Dreams, Visions and Revelation Islam Languages

The Truthfulness of the English Revelations of the Promised Messiah (as)

The Advent of the Promised Messiah

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Azhar Goraya, Puerto Rico

Executive Summary

Revelation is one of the greatest miracles that has been granted to the Muslims. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) declared that the Messiah would receive revelation from God. In keeping with these promises, The Promised Messiah (as) received thousands of revelations. Amongst them were at least 28 which were in English, received over a period of 28 years. The lengthy amount of time over which he claimed to have received revelation is evidence that his revelations were true according to the Islamic principle that Allah the Almighty strikes down those who utter falsehoods in His name and He does not let them live long and prosperous lives. The revelations of the Promised Messiah (as) consisted of both visions and verbal inspirations, ranging from single words to short phrases. Some of them were to comfort him in times of distress, while others revealed aspects of the unseen relating to both the present and the future.

The purpose of receiving revelations in the English language was to demonstrate the power of God and as a sign to the English-speaking population of the world. English would become the undisputed lingua franca of the whole world and during his life was also the language of the British Raj. Moreover, it was the chief medium for the propagation of Christian doctrine, which he had been sent to nullify. There is evidence that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) also received revelations containing words in foreign tongues like Persian and Abyssinian, and there is also evidence that the Holy Qur’an includes words of a foreign origin that were later Arabised, making the English revelations of the Promised Messiah (as) part of this Sunnah.

The Promised Messiah (as) did not know English. Moreover, the nature of revelation is that at times it descends rapidly, which is indicated through the very word for revelation in Arabic, wahi. He stated that at times, when the revelation would descend upon him in this way, it was possible that there could be a slight departure in his memory from the actual words that were received. This was only in a very small number of cases, and his general memory of the English revelations was very good. Allah took various measures to preserve the revelations in English. At times, they would be repeated until the Promised Messiah (as) could memorize them, or be accompanied by translations, or he would be powerfully inspired with the meaning behind them. The revelations which seem to run counter to current conventions in English grammar can always be brought into harmony with them upon closer inspection.

That there is no issue with partially or wholly forgetting revelation is supported by the Qur’an and demonstrated by the Sunnah. The only revelation that Allah guaranteed would be protected and guarded in full was the Holy Qur’an. Therefore, we find instances of forgetfulness regarding other revelations received by the Prophet Muhammad (sa). The Qur’an teaches that every word and action of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) were part of God’s revelation. Nevertheless, the Holy Prophet (sa) forgot the exact night of Qadr that had been shown to him. He would at times also temporarily forget certain verses of the Qur’an, or how many raka’at he had offered in prayer, or sometimes general day-to-day activities.

Non-Ahmadi Muslims go further in attributing forgetfulness to the Prophet Muhammad (sa) by believing that he received and forgot satanic revelation, and in their acceptance of the theory of naskh and nisyaan (abrogation and forgetfulness of the revelation).

The slight forgetfulness of the Promised Messiah (as) regarding a few of his English revelations was therefore necessary and facilitated by Allah to maintain the superiority of the revelation of the Qur’an. Moreover, it was in exact accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (sa).

The Promised Messiah (as) would consult those who knew the English language in order to understand the meanings of the words which had been revealed to him. At times and whenever appropriate, he would also inquire about the wording of the revelations if they had been revealed quickly and there existed the possibility of a slight difference in his memory from the actual revelation. He did this not because he doubted the validity of his revelations, but rather in accordance with the Qur’anic injunction to investigate fully and consult others concerning matters of faith whenever doing so offered some benefit. The Prophet Muhammad (sa), in line with this very teaching, extensively consulted his companions, even though his every word and action were inspired by Allah. It is also for this reason that the Prophet (sa) visited a Christian monk after he began to receive revelation.

The Promised Messiah (as) also stated that it was possible that there were no mistakes on his part in remembering the revelations, rather that the revelations were based on older forms of the English language. In line with this explanation, all the revelations of the Promised Messiah (as) that seem to be incorrect according to current English grammar conventions can be demonstrated to follow older forms of the language. The same is seen in the text of the Qur’an, where some verses don’t follow the common conventions of Arabic grammar. There is also precedence for this in the Sunnah, as the Prophet Muhammad (sa) would at times use obscure or archaic forms of Arabic.

Muslims are generally accustomed to linguistic mysteries and intricacies in the revelation from Allah and don’t view such matters as an obstacle in accepting their validity. For example, some words of the Holy Qur’an were unknown to the companions, but they still accepted them as true revelation from Allah. Many have deemed the Muqatta’at (disjointed letters at the start of several chapters of the Qur’an) as a mystery of God, yet still accept them. In the same way, if it is supposed that someone is unable to make sense of the revelations of the Promised Messiah (as) due to their limited knowledge, that would still not justify their rejection of them. The Promised Messiah (as) demonstrated through thousands of signs and miracles that his revelations were true and that he had been sent by Allah.

Introduction

The Promised Messiah (as) received revelations in many different languages. The vast majority were in Arabic, Urdu, and Persian, but there were also some in Hebrew, Punjabi, Sanskrit and English.

With the introduction of the writings and revelations of the Promised Messiah (as) to the West and a predominantly English-speaking population, the English revelations of the Promised Messiah (as) have come under greater scrutiny than before. Some opponents allege that the English revelations he received are incorrect according to the current usage of the language. They reason that God could not make such mistakes in His speech, and therefore conclude that such revelations are false. A full list of his English revelations can be found in the compilation known as Tadhkirah [1], which in many cases also provides explanations for those revelations which over the years have been the target of objections.

This treatise will disprove the above allegation and demonstrate that the English revelations of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) bore all the hallmarks of true revelation from God.

Panoramic View of the Revelations of the Promised Messiah

A study the revelations of the Promised Messiah (as), compiled from his various publications in a work known as Tadhkirah, reveals that he received hundreds of distinct revelations during his life. Some of these revelations were repeated often, elevating the overall number of revelatory experiences to the thousands.

Communication between Allah and man is known as Kalam-e-Ilahi according to 42:52 of Holy Qur’an. This kalam takes the form of revelation (wahi or direct verbal revelation), visions (referred to as kalam from behind a veil and abounding in symbolism), and through a messenger (the verbal revelation is transmitted via an angel in a vision). Another form of Kalam-e-Ilahi which is not verbal is ilham, which can be defined as inner inspiration or direction, which Allah refers to in 91:9 of the Holy Qur’an.

There are levels to each of these forms of communication according to the capacity of the recipient and the need of the hour. The purest form of Kalam-e-Ilahi is experienced by the prophets of God, who are sent to establish the existence of God amongst their people. Being men of the highest spiritual calibre and appearing at times of great need, their revelation abounds in signs that serve as evidence of their claim. Most notably, Allah states in 72:28-29 of the Qur’an that these signs are principally that of prophecy which reveal the ghaib (unknown matters), which are beyond the reach of men.

Revelation also serves as a means of support and glad tidings for the recipient, especially during moments of difficulty (Holy Qur’an, 41:31), as well as elevating belief in God to the highest levels of certainty (Holy Qur’an, 29:70).

To protect the sanctity of the office of prophethood, a check was put in place against imposters – a false claimant of revelation from God would soon be destroyed. Specifically, God would “seize him with His might and cut asunder his jugular vein” (Holy Qur’an, 69:45-47). The continuance of revelation amongst the Muslims after the Prophet Muhammad (sa) is confirmed in these verses. Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad (sa) made special mention of how the Messiah would receive revelation from God [2].

The different revelations of the Promised Messiah (as) fit into all these categories. His earliest published revelations date from at least 1862 [3], with the mass publishing of his revelations beginning from 1882 with the printing of his work Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya part 3. This means that he lived for 46 years after publishing his revelations, or at the very least 26 years after their mass publication. He stated on multiple occasions that such a lease on life after publishing false revelations would put the very institution of Prophethood in question, not to mention that it was in clear contradiction of the Qur’an, which promises death to a false claimant of revelation [4]. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) lived for 23 years after the first revelation of the Qur’an, and it is therefore inconceivable that a false claimant could outlive him.

The English Language

English is the lingua franca of the world today. Part of the Indo-European family of languages, English as is popularly spoken today originated in England. It is the official language in 67 countries. Globally, it is estimated that English is spoken by over 1.35 billion people, although the majority are not native speakers. This accounts for roughly 17% of the world population, or about one in every five people.

Linguists date the origins of the English language to the fifth century, when a group of Germanic tribes invaded Britain. These groups influenced each other’s languages, giving rise to Old English. After 1066 CE, Normans (from present-day France) invaded England. This led to many French and Latin words being added to the language, changing the language to such a degree that it became known as Middle English. Modern English was solidified after the 16th century, with the introduction of the printing press and the imposition of the English language on newly conquered colonies by the UK and then the United States. English was notably an official language of the British Raj where there Promised Messiah (as) lived and was used at the central level in government.

An Overview of the English Revelations of the Promised Messiah (as)

Of the thousands of revelations that the Promised Messiah (as) received, there were 28 which were in English, at least some of which were often repeated [5]. These specific revelations cover the breadth of the different types and purposes of revelations mentioned in the previous section. It’s possible that the Promised Messiah (as) did not include all the details surrounding the revelations. Nevertheless, what he did include demonstrates as clearly as the shining sun that his revelations were truly from God.

The revelations vary from single words, such as “Association”, “Life”, and “Word”, to short phrases comprised of two to four words, like “Fair man”, “I love you” and “I am with you”. There are also a few longer phrases, such as “I shall give you a large party of Islam”, and “The days shall come when God shall help you”.

Some of these were received singularly, such as “I am by Isa”. Others were received as part of longer revelations that at times included words and phrases in other languages. For example, the revelation “The days shall come when God shall help you” was received immediately before a subsequent revelation in Urdu, “The gate of Lord God’s bounties is open, and His holy mercies are directed towards this.”

Some of the revelations would be accompanied by translations in other languages. These were shown to him in written form or revealed to him verbally. For example, he was once shown in a vision the phrase “Yes, I am happy”, under which the same sentence was written in Urdu.

Some of the revelations were received as wahi, meaning direct verbal revelation. Amongst these are “A word and two girls”, “Assistant Surgeon”, and “Fair man”. Others were shown to him in written form as part of visions, such as “Association”, “I am quarreller”, and “I am by Isa”.

The first English revelation he received was “This is my enemy”. This revelation occurred in about 1878 and was published in Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya part 4 (published 1884) [6]. The final English revelation he received was “Life of Pain”, published in 1907 [7]. The time between his first published English revelation and death was approximately 24 years, confirming their truth via the standard of the long life of the claimant.

Purpose of the Revelations

While documenting these revelations, the Promised Messiah (as) has at times provided their specific contexts which shed further light on their miraculous nature and purpose.

In some places, we find that in accordance with 41:31 of the Qur’an, the purpose of the revelation was to express solidarity with or provide comfort to the Promised Messiah (as) during a time of difficulty. For example, the revelation, “Life of pain” was received when the Promised Messiah (as) was expecting some painful news [8].

Others, according to 72:28-29 of the Qur’an, were to convey to the Promised Messiah (as) knowledge of the unseen. This knowledge of the unseen was manifested in both specific and general situations and across varying timelines, displaying the absolute nature of God’s Knowledge.

