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, 381-395. This is the third part of a multi-part series.
Miracles of the Holy Qur’an
Some of the miracles and prophecies of the Holy Qur’an are such that they can be witnessed and experienced by us even in this age and no one can deny them.
The miracle of the sign of chastisement which was shown to the disbelievers of that time is a sign to which we are also witness, the reason being that it is the necessary consequence of premises that are certain and which cannot be denied by anyone. The first premise is that this sign was demanded when the Holy Prophet (sa) and his few companions were being persecuted in diverse ways in Makkah.
That was a time of such weakness for Islam that the disbelievers of Makkah mocked at the Muslims and said: If you are right, then how is it that you are suffering so much at our hands and God, upon Whom you rely, does not help you and why are you so small in numbers that you will be soon destroyed? If you are in the right why are we not chastised? What was said to the disbelievers in reply is set out in the Holy Qur’an at diverse places and that constitutes the second premise for the appreciation of the grandeur of this prophecy. That was a time when the lives of the Holy Prophet (sa) and his companions were always in danger and failure stared them in the face in all directions. At such a time, in answer to the demand of the disbelievers for a sign of chastisement, it was stated plainly that they would soon be shown the sign of the victory of Islam and their own punishment. It was said that Islam, which appeared as a seed at the time, would one day manifest itself as a large tree and that those who demand a sign of chastisement would one day be put to the sword and the whole of Arabia would be cleared of disbelievers. The sovereignty over Arabia would pass to the Muslims and God Almighty would so firmly establish Islam in Arabia that idol worship would be abolished forever and the state of fear of the Muslims would be replaced with security. Islam would grow strong and would become supreme till other countries would fall under the shadow of its victory which would extend to far regions and a great kingdom would be established which would endure till the end of the world.
If a person considers both these premises and finds out that the time when this prophecy was made was a time of great distress for Islam, and the prophecy that was made was altogether opposed to the prevailing circumstances and appeared wholly impossible, and then looks at the history of Islam, which is well known to enemies and friends, and sees how clearly it was fulfilled and how its fulfilment awed the hearts and how it was manifested with full power and strength in the east and the west, he would appreciate it as a miracle witnessed by himself regarding which he would have no doubt whatever left.
The second miracle of the Holy Qur’an which we can appreciate as eye witnesses, is the wonderful changes that were manifested in the companions of the Holy Prophet (sa) through the blessing of the following of the Holy Qur’an and the effect of the company of the Holy Prophet (sa). When we see what kind of people they were before they embraced Islam and what were their ways and habits, and then in consequence of keeping company with the Holy Prophet (sa)and following the Holy Qur’an, how they changed from their low condition into a clean and pure condition in their beliefs, their morals, their conduct, their conversation, their behaviour and all their ways, we would have to confess that this great change, which invested their rusted personalities with a wonderful freshness and bestowed upon them light and brightness, was an extraordinary transformation brought about by the hand of God Almighty….This transformation was so extraordinary as to deserve being called a miracle.
A third miracle of the Holy Qur’an which is present before our eyes is its verities, insights and fine points with which its eloquent composition is replete. This miracle has been set forth very forcefully in the Holy Qur’an. It is said that, if all men, high and low, were to combine together to produce its like, it would not be possible for them to do so.[i] This miracle is proved by the fact that during the last 1,300 years, although the Holy Qur’an has been very widely published and challenges are being hurled right and left, yet no one has ever dared to take up the challenge. This proves clearly that all human faculties are unable to compete with the Holy Qur’an.
Even if out of the hundreds of excellences of the Holy Qur’an, only one is put forward and its match is demanded, it is impossible for any human being to put forward the like of it. For instance, one of the excellences of the Holy Qur’an is that it comprises all religious insights and there is no religious verity related to truth and wisdom which is not found in the Holy Qur’an. Is there anyone who can put forward any other book which has this quality? If anyone doubts the fact that the Holy Qur’an is comprehensive of all religious verities, then such a doubter, whether Christian, Arya, Brahmu or atheist, can satisfy himself by examining the matter in his own way and we take the responsibility of satisfying him, provided he turns to us as a seeker after truth. All the holy verities that are contained in the Bible, or the words of truth and wisdom which we have seen in the books of philosophers, or the verities that have found place by chance in the Vedas or are still to be found in them which we have seen, or the wisdom and understanding which are set out in the hundreds of books of the Sufis, which we have come to know, are all found in the Holy Qur’an.
This perfect research which we have carried out in depth during thirty years has disclosed to us conclusively and certainly, that there is no spiritual verity which is helpful for the perfection of the soul and for the training of intellect and the heart which is not mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. This is not only our experience, but is the claim of the Holy Qur’an, which has been tested not only by me, but by thousands of divines from the very beginning who have borne witness to its truth.
