Friday Sermon Summary 17th February 2023: ‘Remarkable Scholarly Achievements of the Promised Reformer’

After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) said that as every Ahmadi knows, 20th February is commemorated with regards to the Prophecy of the Promised Reformer, and programmes are held across the Jama’at. Though this is still a few days away, His Holiness (aba) said he thought it best to mention a few things in this regard during this sermon.

His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad - prophecy promised reformer

The Grand Prophecy of an Illustrious Son

His Holiness (aba) said that the Promised Messiah (as) received a revelation promising a son who possessed many excellent qualities through the grace of God and His help. The prophecy vouchsafed to the Promised Messiah (as) is as follows:

‘I confer upon thee a Sign of My mercy according to thy supplications. I have heard thy entreaties and have honored thy prayers with My acceptance through My mercy and have blessed this thy journey. A sign of power, mercy, nearness to Me is bestowed on thee. A Sign of grace and beneficence is awarded to thee and thou art granted the key of success and victory. Peace on thee, O victorious one. Thus does God speak so that those who desire life may be rescued from the grip of death and those who are buried in the graves may emerge therefrom and so that the superiority of Islam and the dignity of God’s word may become manifest unto the people and so that the truth may arrive with all its blessings and falsehood may depart with all its ills, and so that people may understand that I am the Lord of Power, I do whatever I will, and so that they may believe that I am with thee, and so that those who do not believe in God and deny and reject His religion and His Book and His Holy Messenger Muhammad, the chosen one (on whom be peace) may be confronted with a clear sign and the way of the guilty ones may become manifest.

Rejoice, therefore, that a handsome and pure boy will be bestowed on thee. Thou wilt receive a bright youth who will be of thy seed and will be of thy progeny. A handsome and pure boy will come as your guest. His name is Emmanuel and Bashir. He has been invested with a holy spirit and he will be free from all impurity. He is the light of Allah. Blessed is he who comes from heaven. He shall be accompanied by grace (Fazl) which shall arrive with him. He will be characterized with grandeur, greatness and wealth. He will come into the world and will heal many of their disorder through his Messianic qualities and through the blessings of the Holy Spirit. He is the Word of Allah for Allah’s mercy and honor have equipped him with the Word of Majesty. He will be extremely intelligent and understanding and will be meek of heart and will be filled with secular and spiritual knowledge. He will convert three into four (of this the meaning is not clear). It is Monday, a blessed Monday. Son, delight of heart, high ranking, noble; a manifestation of the First and the Last, a manifestation of the True and the High; as if Allah has descended from heaven. His advent will be greatly blessed and will be a source of manifestation of Divine Majesty. Behold! a light cometh, a light anointed by God with the perfume of His pleasure. We shall pour our spirit into him and he will be sheltered under the shadow of God. He will grow rapidly in stature and will be the means of procuring the release of those held in bondage. His fame will spread to the ends of the earth and peoples will be blessed through him. He will then be raised to his spiritual station in heaven. This is a matter decreed.’

His Holiness (aba) said that in accordance with this prophecy, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) was born to the Promised Messiah (as), who would also go on to be chosen by God as the Second Caliph. He later also announced that in fact, he was the very son foretold by God to the Promised Messiah (as).

His Holiness (aba) said that all the aspects of this prophecy were fulfilled in the person of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), and there are many non-Ahmadis who attest to this as well. His Holiness (aba) said that he would mention some of his great academic achievements.

His Holiness (aba) said that before mentioning these great achievements, it is important to first preface them by saying that growing up, he endured very frail health during his childhood; his eyesight was very weak and he even started losing vision in one eye. Furthermore, he did not have any conventional education, in fact, he himself mentions that his formal education was only at the primary level. However, God Almighty had decreed that he would be filled with spiritual and secular knowledge and as such, he was enabled to deliver such lectures and pen such books that were remarkable and unmatched. 

Overview of the Published Works of the Promised Reformer

His Holiness (aba) said that the Promised Reformer’s (ra) books, speeches, lectures, sermons, which have been published in book form or are prepared and ready to be published number 1,424. They are in the form of a set called Anwarul Uloom which has 38 volumes. The total number of pages is 20,340. 

His Holiness (aba) said that including Tafsir-e-Kabir (the Grand Exegesis) and Tafsir-e-Saghir (the Short Commentary), the total number of pages spanning his work on the commentary of the Holy Qur’an is 28,735. He delivered 1,808 Friday Sermons, which span 18,700 pages. He delivered 51 Eid al-Fitr Sermons which span 503 pages. He delivered 42 Eid al-Adha Sermons which span 405 pages. He delivered 150 Nikah (Islamic marriage announcement) Sermons, which span 184 pages. His addresses to Shura (consultative body) have also been published which span 2,131 pages. There are various other categories as well, and if all the pages of his works are added together, they amount to about 75,000 pages. 

His Holiness (aba) said that it has also come to light that the Promised Reformer (ra) also had some publications in Al-Fazal and Al-Hakam which have not been included in Anwarul Uloom yet. There are 55 articles, 27 speeches, 43 question and answer sessions, 220 recorded sayings, and 131 letters have so far been discovered. 

His Holiness (aba) said that he has left an expansive intellectual treasure. His Holiness (aba) said that he would first highlight the Promised Reformer’s (ra) work on the commentary of the Holy Qur’an and present the views of non-Ahmadis in this regard as well.

