Continuation of an extract from ‘Our Teaching’ in ‘Kishti-e-Nuh’ (Noah’s Ark) by the Promised Messiah(as), an important book of the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra), son of the Promised Messiah(as), wrote in the foreword to ‘Our Teaching’: ‘This is a time when the darkness of materialism has overspread the entire face of the earth and obscured people’s vision. Many there are who profess faith but are deprived of its true sweetness and strength. They are unaware of the One Living, Omnipresent God… This book is a torch of guidance through which every Muslim, nay every man with a craving for truth and spirituality, can rekindle his inner lamp and illuminate his heart.’
In point of belief, all that God desires from you is just this that you hold God is One, and that Muhammad(saw) is His Prophet, Khatam-al-Anbiya [seal of the Prophets],the greatest of them all. After him there is to be no other Prophet except one who should be given the mantle of Muhammadiyyat as a burooz [shadow], since the servant is not separate from his master, nor a branch different from its root.
Be perfectly sure that Jesus(as), son of Mary, is dead, his grave being in Kashmir, Srinagar, mohallah Khanyar. God has spoken of his death in the Holy Qur’an. It should also be borne in mind that I in no way seek to deny the eminence of Jesus(as). Though God has conveyed to me that the Muhammadi Messiah stands higher in rank than the Mosaic Messiah, I hold the Messiah(as), son of Mary, in great respect, since from the spiritual point of view I am the Khatamal Khulafa [seal of vicegrants] in Islam as Messiah, the son of Mary was Khatamal Khulafa in the Israelite chain. In the Mosaic dispensation the son of Mary was the Promised Messiah, while I am the Promised Messiah of the dispensation of Muhammad(saw). I therefore hold him in great esteem whose name I bear: and whoever says that I do not respect him is a great liar and a mischief-maker.
Who Belongs to My Community and Who Does Not
Having explained all these things, I repeat once more that you must not rest satisfied merely because in outward form you have taken ba’iat [initiation] at my hand. The outward form means nothing: God sees what lies inside your hearts, and He will deal with you on the basis of what He sees there. Lo and behold! I herein discharge my duty unto you, by making it plain that sin is a poison; do not take it. Disobedience to God is a dirty death which you should avoid. Turn to prayer that you should get the strength.
At the time of prayer, if a man does not firmly believe that Allah has power over everything, except what may be contained in a previous promise, such a one is not of my community. He who is caught in a tangle of worldly greed, and never even raises his eyes to things which pertain to the next life, is not of my community. Whosoever does not wholly and completely keep away from every sin and every evil action, like wine, gambling, looking lustfully at women, dishonesty, bribes, and from every kind of illegal gratification, is not of my community.
Whosoever is not constantly turning to prayer, and does not remember Him in absolute humility of spirit, is not of my community. Whosoever does not give up association with a bad companion who exercises an unhealthy influence over him, is not of my community. Whosoever does not respect his parents, whosoever does not render obedience to them in things which do not run counter to the Holy Qur’an, and whosoever is neglectful in rendering to them the service to which they are undoubtedly entitled, is not of my community.
Whosoever does not live with his wife and her relations with gentleness, goodness, and magnanimity, is not of my community.
Whosoever deprives his neighbour of the very least good in his power, is not of my community. Whosoever has no wish to forgive the faults of those who may have transgressed against him, and desires to nurse malice, is not of my community.
Every man or woman who is dishonest towards his or her spouse is not of my community.
Whosoever, in any way, violates the pledge he took at my hand at the time of ba’iat,is not of my community.
Whosoever does not really hold me to be the Promised Messiah, is not of my community. Whosoever is not prepared to obey me in all things known to be good and accepted, is not of my community. And whosoever, as a habit, sits among those who are hostile towards me, falling into tacit and silent agreement with them, is not of my community.
Every adulterer, debauch, drunkard, murderer, thief, gambler, dishonest person, bribe-taker, usurper, oppressor, tyrant, liar, forger, and the associate of these; and whosoever brings false accusations and scandal against his brothers and sisters, is not of my community, unless he fully repents of his misdeeds and totally breaks away from bad associates, turning a new leaf. Indeed, all these things are poisons: you cannot partake of them and live, for light and darkness cannot exist together.
Whosoever has a crooked nature and is not open and above board with God, cannot partake of the blessing which comes to those pure of heart. Indeed very fortunate are they who cleanse their hearts, washing away all impurities, and who make a pledge of loyalty with their God, for they shall never come to nought. It is not possible that God should disgrace them, they being of God, and God of them. They shall be saved from all tribulations. Extremely foolish, indeed, is he who should try to harm them, for verily they are in the lap of God, Who is ever ready to support them.
