Raziullah Noman, Canada
One of the greatest and most important signs for the truthfulness of a prophet is his character. Allah the Almighty states about the Prophet Muhammad (sa):
فَقَدْ لَبِثْتُ فِيكُمْ عُمُرًا مِنْ قَبْلِهِ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُون
‘I have indeed lived among you a whole lifetime before this. Will you not then understand?’ 
In this verse, Allah the Almighty instructs the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) to tell the people that if he used to lie before, then he could also be lying now at the time of claiming prophethood. But if for the past forty years of his life, he was known to be pure and free from any sort of lying or deceit, then certainly his claim to prophethood is true.
Before the claim of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), even opponents like Abu Lahab and the other disbelievers would say:
قَالُوا نَعَمْ، مَا جَرَّبْنَا عَلَيْكَ إِلاَّ صِدْقًا
‘The disbelievers said: Yes, we have always found you to be truthful.’ 
However, when the Prophet Muhammad (sa) claimed prophethood and said:
فَإِنِّي نَذِيرٌ لَكُمْ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ عَذَابٍ شَدِيدٍ
‘I am a warner to you in face of a horrible punishment.’ 
The same people denied the Prophet Muhammad (sa) and Abu Lahab said:
تَبًّا لَكَ سَائِرَ الْيَوْمِ
‘May you perish this day.’ 
The disbelievers also called the Prophet Muhammad (sa) a magician and a great liar. Allah the Almighty states:
وَقَالَ الْكَافِرُونَ هَٰذَا سَاحِرٌ كَذَّاب
‘The disbelievers say, this is a magician, a great liar.’
Hazrat Qutubul Auliya Abu Ishaaq Ibrahim bin Sheriyaar (rh) states:
در جوانی توبہ کردن شیوۂ پیغمبری است
‘Remaining pure and repenting to God at a young age is a trait of Prophets.’ 
Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh (rh) writes:
‘The Messenger of Allah (sa), who was the foremost and Imam of the truthful, and the leader of those who love Allah, had a righteous reputation – until the signs of Allah were revealed to him and he attained prophethood and began receiving revelation. Then people opposed him. Some named him a magician and some a poet. Others named him a madman and some accused him of falsehood. They also accused him in other ways.’ 
Regarding the Qur’anic verse:
فَقَدۡ لَبِثۡتُ فِيڪُمۡ عُمُرًا مِّن قَبۡلِهِۦۤۚ أَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُونَ
One of the most famous commentators of the Holy Qur’an, Ibn Kathir writes:
(Verily, I have stayed among you a lifetime before this. Have you then no sense) Which meant ‘don’t you have brains with which you may distinguish the truth from falsehood” When Heraclius, the Roman king, asked Abu Sufyan and those who were in his company about the prophet, he said: ‘Have you ever accused him of telling lies before his claim?’ Abu Sufyan replied: ‘No.’ Abu Sufyan was then the head of the disbelievers and the leader of the idolaters, but he still admitted the truth. This is a clear and irrefutable testimony since it came from the enemy. Heraclius then said: ‘I wondered how a person who does not tell a lie about others could ever tell a lie about Allah.’ Ja`far bin Abu Talib said to An-Najashi, the King of Ethiopia: ‘Allah has sent to us a Messenger that we know his truthfulness, ancestral lineage, and honesty. He stayed among us before the prophethood for forty years.’ 
We see that this grand sign was also fulfilled in the case of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as). There was a consensus among the Muslim Ummah [nation], that his work for Islam was unmatched. He challenged the entire Muslim Ummah on this and no one was able to respond. He stated:
‘Now look, Allah has fulfilled his argument upon you such that He has manifested thousands of signs in support of my claim, and thus given you the opportunity to contemplate as to the status of that man who invites you to this dispensation, and how many arguments he presents. You cannot point to any defect or imposture or falsehood or deceit in my early life on the basis of which you might hold that a person who had been given to falsehood and imposture has put forward his claim falsely. Is there anyone from among you who can point to any fault in my life? It is the pure grace of God that from the beginning, He kept me firmly grounded in righteousness and this is proof for those who reflect.’ 
