Codebreakers Wanted: the Curious Case of the Messiah’s Mysterious Numbers


Mansoor Dahri, UK

Who will solve the secret sequence?






This curious sequence of numbers came in a revelation to the Promised Messiah (as). It was also accompanied by the following mysterious symbol:

I copied this symbol from a PDF of the English translation of Tadhkirah, a collection of the divine revelations of the Promised Messiah (as). You can find it on page 255.

Here’s a picture of the original numbers as the Promised Messiah (as) wrote them:

Codebreakers Wanted: the Curious Case of the Messiah’s Mysterious Numbers

Although they may look very different, these numbers are not so far from our own; this is still a decimal-based system and is in fact the ancestor of the current system that we use today (hence why our numbers are still referred to as Arabic numerals).

Strangely, there are dashes after all the numbers except the last numbers in rows 2 and 3. In Urdu, a dash can be used as a full stop, a comma, or generally as a mark of separation. This may or may not be relevant. I have no idea. I am completely baffled and clueless.

For those of you who are interested, here’s a list of the ten decimal digits in both systems:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0
۱, ۲, ۳, ۴, ۵, ۶, ۷, ۸, ۹, ۰

Notice the similarities, especially between the symbols for “1”, “2”, “3”, “9” and “0”. It’s a curious feature of writing numbers in Arabic and Urdu that, although the numbers are ordered right to left like the letters, within each number the order is left to right like in English e.g. “12” and “34” would be written as “١٢” and “٣۴” but would appear in reverse order as: “٣۴” and “١٢” (i.e. “34” and “12”), the first number in a sequence appears on the right and the last number appears on the left.

That was how the Promised Messiah (as) originally wrote the sequence. But here’s a picture of the sequence in our system:

Codebreakers Wanted: the Curious Case of the Messiah’s Mysterious Numbers

As you might’ve read, the publisher’s note mentions something about the “knowledge of numerical values” used in Arabic and Urdu, but not English. As far as I can tell, this seems to be a reference to hisab-ul-jummal (حِسَابُ الْجُمَّل) which is known as “gematriain English. This alphanumeric system was commonly used in Hebrew, Arabic and languages written in the Arabic script like Persian, Urdu and Ottoman Turkish. These numbers were thought to have a mystical significance and were once widely known in the Islamic world. Here’s the complete list in Arabic:

ا (1)   ب (2)   ج (3)   د (4)

ہ (5) و (6)   ز (7)   ح (8)

ط (9)   ي (10) ک (20)   ل (30)

م (40)  ن (50)   س (60) ع (70)

ف (80)   ص (90)   ق (100)   ر (200) 

ش (300)   ت (400)   ث (500)   خ (600) 

ذ (700)    ض (800)     ظ (900)   غ (1000)

Sidenote: this was once the original order of the Arabic alphabet, hence why we call the system an “abjad” (the first four letters are “a”, “b”, “j”, “d”). Although it looks more difficult, the original order was actually easier for people to remember; the whole Arabic alphabet could be summarised in 8 made-up nonsense words that were easy for schoolchildren to memorise: “abjad” (اَبْجَدْ), “hawwaz” (هَوَّزْ), “hutti” (حُطِّي), “kaliman” (کَلِمَنْ), “sa’afas” (سَعْفَصْ), “qurishat” (قُرِشَتْ), “thakhadh (ثَخَّذْ)”, “dazagh (ضَظَغْ)” — once you learn how to do it, it’s even faster than reciting “a, b, c…” in English. This system is also explains why the number “786” is considered lucky by many Muslims; it is the total numerical value of the phrase “Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim” (بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَحْمٰنِ الرَحِيْم) i.e. “In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful”. Some Musims even write “786” instead of “Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim” at the start of their letters.

Anyway, as you can see, in a gematria system, the numbers go up almost logarithmically; once you reach a new power of ten (e.g. 10 or 100), that then becomes the new difference between the next number.

It’s possible that this might be the key to the solution for working out the sequence of numbers.

