5The Review of Religions – January 2003 Message from Heaven by Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad – Khalifatul Masih II Introduction Over a hundred years ago, an amazing event took place in an obscure and tiny hamlet, Qadian, in the province of the Punjab, India. It was an event that was destined to change the course of history. There appeared a religious leader who claimed to be the Promised Reformer of the latter days and the fulfilment of various prophecies in all major religious scriptures regarding the advent of a global reformer. The followers of all great religions – Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and the followers of Confucius – all anxiously awaited the advent of the Promised Reformer, as predicted in their Holy Scriptures. Each believed the Promised Reformer would fulfil the prophecies contained in their respective scriptures. If the entire universe is the creation of one God, which it is, and therefore He alone must be the source of all religions, how could He send different messengers concurrently, inviting mankind into divergent paths and conflicting ideologies? This was the perplexing question addressed by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Under Divine guidance he made the revolutionary disclosure that there was to appear only one such reformer representing all the Promised Ones and humankind was ultimately to be brought under the fold of one universal religion. Hadhrat Ahmad(as) declared that he was the Promised Messiah. He further maintained that Islam was the final and complete code of life for all mankind, hence his claim that the awaited reformer had to appear in Islam as a subordinate prophet to Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam(sa). Born in 1835, Hadrat Ahmad(as) established the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in 1889. His mission, in which he acquitted himself with distinction and credit, was to revive Islam. He did not bring a new code of conduct or introduce any theological innovation. His teaching deriving entirely from the Holy Qur’an and the pronouncements of the Holy Prophet of Islam(sa), represent the essence of Islam, shorn of all innovations that have through many centuries, adulterated the doctrine of Islam. Hadhrat Ahmad(as) showed that by adhering to the true teachings of Islam, peace 6 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 With the Grace and Mercy of God. He alone is the Helper. ‘Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, but b l a s p h e my against the Holy Ghost shall not be fo r g i ve n unto men. And whosoeve r speaketh a word against the son of man it shall be forgiven him, but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world neither in the world to come.’ (St Matthew 12: 31, 32) In these words did a Holy Prophet of God(sa), 1900 years ago, address those who refused to accept a Message from Heaven, and these wo rds are as true and full of import today as they were when can be established among mankind and between man and his Creator. He urged his followers to foster a deep and sincere relationship with God, aiming to personify the true meaning of Islam – peace and submission to the will of God. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) died in 1908 but his guidance on the teachings of Islam has lived on through his community. His followers have been subjected to extreme persecution but despite all attempts of hostile fanatics, be they individual or governmental, whose purported objective was to extinguish the torch of Ahmadiyyat, the community has continued to prosper and now has branches in 180 countries across the world. The message of the Ahmadiyya Community is that unless man learns to live at peace with himself and his fellow human beings, he cannot live at peace with God. In Islam, you shall find such peace of mind and tranquillity of heart that is the fruit of submitting to the Will of God. It is for this reason that the second successor to the Promised Messiah(as), Hadhrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad(ra), poured out his heart in a message to the western nations. The ‘Message from Heaven’ was first published in the Review of Religions in December 1924, but it was felt that the message should be published within its own right. In a time of political, economic and social instability, mankind is ever in need of glad tidings. It is hoped that seekers after truth need look no further, for the one who has been long awaited has already come. (Introduction by Mirza Fakhar Ahmad) 7 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 they were spoken. Apart from the legends which fancy has woven round the expression ‘Holy Ghost’, the expression refers to the angel who was the bearer of the Word of God to Jesus(as). By the words which I have quoted a b ove, Je s u s( a s ) meant no more than this, that all manner of sin would be forgiven unto men, but that blasphemy against the Word of God would not be forgiven. A man who speaks against the son of man might be forgiven, but a man who speaks against the message which the son of man had brought would be punished both in this world and in the next. These words contain a great and profound truth, a truth