Who has yielded belief to God? Verily only those who are such as described above. Similarly he also is foolish who is anxious about a bold sinner, evil and full of mischief inside his heart, for he would himself be destroyed. From the day God created this heaven and earth, it has never happened that He destroyed those who were good. On the contrary for the sake of such as these He has always shown great marvels, and will show even now.
Our God Possesses Great and Wonderful Powers
Our God is a very loyal God, and for those who remain loyal to Him, He shows wonderful works. The world wishes to tear them to pieces and to eat them up; and every enemy grinds his teeth on them; but He Who is their friend saves them from every danger, and brings them out triumphant on every field. How fortunate, then, is he who does not let go his hold of such a God? To Him we render our faith, and Him we have recognised. Of all the world He alone is the God Who has sent down His revelation on me; Who, for me, has shown powerful signs; Who has sent me down as the Promised Messiah for this age. There is no God whatsoever except He in heaven, and on earth. Whosoever does not yield faith to Him, remains deprived of good, deprived of blessings, and deprived of succour. From our God we have received Revelation that shines like the sun. We have seen that He alone is the God of the whole world, and there is no other God. How powerful indeed is the God we have found, and how sustaining! And how great, how wonderful are the qualities of the God we have seen!
The truth is that for Him there is nothing impossible, except what runs counter to His own Book and His own promise. Therefore when you pray to Him, you should not be like those ignorant naturalists who have formed a natural law of their own which does not bear the stamp of God, for they are the rejected ones whose prayers will never be accepted. They are blind, not gifted with vision; they are dead, not alive. They put before God a law shaped by themselves, and they put limitations of their own on His powers, holding Him weak and helpless beyond those limitations. Naturally, they would be dealt with in the light of their own condition. But when thou standest up for prayer, it is incumbent on thee to hold that thy God has power over all things. Only then shall thy prayer be accepted, and thou shalt witness those marvels of the power of thy God we have witnessed. And remember, our witness is not on the basis of hearsay; it is on the basis of things we have seen ourselves.
How can the prayers of one be accepted who does not hold that God has power over all things? And how can such a person in himself have the courage to pray to God over matters where the desired remedy or change would involve an infringement of the laws of nature as he understands them?
But O thou good person, thy God is He, Who, without any pillars underneath, has hung up the countless stars in space; and Who created the earth and the heavens absolutely from naught. Dost thou hold that in regard to thy need He will prove to be helpless? The fact is that thy own misconception will keep thee deprived of blessing. There are innumerable wonderful things in Our God, but these are witnessed only by those who become His in all sincerity and faithfulness. He does not reveal those wonders to those who do not have faith in His powers, and who are not faithful and true.
How unfortunate, indeed, is the man who does not even know that he has a God with power over all things!
Our Paradise, indeed, is our God: our highest enjoyment is in God, for we have seen Him and found all beauty in Him. This treasure is worth having, even if at the cost of one’s life; and this is a jewel which should be purchased even if obtainable only by sacrificing one’s entire being. O ye that are devoid, run to this spring, for it will slacken your thirst. It is the spring of life that shall save ye.
What am I to do, and how am I to impress this glad tiding upon your mind, with what drum should I go crying through the streets that ‘This is your God’, so that all should hear! And with what unguent am I to treat the people so that their ears open to hear!
God is the Central Beam of All Our Plans
If you really become God’s, then rest assured that God is your very own. Whilst you sleep, He will keep watch over you; while you neglect your vigil against the enemy, He will keep an eye on him and disrupt his plans. Even now you have no idea what wondrous powers your God has. If you had known, then no day could have dawned on you for you to grieve over for lack of things in this world. A man who has a treasure in his possession, does he weep and cry over the loss of a penny, as though he were about to perish? Had you been aware of this treasure that God would suffice for all your needs, what reason was there for you to be so wholly absorbed in things of this world? God is a most precious treasure; realise its proper value. Without Him you are nothing, neither you nor your material means and plans.
Do not follow in the footsteps of other nations which have come to depend wholly on material means. As a worm eats earth, they subsist on the basis of the lower and inferior material means. Like vultures and dogs eating carrion, they too have sunk their teeth in a carcass. Indeed, they have drifted very far from God, having taken to the worship of human beings, the eating of the flesh of swine, and the free use of wine as if it were harmless like water. Since they depend too much on material means, and seek no help from God, they are dead; and the heavenly spirit has flown out of them as a dove flies away from its nest. The leprosy of the worship of Mammon has taken a hold on the inside of their hearts and cut to pieces the organs of their inner spiritual life. Beware ye of this leprosy.
