Final part of series of extracts from Victory of Islam, an English rendering of the Urdu Fateh-e-Islam, written by the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as).
The fourth branch of this Dispensation is the correspondence written both by the ‘seekers after truth’ or by the antagonists. It is estimated that during the past years, over ninety thousand letters must have been received and duly responded to, except those that were considered to be worthless or unimportant. This work also continues unabated. During each month about three hundred to seven hundred letters are received and replied to. In some months the number may reach a thousand.
The fifth branch of this great project established under the express inspiration and revelation of God is the widening of the circle of devotees and of those who take the Oath of Initiation (Bai’at) at my hand. At the time of the establishment of this Dispensation, God spoke to me saying: The world is engulfed in a storm of misguidance. During this storm, you should construct this ark. He who embarks on the ark will be saved from drowning. Death would await those who continue to reject.
And He said: Anyone who slips his hand into your hand in allegiance, slips it not into your hand but rather into the Hand of God.
And again God the Almighty gave me glad tidings by saying: I will cause you to die and then raise you to Myself. But your true followers and devotees will always excel those who rejected you, till the Day of Judgement.
These are the five branches of this Dispensation established by God with His own hand. A person with a superficial perception might consider the writing and printing of books to be the only important project of this Dispensation, and consider the other branches as unimportant and worthless. But in the sight of God, all these branches are obligatory. The great reform which God intends to initiate cannot be accomplished without the coordination of these five branches.
However, the success of the project is entirely dependent upon the extraordinary support and singular blessing of God. He alone is sufficient for its triumphant completion. It is His heartening promises which grant tranquillity and respite. But it is also under His instructions and incentive that the attention of the Muslims is invited towards monetary assistance. This appeal is in keeping with the practice of all the earlier Prophets of God who appealed for such assistance from their followers in times of distress. It is solely for this purpose, that I launch this appeal…
…O ye Muslims, who are the surviving vestiges and descendants of resolute and noble believers! Do not rush towards the rejection and distrust of this appeal, rather, dread that epidemic which is fast spreading around you. A multitude has already been snared in its treachery. Do you notice the ferocity of the attempts to wipe out the religion of Islam? Is it not equally incumbent upon you as well to strive in this cause? The religion of Islam is not man-made that it could suffer desolation through the intrigues of man. But woe to those who are engrossed in attempts at its extermination!
Alas! Muslims have enough to spend upon their wives and children, enough to squander upon personal lavishness, but for Islam their pockets are empty. Ye sluggish and lethargic ones, woe unto you! You do not possess the ability to strengthen the religion of Islam and demonstrate its miraculous powers, yet you fail to accept with gratitude this Divine Dispensation which has been established by God to manifest the dazzling truth of Islam.
Today, Islam is likened unto a light that has been caged in a chest or to a sweet fountain that has been concealed by twigs and leaves. That is why Islam is in decline and its beautiful face is shrouded from the world. Its enchanting silhouette cannot be seen. It was vital for the Muslims to liberate Islam from this confinement at all costs. Not to speak of financial sacrifices alone, if so needed, they should have shed their blood like the pouring of water. But they failed to do that. They are still engrossed in their ignorance, saying, ‘Are the previous books not sufficient?’ They are oblivious to the fact that to combat new intrigues, fresh techniques have to be devised.
At the onset of every spiritual gloom, Prophets, Messengers and Reformers have been coming to the world. At the time of their advent, were the previous books not already present? Brothers! It is therefore essential that at the spread of darkness, a heavenly light must descend from heavens.
As earlier mentioned in this book, God gives glad tidings to the faithful in Surah Al-Qadr that His Prophet and His revelation descended from the heaven during the period of ‘Lailat-ul-Qadr’ (The Night of Decree). Every Guide and Reformer who is commissioned by God always appears during the Night of Decree.
