This series sets out, in the words of the Promised Messiah(as), Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a summary of his exposition of four outstanding topics: ISLAM; ALLAH, THE EXALTED; THE HOLY PROPHET(saw) and THE HOLY QUR’AN. The original compilation, in Urdu, from which these extracts have been translated into English, was collated with great care and diligence by Syed Daud Ahmad Sahib(ru). The English rendering is by the late Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan(ra), and is quoted from The Essence of Islam, Volume 3. All references throughout, unless otherwise specifically mentioned, are from the Holy Qur’an.
Every blessing is from Muhammad on whom be the blessings and peace of Allah. Blessed is He who taught and he who was taught.
Hadhrat Muhammad Mustafa, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him.
You have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar, for him who hopes to meet with Allah and the Last Day, and who remembers Allah much. (Ch.33:V.22)
After God I am inebriated with the love of Muhammad. If this is infidelity, then by God I am a great infidel.
That light of high degree that was bestowed on perfect man was not in angels, was not in stars, was not in the moon, was not in the sun, was not in the oceans and the rivers, was not in rubies or emeralds, or sapphires, or pearls; in short, it was not in any earthly or heavenly object. It was only in perfect man whose highest and loftiest and most perfect example was our lord and master, the Chief of the Prophets, the Chief of all living ones, Muhammad, the chosen one, peace be on him. That light was bestowed on this man and, according to their ranks, upon all those who bore the same colour to some degree…. This dignity was found in its highest and most perfect form in our lord and master and our guide, the immaculate Prophet, the righteous one, testified to by the righteous, Muhammad, the chosen one, peace be on him [Ayenae Kamalat-e-Islam, (Qadian, Riyadh Hind Press 1893); Now printed in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol.5, pp. 160-162].
I always wonder how high was the status of this Arab Prophet, whose name was Muhammad, thousands of blessings and peace be upon him. One cannot reach the limit of his high status and it is not given to man to estimate correctly his spiritual effectiveness. It is a pity that his rank has not been recognised as it should have been. He was the champion who restored to the world the Unity of God which had disappeared from the world; he loved God in the extreme and his soul melted out of sympathy for mankind. Therefore God, Who knew the secret of his heart, exalted him above all the Prophets and all the first ones and the last ones and bestowed upon him in his lifetime all that he desired. He is the fountainhead of every grace and a person who claims any superiority without acknowledging his grace is not a man but is the progeny of Satan. He has been bestowed the key to every exaltation and he has been given the treasury of every understanding. He who does not receive through him is deprived forever. I am nothing and possess nothing. I would be most ungrateful if I were not to confess that I have learnt of the true Unity of God through this Prophet. The recognition of the Living God we have achieved through this Perfect Prophet and through his light. The honour of converse with God, through which we behold His countenance, has been bestowed upon me through this great Prophet. The ray of this sun of guidance falls like sunshine upon me and I continue illumined only so long as I am adjusted towards it [Haqiqatul Wahyi, (Qadian, Magazine Press 1907); Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 22, pp.115-116].
O all ye who dwell upon the earth, and O all human souls that are in the East or in the West, I announce to you emphatically that the true reality in the earth is Islam alone, and the true God is the God Who is described in the Qur’an, and the Prophet who has everlasting spiritual life and who is seated on the throne of glory and holiness, is Muhammad, the chosen one, peace be on him. The proof of his spiritual life and holy majesty is that by following him and loving him we become recipients of the holy spirit and are favoured with the bounty of converse with God and witness heavenly signs [Tiryaqul Quloob, Now printed in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 15, p.7].
The man who in his being and his attributes and his actions and through his spiritual and holy faculties set an example of perfection, in knowledge and action and in sincerity and steadfastness, and was called the perfect man was Muhammad, peace be on him… The man who was most perfect as man and as Prophet, and came with full blessings, and who through a spiritual revival and resurrection manifested the first judgment in the world and revived the dead world, that blessed Prophet, the Seal of the Prophets, the leader of the righteous ones, the pride of the Prophets, was Muhammad, the chosen one, peace be on him. Our Lord, send down on that beloved Prophet that mercy and blessing that Thou hast not sent down on anyone since the beginning of the world. Had that grand Prophet not appeared in the world then we would have no proof of the truth of lesser Prophets like Jonah(as), Job(as), Jesus(as) son of Mary, Malachi(as), John(as), Zakaria(as), etc. Though they were favourites and honoured and were beloved ones of Almighty God, they are under obligation to this Prophet that they were accepted in the world as true Prophets. O Allah, send down Thy blessings on him and on his people and on his companions, all of them. Our last word is that all praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the worlds [Itmamul Hujjah, (Lahore, Gulzar Muhammadi Press, 1311 A.H); Now printed in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 8, p. 36].