On one occasion, the Promised Messiah (as) received the revelation “this is my enemy” about an individual whom he was meeting. This revelation was fulfilled in quick order when the person soon demonstrated that he was involved in many types of sins. [9]

In another case, the revelation “Assistant surgeon” was received by the Promised Messiah (as) about his brother-in-law, Mir Muhammad Ismail (ra), when his whereabouts were unknown after a major earthquake in 1905. This meant not only that he was alive, but that he would occupy this role at some point in the future. True to the prophecy, Mir Muhammad Ismail (ra) survived the earthquake and soon contacted his family. Moreover, he was appointed as an assistant surgeon after graduating from Medical College Lahore and was thereafter appointed as a full civil surgeon in 1928 [10].

In another instance, the Promised Messiah (as) once had a great need for money. He supplicated and was shown the words on a letter “I am quarreler”, which he understood to mean that he would receive a letter in the mail about a dispute. He was also made to understand that he would receive the necessary amount of money in 10 days. He received the English revelation, “Then will you go to Amritsar”. It so happened that no money was received for 10 days, and then on the 10th day he received the necessary amount, which also happened to be the day he received a letter informing him that he had to appear in Amritsar for a court case [11].

Other prophecies were more general and far-ranging in scope. In this category we find revelations like “Though all men should be angry but God is with you”, and “I shall give you a large party of Islam”. The success of the community and his message despite astounding odds and opposition needs no elaboration. Suffice it to say that these prophecies were clearly fulfilled during his lifetime and afterwards as well.

Why Did he Receive Revelations in English?

The Promised Messiah (as) was sent as the humble servant of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) as a world reformer. His message was meant for people of all ethnicities and languages. Therefore, besides receiving revelation in the language of his immediate people in the Indian subcontinent (Principally Urdu and Punjabi, but also Sanskrit), he also received revelation in the most important religious languages in the world. Principally, these were Arabic, Urdu and Persian, the languages of Islam. Hebrew was included, linking his mission to the Judeo-Christian world, and Sanskrit demonstrated that his mission was also to the Hindus.

English was the lingua franca of the world. This was destined to occur, as the Prophet Muhammad (sa) stated that in the latter days, the sun would rise from the West, the cradle of the English language [12]. Receiving revelation in this language was another way of demonstrating that his message was for the entire world. Moreover, English at the time had become the vehicle for the transmission of the Christian faith, which the Messiah was destined to forever lay low. The spiritual sun of Islam thus rose over the people of the West who had for thousands of years been bereft of its light. It is due to the great mercy of God that He showed them His attention by speaking to His Messiah in their language.

Receiving revelation in foreign tongues is moreover a great miracle. These revelations thus further solidified the fact that the Promised Messiah (as) was not inventing his revelation, rather it was being received from on-high. The Promised Messiah (as) discusses the miraculous nature of his English revelations in his work Haqiqatul Wahi.

“I do not know English at all, yet God Almighty has, by way of granting me His bounty, revealed to me certain prophecies in English. For instance, the following were recorded as far back as twenty-five years ago in Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya…”

I love you. I am with you. Yes, I am happy. Life of pain. I shall help you. I can, what I will do. We can, what We will do. God is coming by His army. He is with you to kill enemy. The days shall come when God shall help you. Glory be to this Lord God, Maker of earth and heaven.

This is the prophecy that the One God, who has no partner, made in English despite the fact that I am not an English-speaking person and am totally unaware of this language. But it was the will of God to publish His promises about the future in all the renowned languages of this country. Thus, in this prophecy, God reveals [to me saying] that: ‘I shall efface your present condition of pain and suffering and I shall help you; and I shall come to you with an army and destroy the enemy.’

A large part of this prophecy has already been fulfilled and God Almighty has opened the door to every kind of bounty upon me and thousands of human beings have entered into bai‘at with me, heart and soul. Who knew at the time of this prophecy as to when so much [divine] help would arrive? As such it is a marvellous prophecy indeed. Its very diction is a Sign in its own right; namely, the English language, and its meaning is a Sign too, for they foretell the future.”

The Promised Messiah (as) moreover in his book Nur-ul-Haq makes the subtle point that the inclusion of a foreign word in an otherwise exquisite phrase at times increases its appeal [13]. His English revelations received side-by-side with revelations in Urdu and Arabic served to beautify the sum of the revelation.

Allah grants his prophets various spiritual experiences to increase their understanding of spiritual matters. The receipt of English revelations by the Promised Messiah (as) served this purpose as well. He writes in his book Nuzul-al-Masih:

“There can be no greater shamelessness than if I say that this is not God’s revelation. I know it to be God’s revelation as I know for certain that I speak by way of tongue and hear by ear. How can I deny this? This revelation has shown me God, and like a sweet spring has made me drink the water of divine insight, and like a cool breeze has in every time of humidity proven a source of ease. He was manifested to me in languages that I didn’t understand, such as English, Sanskrit, and Hebrew. He has proven with great prophecies and mighty signs that this is the word of God, and He has opened upon me a treasure-trove of truths and verities from which I and the sum of my people were unaware. He at times revealed Himself to me in subtle and unknown words of English and Arabic of which I was unaware. So, in the face of all these clear evidences, can there be any place for doubt? Are these matters only worthy of being tossed out? Such a discourse, which has shown the power of miraculousness, and proven its strength of attraction, and has not been miserly in disclosing the unseen but has manifested thousands of its matter? Moreover, which has cast a net over the hearts of the noble people of the world and has brought them towards me, and has granted them eyes by which they began to see, and ears by which they began to hear, and granted them truth and perseverance by which they present themselves to be sacrificed in this path – hearken, is this entire affair Satanic or of the whisperings of the mind?”[14]

Foreign Language Revelation of the Prophet Muhammad (sa)

The Prophet Muhammad (sa) also received certain foreign words and phrases by way of wahi (direct revelation) and ilham (internal inspiration).

The Promised Messiah (as) writes in Chashma-e-Ma’rifat:

“[the Holy Prophet (sa)] was asked if Almighty God had ever spoken in the Persian language. He replied in the affirmative, saying that indeed the Word of God had also descended in the Persian language, as he states in that language:

این مشت خاک را گرنه بخشم چه کنم [15]

The translation of the Persian script is:

“What shall I do with this handful of dust (i.e., man) if I do not forgive him.”

Mulla Ali Qari acknowledges this hadith with a similar wording in his work Al-Asrar al-Marfu’ah fi al-Akhbar al-Mawdu’ah and states that some of our foreign scholars present this as a revelation from God in the Persian language. In his opinion it’s a fabricated hadith [16], although his reasoning for declaring it as such is not sound [17].

Imam Bukhari has presented some ahadith where the Holy Prophet (sa) is reported to have spoken using words from foreign languages. One of these is سُؤْرًا, a Persian word meaning ‘bread’. Another was سَنَهْ, meaning ‘good’ in the Sudanese language, and another was كَخٍ, meaning ‘miserable’, or something similar to that.

Imam Bukhari has brought these ahadith under the chapter “Speaking in Persian and other foreign languages” [18] and the following verse of the Qur’an:

“And We have not sent any Messenger except with the language of his people in order that he might make things clear to them…” (14:5)

This categorization by the Imam demonstrates that he believed the Prophet (sa) had been sent to all nations, not just the Arabs, and therefore God had inspired him to speak in their tongues as well.

Muhammad Aini in his commentary of Bukhari states that this demonstrates that Imam Bukhari believed that the Prophet Muhammad (sa) knew multiple languages [19].

Even if he didn’t know the languages fully, as others like Zamakhshari and Ibn-e-Hajar have expressed, this would still mean that the foreign words and phrases he did know were part of the revelation from God. This is because Allah states in 53:4-5 of the Qur’an that every word and action of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) were part of the revelation from Allah:

“Nor does he speak out of his own desire. It is nothing but pure revelation that has been revealed by God.”

There is also evidence that the revelation of the Qur’an received by the Prophet Muhammad (sa) contained certain words that were at some point part of foreign languages. Some scholars, such as Imam Suyuti, Al-Subki and Ibn-e-Hajar, believed that the Qur’an had a small number of words that are foreign in origin but were later Arabized, known as ta’rib.

As-Suyuti recorded in his work Al-Itqan fi Ulumil Qur’an the opinions of scholars such as Abu Maysarah, Saeed bin Jubair, and Wahb bin Munnabih, who stated that the Qur’an contains words from every language [20].

The orientalist and philologist Arthur Jeffery, in his work The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’an, provides an index in which he traces a number of words in the Qur’an to at least six different languages: Ethiopic, Persian, Greek, Syriac, Hebrew and Aramaic [21].

The justification for this position is that the Holy Prophet (sa) was sent as a messenger to all people[22], and therefore the revelation that he received should reflect this universality.

The logical conclusion that follows from the points above is that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) received a small amount of revelation in foreign tongues, both directly through wahi, and indirectly through ilham and the Arabized terms of the Holy Qur’an. It therefore follows that the Promised Messiah (as) also rightly received revelations in foreign languages as part of this Sunnah and due to his being a subordinate prophet to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa).

Even if we were to assume that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) didn’t receive revelation in a foreign tongue, it still wouldn’t pose a problem. The time of the Promised Messiah (as) was not separate from that of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), rather a continuation of his era due to him being his Burooz (spiritual second advent). Moreover, the completion of the propagation of Islam in the world across all nations and in all the major languages was destined for this second advent. This was because it would be an age where technology would permit such transmission. The Promised Messiah (as) explains in his work Tuhfa Golarwiyya:

“Since the second incumbent obligation of the Holy Prophet (sa), which was the completion of conveying guidance, was impossible during his time due to the lack of means of propagation, therefore, the promise of the second coming of the Holy Prophet (sa) has been given in the verse of the Holy Quran:

وَآخَرِينَ مِنْهُمْ لَمَّا يَلْحَقُوا بِهِمْ ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

[“And [he will raise the Prophet Muhammad] among others from among them who have not yet joined them.” (62:4)]

…So, the Holy Prophet (sa) fulfilled this obligation through his second coming, which took place at a time when means had been created to spread Islam to all the nations of the earth.” [23]

In the same work, the Promised Messiah (as) also delves into the deep spiritual truth of how the sixth millennium of man, the destined time for the second advent, was inherently tuned towards the completion of the propagation of God’s revelation. The explanation spans pgs. 245 – 267 of the work, but he states in one place in summary:

“Remember this division well: Allah Almighty establishes two positions of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) in the noble Quran:

  1. The one who presents a complete book, as He states:

يَتْلُو صُحُفًا مُّطَهَّرَةً فِيهَا كُتُبٌ قَيِّمَةٌ

[A Messenger from Allah, reciting unto them the pure Scriptures, wherein are lasting commandments] (98:3-4)

  • Second, the one who propagates that book throughout the whole world, as stated:

لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ

[So that he may cause it to prevail over all religions] (61:10)

For the completion of guidance, Allah chose the sixth day. Therefore, this first action of Allah teaches us that the day of completion of the dissemination of guidance is also the sixth day, which is the sixth millennium. The noble scholars and all the great elders of the Muslim community have accepted that the completion of the propagation will take place through the Promised Messiah.” [24]

Revelation is sent according to the need of the recipient and the age. The Promised Messiah (as) receiving some revelation in foreign tongues would then simply be because in the knowledge of Allah, his era requires it, while in the time of Muhammad (sa) it was not necessary.