which is free from every suspicion of error. It is but reasonable to assume that if there really exists a God and He sends a message for the guidance of mankind, which contains truths from which the world might derive eternal benefits and is not full of empty useless things, then those who ignore such a message or refuse to accept it must suffer the consequences of their conduct. If we give directions to a man as to how to reach a certain place and he arrives at that place without any trouble or difficulty in defiance of our directions, there must be something wrong with our d i rections. If they had been correct, a man who had acted in defiance of them could not, without repairing his mistake, have arrived at his destination. Similarly if the Wo rd of God contains guidance for mankind, a contra- vention of it must result in pain, not because God is actuated by spite, but because the offender has chosen to tread on a path which leads to trouble and difficulties. The Word of God is not revealed in order to try mankind, but is meant to guide mankind along the only path which leads to the goal of human existence. In short, a Message from Heaven is not a thing which might be ignored with impunity. It is a spiritual law, the contravention of which, like that of a physical law, is attended with penalties and deprives a man of spiritual well-being. As no man may swallow a deadly poison and escape the consequences, so may the human soul not reject the Wo rd of God and escape the consequences. He who acts in 8 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 accordance with it lays not God under an obligation but promotes the welfare of his own soul, and he who contravenes it, does no harm to God but injures his own soul. Having indicated the vital nature of a Message from Heaven, I desire to point out that as the object of man’s existence is that he should d evelop within himself Divine attributes and should attain to the perfection of purity, it is necessary that he should be the constant recipient of such messages from God as serve to sustain his interest and to remind him of the object of his existence. It is inconceivable that God, Who is the source of all knowledge and wisdom, should create man for a definite purpose and should then leave him to act as he pleases, and thus stultify His own wo r k . H i s t o ry also confirms this conclusion. There is not a single country or a single nation which has not at one time or another entertained a belief in revelation and which has not produced men who claimed to have been the recipients of revelation. We cannot say that all claimants were impostors or were the victims of n e rvous disorders, for they formed the centre of all morals and culture, and without them the world would have been but an empty waste. Concerning this the Holy Qur’an says: There is no nation but has had its warner. (Ch.35: V.25) This is perfectly true and correct. Having endowed man with powers and faculties which can lead him to the highest pinnacle of progress, God would not leave him without guidance or instruction; and being the Lord of, and having equal love for, all mankind, He would not confine the revelation of His Word to one nation or to one age. If we believe in a Merciful Creator, we must also believe that He sends His message to the world in every age; otherwise our belief would be a mere jumble of inconsistencies. When we arrive at the conclusion that revelation ought to be vouchsafed whenever mankind is in need of it, we have alre a d y advanced a step tow a rds the acceptance of God’s message, and have opened one of the windows 9 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 of our soul; but we must take another step fo r w a rd and ask o u r s e l ves the question, are we also in need of a message from God? If the need of such a message is established, we become pre – pared to accept the message, for a study of the laws of nature shows us that wherever there is a want the means of satisfaction of that want have also been provided, so that if mankind is in need of a Divine message, such a message must have been sent. Sisters and brothers, consider for a moment, what is the object of Divine messages and of revelation? Is it not that men should attain to p e r fect certainty of belief concerning their Creator and should, through perfect love for Him and perfect realisation of Him, be enabled to purify their souls and be equipped with faculties by means of which they m ay both here and here a f t e r, attain to union with God, which is the ultimate goal of human existence? Then, do we find these things in the world today? Do the men and women of today really b e l i eve in God, and do they cherish for Him such love as is due to Him, and do they so mould their lives in everything as to make them conformable to His commands? Have they acquire d such spiritual powers and faculties as indicate their union with God? I trust everyone of you must have read the Bible, or at least, some portions of it. Then do you find such men living today as those of whom you read in the Bible, and does God manifest His signs today on their behalf as He did of old? If this is not so, and on the contrary, the world is empty of faith, and disbelief