Do you understand what is meant by the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree or the ‘Lailat-ul-Qadr’ is the name of a night when spiritual darkness reaches its ultimate gloom. That gloom, metaphorically, demands a light from heaven for its dissipation. This night is symbolically called the Night of Decree. In fact, it is not a night but a period, referred to as a ‘night’ because of its intense darkness.
One thousand months is the approximate life span of a human being. It is also a period after which normal human senses cease to function. The elapse of a period of one thousand months, following the demise of a Prophet or his spiritual successor, also signals the commencement of a ‘night’ of darkness. This ‘night’ triggers a fervour in the heavens and the seeds of the birth of one or more reformers is stealthily sown. Thus, such a reformer or reformers prepare to emerge at the head of the new century. The following verse is also an indication by God towards this phenomenon:
The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. (Ch. 97:V.4)
Meaning that anyone who perceives the blessings of this Night of Decree, or anyone who benefits from the company of the Reformer of the age, is better than an eighty-year-old man who failed to behold this blessed time. Even if he witnessed a single moment of this blessed era, it was better than his past one thousand months. Why is that moment better? Because during that period, in support of the Reformer, the angels of God and the ‘Ruh-ul-Qudus’ (Holy Spirit) descend from the heavens. They manifest themselves upon the hearts of the faithful for the purpose of unveiling the path to guidance. They remain fully engaged in this endeavour until the gloom of delinquency vanishes, ushering in a dawn of piety.
Now O Muslims! Ponder over these verses and observe how God praises that blessed period in which, at the hour of need, a Reformer is sent unto the world. Would you not acknowledge the value of this period? Would you view with ridicule and taunt the covenants of God Almighty?
So, O Muslims who have been granted affluence, listen! I convey the message to you that it is obligatory for you to wholeheartedly support this Divinely inspired reformatory Dispensation. You should hasten to do justice to this scheme after considering, with absolute sincerity, all its aspects…
…Who is my companion? Who is dear to me? He who recognises my station. Who recognises me? Only he who is firmly convinced that I have been sent by God.
He who accepts me in the same way as those sent earlier are accepted. The world cannot accept me for I am not of this world. But those whose inherent nature has been gifted with a portion of the knowledge of the other domain are accepting me and will continue to accept me. He who forsakes me indeed forsakes Him Who sent me. He who is grafted onto me is grafted onto Him from Whom I have come. I hold a lamp in my hand. Any person who comes to me will certainly partake of the light of this lamp. But those who flee as a result of delusion and distrust will be thrown into darkness. I am the invincible citadel of this age. Only he who enters therein will be secure from the scourge of swindlers, crooks and ferocious beasts. But he who prefers to stay away from my periphery, will confront death from all directions! Even his corpse will not be secure.
Who is it who enters my citadel? Only he who discards all vice and instead embraces the path of rectitude. He who gives up the path of crookedness and treads along the path of truthfulness. He who cuts asunder from the bondage of Satan and becomes an obedient servant of God. Everyone who does that is of me and I am of him.
But only he succeeds in accomplishing this feat who is placed by God the Almighty, under the shadow of a Muzakki (Purifier). He then stamps out under his feet the hell of his ego. The fire within him is quenched and cooled as if there had never been any fire. Then he begins to accomplish brisk spiritual progress till the spirit of God Almighty dwells in him. And as a result of a remarkable Divine phenomenon, God, the Lord of the worlds, firmly establishes Himself upon his heart. Thus, his old individuality is incinerated and he is accorded a new and purified temperament. For him, God Almighty becomes a new God, establishing a fresh and unique attachment with him. He is bestowed in this very world with all the immaculate blessings of a blissful life.
At this juncture, I cannot refrain from expressing my intense gratitude to the Almighty God, Who out of His Grace and Mercy never left me alone. Those who developed a bond of brotherhood with me by joining this Community that was established by God with His own Hand, are imbued with a unique tint of love and devotion. Such spiritual souls satiated with sincerity that are granted to me, were not acquired by any act of diligence on my part, but entirely due to the distinctive blessing of God.