The Promised Messiah’s Knowledge of the English Language

The English language revelations of the Promised Messiah (as) are doubly miraculous because he himself had next to no knowledge of the language. His formal education of English was entirely basic. During his employment in Sialkot while he was a youth, it is recorded that he was taught one or two books about the English language. These books would have probably consisted of recognizing the letters of the alphabet and how they were joined together into words [25].  He explains in his work Nuzul-al-Masih that he had almost no knowledge of the English language:

“The most astonishing thing is that some revelations come to me in languages with which I have no familiarity, such as English, Sanskrit, Hebrew, and so on, some of which I have narrated in [my work] Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya. I swear by that God in Whose hand is my life, this is a habit from Allah with me, and it is one of the signs, among the signs of Allah, that are constantly manifested in my favor. And my God cares not that a word revealed to me should occur in any Arabic or English or Sanskrit book because, for me, it is part of the unseen.” [26]

He reiterates this in his work Haqiqatul Wahi where he states,

“I am not an English-speaking person and am totally unaware of this language.” [27]

Objections to the English Revelations of the Promised Messiah (as)

It is the height of ignorance to object to revelations either in form or content once they are shown to be in line with the prophetic model of Muhammad (sa). Nevertheless, where the Sunnah of Allah is fulfilled with his prophets, so too is it regarding the disbelievers. The saying الکفر ملة واحدة “Disbelief is a single nation” rings true. Their hearts being united in disbelief, in every age the opponents of the prophets of God make recourse to the same lifeless arguments against the shining divine light that accompanies them.

Disbelievers have always looked with disdain at revelation from God. Their loathing blinds them to its truthfulness and the weakness of their arguments against it. Allah mentions in 11:92 of the Holy Qur’an that the disbelievers would object to the revelation received by Prophet Shuaib (as), complaining that they could “not understand” the majority of what he was conveying. The disbelieving Arabs attempted to degrade the pristine revelation of the Qur’an by stating that “if we wished, we could say words like these [as well]” (Qur’an, 8:32). The Qur’an’s response is as simple as it is profound: “it is not their eyes that are unseeing, but the hearts in their chests that are blind” (22:47). It is due to this eternal misfortune that they have repeatedly mocked the prophets of God (Qur’an, 36:31), subjecting every aspect of their lives and message to their diseased understandings and objections.

In the case of the Promised Messiah (as), we find the same unfortunate habits amongst his opponents. Far from looking at his revelations as a whole and judging their truthfulness according to the standard of the Qur’an and Sunnah, they cherry-pick certain revelations and subject them to a selective and superficial reading, judging them thereafter according to their own concocted standards. Doing so reveals not only their bias and incompetence, but their similarity to the opponents of the Prophet Muhammad (sa). The following verses contain an ample reply to the opponents of the Promised Messiah (as):

“He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book; in it there are verses that are decisive in meaning — they are the basis of the Book — and there are others that are susceptible of different interpretations. But those in whose hearts is perversity pursue such thereof as are susceptible of different interpretations, seeking discord and seeking wrong interpretation of it. And none knows its right interpretation except Allah and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge; they say, ‘We believe in it; the whole is from our Lord.’ — And none heed except those gifted with understanding.” (Qur’an, 3:8)

“Nay, but they have rejected that the knowledge of which they did not encompass nor has the true significance thereof yet come to them. In like manner did those before them reject the truth. But see what was the end of those who did wrong!” (10:40)

Supposed Grammatical Mistakes in the English Revelations of the Promised Messiah

There are several English revelations of the Promised Messiah (as) which are objected to because of their lack of alignment with modern English grammar. These are:

I am quarreller.[28]

I can what I will do.

We can what We will do. [29]

God is coming by His army. He is with you to kill enemy. [30]

Though all men should be angry, but God is with you. He shall help you. Words of God not can exchange. [31]

You have to go Amritsar;

He halts in the zilla Peshawar. [32]

Firstly, it is important to understand that these objections are not something that have recently come up. Rather, the Promised Messiah (as) was well-informed about these types of objections and offered detailed explanations. Specifically, he addressed the objections to the grammar in his English revelations in two different ways. One, he accepted that due to the speed of the revelation, it was possible that he may in certain places have made a slight mistake in recalling and noting down its exact wording, which may have resulted in errors in the grammar.

Two, he also explained that the rules of grammar change with the passage of time, and God, being the originator of all languages and Sovereign King, is not bound to adhere to the current conventions of grammar or language as expressed by the limited knowledge of modern grammarians. Rather, the revelation can be according to previous grammatical paradigms, or not follow the common conventions at all.

The Promised Messiah (as) explains in his work Haqiqatul Wahi:

“As these revelations are in a foreign tongue and revelation comes fast, it is possible that there may be a slight departure from the pronunciation. It has also been observed that sometimes the divine word does not follow human idiom or follows an archaic idiom and sometime does not even follow the rules of grammar. There are several such instances in the e.g. ان ھذان لساحران (Qur’an, 20:64) where in the verse the prevailing usage by men calls for “ان ھذین” instead [33].

He further elaborated in his work Nuzul-al-Masih:

“This is a strange matter that some sentences of revelation from God do not apparently follow the man-made rules of syntax and morphology, but with slight concentration it can be brought into conformity. It is for this reason that some ignorant people have made criticisms on the Holy Qur’an based on their fictitious grammar, but all such criticisms are outrageous. Knowledge of language is known to God the All-Knowing; not anyone else. And language which changes according to place likewise changes according to time. If today’s Arabic expressions in Egypt, Mecca, Medina, Persia and others are analyzed, then these expressions are apparently uprooting all the rules of Arabic syntax and morphology. It is possible that such expressions have been used in the past as well. So there is no obstacle in Gods revelation that some of its sentences must be in line with past or present expressions.” [34]

Although these explanations are sufficient for the sincere, a detailed analysis of these three explanations and their validity within the Islamic paradigm will be presented below.

Forgetting the Revelation or having a Slight Departure in Memory from the Actual Revelation

The Promised Messiah (as) on multiple occasions explained that since the revelations he received at times came quite speedily, it was possible that he might have forgotten some of them, or that there might be a slight variation in his memory of it. This was especially true regarding revelation in foreign languages.

He states on one occasion:

“Hardly a night passes when I am not shown some vision concerning the future. Many of these matters slip from memory by the morning and I am unable to record them to prevent them from being forgotten. Therein lies the wisdom of God. He makes me remember what He desires to be remembered and makes me forget what He desires to be forgotten.”[35]

He also writes in his work Aina Kamalat-e-Islam, regarding the visions he saw in his early forties:

“And in those days, I saw many righteous and truthful visions, close to two thousand or more. Some of them I preserved in my memory, and many I forgot. It is possible that Allah will repeat them at another time, and we are among the hopeful.”[36]

He writes about these revelations in foreign languages in his work Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya:

“Moreover, occasional revelation in a foreign language of which my humble self has absolutely no knowledge and then the fact that the revelation comprises a prophecy is one of the rare wonders which proves the vast powers of the Omnipotent God. All of the words of the foreign language are not retained in my memory and, at times, some variation in their pronunciation occurs on account of the speed with which the revelation comes down and unfamiliarity with the accent and language; nevertheless, little difference occurs in respect of the clear and uncomplicated sentences. Occasionally, some words are not retained in my memory because of the revelation’s speed. However, when the sentence is revealed two or three times, the words are remembered very well. At the time of revelation the Omnipotent God exercises His control over the conversation in which there is no mixture of any internal or external means. At that time the tongue is an instrument in the hand of God and He uses this instrument—that is, the tongue—as He pleases. It often happens that the words continue flowing with force and speed. Sometimes it occurs as if someone is walking gracefully and elegantly, takes a step, and then pauses before taking the next, thus displaying the beauty of his gait. And the wisdom behind adopting these two styles is that the divine revelation should remain totally distinguished from selfish and Satanic thoughts and that the revelation of the Absolute God should be recognized at once through its majestic and beautiful blessings…”

After this, the Promised Messiah (as) relates many of his English revelations. At the end of the discussion he reiterates,

“Likewise, there were many phrases, some of which I remember, while others I have forgotten.”[37]

He writes in his work Haqiqatul Wahi along the same vein:

“As these revelations are in a foreign tongue and revelation comes fast, it is possible that there may be a slight departure from the pronunciation.”[38]

The deviation from what is perceived to be the correct wording in the English revelations are always very slight. Slight modifications in the sentences render them perfectly acceptable according to the present rules of grammar. For example, the revelation “I am quarreler”, with slight modification could be rendered as “I am a quarreler” or “I am the quarreler” or “I am quarreling”. Any of these would be acceptable.

It speaks to the unshakeable integrity and trust of the Promised Messiah (as) in Allah that he never sought to hide the more subtle realities of revelation, even though he knew that they could become a source of objections for the uninitiated. He was the personification in this age of the verses:

“Those who delivered the Messages of Allah and feared Him, and feared none but Allah. And sufficient is Allah as a Reckoner.” (Qur’an, 33:40)

“…They strive in the cause of Allah and do not fear the reproach of a faultfinder. That is Allah’s grace; He bestows it upon whomsoever He pleases…” (Qur’an, 5:55)

His description of revelation as:

  • something that at times occurs quickly
  • the possibility of the recipient forgetting the revelation, either completely or partially
  • remembering the revelation with slight deviation

have all been a source of confusion for his detractors. Nevertheless, are all confirmed by the Qur’an and Sunnah as part of the revelatory experience.

Moreover, it would be incorrect to conclude that despite the inherent speed of the revelations in a foreign language and the subsequent possibility of forgetting them, that neither Allah nor the Promised Messiah (as) took measures to preserve these revelations for the public. Multiple steps were taken to preserve the revelations whenever it was in the interest of the public to be made aware of them.

Whenever it was necessary for the Promised Messiah (as) to remember the exact wording of the revelation, Allah would repeat the revelation several times so that he fully captures it. The Promised Messiah (as) alludes to this in his work Nuzul-al-Masih:

“Occasionally, some words are not retained in my memory because of the revelation’s speed. However, when the sentence is revealed two or three times, the words are remembered very well.” [39]

Regarding the revelation “We can what we will do”, the Promised Messiah (as) states,

“Such revelations in English have often been repeated”. [40]

Whenever it was important that he understood the meaning of the revelation, it would be accompanied by its translation. For example, the revelations, “A word and two girls” [41], “Yes, I am happy” [42], “You must do what I told you” [43], and “The days shall come when God shall help you. Glory be to this Lord God, Maker of earth and heaven.” [44], were all accompanied by their translations in languages that the Promised Messiah (as) understood.

Another aspect of revelation is that the recipient of the revelation is often powerfully inspired by Allah as to the underlying meaning of the revelation and who or what it relates to, especially if it relates to prophecy. The revelation may be ambiguous or contentious to others, but not in many cases to the recipient [45]. The English revelations of the Promised Messiah (as) also carry this hallmark of true revelation.

For example, he states that he understood that the revelation “I am by Isa”, meant that someone with Christian inclinations would send him some criticisms related to Islam. An Arya was sent to the post office after he received this revelation, who confirmed that he had indeed received a letter with such objections [46]. In another place he writes that he perceived that the revelation “this is my enemy”, was about a student who had come to visit him. This was also fulfilled, as the student turned out to be someone who had many spiritual weaknesses [47]. On another occasion he saw that he had received a letter on which was written “I am quarreller”. About this revelation he stated, “I understood clearly that I was about to receive a letter relating to some dispute”. That afternoon, he received two letters informing him that he was being called as a witness in court regarding a certain dispute [48].

