We present extracts from the writings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas, on annual conventions held within the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
Man Possesses a Diversity of Intelligence
Human nature is like minerals of diverse types; some are bright and clear like silver, some are evil-smelling and inflammable like sulphur, some are restless like mercury and some are hard like iron. This diversity is obvious and is in accord with Divine dispensation. It is not opposed to the law of nature and contributes towards social peace and adjustment. It is obvious that if all natures had been at the same level of capacity, different types of work which call for different grades of capacities and which are essential for the adjustment of social conditions would have been left incomplete and in suspense. For hard work hard natures are appropriate, and for delicate work those natures are suited which are delicate. The Greek philosophers have expressed the view that as some men are close to animals, reason demands that the nature of some should be fine and clear so that as we observe that some natures descend so low as to approximate to animals, equally some should be capable of rising so high that they should establish a relationship with the higher world.
Now that it is established that individual human beings possess diversity of intelligence, moral qualities and the light of the heart, this is proof that Divine revelation is confined to certain individuals who are perfect in every respect. Every reasonable person comprehends that each soul receives Divine light according to its capacity and its ability, and no more. The sun is a good illustration of this principle. Its rays are shed in every direction but not all places receive its light equally. A room, the doors of which are closed, receives no light, and that which has a small ventilator in the direction of the sun receives some light, but not enough to dispel the darkness completely. But a room of which all doors are open and whose walls are built of clear and transparent glass will not only receive the full light of the sun but will also spread it in all directions and convey it to others. The same is the case with the pure souls of the Prophets. The holy souls that God Almighty chooses for His Messengership are like a crystal palace which has no opaqueness and no screen to obstruct the light. It is, therefore, clear that those individuals who do not possess perfection cannot achieve the rank of Divine Messengers. This rank is bestowed upon those whose holy souls are entirely free of darkening veils and of physical coverings and whose transcendent holiness is beyond imagination. Such perfect souls are the means of guidance for mankind. As the bounty of life is conveyed to all the limbs by the heart, the All-Wise has appointed the bounty of guidance through such souls for they are bestowed the perfect relationship that ought to subsist between the Source of grace and the recipient of grace. It is not possible that God Almighty, Who is absolutely Unique and Transcendent, should bestow the grace of His holy revelation upon people the greater part of whose nature is dark and opaque, and is narrow and constricted, and whose mean natures are involved in low impurities. If we do not deceive ourselves we would have to confess that to establish a perfect relationship with the Eternal Source and to enjoy converse with His Great Holiness, a special ability and brightness is needed which is appropriate to this great rank and dignity. Not every person can attain to it who is in a state of loss and lacks merit and is covered up in dark coverings and possesses a low nature and lacks high courage.
No one should be deceived by the fact that according to the Christians, holiness and transcendence and innocence and perfect love for the Divine are not essential for the Prophets who are the recipients of Divine revelation. They have lost the true principles and have sacrificed all verities to the notion that somehow Jesus might be deified and the atonement might be accepted. As the innocence and holiness of the Prophets demolishes this structure of theirs, they have been compelled to have recourse to one falsehood in order to support another falsehood. Having lost one eye they have had to gouge out the other. They loved falsehood and abandoned the truth. They insulted the Prophets and represented the pure ones as impure and they proclaimed as opaque and impure the hearts on which Divine revelation descended so that the greatness of their fictitious god should not be diminished and the doctrine of atonement should not be doubted. In this selfish attitude they forgot that their doctrine not only defames the Prophets but also puts in doubt the holiness of God, for how can He be holy who established relationship and held converse with the impure?
A Recipient of Grace Must have a Close Relationship with the Almighty
The philosophy of the descent of the light of revelation is that it descends upon light and does not descend upon darkness, for grace demands a relationship and there is no relationship between darkness and light. Light has relationship with light and the All-Wise operates only in circumstances of appropriateness. In bestowing the grace of light, the law is that greater light is bestowed upon one who possesses some light and nothing is bestowed upon one who has nothing. He who possesses the light of eyes perceives the light of the sun, but he who has not the light of eyes is deprived of the light of the sun also. He who has a small share of natural light receives a little other light and he who has much natural light receives more other light.
