HAZRAT MIRZA GHULAM AHMAD(AS): THE PROMISED MESSIAH(AS); IMAM MAHDI
The Promised Messiah(as) wrote over 80 books in Arabic, Urdu, and Persian. Excerpts of his collected works have been translated into English and organized by topic. The Review of Religions is pleased to present these excerpts as part of a monthly feature. Here, the Promised Messiah(as) elaborates on the subject of why human beings have been endowed with different spiritual capacities.
Extracts from The Essence of Islam, Vol. I, pp. 118-123.
Creation and Differences in Rank
It would be an intrusion into the works of God, which is not permissible, to enquire why God created a difference between capacities and why was not everyone bestowed such capacities as would enable him to arrive at the stage of perfect understanding and perfect love. Every reasonable person can understand that no one has a right against God to enquire that everyone should have the same rank and should be endowed with excellent faculties. It is a matter of His grace to bestow whatever He wills. For instance, God has made you man and has not made a donkey a man. You have been endowed with reason and a donkey has not been so endowed. You can acquire knowledge and a donkey cannot. It is the will of the Master and is not a matter of right which you have and a donkey has not. In the creation of God a clear differentiation of ranks is discernible which no reasonable person can deny.
Then can any part of creation which has no right to exist, let alone a right to be awarded a high rank, raise any objection before the Authoritative Master? It is a bounty and beneficence of God Almighty to bestow the robe of being upon His creatures and it is obvious that a Donor and Benefactor has the authority to regulate His bounty and His beneficence. Had He not the authority to bestow less He would not have the authority to bestow more and in such a case He would not be able to exercise His Mastership.
If the creation were vested with any right against the Creator, this would involve a continuous series of claims; for at whatever stage the Creator would place any created being, the latter could claim that he is entitled to a higher rank. If God Almighty can create limitless ranks, and the exaltation of creation does not come to an end by the creation of man, the series of claims on the basis of right would be endless.
If the search should be for the wisdom underlying this differentiation of ranks, it should be understood that the Holy Qur’an has set forth three types of wisdom in that context which are obvious and clear and cannot be denied by any reasonable person.
The first one is that the affairs of the world may be adjusted in the best manner as is said:
This means that: The disbelievers say why was this Qur’an not revealed to some chieftain or wealthy personage of Makkah or Ta’if so that it should have suited his eminence and by virtue of his dignity and his statesmanship and his spending his money, the faith could have spread speedily? Why was a person selected for this honor who is poor and has no property?
To these the retort is:
Is it for them to distribute the mercies of the Eternal Lord? That is to say, it is the doing of the All-Wise that He limited the faculties and capacities of some as they became involved in the appendages of this world and took pride in being called chieftains and wealthy and rich and forgot the true object of existence.
On others, He bestowed spiritual graces and holy excellences and they became the favorites of the True Beloved through their devotion to His love. Then follows the explanation that:
God has made some rich and some poor, some with fine qualities and others dull, some inclined to one occupation and others to another, so as to make it easy for some to serve others and to cooperate with them in order that responsibility might be shared and human affairs might be carried on with ease. The verse concludes that in this context God’s Book is far more beneficial than worldly riches and properties. This is a subtle allusion to the need for revelation.
Man is a social animal and none of his affairs can be carried to completion without cooperation. For instance, take bread which is the staff of life. How much social cooperation is needed for its production? From the stage of cultivation of the earth to the stage when a loaf of bread becomes available for eating, scores of workers have to cooperate with each other. This shows how much cooperation and mutual help is needed in different sectors of social affairs. To fill this need the All-Wise One created man equipped with different degrees of faculties and capacities so that everyone should occupy himself pleasurably according to his capacity and inclination; some should engage in cultivation, some should manufacture agricultural implements, some should grind corn, some should bring water, some should bake bread, some should spin, some should weave, some should engage in trade, some should carry on commerce, some should undertake employment and thus everyone should cooperate and help each other. Cooperation involves dealing with each other and these dealings give rise to questions of treatment, compensation, and neglect of duty which demand a system of law which should restrain wrong, trespass, rancor, disorder, and neglect of God, so that the order of the universe should not be upset.
The making of a living and the due performance of social duties depend upon justice and the recognition of God and these demands a system of law which should provide for the due administration of justice and proper understanding of the divine and which should exclude every type of wrong and every kind of mistake. Such a system of law can be promulgated only by the Being Who is altogether free from forgetfulness, mistake, wrong and trespass and Who is worthy of obedience and respect in His Being. The law may be good, but if the promulgator of the law is not such who by his rank should possess superiority overall and the right to rule over them and if he is in the eyes of the people not free from tyranny, vice, error, and mistake, the law will either not come into operation or if it does come into operation, would give rise to every kind of disorder and instead of doing any good it would result in harm.
Such a system of law can be promulgated only by the Being Who is altogether free from forgetfulness, mistake, wrong and trespass and Who is worthy of obedience and respect in His Being.
All this would predicate a divine book, for all good qualities and every kind of excellence is to be found only in the book of God. Secondly, the wisdom underlying a difference of ranks is that the excellence of good people may be demonstrated, for every good quality is known only by contrast. As it is said:
That is to say: God has made everything upon earth a source of ornament for it so that the righteousness of the righteous may be demonstrated in comparison with the wicked, and so that by the observation of that which is dull the fineness of that which is fine may become apparent. Opposites are known by comparison with opposites and the value of the good is known by comparison with the bad.
Thirdly, in the differentiation of ranks, it is desired to demonstrate different types of power and to draw attention to God’s greatness as is said:
This means that: What ails you that you do not admit the greatness of Allah? Whereas the differentiation of capacities and temperaments was created by the All-Wise so that His Greatness and Power might be recognized.
As is said at another place:
This means that: Allah has created every animal from water. Some of them move on their bellies, some of them on two feet and some on four. Allah creates what He pleases. Allah has power to do all that He wills. This is an indication that all these different species have been created so that the diverse powers of the Divine might be demonstrated. Thus, the differentiation in the temperaments and the nature of creation is due to these three considerations which God has set out in the verses cited above.
—Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1, pp. 203-207, footnote 11
- The Holy Qur’an, 43:32-33.
- The Holy Qur’an, 18:8.
- The Holy Qur’an, 71:14-15.
- The Holy Qur’an, 24:46.