Mawlana Sayyid Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali Nadwi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) wrote:
‘‘It was a greatly blessed day and fortunate hour of my life when I attended in the service of Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali Lahori, the amir of Anjuman Khuddam al-Din [situated at] Shiranwala Gate, Lahore. My life has two major turns from where it chose a new path (a better and blessed path, I believe). The first was when I became acquainted with Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali [Lahori]. The second occurred when Allah took me to Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas (may Allah shower His mercy upon him).
If I had not met Mawlana Ahmad ‘Ali, my life – whether good or bad – would have been very different to my current one. It probably would not have a taste for, nor inclination towards anything save literature, history and writing.
Gnosticism, finding the path and traversing it are great things. Being in Mawlana’s company created, in the least, a yearning to seek Allah, the sweetness of [uttering] Allah’s name, a love for the people of Allah, recognition of my own deficiency and the need for my rectification and perfection. And for us laypeople this is the greatest fortune and bounty.’’
Chalis Barey Musalman (Karachi: Idarat al-Qur’an, November 2001 ed.) Vol. 1, p. 630, compiled by Sayyid Hafiz Muhammad Akbar Shah Bukhari.