HAZRAT MIRZA GHULAM AHMAD(AS), THE PROMISED MESSIAH AND 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 organised 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 Holy Qur’an.
Extracts from The Essence of Islam, Vol. I, 349-366.
Purpose of Scriptures
We are a witness and testify before the whole world that we have found in the Holy Qur’an the reality that leads to God. We have heard the voice of God and have witnessed the signs of the mighty arm of Him Who has revealed the Qur’an. We believe that He is the True God and is the Master of the worlds. Our heart is filled with this certainty as the ocean is filled with water. We, therefore, invite everyone to this faith and to this light on the basis of enlightened perception. We have found the true light which dispels all darkness and which really renders the heart cold to all that is beside God. This is the only way by following which a person emerges from the grip of passion and the darkness of the ego as a snake sloughs off its skin.
—Kitab-ul-Bariyyah, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 13, p. 65
It is an obvious fact that the great merit of anything lies in its fulfilling the purpose for which it has been made. For instance, if a bullock is purchased for ploughing land its merit will be judged by the degree to which it is able to discharge its function of ploughing. In the same way, it is obvious that the true purpose of a heavenly Book is that it should rescue its followers from every sin and the sinful life through its teaching and influence, and its power of reform and spiritual qualities, and should bestow a pure life upon them, and after purifying them, should bestow upon them full insight for the recognition of God and should establish a relationship of love and devotion between them and the Peerless Being, Who is the Fountainhead of all joys. In truth, this love is the root of salvation and this is the paradise on entering which all fatigue, bitterness, pain and torment are removed. Without doubt, the living and perfect revealed Book is the one which should lead a seeker after God to his goal and, rescuing him from a low life, should lead him to the True Beloved, meeting Whom is salvation itself. It should rescue him from all doubts and should bestow such perfect understanding upon him as if he can see God. It should establish such strong relationship between God and him that he should become a faithful servant of God and God should be so benevolent towards him that He should make a distinction between him and those beside him with diverse types of His help and support and should open the gates of His understanding to him.
If a book fails to discharge this duty, which is its real purpose, and seeks to establish its merit by making other irrelevant claims, it would be like a person who claims to be an expert physician, but when a patient is brought to him and he is asked to heal him, he replies that he is unable to heal him, but that he knows how to wrestle, or that he is an expert in astronomy or philosophy. It is obvious that such a person would be called a jester and would deserve the condemnation of all reasonable people. The chief purpose of a Book of God and a Messenger of God is to rescue the world from a life of sin and to establish a holy relationship between God and the world. It is not their purpose to teach people subjects of secular study and to instruct them in worldly inventions.
It is not difficult for a reasonable and just person to understand that the purpose of a Book of God is to lead people to God, and to make them believe in Him as a certainty, and to stop them from committing sin by impressing the majesty and awe of God upon their hearts. Of what use is a book which cannot cleanse a heart, nor can bestow such pure and perfect understanding as should make one hate sin? The attraction of sin is a dangerous leprosy which cannot be healed till the manifestations of the living understanding of God, and the signs of His awe, greatness and power, descend like rain and till a person perceives God with His awe-inspiring powers as a goat perceives a tiger which is only two steps away from it. Man needs to be freed from the fatal passion of sin. The greatness of God should so occupy his heart that it should rid him of the overpowering desire of passion which falls upon him like lightning and instantly consumes his store of righteousness.
Can such impure passions as attack repeatedly like epilepsy and destroy all sense of piety be wiped out by any self-conceived concept of God? Or can they be suppressed by one’s own thinking, or be blocked by an atonement whose suffering has not been personally experienced? Certainly not. This is not a matter of indifference but in the estimation of a wise person it is worthy of consideration above all else as to how he might safeguard himself against the ruin which confronts him on account of his daring and his lack of relationship with God, the root of which is sin and disobedience. It is obvious, that a person cannot give up a certain pleasure for the sake of a conjecture. It is only a certainty that can rescue one from another certainty. For instance, if we are certain that there are a number of deer in a forest whom we can easily catch, we are incited by that certainty to enter the forest for that purpose; but if we are also certain that there are half a hundred lions in the forest and thousands of bloodthirsty pythons, we would be dissuaded from making the attempt. Thus, sin cannot be avoided without this degree of certainty. It is only iron that can break iron. There should be that certainty of the greatness and awe of God which should tear up the curtains of heedlessness, and should make the body tremble, and should make death appear near. The heart should be so overcome by fear that all relationship with the sinful ego should be cut asunder and one should be drawn by hidden hands towards God and the heart should be filled with certainty that God Who is truly present does not leave a daring offender without punishment. What shall a seeker after true purity do with a book which does not fill this need?