The Promised Messiah (as) also wrote:
‘The virtuous life that I have been blessed with is testified to by heavenly signs and is not a mere claim on my part. It is impossible to prove that a person’s life is truly pious, or to reveal someone’s latent hypocrisy and disbelief, without the help of heavenly testimony.’ 
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) was given divine revelation regarding his purity. Allah the Almighty revealed to him:
ولقدۡ لَبِثۡتُ فِيڪُمۡ عُمُرًا مِّن قَبۡلِهِ أَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُونَ
‘I have lived a whole lifetime among you before this, then do you not understand?’ 
Regarding this revelation from 1884, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) stated:
‘This was an indication on behalf of God the All-Knowing, that no opponent of mine would be able to point to any default in my life. Accordingly, up till now, when I am about sixty-five years of age, no one, whether living close to me or far from me, can point to any stain in my past life. Indeed, God Himself has made my opponents bear witness to the purity of my past life. For instance, Maulvi Muhammad Husain has, on many occasions, praised me and the members of my family in his journal Isha’atus-Sunnah and has claimed that no one is better acquainted with me and my family than him. Then, to the extent that he understood, he praised me. In this way an opponent, who became the originator of my condemnation as a non-believer, has confirmed the truth of this prophecy… ولقدۡ لَبِثۡتُ فِيڪُمۡ [I have lived among you…]’ 
When we turn to the opponents of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), their works are full of praise regarding his character and knowledge of Islam. They even testify to him having a living relationship with Allah and that he has divine communion with Allah the Almighty.
Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi, one of his staunchest opponents stated:
‘The level to which we are aware of the circumstances and thoughts of the writer of Barahin-e-Ahmadiyyah is such that there would perhaps be very few from among our contemporaries who are so knowledgeable. The writer is of the same country as ours, as a matter of fact in our early days (when we would read Qutubi and Sharah Mulla) he studied with us.’ 
He also stated:
‘Now, we desire to express our views on Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya very briefly and without exaggeration. In our opinion, in light of the state of affairs of this era, this book is such that to this day a book of this stature has not been written in the history of Islam. And the author of this book (i.e., the Promised Messiah (as)) has proven his devotion to Islam by such help with money, life, pen, tongue, conduct and writings, the like of which has seldom been found among the Muslims.’ 
Regarding the revelations of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), he stated:
‘He has announced to the whole world that anyone who doubts the truth of Islam should come to him and should witness the intellectual and spiritual proofs based upon the Qur’an and the miraculous manifestation of the Prophethood of Muhammad (sa) in support of the truth of Islam by which he means the revelations and signs granted to the author of Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya.’ 
He also stated:
‘It is well known that Satanic suggestions are mostly false but not one of these revelations received by the author of Barahin-e -Ahmadiyya have been proved false up to this day. These cannot therefore be considered Satanic suggestions. Can any Muslim follower of the Qur’an believe that Satan can be given knowledge, like the prophets and the angels, of that which is hidden so that none of his disclosures should lack truth?’ 
Maulvi Siraj-ud-Din, who at this time was the editor of the Zamindar newspaper wrote on the demise of the Messiah (as):
‘Around 1860 or 1861, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib was a clerk in District Sialkot. He would have been about 22 to 24 years of age at that time. We can say from personal experience that he was a very virtuous and righteous person in his youth. All of his time was spent in religious studies after the completion of his official duties.’ 
The teacher of Allama Iqbal, Maulana Sayyid Mir Hassan stated:
‘Hazrat Mirza sahib came to Sialkot in 1864 during his service and he lived there. As he was a pious man, he was averse to trivial and nonsensical talk. He lived in aloofness.’ 