is on the increase, and the love of God has been replaced by the love of riches, goods and worldly honours, and feelings of charity and sympathy have given place to schemes for robbing and despoiling, and instead of wit- nessing Divine signs men scarcely believe in the existence of God, and the whole time and energy of men is devoted to the gratification of their desires, and the commandments of religion being ignored as mere formalities, the rules of fashion relating to collars, coats, neckties, hats, frocks and gowns, and the regulations of what is described as good taste in manners and behaviour are 10 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 e n fo rced with a rigour which indicates that these matters are the sole concerns of life, Divine commandments being designated as mere formalities and shells, not because formalities and shells are regarded as useless but because man desires to abolish the law of God and to substitute in its place rules made by himself, which is not so much a rejection of the law as a usurpation of the functions of the Law-giver; then, things being as I have described them, do you not feel the need of a fresh message from God which should remind mankind that their Lord is a Living and Mighty Lord, and that He is not asleep in a corner of Paradise like an overwrought workman. Having demonstrated the need of a Divine message in the present age, I desire to inform you that God has not fo r s a ken His creatures, nor has He forgotten their needs. He has sent His message for the guidance of mankind through a Chosen One, as He had prev i o u s ly sent His messages through Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Je s u s , Krishna, Rama Chandra, Buddha, Confucius, Zoro a s t e r) a n d Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be on all of them). The name of the prophet who has brought the message of God to mankind in the present age is Ahmad(as), and those who accept his message and fo l l ow his teachings inherit the Grace of God, in the same manner as did those who accepted and followed the previous prophets. I am a follower of this Prophet and am also his second successor, and out of the love for our fellow-beings with which this Prophet has filled our hearts, I have come to deliver his message to you, and in doing so, I shall adopt the words used by the Promised Messiah(as) himself. He says, ‘Hearken ye who have ears to hear: What is it that Allah requires of you? Only this that you should become his alone and set up no equal with Him, neither on this earth nor in heaven. Our God is the One Who is alive today as much as He ever was; likewise He speaks today as He did in the past; He hears as He used to hear. To think that He only listens but does not speak in this age is a vain belief. Indeed, He both hears and speaks. All His attributes we re neve r 11 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 suspended, nor will they ever be. He is the same Unique Being Who has no associate; He has neither son nor wife…’ (Roohani Khazain, Vol.20, Al Wasiyyat, p.309) ‘ R e m e m b e r, I say unto you truly, that the man shall perish who has a l e aven of worldliness in his faith, and ve r i ly hell is ve ry near unto the one whose thoughts are not all fo r God, but some for God and some for the world. If there is one atom’s weight of worldliness in your faith, all your worship is vain, for then you fo l l ow Satan and not God. Be not flattered with the hope that God will help you in such a case, fo r you are then worms of the eart h and like worms of the earth yo u too will speedily perish. God will not be with you, but will be pleased to bring about your ruin. But if yo u t r u ly submit yo u r s e l ves to death, then will you live in God and God will be pleased with you and the house wherein you dwell shall be blessed. If your life and your death and eve ry movement that yo u m a ke, and the forbearance yo u e xe rcise and the punishment yo u mete out are solely for the sake of God, and try not God in eve ry difficulty and tro u b l e, but move fo r w a rd tow a rds Him at eve ry step, then will you indeed be the f avourite of God.’ ( i b i d ) Again he says, ‘Realise that your Lord is One, and do not associate any partners with Him, either in heaven or on earth. You are not forbidden to employ such means for the achievement of yo u r projects as God has furnished you with, but he who forsakes God and puts his trust in material things, sets up other gods beside Him in Whom should be our whole trust. Think not that the age of Divine revelation has passed and that the Holy Ghost does not now descend upon men as it did in ages past. The perfect law has been revealed to mankind in the Holy Qur’an, but the doors of revelation are ever open, fo r revelation is the soul of faith. The faith that is not founded on revelation is not a living but a lifeless thing. Verily I say unto you that eve ry other door may be closed but the door of revelation can never be closed. Open then the windows of your soul, that the light of revelation may enter 12 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 t h e rein. When you shut the windows through which the light of revelation may enter, you shut out the bright sun itself. O foolish one, arise and open the windows of thy soul, and the light will enter therein of itself. God has not shut upon you the doors of worldly blessings in this age, but has opened them wider for you than in ages past; then how can yo u imagine that the doors of spiritual blessings of which you are in greater need today than men were in the past, have been shut upon you? They have been thrown open more widely and more generously than of yore.’ ‘The Lord who has revealed His Wo rd to me, and has show n mighty signs in my support and has sent me as the Pro m i s e d Messiah in this age, is the Lord of all the unive r s e. There is no go d besides Him, either in heaven or on earth. Blessed are they that b e l i eve in Him, for they shall be made hap py; and woe is unto them that reject Him, for they shall be fo r s a ken and their day s shall end in grief. I have been vo u c h s a fed the revelation of the L o rd, which is brighter than the sun. I have seen Him and re a l i s e d Him; He is the Lord of the U n i verse and there is no go d beside Him. How wo n d rous is the L o rd that I have seen, what a mighty Helper have I found in Him! ‘Hearken unto me, O men, for hereby do I discharge the duty of delivering my message to you. Sin is a poison, avoid it; re b e l l i o n against the Lord is eternal death, beware of it! Pray to God, that you m ay be strengthened. Do not imagine that by uttering a few wo rds from your mouth yo u realise the object of yo u r existence; God desires to bring about a thorough transformation in your lives. Be kind and merciful to the creatures of God. Let not your tongue speak evil against them, or your hands do injury to them. Do not oppress them, and be ever kind and good to them. Speak not wo rds of pride and vanity to anyone, even unto your s u b o rdinates or servants; and abuse not anyone though you may be abused. Walk upon the earth in meekness and humility, and comfort your fellow-beings that you may be accepted of God. There are many that wear the 13 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 mask of humility, and are soft of speech, but their hearts are those of serpents. You cannot be accepted of God until your tongue conforms to your heart. If you are placed in a high station, glory not in your greatness and do not look down upon the lowly, but be kind to them. If you are learned, glory not in your learning, and do not despise the ignorant out of vanity, but give them a wo rd of kind advice. If you are rich, glory not in your wealth, and do not behave p ro u d ly or with arro g a n c e towards the poor, but serve and assist them. Shun the paths that lead to destruction; fear God and lead righteous lives. Worship not a ny cre a t u re, but severing all earthly bonds, be wholly devoted to God. Let not your joy be of this world; serve God alone, and d evote your whole life to His service. Shun all evil and impurity for the sake of the Lord, for the Lord is Holy. Let each morning bear witness that you have passed the night in the fear of God, and let each evening bear witness that you have spent the day in righteousness. You are men like unto me, and the Lord who is my God is also your God. Neglect not your faculties that work for purity; and if you incline wholly to God, rest assured, for I have been commanded by God to convey to you the assurance, that you will be the chosen ones of God.’ This is the message that the prophet of this age has brought us, and a consideration of this message shows, firstly, that God calls us to a realisation of His perfect Unity not in the sense that we should merely say ‘the Lord is One’ for there are many who say this, but in the sense that every thought and every deed of ours should be governed by the sense of His Unity and that our sole and perfect trust should rest in Him. We may employ material means for the achievement of our objects, but we must believe that the result of all action rests in the Hands of God. We should love no thing or person with a love stronger than that which we bear to God, neither our homes, p ro p e rties, goods, re l a t i o n s , desires or enjoyments, nor should our hatred of a thing overcome our love for God, so as to make us insensible to the commands of God. In short, every act of ours 14 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 should be for the sake of God, and we should have no goal and no object save Him. This is the Unity that God desires us to re a l i s e, and this is the Unity that alone can benefit the world, for it rescues us not mere ly from images of stone, but also from the idols of desire and hate and thus establishes p e r fect peace in the world. Secondly, this message tells us that the only means for the salvation of mankind is the law revealed in the H o ly Qur’an. It contains full directions relating to every matter that affects the moral or spiritual well-being of man, and the world should, there fo re, turn to the Holy Qur’an for the solution of all its difficulties. T h i rd ly, this message tells us that the fact that a perfect law has a l ready been revealed does not signify the cessation of furt h e r messages from God. The Wo rd of God is not confined only to the injunctions of the law; it is