A fourth miracle of the Holy Qur’an is its spiritual effects which have been inherent in it from the beginning. This means that its followers are accepted of the divine and are honoured with the converse of God. Their supplications are accepted by God Almighty, and He responds to them with love and mercy, and He informs them of some hidden mysteries as He informs the Prophets and distinguishes them from other people by bestowing upon them signs of His support and help. This is also a sign which will continue till the Day of Judgement among the Muslims. It has been manifested throughout and is present even today. There are today among the Muslims people whom God the Glorious, through His special support, honours with true revelation and visions relating to hidden matters.
O ye who are seekers after truth! and O ye who are hungry and thirsty for true signs!! consider justly and with a pure vision of what high degree are the signs which God Almighty has set forth in the Holy Qur’an and how they are present and perceptible in every age. The miracles of previous prophets are now mere stories and we do not know to what degree they are true.
—Tasdiq-un-Nabi, pp. 20-23 or Maktubat-e-Ahmadiyya, Vol. 3, pp. 49-53
The miracles and extraordinary signs of the Holy Qur’an are of four types; (1) miracles relating to the intellect; (2) miracles relating to knowledge; (3) miracles relating to spiritual blessings; and (4) miracles relating to external causes.
The first three are miracles of the inherent qualities of the Holy Qur’an. They are very grand and are susceptible of obvious proof. They can be witnessed in every age like visible realities, but the fourth kind are external matters which are not inherent in the Holy Qur’an. Of these is the miracle of the splitting of the moon. The true excellence and beauty of the Holy Qur’an are exhibited in the first three kinds of miracles. Indeed, this is the great sign of all divine words that these three kinds of miracles should be found in them. In the Holy Qur’an all three are found in a high and perfect and complete degree, and they are put forward by the Holy Qur’an repeatedly as proof of its being matchless and peerless, as it is said [ii] :
Proclaim to these disbelievers that if all humans and genii, that is, the entire creation, were to agree to produce the like of this Qur’an, they would not be able to produce a book which combines the internal and external qualities of the Holy Qur’an even though they all help each other in the effort.
At another place it is said [iii] :
In other words [iv] :
The Holy Qur’an comprises the sum and substance of all divine scriptures.
…At another place it is said [v] :
We have revealed this Qur’an to you; had it been sent down on a mountain, it would have been rent asunder in
fear and awe of Allah. We narrate these illustrations so that people reflect upon the grandeur of the Word of God.
…Besides this, large numbers of miracles of external changes are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. Miracles of this kind are like ornaments for the beauty of the Qur’an with which handsome people are bedecked. It is obvious that what is beautiful in itself does not need any ornament though an ornament enhances its beauty to some degree.
These miracles that are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an are of diverse types. One is that through the prayer of the Holy Prophet (sa) God Almighty manifested His powerful control over the heavens and split the moon into two pieces. Secondly, the change that God Almighty brought about on earth through the prayers of the Holy Prophet (sa) which appeared in the form of a famine that lasted for seven years, whereby people were so overcome that they ground down bones and swallowed them. Thirdly, the miraculous control that was exercised on the day of the migration of the Holy Prophet (sa) to safeguard him against the mischief of the disbelievers. When the disbelievers of Makkah resolved to kill him, God, the Glorious, informed the Holy Prophet (sa) of their design and commanded him to migrate from Makkah to Madinah and gave him the good news of his victorious return. It was a Wednesday, the time was around midday, and the day was very hot, when this trial was manifested by God. In this situation of distress when the Holy Prophet (sa) was about to leave his home town suddenly, and his enemies had surrounded his house with the design of killing him, a close relative whose being was compounded of love and faith laid himself down, under the direction of the Holy Prophet (sa) on his bed, covering his face so that the spies of the enemies should not investigate the departure of the Holy Prophet (sa) and deeming the substitute to be the Holy Prophet (sa) himself should continue to wait for killing him.[vi]
After the Holy Prophet (sa) had left, leaving his faithful relative in his place, and his enemies discovered his departure, these wicked people pursued him with the intention of killing him somewhere on the way. At that time of distress, the Holy Prophet (sa) was accompanied only by one sincere and faithful friend. But as ever, and also in the course of that dangerous journey, his Lord was with him, Who had sent this perfect and faithful servant of His into the world for carrying out a grand reform. In order to safeguard this dear servant of His, He exercised wonderful control in many ways which are mentioned briefly in the Holy Qur’an. One of them was that none of his enemies noticed his departure though it was morning time and his enemies were surrounding his house. As is mentioned in Surah Yasin [a chapter of the Holy Qur’an], God Almighty put a covering on the eyes of all those wretches and the Holy Prophet (sa) left unnoticed.