Through these arrangements, Allah ensured the preservation of the English revelations of the Promised Messiah (as) whenever it was required. Revelation would at times be repeated so that the Promised Messiah (as) could memorize the words and phrases correctly. Occasionally, the full meaning of the revelation would be preserved in Urdu, Arabic or Persian; languages the Promised Messiah (as) was completely fluent in. In other instances, he would be taught the underlying message in the revelation directly by God via inspiration.

Evidence from the Sunnah

Can Revelation be Forgotten?

The question arises as to whether it is permissible for a recipient of revelation to forget the revelation given to him, either completely or partially, according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The answer is in the affirmative.

Before delving into this matter in relation to the Prophet Muhammad (sa), there are a few points to keep in mind. The revelation of the Qur’an is the highest level of revelation that was ever vouchsafed to mankind. Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad (sa) was the most perfect man to have ever existed with the largest and best capacity for receiving revelation [49]. Nevertheless, where an absolute comparison cannot be drawn, one of degrees certainly can, for though the light of revelation may shine more brightly in some prophets, all of them share in its essence.

Revelation (wahi) by default is something that occurs quickly. The very word wahi in Arabic means to point towards something in a quick and hidden manner [50]. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) would receive revelation at times like the ringing of a bell, an allusion to its great speed. The experience of the revelation would occur in this way and only after it passed would he remember what was revealed [51].

The quickness of the revelation at times is one factor of what leads to revelation possibly being forgotten. The possibility of forgetting revelation is quite real and was, according to Ibn-e-Abbas (ra), the reason why the Prophet Muhammad (sa) would initially quickly move his lips alongside the revelation of the Qur’an to memorize it. This was until Allah assured him that this was not necessary in this case, as He Himself had taken the responsibility to ensure that the Qur’an be perfectly retained in his mind [52]. The Qur’an states in 75:17-18:

“Move not thy tongue with this revelation that thou mayest hasten to preserve it. Surely upon Us rests its collection and its recital.”

This exception was made because the revelation of the Qur’an was that upon which the future of mankind was dependent. Every word and verse were sent down in perfect order, meant to illuminate and guide mankind in all their needs. Allah therefore promised that he would be the guardian of the Qur’an and would ensure its perfect preservation. He states in 15:10 of the Qur’an:

“Verily, We Ourself have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian.”

This protection also had its practical elements. The revelation was sent down piecemeal, which would have aided the Prophet (sa) in memorising it [53]. Allah sent the Angel Gabriel to review the revelation of the Qur’an with him every night in the month of Ramadan [54]. The Prophet (sa) would revise the Qur’an during the five daily prayers and during long hours of the night. Nevertheless, owing to the human condition from which even the Chief of Prophets (sa) was not exempt, he would at times temporarily forget certain passages of the Qur’an. On at least one occasion, a few verses slipped his memory until he was reminded of them by the recitation of his companions [55]. It is perhaps in reference to these temporary bouts of forgetfulness regarding the Qur’an that Hasan is recorded as having stated that the Prophet (sa) would recite the Qur’an and then forget it [56].

Forgetting revelation therefore is a real possibility, and so required the direct intervention of God in the case of the Holy Qur’an. Regarding other revelations that the Prophet Muhammad (sa) received, there was no such guarantee. In fact, there were strong indications that he would at times be made to forget other types of revelation. Allah states in 87:7-8 of the Qur’an in relation to the Prophet (sa):

“We shall teach thee, and thou shalt forget it not, except for what Allah wills.”

There is also an indication of this in 17:87:

“And if We pleased, We could certainly take away that which We have revealed to thee and then thou wouldst find in the matter no guardian for thee against Us, Except mercy from thy Lord. Surely, His grace towards thee is great.”

All things are ultimately in the hands of Allah. Not only is remembering revelation dependent on His grace, but forgetting it also happens due to His will.

In consonance with the above verses, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) is recorded to have forgotten some non-Qur’anic revelations. For example, it is narrated that he was shown the date of Laylat-ul-Qadr (the Night of Destiny) in Ramadhan, but thereafter forgot it due the quarrelling of two of his companions [57]. Many narrations mention that he was made to forget it, but Sahih Muslim has brought the narration from Harmala who stated that he forgot it himself, and not that he was made to forget it [58]. This supposed contradiction can be resolved with the previous explanation: memory rests in the hands of Allah. If the Prophet (sa) forgot the revelation, it was due to the will of Allah, and so both narrations are correct. In the case of Laylat-ul-Qadr, it was a partial and not complete forgetfulness, as it is narrated that he instructed his companions to search for it in the last ten nights of Ramadan, specifically the odd nights, with a greater possibility of it being on the 7th, 9th, and 5th nights of the last 10.

Ibn-e-Abbas (ra) is recorded as stating that the Prophet (sa) would receive revelation at night and then forget it in the morning, upon which Allah revealed to him 2:107: “Whatever Sign We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than that or the like thereof. Dost thou not know that Allah has the power to do all that He wills?” [59]. Imam Tabari stated that based on the evidence, it is not impossible that the Prophet (sa) forgot some of the revelations given to him [60]. These declarations make sense when they are taken as referring to the non-Qur’anic revelation that he received.

Besides the Qur’anic revelation, every word that the Prophet (sa) uttered and every action that he would carry out was also a form of revelation. The Qur’an states in 53:4-5:

“Nor does he speak out of his own desire. It is nothing but pure revelation that has been revealed by God.”

This type of revelation is also known as ilham (inner inspiration) which after receiving, he would express in his own words and actions. We find instances of forgetfulness in this type of revelation as well. At one point he became forgetful of his activities over the course of several days or weeks [61]. On some occasions, he would forget the number of Raka’at he offered in Salat. The Prophet (sa) offered the following explanation for these and other episodes of forgetfulness:

“Verily I am a human being like you. I remember as you remember, and I forget just as you forget.” [62]

Nevertheless, we believe that these and other such lapses were also necessary, for without them it was possible that he be taken as more than a man and worshipped. Moreover, it was necessary so that there remain a clear distinction between the revelation of the Qur’an and other revelation that he received. It was also necessary so that the Sunnah may be established for the members of his community who were much more prone to forgetfulness than he was [63].

So, if the Promised Messiah (as) forgot or was not able to perfectly retain some of the revelation that were granted to him, that it in no way diminishes the truthfulness of those revelations according to the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Rather, it was necessary that this occur to some degree and was permitted and facilitated by Allah to maintain the superiority of the revelation of the Holy Qur’an.

We find confirmation from the Prophet Muhammad (sa) that these and other acts of forgetfulness are not only part of human experience, but Allah in His great mercy has forgiven the Muslims in what they partake of it. He stated:

“Allah has overlooked for my nation their mistakes and forgetfulness, and what they are forced to do.” [64]

The Beliefs of our Opponents Regarding the Prophet Muhammad (sa)

The opponents of the Promised Messiah (as) in many cases attribute even greater lapses of forgetfulness to the Prophet Muhammad (sa). These allegations we deem as sinful because not only are they contrary to his high standing, but they uproot the very truthfulness of Islam. Nevertheless, to demonstrate the duplicity of those who maintain such beliefs yet object to the revelations of the Promised Messiah (as), it is necessary to expose their crude theories in this regard as well.

Satanic Revelation that was Forgotten

Those Muslims that object to the Promised Messiah’s (as) explanation of a slight lapse in his memory regarding his English revelations themselves believe that the Holy Prophet (sa) not only received Satanic revelation, but that he soon forgot that revelation as well.

Classical historians such as Ibn Ishaq [65], Ibn-e-Saad [66] and Ibn Jareer [67] have stated that once, an incident occurred while the Holy Prophet (sa) was reciting the following verses of the Qur’an before a large crowd:

أَفَرَأَيْتُمُ اللَّاتَ وَالْعُزَّىٰ وَمَنَاةَ الثَّالِثَةَ الْأُخْرَىٰ

“Now tell me about Lat and ‘Uzza, And Manat, the third one, another goddess!” (53:20-21)

They allege that the Holy Prophet (sa), God forbid, came under the influence of Satan. The subjugation was of such an extraordinary degree that Satan gained control of his mind and tongue and used him to recite in front of the crowd before him:

وَ تلک الغرانیق العلٰی و انّ شفاعتھنّ لترجٰی

These are majestic, long-necked goddesses whose intercession can be hoped for (on the Day of Judgement)

Imam Zamakhshari writes in his commentary Kashaaf that after this extraordinary episode, Satan again brought him under his control and made the Prophet (sa) forget that he had recited these verses. He remained in this state until the Angel Gabriel informed him of the lapse [68].

Such concocted stories against our Holy Master (sa) are within the beliefs of only our opponents. Not only do they demonstrate how they belittle the Chief of the Prophets (sa), but moreover throw a hard light on their double standards when it comes to the Promised Messiah (as). How can they object on the one hand to something as relatively simple as a slight lapse in memory regarding a few revelations in a foreign language (amongst many thousands received in Urdu and Arabic and preserved without any objections), when on the other they loudly declare that the Holy Prophet (sa) unconsciously received a Satanic revelation in his mother tongue, recited it, and then promptly forgot it until reminded by none other than the Angel Gabriel?

Permanently Forgetting the Holy Qur’an

Our opponents are also of the opinion that not only the Prophet Muhammad (sa), but also the companions permanently forgot large portions of the revelation that at one point formed part of the Qur’an. This is the theory of Nisyan, which is a corollary to the theory of Naskh, or abrogation. Many Muslims trace support for this theory to 2:107 of the Qur’an:

“Whatever Sign We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than that or the like thereof. Dost thou not know that Allah has the power to do all that He wills?”

There are several episodes of this forgetfulness mentioned in the works of the commentators. Ibn Kathir narrates from the father of Salim:

“Two men recited a surah that the Messenger of Allah (sa) had recited to them, and one night they stood up to pray and could not recite a letter of it. They went to the Messenger of Allah (sa) and mentioned it to him, and the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “It is something that has been forgotten, so leave it alone.” [69]

Therefore, if Muslims believe that Allah caused the Prophet (sa) to forget some revelations permanently or temporarily, and that in no way affected the truthfulness of those revelations, then why do they deny the validity of the exact same situation when found in the life of the Promised Messiah (as)?

Does All Revelation need to be Conveyed to the Public?

Another objection that could be made is how is it that the Promised Messiah (as) forgot certain revelations without conveying them first to the public?

The answer is that not all the revelations that a prophet receives are destined to be shared with the public. Those that are necessary for the reformation and education of the people must be conveyed. Some episodes of revelation may have been repeated, and it was not necessary for them to be presented multiple times before the public. Nevertheless, some revelations are for the personal benefit of the recipient, or regarding private affairs. In these cases, the recipient is at liberty to withhold them completely or partially. In the case of the Promised Messiah (as), some of the revelations that he mentioned he had forgotten were received before the beginning of his mission, at which time he was not at all obligated to share any of his revelations with others, and therefore did not endeavor to remember or record them for the future.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) was instructed in 5:68 of the Qur’an,

“O Messenger! convey to the people what has been revealed to thee from thy Lord.”

