Exalted Status of the Holy Prophet(sa) – Part 1

8 The Review of Religions – October 2005 That light of high degree that was bestowed on perfect man was not in angels, was not in stars, was not in the moon, was not in the sun, was not in the oceans and the rivers, was not in rubies, emeralds, sapphires, or pearls; in short, it was not in any earthly or heavenly object. It was only in perfect man whose highest and loftiest and most perfect example was our lord and master, the Chief of the Prophets, the Chief of all living ones, Muhammad(sa). That light was bestowed on this man and, according to their ranks, upon all those who bore the same colour to some degree…. This dignity was found in its highest and most perfect form in our lord and master and our guide, the immaculate Prophet, the righteous one, testified to by the righteous, Muhammad(sa), the chosen one. ( A i n a – e – K a m a l a t – e – I s l a m , Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 5, pp. 160- 162) I always wonder how high was the status of this Arab Prophet, whose name was Muhammad, This series sets out, in the words of the Promised Messiah(as), Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a summary of his exposition of four outstanding topics: ISLAM; ALLAH, THE EXALTED; THE HOLY PROPHET(sa) and THE HOLY QUR’AN. The original compilation, in Urdu, from which these extracts have been translated into English, was collated with great care and diligence by Syed Daud Ahmad Sahib, Allah have mercy on him and reward him graciously for his great labour of love. Amin. The English rendering is by the late Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, may Allah be pleased with him, and is quoted from The Essence of Islam, Volume 1. All references throughout, unless otherwise specifically mentioned, are from the Holy Qur’an. The Exalted Status of the Holy Prophet(sa) – Part 1 9The Review of Religions – October 2005 (thousands of blessings and peace be upon him). One cannot reach the limit of his high status and it is not given to man to estimate correctly his spiritual effectiveness. It is a pity that his rank has not been recognised, as it should have been. He was the champion who restored to the world the Unity of God which had disappeared from the world; he loved God in the extreme and his soul melted out of sympathy for mankind. Therefore, God, Who knew the secret of his heart, exalted him above all the Prophets and all the first ones and the last ones and bestowed upon him in his lifetime all that he desired… ( H a q i q a t – u l – Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.22, pp.118-119) O all ye who dwell upon the earth, and O all human souls that are in the east or in the west, I announce to you emphatically that the true reality in the earth is Islam alone, and the True God is the God Who is described in the Qur’an, and the Prophet who has everlasting spiritual life and who is seated on the throne of glory and holiness, is Muhammad, the chosen one(sa). The proof of his spiritual life and holy majesty is that by following him and loving him we become recipients of the Holy Spirit and are favoured with the bounty of converse with God and witness heavenly signs. ( Ti ryaq-ul-Qulub, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.15, P.141) The man who in his being and his attributes and his actions and through his spiritual and holy faculties set an example of perfection, in knowledge and action and in sincerity and steadfastness, and was called the perfect man was Muhammad( s a ). . . . The man who was most perfect as man and as Prophet, and came with full blessings, and who through a spiritual revival and resurrection manifested the first judgement in the world and revived the dead world, that blessed Prophet, the Seal of the Prophets, the leader of the righteous ones, the pride of the Prophets, was Muhammad, the chosen one(sa). Our Lord, send down on that beloved Prophet that mercy and blessing that THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) 10 The Review of Religions – October 2005 Thou hast not sent down on anyone since the beginning of the world. Had that grand Prophet not appeared in the world then we would have no proof of the truth of lesser Prophets like Jonah(as), Job(as), Jesus(as) son of M a r y, Malachi( a s ), John ( a s ), Z e c h a r i a h( a s ), etc. Though they were favourites and honoured and were beloved ones of Almighty God, they are under obligation to this Prophet that they were accepted in the world as true Prophets. O Allah, send down Thy blessings on him and on his people and on his companions, all of them. Our last word is that all praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. (Ittimam-ul-Hujjah, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.8, p.308) When we estimate justly, then out of the whole series of Prophets, we find one of high courage and alive and greatly dear to God, the Chief of the Prophets, the pride and the crown of the Messengers, whose name is Muhammad Mustafa and Ahmad Mujtaba(sa). By walking under his shadow for ten days one obtains that light which before him could not be obtained in a thousand years…. We have found every light by following the immaculate Prophet and whoever follows him will also find it and he will become so accepted of God that nothing will be impossible for him. The Living God, Who is hidden from people, will be his God; all false gods will be trodden under his feet. He will be blessed everywhere and Divine Power will be with him. Peace be on him who