When we estimate justly, then out of the whole series of Prophets, we find one of high courage and alive and greatly dear to God, the Chief of the Prophets, the pride and the crown of the Messengers, whose name is Muhammad Mustafa and Ahmad Mujtaba. By walking under his shadow for ten days one obtains that light which before him could not be obtained in a thousand years… We have found every light by following the immaculate Prophet and whoever follows him will also find it and he will become so accepted of God that nothing will be impossible for him. The Living God Who is hidden from people, will be his God and all false gods will be trodden under his feet. He will be blessed everywhere and Divine Power will be with him. Peace be on him who follows the guidance [Siraj Muneer, (Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press 1897); Now printed in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 12, p. 80-81].
Now under heaven there is only one Prophet and only one Book. The Prophet is Muhammad, the chosen one, peace be on him, who is higher and more exalted than all Prophets and is the most perfect of Messengers and is the Khatamul Anbiya, and the best of men by following whom we find God Almighty and all the veils of darkness are lifted and the signs of true salvation are witnessed in this very life. The Book is the Holy Qur’an, which comprises true and perfect guidance and effectiveness, through which knowledge and understanding of the Divine are obtained and the heart is purified of human weaknesses, and being delivered from ignorance and heedlessness and doubts, a person arrives at the stage of complete certainty (Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyyah, p. 467-468, sub-footnote 3).
There have been millions of pure-natured people in the world and there will be more in future, but we have found the best of all of them and the highest man of God, whose name is Muhammad, peace be on him. Allah and His angels call down blessings on the Prophet and do you who believe call down blessings on him and greet him with the greeting of peace. We shall leave aside any mention of the holy ones from among those people whose circumstances have not been described in detail in the Holy Qur’an. We shall express our view only with regard to the Prophets who are mentioned in the Qur’an like Moses, David, Jesus and other Prophets, peace be on them. We affirm it on oath, calling God to witness, that if the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, had not come into the world, and the Holy Qur’an had not been revealed, and we had not seen with our own eyes the blessings that we have witnessed, the truth of all past Prophets would have remained doubtful in our eyes. No reality can be gathered from mere stories, for it is quite possible that they may not be true and it is also possible that the miracles that are attributed to these Prophets might be exaggerations, for no sign of them is visible today. We cannot even ascertain for certain from the Books revealed in the past that God truly exists, because we are not assured that God speaks to man. But through the advent of the Holy Prophet(saw), all these stories became real. We now realise not merely as a statement, but as a matter of experience, what converse with the Divine means and how God’s signs are manifested and how prayers are answered. All this we have discovered by following the Holy Prophet(saw) and what other people relate as stories we have witnessed it all. We have attached ourselves to a Prophet who manifests God to us.
How shall we express our gratitude to God who bestowed upon us the good fortune to follow the Prophet(saw) who is a sun for the souls of the righteous as there is a sun for the bodies? He appeared in a time of darkness and illumined the world with his light. He was neither tired nor fatigued till he purified all parts of Arabia from associating partners with God. He is the proof of his own truth for his light is present in every age and true obedience to him purifies a person as the clear and transparent water of a river cleanses dirty linen. Who has come to us with a sincere heart and has not witnessed that light, and who has knocked honestly on that door for whom it has not been opened? But the pity is that most people prefer the lower life and do not desire that higher light should enter into them [Chashma Ma‘rifat, (Qadian, Anwar Ahmadiyyah Press, 1908); Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 23., p. 288-289].
