A Unique Cosmic Heavenly Sign

Review of Religions: December 200152 A number of spiritual teachers have prophecied about the advent of a Mahdi or Messiah (Divine Reformer) in the latter days. Buddhist and Hindu scriptures have clearly alluded to the appearance of a Reformer in the latter days. The Gospels – Amos 8:9; Matthew 24:29 and the Holy Q u r’an 75:9-10, have also referred to the second advent of J e s u s( a s ). Jesus ( a s ) himself has clearly mentioned about his second coming in the latter days. He further said that every eye would witness the arrival of the Messiah. The Holy Prophet(sa) of Islam had mentioned an exact timetable for the advent of the Mahdi (Messiah of Islam) and foretold how every eye would be able to witness it. Never before has a heavenly Sign given testimony to the arrival of a Prophet. But for the promised Messiah(as) who is the Mahdi for Muslims, Jesus(as) for Christians and Jews, Buddha( a s ) f o r Buddhists and Krishna( a s ) f o r Hindus, a heavenly Sign would appear so that every eye which has vision to see would be able to witness it. The Signs mentioned in old scriptures and in the Qur’ a n indicated the time of the advent of this Promised Messiah which A Unique Cosmic Heavenly Sign by M.Alikoya – India The lunar and solar eclipses of 1894 provided a heavenly sign for the advent of the Messiah for all of the world. Here the author explores the expectation of the signs of the Messiah in many world faiths and in Islam. This article is reproduced from the Minaret quarterly journal published in Kerala, India in January 2001, of which the author is one of the executives. Review of Religions: December 2001 A Unique Cosmic Heavenly Sign 53 have been fulfilled in this age. A mighty proof of the truth of the Qur’an is that in accordance with the prophecies made in it, a man has been raised by Almighty God in this age who has claimed to be the promised Messiah and Mahdi. This claimant was the late Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) (1835 – 1908) of Qadian in India, the founder of the Ahmadiyya community in Islam. It is worth pondering over this great prophecy of the Holy Prophet(sa) of Islam. How beau- tifully it has come to fruition. The Holy Prophet( s a ) presented this prediction when mankind had no clue of fore-casting any such heavenly signs. The great fulfilment of this prophecy proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Holy Prophet( s a ) was endowed with Divine inspiration. Traditions about the Mahdi There are several traditions relating to the coming of the Mahdi of Islam. In the Qur’an, there is the following verse: Allah will raise him among others who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, the A Unique Cosmic Heavenly Sign Review of Religions: December 200154 Wise. That is Allah’s Grace. He bestows it on whom He pleases. And Allah is the Lord of immense Grace. (Holy Qur’an: Ch.62, vs.4-5) Explaining these verses, the Holy Prophet(sa) is reported by Bukhari to have said that: ‘If faith were to go up to Pleiades, a man of Persian descent will bring it back.’ Below are several other traditions in Islam about the arrival of the Mahdi: ‘I swear on Him who holds my life in his hands that the son of Mary shall surely appear amongst you as a just Arbiter nad will break the Cross and annihilate the swine.’ (Hadith of Bukhari) ‘I give you the glad tidings of the Al-Mahdi who will be raised by my Ummah at the time of the decadent people. He will fill the earth with equity and justice.’ (Musnad Ahmad) At the time of the advent of the Mahdi, there would be a general disregard of the Qur’an and a weakening of Islam. Evil would be prevalent with open adultery, unnatural crimes, the bearing of false witness, the predominance of the use of the pen and trade on a massive scale. People would be engrossed in their worldy affairs, would be prone to apostacy and forming new creeds, Islam would splinter and there would be the appearance of the Dajjal and Gog and Magog in the world. Hadhrat Ali(ra), one of the great Caliphs of Islam is reported to have said: ‘The Mahdi shall resemble the Holy Prophet in character and not in personal appearance. The Promised Messiah will point out the errors of Christianity and it is on this count that he is called Jesus son of Mary. He will restore Islam to its pristine glory and Review of Religions: December 2001 A Unique Cosmic Heavenly Sign 55 lustre and is called Ahmad.’ (Hadithul Ghasia) There are traditions in Shia’a Islam contained in the text Biharul Anwar: ‘The Mahdi will have a double name. One will be Ghulam and the other Ahmad and still another Muhammad and he will also be called Isa (jJesus) Masih’. (Biharul Anwar, Vol.13, pp.7- 8) ‘The Promised Messiah will break the Cross, i.e. he will refute and annihilate the creed of crucifixion by arguments against it.’ (Biharul Anwar, Vol.3, p.198) A number of saints such as Syed Ahmad Sirhind and Shah Waliullah Dehlavi reminded Muslims of the advent of the Mahdi. The learned and the divines yearned to live long enough to be blessed with the presence of this august person and enjoined upon their children to convey their respects to him when he appeared. There was a consensus among the Muslim sects that the Mahdi would appear at the beginning of the 14th century of Islam. P rophecies of Eclipses fro m other Scriptures In the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus (as) narrating the signs of his second coming said: ‘Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened and the moon shall not give her light.’ (Matthew 24:29) In the Hindu scriptures of the Mahabharat, Sri Vyasji states: ‘After this with the passage of time, Satyug would come; when the Brahmin would exert influence over society. Then the avenues for the advancement of the world would open. When the sun, the moon and Jupiter would be aligned with Pushya N a k s h a t i r. It would be the A Unique Cosmic Heavenly Sign Review of Religions: December 200156 beginning of Satyug. At that time it would rain in time. The stars would shine brighter than before.’ Mahatma Surdasji has mentioned the following: ‘When Kalki Avatar would appear, both the moon and the sun would be eclpised and there will be much violence and death.’ (Sursagar) In the Holy book of the Sikhs, it is written: ‘When Maharaj (Krishna) will come as Nah Kalank, the sun and the moon will be his helpers.’ (Sri Guru Granth Sahib) Prophecy of Eclipses from the Holy Prophet(sa) Hadhrat Ali ibn Umar A l – Baghdadi Ad-Darqutni was an eminent authority on Hadith (sayings of the Holy Prophet(sa)) who lived from 918 – 995 CE. He recorded a hadith of unusual cosmic importance reported by Hadhrat Imam Baqar Mohamed ibn Ali, the son of Hadhrat Imam Zainul A b i d e e n( r a ). The quote which is accepted as authentic by both Sunni and Shia’a Muslims reads as follows: ‘There are two Signs for our Mahdi which have never appeared before since the creation of the heavens and the earth, namely the moon will be eclipsed on the first night (of the lunar eclipse dates) in Ramadhan and the sun will be ecipsed on the middle day (of the solar eclipse days) of Ramadhan, and these signs have not appeared before since God created the heavens and the earth.’ (Sunan Darq u t n i, Vo l . 1 , p.188) Imam Darqutni was one of the most respected saints in early Islam and was scrupulously careful in recording the sayings of the Holy Prophet (sa). Review of Religions: December 2001 A Unique Cosmic Heavenly Sign 57 Commentaries on the Prophecy by Islamic Scholars Several Islamic scholars and saints have commented on the time of the arrival of the Mahdi. An eminent Muslim divine Hadhrat Shaik Nematullah Wali wrote: ‘He will be both Mahdi of the time and Jesus: I see him blessed with both the attributes. I see both the moon and the sun obscured.’ (Musleh Akhir Zaman) Moulana Muhammad Ismael Shaheed stated: ‘Strange and unusual events are going to happen in the 13th century and I am visualising the eclipses of the sun and moon to occur in this century.’ (Arbaeen Fi A h w a l i l Mahdiyeen) Allama Sheik Shahabuddin ibn Al hajr Al-Hashm wrote: ‘Muhammad bin Ali, an elite among the Ahle Bait narrates that there will be two Signs for the Imam Mahdi which have never been shown to mankind since the creation of the heavens and the earth. One of these is the eclipse of the Moon on the first of its nights THERE ARE TWO SIGNS FOR OUR MAHDI WHICH HAVE NEVER APPEARED BEFORE SINCE THE CREATION OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH, NAMELY THE MOON WILL BE ECLIPSED ON THE FIRST NIGHT (OF THE LUNAR ECLIPSE DATES) IN RAMADHAN AND THE SUN WILL BE ECIPSED ON THE MIDDLE DAY (OF THE SOLAR ECLIPSE DAYS) OF RAMADHAN, AND THESE SIGNS HAVE NOT APPEARED BEFORE SINCE GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH.’ (SUNAN DARQUTNI, VOL.1, P.188) A Unique Cosmic Heavenly SignA Unique Cosmic Heavenly Sign Review of Religions: December 200158 in the month of Ramadhan and the eclipse of the Sun will be on the middle of the days.’ (Kitabul Falaw Al Hadeesiya, p.31) Declaration of Mission In the latter part of the 19th c e n t u r y, a pious, middle aged revered personage identifying himself completely with Islam and a faithful servant of Allah, a devoted follower of the Holy Prophet(sa) announced that he had been a constant recipient of revelations and that the day of the renaissance of Islam was about to dawn through him. His name was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), a scion of an ancient noble house of Persian lineage from the tiny hamlet of Qadian in the Punjab region of India. He announced: ‘It was made clear to me through Divine revelation that the Messiah, whose advent among the Muslims had been promised from the beginning and the Mahdi whose advent had been Divinely decreed at the time of the decline of Islam and the spread of error, and who was to be guided directly by God, and who was to invite people to participate in the heavenly banquet and whose advent had been foretold by the Holy Prophet(sa) thirteen centuries in advance was myslef. Divine revelation to this effect was IN THE LAST 200 YEARS, LUNAR AND SOLAR ECLIPSES HAVE OCCURRED DURING THE MONTH OF RAMADHAN ON 17 OCCASIONS BUT OF THESE, ONLY 6 TIMES WAS EITHER ECLIPSE VISIBLE FROM QADIAN, AND ONLY ONCE WERE B O T H V I S I B L E F R O M QA D I A N. IT H A P P E N S T H AT T H I S OCCURRED IN 1894, AND THAT BOTH THE LUNAR AND SOLAR ECLIPSES OCCURED ON THEIR SPECIFIED DAYS DURING THE MONTH OF RAMADHAN IN THE YEAR 1894. Review of Religions: December 2001 AA Unique Cosmic Heavenly Sign 59 vouchsafed to me so clearly and so continuously that it left no room for doubt.’ (Tazhkiratul Shahatain) It was revealed to him that he was the promised Reformer not only for the Muslims, Christians and Jews, but also for the Hindus, Buddhists, Confucians and Zoroastrians as predicted in their scripts. The world religious scriptures are familiar with the second advent of a great world teacher in the latter days. Nevertheless, the Reformer must appear in a religion that recognises on the strength of its scripture, all of the religious teachers and the Divine origins of their scriptures. Islam is the only such religion. Hadhrat A h m a d( a s ), a faithful follower of Islam claimed that through his advent, these prophecies have been fulfilled. Thus he resolved the conflicts and paradoxes prevailing in them and laid the base for the reunification of all religions. Need for the Signs Towards the end of the century, Muslims were objecting that the prophecy regarding the lunar and solar eclipses had not been fulfilled. In early 1894, the Promised Messiah ( a s ) made the following supplication: ‘ O G o d ! Am I not from T h e e ? Curse and denial have now become excessive. Judge between us and our people with justice, for Thou art the Best of those who judge. O God! Please send Thy succour for me from heaven and help Thy servant in the time of a d v e r s i t y. I have become like the weak and disgraced and people have rejected me and reproached me. So Thou come to my help as Thou helped the Holy Prophet( s a ) on the day of B a d r. ’ (Noorul Haq, Part I) Signs of the Eclipses In the last 200 years, lunar and solar eclipses have occurred during the month of Ramadhan on 17 occasions but of these, only A Unique Cosmic Heavenly Sign Review of Religions: December 200160 6 times was either eclipse visible from Qadian, and only once were both visible from Qadian. It happens that this occurred in 1894, and that both the lunar and solar eclipses occured on their specified days during the month of Ramadhan in the year 1894. The solar eclipse was a full annular eclipse, the most spec- tacular type which occurs just 10 times in any century. Therefore just as predicted, during Ramadhan of the Islamic year 1311 AH (1894), God manifested over the vast area of our hemisphere the heavenly Signs of the eclipses, and Qadian witnessed both eclipses on the specified dates: • the lunar eclipse occurred after sunset on Wednesday March 21st 1894, the 13th night of Ramadhan; • the solar eclipse occurred on Friday 6th April 1894, the 28th day of Ramadhan. Both eclipses were visible from Qadian. Soon after the celestial Signs, the Promised Messiah( a s ) wrote a book N o o rul Haq Part II i