If a book fails to discharge this duty, which is its real purpose, and seeks to establish its merit by making other irrelevant claims, it would be like a person who claims to be an expert physician, but when a patient is brought to him and he is asked to heal him, he replies that he is unable to heal him, but that he knows how to wrestle, or that he is an expert in astronomy or philosophy.
The Supremacy of the Holy Qur’an: The Holy Qur’an Fulfils the Purpose of the Scriptures
I wish to convey it to everyone that the Holy Qur’an is the Book which fulfils all these needs. Through it, a person is drawn to God and his heart grows cold to the love of the world. For those who follow it, God, Who is hidden beyond the hidden, in the end manifests Himself and displays those powers of which outsiders have no notion, and informs of His existence by the affirmation: I am present. But the Vedas certainly do not possess this quality. They are like a worn out bundle whose owner is dead or is not traceable. The Permeshwar towards whom the Vedas call is not proved to be living. Indeed, the Vedas put forward no proof that their Permeshwar exists. The misleading teaching of the Vedas has rendered it doubtful that one could find the Creator through His creation; inasmuch as, according to the teachings of the Vedas, souls and particles are all eternal and uncreated, then how can one discover the Creator through that which is uncreated? Also, the Vedas shut the door of Divine revelation and deny the fresh Signs of God. According to the Vedas, Permeshwar cannot display a Sign in support of His special servants which should be beyond the knowledge or experience of the average person. The utmost that can be said about the Vedas is that they affirm the existence of God like an average being, and do not put forward any certain proof in support of the existence of God.
In short, the Vedas cannot bestow that understanding which comes fresh from God and conveys a person from earth to heaven. However our observation and experience, and of those who have passed before us, is witness that the Holy Qur’an draws its true follower to itself through its spiritual effect and its inherent light and illumines his heart, and then, by displaying great signs, creates such a strong relationship with God as cannot be cut asunder by a sharp sword. It opens the eye of the heart, banks up the dirty spring of sin, honours one with the delicious converse of God, discloses that which is hidden and helps acceptance of prayer and gives information of it. God Almighty, through His awe-inspiring signs, makes it manifest to everyone who opposes a true follower of the Holy Qur’an that He is with that servant of His who follows His Word.
—Chashma-e-Ma‘rifat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 23, pp. 305-309
God, in whose meeting is man’s salvation and eternal happiness, cannot be found without following the Holy Qur’an. Would that people could see that which I have seen and they could hear that which I have heard and give up following stories and run towards reality. The means of obtaining perfect knowledge through which one can see God, the cleansing water which removes all doubts, and the mirror through which one can behold that High Being, is the converse with God which I have just mentioned. He whose soul seeks the truth should arise and search for it.
I say truly that if souls were inspired by true search and hearts felt true thirst, people would look for this way and would search for it. I assure the seekers that Islam alone gives the good news of this way, for other people have since long sealed up the possibility of revelation. Be sure that this seal is not set by God, but as man has deprived himself of this favour, he seeks excuses for its absence. As it is not possible that we should be able to see without eyes, hear without ears, or speak without a tongue, in the same way, it is not possible that we should be able to behold the countenance of the sweet Beloved without the Holy Qur’an. I was young and am now old, but I have found no one who might have drunk of this clear understanding without this holy fountain.
—Islami Usul ki Philosophy, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 10, pp. 442-443
The straight path and the principal means which is full of the light of certainty and constant experience, and is the perfect guide for our spiritual welfare and our intellectual progress, is the Holy Qur’an which is charged with the settlement of all the religious contests of the world. Each and every word of it consistently carries thousands of repeated confirmations and it contains a large quantity of the waters of life for us and comprises many rare and priceless jewels which are hidden in it and are being displayed every day. It is an excellent touchstone whereby we can distinguish between truth and falsehood. It is the one bright lamp which shows the way of truth. Without doubt, the hearts of those who have a relationship with the straight path are drawn to the Holy Qur’an. Gracious God has so fashioned their hearts that they are drawn towards this beloved like a lover and find no rest elsewhere, and hearing a plain and clear directive from it, they listen to nothing else. They accept joyfully and eagerly every verity contained in it. In the end, it becomes the means of illumination of the heart and lighting up the conscience and of wonderful disclosures. It leads everyone to the heights of progress according to their capacities. The righteous have always been in need of walking in the light of the Holy Qur’an.