Pir Mehr Ali Shah of Golrah stated:
‘Imam Jalal Ud Din Sayuti says that there are certain stages of spiritual progress where many servants of Allah become the Messiah and Mahdi. I cannot say whether he is only at that stage or whether he is the same Mahdi promised for this ummah by the Holy Prophet (sa) but he is proving to be a cuffing sword against false religions and is certainly Divinely aided.’ 
Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid of Chachran, one of the most famous saints of our time stated:
‘Mirza Sahib spends all his time in the service of Allah, prayer and recitation of the Qur’an and similar other preoccupations. He is so resolved to champion Islam that he has invited Queen Victoria of England to accept Islam. Similarly, he has invited the kings of France, Russia and other countries to accept Islam. All his efforts are for the purpose that the creed of Trinity and the Cross, or of total disbelief and godlessness should be eradicated and in its place the Unity of God should be established on earth.’ 
He then stated:
‘Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib Qadiani is on the truth. He is truthful in his affair. Day and night, he is engrossed in the service of God Almighty. He has given his life for the progress of Islam and raising aloof the cause of the faith. I see nothing wrong or undesirable in him at all. If he has claimed to be the Mahdi and Isa that too is among the things which are permissible.’ 
He further stated:
‘Look at the ulema of that time that, leaving alone all false creeds, they attacked this decent man who is a complete follower of the Prophet of Allah (sa), and who is on the right path and shows guidance to others. Such a venerable man who is perfect in all respects has been condemned as a Kafir although if you see his writings, they show that they are beyond the capacity of a human being. And all that he says is totally full of inner knowledge and truths and it is wholly the path of true guidance. And he is not a disbeliever in the faith of the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat and the requirements of the religion of Muhammad (sa).’ 
He also stated:
‘Mirza Sahib is a good and virtuous person. He has sent me a book containing the revelations received by him. That book alone shows his spiritual excellence. He is a true person in his claim. He is not a forger nor a liar.’ 
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who was a famous scholar of Islam and a journalist in India wrote many statements in regard to the Promised Messiah (as). He wrote:
‘This man—the very pre-eminent personality— whose pen was a marvel and voice a magic. He was a monument of great intellectual wonders; his insight was revolutionary, and his voice was charged with the call of Judgement. His fingers moved the strings of reformation, and his two fists generated the thunderous lightning. The man who served as the epicentre of religious shock waves for thirty years and awakened the sleeping souls of the world with his thunderous calls.
This devastating death, this cup of poison death, which has laid the deceased in the belly of the earth, will always be lamented by millions. The strike of Divine decree has blatantly put an end to the hope and aspirations of many, but their woeful cries will keep his memories alive for a long time.
Men who revolutionized the spiritual or intellectual world appear very seldom. But when such prides of the children of history do appear, they bring about a revolution in this world. The demise of Mirza Sahib, in spite of extreme differences over some of his claims and views, has made educated and enlightened Muslims realize that they have lost one of their preeminent personalities.
His distinction of serving as an ever victorious general against the opponents of Islam compels us to openly and sincerely wish that the majestic movement which dwarfed and destroyed our enemies for a long time may continue in the future.
The literature that Mirza Sahib produced against the Christians and Aryas has been acclaimed widely and as such does not need any introduction. Even today, now that it has fulfilled its purpose, we have to sincerely acknowledge its influence and magnificence. Our hearts can never forget the time when Islam was totally encircled by hostile attacks and Muslims, who were entrusted by the Real Protector [God Almighty] with the duty to defend Islam in the visible and perceptible worlds, were leading a miserable life as a penalty for their own vices. They did nothing for the defense of Islam, nor were they capable of it.
The state of defense was such that they did not even have arrows to combat cannons. There was not even a semblance of counterattack or defense, yet his defense not only destroyed the initial influence of Christianity, which considered itself strong under the shadow of its government, but also saved hundreds of thousands of Muslims from extremely dangerous and potentially successful attacks from Christianity. The spell of Christianity started vanishing like smoke. His defense brought such a change that the conquered became the conqueror.