First of all, I experience an immense fervour in my heart for the mention of a spiritual brother whose name Nur-ud-Din (The Brilliance of Faith) is synonymous with his brilliant services. I have always cast wistful looks at some of the religious services which he renders with his lawful earnings for the propagation of Islam. Alas! If only I too could perform such services. The portrayal of the unlimited power and authority of God comes to mind, when I ponder at the intensity of his devotion towards Islam. I marvel at how God attracts people towards His cause. He stands resolute and ever ready to sacrifice all the wealth and property at his disposal in obedience to God and His Prophet. It is my conviction which is based upon experience and not upon mere optimistic speculation that, not to speak of wealth alone, he is even ready to sacrifice his honour and life for my sake. Had I permitted, he would have given up everything and come to live with me here. Thus, he would be physically close to me, as he is spiritually close already…
…At this point, I consider it appropriate to state that all who have entered into the covenant of Bai‘at are not such that I could express a good opinion about them. Instead, I view some of them as the dry branches of a tree, whom my God, Who is my Guardian, will one day sever from me and hurl into the pile of firewood. There are others who showed a certain amount of devotion and sincerity in the beginning but have now become indifferent. They have lost the glow of warmth and enthusiasm associated with loving disciples. Indeed, the intrigues of Bal’am are all that remains in them. They are likened to rotten teeth, waiting to be extracted and trampled upon. They became exhausted with fatigue. This corrupted world clenched them in the snare of its deception. I say this with conviction that very soon they will be cut off from me, except such among them whom God chooses to save afresh with His own Hand. There are those, of course, whom God has permanently handed over to me. They are indeed the evergreen branches of the tree of my being. I shall, Insha Allah (God willing), write about them on another occasion.
It would be appropriate here to dispel the conceited views of some wealthy people who deem themselves as having offered rich sacrifices in the cause of God, while they are extremely reluctant to spend their wealth on the right cause whenever it arises. They say that had they been born in the period of a true man sent from God for the rejuvenation of faith, they would have come forward to help him and even be ready to be sacrificed for him, but what can they do in an age rampant with swindlers and cheats?
But let it be clear to you that a person has already been sent in support of the faith but you failed to recognise him. He is among you and it is he who is addressing you now. But there are heavy veils covering your eyes. If your hearts are in search of truth it should not be difficult to verify the claim of one who professes to be in communion with God. Come to him. Stay in his company for two or three weeks, if Allah so wills, you may also witness blessings being showered upon him and many a spiritual light which descends upon him. It is he who seeks who finds. He who knocks, it is for him that the door is opened. If you lament the absence of the sun after having locked yourself up in a dark closet with your eyes shut, then your moaning will be in vain.
O ye who are bereft of clear vision! Open the door of your closet and remove the covering from your eyes so that you may not only see the sun but may also bask in its light.
Some claim that the founding of Anjumans [Organisations] and the opening of schools is sufficient to promote the cause of faith. But they fail to understand what faith is, nor do they understand the ultimate objective of our creation or what the means of achieving such objectives are. They should realise that the ultimate goal of this life is to attain a true and certain bond with God – such as would sever our ties with relations based on animal instincts. The paths leading to such certainty and conviction cannot be attained through human deliberations and schemes. Human devices and philosophies are of no avail. Rather, in the times of darkness, this light always descends from the heavens through His chosen servants. He who comes from heaven, it is only he who can lead you to heaven.
Therefore, O ye who are buried in pits of darkness and those who are held in the claws of doubt and suspicion and are slaves of selfish desires! Do not pride over the mere title or legacy of Islam. Do not consider that the formation of syndicates and schools are the answer for your true solace, genuine welfare and ultimate success. Basically, these things are useful and can be regarded as the initial steps, but they are very far off from the final objective. These exercises may generate some intellectual ingenuity, astuteness, intelligence or debate. They may help a person to be called a ‘sage’ or a ‘renowned scholar’. It is also possible that a long and sustained schooling might result in the partial achievement of the ultimate objective. But (as the Persian saying goes)
Before the arrival of the antidote from Iraq, the snake-bitten victim may succumb to the venom.