Another extraordinary manifestation that God, the Glorious, exhibited for safeguarding His immaculate Prophet (sa) was that, though his enemies arrived outside the cave in which the Holy Prophet (sa) was hidden with his companion, they could not see him for God Almighty had sent a pair of pigeons which built a nest the same night at the entrance to the cave and also laid their eggs there and by divine command a spider also wove its web at the place, whereby the enemies of the Prophet (sa) were misled and returned frustrated. Another miracle that occurred was that an opponent of the Holy Prophet (sa) who was riding a horse on the way to Madinah, tried to approach the Holy Prophet (sa) and through the latter’s prayer the hooves of his horse sank into the earth and he fell down, whereupon he asked for the forgiveness of the Holy Prophet (sa) and turned away. Another miraculous event that occurred was that when being provoked by their failure, his enemies advanced against the Holy Prophet (sa) with a large army so that they might destroy the Muslims, who were small in number, and thus root out Islam, God, the Glorious, created confusion among the enemy forces at Badr in consequence of the Holy Prophet (sa) throwing a handful of gravel at his enemies, and thus brought about their defeat. God Almighty caused this handful of gravel to make the enemy leaders blind and confused them and rooted them to the earth and made them fall down dead at the spots which the Holy Prophetsa had specified in advance.
The Holy Qur’an mentions several other instances of divine intervention and succour that were miraculous in nature. The sum and substance of this is that God Almighty raised the Holy Prophet (sa) at a time when he was poor, an orphan, alone and helpless and then within a short period of time, which was even less than thirty years, made him victorious over a large part of the world and made him supreme over the Byzantine emperor and the kings of Syria, Egypt, and the countries between the Tigris and the Euphrates. Similarly, within a short period of time, He spread the Muslim victories as far as the Oxus river. The Holy Qur’an had foretold the spread of Islam in these countries. Considering the Muslims’ lack of resources and their wonderful victories, wise and learned Europeans have testified that there is no other instance in the history of the world of such rapid advance as that of Islam and the Islamic kingdom. It is obvious that what is matchless is also called miraculous. In short, many external changes of a miraculous nature are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. Indeed, every part of this holy word announces aloud instances of divine support.
—Surmah Chashm Arya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 2, pp. 60-67, footnote
Doors to Divine Understanding Opened by the Holy Qur’an
The Holy Qur’an opens three doors for bestowing the understanding of truth. One is the door of reason. The way of reasoning has been perfectly employed for the recognition of the existence of God and His attributes of Creation, Unity, Power, Compassion and Self-Subsistence. In the course of this reasoning, logic and eloquence, physics and medicine, astronomy and mathematics, philosophy and the method of debate, have all been brought into play most appropriately whereby difficult problems have been resolved. This method is extraordinary and is a miracle of reasoning. Great philosophers who invented logic and laid down the rules of philosophy and occupied themselves much with physics and astronomy were not able, on account of the deficiency of their reason, to employ this learning in support of their faith. Nor were they able to correct their own mistakes or to confer any religious benefit upon others. Indeed most of them remained atheists or heretics or weak of faith, and those of them who believed in God Almighty to some degree mixed up error and truth and compounded the impure with the pure and thus went astray. It is thus miraculous that this divine reasoning commits no mistake and has employed the learnings that we have mentioned for such a high purpose as no human being has attempted. It is enough proof that the statements of the Holy Qur’an with regard to the existence of the divine and His attributes of Unity and Creation and other perfect attributes, are so comprehensive that they cannot be exceeded, nor is it possible for any man to put forth a new argument. If anyone doubts this, let him put forward some intellectual reasoning in support of the existence or the unity or creativeness or any other divine attribute, so that we might point out from the Holy Qur’an the same arguments or even better ones for which we make ourselves responsible. This claim and this praise of the Qur’an are not mere words, but are true in fact, and no one can put forward an argument in support of the true doctrine which the Holy Qur’an has not put forward. The Holy Qur’an at many places loudly claims perfect comprehensiveness for itself…