follows the guidance. (Siraj-e-Munir, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.12, pp.82-83) Now under heaven, there is only one Prophet( s a ) and only one Book. The Prophet is Muhammad, the chosen one ( s a ) who is higher and more exalted than all Prophets and is the most perfect of Messengers and is the ‘ K h a t a m – u l – A n b i y a ’, (Seal of the Prophets) and the best of men by following whom we find God Almighty and all the veils of darkness are lifted THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) 11The Review of Religions – October 2005 and the signs of true salvation are witnessed in this very life. The Book is the Holy Qur’an, which comprises true and perfect guidance and eff e c t i v e n e s s , through which knowledge and understanding of the Divine are obtained and the heart is purified of human weaknesses; and being delivered from ignorance, heedlessness and doubts, a person arrives at the stage of complete certainty. (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’ain, Vol.1, pp.557-558, sub-footnote 3) There have been millions of pure-natured people in the world and there will be more in the future, but we have found the best of all of them and the highest man of God, whose name is Muhammad(sa). Allah and His Angels send blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! You also should invoke blessings on him and salute him with the salutations of peace’. (Ch.33:V.57) We shall leave aside any mention of the holy ones from among those people whose circum- stances have not been described in detail in the Holy Qur’an. We shall express our view only with regard to the Prophets who are THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as). The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad( a s ). In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim c o m m u n i t y. 12 The Review of Religions – October 2005 mentioned in the Qur’an like Moses(asa), David(as), Jesus(as) and other Prophets. We affirm it on oath, calling God to witness, that if the Holy Prophet(sa) had not come into the world, and the Holy Qur’an had not been revealed, and we had not seen with our own eyes the blessings that we have witnessed, the truth of all past Prophets would have remained doubtful in our eyes. No reality can be gathered from mere stories, for it is quite possible that they may not be true and it is also possible that the miracles that are attributed to these Prophets might be exaggerations, for no sign of them is visible today. We cannot even ascertain for certain from the Books revealed in the past that God truly exists, because we are not assured that God speaks to man. But through the advent of the Holy Prophet(sa) all these stories became real. We now realise not merely as a statement, but as a matter of experience, what converse with the Divine means and how God’s signs are manifested and how prayers are answered. All this we have discovered by following the Holy Prophet(sa) and what other people relate as stories we have witnessed it all. We have attached ourselves to a Prophet(sa) who manifests God to us. [A poet has put it beautifully: Muhammad of Arabia, King of both the worlds; Whose threshold is safeguarded by the Holy Spirit. I cannot call him God, but I do say; To recognise him is to recognise God.] How shall we express our gratitude to God who bestowed upon us the good fortune to follow the Prophet who is a sun for the souls of the righteous as there is a sun for the bodies. He appeared in a time of darkness and illumined the world with his light. He was neither tired nor fatigued till he purified all parts of Arabia from associating partners with God. He is the proof of his own truth for his light is present in every age and THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) 13The Review of Religions – October 2005 true obedience to him purifies a person as the clear and transparent water of a river cleanses dirty linen. Who has come to us with a sincere heart and has not witnessed that light, and who has knocked honestly on that door for whom it has not been opened? But the pity is that most people prefer the lower life and do not desire that higher light should enter into them. (Chasma-e-Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khaza’ain, Vol.23, pp.301-303) The Holy Prophet(sa) was directed in the Holy Qur’an to supplicate: O my Lord! Grant me perfect knowledge of Your greatness, Your ways and Yo u r attributes. (Ch.20: V.115) This means that the Holy P r o p h e t( s a ) was directed to supplicate for perfect knowledge of God’s greatness and understanding and attributes. At another place it is said: So am I commanded, and I am the first of those who submit. (Ch.6:V.164) Reading these two verses together, we find that the Holy Prophet(sa) became the foremost of the Muslims because he was the most learned in the knowledge of Divine under- standing. For this reason, his Islam is the highest of all and he is the foremost of the Muslims. Another verse also indicates the vastness of his knowledge as is said: And Allah has sent down to thee the Book and wisdom and has taught thee what thou knewest not, and great is Allah’s grace on thee’. (Ch.4:V.114) This means that: God Almighty has taught the Holy Prophet(sa) that which he could not have learnt by himself, and by His grace he was blessed more than anyone else. That is to say, the Holy Prophet(sa) surpassed everyone in his knowledge and understanding of the divine and God Almighty perfumed him with the fragrance of