Whenever Islam has been confronted with any other religion in consequence of some new condition of the age, the sharp and effective instrument that has immediately come to hand is the Holy Qur’an. In the same way, whenever philosophic thought has been given publicity in opposition to it, the Holy Qur’an has destroyed that poisonous plant and has so humiliated it as to provide a mirror to its students which shows up the true philosophy which is contained in the Holy Qur’an alone and nowhere else.
In the modern age, when Christian missionaries started their propaganda and made an attempt to draw away unintelligent and ignorant people from the Unity of God and to make them worship a humble creature and employed every kind of sophistry for dressing up their doubtful ideas and thus created a storm in India, it was the Holy Qur’an which repelled them so that they are not now able to face a well-informed person and their extensive apologetics have been folded up like a piece of paper.
—Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 3, pp. 381-382
Each and every word of it consistently carries thousands of repeated confirmations and it contains a large quantity of the waters of life for us and comprises many rare and priceless jewels which are hidden in it and are being displayed every day.
The Beauty and Perfection of the Holy Qur’an
I call Allah to witness that the Holy Qur’an is a rare pearl. Its outside is light and its inside is light and its above is light and its below is light and there is light in every word of it. It is a spiritual garden whose clustered fruits are within easy reach and through which streams flow. Every fruit of good fortune is found in it and every torch is lit from it. Its light has penetrated to my heart and I could not have acquired it by any other means. And Allah is my Witness that if there had been no Qur’an I would have found no delight in life. I find that its beauty exceeds that of a hundred thousand Josephs. I incline towards it with a great inclination and drink it into my heart. It has nurtured me as an embryo is nurtured and it has a wonderful effect on my heart. My self is lost in its beauty. It has been disclosed to me in a vision that the garden of holiness is irrigated by the water of the Qur’an, which is a surging ocean of the water of life. He who drinks from it, comes to life; indeed, he brings others to life.
—A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 5, pp. 545-546
The expression Khatam-un-Nabiyyin which has been applied to the Holy Prophet(sa) demands that the Book that was revealed to him, should be the most perfect of all books and should comprise all excellences; and indeed so it is. The rule is that whatever degree of spiritual power and inner perfection is possessed by the person upon whom the word of God descends, the same degree of power and majesty is possessed by that word. As the spiritual power and inner perfection of the Holy Prophet(sa) were of the highest degree, which no one exceeded or will exceed, therefore the Holy Qur’an occupies that high station and rank which has not been reached by any of the previous books or scriptures. The capacity and spiritual power of the Holy Prophet(sa) were the highest of all, and all excellences had reached their climax in him. Therefore, the Holy Qur’an that was revealed to him is also perfect and as the excellences of Prophethood reached their climax in him, the excellences of the miracle of the word reached their climax in the Holy Qur’an. Thus he was the Khatam-un-Nabiyyin and his Book was the Khatam-ul-Kutub. From the point of view of every aspect of a miraculous word, the Holy Qur’an is at the highest stage.
The perfection of the Holy Qur’an is seen and its miraculous character is proved from every point of view, that is to say, from the points of view of excellence of composition, of the sequence of its subjects, of its teaching and its perfection and of the fruits of its teaching. That is why the Holy Qur’an has not demanded its match from any particular point of view, but has issued a general challenge demanding a match from any point of view. From whichever point of view it is looked at, it is a miracle.
—Malfuzat, Vol. III, pp. 36-37
The Holy Qur’an is a miracle the like of which never was and never will be. The door of its graces and blessings is always open, and it is bright and manifest in every age as it was in the time of the Holy Prophet(sa). It should also be borne in mind that the speech of everyone corresponds to his high resolve. The higher the resolve and determination and the purpose of the speaker, the same will be the case with his speech. Divine revelation also follows the same rule. The higher the resolve of the person to whom Divine revelation is vouchsafed, the higher will be the character of the revelation. As the circle of the resolve, capacity and determination of the Holy Prophet(sa) was very wide, the revelation that came to him had the same high rank. No one else will ever attain the same degree of resolve and courage inasmuch as his message was not for any limited time or for any particular people, as was the case with the Prophets before him. It was said about him:
Who can match him, the range and scope of whose Prophethood is so vast! It is an article of faith with us that if any verse of the Holy Qur’an is again revealed to anyone else, the scope of his revelation will never be as vast as that of the Holy Prophet (sa).