And yet the sequence remains unsolved after well over a century. This makes it seem like the solution is more likely to be scientific or mathematical rather than linguistic.

After all, there’s a note in the last picture by Hazrat Maulana Jalaluddin Shams (ra), a companion of the Promised Messiah (as), that the meaning of the numbers and the symbol will be manifested at the appropriate time.

To me, this seems like a strong indication that the answer might have something to do with a scientific or mathematical discovery that only took place many years after the time of the Promised Messiah (as). Perhaps it’s something that might’ve even been discovered this year, who knows? Or maybe it’s something that will only be discovered in a few years or perhaps long after that. Allah knows best.

But if you are a scientist, mathematician, cryptographer, statistician, programmer or anyone who just happens to work with numbers, see if you can crack the code and let us know.

And please remember that much of the information in this article may be irrelevant to the solution (I focused on the linguistic side of things because of my background but it probably isn’t the key to the solution).

Here’s the sequence and symbol one last time:






Codebreakers Wanted: the Curious Case of the Messiah’s Mysterious Numbers

وسلام علی من فھم اسرارنا و اتبع الھدی

Peace be on him who fathoms our mysteries and follows the guidance
The Promised Messiah (as); 27th December, 1891

If you have any ideas or possible solutions, please let us know in the comments section below and help us solve this mystery.

About the Author: Mansoor Dahri is an online editor for The Review of Religions. He graduated from UCL in BA Ancient Languages.


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  • At first I thought the code could be some type of binary, so alternating between zeros and ones for every new number value, I tried putting it in a decoder, but the word I got didn’t make any sense. Then I tried working out the difference between the numbers repeatedly until I got zeros and ones, but that just gave the letter ž.

    • In my comment, I noted the potential of radio astronomy– they use numbers to detect potential communications/ alien signals/ extraterrestrial civilizations. The shape of the symbol might be a form of constellation identifying potential locations. Allah knows best. (Check SETI)

  • I also thought it could be longitude and latitude, but it seems like longitude and latitude don’t work that way. I also thought it could be an ISBN, but nothing came up.

  • I input all the numbers into a scatter graph to see what would happen, and when you joined up some the dots, they distinctly looked like letters but they still didn’t mean anything. I also thought it looked like possible constellations. I managed to get Aries and I think Cancer to fit on the graph but I haven’t tried fitting every constellation. I am also not an astronomer so I have no clue if they actually work or not, but it might be possible?

  • Maybe also they could represent the cycles of different things, like 28 days in one lunar cycle, I think 47 or 37 years is a cycle for Mars

  • I also worked out how many times different numbers appear in the sequence. There’s 65 numbers in the sequence but only 15 unique numbers. The number 1 appears 11 times, the number 7 appears 7 times, the number 47 only appears once

  • The strange thing is is that there are certain pairs or groups of numbers that appear together more than once…
    For example, 28 and 27 appear together more than once. 14, 2 And 27 appear together more than once. 14, 11, and 7 appear together more than once, though in a different order. 11 and 34 appear together in at least three places. 14, 11, and 7 are together in at least two places. I’m pretty sure there are others too.

    To me this suggests that there’s some poetic rhythm going on here, or something that requires repetition to be important

  • Another theory I have is that it could be some type of sound/radio frequency, but I don’t know how to actually test that.

    I also thought it could be something to do with the verse numbers of the Holy Qur’an, but there’s 65 numbers so it wouldn’t include all the verse numbers

  • Instead of working out the difference between the numbers, I also thought about adding up each of the numbers in the sequence in pairs, until it makes a new sequence, which would eventually get shorter and make a huge number. But this takes a lot of maths so I gave up. Though, you could always use the mystical number abjad values in this article to try and make sense of the plain sum of all the numbers in the sequence. But my personal view is that sequence of the numbers has to somehow be important

