Furhan Ahmad Hamza Qureshi, Canada
Every year, February 20 marks the anniversary of a grand prophecy which manifested a powerful proof of the existence of God. The prophecy regarding the Promised Reformer, or Musleh Mau’ud, offers insight into the power of God Almighty and the majesty of His words. This prophecy is truly beyond the scope of a human being.
Background of the Prophecy
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (as), published the first four volumes of his magnum opus Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya from 1880 to 1884. Written to demonstrate the veracity of Islam, Barahin-e Ahmadiyya was lauded with enthusiastic acclaim from Muslims across the Indian sub-continent. After decades of unabated criticisms from their Christian and Hindu countrymen, Muslims in India finally sighed with some relief. Not only did the Promised Messiah (as) masterfully confute the heinous allegations being levelled against Islam by its opponents, but also challenged them to the arena of furnishing similar signs in favour of their own faith.
In March of 1885, when the Promised Messiah (as) announced that he had been Divinely commissioned as the reformer of the age, he also issued a compelling invitation: seekers after truth were invited to stay in his company in Qadian, on the condition they come without any form of bias or prejudice, and witness for themselves the truth of Islam.
The Promised Messiah (as) sent these invitations as far as London and America. Seeing the global scope of this awe-inspiring challenge, a group of ten wealthy and prominent Hindus of Qadian wrote a letter to the Promised Messiah (as), requesting a sign. They posited that since they were his neighbours, they enjoyed a greater right to witness a Divine sign:
‘We would be satisfied with such signs as do not necessitate the collapse of the heavens and the earth nor break the laws of nature. Instead, we ask for such signs as are beyond human capacity through which it may become known that the True and Holy Parmeshwar (the Hindu name for God)—due to your righteousness and through His utter love and favour—accepts your prayers and informs you of their acceptance beforehand; or He informs you of special secrets and apprises you of those hidden mysteries through prophecy; or he assists and supports you as he has always aided His chosen, select and righteous servants.’
They promised that if they witnessed a sign, then at the very least, they would publicise it in newspapers and testify to it in writing. They expected to see this sign manifest anywhere from the beginning of September 1885 to the end of September 1886.
As this letter was written in good faith and contained a very reasonable request, the Promised Messiah (as) responded to them in gratitude and wrote:
‘I promise that if you remain committed to the vows you have made in your letter, then within one year, through the help and support of God the Omnipotent, glory be to Him, such a sign will be shown to you which is beyond human capacity.’
Hence, the Promised Messiah (as) began supplicating fervently to God Almighty, beseeching Him to manifest a sign in support of Islam. Opponents had been demanding conclusive signs for years, and it was now the time for their manifestation. For this purpose, he was Divinely commanded to seclude himself from his friends and family to pray with complete focus. In a letter to his friend Chaudhary Rustam Ali (ra) dated January 13, 1886, he intimated that ‘God Almighty, glory be to Him, has informed me of the city in which I should remain in seclusion for some time, and it is Hoshiarpur.’ Thus, he travelled to Hoshiarpur, arriving there on January 22, 1886, and remained in total seclusion for a period of 40 days during which time he was deeply engaged in supplication.
Upon return from this conclave with His Creator, he published an announcement dated February 20, 1886. In it, he revealed the glad tidings that God Almighty had conferred him, explaining that this sign would be a proof of the power, majesty and existence of God Almighty, and would demonstrate the truth of Islam and its Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) to the world. It was a prophecy about the birth of an extraordinary son through whom God’s blessings would spread through to the ends of the world. The prophecy began with the following words:
‘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… a Sign of grace and beneficence is awarded to you and you are granted the key of success and victory.’
The revelation continued by stating seven grand purports of the prophecywhich are paraphrased here:
- To grant life to those on the brink of spiritual death and revive those who are already morally dead and buried
- To establish the superiority of Islam and manifest the majesty of God’s word
- To establish truth and vanquish falsehood
- To display the Omnipotence of God Almighty
- To show the world that God Almighty is with the Promised Messiah (as) and supports him
- To provide a clear sign to those who do not believe in God and who reject His faith, religion and deny the Holy Prophet of Islam (sa)
- To make the way of the guilty manifest, i.e., to make it manifest that the opponents are wrong
Proceeding further, the main part of the prophecy gave glad tidings of the birth of a son who would be endowed with a number of specific, extraordinary qualities. It stated:
‘He is the Word of Allah for Allah’s mercy and honour have equipped him with the Word of Majesty…Son, delight of the heart, high ranking, noble; 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…His fame will spread to the ends of the earth and peoples will be blessed through him.’
This is only a portion of the entire prophecy, which outlined about 52 qualities that this son would be endowed with.
