Prophecies Prophets

Assessment of Belief – Part II

42 Review of Religions – Jan 2002 There are some people who argue that there is no need for safeguarding [religion]. Such people commit a grave error. Is it not the duty or the wish of a person who creates a garden or erects a building that he should do all he can to protect that which he has created against the hand of destruction. There are erected walls and fences around gardens to safeguard them and in order to protect buildings against such risks as fire, ever new materials are manufactured and safety measures are taken Assessment of Belief – Part II Presented below is a translation of the address delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, on 31 August 1901 on the occasion of a visit to Qadian by the Municipal Commissioner of Wa z i rabad, Janab Babu Ghulam Mustafa Sahib. For the purpose of translation, the original Urdu script of this address has been taken from Malfoozat, Vol. 4 pp.7–12. The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. [Translator’s note: All references to the verses of the Holy Qur’an are given in Arabic as they occur in the text. The English translation, presented in Italics is taken from the translation of the Holy Qur’an by Hadhrat Maulvi Sher Ali S a h i b( r a ).Where the Promised M e s s i a h( a s ) has himself stated a certain interpretation of the Arabic verse, this is incorporated in the main body of the text]. Translated by Amatul Hadi Ahmad 43Review of Religions – Jan 2002 Assessment of Belief – Part II against dangers from electricity by using wire and such like. Such actions manifest the inherent element of protection that is naturally found in human beings. Is it not then legitimate for God that He should protect and safeguard His religion? Without doubt He protects and safeguards His religion and has done so at the time of every trial and tribulation. Now, at this time, when there is a great need for the [protection of His religion] God has appointed me for this purpose. The matter of safe- guarding would have been in doubt or it would have been possible to reject it if the situation and the needs of the time were not, in fact, supporting [the argument that Islam is at this time in great need of protection]. Many hundreds of thousands of books have been written against Islam and there is no account of the number of leaflets and pamphlets that are issued daily, weekly and monthly by the Christian priests. Should all the abuses that have been hurled by Christian converts of this country against the most innocent of beings, the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ) a n d against his pure and virtuous wives were to be collated togeth- er, they would fill many floors. Were they to be put side by side, they would spread out into many miles. The writings of such people as Safdar Ali and Shaiq are not hidden from any one. The extreme offensiveness of the writings of Imad-ud-din, for example, is such that its dangerous nature is acknowledged even by some fair minded Christians themselves. Hence a newspaper named ‘Shams-ul-Akhbar’ that used to be printed from Lukhnow, published an opinion that if in India there were to be another uprising, it would be due to writings like these. Such is the state of Islam — and there are still people who ask what harm has been done to Islam [and hence what need is there for its protection]? Such talk may be indulged in by those who either have no relationship or feeling for Islam or those who have been brought up in the darkness of their enclosures and thus have no knowledge of the outside world. Should there be such people then we take no notice of them but those who have a light in their hearts, those who have a love for Islam and who relate to this religion and are aware of the condition of the times, such 44 Review of Religions – Jan 2002 Assessment of Belief – Part II people have to acknowledge that this has to be the time for the advent of a truly great Reformer. In short, at the present time there is much evidence bearing witness in support of my Commission [as the Pr o m i s e d Messiah]. There is, first, the internal evidence [of the state of the Muslims]. Secondly, there are the external factors [namely, attacks on Islam from outside]. Thirdly, the tradition [Hadith] of the Holy Prophet(sa) regarding the appointment of a Reformer at the head of every century. Fourthly, the promise that has been vouchsafed by God in the Qur’anic verse [as follows]: Verily, We Ourself have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian. (Ch.15:v.10) I, now, present a fifth and a very powerful evidence bearing witness [in support of my claim] and that is the promise given in the Holy Qur’an, in the chapter entitled Al-Noor [chapter number 24]. The promise given here is of Istikhlaf, that is, the promise of the Caliphate or a system of Successors [after the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a )]. In this chapter God Almighty makes the following promise: Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them Successors in the earth, as He made Successors from among those who were before them; (Ch.24:v.56) In this verse, the Successors who would follow [the Holy Prophet] would be like the previous successors [who followed after the Prophet Moses(as)]. Similarly, in the Holy Qur’an, the Holy Prophet(sa) has been likened unto 45Review of Religions – Jan 2002 Assessment of Belief – Part II Prophet Moses(as), as stated in the verse [following]: Verily, We have sent to you a Messenger, who is a witness over you, even as We sent a Messenger to Pharaoh. (Ch.73: v.16) Moreover, the Holy Prophet(sa) is also said to be like Pr o p h e t Moses(as) in the prophecy stated in the Bible, in the Book of Deuteronomy, [cf. Deutr. 18:15]. The resemblance and similarity between the Mosaic and the Muhammadiyya lines is total and complete and this is evident from the use of the word ‘k a m a’ [meaning like or ‘same as’] in the verses [quoted above] from Chapters 24 and 73 respectively]. The line of Mosaic Caliphs or successors ended with Jesus( a s ) who appeared in the fourteenth century after Moses(as). According to the similarity between the two lines, at least this much would be expected that during the fourteenth century [after the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a )] there should appear a Messiah of at least the same calibre and strength of the earlier Messiah, having a mission similar to that of Jesus. The nature of this similarity is so powerful that even if God the Almighty had not provided any further evidence, it would have been expected that in the fourteenth century someone should appear in the Ummah of the Holy Prophet(sa) who would be like unto the previous Messiah otherwise there could, God forbid, be perceived to be some fault or weakness in the line of the Holy Prophet(sa) given such a resemblance. However, God the