Nevertheless, the Qur’an also indicates that some of the non-Qur’anic revelation he received was kept private or not narrated completely or exactly as received. The Holy Qur’an states in 66:4,

“And when the Prophet confided a matter unto one of his wives and she then divulged it, and Allah informed him of it, he made known to her part thereof, and avoided mentioning part of it…”

Imam Nawawi in his commentary of Sahih Muslim presents the opinion of Qazi Ayyaz that most scholars agreed that the Prophet (sa) could forget the revelation conveyed to him that was not part of the Qur’an and was not necessary to be conveyed to the people.[70]

Moreover, some of those that ascribe to the theories of nisyan and naskh themselves believe, according to the narration of Ibn-e-Abbas (ra), that he would receive revelation at night and forget it in the morning, meaning that the Holy Prophet (sa) would forget revelation before conveying it to the people.

Consulting English-Speakers about his Revelations

Due to not knowing the English language, whenever the Promised Messiah (as) would receive such revelations which weren’t accompanied with their translation, he would naturally seek out English-speakers who could tell him the meaning of the words that he had received. At times, due to the speed of the revelation, he would be unsure of whether his recollection of the revelation was exactly as revealed. Wherever such a situation arose, he would, whenever appropriate, consult with those who knew the language to try and recall the original wording and rectify his recollection of it.

One letter of the Promised Messiah (as) addressed to Mir Abbas Ali contains several revelations in foreign tongues. In this letter, he expressed the need to revise them carefully as the possibility existed of a slight difference in the actual revelation from what he remembered. He writes:

“…because this week several English revelations, among others, have been revealed, and even though some of these have been understood by the help of a Hindu boy, the matter is not reliable. And some of the revelations had been revealed by God as a translation. Some words are perhaps in Hebrew. Research and correction of all of these are necessary so that after correction, as is proper, they may be added to the end of the last volume which has not yet been published… The speed of revelation left some of these words indistinct… After that there is another English revelation, whose translation is not revealed but was explained by that Hindu boy. The correctness of the order of the words is not known, and in some revelations the placement of the words is at times reversed. This should be analyzed in detail… These are the sentences. Write them with the necessary corrections and please send as soon as you can so that, if possible, some of them may be included in the appropriate places in the final volume…” [71]

An objection could be raised that why did the Promised Messiah (as) consult English speakers about his revelations? The explanation is found in the famous hadith:

“Deeds are judged by motives” [72]

The Promised Messiah (as) never consulted anyone about his revelations to confirm their truthfulness. He always expressed his absolute conviction that the revelations he was receiving were from Allah. This conviction was based on his repeated experiences of revelation and their fulfilment, as well as the divine knowledge and spiritual impact that these revelations imparted upon him. On one occasion he published in a leaflet:

“I believe in all the revelations which are being bestowed upon me from God Almighty as I believe in the Torah, the Gospels, and the Holy Qur’an… I fully partake of His pure revelation as far as a human being can partake of it when in perfect nearness to Him. When a man is put into the blazing fire of Divine love—as all Prophetsas have been—then the revelations which he receives are not accompanied by confused dreams. Rather, just as dry fodder is burned in an oven, so are all his apprehensions and self-induced thoughts put to fire, and there remains only the pure revelation from God… I declare in the name of God, Who controls my life, that I have been informed with categorical arguments—and I am informed continuously—that whatever is conveyed to me and is vouchsafed upon me as revelation is from God and not from Satan. I believe in it as I believe in the existence of the sun and the moon, or as I believe that two and two make four.” [73]

After confirming that there could be a slight deviation in his memory from the actual revelation and that such a thing was not against the Qur’an and Sunnah, there was no reason for him not to seek advice about the wording of the English revelations. In fact, he sought out the opinion of those who were highly proficient in the language to get the best possible view on the matter. Seeking clarity in matters pertaining to faith is obligatory. The Holy Qur’an states in 4:95:

“O ye who believe! when you go forth in the cause of Allah, make proper investigation…”

Moreover, he did not blindly follow the advice or recommendation of anyone in this matter. Rather, he would carefully weigh their opinions against his own recollections, and if it seemed like what they suggested was closer to what he had heard, he would modify what he had written, otherwise he would leave it as it was [74]. Or, he would not publish the revelations at all. It is probably for this very reason that we find English revelations that were against the common idiom of his time recorded in his published books. In these cases, it appears that he trusted more in his recollection of these revelations than the advice of the accomplished English speakers around him and published them as they were, despite possible objections to their grammatical structure.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) would extensively consult his companions according to the commandment of the Qur’an in 3:160:

“…and consult them in matters of administration…”

He would do this even though his every word and action were inspired by Allah. Evidently, this consultation was not because he doubted his inspiration or revelation, but in part to understand and implement it better. We find the same purpose in his visit to Waraqah ibn Nawfal, a Christian monk, after the commencement of revelation to him [75]. Nevertheless, he wasn’t bound to accept their advice, and at times chose not to do so.

Divine Revelation is not bound by Conventional Rules of Grammar and can Follow an Archaic Form of the Language

Another possibility that the Promised Messiah (as) expressed was that some of the English revelations he received could be following older conventions of the English language which were no longer in common use. The wisdom in doing so would be to demonstrate the All-Encompassing knowledge of God. In this case, it would demonstrate that not only could God reveal foreign phrases to His messenger, but that He could reveal them in a form that was unknown to both the recipient and the people of the age. Nevertheless, on deeper study, the brilliance and correctness of the revelation would shine through, silencing critics and elevating the remarkable nature of the revelation even more.

By the grace of Allah, all of the revelations that have been objected to based on modern English grammar find precedence for their structure in older forms of the language.

Grammatical Intricacies in the Holy Qur’an

There are numerous cases in the Holy Qur’an where the divine revelation did not follow the standard rules of grammar as was understood by the Arabs. One of the most famous examples of this is:

إِنْ هَٰذَانِ لَسَاحِرَانِ يُرِيدَانِ

“They said, ‘Certainly these two are magicians. . .’ ” (20:64)

If standard rules of grammar applied to this sentence, then the sentence should have been ان ھذین لساحرین, seeing as ان is part of the حروف ناصبہ.

There are other incidents of where the Qur’anic revelation has not followed the standard rules of Arabic grammar, such as in the verse:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالصَّابِئُونَ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

“Surely, those who have believed, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians — whoso believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good deeds, on them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (5:70)

Here the word الصَّابِئُونَ should have been written as الصابئين, owing to the ان at the start of the sentence, which changes the noun after it into the condition of nasb. The Holy Qur’an has used the standard form of grammar for the exact same wording in another place:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالصَّابِئِينَ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالْمَجُوسَ وَالَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَفْصِلُ بَيْنَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ

“As to those who believe, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians, and the Magians and the idolaters, verily, Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection; surely Allah is Witness over all things.” (22:18)

Here الصَّابِئِينَ is written as it would otherwise normally be written according to the rules of grammar.

Grammatical experts and commentators of the Holy Qur’an have sought out explanations for these and other anomalies and have offered several solutions. For example, in the first example given above, Imam Razi of Tafseer-e-Kabeer fame has noted that “this is the language of some of the Arabs”. The writer of Tafseer Qurtabi has noted that “in the language of some of the Arabs, it is permissible to say جاء الزیدان و رأیت الزیدان و مررت بالزیدان”. Of course, this is done against the standard rules of Arabic, which would have placed all the relevant nouns in the case of nasb or jarr, making the sentence جاء الزیدان و رأیت الزیدین و مررت بالزیدین .

Opponents of Islam retort that resorting to such grammatical acrobatics to legitimize the perfection of the language of the Holy Qur’an is dubious practice and a sleight of hand. The answer that is given to them is that the language of the Qur’an is revealed by Allah, who is the originator of the Arabic language and the All-Knowing, and therefore cannot be incorrect.

The rules of grammar are not set in stone nor divinely revealed, rather they are an imperfect, human attempt to encapsulate as much as possible the different ways in which a language is used. This is a difficult if not impossible task, owing to the fluid nature of language and its vast expanse. Linguist John Algeo writes:

“Change is normal in language. Every language is constantly turning into something different, and when we hear a new word or a new pronunciation or use of an old word, we may be catching the early stages of a change. Change is natural because a language system is culturally transmitted. Like other conventional matters—such as fashions in clothing, hairstyles, cooking, entertainment, and government—language is constantly being revised. Language evolves more slowly than do some other cultural activities, but its change is continuous and inevitable.” [76]

Grammatical rules therefore cannot be arbitrarily defined by grammarians. Far from grammarians setting down how a language must be used, they attempt to express how people have come to use the language to express their ideas. As the use of the language changes, so too do the rules of grammar. Then there are the different dialects and colloquial or “slang” forms of the language which are used and understood by the people, though they may not come into formal writing or fall within the standard rules of the language [77].

Based on the same principles, the English revelations granted by Allah to the Promised Messiah, wherever they were correctly recorded, must be correct as well, whether they follow any known convention of grammar or not.

With this short preamble, we turn to those English revelations that have been objected with an eye to older forms of the English language and the tool of etymology, which is the study of the origin and evolution of a word’s semantic meaning across time.

I can what I will do. We can what We will do

The Promised Messiah (as) has recorded these two revelations in his work Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya:

“Then came the revelation:

[English] I can what I will do.

Thereafter, with such emphasis that made my body tremble, came the revelation:

[English] We can what We will do.

At the time, the tone and pronunciation made me feel as if an Englishman was standing over me and uttering these phrases. Despite the awe-striking tone, there was a pleasure in it, giving comfort and satisfaction to the soul even before the meanings had been ascertained. Such revelations in English have often been repeated.” [78]

It seems that these revelations would be among those whose wording could not be easily forgotten, owing to the implication that they were repeated, their brevity, and moreover their simple wording. Though some may object to their grammatical structure according to current conventions, the above phrases are perfectly intelligible according to older forms of English.

Linguistically, “can” had the meaning of “to know” in Old English: The Online Etymology Dictionary states under “can”:

Old English 1st and 3rd person singular present indicative of cunnan “to know,” less commonly as an auxiliary, “have power to, to be able,” (also “have carnal knowledge”)… It holds now only the third sense of “know,” that of “know how to do something” (as opposed to “know as a fact” and “be acquainted with” something or someone). Also used in the sense of “may”, denoting mere permission [79].

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology states under “can”:

“†know; (with inf.) know how, (passing into) have power, be able. One of the group of preterite-present verbs… the primary meaning was ‘have learned’, ‘come to know’. OE. cunnan, OS. cunnan, OHG. kunnan (G. können), ON. kunna, Goth. kunnan.” [80]

The 1913 Webster’s dictionary gives the following examples of its use in the sense of “know” from Old English:

I can rimes of Rodin Hood. [I know rhymes of Robin Hood]

Piers Plowman.

I can no Latin, quod she. [I don’t know Latin, she said]

Piers Plowman. [81]

Shakespeare also used the word in the sense of knowing. He writes:

“Let the priest in surplice white,/ That defunctive music can…” Phoen, 13–14.[82]

Therefore, one possible meaning of the above two revelations would be:

I know what I will do

We know what We will do

With this definition of the word ‘can’, the sentences become perfectly intelligible.

God is coming by His army. He is with you to kill enemy.

For the sake of simplicity, we shall deal with each of the above sentences individually.

The first sentence is:

            God is coming by His army [83].

It seems at first glance that the sentence should read “God is coming with His army”.

