Moons of Light

The purpose of this short treatise is to reflect upon that intangible light which pervades and illuminates the counte- nances of those persons who experience the presence of God to a lesser or greater degree. It is not the light of the Solar System generated by the Sun or e l e c t r i c i t y. It is Divine Light which manifests itself in different measure according to the individual in the same way that the light of the Sun manifests itself in different measure through the moon and planets according to their phase of positions and movements. Everyone is not the same. The faces of some individuals are more effulgent with the light of God than are the faces of other individuals. Alas, some show no light at all. No doubt a person’s face does light up due to various causes such as on receiving good and happy news; on meeting somebody whom one loves etc. In this treatise, attention is being focussed on the ema- nation of Holy Light which is of its own distinctive nature radiating from the countenance of those who are infused to a greater or lesser degree with the presence of God. This Divine Light has a beauty and effulgence of its own. Prophets of God hold a specialrelationship with their Maker. Their spiritual status is very high. According to the Holy Q u r’an, they are sinless and exemplars of the Laws of God. The Glory of God shows in their faces. They may be likened to the spherical moon reflecting the light of the sun. As is the way with Prophets, M o s e s( a s) enjoyed communion with God to which his face bore testimony with holy light. We read in the Old testament: ‘When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in his hands as he came down from the mountain, 68 Review of Religions – May 2002 Moons of Light By Maulana Bashir Orchard, UK Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.’ (Exodus 34:29) ‘The People of Israel saw that the skin of Moses shone’. (Exodus 34:35) Similarly, in the New testament there is a description of the bright countenance of Jesus(as): ‘And his face shone like the sun …’ (Matthew 17:2) Reverting to the Old Testament, there is a clear prophecy foretelling the advent of the Holy Prophet(sa) of Islam who was raised in Arabia in the seventh century. His appearance has been described in glowing terms: ‘His glory covered the heavens and the earth; and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was of the light.’ (Habbakkuk 3:3-4) Turing to the radiant appear- ance of the Holy Prophet(sa) of Islam, we learn: ‘The face of the Holy Prophet shined like the full moon’ (Shamail Tirmidhi) ‘I have not seen anybody who has smiled more than the Holy Prophet’. (Abdullah bin Harith) ‘He met everyone cheerfully and courteously’. (Husain bin Ali) ‘Every time he saw me he smiled’. (Hareer bin Abdullah) Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) was the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community which he inaugurated in 1889 in Qadian, India. He claimed to be the expected Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi by Christians, Muslims and followers of other religions also. He was in regular communion with God. He was suffused with the presence of God which he exuded at all times. We are moved by the inspiring prayer: ‘O Allah, diffuse light into my heart and ears; Diffuse light on my eyes and on my tongue; Diffuse light on my right and on my left; 69 Moons of Light Review of Religions – May 2002 Diffuse light above me and under me; Engulf me in Thy light.’ Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad, son of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) has written that one of his devout disciples known as Munshee Sahib was asked what impressed him most about his personality. He replied: ‘I have known Hadhrat Mirza Sahib from a time earlier than the day he put forth his claim. Another face so pure and lit up with such spiritual light I have never seen in my life. That light and his magnetic personality were for me the greatest argument in his favour. What we constantly hungered for was just an opportunity to have another look at that illuminated face.’ Bahai Abdul Rahman was another devoted disciple of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). He described his countenance during the last moments of his life: ‘There was a peculiar lustre on his face and a deep inner reflection tinged with an inde- finable peace and joy and a kind of bright spiritual light which shone on his countenance.’ In the Holy Qur’an, God states that his righteous servants who offer diligent prayers and strive to win His pleasure carry a distinctive mark on their faces: ‘Thou seest them bowing and prostrating themselves in prayer, seeking grace from Allah and His pleasure. Their mark is upon their faces, being traces of prostration.’ The mark upon their faces is that of Divine light and not the mark which sometimes appears on the forehead of a worshipper from prostrations. It results from righteous living and prayerful devotions. There are many who go through mechan- ical prostrations from which they may even acquire a mark on their foreheads; but it is not an indication of piety. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) has pin- pointed the significant reality of this spiritual sign which lights up the faces of His righteous servants: ‘When a man is pure of heart, he does not need a multiplicity 70 Moons of Light Review of Religions – May 2002 of miracles. One sign is enough to lead such a one to the right path if there be the fear of God in the heart.’ (B r a h e e n Ahmadiyya) The East African Ti m e s published the following tribute to Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad after his death. He was immersed in spiritual light which this humble writer has witnessed on many occassions: ‘God has Blessed him with ample means and affluence but he led a very simple and a saintly life. He was accessible to everybody and dearly loved and revered by all. Tall in build and possessed of a charming personality beaming with love and kindness for all, he walked with the dignity of a prince very much like his holy father (Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) the Promised Messiah. With a halo of piety about his face and his resonant voice, he captivated the hearts of those who met him and listened to his inspiring words. There is no doubt about it that with the passing away of Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad the world has lost the Moon of Prophets.’ Righteous devotees of God thrive on Divine Light both in this world and in the world to come. They hunger for it and manifest it in every way. The departed souls are forever praying for more l i g h t . ‘… Their light will run before them and on their right hands. They will say, ‘Our Lord, perfect our light for us and forgive us; surely Thou hast power over all things …’ (Holy Qur’an, Ch:66, V.9) May we be worthy of receiving more light. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. 71 Moons of Light Review of Religions – May 2002 Bashir Ahmad Orchard – served as a missionary in the UK for many years after the Second World War when he had been stationed in India. 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