Farrukh Tahir, Canada
A prophecy fulfilled is nothing short of a miracle, but is often met with a lot of criticism and scrutiny; some nitpick at the minutia of the promised outcome, while others try to undermine the grandeur of a fulfilled prophecy. The fact remains, that a prophecy that is fulfilled is an unshakeable proof for the existence of God, and for the truthfulness of the one who makes the prophecy. The prophecy of Musleh Maud, the Promised Reformer was such a grand prophecy that if fulfilled, would silence the critics of Islam Ahmadiyyat.
This prophecy, however, was not fulfilled overnight; it was a long journey; a journey against all odds. God had foretold the Promised Messiah (as) of a son who would be the Promised Reformer and would embody 52 to 53 very specific qualities, such that cannot be developed merely by human effort. And so, just as the strongest of metals come from the forges, this promised son was forged into the promised reformer by God Himself.
From childhood, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad’s (ra) health was very weak and constantly ill. At the young age of 12, he was said to have been battling with death. His eyes were in severe discomfort, he was diagnosed with Tuberculosis and many other health ailments that frankly even the most resilient of men would succumb to. Doctors were not hopeful of his survival and on many occasions, expressed that this child would not live a long life. On one hand, there was clear evidence to support the doctors’ claims, and on the other, there was the promise of that he would live a very long and successful life. Through the prayers of the Promised Messiah (as) and due to God’s promise to him, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) was cured of most of his ailments and forged ahead, despite all the obstacles in his journey.
Another challenge he met with as a child was his inability to attend school due to his health. On top of that, the severe pain in his eyes left one of his eyes partially blind, due to which he had difficulty reading and writing; everything seemed to be working against him. As a result, he failed all his exams in his childhood and struggled to acquire an education. Again, God had promised that the child would be gifted secular and spiritual knowledge. For this to happen, God Almighty took his education upon Himself. During one night, he saw a ringing bell in a dream. The ringing of that bell took the shape of a beautiful picture, and slowly, that picture began to move. A being emerged from the picture and said that it was an angel from God who had come to teach him the deep and hidden meanings of Surah al-Fatihah (the first chapter of the Holy Qur’an). This angel imparted deep gems of knowledge to him, such that had never been disclosed to any scholar before him.
Apart from God teaching him directly, He had arranged a mentor for him who not only loved him dearly, but was an ocean of knowledge himself. Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) spent a great deal of his childhood in the company and loving shade of Hazrat Maulvi Hakim Nooruddin (ra), the First Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He would teach him the Holy Qur’an and read him Sahih al-Bukhari (most authentic collection of sayings and traditions of the Holy Prophet (sa)) for hours a day. As the child grew older, he began to astonish even the greatest scholars with his level of knowledge. On more than one occasion, he was told to speak at large gatherings without any prior time for preparation, and he baffled the audience with knowledge they had never heard before. The secret was his prayers to God, beseeching him to bestow him with knowledge, and with the knowledge and inspiration received from God, he delivered speeches the like of which had never been heard before.
As a very young child, he was also gifted with an exceedingly bright and thoughtful mind, far beyond the years of an ordinary child, despite his limited formal education. It is often said that children blindly follow the beliefs of their parents until an age comes when they can think for themselves. But at the young age of 11, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) was already a profound thinker for himself. One night, he stood in his home, contemplating over the truthfulness of Ahmadiyyat. This led him to think about whether the Promised Messiah (as) and Holy Prophet (sa) were, in fact, true prophets, or did he believe in them because it was what he had been taught. This led him to further contemplate over the existence of God, and whether he believes in God because his parents do, or because he can substantiate his belief with strong evidence. After tiring his mind, he went outside and gazed up into the star-filled sky. The sight was calming and brought ease to his mind. He soon lost himself in the stars and thought about what was beyond those stars. He realised that there must be more stars, and then more stars after that, and so on. But he soon realised that this universe of stars could not just endlessly continue and would have to end at some point, and at the end of it all, these must be a being that caused it all. It did not make sense for there to be a being that was limited like everything else around him, but an unlimited being such as God would complete the equation. Thus, he affirmed his belief in God through his own critical thinking and through the guidance of God Himself.
This child, weathered and tempered with hardships, went on to fulfill every single sign mentioned in the prophecy of the Promised Reformer. Throughout his life, he surprised not only the general public, but the elite scholars through his knowledge. At the age of 20, his conviction in God was so strong that he openly challenged any scientist, professor or scholar of any field of study to raise an allegation against Islam and the Holy Qur’an, and he said that he would be able to answer those allegations in such a manner that the world would give testament to his irrefutable answers.
58 years after this grand prophecy was made, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) openly declared:
‘Out of the sheer grace and mercy of Allah the Almighty, the prophecy – about which people have been waiting to be fulfilled for a long time – Allah the Almighty has disclosed to me by way of divine revelation that it has been fulfilled through my person.’
Following this immense claim, Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) proposed a challenge to the whole world:
‘The entire world can gather all their strength and might, whether they are Christian kings or if Christian governments join them, even if Europe and America join forces or if the most powerful and wealthiest nations unite together in an attempt to stop me achieving my goal, I swear by God Almighty that all their efforts will be in vain and they will be defeated. God Almighty will accept my prayers and efforts and destroy all of their schemes and deceptive ploys. In order to prove the truthfulness of this prophecy, God Almighty will establish the honour of the Holy Prophet (sa) and Islam through me or my followers, and will not forsake Islam until its full grandeur and glory is restored throughout the world and until the time the Holy Prophet (sa) is accepted as a true and living prophet.’
The prophecy of the Promised Reformer was not only fulfilled through the person of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), but continues to be fulfilled today through the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Against all odds, the Caliph and his community continue to overcome obstacles that seek to stop their progress, but with the help and power of God Almighty, the world will see the fulfillment of this prophecy to its end.
About the Author: Farrukh Tahir is an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Canada, and member of the Existence Project Team for the Review of Religions.