divine understanding more THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) 14 The Review of Religions – October 2005 than anyone else. Thus, God has appointed knowledge and understanding as the principal means of obtaining a true concept of Islam. Though there are other means for obtaining such knowledge, like fasting, Prayer, supplication and carrying out all the Divine commandments, the number of which exceeds six hundred, yet the knowledge of the Greatness of God and of His Unity and of His attributes of Glory and Beauty is basic for everything. He who has a heedless heart and has no understanding of the Divine, cannot obtain the strength to observe the fast, perform Prayer, make suppli- cation, or occupy himself with doing good. All righteous action is incited by understanding of the Divine and all the other means proceed from it and are its issue. The beginning of this understanding is the reflection of God’s Rahmaniyyat and is not the result of any action or any prayer, but is a gift of pure grace. He guides whom He wills and He lets go astray whom He wills. Then this understanding is fostered by righteous action and good faith, till it assumes the form of revelation and descend- ing in the word of God, illumines the whole expanse of the bosom with the light which is called Islam. At the stage of perfect under- standing, Islam does not remain a mere phrase, but all its reality that we have described is achieved and the human soul prostrates itself humbly before Divine Unity. Thereupon, from both sides it is announced: Whatever is mine is thine. That is to say, the human soul cries out and confesses: Lord whatever is mine is Thine; and God also speaks and conveys the good news: O My servant, the heaven and earth etc. that are with Me are with thee also. This stage is indicated in the verse: Say: O My servants who have committed excesses against your own selves despair not of the mercy of Allah, sure l y THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) 15The Review of Religions – October 2005 Allah will forgive all sins. (Ch.39:V.54) In this verse instead of: O s e rvants of Allah; the Holy P r o p h e t(sa) was commanded to say: O My servants. This verse was revealed in this form so that God Almighty might convey the good news of limitless mercies and might comfort those who are broken-hearted in consequence of their sins. Thus, Allah the Glorious desired to exhibit a sample of His mercies and to make it manifest to what extent He honours His faithful servant with special favours. By adopting the form: Say: O My s e rv a n t s; God in effect said: Look at My beloved Messenger and see at what high rank he has arrived through his perfect obedience to Me that now all that is Mine is his. He who desires salvation should become his servant. That is to say, he should obey him so perfectly as if he was his slave. Then whatever sins he might have committed would be forgiven him. The word ‘abd in Arabic idiom also means slave as it is said: A believing slave is better than an idolater. (Ch.2: V.222) In the verse to which we have drawn attention, it is indicated that he who desires salvation should establish the relationship of a slave with this Prophet. That is to say, he should not step outside his commandment and should consider himself bound to his obedience as a slave is bound and he would then obtain salvation. One pities those dark- souled ones who bear such rancour towards the Holy Prophet(sa) that they consider that names like Ghulam Nabi, Ghulam Rasul, Ghulam Mustafa, Ghulam Ahmad and Ghulam Muhammad, saviour of asso- ciating the Holy Prophet(sa) with God, whereas the verse indicates that these names are a means of salvation. As ‘abd implies that a person so named should refrain from every kind of freedom and self-direction and should be completely obedient to his m a s t e r, therefore, the seekers after truth have been urged that if they wish to attain salvation they THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) 16 The Review of Religions – October 2005 should adapt themselves to this condition. This verse has the same connotation as the verse: Say, if you love Allah, follow me: then will Allah love you and forgive you your faults… (Ch.3: V.32) Perfect following demands that devotion and full obedience which is conveyed in the expression ‘ a b d. The verse: S a y : O my serv a n t s ; means in eff e c t : Say: O my followers, who are involved in sins, despair not of mercy of Allah; for Allah, through the blessing of your following me, will forgive all your sins. If the word servants in this verse is construed as meaning the servants of Allah, the meaning of the verse is perverted for it cannot be true that God Almighty would f o rgive all idol worshippers and disbelievers without their believ- ing in and following the Holy P r o p h e t( s a ). Such an inter- pretation would be contrary to the express directions of the Holy Qur’ a n . It should be remembered that the purport of the verse is that those who become the sincere servants of the Holy Prophet(sa) will be bestowed the light, the faith, the love and the passion which will deliver them from all that is beside Allah, and they will be freed from sins and will be bestowed a pure life in this world and they will be delivered from the narrow and dark graves of human passions. This is indicated by the Hadith: That is, I am the resurrector at whose footsteps people will be raised up. The Holy Qur’an is full of the idiom that the world had died and that God Almighty revived