The Holy Prophet(saw) was directed in the Holy Qur’an to supplicate:
Exalted then is Allah, the True King. And make no haste to recite the Qur’an ere its revelation is completed unto thee, but only say, ‘Lord, bestow on me increase of knowledge. (Ch.20:V.115)
This means that the Holy Prophet(saw) was directed to supplicate for perfect knowledge of God’s greatness and understanding and attributes. At another place it is said:
Thus have I been commanded and I am the foremost of those who submit. (Ch.6:V.164)
Reading these two verses together we find that the Holy Prophet(saw) became the foremost of the Muslims because he was the most learned in the knowledge of Divine understanding. For this reason, his Islam is the highest of all and he is the foremost of the Muslims. Another verse also indicates the vastness of his knowledge as is said:
He has taught thee that which thou knewest not, and great is Allah’s grace on thee (Ch.4:V.114)
This means that God Almighty taught the Holy Prophet(saw) that which he could not have learnt by himself and that by Divine grace he was blessed more than anyone else. That is to say, the Holy Prophet(saw) exceeded everyone in his knowledge and understanding of the Divine and God Almighty perfumed him with the fragrance of Divine understanding more than anyone else. Thus God has appointed knowledge and understanding as the principal means of obtaining a true concept of Islam. Though there are other means for obtaining such knowledge, like fasting and Prayer and supplication and carrying out all the Divine commandments, the number of which exceeds six hundred, yet the knowledge of the Greatness of God and of His Unity and of His attributes of Glory and Beauty is basic for everything. He who has a heedless heart and has no understanding of the Divine, cannot obtain the strength to observe the fast or perform Prayer or make supplication or occupy himself with doing good. All righteous action is incited by understanding of the Divine and all the other means proceed from it and are its issue. The beginning of this understanding is the reflection of God’s Rahmaniyyat and is not the result of any action or any prayer, but is a gift of pure grace. He guides whom He wills and He lets go astray whom He wills. Then this understanding is fostered by righteous action and good faith, till it assumes the form of revelation and descending in the word of God, illumines the whole expanse of the bosom with the light which is called Islam. At the stage of perfect understanding, Islam does not remain a mere phrase, but all its reality that we have described is achieved and the human soul prostrates itself humbly before Divine Unity. Thereupon, from both sides it is announced: Whatever is mine is Thine. That is to say, the human soul cries out and confesses: Lord whatever is mine is Thine; and God also speaks and conveys the good news: O My servant, the heaven and earth etc. that are with Me are with thee also. This stage is indicated in the verse:
O my servants who have committed excesses against your own selves despair not of the mercy of Allah, surely Allah forgives all sins (Ch.39:V.54)
In this verse instead of: Say: O servants of Allah; the Holy Prophet(saw) was commanded to say: O my servants. This verse was revealed in this form so that God Almighty might convey the good news of limitless mercies and might comfort those who are broken-hearted in consequence of their sins. Thus Allah the Glorious desired to exhibit a sample of His mercies and to make it manifest to what extent He honours His faithful servant with special favours. By adopting the form: Say: O my servants; God in effect said: Look at My beloved Messenger and see at what high rank he has arrived through his perfect obedience to Me that now all that is Mine is his. He who desires salvation should become his servant. That is to say, he should obey him so perfectly as if he was his slave. Then whatever sins he might have committed will be forgiven him. The word ‘abd in Arabic idiom also means slave as it is said:
A believing slave is better than an idol worshipper (Ch.2:V.222)
In the verse to which we have drawn attention, it is indicated that he who desires salvation should establish the relationship of a slave with this Prophet. That is to say, he should not step outside his commandment and should consider himself bound to his obedience as a slave is bound and he would then obtain salvation. One pities those dark-souled ones who bear such rancour towards the Holy Prophet(saw) that they consider that names like Ghulam Nabi, Ghulam Rasul, Ghulam Mustafa, Ghulam Ahmad, Ghulam Muhammad, saviour of associating the Holy Prophet(saw) with God, whereas, the verse indicates that these names are a means of salvation. As ‘abd implies that a person so named should refrain from every kind of freedom and self direction and should be completely obedient to his master, therefore, the seekers after truth have been urged that if they wish to attain salvation they should adapt themselves to this condition. This verse has the same connotation as the verse: Announce:
you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will then love you and forgive you your sins (Ch.3:V.32)