Therefore, wake up and be vigilant! Lest you stumble and find yourself in a state of apostasy and disbelief as you traverse the final journey to the hereafter. Know for certain that salvation in the hereafter does not entirely depend on the acquisition of conventional knowledge. The manifestation of a Heavenly light is essential for the removal of the dirt of scepticism and lack of conviction. It is indeed necessary for the negation of the fire of sensual obsession. It draws man towards sincere love, true affection and obedience to God. If you confer with your conscience, it is bound to respond by saying that you do not possess that genuine satisfaction and inherent tranquillity that is essential for the instantaneous spiritual transformation. Therefore, how unfortunate that you do not possess even a minute fraction of the keenness and enthusiasm for the publication of literature pertaining to this Divine scheme that you possess for the printing of works of mere customary sayings and knowledge. Generally, your life is devoted towards such pursuits as have had little relevance towards the uplift of faith, or are of little significance and very remote from the ultimate objective. If you were equipped with such sensibilities and wisdom as stop only at the essential scheme of things, then you would not rest until you had reached that ultimate objective.
O humankind! You are created for the recognition, and the consequent obedience to and love of your true Creator, the One alone who is truly worthy of worship. Therefore, until the ultimate and final purpose of your creation does not fully dawn upon you, you remain very remote from true salvation. If you are candid, you could be attesting to your own internal state that instead of the worship of God, a gigantic idol of materialism permanently dwells within you, before which you prostrate a thousand times each second! You are so engrossed in the affairs of the world that you do not have the leisure of glancing at anything else. Do you ever think about the ultimate and final end of this creation? Where are the characteristics of justice? Where is your integrity? Where are the qualities of truthfulness, sympathy, honesty and humility towards which the Qur’an beckons you?
Even during the years gone by, it never ever occurred to you that we indeed have a Creator. Have you ever thought of your obligations towards Him? The plain truth is that you never developed any concern, link or affiliation with the God of ultimate existence. Even the very mention of His name is cumbersome upon you. Although in your worldly affairs and concerns, you exhibit extraordinary wisdom and solemnity, yet your proficiency, your deep and far reaching insight end at the fringes of this worldliness, and you cannot visualise in the least that which belongs to the other world, the world your souls are created to inhabit eternally. But in your entire life you have never even once reflected on the hereafter, the happiness of which is permanent and assured beyond a shadow of doubt.
How unfortunate that you are sitting absolutely unaware of the most important issue that matters in life, and your eyes are completely shut to it, while day and night you are madly engaged in lustful pursuits which are of matters only transient and are fit only to be forgotten. You are fully aware that, without doubt, an instant will finally come which will suddenly terminate your life and all that you yearned for. But this is a peculiar type of callousness because of which, despite having complete knowledge, you continue to waste your entire time in worldly quests. And your pursuit of materialism is not confined only to lawful means; you do not stop short of employing falsehood, deceit and even the ruthless murder of truth to gain your objectives.
Despite all these ignominious crimes, which are rampant in you, you continue to assert that there was no need for Divine Light or a Divine Commission. In fact you nurture an extreme animosity towards it. You have looked down with contempt at this Heavenly Dispensation of God, so much so that if you ever mention these things, you do it with words full of foul language with eyebrows drawn with arrogance and upturned noses. You insistently demand to know how you can reach the stage of certainty that this institution is from God. I have just answered this question: this tree can be recognised by its fruit and this luminary moon can be recognised by its light. Now it is up to you either to accept it or reject it and again it lies with you to remember my admonitions or wipe them out from your memories.
The qualities of a person are not appreciated during his lifetime, my dear ones.
You will remember my admonitions after I am no more.