QUESTION & ANSWER: Continuity of Divine Guidance

Could you please advi s e me as to which verse in the Holy Qur’an refers to the appearance of anoth- er Prophet after the Prophet Muhammad( s a )? Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad: The Holy Qur’an has addressed this issues in a number of ways. Firstly, the Holy Qur’an informs us that God took a covenant from all his Prophets [and through them from all their followers] that they would accept the Prophet who was to follow after them, provided the Prophet that followed did not disagree with the principles of the preceding Prophet. [In Chapter 3, Verse 82 of the Holy Qur’an, it is stated]: 60 Review of Religions – May 2002 Continuity of Divine Guidance Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the Fourth Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, from time to time offers to people of all nationalities, faiths and beliefs the opportunity of ra i s i n g questions and issues that are of interest to them. Presented below are answers to some questions that were raised in a session held at Mahmud Hall, London Mosque on 18 April 1999. Prepared by Amatul Hadi Ahmad QUESTIONER And remember the time when Allah took a covenant from the people through the Prophets, saying ‘Whatever I give you of the Book and Wisdom and then there comes to you a M e s s e n g e r, fulfilling that which is with you, you shall believe in him and help him’. (Ch.3: v.82) This Covenant was also taken from the Holy Prophet(sa) and the Holy Qur’an states this clearly: And remember when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from thee, and from Noah, and Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus, son of Mary, and We indeed took from them a solemn covenant. (Ch.33: v.8) In other words, God is stating that He took this covenant of Prophets from all the Prophets and He is now taking this covenant from Muhammad( s a ) Prophet of Allah. This indicates that there was a Prophet of God yet to come or this covenant should not have been taken from Pr o p h e t M u h a m m a d( s a ). Moreover, the essential qualifications of the Prophet yet to come were to be the same as of all the previous Prophets, [thus qualifying him for the title of ‘ Prophet’]. In other words, should a Prophet appear after you [O’ Muhammad, Prophet of God] who supports the principles enunciated by you and the teachings which have been founded by you, then that Prophet should not be rejected. In fact, you should 61 Continuity of Divine Guidance Review of Religions – May 2002 advise your people to support such a Prophet. In my view, this is the prime verse which supports the Ahmadiyya inter- pretation of the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s(sa) lofty status as the Seal of all the Prophets, that is Khataman-Nabiyeen. Another way in which the Holy Qur’an deals with the issue of the appearance of a sub- ordinate Prophet after the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa), is by issuing the following edict in Chapter Al-Nisa where it states: And whoso obeys Allah and this Messenger of His shall be among those on whom Allah has bestowed His blessings, namely, the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs, and the Righteous. And excellent companions are these. (Ch.4: v.70) In other words, after Prophet M u h a m m a d( s a ), those who follow Allah and this Prophet, M u h a m m a d( s a ), would be among the people who are the recipients of rewards from Allah. What are these rewards? The recipient of these rewards would be persons from among the Prophets, from among the Truthful who would form the second order. These are people who adhere to perfect truthfulness and attain the status of the Truthful. After this category is the reward of those who are martyrs in the name of Allah and then those who are pious and do righteous deeds. These are the four spiritual rewards that were bestowed upon persons before Prophet Muhammad( s a ) a n d these are the four spiritual 62 Continuity of Divine Guidance Review of Religions – May 2002 rewards that would be bestowed upon persons who, in following the Holy Pr o p h e t M u h a m m a d( s a ), attained the four stations mentioned above. There are many other references in the Holy Qur’an to a Prophet who was to come after the Holy Prophet(sa), in his Ummah, as a Pr o p h e t subordinate to the Holy Prophet(sa). However, for the time being, the above two references should suffice. I came to know that the Ahmadiyya Jama’at was introduced about a hundred years ago. If this is correct then where was Ahmadiyyat thirteen hundred years ago? Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad: Fourteen hundred years ago they existed in the form of the Muslims who followed the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa). In fact, the word A h m a d i y y a w a s chosen to indicate that this community is referred to as a sect by the rest of the Muslims and it was to identify them that the term ‘Ahmadi Muslim’ was to be applied. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ( a s ) o f Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, the Founder of this Community, did not call it a sect. This is one thing that people do not generally understand. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam A h m a d( a s ) of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, called this community ‘Jama’at Ahmadiyya’, that is, he called it a ‘Jama’at’, and a QUESTIONER 63 Continuity of Divine Guidance Review of Religions – May 2002 THERE ARE MANY OTHER REFERENCES IN THE HOLY QUR’AN TO A PROPHET WHO WAS TO COME AFTER THE HOLY PROPHET(SA), IN HIS UMMAH, AS A PROPHET SUBORDINATE TO THE HOLY PROPHET(SA). Jama’at is not a sect. He called his followers ‘Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at’. In this form an Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at existed fourteen hundred years ago as the true followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa). That there would be another Jama’at like the one that existed at the time of the Holy Prophet(sa) had been prophe- sied by the Holy Qur’an as it is stated in the chapter entitled Al-Juma’a: And among others from among them who have not yet joined them. (Ch.62: v.4) That is, the persons who would truly represent the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) in the latter days would bridge the gap between the earlier people and the followers of latter days and they would be made