It is important to note here that the Promised Messiah (as) was vouchsafed supplementary revelations which further explained the timeline of the birth of this child. ‘According to Divine promise, this boy will surely be born within a period of 9 years,’ he wrote in an announcement dated March 22, 1886.
Reaction to the Prophecy
After the publication of this prophecy, there was an uproar from his opponents. Pundit Lekhram went so far as to publish a satirical prophecy of his own.
It so happened that at the time this prophecy was published, the Promised Messiah’s (as) noble wife, Hazrat Syeda Nusrat Jahan Begum (ra) was expecting. Hence, a few months later, on April 15, 1886, he was blessed with a baby girl, Ismat. One can imagine the storm of mockery and scorn that his adversaries stirred up at that time. The next year, on August 7, 1887, a baby boy, Bashir, was born but he sadly passed away at the age of fifteen months. His opponents were now sure that this prophecy of a promised son was false.
However, with complete faith in his Lord’s promises, the Promised Messiah (as) published a pamphlet which later came to be known as Sabz Ishtihar (the Green Announcement) since it was printed on green paper. He explained that the prophecy foretold of the birth of two sons, the first of whom was to be ‘a guest’. He wrote:
‘…none of the prophecies that I have made on the basis of revelation have turned out to be wrong. Divine revelation had clearly foretold the birth of two boys, and also that some of my children would die in infancy. See the announcements of 20th February 1886 and 10th July 1888. In accordance with the first prophecy, a child was born and he soon died. The second child, whom the revelation refers to as Bashir the Second, and also as Mahmud, has not been born till today, 1st December 1888. But, in accordance with God’s promise, he will most certainly be born within the time stipulated in the prophecy. Heavens and earth may pass, but the word of God can never be averted. Fools laugh at His revelations and ridicule His holy tidings because the end is hidden from their eyes.’
It was in this announcement that the Promised Messiah (as) disclosed that this son would be the Promised Reformer.
Birth of the Promised Reformer
Sure enough, that promised son was born just one month after the publication of this announcement, on January 12, 1889. He was named Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad. His birth took place exactly within the stipulated nine-year period of the prophecy. That day, the Promised Messiah (as) issued an announcement in which he stated:
‘And addressing my humble self, Allah the Almighty said: ‘He will be a person of high resolve and will be like you in beauty and benevolence. God is Almighty and creates whatever He wills.’ Accordingly, today, Saturday 12 January 1889 CE, 9 Jamadi’ul-Awwal, 1306 AH, a son has been born to this humble one who has been…named Bashir and Mahmud…it would be no wonder if he should prove to be the Promised Son.’
It is clear from the writings of the Promised Messiah (as) that this son of his, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) was indeed the Promised Reformer. For example, in his book Siraj-e-Munir, he wrote:
‘The fifth prophecy I had made was concerning the birth of my son Mahmud that he would now be born and would be named Mahmud. And for the publication of the prophecy, announcements were printed on green paper, which are still available. These were distributed amongst thousands of people. Thus, that boy was born within the term of the prophecy and is now in his ninth year…Thus, Mahmud has been born. How grand is this prophecy! If you possess the fear of God, then ponder with a pure heart.’
Fulfilment of the Prophecy
By studying the life, character, and works of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), it is apparently clear that all the qualities outlined in the prophecy were fulfilled in him. According to the words of the prophecy, ‘he will grow rapidly in stature.’At the young age of 25, he was appointed to the divine office of the Promised Messiah’s (as) Caliphate after the demise of the First Caliph (ra). His unique commentaries of the Holy Qur’an, enlightening lectures, academic and revolutionary writings testify to him being ‘extremely intelligent’ and ‘filled with secular and spiritual knowledge’.His role in establishing the rights of Kashmiris and in the creation of Pakistan are shining examples of how he became ‘the means of procuring the release of those held in bondage’.The prophecy foretold that ‘his fame will spread to the ends of the earth’.Even this very article is being written thousands of kilometers away from Qadian and Hoshiarpur at one of the end of the earth – Canada.
Examining the Prophecy
One of the major purports of this prophecy was to establish the existence of God and His Omnipotence. How does this prophecy fulfill that purpose? The fact is that every facet of this revelation points towards the existence of God.
In the Holy Qur’an, God the Almighty is described as ‘Knower of the unseen’, Who reveals secrets to His chosen servants:
عٰلِمُ الۡغَیۡبِ فَلَا یُظۡھِرُ عَلٰی غَیۡبِہٖۤ اَحَدًا اِلَّا مَنِ ارۡتَضٰی مِنۡ رَّسُوۡلٍ
He is the Knower of the unseen: and He reveals not His secrets to anyone, except to him whom He chooses, namely a Messenger of His. (72:27-28)
Prophecies which relate to knowledge of the future and are simply beyond the scope of human power or calculated forecast are a powerful sign of the existence of God Almighty.