  • Depending on whether the numbers are written in Arabic or Urdu, you could try to make an anagram with the letters of the numbers to make a different word. For example, in English 28 would be twenty eight, which could be ‘then weight yet’
    But I don’t know Urdu or Arabic well enough to figure out anagrams in those languages

  • I also thought they could possible be syllables of different words or sentences. For example 1 could be ‘wa’ (and) but considering there are numbers as high as 47, that could be impossible to figure out

    However, considering that the revelation that comes with mentions those who ‘follow the guidance’ I feel like the Holy Qur’an also has an important part in the number sequence. I thought it could actually be how many times different words appear in the Qur’an. For example how many words appear 28 or 27 times, and use those words to make a new sequence

  • The symbol is perhaps the most mysterious part of the revelation. At first I thought it might be some type of explosion, or a butterfly. It also kind of looks like a steam iron. It also looks like a rock. The line that comes off the left side is carefully placed compared to main drawing which looks more irregular, suggesting that whole image was drawn for a specific purpose or to convey a specific message. It also looks like a an r in Arabic.

    The thickness of the lines is also interesting to trace, because you can almost figure out the way it was drawn or maybe when the pen was dipped again in ink

  • This might be related to extraterrestrials or potentially the discovery of alien civilizations. There is a formula called the Drake formula. In radio astronomy they would use numbers to assess radio waves that might potentially be evidence of an extraterrestrial intelligence civilization. I would share this with an astronomer or physicists or the people at SETI or Greenbanks Observatory

  • Check with radio astronomers..the ones who found the WOW signal. Might be related to extraterrestrial intelligence

  • Is it possible that the numbers produce the image of the symbol in a coding software, or that they they relate to the coordinates of some celestial body on the date of the revelation or on other significant dates?

  • The code meaning is 4 which symbolizes “Stability”. This revelation was revealed late in the life of the Promised Messiah (as).

    The picture has two meanings.
    Using the symbolism “Stability”.

    The stability or completeness of physical, emotional, mental & spiritual before reaching death. In the picture, the rabbit means animal and the Man means evolving to high spiritual status.

    The stability of his pious community after death. The circle under the rabbit means a worldly kingdom. The circle under the man means spiritual kingdom which is Ahmadyyiat.

    To close, the line that is sticking out means the end of life in this world and entry into a higher dimension, Paradise.

    Reply and let me know what you think.

    • Why do you think the number “4” symbolise stability? Also, why do you think the symbol looks like a rabbit and why would that be meaningful? If anything, it looks more like a butterfly to me (if I had to hazard a guess at some animal or insect that bore the image any similarity).

    • Please can you explain the significance of these numbers? What do these calculations actually mean?

      • These are some simple calculations to get the best product possible from these numbers. The number 4 means much. It is a Quranic number. (Tasfir e Kabir) Gods principle attributes in Surah Al – Fatiha. This number has significance and so does the number 7 which means perfection. The number 7 is used for the 7 Paradise.

      • Also throughout the Qur’an we have various commands that are in 4 parts. For example, 103:4 Except those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to accept truth, and exhort one another to be steadfast.

  • The Ahmadiyya Muslim Research Association UK looked into this a while back.
    I personally thought the repeating numbers were likely to point to text or linguistic solutions.
    However, DNA base pairs and genetic codes also show repetition from the pen of the Creator, and maybe he even signed it with the symbol that could be the earliest written form of His name?

  • The holy Qur’an is a living book carrying the “amanat(promise)” from Allah the Almighty that it caters for the future, present and past. The right answer or answers; would be those, upon which were arrived at in manners conforming to the laws of the “Furqan(Qur’an)”

  • I think the symbol represents an “entity”_ whatever that maybe; calling out, imploring, submitting to a recognized higher force.

    It reminds me of a verse of the holy Qur’an; also which the recipient of these codes_ Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(a.s) also spoke on in the article_ Arabic, the Mother of Tongues.

  • 51:57
    وَمَا خَلَقۡتُ الۡجِنَّ وَالۡاِنۡسَ اِلَّا لِیَعۡبُدُوۡنِ ﴿۵۷﴾

    Meaning that: I alone am the Purpose of the creation of Jinn and men and all their faculties, which have all been created so that I should be recognised and worshipped.