ve ry often revealed for the purpose of calling men to God. God does not m e re ly reveal the ordinances of the l aw; He says that whenever men fall aw ay from Him He calls them to Himself. For God to speak to His servants is a sign of love and He never shuts the gates of His l ove. If the object of human existence is that man should win the pleasure of God and should attain to union with Him, it is inconceivable that the door t h rough which union can be attained should be shut. It is no a n swer to say that man wo u l d attain to union with God after death. If there had been only one religion and only one school of thought in the world, this answe r might perhaps have served, but t h e re are hundreds, nay thousands, of creeds in the world which claim that their fo l l owers would attain to union with God after death. If the c e rtainty of union with God is to be attained only after death, what means are left to a man to demonstrate the truth in this, and what shall it profit a man to d i s c over the truth after death, fo r t h e re are no means of re t u r n i n g f rom the beyond, and know l e d g e gained there cannot help a man to i m p rove the life he had spent in this world? It is, therefore, necessary that there should be certain means available in this life for ascertaining the pleasure of God, and that 15 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 these means can be furnished only by revelation and the mani- festation of God’s attributes. The Promised Messiah(as) claimed that he had attained to these things as the previous prophets had attained to them, and that he had been sent by God to demonstrate to mankind that perfect faith without which man cannot escape sin, and to foster in the hearts of men that perfect love without which no true sacrifice is possible. Fo u rt h ly, this message tells us that a prophet is only a man like other men, and should not be re g a rd e d as a supernatural being. God has e n d owed all men with similar faculties and has thrown open the door of advancement to all mankind. Whoever strives in the path of God may attain to the highest pinnacle of pro g ress and the doors of Divine re a l i s a t i o n will be opened to him. No man should, there fo re, despise his latent faculties, and eve ryo n e should use these faculties to s t r i ve after spiritual advancement and try to attain to perfect union with God by putting himself in d i rect relationship with Him. Fifthly, we are told that the object of religion is not to divorce us f rom the world, and that a renunciation of the world is not a condition precedent of union with God. The function of religion is to teach us how to establish a perfect relationship with God while living in the world. We cannot find God by giving up our properties, goods and relationships; we can find Him only by holding fast to Him in all conditions and circumstances of life, whether of joy or of sorrow, of prosperity or of poverty. We should remember Him in times of prosperity as well as of adversity, and should never despair of His Mercy, and should foster His love, and should always seek His help through prayer. A brave man runs not aw ay from battle, for true courage is displayed by firmness on the field of battle. Sixthly, we learn that virtue does not mean the doing of good deeds, nor does evil signify the doing of bad ones; by virtue and evil are meant the good and ev i l conditions of the mind, and good or bad deeds are only the signs of virtue or of evil. It is our duty not merely to suppress the signs of 16 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 evil, but to suppress ev i l inclinations and to foster virtuous ones, for the purity of the mind is the real purity, and the purity of the limbs only follows from it. S eve n t h ly, we are told that no amount of advancement in learning or in intellect, can enable us to dispense with the necessity of conforming our conduct to the laws of God. The law of God is not a penalty from which we might e s c ape at a certain stage; like physical laws, it is based on the principle of cause and effect, and we cannot make any spiritual progress without conforming our conduct to it. A sin is not a sin because God has forbidden it; on the contrary God forbids a sin because it is a poison for the soul. The law, therefore, does not make a man sinful, but helps him to avoid sin. A man who is forewarned of danger is prepared to meet it; the warning does not render him more likely to succumb to it. The Promised Messiah(as) says that sin is like a poison, that is to say, as a man is prohibited from taking poison because it is harmful, so is a man prohibited from committing sins because they are injurious. A poison does not become fatal because the doctor prohibits its use, nor does sin become fatal because God prohibits it. E i g h t h ly, we are told that we should not only establish a perfe c t relationship with God, but should also perfect our relation with our fe l l ow beings. We should avoid all that leads to disorder and d i s t u r b a n c e, and the blessings that a re vo u c h s a fed to us we should e m p l oy in the service of mankind rather than tow a rds the attainment of mastery and dominion over our fe l l ow beings. This