it through sending the Holy Prophet(sa) as is said: Know that Allah revives the earth after its death… (Ch.57:V.18) In the same way, it is said with reference to the companions of the Holy Prophet(sa) THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) 17The Review of Religions – October 2005 …whom he has strengthened with inspiration fro m Himself… (Ch.58:V.23) This means that God helped them with the Holy Spirit. The help of the Holy Spirit is that it revives the hearts, delivers from spiritual death, bestows pure faculties, pure senses and pure knowledge, and carries a person to the station of nearness to God through certain know-ledge and conclusive argu-ments…. This knowledge on which salvation depends cannot be obtained without that life which is bestowed through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Qur’an affirms it emphatically that that spiritual life is obtained only through following the Holy Prophet( s a ) a n d that all those who repudiate obedience to him are dead and do not possess that life. Spiritual life means the intel-lectual and active faculties which are brought to life by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Qur’an shows that the commandments of God to which He desires man to conform are six hundred. In consonance with this the wings of Gabriel are also six hundred. Until the egg of humanness lies under the wings of Gabriel bearing these six hundred commandments, it cannot hatch the baby of being completely lost in Allah. The reality of man has the capacity of six hundred eggs. A person whose six hundred eggs are covered by the six hundred wings of the capacity of Gabriel is the perfect man whose spiritual birth THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The help of the Holy Spirit is that it revives the hearts, delivers from spiritual death, bestows pure faculties, pure senses and pure know- ledge, and carries a person to the station of nearness to God through certain knowledge and conclusive arguments…. The Holy Qur’an affirms it emphatically that that spiritual life is obtained only through fol- lowing the Holy Prophet(sa) ‘ ’ is perfect and whose life is perfect. If one looks with care one finds that the spiritual issue of the egg of humanness which by the blessing of the following of the Holy Prophet(sa) were born to the Holy Spirit, are more perfect and complete than the spiritual children of all the other Prophets. This is indicated by the verse: You are the best of people who have been created for the good of mankind. (Ch.3:V.111) ( A’ i n a – e – K a m a l a t – e – I s l a m , Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.5, pp.186- 197) Revival of the Faith in Unity through the Holy Prophet(sa) The Holy Prophet(sa) came into the world to bestow hearing on the deaf, who had continued in that condition for hundreds of years. Who is blind and who is deaf? The same one who does not accept the Unity of God and who does not accept this Prophet who revived the Unity of God on the earth; the same Prophet who converted the wild ones into men and then converted them into men possessing true moral qualities, then dyed them in the Divine colour of those who establish their relationship with God; the same Prophet, the sun of righteousness, at whose feet thousands of those who had died of paganism and atheism and evil living were revived and came to life and a sample of the Judgement Day was exhibited. It was not mere talk like that of J e s u s( a s ). The Prophet who appeared in Makkah and dis- pelled the darkness of paganism and that of the worship of man, was the true light of the world, who found the world in darkness and bestowed such light upon it that he converted a dark night into day. What was the world before his advent and what did it become after it? This is not a question that is difficult to answer. If we are faithful our conscience will tug at us to persuade us to believe that before that great personage the greatness of God had been forgotten by the people of every 18 THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The Review of Religions – October 2005 country and it had been assigned to avatars, stones, stars, trees, animals, and mortal men, and despised creation was seated in the place of that Lord of Glory and Holiness. It is true that if these men and animals and trees and stars were in fact God, Jesus(as) being one of them, then this Prophet was not needed, but if they were not God, the claim that our lord Muhammad(sa) made on the hill of Makkah has a grand light attending upon it. What was that claim? It was that God, having found the world in the deep darkness of associating partners with God, had sent him to dispel that darkness. It was not only a claim, but that Messenger, accepted of God, fully established that claim. If the superiority of any Prophet can be established by such works as proclaim true sympathy with mankind exceeding that of all other Prophets, then, O ye people, arise and bear witness that in this respect Muhammad( s a ) has no equal in the world…. Blind worshippers of creatures have not recognised that great Prophet( s a ) who set forth thousands of examples of true sympathy for mankind. I perceive, however, that the time has arrived when this Holy Messenger( s a ) would be recognised. If you wish you might record my statement that henceforth the worship of the dead will decline daily till it disappears altogether. Will man set himself up against God? Wi l l a despised drop frustrate the designs of God? Will the projects of mortal