Perfect following demands that devotion and full obedience which is conveyed in the expression ‘abd. The verse: Say: O my servants; means in effect: Say: O my followers, who are involved in sins, despair not of the mercy of Allah for Allah, through the blessing of your following me, will forgive all your sins. If the word servants in this verse is construed as meaning the servants of Allah, the purport of the verse is perverted for it cannot be true that God Almighty would forgive all idol worshippers and disbelievers without their believing in and following the Holy Prophet(saw). Such construction would be contrary to the express directions of the Holy Qur’an. It should be remembered that the purport of the verse is that those who become the sincere servants of the Holy Prophet(saw) will be bestowed the light and the faith and the love and the passion which will deliver them from all that is beside Allah, and they will be freed from sins and will be bestowed a pure life in this world and they will be delivered from the narrow and dark graves of human passions. This is indicated by the Hadith: I am the resurrector on whose footsteps people will be raised up. The Holy Qur’an is full of the idiom that the world had died and that God Almighty revived it through sending the Holy Prophet(saw) as is said:
Know that Allah revives the earth after its death (Ch.57:V.18)
In the same way, it is said with reference to the companions of the Holy Prophet(saw):
God helped them with the holy spirit. (Ch.58:V.23)
The help of the holy spirit is that it revives the hearts and delivers from spiritual death and bestows pure faculties and pure senses and pure knowledge and carries a person to the station of nearness to God through certain knowledge and conclusive arguments… This knowledge on which salvation depends cannot be obtained without that life which is bestowed through the holy spirit. The Holy Qur’an affirms it emphatically that that spiritual life is obtained only through following the Holy Prophet(saw) and that all those who repudiate obedience to him are dead and do not possess that life. Spiritual life means the intellectual and active faculties which are brought to life by the holy spirit. The Holy Qur’an shows that the commandments of God to which He desires man to conform are six hundred. In consonance with this the wings of Gabriel are also six hundred. Until the egg of humanness lies under the wings of Gabriel bearing these six hundred commandments, it cannot hatch the baby of being completely lost in Allah. The reality of man has the capacity of six hundred eggs. A person whose six hundred eggs are covered by the six hundred wings of the capacity of Gabriel is the perfect man whose spiritual birth is perfect and whose life is perfect. If one looks with care one finds that the spiritual issue of the egg of humanness which by the blessing of the following of the Holy Prophet(saw) were born to the holy spirit, are more perfect and complete than the spiritual children of all the other Prophets. This is indicated by the verse:
You are the best of people who have been raised up for the reform of mankind (Ch.3:V.111)
[Ayeenae Kamalat-e-Islam, (Qadian, Riyadh Hind Press 1893); Now printed in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol.5, pp.186-197].
The Holy Prophet(saw) came into the world so that he might bestow hearing on the deaf, who had continued in that condition for hundreds of years. Who is blind and who is deaf? The same one who does not accept the Unity of God and who does not accept this Prophet who revived the Unity of God on the earth; the same Prophet who converted the wild ones into men and then converted them into men possessing true moral qualities, then dyed them in the Divine colour of those who establish their relationship with God; the same Prophet, the sun of righteousness, at whose feet thousands of those who had died of paganism and atheism and evil living were revived and came to life and a sample of the Judgment Day was exhibited. It was not mere talk like that of Jesus(as). The Prophet who appeared in Makkah and dispelled the darkness of association with God and the worship of man, was the true light of the world, who found the world in darkness and bestowed such light upon it that he converted a dark night into day. What was the world before his advent and what did it become after it? This is not a question that is difficult to answer. If we are faithful our conscience will tug at us to persuade us to believe that before that great personage the greatness of God had been forgotten by the people of every country and it had been assigned to avatars and stones and stars and trees and animals and mortal men, and despised creation was seated in the place of that Lord of Glory and Holiness. It is true that if these men and animals and trees and stars were in fact God, Jesus(as) being one of them, then this Prophet was not needed, but if they were not God, the claim that our lord Muhammad(saw), made on the hill of Makkah has a grand light attending upon it. What was that claim? It was that God, having found the world in the deep darkness of associating partners with God had sent him to dispel that darkness. It was not only a claim, but that Messenger, accepted of God, fully established that claim. If the superiority of any Prophet can be established by such works as proclaim true sympathy with mankind exceeding that of all other Prophets, then, O ye people, arise and bear witness that in this respect Muhammad, peace be on him, has no equal in the world…. Blind worshippers of creatures have not recognised that great Prophet who set forth thousands of examples of true sympathy with mankind. I perceive, however, that the time has arrived when this Holy Messenger would be recognised. If you wish you might record my statement that henceforth the worship of the dead will decline daily till it disappears altogether. Will man set himself up against God? Will a despised drop frustrate the designs of God? Will the projects of mortal man disgrace Divine commandments? O ye who can hear, listen, and O ye who can reflect, consider and remember that truth will be proclaimed and he who is the true light will shine forth (Tableegh-e-Risalat, Vol. VI, p.9).