The word “by” is a preposition. As early as the Elizabethan era (16th – 17th century), which was known as the golden era of English literature and in which Early Modern English was in use, their use was far vaster than it is now. E.A. Abbott writes in his work A Shakespearean Grammar:

“…many of the meanings of “by ” have been divided among “near,” “in accordance with,” “by reason of,” “owing to;…”[84]

According to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, “by” has the meaning of “alongside; in the course of; according to; in relation to; marking the means or instrument.”

According to the Dialect Dictionary by Joseph Wright, the word ‘by’ also denotes “together with” or “in company with”.[85]

Shakespeare used the word in in the sense of ‘near’, or ‘being near to’:

“For gazing on your beams, fair sun, being by.” Errors, III, ii, 56.

“. . . go with me, and with this holy man,/ Into the chantry by . . .” T Night, IV, iii, 23–24.[86]

Therefore, possible meanings of this sentence would be:

God is coming alongside His army.

God is coming together with His army.

God is coming in company with His army.

God is coming near His army.

All these meanings are acceptable.

The second part of the revelation is:

He is with you to kill enemy.[87]

Modern grammar would probably restructure this sentence with the addition of an article before the noun ‘enemy’. For example:

He is with you to kill the enemy.

He is with you to kill an enemy.

The English language has precedence for dropping the article “a” and “the” before not only the word “enemy”, but all nouns. E.A. Abbott writes in his work A Shakespearean Grammar:

“A” and “The” omitted in archaic poetry.

In the infancy of thought nouns are regarded as names, denoting not classes but individuals. Hence the absence of any article before nouns. Besides, as the articles interfere with the metre, and often supply what may be well left to the imagination, there was additional reason for omitting them. Hence Spenser, the archaic poet, writes

“Fayre Una whom salvage nation does adore.”

“And seizing cruell clawes on trembling brest.”

Faire virgin, to redeem her deare, brings Arthure to the fight.”

” From raging spoil of lawlesse victors will.”

” With thrilling point of deadly yron brand.”[88]

Therefore, the omission of the article before the noun ‘enemy’ would have been common practice in Elizabethan English. We also find this construction in Old English in reference to the word enemy. In the text A Book of London English 1384-1425:

if any of þe forsaide bretherhede be enpresoned falslich by enme, oþer by fals conspiracie.[89]

The relevant portion, be empresoned falslich by enme, means be imprisoned falsely by [an/the] enemy.

Shakespeare also used the term without its accompanying article in The Merchant of Venice:

“That ‘scuse serves many men to save their gifts.

An if your wife be not a mad-woman,

And know how well I have deserved the ring,

She would not hold out enemy for ever,

For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!”[90]

It is also possible that this is a form of an ellipse. Grammatically, an ellipse is the omission from a sentence or other construction of one or more words that would complete or clarify the construction. They were commonly used in Elizabethan era grammatical constructions. According to E.A Abbott in A Shakesperean Grammar:

“Several peculiarities of Elizabethan language have already been explained by the desire of brevity which characterised the authors of the age. Hence arose so many elliptical expressions that they deserve a separate treatment. The Elizabethan authors objected to scarcely any ellipsis, provided the deficiency could be easily supplied from the context.

“Vouchsafe [to receive] good-morrow from a feeble tongue.”

“When shall we see [one another] again?’

“You and I have known [one another], sir.”

“On their sustaining garments [there is] not a blemish, But [the garments are] fresher than before.”[91]

Since the context of the sentence is readily understandable, the ellipse in the sentence “He is with you to kill enemy” could be the word ‘the’, making the complete sentence “He is with you to kill the enemy”.

Who is this enemy? The Promised Messiah (as) did not mention any specific individual when he penned this revelation, but it could easily be interpreted as regarding any number of his well-known opponents.

I am quarreler.

The same explanation of ellipses and dropping articles before a noun would hold true for this revelation. The revelation could thus be understood in modern English as:

I am a quareller, or

I am the quareller.

Who is this quarreler, in the case of an ellipse? When the Promised Messiah (as) received this revelation, it was clear in his mind that it was a prophecy which referred to someone who was involved in some dispute. This prophecy was subsequently fulfilled [92].

Words of God not can exchange.

This revelation is quoted from a letter sent by the Promised Messiah (as) to Mir Abbas Ali, recorded in the compilation Maktubat-e-Ahmadiyya, which is dated December 12, 1883. In that letter, the Promised Messiah (as) sent him some revelations and asked that he revise their wording since the revelations had come to him quickly and he was unsure of their exact phrasing. He indicated that he wished to include them in his subsequent work.

This same revelation seems to have been recorded in the work of the Promised Messiah (as) Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya vol. 4, which was published in 1884. Here there seems to be a slight change in the wording, from “not can” to “can not”:

“Though all men should be angry but God is with you. He shall help you. Words of God can not exchange.[93]

It’s possible that there was a scribal error when the text of the letter to Mir Abbas Ali was copied to the original compilation of Maktubat-e-Ahmadiyya. In this case, there is no actual discrepancy between what was written by the Promised Messiah (as) in the letter and what was subsequently published in Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya [94].

Even if Mir Abbas Ali did suggest that the word order be changed in a subsequent exchange (of which there is no evidence), and that suggestion was accepted by the Promised Messiah (as), there is no cause for objection. The explanation for him consulting others about the foreign language revelations he received has already been provided.

There remains the matter of the word “exchange”, which seems to be a bit out of place. The more common word here would be ‘change’. Nevertheless, we find that the word ‘exchange’ was at times used in place of ‘change’.

The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology states that the word ‘change’ has historically been used to mean alteration, substitution, or exchange [95].

The Online Etymology Dictionary states under “change”: 

from Latin cambire “to exchange, barter”… From c. 1300 as “undergo alteration, become different.” In part an abbreviation of exchange.[96]

Shakespeare also used the words interchangeably. Eugene F. Shewmaker in his glossary of Shakespearean words, notes under ‘exchange’:

“to change; alter: “Just to the time, not with the time exchanged . . .” Sonn 109, 7” [97]

In modern English, the revelation could therefore be understood as:

Words of God can not change.

He halts in the zilla Peshawar.

In this revelation [98], “zillah” is originally an Urdu word that was subsequently adopted into the English language. The Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary states:

“Zillah: an administrative district in India, containing several parganas.” [99]

You have to go Amritsar;

The above revelation [100] seems to lack the preposition ‘to’ after the verb “go”. Nevertheless, this omission was commonly observed in Elizabethan English. E.A. Abbott explains in his book A Shakespearean Grammar that “prepositions are frequently omitted after verbs of motion”. He then provides the following examples of how the prepositions are dropped after the verb of motion ‘to’:

“That gallant spirit hath aspired [to] the clouds”

“Ere we could arrive [to] the point proposed”

“Arrived [to] our coast” [101]

Having recourse to etymology to understand the works of great English authors is quite common. Shakespeare is considered one of the finest playwrights and geniuses in the English language who appeared during the golden era of English literature. Nevertheless, author Charles Mackary explains that many of the words and phrases he and his contemporaries used are unintelligible today without recourse to etymology and other linguistic investigations. He writes:

“All Students and lovers of Shakespeare are aware that there are many obscure and unintelligible words and phrases in his Plays and Poems, as well as in those of his most eminent contemporaries, which his editors and commentators have hitherto been unable to explain. Critical examination proves that a large proportion of these are traceable to the Keltic, Gaelic, or Gallic spoken by the Britons who possessed the country before the irruption of the Danes and Saxons, or the formation of the actual English language. This ancient, but long unwritten speech, though Dr. Samuel Johnson and others, who spoke without knowledge, were of a contrary opinion, was not wholly superseded by the Anglo- Saxon, but remained to a very considerable extent in use among the labouring classes and the unliterary population, until long after the time of Shakespeare, and exists to the present day in many slang and unliterary words and the colloquial language of the uneducated or semi-educated vulgar. By the lights derived from these hitherto-neglected sources, the Author has been enabled to explain many passages in these immortal works, which have been puzzles and stumbling-blocks to English scholars for nearly three centuries. The work, of which the following pages are offered as a specimen, appeals to all admirers of the poet, and to such students of philology as are ready to receive the truth whencesoever it may come, and however much it may run counter to the preconceived opinion that the English language is wholly of Saxon or Anglo-Saxon derivation; and that it is in no way indebted to the original speech of the British people [102].

Unintelligibility, Rareness or Strangeness of the Language of the Revelation is not a Reason for Rejecting It

Muslims would take care to remember that there are many linguistic intricacies in the Qur’an and hadith and should therefore not be in a haste to disavow the validity of those revelations of the Promised Messiah (as) which they may see as linguistically problematic.

For example, many volumes have been written under the branch of Islamic science known as غرائب القرآن و الحدیث والآثار (strange or archaic words in the Qur’an, Hadith and narrations of the companions and later generations) as a concerted effort to precisely define the sometimes-obtuse words that are found in the Islamic literature. To do so, recourse is made to classical Arabic poetry, lexicons, Arabic roots, different dialects of the Arabs, and etymology.

Sometimes, these terms and words were unknown to even the close companions of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), yet this never caused them to doubt the validity of the revelation. Ibn-e-Abbas (ra) is reported to have stated that he did not know the meaning of the word فاطر which occurs in the 6:15 of the Qur’an [103]. Hazrat Umar (ra) according to one narration did not know the meaning of the word ابّا which occurs in 80:32 of the Qur’an and concluded that it was a form of linguistic intricacy [104].

We also find that there is no universally accepted exact meaning of the Muqatta’at, or disjointed Arabic letters, at the start of several chapters of the Holy Qur’an. Amongst the many possible interpretations put forward is one which was held by many eminent companions and commentators: that these letters are a mystery of Allah. Nevertheless, despite not being able to decipher their meaning, they were universally accepted as being part of the revelation of Allah.

Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) is reported to have stated, “Allah has a secret in every book, and His secret in the Qur’an is the beginning of the Surahs [i.e. the Muqatta’at]” Hazrat Ali (ra) made a similar statement, “Every book has a secret, and the secret of this book are the Huruf-e-Tahajji (Muqatta’at)” Imam Shafi is reported to have stated, “They are a secret of Allah, so don’t delve into them”. Ibn Abbas (ra) stated, “The scholars have been unable to decipher them” [105]. Tabri in his commentary states that a group amongst the Muslims maintains, “Every book has a secret. And the secret of the Qur’an are the Muqatta’at” [106]. Al-Qushairi states in his commentary, “These letters at the beginning of the Surah are from the Mutashabiha, whose interpretation can only be known by Allah.” [107]

Therefore, even if someone were to state that the language of some of the English revelations of the Promised Messiah (as) were incomprehensible to them, they would still have no right to object to them if they were otherwise accompanied by heavenly signs of truthfulness. In the case of the Promised Messiah (as), the truth of his mission was demonstrated through not just a few, but rather thousands of clear signs and miracles. He writes in his work Haqiqatul Wahi:

“God has shown so many signs in my support that if I were to count them one by one up to this day, 16th July, 1906, I can swear by God that they are in excess of three hundred thousand. And if someone does not believe in my oath, I can provide him with proof. Some of these signs are to do with occasions when God Almighty, in keeping with His promise, protected me from being harmed by the enemy. Some of the signs are such that, in keeping with His promise, God always fulfilled my needs and my wishes. And some are of the kind whereby, in keeping with His promise “I will humiliate him who seeks to humiliate you” God brought humiliation and disgrace upon those who tried to harm me. Some signs are of the kind in which, according to His Prophecies, He made me victorious over those who filed lawsuits against me. Some are of the kind that pertain to the length of my ministry, for ever since the world was created no impostor has ever been allowed such a long period of respite. Some signs are of the kind that are manifested through observing the condition of the age—that this age is in need of an Imam. Some signs are of the kind which represent the fulfilment of my prayers in favour of my friends. Some signs are of the kind which represent the fulfilment of my prayer against malicious enemies. Some signs are of the kind in which terminally ill patients were cured and I was informed of their recovery in advance. Some signs are of the nature whereby, for my sake, God caused a number of heavenly and earthly calamities as a testimony to my claim. Some are of the sort whereby many eminent and renowned saints saw dreams in which the Holy Prophet (sa) appeared to them and testified to my claim, among these is the Sajjadah Nashin Sahib-ul-‘Alam of Sindh who has nearly one hundred thousand followers, and Khawaja Ghulam Farid of Chachrań. Some signs are such that thousands of people pledged Bai‘at at my hand only because they were informed in a dream of my truthfulness and of my being from God; while some others did so because they saw the Holy Prophet (sa) in a dream, and he told them that the end of the world is near and that this man is the last Vicegerent of God and the Promised Messiah. Some signs relate to certain eminent saints who mentioned me by name even before my birth, or before I came of age, and spoke about my being the Promised Messiah. Among these are Ne‘matullah Wali and Mian Gulab Shah of Jamalpur, District Ludhiana.” [108]

Conclusion

In conclusion, the revelations of the Promised Messiah (as) are true because they follow the paradigm of revelation as set out in the Qur’an and Sunnah. They were in many cases prophetic and were fulfilled in an extraordinary fashion – the hallmark of genuine revelation vouchsafed to a prophet of Allah.

Those revelations which seem to be contrary to current conventions in English grammar are not false. They either weren’t recorded perfectly owing to a slight lapse in memory or follow an older form of the English language. Both cases find their precedence in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Even if they are deemed to not follow any known conventions in the English language, they still cannot be rejected as false since they are accompanied by clear external signs of their truthfulness.

About the AuthorAzhar Goraya is a graduate from the Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology in Canada. He is currently serving as an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Puerto Rico. He is also the Central American Coordinator for The Review of Religions en Español.


Endnotes:

[1] See Tadhkirah, Eng. Trans., 2009 edition, Index of English Revelations, pg. 1101.

[2]

ثُمَّ يَأْتِي عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ قَوْمٌ قَدْ عَصَمَهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْهُ فَيَمْسَحُ عَنْ وُجُوهِهِمْ وَيُحَدِّثُهُمْ بِدَرَجَاتِهِمْ فِي الْجَنَّةِ فَبَيْنَمَا هُوَ كَذَلِكَ إِذْ أَوْحَى اللَّهُ إِلَى عِيسَى إِنِّي قَدْ أَخْرَجْتُ عِبَادًا لِي لاَ يَدَانِ لأَحَدٍ بِقِتَالِهِمْ فَحَرِّزْ عِبَادِي إِلَى الطُّورِ (صحیح مسلم، کتاب الفتن، 2937)

…Then a people whom Allah had protected would come to Jesus, son of Mary, and he would wipe their faces and would inform them of their ranks in Paradise and it would be under such conditions that Allah would reveal to Jesus these words: I have brought forth from amongst My servants such people against whom none would be able to fight; you take these people safely to Tur…(Sahih Muslim, The Book of Trials and Portents of the Last Hour, 2937)

[3] Tadhkirah, pg. 7-8

[4] See Tafseer Hazrat Masih-e-Maud, under 69:48

[5] Tadhkirah, pg. 79

[6] Tadhkirah, pg. 39

[7] Tadhkirah, pg. 972

[8] Tadhkirah, pg. 80

[9] Tadhkirah, pg. 39

[10] Tadhkirah, pg. 699

[11] See Tadhkirah, pgs. 66-67 and 67-69

[12]

لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا (صحیح بخاری، کتاب التفسیر، 4636)

“The hour will not be established till the sun rises from the West…” (Sahih Bukhari, The Book of Prophetic Commentary, 4636)

[13] Nur-ul-Haq part 1. Ruhani Khazain, vol. 8, pg. 150.

[14] Nuzul-al-Masih, Ruhani Khazain, vol. 18, pg. 466.

[15] Chashma-e-Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khazain vol. 23, pg. 382

[16]

وَكَذَا مَوْضُوعٌ مَا ذَكَرَهُ بَعْضُ مَشَايِخِنَا مِنَ الْعَجَمِ أَنَّهُ وَرَدَ فِي الْكَلَامِ الْقُدْسِيِّ بِاللِّسَانِ الْفَارِسِيِّ جه كنم باين كناه كاران كه نيا مرزم

“And similarly, there is a fabricated narration that some of our non-Arab scholars have mentioned, that holy revelation descended in the Persian language: ” What should I do with these sinners if I do not forgive them?” (Al-Asrar al-Marfu’ah fi al-Akhbar al-Mawdu’a, Vol. 1, pg. 278, Hadith #359)

[17] Mulla Ali Qari’s main basis for declaring this tradition as fabricated is that it contradicts what he states is the authentic hadith, “Love the Arabs for three reasons: because I am an Arab, the word of Allah is in Arabic, and the language of the people of paradise is Arabic.” Nevertheless, this hadith has been declared as fabricated by other scholars (See Albani, Al-Silsilatul Da’ifiyya, Vol. 1, pg. 293, Hadith# 160). Moreover, there is no absolute prohibition in this hadith that the word of Allah can never descend in any other language. Rather, the context of the statement can be understood as stating that most of the revelation has descended in Arabic, which is a sufficient enough reason to love the Arabs.

[18] See Sahih Bukhari, the Book of Jihad, Chapter 188, Ahadith 3070-3072. Aini in his commentary Umdatul Qari relates the opinion that the term الرطانة refers to any foreign language (vol 15, pg. 4)

[19]

وَكَانَ البُخَارِيّ أَشَارَ إِلَى أَن النَّبِي صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم كَانَ يعرف الْأَلْسِنَة لِأَنَّهُ أرسل إِلَى الْأُمَم كلهَا على اخْتِلَاف ألسنتهم (عمدة القاری شرح صحیح بخار، بابُ مَنْ تَكَلَّمَ بالْفَارِسِيَّةِ والرَّطَانَةِ، ۸۸۱)

Umdatul Qari, Sharah Sahih Bukhari, under chapter “whoever spoke in Persian and other foreign languages”, 881

[20] Jalal-ud-Deen Suyuti, Al-Itqan fi Ulumil Qur’an. Vol. 2, pg. 126. Under chapter 38 “what is seen in it of languages other than Arabic”.

[21] Arthur Jeffrey, The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’an. Indices, pgs. 298-311

[22] See Qur’an, 34:29 “And We have not sent thee but as a bearer of glad tidings and a Warner, for all mankind, but most men know not.” And 21:108 “And We have sent thee not but as a mercy for all peoples.”

[23] Tuhfa Golarwiyya, Ruhani Khazain vol. 17, pg. 263 footnote

[24] Tuhfa Golarwiyya, Ruhani Khazain vol. 17, pg. 261 footnote

[25] Sheikh Abdul Qadir Sodagarmal, Hayat-e-Tayyaba, Pg. 22, Under “The First Account of the stay of the Promised Messiah (as) in Sialkot as per Maulana Syed Mir Hassan Sahib.”

[26] Nuzul-al-Masih, Ruhani Khazain, vol. 18, pg. 435

[27] Haqiqatul Wahi, Eng. Trans. Pg. 384

[28] Tadhkirah, pg. 68

[29] Tadhkirah, pg. 79

[30] Tadhkirah, pg. 81

[31] Tadhkirah, pg. 123

[32] Tadhkirah, pg. 144-145

[33] Haqiqatul-Wahi, Eng. Trans. p. 384 footnote #2.

[34] Nuzul-al-Masih, Ruhani Khazain, vol. 18, pg. 436.

[35] Malfuzat vol. 10, English Translation, pg. 9

[36] Aina Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khazain vol. 5, pg. 548

[37] Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyyah, part 4. Eng. Trans. Pgs. 362, 363, 367

[38] Haqiqatul-Wahi, Eng. Trans. p. 384 footnote #2.

[39] Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyyah, part 4. Eng. Trans. Pg. 363

[40] Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya, vol. 4, Eng. Trans. Pg. 363

[41] Tadhkirah, pg. 787

[42] Tadhkirah, pg. 80

[43] Tadhkirah, pg. 144

[44] Tadhkirah, pg. 122

[45] See Haqiqatul Wahi, Ruhani Khazain, vol. 22, pg. 438

[46] Tadhkirah, pgs. 79-80

[47] Tadhkirah, pg. 39

[48] Tadhkirah, pgs. 68-69

[49] See Essence of Islam, vol. 2, pgs. 248-253.

[50]

أصل الوحي: هو إعلام سريع خفيّ، الإشارة السّريعة، ولتضمّن السّرعة (المفردات)

(Al-Mufradat Fi Ghareeb-il-Qur’an, by Imam Raghib)

[51]

أَحْيَانًا يَأْتِينِي فِي مِثْلِ صَلْصَلَةِ الْجَرَسِ وَهُوَ أَشَدُّهُ عَلَىَّ ثُمَّ يَفْصِمُ عَنِّي وَقَدْ وَعَيْتُهُ وَأَحْيَانًا مَلَكٌ فِي مِثْلِ صُورَةِ الرَّجُلِ فَأَعِي مَا يَقُولُ (بخاری، کتاب الفضائل، 2333)

At times it comes to me like the ringing of a bell and that is most severe for me and when it is over I retain that (what I had received in the form of wahi), and at times an Angel in the form of a human being comes to me (and speaks) and I retain whatever he speaks. (Bukhari, the Book of Virtues, #2333)

[52] See Bukhari, The Book of Tauheed, Chapter: Move not your tongue alongside it, #7524

[53] See Qur’an, 25:33

[54]

كَانَ جِبْرِيلُ ـ عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَمُ ـ يَلْقَاهُ فِي كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ فَيُدَارِسُهُ الْقُرْآنَ (بخاری، کتاب المناقب، 3554)

Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Qur’an with him. (Bukhari, The Book of Manaqib (Virtues and Merits of the Prophet (sa) and his Companions), 3554)

[55]

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ: سَمِعَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ رَجُلًا يَقْرَأُ فِي سُورَةٍ بِاللَّيْلِ، فَقَالَ: «يَرْحَمُهُ اللَّهُ لَقَدْ أَذْكَرَنِي كَذَا وَكَذَا، آيَةً كُنْتُ أُنْسِيتُهَا مِنْ سُورَةِ كَذَا وَكَذَا» (بخاری، کتاب فضائل القرآن، 5038)

Narrated Aisha: Allah’s Messenger (sa) heard a man reciting the Qur’an at night, and said, “May Allah bestow His Mercy on him, as he has reminded me of such-and-such Verses of such-and-such Suras, which I was caused to forget.” (Bukhari, The Book of the Virtues of the Qur’an, #5038)

[56]

عَنِ الْحَسَنِ أَنَّهُ قَالَ فِي قَوْلِهِ: {أَوْ نُنْسِهَا} قَالَ: إِنَّ نَبِيَّكُمْ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أُقْرِئَ قُرْآنًا ثُمَّ نَسِيَهُ۔۔۔

See Tafseer Ibn-e-Kathir, under 2:107, مَا نَنْسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنْسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا , Vol. 1 pg. 377.