man disgrace Divine 19 THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The Review of Religions – October 2005 It is my personal experience that to obey the Holy Prophet(sa) with a sincere heart and to love him, ultimately makes a person beloved of God. God creates in his heart a burning for His Own love and such a one, withdrawing his heart from everything else, leans towards God and his affection and desire remain only for God Almighty. ‘ ’ c o m m a n d m e n t s ? O ye who can h e a r, listen, and O ye who can reflect, consider and remember that truth will be proclaimed and he who is the true light will shine f o r t h . (Majmu’a Ishtiharat, Vol. 2, pp. 3 0 5 – 3 0 7 ) It is my personal experience that to obey the Holy Prophet( s a ) with a sincere heart and to love him, ultimately makes a person beloved of God. God creates in his heart a burning for His Own love and such a one, withdrawing his heart from everything else, leans towards God and his a ffection and desire remain only for God Almighty. Thereupon a special manifestation of Divine love falls upon him and, bestowing upon him the full colour of love and devotion, pulls him towards itself with great force. He then overcomes his passions and from every direction extraordinary works of God Almighty appear as signs in his support and to help him. ( H a q i q a t – u l – Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.22, pp.67-68) I have observed that by calling down blessings upon the Holy P r o p h e t( s a ), Divine grace in the shape of wonderful light proceeds in the direction of the Holy P r o p h e t( s a ) and is absorbed into his breast and then issuing therefrom numberless streams of it reach everyone deserving them according to his capacity. C e r t a i n l y, no grace can reach anyone without the agency of the Holy Prophet( s a ). Calling down blessings on the Holy Prophet( s a ) brings into movement his throne from which these streams of light issue. He who desires to obtain the grace of God Almighty should invoke blessings on him p e r s i s t e n t l y, so that divine grace might be moved. (Al-Hakam, 28 Feb. 1903, p.7) One night this humble one called down blessings on the Holy P r o p h e t( s a ) to such a degree that his heart and soul were filled with its fragrance. That night I saw in my dream that angels were carrying water skins full of light into my house and one of them said to me: These are the blessings that you invoked upon 20 THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The Review of Religions – October 2005 M u h a m m a d( s a ). (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.1, P.598, sub- footnote 3) Bounties of Allah upon the Followers of the Holy Prophet(sa) We should not let a doubt enter our minds how a mere follower can partake of the names, attributes, and praises of that accepted Messenger(sa. It is true that in reality even a Prophet cannot share equally in the holy excellences of the Holy Prophet(sa). Indeed even all the angels cannot claim equality in that respect, let alone that anyone else should share in his excellences. But O seeker after truth, may God guide you aright, listen carefully to this. With the object that the blessings of that accepted Prophet( s a ) should be displayed forever and that the perfect rays of his light should confound and refute his opponents, God Almighty has made the following arrangement by His wisdom and mercy. Some individuals out of the followers of Muhammad(sa) who obey him with thorough humility and falling prostrate on the threshold of humbleness are completely lost to their ego, being found by God like a clear mirror, exhibit the blessings of the Holy Prophet(sa) in their humble selves. Whatever praise is bestowed upon them by God and whatever signs and blessings are mani- fested by them, the true source of all their praise and the perfect fountainhead of all those blessings is the Holy Prophet(sa). In reality and in their perfection, those praises are worthy only of him and he is their perfect exemplar, but as the follower of the way of the Holy Prophet(sa) becomes through his perfect obedience like a reflection of the Holy Prophet(sa), the divine lights which are focused on and manif- ested in the holy being of the Holy Prophet(sa) are also mani- fested and reflected in his reflection, the appearance in the shadow of the whole form and manner of the reality is a matter that is not hidden from anyone. This shadow is not established in itself and no superiority is in reality present in it. All that 21 THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The Review of Religions – October 2005 appears in it is a picture of the real one which is manifested in the reflection. Do not, therefore, consider it a loss that the inner lights of the Holy Prophet( s a ) reach those who are perfectly obedient to him out of his followers. Two great matters result from this reflection of lights, which, like permanent grace, manifests itself in some members of the following of Muhammad(sa). One is that the extreme perfection of the Holy Prophet(sa) is thereby displayed; for a torch from which other torches can be lit and are ever lit, is better than a torch from which no other torch can be lit. Secondly, the perfection of the Muslims and their superiority over the followers of other religions is established by this permanent grace and the proof of the reality of the religion of Islam are furnished afresh and reliance is not had only upon the past. This is the manner in which the lights of the truth