It is my personal experience that to obey the Holy Prophet(saw) with a sincere heart and to love him, ultimately makes a person beloved of God. God creates in his heart a burning for His Own love and such a one, withdrawing his heart from everything else, leans towards God and his affection and desire remain only for God Almighty. Thereupon a special manifestation of Divine love falls upon him and bestowing upon him the full colour of love and devotion pulls him towards itself with great force. He then overcomes his passions and from every direction extraordinary works of God Almighty appear as signs in his support and to help him [Haqiqatul Wahyi, (Qadian, Magazine Press 1907); Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984), Vol. 22, p.65].
I have observed that by calling down blessings upon the Holy Prophet, Divine grace in the shape of wonderful light proceeds in the direction of the Holy Prophet(saw) and is absorbed into his breast and then issuing therefrom numberless streams of it reach everyone deserving them according to his capacity. Certainly no grace can reach anyone without the agency of the Holy Prophet(saw). Calling down blessings on the Holy Prophet(saw) brings into movement His Throne from which these streams of light issue. He who desires to obtain the grace of God Almighty should call down Divine blessings on him very diligently so that that grace might be moved (Al-Hakam, 28 Feb. 1903, p.7)
One night this humble one called down blessings on the Holy Prophet(saw) to such a degree that my heart and soul were filled with its fragrance. That night I saw in my dream that angels were carrying water-skins full of light into my house and one of them said to me: These are the blessings that you called down on Muhammad, peace be on him (Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyyah, p.503, sub-footnote 3).
We should not let a doubt enter our minds how a mere follower can partake of the names and attributes and praises of that accepted Messenger. It is true that in reality even a Prophet cannot share equally in the holy excellences of the Holy Prophet(saw). Indeed even the angels cannot claim equality in that respect, let alone that anyone else should share in his excellences. But O seeker after truth, may God guide you aright, listen carefully to this. With the object that the blessings of that accepted Prophet should be displayed forever and that the perfect rays of his light should confound and refute his opponents, God Almighty has made the following arrangement by His wisdom and mercy. Some individuals out of the followers of Muhammad, peace be upon him, who obey him with thorough humility and falling prostrate on the threshold of humbleness are completely lost to their ego, being found by God like a clear mirror, exhibit the blessings of the accepted Messenger in their humble selves. Whatever praise is bestowed upon them by God and whatever signs and blessings are manifested by them, the true source of all their praise and the perfect fountainhead of all those blessings is the Holy Prophet(saw). In reality and in their perfection those praises are worthy only of him and he is their perfect exemplar, but as the follower of the way of the Holy Prophet(saw) becomes through his perfect obedience like a reflection of the Holy Prophet and the Divine lights which are manifested in the latter are also manifested in his reflection, the appearance in the shadow of the whole form and manner of the reality is a matter that is not hidden from anyone. This shadow is not established in itself and no superiority is in reality present in it. All that appears in it is a picture of the real one which is manifested in the reflection. Do not, therefore, consider it a loss that the inner lights of the Holy Prophet(saw), reach those who are perfectly obedient to him out of his followers. Two great matters result from this reflection of lights, which, like permanent grace, manifests itself in some members of the following of Muhammad(saw). One is that the extreme perfection of the Holy Prophet(saw), is thereby displayed; for a torch from which other torches can be lit and are ever lit, is better than a torch from which no other torch can be lit. Secondly, the perfection of the Muslims and their superiority over the followers of other religions is established by this permanent grace and the proof of the reality of the religion of Islam is furnished afresh and reliance is not had only upon the past. This is the manner in which the lights of the truth of the Holy Qur’an shine forth like the sun, and the proof of Islam is established conclusively as against its opponents, and the disgrace and humiliation and frustration of the enemies of Islam are made manifest. They observe in Islam those blessings and light the like of which they cannot find in the ministers and pundits of their own religion. Consider this well, O true seeker, May Allah help thee in thy search…. How great is the station of the Khatamul Anbiya, peace be on him, and how excellent is the bright effectiveness of this sun of righteousness that obedience to him makes someone a perfect believer and someone else a recogniser of God and bestows upon a third one the rank of a Sign of Allah and a Proof of Allah and bestows upon him Divine praise. (Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyyah,pp.243-245, sub-footnote 1).