one. That is why I claim this on the authority of the Holy Qur’an and do not state it just from myself. The Holy Qur’an has stated it in so many words that the true representative of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) in the latter days would link his followers spiritually to the followers of the Holy Prophet M u h a m m a d( s a ) so that they could be described as one people. His followers would be truly the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa). What is the relationship between Jesus Christ(as) and Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad: Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam A h m a d(as) claimed to be a spiritual representative of Jesus Christ( a s ) following the same attitude in life which denounced the use of force and coercion in the name of religion, that is the spirit of Christianity or rather, should be the spirit of Christianity that was taught by Jesus(as). QUESTIONER 64 Continuity of Divine Guidance Review of Religions – May 2002 This teaching was that in the face of coercion or oppression in the name of God, one should try to show patience and ‘if struck on one cheek, offer the other one as well’. This form of sacrifice would eventually win more hearts than would be the case with the use of sword. This is exactly what is happening in Ahmadiyyat under Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian( a s ) and so we believe that he was true in his claim that he is a true representative of the spiritual Jesus Christ(as). What is the difference between a Messiah and a Prophet? Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad: Prophets are so many but all of the Prophets were not called Messiah. A Messiah teaches supreme sacrifice in the name of religion while other Pr o p h e t s were given permission by God to defend themselves with the sword, if the sword was raised against them. Messiahhood lies in this central attitude of supreme sacrifice and it is this that differentiates it from Pr o p h e t h o o d . The Promised Messiah(as) claimed Divine Guidance in establishing the Ahmadiyyat Jama’at. Can the same be said about those who found- ed the other seventy- two sects in Islam? Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad: You can ask them but they will tell you that this is not the case. None of the other sects were founded by a direct message to their leader by Allah. This can be verified by them. Ask any one, except for Shi’as – they claim that their beginning is authenticated by Allah’s word. That, however, needs to be subjected to some scrutiny, of course. As far as all the Sunni sects are concerned, none can claim that a divine person from Allah, having been commanded from Allah to do so, had instituted a new QUESTIONER QUESTIONER 65 Continuity of Divine Guidance Review of Religions – May 2002 organisation in Islam – none will be found among the Sunni sects – not a single one. So much evil is going on and is allowed to continue against the forces of good, justice and humanity. Will there be a time in the future that the forces of evil will be stopped or eradicated forever? Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad: That is, in fact, impossible. The fight between the forces of evil and the forces of goodness will continue forever. At times you will find goodness more dominant against evil and at times you will, unfor- tunately, find evil becoming more dominant. Sadly, the time we are presently passing through is when evil seems to be dom-inant all over the world. However, I am quite sure that in the longer run, as God’s Will be done, evil will be totally defeated, at least once. When this purpose is achieved, should mankind then gradually return to evil ways, then Allah will not care for them and, according to the Holy Qur’an, a time will come when evil will ultimately dominate once again. At that time mankind will be wiped out from the face of the earth and a new form of existence will come into being that will displace mankind. This view is based on many verses of the Holy Qur’an. There is not enough time now to give all the references from the Holy Qur’an. However, in principle, one can understand this point with reference to Noah. What happened in the time of Noah was that evil had dominated and very few true divine people were left on earth. For the sake of Truth, Allah destroyed a number which was overwhelming – the number did not even matter. The people were destroyed almost as a whole and Allah did not care for them as He did not create mankind for the sake of evil. If God has done this before, He will surely do it again should evil prevail. If QUESTIONER 66 Continuity of Divine Guidance Review of Religions – May 2002 mankind as a whole is rejected ultimately, having fallen back to its evil ways then Allah will wipe out the whole of mankind from the face of the earth and a new creation will come into being that will behave better than the previous creation of mankind. Why is religious music not encouraged in Islam? Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad: Religious music can mislead people because it is something that has its own effect on people [which is often misunderstood as a spiritual effect]. If one is lost to the effect of music, then there is very little room left for the remembrance of Allah. Religious music is just a guise, just an excuse – no more. That is why at the beginning of all religions, music was not employed. When the religions begin to drift away from the original sources then grad- u a l l y, in order to attract people, they start to make use of devices such as music. They think the influence of music would bring people back to religion – but it only brings them back to music, not to God. In my experience such music lovers do not change in their style of life, or their practice is under the influence of music. I can quote some examples of ‘qawwaals’ who have gained world wide fame in reciting religious songs in a manner that influences the listeners very profoundly. However, after this when they return back to their normal life they are as far away from religion and spirituality themselves as they were prior to giving the performance. Religion has its own music and that music is the spiritual music caused by the memory of Allah. If your emotions throb with the memory of God, that creates music which leaves no room for seeking help from any outward music. QUESTIONER 67 Continuity of Divine Guidance Review of Religions – May 2002