The Prophets are those high personages who, despite the vast diversity in human nature, are so blessed with inner light that they become light personified. This is why the Holy Prophetsa has been named light and a light-giving sun, as is said:
(Part Number 6)
(Part Number 22)
This is the reason that the light of revelation, for which the perfection and grandeur of natural light is a condition, was bestowed only upon the Prophets and has been confined to them. This refutes those people who, though they admit the diversity of ranks, nevertheless imagine out of their ignorance that the light that is bestowed upon those who possess perfect natures can also be bestowed upon defective individuals. They should reflect honestly and should realise their mistake. They see clearly that God’s law of nature does not support their false notion and yet out of bigotry and enmity they adhere to their false notion. In the same way, the Christians do not consider it a condition for the grace of light to descend upon anyone that he should possess a natural light, and they allege that it is not necessary that a heart upon which the light of revelation descends should possess inner light. According to them, if a person instead of possessing sane reason is utterly stupid and ignorant, and instead of being brave is an utter coward, and instead of being generous is a total miser, and instead of possessing a sense of honour is utterly shameless, and instead of loving God is in deep love with the world, and instead of being pious and trustworthy is a thief and a robber, and instead of being modest and innocent is a debauch, and instead of being contented is utterly greedy, even such a one can be a Prophet and elect of God. Indeed, with the single exception of Jesus, all the other Prophets whom they accept as true and whose Books they describe as holy were, according to them, full of such defects and were bereft of holy perfection which is a condition of innocence and purity of heart. What a philosophy have the Christians adopted with regard to the descent of the light of Divine revelation! But such a philosophy is approved and followed only by people who are caught in deep darkness and inner blindness. Otherwise, even a feeble-minded person would not deny the obvious truth that to receive the grace of light it is necessary that the recipient should possess inner light.
It is a pity that most people regard as God’s word everything that flows from their tongues in a state of slumber, and thus contravene the verse:
It should be borne in mind that anything that flows from the tongue, even if it is not opposed to the Word of God and the word of the Holy Prophetsa, is not the word of God unless the action of God Almighty bears witness to it. Satan, who is man’s enemy and who seeks diverse ways of ruining a person, also adopts the method that he puts his words into the heart of a man and assures him that they are words of God and such a person is destroyed in the end.
Three Hallmarks of Divine Revelation
If someone claims to receive revelation, to call it divine would amount to committing spiritual death, unless and until it fulfills three conditions:
First, it should not be opposed to the Holy Qur’an; but this alone is not enough. Unless the third condition which will be mentioned below is present, nothing can be established.
Secondly, those words should descend upon a person whose soul has been completely purified. He should be one of those who have withdrawn entirely from their passions and who have submitted to a death through which they have approached close to God and have withdrawn far away from Satan. A person hears him to whom he is close. He who is close to Satan hears Satan’s voice and he who is close to God hears God’s voice. One’s utmost effort should be for the purification of one’s soul. All search ends with that. In other words, it is a death that burns up all inner impurities. When a person completes his search then a stage arrives when he passes under the control of the Divine. Thus through understanding and love, God revives His servant, who by discarding his passions, has arrived at the stage of death. Then through His extraordinary signs God reveals to him spiritual wonders and fills his heart with the attraction of personal love which the world cannot understand. In this condition, it can be said of him that he has been bestowed new life after which there is no death.
This new life is won through complete understanding and complete love. Complete understanding is acquired through God’s eternal signs. When a person arrives at this stage, he enjoys true converse with God. This condition is also not enough without the third condition, for perfect purity is a hidden matter and any idle talker could claim to have achieved it.
The third condition of a true recipient of revelation is that God’s action should testify to the words that he attributes to God, that is to say, so many signs should appear in its support that sane reason should reject the suggestion that despite so many signs it is not the word of God. This condition is above all other conditions […]
It is such a perfect condition that no one can reject it. This is the condition through which true Prophets of God have always overcome false people. When a person claims that God’s word descends on him and hundreds of signs appear along with it, and a thousand types of support and Divine help are displayed and God attacks his enemies openly, then who can call such a person false? […] Those who enjoy the honour of converse with God and are appointed to call men to Divine guidance are supported by Divine signs which fall like rain and the world cannot oppose them. Divine action bears repeated witness that the words that they put forward are Divine words. If those who claim to be recipients of revelation were to keep this condition in mind, they would escape falling into error.
1. Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1, pp. 188-190. [footnote 11]
2. “There has come to you indeed from Allah a Light and a clear Book”, Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Ma’idah, Verse 16. [Publisher]
3. “…and as a Summoner unto Allah by His command, and as a Lamp that gives bright light”, Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab, Verse 47. [Publisher]
4. Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1, pp. 195-197. [footnote 11]
5. “… Follow not that of which thou hast no knowledge”, Holy Qur’an, Surah Bani Isra’il, Verse 37. [Publisher]
6. Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 22, pp. 534-538.