Shahzad Ahmed, London, UK
Among the countless signs which demonstrate the truthfulness of the prophets of God has been the fulfilment of prophecies. But these prophecies are not to be confused with casual and vague predictions of random events that may occur in the future. Rather, these are grand prophecies, sublime in nature, foretelling extraordinary events which have such a powerful and profound impact on the world that they leave not even an iota of doubt in the seekers of truth that their inspiration and source of knowledge are from none other than the Almighty God Himself.
The latter part of the 19th century was undoubtedly one of the darkest eras in the history of Islam. Having strayed away from their true teachings, fallen prey to harmful customs and innovations, lacking any real leadership or direction, the Muslim ummah stood disunited and dispirited and was under sustained attacks from every faith around it. This was particularly evident in the case of the subcontinent, which at the time was home to a quarter of the total Muslim population of the world and with a strong presence of Christians, Muslims and Hindus, it was a hotbed of religious intolerance and prejudice.
It was in the backdrop of such dire conditions of Islam that the advent of the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), took place, whose appearance in the latter days was foretold and eagerly awaited by all the major religions of the world, and who was tasked to bring about the revival of Islam and unite mankind under the unity of the One True God. The Promised Messiah (as) emphatically declared that the most perfect and final law of God bestowed to mankind was Islam and now it was through this faith alone that one could experience a true and living relationship with God. Addressing all the major religions of the world and its respective leaders, the Promised Messiah (as) issued this extraordinary announcement in the form of a letter:
‘I wish to bring before you the fact that the one true religion that has earned God’s consent and pleasure is Islam and that the divinely protected and practical book from Him is the Holy Qur’an. If you are in doubt regarding this you are invited to come to Qadian for a year and stay in my company and observe all the heavenly signs with your own eyes. The only condition is that your intention should be pure and that you are searching for truth.
At Qadian you will certainly find the truth because this guarantee has been given by God and that never fails. Moreover, if you come here and fail to discover any sign of truth then I will exact on myself the penalty of 200 rupees a month. This will be paid to you for wasting your time and for failing to provide what we promised we would do. If you feel this amount is below your status then we will pay you whatever amount you wish, provided it is within our means.’ 
This extraordinary and powerful challenge, which was sent throughout the subcontinent and published in the Riaz-e-Hind Press in Amritsar, sent ripples throughout the religious world and caused an uproar. The Hindu, Christian and Muslim leaders stood united in their opposition to the bold and authoritative challenge of the Promised Messiah (as). Among them were many prominent and influential leaders, who eagerly demanded that a sign be shown within a year of its publication, i.e. by September 1886. Accepting this challenge, the Promised Messiah (as) travelled to Hoshiarpur in January 1886 for the purpose of observing a chilla, a period of 40 days devoted to worship in seclusion, in order to seek a sign from Allah the Almighty to manifest the truthfulness of Islam. His decision to travel to Hoshiarpur was inspired by the following revelation he had received many years earlier:
‘Your purpose will be resolved in Hoshiarpur.’ 
After intensely praying for a period of forty days, on 20th February 1886, the Promised Messiah (as) published an announcement regarding the divine signs which had been revealed to him by Allah the Almighty. Among these signs was the grand prophecy regarding the birth of a son, who was to be the Musleh Mau‘ud [the Promised Reformer]. The prophecy was to serve as a magnificent sign of the truthfulness of Islam and the Promised Messiah (as).
However, the Promised Messiah (as) did not just simply foretell the birth of an ordinary son; in fact, the tidings of such a glorious son were given, ‘who would attain a long life, be extremely intelligent and bright and possess grandeur, majesty and wealth. Nations would obtain blessings from him. He would be filled with secular and spiritual knowledge. He would be endowed with an extremely profound understanding of the Word of God, i.e. the Holy Qur’an. Furthermore, he would utilise this God-given understanding and would serve the Holy Qur’an in such a magnificent manner that he would enlighten the world about the true status of the Word of God. He will be the means of procuring the release of those held in bondage; he will be ‘Aalam-e-Kabab, meaning such universal catastrophes would occur during his lifetime that it will torment the entire world. His fame will spread to the ends of the earth.’ 
On 12th January 1889, within the time period stated in the prophecy, the son was born and named Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra). Right from his childhood, the signs and characteristics, a total of 52, mentioned in the prophecy were evident in his person and continued to be fulfilled in an extraordinary manner throughout his life. In 1944, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) proclaimed that he indeed was the Musleh Mau‘ud, whose advent was foretold by the Promised Messiah (as).
After the demise of the first Caliph (Successor), Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) was elected as the Second Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Becoming the Caliph at the young age of 25, he steered the growing community for more than 50 years with his incredible spiritual guidance, deep wisdom, powerful prayers and exceptional administrative acumen. During his tenure of caliphate, the spread of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community greatly accelerated across the world. Through the launch of Tahrik-e-Jadid and Waqf-e-Jadid, two grand schemes for the spread of Islam, saw a huge expansion in the efforts of propagating the message of Islam to the world, the publication of literature and translations of the Holy Qur’an, the training of missionaries and the establishment of schools and hospitals for the service of mankind.
