HAZRAT MIRZA GHULAM AHMAD(AS),THE PROMISED MESSIAH & 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 purpose, perfection, and supremacy of the Holy Qur’an.
Extracts from The Essence of Islam, Vol. I, 366-381. This is the second part of a multi-part series.
Knowledge of Holy Qur’an and Promised Messiah
This is the wealth concerning which it had been prophesied that the Messiah would distribute it so much that people will have their fill of it. The prophecy does not mean that the Messiah would collect together material wealth concerning which it has been said:
and that he would deliberately put people on trial by distributing wealth among them. In his first advent also, the Messiah felt no attraction towards worldly wealth. He has stated in the Gospel that the property of a believer is not gold and silver, but the jewels of verities and understanding. This is the property that is bestowed by God Almighty on the prophets, which they distribute. It is concerning this property that the Holy Prophet(sa) said:
It is stated clearly in the Ahadith that the Promised Messiah would come into the world when knowledge of the Qur’an will be lost and ignorance will prevail. That is the time which is referred to in the Hadith:
It has been revealed to me in a vision that the climax of that age will begin in the Hijri year [referring to the Islamic calendar, which starts with the year the Holy Prophet(sa) left Makkah for Madinah] which corresponds to the value of the letters of the verse:
which amounts to 1274.
Consider this well and do not pass over it in haste and supplicate God that He should open your minds to it. A little reflection will make you understand the prophecy contained in the Hadith that in the latter days the Qur’an will be taken away from the world, its knowledge will be lost, ignorance will prevail and the eagerness and sweetness of faith will depart from the hearts. Among them is the Hadith that if faith will ascend to the Pleiades and will disappear from the earth, a man of the Persians will extend his hand and will bring it down. This Hadith shows clearly that when ignorance, faithlessness and error, which are described as smoke in the other Ahadith, will become widespread and true faith will become so rare as if it had been drawn up to then skies, and the Holy Qur’an will be abandoned as if it had been raised towards God Almighty, at that time, a man of Persia will take hold of the faith from the Pleiades and will descend with it to the earth. Be sure, therefore, that he is the son of Mary who was to descend.
—Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 3, pp. 452-456
Verities of the Holy Qur’an in This Age
I was young and am now old and people can bear witness that I never concerned myself with worldly affairs and was always interested in matters of the faith. I have found the word which is called the Qur’an of the utmost holiness and full of spiritual wisdom. It does not deify any man and does not bring God into contempt by excluding souls and bodies from His creation. The Holy Qur’an, in the end, brings down that blessing on the heart of man for which religion is embraced and makes him the heir of divine grace. Then having found a light, how shall we revert to darkness and having eyes how shall we become blind?
—Sanatan Dharam, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 19, p. 474
It is well established that the Holy Qur’an has duly perfected the faith, as it affirms itself:
This day have I perfected your religion for you and have completed My favor unto you, and am pleased to choose Islam as your faith.
Thus there is no need for any other book after the Holy Qur’an, for it sets out all that is needed by man. Now only the door of converse with God is open, but not automatically. True and holy words which are obviously charged with divine help and comprise many hidden matters, are acquired after the purification of the soul only through following the Holy Qur’an and obeying the Holy Prophet(sa).
—Chashma-e-Ma‘rifat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 23, p. 80
For every revelation the way of Allah which is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, is the guide, guardian, and leader. It is not possible that any revelation should be vouchsafed contrary to this way, for that would amount to falsifying holy scriptures.
—Majmu‘a Ishtiharat, Vol. 2, p. 84
The clear miracle of the Holy Qur’an which can manifest itself to every people and by presenting which we can silence everyone, whether an Indian, Persian, European or American, is the unlimited treasury of insights, verities and wisdoms, which are expounded in every age according to its need and stand as armed soldiers to refute the thinking of every age. If the Holy Qur’an had been limited in its verities and insights, it would not have amounted to a perfect miracle. Beauty of composition is not a matter the miraculous nature of which can be appreciated by every literate and illiterate person. The clear miracle of the Holy Qur’an is the unlimited insights and fine points which it comprises. A person who does not admit this miracle of the Holy Qur’an is altogether deprived of the knowledge of the Qur’an. He who does not believe in this miracle does not estimate the Qur’an as highly as it should be estimated and does not recognize God as He should be recognized, and does not honor the Holy Prophet(sa) as he should be honored.