is the message that the P romised Messiah( a s ) b rought fro m God, and a ve ry slight consider- ation would indicate the momentous nature of this message. This message is the message of hope; it is the message of peace; and it is the message of wisdom. If the world we re to pay heed to this message it would discover in it the solution to all its social and spiritual p roblems. It is not a message fro m man; it is a message from God. The P romised Messiah( a s ) does not claim to have discove red these things in his own mind; he says that he has 17 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 m e re ly conveyed to us that which God had commanded him to c o nvey. What message can, t h e re fo re, claim greater impor- tance than the Message of God? Sisters and brothers, a man who really believes in God can never find satisfaction in tales and fables. What satisfaction can we derive f rom reading in our re s p e c t i ve scriptures how God used to speak to His servants? If He showed signs in ages past, but shows no signs now, how can we love Him? For does it not follow that He loved those who have gone before us, but feels no concern for our we l f a re? And will this thought engender love or dislike towards Him? Can anyone be encouraged to make an attempt to establish a relationship with a Being who shuts His door in our face? Nor can we admit that while man is making rapid intellectual advances, God’s attributes are falling into decay; for although we cannot say that the attributes of God are d eveloping, we cannot on the other hand admit that they are getting worn out. His perfection consists in not being subject to change, for change, whether for the better or for the wo r s e, implies an imperfection, and He is free from all imperfections. Human nature itself bears witness that it stands in need of guidance f rom above. The fact that thousands of spiritualistic societies have been formed indicates that men are not satisfied with the love of this world. Is it conceivable, however, that while the souls of our ancestors are anxious to lead us along the path of advancement, the Being who is the Creator of all souls and Who has created us with the object that we should attain nearness to Him, is i n d i f fe rent to our we l f a re and indicates no way of our meeting Him? If there is any being who is anxious for our welfare, if there is one who desires to meet us, it is God. No doubt a man who desires to be at one with God must fulfil c e rtain conditions. To pre p a re himself for His meeting a man must develop in himself an e x t r a o rd i n a ry purity, and man must knock before the door is opened to him, but the possibility of the door being opened must be ever present. The Pro m i s e d M e s s i a h( a s ) g i ves us the Divine message that this possibility is 18 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 present, ‘If you so will’, says God, ‘and follow my guidance, you shall hear my Word as those who have gone before you heard it; and I shall manifest my powers for you as I did for them.’ I shall leave you to imagine. What a clarion of hope is sounded by this message, and what a prospect it opens of man being led back in peace to His Maker. But I must add that by d e l i vering this message, the P romised Messiah( a s ) has made peace between man and God, and has proved that the men of this age do not stand towards God in the position of stepsons and that He loves them more than men love their own children. The claim put fo r w a rd by the P romised Messiah( a s ) is not a commonplace one; his very claim is a proof of his truth. For a man to say that he has come from God is easy but to say that he can lead every man to God is most difficult. The former is a claim the truth or falsehood of which depends upon arguments, and arguments can be twisted in many directions, but the latter is a claim, the proof of which depends upon the personal experience of each man, and it is impossible for an impostor to adduce such proof. Not only did the Promised Messiah( a s ) m a ke such a claim but thousands of men, who followed His teachings, have seen the signs of God and heard His Word, and have thus set their seal to the truth of His claim. Can a false man put forward the claim that by fo l l owing His teachings men can attain to union with God as did the righteous men of old? Will not the claim of such a man be proved false within a few days and bring disgrace and humiliation on him? Men and women of England, I have brought you glad tidings, aye joyful tidings, viz., the message of God that He has not forsaken you, that the gates of His mercy have been opened to you and it is now for you to enter therein. Follow His revealed Law and you can in this very life experience His mighty powers. All other religions seek to win your approval on credit, but the Promised Messiah(as) offers you a ready return. He promises you union with God, not after death, but in this very life. That which you used to read in the Bible with wonder and surprise, has today 19 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 become possible through him. It is for you to try it. The life of the Promised Messiah( a s ) is an ideal, and the Holy Qur’an is a p e r fect guide, for you. Is it not enough for you that 34 years ago1 a man cried from the wilderness ‘ H e a r ken unto him who calls you to the Lord; listen to the call of the c r i e r. The gates of God’s merc y h ave been thrown open; He has a dd ressed Himself to the we l f a re of His cre a t u res, He desires to collect all mankind at one hand thro u g h m e, and to lead them out of doubt and darkness to the waters of c e rt a i n t y.’ The dwellers of cities laughed at him and those that live d in the country we re furious, governments looked down upon him and the people mocked him, but in spite of eve ry kind of opposition, his voice rose eve r higher and still higher, till the soft notes of a flute swelled into a trumpet-call and those that slept began to aw a ke in confusion and b ewilderment. A man here and a man there advanced tow a rds the vo i c e, till the lonely crier was no longer alone, there we re two and lo there we re fo u r, and their numbers increased, and today he has nearly a million fo l l owers in fifty d i f fe rent countries of the globe.2 This was not, however, achieved without troubles and hard s h i p s . People did not travel towards him along rose strewn paths. Many who accepted him were driven out of their homes; husbands were forsaken by their wives and wives were put away by their husbands; parents were driven out by their children and children were driven out by their parents; tyrants and despots arrested those who were inclined tow a rds him and t h reatened them with death in case they believed in him, but these were not daunted and in death they found a joy that no e a rt h ly thing could yield. They stood befo re their oppre s s o r s with smiling faces and heads erect, while merciless murderers show- ered stones at them. Each stone that fell on them, was to them but a flower and each brickbat that struck them they took to be a flower, and as a happy bridegroom leads his bride home in radiant joy, so did they cherish their love for the Promised Messiah( a s ) a n d arrived before their Maker happy in the possession of their treasure 20 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 and in the realisation that they had made a profitable bargain! It is not easy to travel along such paths, but so sweet was the voice of the Promised Messiah(as) that those whose ears were open were left no power to resist its call. It cleansed the hearts of men of all doubt and misgiving and filled them with belief and faith. Indeed, h ow could doubt linger in the h e a rts of those who had themselves heard the sweet voice of God by following the teachings of the Promised Messiah( a s )? Heaven and earth may change, but the hearts that have enjoyed this sweet ecstasy can never change. Sisters and brothers, I speak not of things that I have heard fro m others. I have, by following the teachings of the Pro m i s e d Messiah(as), myself heard the sweet voice of God, and have been made happy by His loving words, as the disciples of Jesus(as) heard them, aye and more. I have witnessed the mighty signs of God. He has manifested His Glory for my sake, and helped me in places where no man’s help could avail, and saved me from the attacks of my enemies at a time when no man could save me. He informed me beforehand of events which no man could foreshadow and it then came to pass as He had told me. My eyes have, therefore, seen the truth of the Promised Messiah(as), and my heart has realised it; and I doubt not that eve ryone who accepts him and opens his heart to his love, shall experience what I h ave experienced and more, eve ryone according to the measure of his love. Ye men and women that listen eagerly to the message of your children and parents and husbands and wives and friends, will ye ignore the Message of God, and claiming to be believers in God, will ye turn aw ay from His Wo rd? Will ye forget that which occurred in the times of the previous prophets and will ye not profit by it? Let not your fancies deceive you saying: ‘Behold this man who calls himself the Messenger of God. Behold him, a dweller of the uncultured East, who had no power behind him and who was the subject of a foreign government. How was he raised to this dignity? And why did God select him?’ Remember that the doings of God are marvellous 21 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 and His ways are strange. He is ever wont to select the stone that the builders reject and to make it the cornerstone and to endow it with such power that whatsoever falls on it is broken into pieces, and on whatsoever it falls, it grinds into powder. Was there ever a p rophet concerning whom men did not say similar things and was there ever one who was not held lowly and yet did not succeed? Hearken, therefore, to what he says, and attend to the message which he has brought; consider the various forms of succour that God gave him, and press forward to accept him, for in this lies all blessing. Let not your habits and customs stand in your way, for habits are d i s c a rded and customs change; then will you not give up your habits and customs for the sake of God? People say that the ordinances of Islam are stringent and hard to follow. But do they imagine that the union with God