The Holy Qur'an The Nature of God

The Holy Prophet (saw) as ‘Abd Shakur’

How ingratitude leads man away from God and His blessings.

23The Review of Religions – June 2006 Today, I will be discussing how Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) has fulfilled the prophecies contained in the Holy Bible regarding the Second Advent of Jesus Christ(as). The majority of verses from the Bible that I am about to analyse are found in the literature of the millennium scholars who lived in the 19th century. Hundreds of these Christian scholars expected the immediate appearance of Christ, and many went so far as to precisely predict when he was to return. For example, Christopher Hoffman undertook to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem for Christ’s occupancy in 1826. Bengle fixed the date of Christ’s(as) return at 1836, and from this prediction, others followed in rapid succession. The Irvingites in England and Scotland announced 1835, 1838, 1864 and 1866. Mother Lee and her Shakers abolished matrimony, as they also believed Christ’s return was at hand. Cunningham predicted 1839, Elliot 1866, Brewer and Decker both predicted 1867 and Seis favoured 1870. William Miller, who predicted 1844, had up to 500,000 followers, many of whom were so convinced of Christ’s(as) return on October 22, 1844 that they refused to plant crops, gave away their money, discharged their employees, settled their accounts and made pre- parations for the climactic midnight cry, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.’ They dressed in shrouds, and stood on mountaintops in New York State awaiting Christ’s descent. That day has gone down in history as the Great Disappointment. A famous Jewish convert to THE MESSIAH HAS COME Testimony of the Holy Bible An extract of a speech delivered by Ataul Wahid Lahaye on 7h July, 2001, at the 25th Jalsa Salana of Jama’at Ahmadiyya Canada held at Baitul Islam Complex, Maple (Ontario). 24 The Review of Religions – June 2006 Christianity, Joseph Wolfe predicted 1847. Claus Epp, a leader of the Mennonite Brethren in Russia predicted March 8, 1889. The Dukhabors set forth from a Canadian village in 1902, some naked, to meet the Lord. Reverend Coming in his book, The End, written in 1879, concluded that all the signs of those days were preparing for the fulfilment of the prophecy for the Second Coming of Christ. He wrote, Christ is at our door. Harriet Livingston, a famous Washingtonian, preached The Second Coming before the House of Representatives in this time period. The majority of the predictions that convinced these scholars that Christ’s return was imminent are found in Matthew’s 24th and Luke’s 21st chapters. In these chapters, our attention is directed to other books of the Holy Bible that contain relevant prophecies. These prophecies can be divided into four main categories: • The time of his return, specifically in years, • The social environment that mankind would find itself experiencing at that time including very specific events, heavenly signs. • How the Messiah and his followers were to be treated. • The general location of the Second Coming. The Jews are still expecting their Messiah to come. That Messiah is to be escorted by Elijah the Prophet(as) whom they believe rose physically to heaven in a chariot of fire thousands of years ago. The Jews of 2,000 years ago had the same expectations with evidence of this found in the New Testament. In John 1 verse 21, the Pharisees asked John the Baptist(as) if he was Elijah and in Matthew 16:14 some people mistook Jesus(as) for Elijah(as). Their attitude was, we will certainly entertain your claim as the Messiah, but first produce Elijah(as). ‘Behold, I will send you Elijah, the Prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.’ (Malachi 4:5) Many Jews accepted Jesus(as) as the Messiah, yet no Elijah descended THE MESSIAH HAS COME – TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY BIBLE 25The Review of Religions – June 2006 from heaven. Fortunately for us, Jesus(as) clears up the entire misconception by explaining in Matthew 17:12-13 when he says: ‘But I say unto you that Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist’ Elijah’s return had been fulfilled by John the Baptist(as). Therefore, if we as Ahmadi Muslims claim that Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) has fulfilled the descent of Jesus Christ(as) as John the Baptist(as) fulfilled the descent of Elijah(as), we would not be extraneous to the explanation of such an event, as presented by Jesus(as) himself. Obviously descent is a metaphorical term used to attach greater importance to the expected occurrence. This is also supported in Matthew 23:39 where Jesus(as) states: ‘…Ye shall not see me henceforth till ye say “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”’ This may mean that someone was to come in the name of Jesus(as), and not Jesus(as)himself. Let us now review the verses pertaining to Christ’s(as) return. In Luke 21:24-27, we read: ‘And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun and in the moon, and in the stars, and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and waves roaring. Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things, which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.’ In these verses, Jesus(as) is predicting the destruction of Jerusalem by the Gentiles, and the THE MESSIAH HAS COME – TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY BIBLE 26 The Review of Religions – June 2006 banishment of the Jews from Jerusalem. When that banishment was to end, when the time of the gentiles is fulfilled, he would return. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans under Emperor Titus in 70 A.D. after a long siege. In 132 A.D. the Jews, under the leadership of Bar Cochba, rebelled against the Romans. Jerusalem was destroyed and a new city, Aellia Capatilina was constructed on the ruins. Many Jews were scattered and exiled. Under Roman law, Jews were not allowed to enter the city. In 637, the Arabs took control of Jerusalem and similar restriction still applied. This restriction upon the Jews was lifted when Turkey signed the ‘Edict of Tolerance’ allowing Jews to freely enter Jerusalem. This document was signed on March 21, 1844. Shortly thereafter, Jews started to migrate back to Jerusalem for the first time since 70 A.D. The time of the Gentiles had come to an end. David ben Gurion comments on this era in the book, The Jews In Their Land: ‘And every such wave of return was inspired by renewed Messianic hopes. This process was crowned in the last quarter of the 19th century with heightened immigration and the beginnings of agricultural settlements.’ The millennium scholars found a verse in the Book of Revelation that supported this date. In Chapter 11:2-3, we read: ‘…And the holy city (Jerusalem) shall they tread under foot forty and two months….And they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days.’ Christian scholars all agree, that in Bible prophecy, one day stands for one year. This is supported in several verses. For example in Ezekiel 4:6 we read: ‘I have appointed thee, each day for a year.’ The Christian scholars came to the conclusion, that since at that time, the Gentiles who controlled Jerusalem were Muslims, that predicted time period of forty-and two months, or 1,260 days when applied as the year 1,260 to the Muslim calendar was 1844 of the Christian calendar. THE MESSIAH HAS COME – TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY BIBLE 27The Review of Religions – June 2006 The Book of Matthew directs us to the Prophet Daniel(as) in Chapter 24:15. Again the millennium scholars found reference to several more dates. Daniel 12: 11-12 referring to the holy temple in Jerusalem states: ‘And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.’ Using the same method of calculation as was used for the verse in Revelation; the dates of 1,290, 1305, and 1330 of the Muslim calendar correspond to 1873, 1888 and 1912 of the Christian Calendar. More dates are predicted in Daniel 9:1-24: ‘Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon the holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting right- eousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.’ The millennium Christian scholars unanimously interpreted this verse to be the time period from the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem to the coming years. They also took this prophecy to start when Artaxerxes decreed the Temple to be rebuilt in 47 B.C. as mentioned in Ezra Chapter 7. 457 BC plus 490 years brings us to 33 A.D., the general time of Christ’s(as) crucifixion. They also found another prophecy in Daniel that they believed applied to the Second Coming of Christ(as). We find in Daniel 8:13-14: ‘Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake; How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, unto two thousand and three hundred days then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’ Adding 2300 years to 457 B.C. THE MESSIAH HAS COME – TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY BIBLE 28 The Review of Religions – June 2006 brings us to 1843. We can readily understand why the millennium scholars of the 19th century expected the return of Jesus Chris(as) during their time. The second category of predictions which describe the condition mankind would be in at that time fully support the same time period. We read in Matthew 24:14 : ‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations and then shall the end come.’ The study of the spread of Christianity conducted by the millennium scholars of the 19th century establishes that this was the time when the message of the kingdom had been conveyed to the entire world. According to the British and American Bible Societies, 421 million copies of the Bible had been distributed in 50 languages in practically every country of the world. In 1842, Mr. Spicer stated in Our Day In The Light Of Prophecy, that the gospel had been spread to 95% of the inhabitants of earth. In 1842, five treaty ports in China were opened to commerce and missionaries. In that same year, Dr. Livingston opened the door to Bible preaching in the African interior. In 1844, Turkey recognised the right of Muslims to become Christian. In the book, A Hundred Years Of Missions, Dr. Leanard writes: ‘For the first time since the apostolic period occurred, an outburst of general missionary zeal and activity occurred.’ He was referring to the 19th century. Dr A.T. Pearson wrote in Modern Mission Century: ‘India, Siam, Burma, China, Japan, Turkey, Africa, Mexico, South America were successively and successfully entered within 5 years, from 1853 to 1858, new facilities were given to entrance and occupation of seven different countries, together embracing half the world population.’ Mr Faber writes in Eight Dissertations: THE MESSIAH HAS COME – TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY BIBLE 29The Review of Religions – June 2006 The stupendous endeavours of one gigantic community to convey the Scriptures in every language to every part of the globe may well deserve to be considered as an eminent sign even of these eventful times. Unless I be much mistaken. Such endeavours are pre- paratory to the final grand diffusion of Christianity, which is the theme of so many inspired prophets and which cannot be so far distant in the present day.’ Another prophecy of this category is found in Matthew 24:6, ‘And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that ye be not troubled, for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.’ Just before the end, the end defined as the time for the return of Jesus Christ(as), wars and rumours of wars would prevail. We can readily determine that this prophecy was fulfilled in the 19th century by reviewing the wars fought during that time period. To be brief, I will mention just 10. They were Britain, Prussia, Austria and Russia against France in 1815. The war of 1818 between America and Britain. The Crimean War 1853, The Civil War in America 1861, Britain against China in 1860, the Sepoy Mutiny in India, 1857, Russia against Turkey, 1870, China against Korea, 1894, the Boxer Rebellion in China, 1900, Great Britain against the Boer Republic 1899 and America against Spain in 1898. Two more prophecies of this category, the category of special events and social conditions is found in the Book of Daniel, 12:4. It states: ‘But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased.’ Regarding the increase of knowledge, economist Robert Gorden suggests that the great inventions of 1860 to 1900 had a more pronounced effect on productivity and living standards and for many more years than our much-acclaimed New Economy of today. In fact, our modern inventions pale when compared to the great inventions leading to the THE MESSIAH HAS COME – TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY BIBLE 30 The Review of Religions – June 2006 first new economy. Those inventions, electricity, the internal combustion engine, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, advances in entertainment and commu- nication, and urban sanitation really did change the world. The post 1913 surge in productivity growth that lasted until the beginning of the 1970’s was directly connected to these new inventions. Computers and the Internet do not measure up to the Great Inventions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Again, we conclude that there was a great increase of knowledge in the 19th century. The second prophecy found in this verse in Daniel speaks of people running to and fro, as a description of restlessness. Again looking for evidence of restlessness during the 19th century we see a long list of riots and revolutions. Again, for brevity, I will mention just 10. Enough to prove that this prophecy also came to light in the 19th century. Riots raged in 1842 from September to December in southern and eastern England as rioting agricultural workers directed their main efforts against threshing machines. More rural riots broke out in 1843. During the plug riots of 1842, strikers stopped, instead of wrecking the mills by removing the lead plugs in the steam engines. In Latin America, revolutions against the Spanish and Portuguese occurred in Venezuela, Argentina, Paraguay, and Mexico in the early 1800s under the leadership of Simon Bolivar. From July 27th to July 29th 1830, students and workers raised barricades and made themselves masters of France, leading to the flight of Charles X. The Slavs were too scattered to form a single nation. A rising in Prague in June of 1848 was ruthlessly crushed by Austria. On March 13, 1881, the Nihilist organisation known as the People’s Will, assassinated Tsar Alexander. The bomb blast shook every European throne and reprisal in Russia was severe. The general mood of Europe and the US was more aggressive in the last years of the 19th century, than it had been for several decades before. In November 1887, the lifeguards were called in to London to clear Trafalgar Square of demonstrators. On May 1, 1890, militant workers THE MESSIAH HAS COME – TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY BIBLE 31The Review of Religions – June 2006 demonstrated in both America and Europe, demanding an 8-hour day. In 1894, the army was called in to quell rioting strikers in Illinois. In China, rebellions, murders, massacres and succession crises accompanied the rise of power of Empress Tzu Hsi in 1898. R.A. Wallace in his book, The Wonderful Century, 1898, summarised the mood of the time. ‘There was, therefore, no 19th century resting place. The French Revolution, combined with the Industrial Revolution (both unfinished), affected both ways of thinking and feeling. The repercussions are still echoed today.’ The next category deals with heavenly signs, or special astronomical activities. Research into this topic show that the amount of unique astronomical activities increased several times during the 19th century. Again we turn to Matthew’s 24th chapter, verse 29. ‘Immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall the sun be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from the heavens and the power of the heavens shall be shaken.’ The Christian Millennium scholars of the 19th century interpreted this verse to mean eclipses of the sun and the moon, meteor showers, comets, etc. Henry James Foreman states in his book, The Story of Prophecy, ‘It was the 19th century, yet the shooting stars of 1833, and the perihelia, or rings around the sun 1843 were objects of the most awesome speculation and discussion. And the tail of the great comet of 1843 measured 108 million miles in length… whole families were engaged in making shrouds against that fateful day.’ In 1811, a comet appeared with a head 1,125,000 miles in diameter, larger than the sun. The tail was 100 million miles in length. Bielids Comet was first discovered in 1772, but was not found to be periodical until 1826. In 1832 the THE MESSIAH HAS COME – TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY BIBLE 32 The Review of Religions – June 2006 comet passed very close to the earth. In 1845, the comet was observed to break in two, and in 1852, at the time of its expected return, it was found that the two parts of the comet were both very faint and separated by over one million miles. It did not return in 1866. On November 27 of 1885, a spectacular meteor shower originating from Von Nostrands Comet was observed. 39,546 meteors were observed in four hours and eight minutes. Since 1899, very few showers from this comet have been observed. Records of Leonids Comet are found as far back as 585 A.D. In 1799, 1833 and 1866-67 this comet caused the most spectacular shower of modern times. The great comet of 1843, which has not been named, was a periodical comet with an orbit of 400 years. It had the longest tail of any comet, 200 million miles long, making it a sight of grandeur. Donati’s comet lit the sky in 1858. Yet another comet appeared in 1861. At one time the comet was brighter than any star in the sky, except Venus, and a peculiar glow suffused the entire sky. It could easily be seen in broad daylight. Another great comet, one of the brightest of modern times, passed within a third of a million miles of the sun in 1882. The head of Holmes comet had a diameter in excess of a million miles. It is one of the largest on record and appeared in 1892, 1899 and 1906. Since then it has not been seen. On June 30, 1908, the greatest meteor fall in modern history took place in Siberia. Scientists still study this phenomenon because of its great destructive power. Lunar and Solar eclipses also occurred in 1894 and 1895. To the people witnessing these events, it would surely have looked as if the stars were falling from heaven, and we can readily conclude that this prophecy was fulfilled during the 19th century. Let us now turn to the fourth category of millennium prophecies, those that describe how the THE MESSIAH HAS COME – TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY BIBLE 33The Review of Religions – June 2006 Messiah and his followers were to be treated. ‘Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall appear the sign of the son of man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.’ (Matthew 24:9,30) ‘For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay or resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents and brethren, and kinsfolk and friends, and some of you shall be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not an hair on your head perish.’ (Luke 21: 15-18) These verses paint a rather grim picture of how those who were to accept the Messiah, those who would pledge their loyalty to the one who would represent Jesus Christ(as) in his Second Coming, were to be treated. Hatred, persecution and even death awaited them. They would be betrayed by their own family members and entire nations would conspire to oppose them. The Messiah, from the verses in Luke, would possess profound wisdom, such that no one on earth could argue against him, and even though afflicted with severe persecution, he would be protected by God Almighty as indicated by ‘there shall not an hair on your head shall perish’. His appearance should be of a cloudy nature, and his message would run counter to all contem- porary thought and expectations, causing the nations of the earth to mourn. This type of appearance is supported in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians 5:2. ‘For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.’ The fifth category of prophecies indicating the general location of the Second Coming is found in Matthew 24:27: THE MESSIAH HAS COME – TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY BIBLE 34 The Review of Religions – June 2006 ‘For as lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ The millennium scholars inter- preted this verse literally, expecting Christ’s return to be accompanied by a huge flash of lightning that would travel across the globe. However, the verse could very well indicate that since Jesus(as) was in Jerusalem when he made this prophecy, the Second Coming would appear east of Jerusalem, and the light or teachings of the Promised One would first be accepted in the east and would eventually extend to the west. This interpretation finds support in Ezekiel 43:2 where he describes in a vision the glory of God came from the way of the east, and in Revelation 7:2 that mentions another angel ascending from the east having the seal of the living God. We also read in Matthew 24th chapter, verse 5: ‘For many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ: and shall deceive many.’ This verse also indicates that the Second Coming would not be of an earth shattering event because if false Messiahs were to be accepted, they would somehow have to announce their arrival by descending from the sky surrounded by lighting bolts and angels. During the 19th century there were several men claiming to be either the Messiah or a Prophet. They were the Mahdi of Sudan; Alexander Dowie of Zion, Ohio, who claimed to be Elijah the third; Joseph Smith of the Mormons who claimed to be a prophet; Ali Muhammad Bab who claimed to be the Mahdi when he performed Hajj in 1844; Bahaullah of Iran who claimed to be the manifestation of God; Piggot of England who claimed to be the Messiah; and Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian(as) who claimed he represented the second coming of Christ for the Christians and Imam Mahdi for the Muslims. To find the true Messiah, we need to apply the prophecies from categories 4 and 5, those that describe the Messiah’s charac- teristics and how he and his followers would be received, to the claimants who came from areas THE MESSIAH HAS COME – TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY BIBLE 35The Review of Religions – June 2006 east of Jerusalem during the 19th century. They were Mirza Ali Muhammad (Ali Muhammad Bab of Shiraz), Bahaullah (Mirza Hussain Ali Nur) of Tehran and Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian(as), India. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) was born in Qadian, India in the year 1835 and departed from this world in 1908. Heavenly signs mark both the years of his birth and death. Haley’s Comet made its most dramatic appearance of modern times in 1835, and a great meteor impact occurred in Siberia in 1908. Qadian, India is directly east of Jerusalem. He authored over 80 books on religious and com- parative religious studies and claimed to be the Mahdi and Messiah whose advent had been predicted in the Holy Bible and other holy books. When commenting on just one of his books titled Baraheen-e- Ahmadiyya, one of his most bitter ooponents admitted, and he says: ‘He challenged the repre-sentatives of other religions to prove the truth of their religions with the same or less number of arguments as had been presented by him in support of the Holy Qur’an in his monumental work.’ (Qadianism, A Critical Study, p.27) Towards the end of 1890, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) announced that God had informed him that Jesus(as) was dead and was not going to return and that he was in fact representing the Second Advent of Jesus(as). This announce- ment brought a storm of protest and threats from Christians and Muslims alike, who both were and are still expecting Jesus(as) to descend from the sky. He told the entire world that their beliefs were wrong, their knowledge hollow and their actions unworthy because their spiritual faculties had become debilitated by drifting away from God. Today, the followers of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian(as), India are counted in tens of millions and have established centres for the spread of the true Islam in over 150 countries. We propagate our faith by means of clear and logical arguments, based on wisdom and proof. However, the Messiah and his followers were, THE MESSIAH HAS COME – TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY BIBLE 36 The Review of Religions – June 2006 and still are persecuted in many countries. In 1984, General Ziaul Haq of Pakistan brought Ordinance XX into law, making it a criminal offence for the followers of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) to practise or propagate their religion. On the Pakistani passport applications, the applicant must sign a statement denouncing Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) as an impostor before a passport is issued. The Saudi Arabian Government does not allow the followers of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) from Pakistan to perform Hajj. A report by the Lawyers Committee for human rights states that the Ahmadiyya Sect, as a group,s is subject to systematic and extensive discrimination. Over the course of the last 111 years, Ahmadis have been murdered in cold blood, only because they believe that the Messiah has come. In closing, only one of the claimants who came from east of Jerusalem was alive to witness and announce that these eclipses were a unique sign by God specifically for him and that was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian(as). THE MESSIAH HAS COME – TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY BIBLE