Almighty has not only verified this resemblance and has supported it, He has also proven that the one who resembles Moses was in fact much better than the Prophet Moses(as) – he was, in fact, the best among all the Prophets. Jesus(as) the Messiah did not bring any Divine Law of his own but came to fulfil the To r a h . S i m i l a r l y, the Messiah of the Muhammadiyya line has not 46 Review of Religions – Jan 2002 Assessment of Belief – Part II brought any new Divine Law of his own but has come to re-establish the rule of the Holy Qur’an and has been appointed for its fulfilment – the fulfilment that is known as spreading wide the moral teaching and Guidance [of the Holy Qur’an as vouchsafed to the Holy Prophet(sa)]. Regarding the fulfilment of the work of spreading the word of Guidance, it should be remembered that the Holy Prophet(sa) was endowed by God with the blessing and grace that was complete [in terms of his attaining nearness to God]. He was also endowed with a religion that reached its ultimate point of completion. These matters have two aspects: One is that of the fulfilment of Guidance and the other is one of fulfilment of the spread of Guidance. The completion of Guidance [received by the Holy Prophet(sa) from God] took place in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (sa), through his own holy person. However, the final and complete fulfilment of the work of the spread of his Guidance was to take place in his ‘second advent’ and this is so because the chapter of the Holy Q u r’an entitled Al Jumma’a [Chapter number 24] points to the preparation of another people through the teaching and blessings of the Holy Prophet (sa). ..from among ohers from them (Ch.62:V.4) From this it is evident that there is intended another manifes- tation of the Holy Pr o p h e t( s a ) which is in the form of a symbolic manifestation [that is, appearance of another person in the spiritual image of the Holy Pr o p h e t( s a )] and such a manifestation is now taking place. Hence, this is the time for the complete fulfilment of the task of spreading the Guidance and its teachings and this is the reason why all the means of publication and publicising are being developed. There is a widespread availability of printing presses and daily there come to be developed new systems such as the postal system and post offices, electricity, railways, ships and the estab- lishment of newspapers – all these matters have made the world like one town [making the task of spreading the word of God so much easier]. Such progress is 47Review of Religions – Jan 2002 Assessment of Belief – Part II in reality the success of the Holy Prophet(sa) because through them his complete guidance is attaining the fulfilment of the second aspect that is the spread of his teaching and guidance. This task of fulfilment of spreading the teaching and guidance is like the task of the previous Messiah who stated that he had come to fulfil the Torah, and I say that one of my tasks is also to complete the work of the spread of the teaching of guidance [of the Holy Qur’an]. Hence, there is this resemblance also with Jesus(as). Furthermore, the tribulations that were faced by the people at the time of Jesus(as) are also to be found at the present time. Internally, the condition of the Jews at the time of Jesus(as) had worsened greatly and history bears witness to this fact that they had abandoned adherence to the Commandments of the Torah and instead gave greater importance to Ta l m u d and other traditions. The condition of the Muslims in this age has also reached a similar state when the Book of God has been put aside and instead importance is given to folk traditions and stories. Apart from this there is another resemblance and that is in the form of the government. At the time of Jesus there was Roman rule and at this time there is a British government which is famous for its fairness and justice. I have already stated the fact that Jesus came in the fourteenth century after the Prophet Moses(as) and this century is also the fourteenth century following the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa). In addition to all the above points, there is one other matter which completes the argument for resemblance and that is that the previous Messiah used to stress moral teaching and guidance and he had come to reform the form that Mosaic Jihad i.e. struggles took in that he never raised the sword. The same was to be the case with the Promised Messiah of the Holy Prophet’s(sa) line. It was intended for the Promised Messiah that he should establish the beauty of Islam through the true practice of its teaching and guidance and remove the accusation that is levelled against Islam that it was spread through the sword. This accusation will be removed completely during the period of the Promised Messiah because he would reveal the truth of Islam to 48 Review of Religions – Jan 2002 Assessment of Belief – Part II the world through its living blessings and grace. This will prove the point that Islam is of benefit and has efficacy today, in the age of progress, just as it has always been the case in every age. This is because Islam is a living faith. This is the reason why the Holy Prophet(sa) prophe- sied yaza-ul-harb, that he, the Promised Messiah, would end war. You should now put all this evidence together and say whether there is not the need in this age for the advent of a heavenly person [with a Mission from God]? Should this much be accepted that at the head of every century there must come a Re f o r m e r, and when it is acknowledged that there is a resemblance between [the Prophethood of] the Holy Prophet(sa) and Prophet Moses(as), then in accordance with this similarity, it is necessary that the Reformer at the head of this century should be a Messiah because at the head of the fourteenth century after Moses(as) came the first Messiah, the present century also being the fourteenth century [after the Holy Prophet(sa)]. The number fourteen has a great relevance. [Moon of the fourteenth is the full moon] and the ‘moon’ of the fourteenth century is a complete one also. It is to this that the [following] verse of the Holy Qur’an points: And Allah had already helped you at Badr when you were weak. (Ch.3: v.124) That is, there was one B a d r [which in Arabic means the ‘full moon’] when the Holy Prophet(sa) gained victory over his opponents in the Battle of Badr, having a very small party of men with him and there is another Badr now, at the present time. Here the term Badr is pointing towards the fourteenth century [after the Holy Pr o p h e t( s a )] when the condition of Islam is becoming such that the term a z i l l a h meaning weak applies. Hence, it is in accordance with all these promises that the Almighty God has Appointed me [as the Messiah and Mahdi of this age]. (To be continued)

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