may be attained by mere words of mouth? What they should consider is, are the teachings of Islam opposed to reason? Do they promote disorder? Do they not lead to true purity of life? If the answers to these questions are s a t i s f a c t o ry, will they shut the gates of God’s mercy on themselves and will they reject the blessing of union with Him, merely because some of the ordinances of Islam are contrary to their old habits? Can any blessing be acquired without a sacrifice? You cannot at once please God and fulfil your own desires. All religions are agreed that one can find God only after death; and this is true, in the sense that one can find God only after one has submitted all one’s desires to death for the sake of God. Be not afraid that men will laugh at you and will look upon you as mad men, for no one has ever accepted the Truth in the beginning, but men have called him mad. Were not the followers of Moses(as) and those who believed in Je s u s( a s ) regarded as mad men? And did not those very ‘mad men’ become the teachers of mankind? I call God to witness, in Whose Hands is my life and concerning Whom all scriptures are agreed that he who utters a falsehood in His name shall perish, that He has showed 22 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 me in vision that I stood on the coast of England and that the spiritual conquest of England was to be achieved at my hands. T h e re fo re, if not today then tomorrow, England shall answer the call of the Promised Messiah(as) and shall advance towards Islam. But blessed is he who takes the first step towards it. For him who is the first to advance towards the Truth is a double reward, for not only does he believe himself but he induces others to believe also, and those who come after him cannot claim equality with him. The truth s p reads slow ly at first, but overcomes everything in the end. God assured the Pro m i s e d M e s s i a h( a s ) that as within thre e h u n d red years after Je s u s( a s ), Christianity had gained the upper hand, so within three hundre d years after his death, his movement would prevail against all other religions, but that the v i c t o ry of the Ahmadiyya Movement would be greater than the victory of Christianity, fo r Christianity had after thre e centuries become the official c reed of Rome alone, but Ahmadiyyat would within thre e centuries conquer the hearts of the entire world. These matters relate, no doubt, to the future, but the world has already witnessed the fulfilment of thousands of p rophecies of the Pro m i s e d Messiah(as), and the past, therefore, bears witness to the future. Is it not marvellous that 34 years ago, at a time when the Promised Messiah(as) was alone in the world, he published a prophecy in one of his books that his teachings would soon be published in England and that many people would accept them? Today you see a number of his followers proclaiming his truth throughout England, and several persons in this country have a l ready joined his move m e n t . Then marvel not at the doings of God, for all things are easy for Him. Ye seekers after Truth, and ye that truly yearn after God, I assure you on the basis of my experience that there is no means of attaining to union with God except through fo l l owing the P romised Messiah( a s ). To d ay all doors are closed except his door, and all lamps have gone out except his lamp; enter ye then by the door which God has opened, and seek light from the lamp which 23 Message from Heaven The Review of Religions – January 2003 God has lit; see His Glory with your own eyes and realise His nearness in your own hearts. But remember, that it profits not to place one’s feet in two boats. Faith cannot avail without s a c r i f i c e. A man who is not prepared to sacrifice his comforts and his enjoyments, and his time and his habits can never hope to achieve success, and he who is prepared to sacrifice all these can n ever perish. The Pro m i s e d Messiah(as) says, ‘You can never win the pleasure of God until yo u forsake your own pleasures and e n j oyments, your rank, yo u r wealth and your very life, and are p re p a red to encounter eve ry difficulty in His path which brings b e fo re your eyes the scene of death. But if you encounter and overcome all difficulties, you will be taken into the bosom of God l i ke little children, and He will make you heirs to the blessings which we re vo u c h s a fed to the righteous men who have go n e before you.’ Behold, God has, in accordance with the prophecy of Isaiah, raised the righteous man from the East and has conveyed His will to you through him. May I hope that you will accept him in all sincerity of heart and will be his first standard- bearers in the West? If so, I assure you out of the knowledge that God has vouchsafed to me that nations shall be blessed through you, and future generations shall bless you, and you shall attain to immortality in God! References: 1. This message was written 34 years after Hadhrat Ahmad(as) announced his claim. 2. The figure now stands at ap p rox i m a t e ly 170 million (2001).
Excerpts from discourses, speeches and addresses on what constitutes true belief.
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