n Arabic which is devoted to an extremely enlightening discus- sion of the accurate fulfilment of the splendid prophecy of the Holy Prophet(sa) of Islam. In his book, he explained in the light of Divine revelation that the true interpretation of the Hadith is that in the time of the Mahdi, the moon will be eclipsed in the first of the three nights on which a lunar eclipse can occur (13th day of Ramadhan) and the sun will be eclipsed on the middle day out of the days on which the Solar eclipse can occur (28th day of Ramadhan). The Promised Messiah( a s ) d r e w attention to several properties which make the Signs very impressive. He pointed out that the words first and middle used in the Hadith were fulfilled in two ways, namely with regard to the date and the time. Not only did the lunar eclipse occur on the first Review of Religions: December 2001 A Unique Cosmic Heavenly Sign 61 of the three nights but also occurred in the beginning of the night in Qadian (7 – 9:30pm). the Solar eclipse not only occured on the middle day but also occurred in the forenoon in Qadian (9–11am). Gratitude for the Signs The Promised Messiah( a s ) w a s therefore vindicated through these heavenly Signs as proof of his claim to be the Mahdi and Messiah. The last words are from his writings in gratitude for the Signs shown. He wrote: ‘And I also swear by Almighty God that I am the Promised Messiah and I am the same person who was promised by the prophets. There is news about me and my age in the Torah and in the Gospel and the Holy Qur’an. It is stated that there will be eclipses in the sky and severe plague on the earth.’ (Dafae Balae) ‘In my age only in the month of Ramadhan, eclipses of the Sun and Moon occurred; in my age only in accordance with the authentic sayings of the Holy Prophet and the Holy Q u r’an and earlier books, there was plague all over the country, and in my age only, new modes of transport namely railways came into existence, and in my age only, as per my prophecies, terrible earthquakes came. Does not then righteousness demand that one should not be bold in denying me? Look, I swear by Almighty God and say that thousands of signs for establishing my truth have been manifested and will be manifested. If this were a man’s plan, he would never have enjoyed such support and help!’ (Haqeeqatul Wahy) Review of Religions: December 200162 Article List for Review of Religions 2001 • Jesus(as) Versus Finality • Virtue and Vice • The Concept of the Awaited Messiah in World Faiths • Who are the Jinn? • Yus Asaph and Jesus(as) • Prayer of the Righteous • The Significance of Darood • Al-Qadr (The Majesty) • Biblical Prophecy about the Holy Prophet(sa) • Al-Bayyinah – A Manifest Principle Al-Qayyimah – An Everlasting Teaching • A Life of Distinction – Hadhrat Bhai Abdur Rahman Qadiani(ra) • Islam – A Religion of Peace • The Reality of Paradise • Biblical Prophecy about the Holy Prophet(sa)– Part II • European Philosophy JANUARY 2001 FEB/MARCH 2001 APRIL 2001 • An Outline of the Life of Muhammad(sa) – the Holy Messenger of God • How Allah deals with those who Accuse the Divine Appointee of Falsehood • Understanding the Teaching • Establishment of Khilafat • Survival by Accident or Design? MAY 2001 Review of Religions: December 2001 Article List 2001 63 • Life in the Perspective of Qur’anic Revelations – a brief Introductory chapter • The Root of Islam • The Need for Religion • Knowledge and Truth • Muslims in Spain • Prospects and Challenges of the New Millennium: The Moral Factor JUNE/JULY 2001 • Origin of Life – Different Theories and Propositions • The Path to Success • Cleanliness and Health of the Body and Soul • My Faith • Islamic Perspective. • Life of the Caliphs – Part II • A Brief History of Observatories in the Islamic World SEPTEMBER 2001 • Buddhism • True Repentance • Aspects of Belief • Lives of the Caliphs – Part 1 • Mobile Internet and the Web AUGUST 2001 • Jihad • Islamic Perspective – Part II • Fasting • The Jinn • Business, Corporation and Governance Models in the Islamic Economic System • The History and Theory of Islamic Medicine • Assessment of Belief – Prt I • Division and Unity • A Unique Cosmic Heavenly Sign • Socrates(as) – Develoment of Greek Philosophy and Religion • Chirality or Sideness in Nature DECEMBER 2001 OCT/NOV 2001 Please put me on the mailing list for the Review of Religions for 1 year. 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