of the Holy Qur’an shine forth like the sun, and the proof of Islam is established conclusively as against its opponents, and the disgrace, humiliation and frustration of the enemies of Islam is made manifest. They observe in Islam those blessings and light the like of which they cannot find in the ministers and pundits of their own religion. Consider this well, O true seeker, May Allah help you in your search…. How great is the station of the K h a t a m – u l – A n b i y a( s a ) and how excellent is the bright e ffectiveness of this sun of righteousness that obedience to him makes someone a perfect believer and someone else a recogniser of God and bestows upon a third one the rank of a Sign of Allah and a Proof of Allah and bestows upon him Divine praise. (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.1, pp.268-271, sub-footnote 1) Ever since the appearance in the world of the sun of righteousness in the blessed person of the Holy Prophet(sa) up to this day, thou- sands of persons who possessed 22 THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The Review of Religions – October 2005 the capacity and the ability, by following the Divine word and obeying the Holy Prophet( s a ), have arrived at the high ranks that we have mentioned and continue to do so. God Almighty continuously bestowed upon them such favours, bounties, support and help that it is proved to those possessing clear sight that such people are Divine favourites, who are under the grand shadow of Divine bounty and are recipients of great grace. Observers can see clearly that these people are honoured with extraordinary favours and are distinguished by wonderful signs and perfumed with the fragrance of love and enjoy the pride of being accepted of God. The light of the All-Powerful so fills their companionship, and their attention, and their resolve, and their moral qualities, and their way of living, and their joy, and their anger, and their desire, and their dislike, and their movement and their rest, and their speech and their silence, and their outer and inner selves, as a clear and transparent glass receptacle is filled with excellent perfume. By the grace of their compan- ionship and their relationship and love, that is achieved which cannot be achieved by great e ffort. By establishing a rela- tionship with them and thinking well of them, faith assumes a new complexion and strength is gained for the display of good morals. The tendency of the ego towards clamour and sinfulness begins to be restrained and contentment and sweetness are generated. According to one’s capacity, the eagerness of faith surges up, and love and devotion are manifested, and delight in the remembrance of Allah increases. A person who keeps their company for a long time is compelled to confess that in the strength of their faith, in their moral qualities, their cutting off from the world, their attention towards God, their love of the Divine, their kindness towards God’s creatures and in fidelity, acceptance of the will of God and steadfastness, they occupy such high rank as is not equalled in the world. Sane reason immediately discovers that the chains and shackles in which other people 23 THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The Review of Religions – October 2005 are bound have been removed from their feet, and that the narrowness and constriction whereby the bosoms of other people are constricted and fatigued, have been removed from their bosoms. They are honoured by continuous con- verse with the Divine and they are accepted as a means of approach between the Divine and His eager servants for the purpose of gaining direction and guidance. Their brightness illumines other hearts. As at the approach of spring vegetation bursts forth, in the same way, at the advent of such holy persons, natural lights surg e inside pure souls and the heart of every fortunate one desires to bring into display, with full eff o r t , its capacities, and is delivered from the veils of deep sleep, and is relieved of sinfulness, the stains of vice, and the darkness of ignorance and unawareness. Their blessed age has such a characteristic and there is such spreading of light in it that every believer and seeker after truth, according to the strength of his faith, without any apparent cause, perceives in his soul an expansion and an eagerness for religion and an increase in and strengthening of resolve. Every sincere one receives the benefit of the delicate perfume which is bestowed upon them on account of their perfect obedience, according to the degree of his s i n c e r i t y. Those who are eternally unfortunate obtain no share of it, but continue to increase in their e n m i t y, envy and ill-will, and finally fall into hell. This is indicated in the verse: Allah has set a seal on their h e a rt s . ( C h . 