Services in Relation to the Holy Qur’an

His Holiness (aba) said that in the Grand Exegesis, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) provided the commentary for 69 chapters of the Holy Qur’an which span 10 volumes and 5,907 pages. There are more pages of his notes on commentary which have been found and number the thousands. Similarly, he did a great amount of work in the explanatory translation of the Holy Qur’an in the form of Tafsir-e-Saghir. It was his great desire that such a translation for the Holy Qur’an should be completed. 

His Holiness (aba) said that once, the Promised Reformer (ra) said that there is no translation of the Holy Qur’an other than Tafsir-e-Saghir which is so mindful of the idioms used in the Holy Qur’an and relaying those in its translation. He said that this was the work of God, and He does it through whomsoever He pleases.  

His Holiness (aba) said that the Promised Reformer’s (ra) commentary is also published in English, in the form of the Five Volume Commentary. In the introduction, he wrote that due to being the student of the First Caliph (ra), there will be many points in this commentary which he learned from him. As such, this commentary will comprise points from the Promised Messiah (as), the First Caliph (ra), and himself. He said that this commentary would help heal the spiritually ill. His Holiness (aba) said that even those who read this commentary today attest to its excellence. 

Remarks and Observations on His Works

His Holiness (aba) presented the views of non-Ahmadis who lauded and appreciated the Promised Reformer’s (ra) work on the exegesis and commentary of the Holy Qur’an, such as Allamah Niaz Fatehpuri, a renowned scholar who lamented over not having been aware of this commentary before. He expressed that this was the first ever commentary in the Urdu language which could satiate the mind and it was such that even his opponents could not refute the points made in it. His Holiness (aba) also presented the views of a renowned leader of the Ahrar movement, named Maulvi Mazhar Ali Azhar who wrote saying that none among the Ahrar could compete with the knowledge of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), especially when it came to knowledge of the Holy Qur’an. He expressed his disappointment over the Ahrar movement, saying that they were nowhere near the community of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra). His Holiness (aba) also presented the comments of various other scholars commending the Promised Reformer’s (ra) work. 

His Holiness (aba) said that on 19th June 1966, the Qandeel newspaper wrote that Tafsir-e-Saghir is presented in a manner that is easy to understand so that it may be accessible to all. Similarly, it also bears in mind the commentaries of previous commentaries of the Holy Qur’an in order to present a comprehensive understanding. The newspaper said that the publication of Tafsir-e-Saghir was a great service to Islam. His Holiness (aba) said that these days, Tafsir-e-Sagir is banned in Pakistan because it is alleged that it dishonours the Holy Qur’an, whereas their own just people have expressed how beneficial and unmatched it is. 

His Holiness (aba) also presented the views of Western and European scholars regarding Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad’s (ra) commentary on the Holy Qur’an. For example, AJ Arberry, a renowned scholar, said that this commentary was a great achievement. He said that it would not be an exaggeration to say that this work stands distinct in the history of Islamic academics. His Holiness (aba) presented the views of various other scholars and publications. 

His Holiness (aba) said that non-Ahmadis have also lauded the various speeches delivered by the Promised Reformer (ra). For example, he delivered a speech which was then published under the title A New World Order. A renowned Egyptian journalist and professor Abbas Mahmoud al-Aqqad said that upon studying this lecture, it is clear that the lecturer had full knowledge of fascism, nazism, communism and other world orders, however, he also presented the very correct belief that politicians and governments alone cannot solve problems such as poverty and hunger, rather a spiritual power is required in order to solve these problems and they can only be solved when all people come together. He said that the Promised Reformer (ra) also presented a very just view of the various orders and presented a new order which can be universally accepted and with sound proofs has shown that it is only Islam which possesses the ability to solve all of the world’s issues. 

His Holines (aba) said that another lecture delivered by the Promised Reformer was The Outset of Dissention in Islam. It was so profound and showed his great prowess over the history of Islam that renowned scholars began considering themselves to be his students. The Promised Reformer (ra) presented that Hazrat Uthman (ra) and the Companions (ra) were free from any fault, and the Companions (ra) did not oppose the Caliphate of Hazrat Uthman (ra). His Holiness (aba) presented the views of various scholars regarding this lecture, such as Syed Abdul Qadir MA, Professor of the Islamiyyah College Lahore, attested that this was a very scholarly lecture. He said that he himself had also studied history, however there are very few who have been able to get to the root of dissension during the time of Hazrat Uthman (ra) and understanding the events that took place, and then presenting them in such a clear manner. He said that never has there been such a comprehensive work done on this subject in the history of Islam. 

His Holiness (aba) also presented the views of scholars regarding the lecture The Political Solidarity of Islam, it was said that by many that although their beliefs were different from that of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), there was no doubt that he was one of the greatest scholars in India. It was said that no one had refuted the European political philosophy in the manner that the Promised Reformer (ra) had. In fact, after the speech, students could be heard saying that it would be futile to continue supporting the communist view. Another publication said that this lecture was full of wisdom and insight, and that Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) possessed God-given capabilities. 

His Holiness (aba) presented the views of various other scholars as well. His Holiness (aba) said that there were many accounts and comments which he gathered, however all of them cannot be presented due to the shortage of time. Even the ones he did present were summarised as well.

His Holiness (aba) said that all the qualities foretold to the Promised Messiah (as) about the Promised Reformer were all found in Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra). God granted him knowledge and understanding, such that no other scholar could compete or compare with. All of his works are a treasure for this Community, and a great deal of work continues to be done to translate his works into English. His Holiness (aba) prayed that may we benefit from these works. 

Summary prepared by The Review of Religions