and carried deep messages. This encouraged some youths to make contributions in English, some of which are given at the end of Songs of Islam. These songs, in their simple but inspiring poetry, express love for God, love for the Quran and love for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in poems that touch the heart. Brothers and Sisters, I was looking for some material about Maulana Tufail’s activities at Gasparillo, as I know that he had spent quite a lot of time here, when I came across a copy of the Golden Jubilee number issued on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Gasparillo Mosque in November 1993. It carries a beautiful contribution from Sister Amina Shakeer. I am going to read to you some excerpts from it. "The memory of the late Maulana Sheikh Muhammad Tufail will always have a special place in the hearts of members of the Gasparillo Jamaat. "The Maulana first came to Trinidad in 1964 and spent three months. Because of the need for a missionary in Trinidad, he returned in 1966 with his elder son, Basharat. The rest of his family joined him later and stayed for two years. Maulana and his family returned to England in 1969 but came back to Trinidad regularly. "During these visits, Maulana became very close to the people of Trinidad, and to Gasparillo in particular. Numerous classes were held at the Gasparillo Mosque, in Urdu, Islamic classes, Imamat classes, Arabic, and even Journalism. These classes were very successful and were enjoyed by all participants. "Maulana created history when he introduced Inter-faith meetings in Trinidad. The first such meeting was held at the Town Hall on 9th June 1967. "Maulana was also responsible for bringing together Muslims from all over Trinidad, and other countries, in the form of Conventions. There are many cherished memories and friendships. When our Mosque was renovated, it was formally opened by Maulana in 1979. "Maulana translated and edited several books and magazines. One of his magazines was Al-Ahmadiyya, and several articles for it were submitted by our Jamaat. Two of his books, The Quran Reader and Songs of Islam, are widely used by our Jamaat to teach children of the Sunday Class and also for other purposes. Maulana was very patient but made sure that the Urdu songs were correctly pronounced. He was also very unpredictable and persuasive as he would call up anyone in front of an audience to tell a story or sing a song. "Our Jamaat is richer, because of the teachings of and approach to Islam by Maulana and we will always try to uphold Islam above all." Before coming to Trinidad, Maulana held many important positions as a missionary of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i Islam, Lahore, now known as the Lahori Group. He was Joint Secretary of the Central Anjuman. During that period, he started translating Maulana Muhammad Ali’s important work in Urdu on the Ahmadiyya Movement, Tehrik-i Ahmadiyyat. Maulana Muhammad Ali approved the English translation of the first few chapters, but the full translation was completed only after his demise. It came out in print in 1973 and comprises 385 pages. After that, he was in charge of the Holland Muslim Mission and there he started the translation of another important work of Maulana Muhammad Ali, An-Nubuwwat fil Islam (Prophethood in Islam). This not only elaborately discusses the true concept of prophethood in Islam, but explains the significance of the Finality of Prophethood in Islam, the last Divine message for the guidance of humanity. It also refutes the wrong allegations of the opponents of the Movement, and also the false interpretations of the Qadian section. The English translation, consisting of 685 pages in print, came out in 1992, eight years after the death of Maulana Tufail. Another small book, The Last Prophet, which is like a supplement to Prophethood in Islam, appeared in 1987 prior to the publication of the comprehensive book Prophethood in Islam. It mainly deals with some of the ideas and interpretations put forward by Mirza Bashir al-Din Mahmud Ahmad, head of the Qadian section. In this book, Maulana Muhammad Ali conclusively proves that these were not only against the teachings of the Holy Quran and the Hadith, but were also against the clear teachings of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. Its revised edition was published in 1998. An important work of the Maulana, which can be classed as his best contribution in Urdu, is a lucid and scholarly reply to the widely quoted book against the Founder, viz. Qadiani Mazhab by Professor Ilyas Burney. It shows Maulana’s command in Urdu as well as his erudition in bringing humour and subtlety in discussing religious issues. It was published sometime in 1998 under the title Paigham-i Ahmadiyyat (The Message of Ahmadiyyat) and consists of 288 pages. Another small but important translation work is Heresy in Islam. The main