2 : V. 8 ) (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhahi Khaza’in, Vol. I pp. 529-532, sub- footnote 3) The claim of our Holy Prophet( s a ) shines forth like the sun and it is a great proof of his eternal life that his grace flows eternally. Even in this age a person who obeys the Holy Prophet ( s a ) i s 24 THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The Review of Religions – October 2005 raised from the dead and is bestowed a spiritual life not merely in imagination, but through the display of his right- eous effectiveness and of heavenly help and blessings and extraordinary support of the Holy Spirit. He becomes a unique person from among all mankind, so much so that God Almighty talks to him, and discloses His special mysteries to him, and communicates His verities to him, and manifests the signs of His love and favour in him, and causes His help to descend upon him, and places His blessings in him, and makes him the mirror of His R u b u b i y y a t. Wisdom flows from his tongue, and the fountains of fine points burst out of his heart. Hidden secrets are made manifest in him. God Almighty bestows a grand manifestation upon him and comes close to him. In the acceptance of his prayers, in the opening of the doors of understanding, in the disclosure of hidden mysteries and in the descent of blessings upon him, he ranks high and is supreme over all others. Having been commissioned by God Almighty, this humble one dispatched several thousand registered letters to well-known opponents of Islam in Asia, Europe and America about these matters, so that they might be conclusively established. I invited them that if anyone claimed that spiritual life could be achieved by any other means, without following the Khatam- u l – A n b i y a ’( s a ) he should come forth in opposition to me, and that failing this he should come to me as a seeker after truth, in order to witness the blessings and signs that are bestowed on me; but no one turned in this direc- tion with sincerity and in good faith and by their remaining aloof they proved that they are all floundering in darkness. ( A’ i n a – e – K a m a l a t – e – I s l a m , Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 5, pp. 22I- 22I) We know for certain that the greatest Prophet of God and His best beloved is Muhammad, the chosen one(sa). The followers of other Prophets are in darkness having nothing with them except 25 THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The Review of Religions – October 2005 old stories and tales. But the Muslims always receive fresh signs from God Almighty. Therefore, among Muslims there are found many persons of understanding, who believe in God with such certainty as if they beheld Him; but other people have not this certainty con- cerning God Almighty. Therefore, our soul bears witness that the true and right religion is Islam alone…. The miracles of our Holy P r o p h e t( s a ) are not mere stories. By obeying the Holy Prophet( s a ) we experience those signs ourselves and, through the blessings of observation and experience, we arrive at complete c e r t a i n t y. How high is the status of that perfect and Holy P r o p h e t(sa) whose Prophethood always furnishes fresh proof to seekers, and by the blessings of witnessing continuous signs, we arrive at the stage where we see God Almighty with our own eyes, as it were. Thus, true religion is that and the true Prophet is he, the fresh spring of whose truth should always be witnessed. To rely upon mere stories which are subject to all kinds of exceptions does not commend itself to the wise. Hundreds of people have been deified in the world and they are believed in on the basis of hundreds of old tales, but the truth is that the true miracle worker is he the river of whose miracles never dries up. That person is our lord and master the Holy Prophet(sa). In every age, God Almighty has raised someone to display the signs of that perfect and holy one. In this age, He has sent me with the title of Promised 26 THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The Review of Religions – October 2005 The miracles of our Holy Prophet( s a ) are not mere stories. By obeying the Holy Prophet( s a ) we experience those signs ourselves and, through the blessings of observation and experience, we arrive at complete c e r t a i n t y. ‘ ’ Messiah. Signs are being shown from heaven and all sorts of extraordinary events are coming to pass. Every seeker after truth can come and stay with me and witness these signs, whether he is a Christian, a Jew or an Arya. All these are the blessings of our Holy Prophet(sa). [Muhammad is the Imam and light of both the worlds; He it is who illuminates time and space. For fear of offending God, I dare not call him God, but, by God; For mankind, the Holy Prophet is the sure guide to Him.] (Kitab-ul-Bariyyah, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.13, pp.155-157, footnote) The proof of spiritual life is to be found in the blessed person of the Holy Prophet(sa). Profitless is the life which has no beneficence and useless is the existence which has no grace. There are only two lives which are worthy of praise. One is the life of the E v e r-Living and Self-Existing God, Who is the Source of all beneficence; and second is the life which is beneficent and points to God. We can show that such was the life only of the Holy Prophet(sa) to which heaven has borne witness in every age and does so today. He who does not lead a beneficent life is dead and not alive. I call God to witness that He has furnished to me proof of the everlasting life and full glory and perfection of our master Muhammad(sa) to whom all obedience is due, and through following him and loving him I have seen heavenly signs descend upon me and I have found my heart filled with the light of certainty. I have witnessed so many signs that through their lights I have beheld my God. ( Ti ryaq-ul-Qulub, Ruhani Khaza’in Vol 15.pp139-140) Just as at some stages, the Holy Prophet(sa) appears in the extreme of humility, to the same degree he seemss to be aided and illumined by the support and 27 THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The Review of Religions – October 2005 light of the Holy Spirit, as he has demonstrated in action and conduct. The circle of his lights and blessings is so vast and extended that its sample and reflection is visible eternally. The Divine grace and bounty that is descending in this age is obtained only through following and obeying him. I say truly that no one can be held to be righteous and the winner of the pleasure of God Almighty, nor can he be the recipient of the bounties, and blessings, and understandings, and verities and visions which are bestowed at the highest degree of the purity of the soul, till he is completely lost in his obedience to the Holy Prophet(sa). This is affirmed in the Word of God as it is said: Say, If you love Allah, follow me: then will Allah love you’ (Ch.3:V.32) I am the practical and living proof of this Divine promise. You will recognise me through the signs of those who are loved by God Almighty and are His friends which are set out in the Holy Qur’an. (Malfuzat, Vol.1, pp.203-204) The necessary consequence of following in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet(sa) the essentials of which are his love, and respect and obedience, is that a person becomes the beloved of God and his sins are forgiven, and if he has swallowed the poison of sin, that poison is rendered harmless through the antidote of love and obedience. As a person can get rid of a disease by the use of medicine, in the same way, a sinner can be purified of sin and a light dispels darkness and an antidote destroys the effect of poison and fire consumes, in the same way true obedience and love prove their effect. As fire consumes in an instant, the eager doing of good for the mani- festation of God’s glory acts like fire in consuming the fuel of sin. When a person believes sincerely in the Holy Prophet( s a ) a n d accepting his greatness, follows him with eagerness and love and obedience, so much so that through perfect obedience, he 28 THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The Review of Religions – October 2005 arrives at the stage of non- existence, he, on account of this close relationship with him, also partakes of the Divine light which descends upon the Holy P r o p h e t( s a ). Then as light and darkness are opposed to each other, his inner darkness begins to be dispelled till no part of it remains inside him and, being strengthened by light, good of the highest type proceeds from him and the light of the love of God shines forth through all his limbs. His inner darkness is wholly dispelled and he enjoys light intellectually as well as in conduct and by the combination of these lights, the darkness of sin departs from his heart. It is obvious that light and darkness cannot subsist together, and thus the light of faith and the darkness of sin can also not subsist at one place. If such a person has not been guilty of any sin, his power to commit sin is suppressed altogether and he becomes eager to do good as Almighty Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: Allah has endeared the faith to you and has made it look beautiful to your hearts, and He has made disbelief, wickedness and disobedience hateful to you. (Ch.49:V.8) (Review of Religions–Urdu, Vol. I, No. 5, pp. I94, 1951) The rank of being loved and accepted by God and of becoming His friend, the signs of which have been briefly set out, cannot be achieved without obedience to the Holy Prophet(sa). It is not possible for a Christian, or an Arya, or a Jew, to show the signs and proofs of his acceptance by God in opposition to a true follower of the Holy Prophet(sa). There is a clear way of determining this. No opponent, Christian or other, of a righteous Muslim who is a true follower of the Holy Prophet(sa), can stand up and claim that he will exhibit the same type of signs which appear from heaven in support of the Muslim, or will display similar hidden mysteries as are displayed by him, or 29 THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The Review of Religions – October 2005 similar Divine help through acceptance of prayer, which might be manifested by him, or natural occurrences of the same type which might appear in his honour, or a prophecy of Divine favours or a prophecy warning an enemy of his of his dire end. None of them will come out to oppose a true follower of the Holy Prophet(sa) in this manner, inasmuch as their hearts bear witness that they are liars and that they have no relationship with the True God Who is the Helper of the righteous and Friend of the faithful. ( Tasdiq-un-Nabi, pp.45-46 or Maktubat-e-Ahmadiyya, Vo l . 3 , pp.78, 79) To believe in God’s Messenger is a condition precedent to believing in the Unity of God. One cannot be separated from the other. A person who claims to believe in the Unity of God without following the Holy Prophet(sa), possesses only a dry bone which has no marrow and is holding a dark lamp which gives no light. Anyone who thinks that a person who believes in God as One without associate and does not believe in the Holy Prophet(sa) will yet achieve salvation, has a leprous heart and is blind and has no notion of what Unity of God means. Satan is better than him in his profession in the Unity of God, inasmuch as Satan, though he is disobedient, nevertheless believes that God is present, and such a person has no faith in God. (Ha q i q a t – u l – Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.22, p.122) 30 THE EXALTED STATUS OF THE HOLY PROPHET(SA) The Review of Religions – October 2005

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