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.

  • 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.

  • I ran this in ChatGPT. Here is what I got.

    analyze this number sequence: 28–27–14–2–27–2–26–2–28–1–23–15–11-





    ChatGPT: The number sequence seems to be a mix of numbers ranging from 1 to 47, with some repetitions. Without further context, it’s difficult to determine the pattern or rule that governs the sequence.

    However, some observations can be made:

    The numbers seem to be randomly arranged, with no clear increasing or decreasing order.
    Some numbers, such as 28 and 27, appear multiple times in the sequence.
    The sequence includes some single-digit numbers, such as 1, 2, 5, and 7, as well as some larger numbers like 34 and 47.
    There are some pairs of numbers that repeat, such as 14-2, 2-27, and 34-11.
    Without additional information, it is not possible to discern any clear meaning or pattern in this sequence.

    I asked it if there are any other patterns you can discern.

    ChatGPT: Looking more closely at the sequence, I noticed a few additional patterns:

    The number 2 appears three times in a row at one point in the sequence: 2-26-2.
    The numbers 14, 27, and 34 appear relatively frequently throughout the sequence.
    There are several instances of consecutive numbers that are one unit apart, such as 27-28, 10-1, and 1-2.
    There are also some instances of consecutive numbers that are four units apart, such as 23-27 and 11-1.
    However, despite these patterns, there doesn’t seem to be a clear rule or formula underlying the sequence as a whole. It’s possible that additional context or information could reveal more about the sequence, but based on the numbers alone, it’s difficult to draw any firm conclusions.

    I then asked if there were any additional patterns that come to mind?

    ChatGPT: After taking another look at the sequence, I noticed a few more patterns:

    There are several instances where the number 1 appears after a larger number, such as 28-1 and 47-1. This suggests that 1 may be serving as a sort of reset or starting point within the sequence.
    There are a few instances where the same two numbers appear in reverse order, such as 14-2 and 2-14. This could suggest some sort of mirroring or reflection within the sequence.
    The sequence includes a few instances of repeating patterns of three or four numbers, such as 7-34-11 and 14-7-2-1-7-5-1-14-1.
    The numbers 11, 14, and 27 all appear multiple times and in close proximity to one another in the sequence.
    Again, while these patterns may be interesting, it’s difficult to determine any clear overall structure or meaning to the sequence as a whole without additional context.

    I then asked it, this sequence was a revelation from God.

    ChatGPT: As an AI language model, I don’t have beliefs or opinions regarding religious matters. However, if the sequence was presented as a religious revelation, it would be important to interpret it within the context of that particular religion’s beliefs and practices. It’s possible that the sequence may hold some special significance or meaning within the specific religious context, but without further information, it’s impossible for me to say.