—Malfuzat, Vol. III, p. 57
The fine verities pertaining to religion, and all the learning pertaining to the subject of Divinity, and conclusive arguments in support of the truth together with the mysteries and insights that are set out in the Holy Qur’an, are such that human faculties collectively are not able to discover them nor can the intelligence of an intelligent person alight on them on its own. A consideration of past ages has shown that no philosopher or wise man was able to discover all that knowledge. But in this case, there is a wonder upon wonders, that is to say, that knowledge and insight were bestowed upon one who was entirely unlearned. He had never seen a school nor read a book nor kept company with any learned or wise person. He lived his life among wild people, was born and brought up among them and kept company with them. The Holy Prophet(sa) being unlettered is a matter so patent that no historian of Islam is unaware of it.
—Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in Vol. 1, pp. 561-563
Matchlessness of the Holy Qur’an
Whatever comes into being by the exercise of God’s perfect power, whether it is a part of creation, or it is a Holy Book literally revealed by Him, it is necessary that it should possess the quality that no one out of creation should have the power to produce its like. This is proved in two ways; one is by way of deduction. God is One and without associate in His Being, attributes and works, and this does not admit of any partnership with Him in any of His creations, words or actions. If such partnership were permissible in respect of any of His creations, words or actions, then it would be permissible in all His attributes and actions, and as such it would be permissible that there should be another God. That which possesses all Divine attributes would be God and that which possesses some of the attributes of the Divine, would be a partner of God in respect of those attributes, and this is contrary to reason. It follows that it is necessary that God should be One without associate in all His attributes and words and actions, and His Being should be free from all those inconsistencies which would lead to someone being His partner.
The Holy Qur’an is a miracle the like of which never was and never will be. The door of its graces and blessings is always open, and it is bright and manifest in every age as it was in the time of the Holy Prophet(sa).
Secondly, it is proved by observation of all those things which have been created by God that none of them could be created by man, not even the least of them like a fly, a mosquito or a spider. On observing their shape and formation, one sees such wonders that furnish conclusive proof of the existence of the Creator of the universe. Besides all these arguments, it is clear to every wise person that were it permissible that someone other than God could have the power to create that which God has created by His power, then no part of creation could be cited as proof of the existence of the True Creator and the matter of His recognition as the Creator would become doubtful; for if some of those things that have been created by God Almighty could be created by someone else, then there is no reason why someone else cannot create everything that God has created.
Now that it is established that it is necessary that that which God has created should be matchless and its matchlessness is conclusive proof of its being from God, this is a complete refutation of the proposition that it is not necessary that the Divine word should be matchless, or that its being matchless is no proof of its being from God…Matchlessness is a speciality of the work and word of God. Every wise person knows that the principal means that reason has for establishing the Godhead of the Divine is that everything that proceeds from God is so matchless that it is conclusive proof of the Unity of the Creator. Had this means not been available, the way of reason reaching God would have been closed.
—Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1, pp. 149-182
The Holy Qur’an is a Book which has proclaimed its own matchlessness and has claimed its own greatness, its wisdom, its truth, the beauty of its composition and its spiritual lights. It is not true that the Muslims have themselves put forward these excellences on behalf of the Qur’an. It sets out its own merits and excellences and puts forward its matchlessness and peerlessness as a challenge to the whole of creation and calls out loudly: Is there any contestant? Its verities and fine points are not confined to two or three which would leave room for doubt on the part of an ignorant person, but are like the surging ocean and are visible in every direction like the stars of heaven. There is no truth that lies outside it. There is no wisdom that is not comprised in it. There is no light that is not obtainable through following it. These things are not without proof and are not mere words. It is an established and clearly proved verity which has been shining through 1,300 years. We have set out this verity in great detail in this book and have expounded the fine points of the Qur’an at such length as to constitute a surging ocean for the satisfaction of a seeker after truth.
—Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1, pp. 662-665, footnote 11
- ‘Say, O mankind! Truly I am a messenger to you from Allah.’ The Holy Qur’an, 7:159. [Publisher]
- ‘We have sent thee not but as a mercy for all peoples.’ The Holy Qur’an, 21:108. [Publisher]