    This verse indicates that man, by his very creation, has been invested with the search and recognition and obedience of God. Had man not been invested with these, there would have been no pursuit of passion, no idol worship, and no worship of men in the world, inasmuch as every error results from pursuit of the discovery of truth. Thus, God alone is the true Sayyed.

  • A.W.W,

    I am tempted to write 786 as read in this article but it does not bring home the same feeling of contentment as writing;

    Bismillahi Rahmanir Raheem.

    My abbreviation at the beginning is the short of the full “Salam.” As revelations to prophets of God have been guaranteed protection against any rebellious satans.

    وَحِفۡظًا مِّنۡ کُلِّ شَیۡطٰنٍ مَّارِدٍ ۚ﴿۸﴾

    [c]And have guarded it against all rebellious satans.[2472]

    …. the solution to this particular revelation should be approached by heavenly and earthly modes. And we should put in mind every nuance of it has no doubt and has a purpose.

  • I would like to know; what were the conditions and events around the time of its revelation. We must remember certain rules guiding revelations and simply shouldn’t treat it as a code. In retrospect_ the title can be changed from “codebreakers….”

    Simply put; I think it is those “Walis(friends of Allah), Kalimas(words of Allah)” living amongst us that would be able to decipher this or fastest. This is to say you should be a religiously minded scientist, codebreaker, e.t.c

    وَّاَنَّا لَمَسۡنَا السَّمَآءَ فَوَجَدۡنٰہَا مُلِئَتۡ حَرَسًا شَدِیۡدًا وَّشُہُبًا ۙ﴿۹﴾

    ‘And we sought to reach heaven,[3141] but we found it filled with strong guards and [b]shooting stars,

    وَّاَنَّا کُنَّا نَقۡعُدُ مِنۡہَا مَقَاعِدَ لِلسَّمۡعِ ؕ فَمَنۡ یَّسۡتَمِعِ الۡاٰنَ یَجِدۡ لَہٗ شِہَابًا رَّصَدًا ۙ﴿۱۰﴾

    ‘And we used to sit in some of its seats to listen. But whoso listens now finds a shooting star in ambush[3142] for him,

  • In solving this; I think the Arabic version i.e the original if possible should be used directly; the translated English version has altered certain positions. The Promised Messiah(a.s) while deciphering and explaining the meaning of the verse below in a letter;

    وَجَدَہَا تَغۡرُبُ فِیۡ عَیۡنٍ حَمِئَۃٍ

    has this to say,:

    “….when this verse is read along with the preceding and following verses, it constitutes a prophecy about the Promised Messiah and specifies the time of his advent. To elaborate this point, let me say that the Promised Messiah is also Dhulqarnain, because the Arabic word qarn connotes a century, and this verse indicates that the birth and advent of the Promised Messiah will span two centuries. And this clearly applies to me, for I have lived in two centuries according to every calendar I know of, be it Islamic, Christian or Bikrami, and my birth and advent have not been confined to a single century, and, in this sense, I am Dhulqarnain.”

    Here, I would like to point out the originality of revelations vouchsafed to prophets. Even the actual words; or here, we can say numbers carries a depth of meanings. The revelation starts with the number 28; which brings to mind an approximate lunar month, around 0.948 of a lunar cycle. The column containing 28 also has its lower multiples.

    Also, the set of numbers include several values corresponding to lunar days whereupon probable solar/lunar eclipses occur with intervening twos, ones, elevens, sevens; and completely different numbers such as 23, 10, 47, 34, 5.

    The figure comprises of seemingly two different compartments with a front end and back end.

    Ya hayyo Ya Qayyum bay rahamatayka nastaghees’ (O Living, O Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining Allah, grant me Thy mercy). Amin.

    Allahumo salle’alaa Muhammad wa ‘alaa aale Muhammad.