thrust of this book is that it is absolutely against the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to declare a reciter of the holy Kalimah, la ilaha illal laah Muhammadur rasoolul laah, as an unbeliever. The Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i Islam or the Lahore group of Ahmadis strictly adhere to this principle. The Maulana was Imam of the world-renowned Islamic centre, the Shah Jehan Mosque at Woking, England from 1959 to 1965. During Maulana’s tenure, on the eve of Id-al-Fitr at Woking in March 1961, His Excellency Tanku Abdul Rahman, the then Prime Minister of Malaysia, put forward the idea of a Commonwealth of Muslim countries. The idea materalised later in the form of an Islamic Council of Muslim States and His Excellency became its first General Secretary. The Maulana also edited the monthly Islamic Review for some time. Maulana Tufail started writing short stories for magazines since his school days and his first short story, Sunehri Kirnen (Golden Rays), was published in the form of a booklet. His humourous and witty talent bloomed with new colours in the field of religion and he inspired his fellow beings with noble ideals and good actions. His journey from young Tufail to Maulana Tufail took him from country to country and from continent to continent delivering the message of peace and fraternity. The late Maulana, through his selfless and loving personality brought people living in distant lands so close to one another that they became like members of one family. Here I will quote from a beautiful contribution of Brother Iqbal Hydal which he made in the last issue of Al-Ahmadiyya which was dedicated to the memory of Maulana Tufail. "I shall love all mankind was the message which he carried in his heart and which radiated upon all those with whom he made contact. The world is poor today, not because we have lost Sheikh Muhammad Tufail, but because we have lost a true Muslim who walked in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)." If we assess the translation work of the Maulana since 1951 when he was first put in charge of the Muslim Mission in Holland, taking into account only the major works of the late Maulana Muhammad Ali, the total pages in print will be about 1560, which in manuscript form means more than three thousand pages. And I am talking about only the manuscripts I took back to Pakistan from Trinidad in 1985. Besides these important translations about the Ahmadiyya Movement which Maulana did, there are scores of booklets and leaflets in English and Urdu which he wrote and compiled about Islam and the Ahmadiyya Movement. The late Maulana was revising some of these important translations while on his sickbed. If one looks at the notes given in the margins of these manuscripts and also at his letters which he wrote to me and others from his sickbed, one will be amazed to find that while he was struggling for his life, the only thought in his mind was the completion and publication of these works. He was seen working while sitting on a bench at the Railway station, writing letters and reading proofs; and even while sitting in the mosque before the khutbah began on Friday. And he worked from his sickbed till he finally left for his eternal abode. This month marks his 15th death anniversary and we are still working on the manuscripts which he single-handedly did. May he be granted a special place with the All-Merciful Allah and may Allah grant us faith and strength to fulfil our commitment to that soldier of Islam – the late Maulana Sheikh Muhammad Tufail, who though he lived and died in England, yet had his thoughts and his heart in Trinidad. In order to further the mission of the late Maulana Tufail regarding the knowledge and understanding of the Holy Quran, there are plans to bring out two books: A Manual of the Quran and A Key to the Holy Quran. The first will provide readers with all the relevant verses of the Holy Quran arranged in sequence on a particular subject. The second, A Key to the Holy Quran, will contain all the words used in the Quran in alphabetical order with their meanings and cross-references. It will also give the meanings rendered by some of the well-known translators of the Holy Quran such as Maulana Muhammad Ali, Muhammad Asad, Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall and Abdullah Yusuf Ali. I hope this book will be about 200 pages. I hope and pray that on this 15th anniversary of the death of our late Maulana, we will pledge ourselves to promote tolerance, forgiveness, love and brotherhood among all sections of the people of this country. And now I conclude this, my humble contribution to the memory of the late Maulana Sheikh Muhammad Tufail, with a prayer beautifully expressed in a couplet from Songs of Islam: May the darkness of the world be removed with my efforts, And all places be brightened by my light.
Download Instructions: