The Holy Prophet’s Nearness to God Almighty – Part 4

5The Review of Religions – January 2006 Spiritual Ascent of the Holy Prophet(sa) The Me’raj (spiritual ascent) of the Holy Prophet(sa) was his complete withdrawal from the world, and its purpose was to disclose the heavenly station of the Holy Prophet(sa). Every soul has a point in heaven beyond which it cannot proceed. The point of the Holy Prophet(sa) was the ‘Arsh. The Companion on high also connotes God. Thus, the Holy Prophet(sa) was honoured above everyone else. (Malfuzat, Vol. 2, p. 136) The journey of the Me’raj was not with the physical body, but was a vision of the highest type, which in effect was experienced in complete wakefulness. In such a vision, a person according to the capacity of his soul, can journey through the heavens with a body of light. As the soul of the Holy Prophet ( s a ) possessed the highest capacity, therefore, in his journey of Me’raj, he arrived at the highest point of the universe, which is described as the Great Throne. This journey was the vision in a sort of wakefulness. I 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 Holy Prophet(sa) Nearness to God Almighty – Part 4 6 The Review of Religions – January 2006 do not call it a dream, nor was it a vision of low status. This was a vision at the highest stage, which is clearer and brighter than wakefulness. I myself have experience of this type of vision. (Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 3, p.126, footnote) Meaning and High Station of the Seal of Prophethood The perfect man to whom the Holy Qur’an was revealed, was not limited in his vision, nor was there any deficiency in his sympathy in the sharing of sorrows. Both from the point of view of the time and of the place, his soul was charged with perfect s y m p a t h y. He was, therefore, bestowed a full share of the manifestations of nature and he was made K h a t a m – u l – A n b i y a ‘, meaning not that no one would from then on receive any spiritual grace from him, rather that he possessed the seal of Prophethood and that without the attestation of that seal, no grace can reach anyone, and that for his people, the door of converse with the Divine would never be closed. Beside him, there is no Prophet who possesses the seal of Prophethood. It is only by the testimony of his seal that a Prophethood can be bestowed for which it is a condition that the recipient must be a follower of the Holy Prophet ( s a ). His high courage and sympathy did not wish to leave his people in a condition of deficiency and were not reconciled to the door of revelation, which is at the root of all understanding, being closed. Yet, in order to preserve the sign of the closing of Prophethood, he desired that the grace of revelation should be bestowed through obedience to him and that this door should be closed to anyone who was not his follower. God appointed him Khatam-ul- Anbiya’ in this sense. Thus it was established till the Day of Judgement, that a person who does not prove being his follower through true obedience and who does not devote his full being to obeying him, cannot become the recipient of perfect revelation. Direct Prophethood has been ended with the Holy Prophet(sa); but Prophethood by THE HOLY PROPHET’S(SA) NEARNESS TO GOD ALMIGHTY 7The Review of Religions – January 2006 way of reflection, which means the receipt of revelation through the grace of Muhammad(sa) will continue till the Day of Judgement, so that the door of perfection of mankind should not be closed and this sign should not disappear from the world that the high resolve of the Holy Prophet(sa) desired that the doors of converse with the Divine should remain open till the Judgement Day and the under- standing of the Divine, which is the basis of salvation, should not disappear. ( H a q i q a t – u l – Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 22, pp. 29-30) I affirm it with full confidence that the excellences of Prophethood attained their climax in the Holy Prophet(sa). The person who sets up a movement in opposition to him and puts forward some verity outside his Prophethood and withdraws from the fountain of Prophethood is false and an impostor. I say it plainly that a person who believes in anyone as a Prophet after the Holy Prophet(sa) and breaks the seal of his Prophethood, is accursed. That is why no Prophet can arise after the Holy Prophet (sa) who has not with him the seal of the Muhammadi Prophethood. THE HOLY PROPHET’S(SA) NEARNESS TO GOD ALMIGHTY 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. 8 The Review of Religions – January 2006 The Muslims who are opposed to us are involved in the error that they believe in the coming of an Israeli Prophet, who would break the seal of Prophethood. I say that it is a manifestation of the spiritual power of the Holy Prophet(sa) and of his everlasting Prophethood that 1,300 years after him, the Promised Messiah has appeared under his training and instructions with the same seal of Prophethood. If this doctrine is kufr, I hold this kufr dear. But those whose reason has been darkened and who have not been bestowed any share in the light of Prophethood cannot understand this and hold it as kufr; whereas, this is a matter which proves the perfection of the Holy Prophet( s a ) and his everlasting life. (AI-Hakam, 10 June 1905, p.21) There is no need to follow the Prophethoods and Books which passed before the Holy Prophet(sa) as Muhammadi Prophethood comprises all of them, and beside it all ways are closed and all verities are included in it. No new verity will arrive after it as there was no verity before it which is not included in it. Therefore, all Prophethood ends with this Prophethood; and so it should have been, for everything that has a beginning, has also an end, but the Muhammadi Prophethood is not deficient in beneficence. It is more benef- icent than all other Prophethood. Following this Prophethood, one reaches God in a very easy manner, and by following it one is bestowed the bounty of Divine love and Divine converse more than was possible before. Its perfect follower cannot be called simply a Prophet for this would be an insult to the perfect Muhammadi Prophethood. He can be called a follower of the Holy Prophet(sa) and a Prophet, both together, for in this there is no insult of the perfect Muhammadi Prophethood, but its grace shines forth even to a greater degree. (Al-Wasiyyat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 20, p.311) We affirm that the person who moves away in the slightest THE HOLY PROPHET’S(SA) NEARNESS TO GOD ALMIGHTY 9The Review of Religions – January 2006 degree from the law of the Holy Prophet(sa)is a kafir. When any- one who turns away from following the Holy Prophet(sa) is a kafir in our estimation, then what about one who should claim to bring a new law, or should make a change in the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet(sa) or should abrogate any com- mandment? In our estimation only that person is a believer who truly follows the Holy Qur’an, and believes it to be the last revealed Book, and accepts the law that the Holy Prophet(sa) brought into the world, as everlasting, and makes not the slightest change in it, and loses himself wholly in following it, and devotes every particle of his being to its cause, and does not oppose it intellectually or by his conduct. It is then that he would be a true Muslim. (AI-Hakam, 6 May 1908, p.5) Istighfar of the Holy Prophet(sa) Most Christians, on account of their ignorance of the reality of Maghfirat – forgiveness – ima- gine that a person who seeks M a g h f i r a t, is disobedient and sinful. A deep reflection over the meaning of Maghfirat makes it clear that it is the one who does not seek M a g h f i r a t of God Almighty who is disobedient and vile. As every true purity is bestowed by Him and He alone safeguards one against the storm of passion, it should be a preoccupation of His righteous servants to constantly seek M a g h f i r a t from that Tr u e Guardian and Protector. If we were to seek an illustration of M a g h f i r a t in the physical world the best illustration would be that M a g h f i r a t is a strong and unbreakable dam which is erected to hold back a flood. As all strength and all power belongs to God Almighty, and a man is weak in his soul as he is in his body, and seeks water from the Eternal Being all the time for the nurture of the tree of his being, and cannot keep alive without His grace, I s t i g h f a r, in its meaning that we have set out, becomes necessary and essential. As a tree puts forth its THE HOLY PROPHET’S(SA) NEARNESS TO GOD ALMIGHTY 10 The Review of Religions – January 2006 branches in all directions, as if it spreads its hands towards the surrounding spring of water, pleading for help that its greenness should not decline and that the time of its flowering and putting forth fruit should not be lost, the same is the case with the righteous. To supplicate the Fountain of real life for the water of security to safeguard spiritual life, or to promote it, is described in the Holy Qur’an as I s t i g h f a r. Reflect on the Holy Qur’an and read it with care and you will alight upon the reality of I s t i g h f a r. The dictionary meaning of M a g h f i r a t is a covering which is designed to safeguard against a misfortune. For instance, water is an element that covers up the defects of trees and is thus Maghfirat. Consider what would be the condition of a garden which receives no water for a year or two. Is it not true that its beauty will be destroyed and there will be no sign left of its greenness? It will produce no fruit and no flowers. Its inside will be burnt up. Its green and soft leaves will dry up and fall down; and dryness overcoming it, all its limbs will fall away from it like the limbs of a leper. Why will all these calamities overtake it? Because the water upon which its life depended was not available. This is referred to in the verse: A good word is like a good tree. (Ch.14: V.25) As a good and noble tree cannot flourish without water, in the same way, the good word of a righteous person cannot flourish till a pure spring refreshes its roots by flowing in the stream of Istighfar. Thus the spiritual life of a person depends upon Istighfar through the stream of which the true spring reaches the root of humanness and safeguards it from drying up and dying. The religion which does not set forth this philosophy is certainly not from God, and a person who claims to be a Prophet or a Messenger or righteous or pure- THE HOLY PROPHET’S(SA) NEARNESS TO GOD ALMIGHTY 11The Review of Religions – January 2006 natured and turns away from this spring is certainly not from God. Such a one derives not from God A l m i g h t y, but from Satan, the root meaning of which is death. He who does not desire to draw that true spring to himself and does not fill this spring to its brim from the stream of I s t i g h f a r, in order to make his spiritual garden flourish, is a Satan, that is to say, he will die for it is not possible that the tree should flourish without water. Every arrogant one, who does not desire to make his spiritual tree flourish from this spring of life is a Satan and will be ruined like Satan. There has been no righteous Prophet in the world who turned away from the reality of I s t i g h f a r and did not desire to flourish through this real spring. It is true that our lord and master Muhammad, the chosen one( s a ) supplicated more than anyone else for this flourishing and therefore God caused him to flourish and be fragrant more than all other P r o p h e t s . ( N u r- u l – Q u r’an No. 1, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 9, pp. 356-358) Majesty and Humility of the Holy Prophet(sa) In the two blessed names of the Holy Prophet, Muhammad( s a ) a n d A h m a d(sa) there are two separate excellences. Muhammad( s a ) w h i c h means greatly praised, signifies majesty and greatness and carries the flavour of being a beloved one, for a beloved one is praised. It is necessary, therefore, that it should signify majesty. But A h m a d( s a ) has the flavour of a lover for it is a lover’s part to praise and he praises the beloved. As Muhammad( s a ) s i g n i f i e s majesty and greatness, Ahmad( s a ) signifies humility. His life as a Prophet was divided into two parts; one spent in Makkah which extended over thirteen years and the other spent in Madinah extending over ten years. His Makkan life illustrated his name Ahmad. During that period his time was spent weeping before God, in seeking His help and in supplication. He who is fully informed of his Makkan life knows that the weeping and supplication that he carried out during that period no THE HOLY PROPHET’S(SA) NEARNESS TO GOD ALMIGHTY 12 The Review of Religions – January 2006 lover had ever carried out in the search of his beloved. His weeping was not for himself but was on account of his awareness of the condition of the world. The worship of God had disappeared and God Almighty, having put faith in his soul, had inspired him with a joy and delight. He naturally desired to communicate this delight and love to the world, but when he observed the condition of the world and the capacities and natures of the people, he was confronted with great diff i – culties. He wept over this condition of the world so much that he put his life in danger. This is indicated in the verse: Haply thou wilt grieve thyself to death because they believe not. (Ch.26: V.4) This was his life of supplication and was the manifestation of his name Ahmad. At that time he was concentrating in a grand manner and the concentration manifested its effect in his life in Madinah at the time when the significance of his name Muhammad was revealed, as is indicated in the verse: They prayed for victory, and as a result thereof every haughty enemy of truth came to naught. (Ch.14: V.16) He who is familiar with the mode of expression of the Holy Qur’an knows that sometimes the Noble and Merciful One uses an expression for His special servants which is apparently d e r o g a t o r y, but which in its context signifies great praise. As God Almighty said with regard to the Holy Prophet (sa): And found thee lost in love for thy people and provided thee with guidance for them. (Ch.93: V.8) The word Dhaall primarily means one who is misguided and the literal interpretation of the verse would be: God found you misguided and guided you; whereas, the Holy Prophet(sa) was THE HOLY PROPHET’S(SA) NEARNESS TO GOD ALMIGHTY 13The Review of Religions – January 2006 never misguided, and a Muslim who believes that at any time in his life the Holy Prophet(sa) was misguided, is a faithless kafir and would deserve punishment. The verse should be understood by reflecting upon the context in which it is placed, which is that Allah the Exalted first stated about the Holy Prophet(sa): Did He not find thee an orphan and take thee under His care, and found thee lost in love for thy people and provided thee with guidance for them, and found thee in want and enriched thee? (Ch.93: Vs.7-9) Allah the Exalted found thee an orphan and helpless, and He gave thee shelter by Himself and found thee Dhaall (in love with Himself) and drew thee towards Him and found thee indigent and enriched thee. ( A ‘ i n a – e – K a m a l a t – e – I s l a m , Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 5, pp. 170- 171) THE HOLY PROPHET’S(SA) NEARNESS TO GOD ALMIGHTY In this journal, for the ease of non-Muslim readers, ‘(sa)’ or ‘sa’ after the words, ‘Holy Prophet’, or the name ‘Muhammad’, are used. They stand for ‘Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’ meaning ‘Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the letters ‘(as)’ or ‘as’ after the name of all other prophets is an abbreviation meaning ‘Peace be upon him’ derived from ‘Alaihis salatu wassalam’ which are words that a Muslim utters out of respect whenever he or she comes across that name. The abbreviation ‘ra’ or (ra) stands for ‘Radhiallahu Ta’ala anhu and is used for Companions of a Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him or her (when followed by the relevant Arabic pronoun). Finally, ‘ru’ or (ru) for Rahemahullahu Ta ’ a l a means the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him.