His services in the international arena for Muslims, and for humanity at large, are also well-documented and recognised. Whether it be imparting guidance and advice to world leaders based on his accurate and critical assessment of the tumultuous political landscape of the world which saw two global wars, or granting invaluable advice to the Muslim leadership in the Arab world for safeguarding the rights of Muslims, or serving as the President of the All India Kashmir Committee to protect the rights of the Muslims of Kashmir, or the instrumental impact of his writings and speeches to guide the nation during the Simon Commission, Round Table conferences and the partition of India, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) played a truly pivotal role in safeguarding and promoting the rights, liberty and welfare of humanity.
Aside from his extraordinary leadership skills, he was a renowned scholar with a remarkable depth of both religious and secular knowledge. His scholarly excellence has been preserved in a multi-volume set known as Anwar al-‘Ulum amounting to over 200 books, lectures and essays expounding upon a vast array of subjects, including religion, politics, philosophy and contemporary issues. The Review of Religions has had the honour of translating some of these scholarly works and publishing them for the first time in English.
In this month’s edition, we are pleased to present the English rendering of the entire prophecy, followed by the very first address of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) after being bestowed the mantle of Caliphate.
About the Author: Shahzad Ahmed is Associate Editor of The Review of Religions. He also serves as an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He has a BA in English from the University of Greenwich. He appears regularly as a panellist on various programmes on Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International (MTA) including on ‘Islamic Jurisprudence’.
A Grand Prophecy to Demonstrate the Truthfulness of Islam
On 20th February 1886, God Almighty bestowed the Promised Messiah (as) with the following prophecy:
‘I confer upon you a sign of My mercy according to what you begged of Me. So I have heard your entreaties and have honoured your prayers with My acceptance through My mercy and made your journey (the journey to Hoshiarpur and Ludhiana ) a source of blessings for you. Therefore, a sign of power, mercy, nearness is bestowed on you, a sign of grace and beneficence is awarded to you and you are granted the key of success and victory. Peace on you, O victorious one. Thus did God speak so that those who desire life may be rescued from the grip of death and those who are buried in the graves may come out of them and so that the superiority of Islam and the dignity of God’s Word may become manifest unto the people and so that truth may arrive with all its blessings and falsehood may flee with all its ills, and so that people may understand that I am the Lord of Power, I do whatever I will, and so that they may believe that I am with you, and so that those who do not believe in God and deny and reject His religion and His Book and His Holy Messenger Muhammad (sa), the Chosen One may be confronted with a clear sign and the way of the guilty ones may become manifest.
Rejoice, therefore, that a handsome and pure boy will be bestowed on you; you will receive an unblemished youth who will be of your seed and will be of your progeny. A handsome and pure boy is coming as your guest. His name is Emmanuel and also Bashir. He has been invested with a spirit of holiness, and he is free from all impurity. He is the light of Allah. Blessed is he who comes from heaven. He will be accompanied by grace which shall arrive with him. He will be characterised with grandeur, greatness and wealth. He will come into the world and will heal many of their disorders through his Messianic qualities and through the blessings of the spirit of holiness. He is the Word of Allah for Allah’s mercy and honour have equipped him with the Word of Majesty. He will be extremely intelligent and perceptive and will be meek of heart and will be filled with secular and spiritual knowledge. He will convert three into four (of this the meaning is not clear).
It is Monday, a blessed Monday.
فرزند دلبند گرامی ارجمند
[Son, delight of the heart, high ranking, noble.]
مَظْهَرُ الْاَوَّلِ وَ الْاٰخِرِ ۔ مَظْهَرُ الْحَقِّ وَ الْعَلَآءِ کَاَنَّ اللهَ نَزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَآءِ
[A manifestation of the First and the Last, a manifestation of the True and the High – as if Allah has descended from heaven.] His advent will be greatly blessed and will be a source of manifestation of divine majesty. Behold a light comes, anointed by God with the perfume of His pleasure. We shall pour Our Spirit into him and he will be sheltered under the shadow of God. He will grow rapidly in stature and will be the means of procuring the release of those held in bondage. His fame will spread to the ends of the earth and peoples will be blessed through him. He will then be raised to his spiritual station in heaven. وَكَانَ أَمۡرٗا مَّقۡضِيّٗا [This is a matter decreed.]
—Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Tadhkirah (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications, 2009), 174-179.
- Mujeebur Rahman, Fazl-e-Umar (Tilford, Surrey: Islam International Publications, 2012), 9.
- Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), Tadkhirah (Farnham, Surrey: Islam International Publications Ltd, 2019), 171.
- Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Friday Sermon 22nd February 2019, https://www.alislam.org/friday-sermon/2019-02-22.html.
- Hoshiarpur and Ludhiana are two cities in India about 70 kilometres apart.