I do not forbid you to think of material means within proper limits: what I forbid is that like other nations you become wholly the slaves of material means as well. Only if you had the eyes to see, you would find there is only God and God alone, everything else being worthless. You can neither stretch out your arm nor fold it except with His permission. A person spiritually dead would laugh at this; but it would be better for him if he died before he indulged in this laughter.
Beware! Do not ape other nations
Beware! Having seen other nations, how they have attained a considerable measure of success in their worldly plans, you should not begin to wish to follow in their footsteps. Listen carefully and take heed that they are aliens to and unmindful of that God Who calls you all to Himself. What is their god but a frail human being, this being the reason why they have been left in such complacent error. I do not wish to stop you from striving in worldly good, but you should follow the ways of those who think this present world is everything. In everything you do, whether it pertains to things of this world or of the next, you should seek help and succour from God alone, and this should remain the guiding principle of your life forever and ever. But this seeking of help should not be from your lips alone: it should be your conviction deep down to the bottom of your being that every blessing comes only from heaven. You shall be really righteous only when, at the time of every difficulty, before sitting down to make your plans, you close your door upon yourself, and fall down before the throne of God Almighty, crying for His grace and help and succour. Then the Holy Spirit will come to your help, and through unseen means a way shall be opened for you. Have mercy on your own souls and be not like those who have cut themselves wholly away from God and have fallen on material means to such an extent that to seek Divine help they do not even formally utter with their lips the words “If God be willing”. May God open your eyes, so that you should begin to perceive that your God is the beam on which all plans rest. When the central beam of the roof falls down, can the minor supports maintain their position? Most certainly not. They would all come down in an instant, in all likelihood, with much loss of life. In the same way your plans cannot remain in position without help from God. If you will not cry for His help, if you will not make that soliciting the most fundamental principle of your life, you will have no success, and shall die at last with great regret.
Do not fall to wondering why other peoples are meeting with success although they have not the slightest idea of your Most Perfect and All-Powerful God. The answer is this, and this alone, that having forsaken God, they have been put to trial in the matter of material means. Often a trial from God takes the form that whoever forsakes Him, giving himself up to carnal pleasure, setting his mind wholly on material wealth, the doors on worldly advancement are opened upon him; though from the religious and spiritual point of view he is altogether destitute and naked. He dies at last engrossed in this world, to be thrown into an eternal hell*. And sometimes this trial takes the form that such a person remains unsuccessful even in the task of amassing wealth. But the latter trial is not as dangerous as the former, since the former breeds an inordinate measure of pride and a superiority complex. In any case, both these groups are of those on whom falls the wrath of God. The true fountainhead for all kinds of prosperity is God. Therefore, when these people are unaware of this Living and Sustaining Being, in fact careless in regard to Him, and turn their backs upon Him, how can real prosperity fall to their lot? Blessed are they who understand this secret, and in dire straits is he who fails to grasp it.
Similarly it is incumbent on you that you do not begin to follow the philosophers of this world; nor should you suffer yourself to be mentally overawed by them. All these constitute varying manifestations of a gross ignorance. The real and true philosophy is the only one which God has given to you in His Holy Book. In imminent danger of destruction are the people who have become enamoured of these material philosophies; and successful are they, who, for real knowledge and philosophy, go to the Holy Book. Why do you take to the paths of ignorance? Do you run after those who are blind, in the hope that they would show you the way? O you ignorant people! How can a person show you the way who is himself blind. The truth is that the true philosophy can be obtained only through the Holy Spirit. Through this spirit you will reach those sciences which are not accessible to others. If you ask for it with sincerity, you will get it at last, and then you will find that this is the only knowledge that imparts freshness and life to the heart, and places it on a firm tower of perfect certainty. How can one show you the way who is himself blind? All pure and healthy wisdom comes from the heavens alone.
What is this you seek from those who are of this earth? They also inherit wisdom whose souls soar to the heavens. Those who are not satisfied in their own minds, how can they give you satisfaction? The foremost thing is purity of heart; sincerity and purity must come first; after that you shall get everything.
* As the Promised Messiah(as) has explained in other places the expression “eternal” here means a very, very long period – publisher [of Kishti-e-Nuh]