Atonement Dreams, Visions and Revelation

Essence of Islam – Part 26 – The Ability to Receive Revelation

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(saw) 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 Zafrulla Khan, may Allah be pleased with him, and is quoted from The Essence of Islam, Volume 2. All references throughout, unless otherwise specifically mentioned, are from the Holy Qur’an.

The Ability to Receive Revelation

Capacity and ability are needed for the receipt of revelation. Not everyone can become God’s Prophet and be the recipient of Divine revelation. Allah the Exalted has given an indication of this in the Holy Qur’an, as follows:

And when there comes to them a Sign, they say, ‘We will not believe until we are given the like of that which Allah’s Messengers have been given.’ Allah knows best where to place His Message… (Ch.6:V.125)

This means that when a sign is shown in order to demonstrate the truth of the Holy Qur’an, they say: “We will never believe until we ourselves receive the Divine Book”. God knows best where and when to confer Prophethood, that is, He knows who is able and who is not able to receive revelation. He bestows the grace of revelation only upon him who possesses the requisite ability and capacity.

The Wise Creator has created men of different types for various reasons and the whole body of mankind resembles a line, one end of which is situated at a great height and the other end is very low. At the high end are the pure souls whose capacities are perfect and at the low end are those who are close to animals and in the middle are those of various degrees. This diversity of capacities is confirmed by observation for no reasonable person can deny that human beings are at different stages of understanding, of righteousness, of fear of God and of Divine love. As one is born handsome and another is born plain, one is born with good sight and another is born blind or with weak sight, one is born normal and another is born defective, in the same.way the diversity of intellectual and spiritual faculties is also patent and visible. It is true that every individual, provided he is not insane, can make progress in his reason, his righteousness and his love of the Divine, but it should be borne in mind that no one can grow beyond the limit of his capacity. (Barahin Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in vol.1, pp.181-182 footnote 11)

Diversity in the Intelligence of Man

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 the 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, that 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(as) 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. (Barahin Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 1, pp.188-190 footnote 11)