Woking Muslim Mission, England, 1913–1968

M. Pickthall

His tributes to Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din
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Marmaduke Pickthall — His tributes to Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din

Following the death of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din in December 1932, Pickthall wrote a letter to Khwaja Nazir Ahmad, son of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, which was published in the special issue of The Islamic Review devoted to his life, dated April–May 1933, on pages 140–141. This issue can be viewed here. The text of Pickthall’s letter is reproduced below:

My dear Nazir Ahmad,

I heard of your sad loss some days ago and meant to write to you; but in the Ramadan mental seclusion I lost count of time and perhaps thought also that my remembrance of your father and thought of you at such a time might be understood, so that the formal letter seemed less urgent.

I have had a very clear remembrance of your father in these days as I saw him first in England in his prime, and of the impression which he made upon all who had the pleasure of meeting him. It is less as a missionary that I like to think of him — the word ‘missionary’ has mean associations — than as an ambassador of Islam. His return to India owing to ill-health was a blow to the cause in England from which it has hardly yet recovered.

I differed from him on some matters, as you know — relatively unimportant matters, they seem now — but my personal regard for him remained the same. And now, looking back upon his life-work, I think that there is no one living who has done such splendid and enduring service to Islam. The work in England is the least part of it. Not until I came to India did I realise the immense good that his writings have done in spreading knowledge of religion and reviving the Islamic spirit in lethargic Muslims; not only here, but wherever there are Muslims in the world his writings penetrated, and have aroused new zeal and energy and hope. It is a wonderful record of work, which could have been planned and carried out only by a man of high intelligence inspired by faith and great sincerity of purpose. Allah will reward him! To you I will only say, as the Arabs say to the survivor of a great worker, “The remainder is in your life.”

Accept the assurance of my deep and sincere sympathy.

Yours ever,

M. Pickthall.

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