[57]

إِنِّي خَرَجْتُ لأُخْبِرَكُمْ بِلَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ، وَإِنَّهُ تَلاَحَى فُلاَنٌ وَفُلاَنٌ فَرُفِعَتْ۔۔۔(بخاری، کتاب الایمان، 49)

“I came out to inform you about (the date of) the night of Al-Qadr, but as so and so and so and so quarrelled, its knowledge was taken away (I forgot it)…” (Bukhari, The Book of Belief, #49)

[58]

أُرِيتُ لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ ثُمَّ أَيْقَظَنِي بَعْضُ أَهْلِي فَنُسِّيتُهَا فَالْتَمِسُوهَا فِي الْعَشْرِ الْغَوَابِرِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَقَالَ حَرْمَلَةُ ‏”‏ فَنَسِيتُهَا (مسلم، کتاب الصیام، 1166)

I was shown Lailat-ul-Qadr; then some members of my family awoke me up, then I was caused to forget it. So seek it in the last week. Harmala said: (The Prophet did not say:” I was made to forget,” but he stated):” But I forgot it.” (Muslim, The Book of Fasting, #1166)

[59]

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ: كَانَ مِمَّا يَنْزِلُ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْوَحْيُ بِاللَّيْلِ وَيَنْسَاهُ بِالنَّهَارِ، فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ، عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: {مَا نَنْسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنْسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا}

See Tafseer Ibn-e-Kathir, under 2:107, مَا نَنْسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنْسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا , Vol. 1 pg. 377.

[60]

وغير مستحيل في فطرة ذي عقل صحيح، ولا بحجة خبرٍ أن ينسي الله نبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم بعض ما قد كان أنزله إليه. فإذْ كان ذلك غير مستحيل من أحد هذين الوجهين، فغير جائز لقائل أن يقول: ذلك غير جائز.

See Tafseer Tabari, under 2:107

[61] See Bukhari, The Book of the Beginning of Creation, #3268

[62]

إنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِثْلُكُمْ أَذْكُرُ كَمَا تَذْكُرُونَ وَأَنْسَى كَمَا تَنْسَوْنَ

Sahih Muslim, The Book of Mosques and Places of Prayer, 5720

[63]

 إِنِّي لأَنْسَى أَوْ أُنَسَّى لأَسُنَّ

The Prophet (sa) stated, “I forget or I am made to forget so that I may establish the Sunnah” (Muwatta, The Book of Forgetfulness in Prayer)

[64]

إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَضَعَ عَنْ أُمَّتِي الْخَطَأَ وَالنِّسْيَانَ وَمَا اسْتُكْرِهُوا عَلَيْهِ (ابن ماجه، کتاب الطلاق، 2045)

“Allah has forgiven my nation for mistakes and forgetfulness, and what they are forced to do.” (Ibn-e-Majah, The Book of Divorce, 2045)

[65] Ibn Ishaq. Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah. English Trans. Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, 2004. Pg. 165-166.

[66] Al-Basari, Muhammad bin Saad. Tabaqat Ibn-e-Saad. Urdu Trans. Vo.1. Darul Ishaat, Karachi, Pakistan, 2003. pg. 201

[67] Al-Tabri, Abu Jafir Muhammad bin Jareer. Tareekh-e-Tabri. Vol. 2. Nafees Academy, Urdu Bazaar, Karachi, Pakistan, 2004. pg. 81

[68]

لم یفطن له حتی ادرکته العصمة فتنبھه علیه (تفسیر کشاف، ۲۲:۵۳)

He hadn’t realized that he had recited these verses until the angel Gabriel informed him of it. (Tafseer Kashaaf, see under 22:53)

[69]

عَنْ سَالِمٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ قَرَأَ رَجُلَانِ سُورَةً أَقْرَأَهُمَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عليه وسلم فكانا يقرآن بِهَا، فَقَامَا ذَاتَ لَيْلَةٍ يُصَلِّيَانِ، فَلَمْ يَقْدِرَا مِنْهَا عَلَى حَرْفٍ فَأَصْبَحَا غَادِيَيْنِ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَذَكَرَا ذَلِكَ لَهُ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: “إِنَّهَا مِمَّا نُسِخَ وَأُنْسِي، فَالْهُوَا عَنْهَا”

Tafseer Ibn Kathir, under 2:107, مَا نَنْسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنْسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا , vol. 1, pg. 376

[70]

قال القاضي عياض – رحمه الله : جمهور المحققين جواز النسيان عليه – صلى الله عليه وسلم – ابتداء فيما ليس طريقه البلاغ ، واختلفوا فيما طريقه البلاغ والتعليم (شرح النووی عل مسلم، کتاب الصلاة المسافرین و قصرھا، 788)

Sharah Sahih Muslim by Nawawi, The Book of the Prayer of Travelers and it’s Qasr, 788

[71] Maktubat-e-Ahmadiyyah, vol. 1, pp. 68–69, Letter dated December 12, 1883, addressed to Mir ‘Abbas ‘Ali. Referenced partly inTadhkirah, pg. 143. Maktubat-e-Ahmadiyya (typed version), vol. 1, pgs. 583-584.

[72]

إِنَّمَا الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ (بخاری، کتاب بدء الوحی، 1

Bukhari, The Book of the Commencement of Revelation, 1

[73] Essence of Islam, vol. 4, pgs. 20-21

[74] The Promised Messiah (as) wrote in his letter to Mir Abbas Ali after mentioning his English revelations: “These are the sentences. Write them with the necessary corrections and please send as soon as you can so that if possible, some of them may be included in the appropriate places in the final volume…” (Maktubat-e-Ahmadiyya, vol. 1, typed edition, pg. 584)

The inference that the Promised Messiah (as) would carefully scrutinize the suggestions and after comparing them to his own recollections and memory, make a decision as to whether the suggestions were correct or not.

[75] See Bukhari, the Book of Prophetic Commentary, 4953

[76] John Algeo, The Origins and Development of the English Language 6th Edition. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2010. Pg. 10

[77] See also Alhaqul Mubahitha Dehli, Ruhani Khazain, vol. 4, pg.183

[78] Barahin-e-Ahmadiyyah part 4, Eng. Trans. Pg. 363

[79] Online Etymology Dictionary. Under “can”. Accessed October 7, 2023.

[80] T.F. Hoad. Oxford Concise Dictionary of English Etymology. Reissued 1996.

[81] www.websters1913.com, under “can”. Accessed October 7, 2023.

[82] Eugene F. Shewmaker. Shakespear’s Language: A Glossary of Unfamiliar Words in His Plays and Poems. 2008. Pg. 76, under ‘can.

[83] Tadhkirah, pg. 81

[84] E.A Abbott, M.A. A Shakespearean Grammar: An Attempt to Illustrate some of the Differences between Elizabethan and Modern English. London, Macmillon and Co. 1870. Pg. 94.

[85] See Dialect Dictionary by Joseph Wright, referenced from Tadkhkirah, pg. 81, note by Jalal-ud-Din Sham.

[86] Eugene F. Shewmaker. Shakespear’s Language: A Glossary of Unfamiliar Words in His Plays and Poems. 2008. Pg. 73, under ‘can.

[87] Tadhkirah, pg. 81

[88] Abbott, E.A, M.A. A Shakespearean Grammar: An Attempt to Illustrate some of the Differences between Elizabethan and Modern English. London, Macmillon and Co. 1870. Pg. 58

[89] (1389) Lond.Gild Ret.in Bk.Lond.E. (PRO C 47/var.) A Book of London English, 1384-1425, eds. R. W. Chambers and M. Daunt (1931).41-60. Accessed via Middle English Compendium, under enemī. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/middle-english-dictionary/dictionary.

[90] The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, scene 1, line 2399

[91] E.A Abbott, M.A. A Shakespearean Grammar: An Attempt to Illustrate some of the Differences between Elizabethan and Modern English. London, Macmillon and Co. 1870. Pgs. 279-280.

[92] SeeTadhkira, pgs. 67-69

[93] Tadhkirah, pg. 123

[94] This is the explanation given by Syed Abdul Hayee. See Tadhkirah, pg. 144 footnote.

[95] C.T. Onions. The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Oxford University Press, reprinted 1994.

[96] https://www.etymonline.com/. Accessed October 8, 2023.

[97] Eugene F. Shewmaker. Shakespear’s Language: A Glossary of Unfamiliar Words in His Plays and Poems. 2008. Pg. 185, under ‘exchange’.

[98] See Tadhkirah, pg. 145.

[99] Joyce M. Hawking and Robert Allen. Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary. Oxford University Press, reprinted 1994.

[100] Tadhkirah, pg. 144.

[101] E.A Abbott, M.A. A Shakespearean Grammar: An Attempt to Illustrate some of the Differences between Elizabethan and Modern English. London, Macmillon and Co. 1870. Pg. 131-132.

[102] Charles Mackary. New Light on Some Obscure Words and Phrases in the Works of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries. London, Reeves and Turner, 1884. Preface

[103]

كنت لا أدري ما”فاطر السماوات والأرض”، حتى أتاني أعرابيّان يختصمان في بئر، فقال أحدهما لصاحبه:”أنا فَطَرتها”، يقول: أنا ابتدأتها

See Jamiul Bayan fi Ta’wilil Qur’an, Ibn Jarir At-Tabari, under 7:14, narration 13111.

[104]

عن أنس، قال: قرأ عمر بن الخطاب رضى الله عنه (عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّى) فلما أتى على هذه الآية (وَفَاكِهَةً وَأَبًّا) قال: قد عرفنا الفاكهة. فما الأبّ؟ قال: لعمرك يا بن الخطاب إن هذا لهو التكلف.

See Tafseer At-Tabari, under 80:31

[105]

وَقَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ الصِّدِّيقُ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ: لِلَّهِ فِي كُلِّ كِتَابٍ سِرٌّ وَسِرُّهُ فِي الْقُرْآنِ أَوَائِلُ السُّوَرِ، وَقَالَ عَلِيٌّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ: إِنَّ لِكُلِّ كِتَابٍ صَفْوَةٌ وَصَفْوَةُ هَذَا الْكِتَابِ حُرُوفُ التَّهَجِّي۔۔۔وَسُئِلَ الشَّعْبِيُّ عَنْ هَذِهِ الْحُرُوفِ فَقَالَ: سِرُّ اللَّهِ فَلَا تَطْلُبُوهُ، وَرَوَى أَبُو ظَبْيَانَ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ: عَجَزَتِ الْعُلَمَاءُ عَنْ إِدْرَاكِهَا

Tafsir Mafatihul Ghaib, At-Tafsir Ul-Kabeer, under الم, 2:1, vol. 2 pg. 250

[106]

وقال بعضهم: لكل كتاب سرٌّ، وسرُّ القرآن فواتحه

Tafseer Tabri, under 2:1, الم, vol. 1 pg. 209

[107]

هذه الحروف المقطعة فى أوائل السورة من المتشابه الذي لا يعلم تأويله إلا الله

Tafsir Al-Qushairi Lataiful Ishara’at, vol. 1, pg. 53

[108] Essence of Islam, vol. 5, pgs. 2-4, referenced from Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 22, pp.70-71

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