Mirza Sahib rendered a distinguished service to Islam by crushing the poisonous fangs of the Arya Samaj. His writings against the Arya Samaj clearly establish the claim that—no matter how extensive our endeavour becomes—it would be impossible to ignore these books in all future efforts of defense.
There is no hope [How true!] that in the religious world of India, a man of such splendor will ever again be born who will focus all his high aspirations in the study of faith.
Even at the age of 35 or 36, he was full of extraordinary religious passion, and he lived like a true and righteous Muslim. His heart was indifferent to worldly attractions. He looked for company in solitude and solitude in company. We found him restive, as if he was in search of some lost treasure.’ 
Regarding this powerful sign, The Second Caliph Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) states:
‘The first proof of the authenticity of a claimant to spiritual office is his own self or character. This self is as eloquent as anything which can be seen or heard. As proof it is self-sufficient. It needs no further support, no miracles or signs. This proof is today provided by God to establish the authenticity of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Hazrat Mirza Sahib lived in Qadian, the population of which consists of Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims. He grew up, therefore, under the eyes of three of India’s most important religious communities. His family’s relations with these communities were not as happy as they might have been. The British had taken possession of the Punjab when Hazrat Mirza Sahib was a child. Until then, the inhabitants of Qadian and its environs had lived as tenants and serfs of his family. With the coming of the British a great change had taken place. The old inhabitants of Qadian were determined to make the most of this change. They had started working for their release from old contracts and commitments. The result was that almost the whole village had entered into litigation with the father of Hazrat Mirza Sahib.
Under his father’s orders he had to take part in the resulting court proceedings. Left to himself he would have led a life of study and seclusion, but his situation, for some time at least, demanded that he should confront people from his own village and appear in court as one against many.
The Sikh inhabitants of the village were especially hostile to his family. This was because some time before, the Sikhs had driven Mirza Sahib’s family out of the place and had taken possession of their lands. The returning prosperity of the family of Hazrat Mirza Sahib was not welcome to the Sikhs. They were rivals of his family.
From early life Hazrat Mirza Sahib had been deeply interested in the study and service of Islam. Often, he met Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs in public debate and spoke and wrote against them. This made all religious communities interested in him.
Hazrat Mirza Sahib was well known to the leaders of all religious communities. He lived and moved among his rivals. But all of them, Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Muslim, agreed that Mirza Sahib had always led a blameless life, had shown the utmost kindness and consideration to others, and had been consistently truthful and honest in all his dealings, He was universally trusted. In disputes with his family, the litigants often offered to accept arbitration by Hazrat Mirza Sahib. In short, those who knew him, knew him as a most honourable and trustworthy person, one who would never compromise with truth and justice. Christians, Hindus and Sikhs, though strongly disagreeing with him on religious matters, testified to the purity of his personal life and character.’ 
- The Holy Qur’an, 10:17.
- Sahih al-Bukhari, hadith #4770.
- Tazkiratul Auliya, Hazrat Sheikh Fariduddin Ata, chapter 76, Halaat Abu Ishaq Ibrahim bin Shariyaar.
- Kashif Mahjoob, chapter 4, pg. 65-66.
- Tafsif Ibn Kathir, chapter 10, verse 16.
- Tadhkiratush-Shahadatain, Ruhani Khazain, Volume 20, page 64.
- Four Questions by Sirajjuddin, a Christian and their Answers, pages 17-18.
- Nuzulul Masih, Ruhani Khazain, Volume 18, page 590.
- Isha’atus Sunnah, volume 7, page 6.
- Ibid, volume 6, page 6.
- Ibid, volume 7, page 6.
- Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Zamindar Akhbar, volume 1, page 94.
- Hassan Maulana Sayyid Mir. Vide Sheikh Abdul Qadir, Hayat-e-Tayyabah, page 29.
- Golarvi, Pir Mehr Ali Shah, Al Hakam June 1904, page 550, Al Qur’an, 16:37.
- Farid (Hadhrat) Khawaja Ghulam, vide, Isharat-e-Faridi volume 3, page 66.
- Ibid, page 79.
- Ibid, page 42.