Bear it in mind that the miracle of unlimited insights and verities which are contained in the Holy Qur’an has accomplished more in every age than has the sword. All the doubts that every age raises according to its circumstances, and all the claims of superior insights that are put forward, are completely refuted by the Holy Qur’an. No Brahmu Samajist, Buddhist, Arya or any other philosopher can put forward a Divine verity which is not already comprised in the Holy Qur’an. The wonders of the Qur’an will never cease. As the wonderful qualities of the book of nature have never come to an end in any previous age, but appear ever fresh and new, the same is the case with this Holy Book, so that the word of God and the work of God should be proved to be in accord.
For every revelation the way of Allah which is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, is the guide, guardian and leader.
As I have written before, very often the wonders of the Holy Qur’an are revealed to me and are such that they are not to be found in the commentaries. For instance, it has been revealed to me that the period that elapsed between the creation of Adam and the advent of the Holy Prophet(sa) is mentioned in Surah al-‘Asr [chapter 103 of the Holy Qur’an] in the value of its letters and amounts to 4,740 lunar years. This fine-point which discloses the miracle of the Holy Qur’an is not mentioned in any commentary. In the same way, God Almighty has disclosed to me that the meaning of:
is not only that the Qur’an was revealed in a blessed night, but that it also has another meaning which I have set out in my booklet Fath-e-Islam. Which commentary mentions all these verities? It should be borne in mind that a multiplicity of meanings of the Holy Qur’an does not create any contradiction, nor import any defect in the guidance of the Qur’an. Indeed the light of the greatness of the Qur’an is enhanced by the addition of one light to another. Since time on account of limitless changes gives rise to limitless ideas, as a matter of course, it is necessary for the Holy Qur’an to manifest itself in ever new forms, to disclose ever new knowledge, and to refute all innovations and novelties. In these circumstances, if a book which claims to be Khatam-ul-Kutub [the final book] were not to meet new contingencies, it would not establish its claim. If this book comprises everything that is needed in every age, we would have to confess that it comprehends unlimited insights, and that it takes care of the needs of every age.
It should also be remembered that the way of Allah with every perfect recipient of revelation has been that the hidden wonders of the Qur’an are revealed to him. It often happens that a verse of the Holy Qur’an is conveyed to the mind of a recipient of revelation and its purpose is something different from its original meaning. Maulavi ‘Abdullah Ghaznavi has written in a letter that on one occasion he received the revelation:
but that he could not comprehend its import. He then received the revelation:
Then he understood that in his case fire had meant steadfastness.
—Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 3, pp. 255-262
This is an age in which thousands of objections and doubts have been raised and Islam has been attacked from many directions. God Almighty has said:
There is not a thing but We have unlimited treasures thereof, and We send them down in regulated and known quantities.
Thus, this was the age of the disclosure of spiritual and temporal verities that are hidden in the Qur’an which refute and reject every kind of philosophical and unphilosophical faith, for they could not be disclosed without their need having arisen. Now that attacks were made by the new philosophy, the time came for the manifestation of those insights. It was not possible that without the manifestation of those insights, Islam could be victorious against all false religions. A victory by the sword means nothing and is wiped out by the decline of temporary power. True and real victory is that which is achieved with an army of insights and verities. This is the victory that Islam is now achieving. This prophecy related to this age and it was so understood in the past. This is an age that demands that the Holy Qur’an should disclose all the meanings which are hidden in it…
An intelligent person can easily understand that no creation of God the Glorious is without fine and wonderful qualities. If one carries out research till the Day of Judgement into the qualities and wonders of a fly, they would not come to an end. Then are not the wonders and qualities of the Holy Qur’an even as many as those of a fly? Without doubt, those wonders are in excess of the total wonders of the whole of creation and to deny them would be to deny the divine origin of the Holy Qur’an for there is nothing in the world which proceeds from God Almighty and does not comprise unlimited wonders…
The verities and fine points which foster understanding are always disclosed according to need. New corruptions call for ever fresh meanings, which are full of wisdom. It is obvious that the Holy Qur’an is a miracle in itself, and the greatness of its miracle is that it is comprehensive of unlimited verities, but they are manifested at their due time. As the difficulties of the time demand, those hidden insights are disclosed. Look! secular knowledge, most of which is opposed to the Holy Qur’an and is so misleading, is spreading rapidly. Currently, wonderful changes are being brought about in mathematics, physics and philosophy. Was it not necessary that at such a time the door to progress in faith and understanding should also have been opened, so that facilities might become available for repelling every new mischief? Know it for certain then that the door has been opened and God Almighty has determined to disclose the hidden wonders of the Holy Qur’an to the arrogant philosophers of the world. Half-baked mullahs [religious clerics], who are the enemies of Islam, cannot frustrate this design. If they do not desist from mischief, they will be destroyed and visited by such divine wrath that will grind them to dust. These fools do not apprehend the prevailing circumstances. They desire that the Holy Qur’an should appear as defeated, weak, small and insignificant, but it will now march forward like a champion. It will roar like a lion and devour the entire worldly philosophy and shall demonstrate its own supremacy and fulfill the prophecy:
and culminate in the spiritual fulfillment of the following prophecy:
It is not possible to establish faith in the world to its perfection by means of compulsion. Faith is established upon the earth when no other faith remains standing in opposition to it and all opponents lay down their arms. That time has now arrived and cannot be blocked by the ignorant mullahs. Now the son of Mary, whose spiritual father is none other than the true teacher, who also resembles Adam on this account, will distribute Qur’anic treasures among the people, so much so that the people will become satiated and will be unable to accept more, and everyone will have had his fill according to his capacity.
—Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 3, pp. 464-467
Comprehensiveness of the Holy Qur’an
The holy and perfect teaching is that of the Holy Qur’an which nourishes every branch of the human tree. The Qur’an does not stress only one side. Sometimes it urges forgiveness and forbearance on condition that they should be appropriate, and sometimes on proper occasions, it directs the punishment of an offender. In truth the Holy Qur’an is a picture of the divine law of nature, which is visible everywhere. It is perfectly reasonable that the word of God and the work of God should be in accord with each other, that is to say, as the work of God Almighty appears in the world, the true Book of God should teach in accordance with that work, and not that His work should manifest one thing and His word should manifest something else. We observe in God’s work that there is not always forgiveness and forbearance but that He punishes offenders with diverse types of chastisement. Such punishment is mentioned in the previous books also. Our God is not only Compassionate but is also Wise and His torment is great. The true book is the one which is in accord with this law of nature, and the true word of God is that which is not inconsistent with His work. We do not find that God has treated His creation always with compassion and forbearance and that there is no chastisement. Even today, God Almighty has, for the chastisement of the wicked, prophesied through me the occurrence of a great and terrible earthquake which will destroy them.
—Chashma-e-Masihi, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 20, pp. 346-347
We had raised an objection to the current Gospels that the Gospels do not provide for the development of all man’s faculties and that even the portions of them relating to moral qualities are taken from the Torah. This caused great humiliation to the Christian priests. To this some Christians replied that:
Divine books are concerned only with morals and that the punishment of offences is not appropriate for a book of God, inasmuch as offences should be punished according to changing circumstances which are unlimited and it is not proper that there should be a fixed law laying down penalties. Every penalty should be such as is in accord with the times and is helpful for the warning and restraint of offenders. Fixed penalties are not beneficial for the reform of people. In the same way, civil, criminal and revenue laws should not be fixed and rigid, as they would create difficulties under changing circumstances. For instance, they might adversely affect commercial conditions which have become current and cannot be avoided, or a penal law might not be helpful where offenders have become accustomed to one kind of punishment, or may not be amenable to it.
I would say that this type of thinking proceeds from people who have not studied the Holy Qur’an with care. The directions contained in the Holy Qur’an with regard to civil, criminal and revenue matters are of two types. One, which lays down the details of punishment or of procedure, and the other which only prescribes the principle and does not lay down any specific direction. The purpose of the latter is to provide guidance for the meeting of new circumstances. For instance, at one place the Holy Qur’an lays down the rule of a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye. This is a detail. In another place, the principle is set forth:
On reflection we find that this principle is laid down for the widening of the law in cases where the specific law cannot be carried into effect. For instance, if a person who has lost his own teeth breaks the tooth of another, he ceases to be amenable to the rule of a tooth for a tooth, for he has no teeth himself. In the same way, if a blind person should destroy the eye of another person, he cannot be deprived of his own eye, for he has none. The Holy Qur’an lays down general principles to meet such cases and by doing so encourages everyone to deduce rules suitable to every case. It is a pity that the Torah does not follow this method and the Gospel is wholly deprived of this teaching. It only lays down a few moral exhortations, but they are not part of any code or system of law. The statement of the Christians that the Gospel has left legal matters to the intelligence of people is not a matter of pride, but one of remorse and shame, for whatever is not laid down as universal law and is not spelled out in terms of any regulatory principles, is liable to be misused and become an evil, however good its purpose might be.
—Kitab-ul-Bariyyah, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 13, pp. 87-88
God Almighty, Who knows the secrets of the hearts, is witness that if anyone is able to point out a defect in the teaching of the Holy Qur’an to the extent of the thousandth part of a particle, or is able to point out an excellence in his own book, which is opposed to the teaching of the Qur’an and excels it, we would be prepared to submit ourselves to the penalty of death.
—Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1 p. 298, sub footnote 2
The Holy Qur’an Accords with Human Nature
Of all the current revealed books on earth, the Holy Qur’an is the only book which is conclusively proven to be the word of God. Its teachings for salvation are based entirely on truth and are in accordance with human nature. Its doctrines are so perfect and firm that strong proofs bear witness to their truth. Its commandments are based upon truth. Its teachings are free from every type of polytheism, innovation and worship of creatures. It is full of eagerness for the manifestation of the unity of God and of divine greatness and of the perfection of the Lord of Honour. It is replete throughout with the unity of the divine and does not tolerate any kind of deficiency or defect or unworthy attributes in the case of the Creator. It does not impose any doctrine by mere authority, but sets down reasons for the truth of that which it teaches. It establishes every purpose with proofs and arguments. It sets forth reasons for the truth of every principle and carries the mind to perfect certainty and full understanding. It repels all evils that afflict people’s doctrines, actions and words, and works with bright reasoning. It teaches good manners, the knowledge of which is necessary for every human being. It repels every corruption with as much force as that which inspires the corruption. Its teaching is straightforward and strong and secure, as if it were a mirror of the law of nature and is a true reflection of it. It is an enlightening sun for the insight of the heart. It expounds the details of the principles of reason and corrects its deficiencies.
Other books that are called revealed are in their present condition deprived of all these perfect qualities and contain many wrong conceptions with regard to the being and attributes of the divine. The followers of these books profess strange doctrines. Some of them deny God being the Creator and All-Powerful and set themselves up as His partners in being eternal and self-existent. Some set up idols and images and deities as partners with the Divine and managers of His kingdom. Some fashion sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters for Him. Some worship Him in the form of an alligator or tortoise. In short, they run ahead of each other as if the Perfect Being is most unfortunate that He has not been able to attain the perfection which reason demanded for Him. When I discovered people involved in such false doctrines and afflicted with so much error my heart trembled and melted and I felt it a bounden duty and obligation to write this book for their guidance, which I shall fully discharge.
—Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1 pp. 81-83
Evidence of the Truth and Superiority of the Holy Qur’an
The external evidence of the truth and superiority of the Holy Qur’an is of four types. One, that is derived from those matters which need to be reformed; and second, that is derived from those matters which need to be perfected; and third, which is derived from matters which manifest the power of God; and fourth, which is derived from matters relating to the unseen. The internal evidence of the truth and superiority of the Holy Qur’an is all derived from matters manifesting the power of God.
Matters that need to be reformed are false doctrines which people have adopted in place of true doctrines and righteous action, and which have become so widespread that divine favor should address itself to their reform.
Matters that need to be perfected relate to the teachings which are found in a defective condition in all revealed books, and whose defectiveness and imperfection are manifested by comparison with perfect teachings and which, therefore, demand a revealed book which should perfect them.
Matters which manifest the power of God are of two kinds. One, external, by which are meant matters which are created by God without any human planning and which invest every particle with that majesty, dignity, and greatness, the acquisition of which is impossible according to reason and the like of which is not to be found anywhere in the world.
Secondly, internal. By these are meant those beauties of form and meaning of the revealed book which cannot be matched by human faculties and which, by being in fact matchless and peerless, point to a Unique and All-Powerful One and are thus a mirror pointing to God.
By matters relating to the unseen are meant matters which proceed from the tongue of a person with regard to whom it is certain that their exposition is beyond his power. That is to say, by comparing them with the circumstances of that person it becomes obvious that they are neither natural to him nor could have been acquired by observation or reflection; nor should it be possible to imagine that he could have obtained knowledge of them from one who was familiar with them. They may not be matters which are beyond the power of another person. Thus they are relative matters, that is to say, when they are attributed to some particular person they can be considered as relating to unseen and when they are attributed to some other persons they have not this quality.
—Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1, pp. 143-145
- ‘Your possessions and children are but a trial.’ The Holy Qur’an, 64:16.
- ‘I am a distributor and Allah is the Bestower.’
- If faith ascends to the Pleiades it will be brought down by a man of Persia.
- ‘It is We who determine its taking away.’ The Holy Qur’an, 23:19.
- The Holy Qur’an, 5:4.
- ‘We sent it down on the Night of Destiny.’ The Holy Qur’an, 97:2.
- ‘We said: O fire be cool and a means of peace and security.’
- ‘We said: O steadfastness be cool and a means of peace and security.’
- The Holy Qur’an, 15:22.
- ‘….that He may cause it to prevail over all religions.’— The Holy Qur’an, 61:10. This verse also appears in 9:33 and 48:29.
- ‘He will surely establish for them their religion.’ The Holy Qur’an, 24:56.
- ‘The penalty for an offense is chastisement in proportion thereto.’ The Holy Qur’an, 42:41.