The second door of divine understanding which the Holy Qur’an has opened wide, are fine intellectual points which on account of their extraordinary nature could be called intellectual miracles. They are of many types. First, the knowledge of the insights of the faith, that is to say, all high insights in the matter of faith and all its holy verities and all the fine points of the knowledge of the divine which are needed in this world for the perfection of the soul are fully set out in the Holy Qur’an; so also, all the illnesses of the self that incite to sin and its passions and all the remedies and requirements that are needed and all the ways of the purification of the soul and all the signs and characteristics and essentials and high moral qualities are fully dealt with. No one can set forth a verity or divine point or a way of reaching God or a rare or holy discipline or form of divine worship which is not mentioned in the Qur’an. Secondly, there is knowledge of the qualities of the soul and of psychology which is found in such a comprehensive way in this miraculous Word that those who reflect can appreciate that this is not the work of any except the All-Powerful. Thirdly, there is the knowledge of the beginning, of the hereafter, and other hidden matters which are an essential part of the word of the Knower of the hidden, which comforts the hearts and proves the knowledge of the hidden possessed by the All-Powerful God. This knowledge is found in such detail and abundance in the Holy Qur’an that no other book can compare with it in this respect. Besides this, the Holy Qur’an has also pressed into the service of the faith knowledge of other subjects in a miraculous manner. In this respect it has kept in mind logic, physics, philosophy, astronomy, psychology, medicine, mathematics, and the knowledge of composition, and has used them for expounding and explaining the knowledge of the faith, or facilitating its understanding, or for drawing any conclusion from it or repelling the objection of some ignorant person. In short, all these subjects are set out in the Holy Qur’an for the service of the faith in such an extraordinary manner that every type of intellect can derive benefit from them…
The third door of the understanding of the divine which the Holy Qur’an has opened is the door of spiritual blessings which can be called its miracle of effect. Every intelligent person knows that the country of the birth of the Holy Prophet (sa) was a limited peninsula called Arabia, which was cut off from all other countries. Even a bigoted opponent, who has some knowledge, cannot deny that before the advent of the Holy Prophet (sa) the people of this country led a wild and animal existence and were entirely unaware of religion, or faith, or the rights of God, or the rights of man, and that through the centuries they had been steeped in idol worship and other impure notions, and had reached the extremes of debauchery, drinking, gambling and other vices, and did not regard theft, robbery, murder, infanticide, devouring the substance of orphans or trespassing against the rights of others as a sin. In short, every vicious condition and every type of darkness and heedlessness enveloped the hearts of the Arabs. Then, it is also known that the same ignorant and wild and impious people embraced Islam and accepted the Holy Qur’an and were completely changed. The effectiveness of the divine word and the companionship of the immaculate Prophet (sa) so changed their hearts suddenly within a short time, that after their period of ignorance they were enriched with the insights of faith, and abandoning the love of the world, they were so lost in the love of God that they abandoned their homes and dear ones, and their honour and comforts for the sake of winning the pleasure of Allah, the Glorious.
Both these pictures of their original condition and of the new life, which they acquired after their embracing Islam, are set out so clearly in the Holy Qur’an that a righteous and good-hearted person’s eyes are filled with tears at reading the account. What was it then which pulled them away from one world into another so rapidly? There were two things; one was that that immaculate Prophetsa was most effective in his holy power such as never was nor will be. Secondly, it was the mighty and wonderful effect of the holy word of the absolutely Powerful, Ever-Living and Self-Subsisting God which pulled a large population out of thousands of darknesses into the light. Without doubt, this effect of the Holy Qur’an is miraculous for no one can cite another instance in the world that a book had proved so effective. Who can give proof that another book brought about such a change and such reform as was brought about by the Holy Qur’an?
Hundreds of thousands of the holy ones testify that by following the Holy Qur’an, divine blessings descend upon the heart and a wonderful relationship is established with the divine. divine lights and revelation descend upon the hearts, and insights and fine points issue from mouths. They are bestowed a strong trust and a firm certainty and the delicious love of God, which is nurtured by the delight of meeting, is generated in their hearts. If their beings are ground down in the mortar of calamities and are squeezed in powerful presses, their essence would be found only to be the love of God. The world is unaware of them and they are far above and higher than the world. The treatment accorded to them by God is miraculous. It has been disclosed to them that God does exist; and that He is One. When they pray to Him, He hears them; and when they call on Him, He responds to them. When they seek refuge with Him, He runs to them. He loves them more than a father. He rains down blessings on their homes. They are recognized by His overt and covert and spiritual and material support. He helps them in every field for they are His and He is theirs. These things are not without proof.
—Surmah Chashm Arya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 2, pp. 72-79, footnote
[i] The reference is to Bani Isra’il, 17:89. (Ed.)
[ii] The Holy Qur’an, 17:89.
[iii] ‘Nothing have We left out in the Book (the Qur’an).’ The Holy Qur’an, 6:39 [Publisher].
[iv] The Holy Qur’an, 98:3-4.
[v] The Holy Qur’an, 59:22.
[vi] No one offers his head, or sacrifices his life for someone else. Love alone makes one perform this task with utmost sincerity.