It is not possible for a person to predict the future with such precision without revelation from God. Who can say that they would be blessed with a son within a certain number of years, who would live a long life and achieve great fame, prominence and success? There are many who only have girls and yet others who never have any children at all. Hundreds of thousands of children are born every day, but how many of them grow up to be renowned throughout the world? How many of them are endowed with remarkable spiritual prowess as to facilitate a revolution in the world? How many of them grow up to achieve anything at all? Anyone is free to make a claim or prediction, but for it to come true with such astounding exactitude and minuteness is well beyond the scope of human capability.
The fulfilment of this prophecy is itself a proof that it was from God Almighty, Who ensured that it would come true. After all, God Almighty stated that its purpose was ‘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 thee.’
Furthermore, the Holy Qur’an states that God is He Who accepts the prayers of supplicants:
وَاِذَا سَاَلَکَ عِبَادِیۡ عَنِّیۡ فَاِنِّیۡ قَرِیۡبٌ ؕ اُجِیۡبُ دَعۡوَۃَ الدَّاعِ اِذَا دَعَانِ
‘And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me…’ (2:187)
The Promised Messiah’s (as) prayers for a grand sign in favour of the truth of Islam—in response to the demands of opponents—were not only accepted, but God Almighty also declared it to be ‘a sign of power, mercy, nearness to Me.’ These words allude to the aforementioned verse and demonstrate how God accepts the prayers of His sincere servants.
In regard to this prophecy, the Promised Messiah (as) proclaimed:
‘This is not just a prophecy. Indeed, it is a grand heavenly Sign, which Almighty God has shown for demonstrating the truth and majesty of the noble, compassionate and merciful Prophet, Muhammad, the Chosen One, peace and blessings of Allah be on him. This Sign is hundreds of times greater, better, more perfect, more exalted, and more complete than bringing a dead person back to life.’
God Almighty does not break His promises. He demonstrates His Omnipotence and the truth of His prophets by fulfilling His Word. The Promised Messiah (as) has expressed this so beautifully in the following stanzas:
قدرت سے اپنی ذات کا دیتا ہے حق ثبوت
اُس بے نشاں کی چہرہ نمائی یہی تو ہے
جس بات کو کہے کہ کروں گا یہ میں ضرور
ٹلتی نہیں وہ بات خدائی یہی تو ہے
‘Through His Might does God prove His existence;
This is how He unveils His invisible countenance.
Whatever affair He says that He shall certainly manifest;
Cannot be averted. After all, that is the essence of providence.’
The Prophecy of the Promised Reformer is a shining testament to the existence of God and the glory of His promise. It is not only a sign for our time, but a sign for all times to come. The name of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), the Promised Reformer, will live on forever and nations will continue to be blessed through the schemes he laid out for the propagation of Islam. Indeed, ‘this is a matter decreed’!
About the Author: Furhan Qureshi is an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and graduate from the Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology in Canada. He currently serves is a Professor at Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology Canada, Assistant Editor for the Canadian Ahmadiyya Gazette, and appears on various programmes of MTA (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya). He is also a member of the Existence Project team.
Majmu’ah Ishtiharat, vol. 1, 2019 edition, pp. 30-31; Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, vol. 1, p. 253
Majmu’ah Ishtiharat, vol. 1, 2019 edition, pp. 116-118
Ibid., p. 119
Maktubat-e-Ahmad, vol. 2, 2008 edition p. 472, letter no. 22 to Chaudhary Rustam Ali
Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, vol. 1, p. 274
Tadhkirah, English translation, p. 85, 1976 edition
Al-Mau’ood, Anwarul Uloom, vol. 17, p. 495-496
Tadhkirah, English translation, p. 86, 1976 edition
Vide Al-Mau’ood, Anwarul Uloom, vol. 17, pp. 529-532
Majmu’ah Ishtiharat, vol. 1, 2019 edition, p. 128
Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, vol. 1, pp. 280-281
Ibid., p. 281
The Green Announcement, p. 8 (footnote)
Ibid., p. 24 (footnote)
The Noble Son, pp. 32-33; Majmu’ah Ishtiharat, vol. 1, p. 208 (footnote)
The Noble Son, pp. 35-36; Siraj-e-Munir, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 12, p. 36
Tadhkirah, English translation, p. 86, 1976 edition
Ibid., p. 85
The Noble Son, p. 17; Majmu’ah Ishtiharat, Volume 1, 2019 edition. p. 129
The Holy Qur’an, 3:10
The Essence of Islam, vol. 1, p. 98; Majmu’ah Ishtiharat, vol. 1, 2019 edition, p. 161
Tadhkirah, English translation, p. 86, 1976 edition