Islamic Concepts and Beliefs

Revelation, Inspiration, Vision and Dream

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Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), The Promised Messiah & Imam Mahdi

The Promised Messiah (as) wrote over 80 books in Arabic, Urdu, and Persian. Excerpts of his collected works have been translated into English and organised by topic.

The Review of Religions is pleased to present these excerpts as part of a monthly feature. Here, the Promised Messiah (as) mentions the requirements for receiving revelation and the hallmarks of divine revelation.

This is the fifth part of a multi-part series.

Extracts from The Essence of Islam – Vol. II. pp. 76-81

A Recipient of Grace Must Have a Close Relationship With the Almighty

The philosophy of the descent of the light of revelation is that it descends upon light and does not descend upon darkness, for grace demands a relationship and there is no relationship between darkness and light. Light has relationship with light and the All-Wise operates only in circumstances of appropriateness. In bestowing the grace of light the law is that greater light is bestowed upon one who possesses some light and nothing is bestowed upon one who has nothing. He who possesses the light of eyes perceives the light of the sun, but he who has not the light of eyes is deprived of the light of the sun also. He who has a small share of natural light receives a little other light and he who has much natural light receives more other light.

The prophets are those high personages who, despite the vast diversity in human nature, are so blessed with inner light that they become light personified. That is why the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) has been named light and a light-giving sun, as is said:

قَدۡ جَآءَكُمۡ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمۡ كَثِيرٗا مِّمَّا كُنتُمۡ تُخۡفُونَ مِنَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ وَيَعۡفُواْ عَن كَثِيرٖ [1]

وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى ٱللَّهِ بِإِذۡنِهِۦ وَسِرَاجٗا مُّنِيرٗا [2]

This is the reason that the light of revelation, for which the perfection and grandeur of natural light is a condition, was bestowed only upon the prophets and has been confined to them. This refutes those people who, though they admit the diversity of ranks, nevertheless imagine out of their ignorance that the light that is bestowed upon those who possess perfect natures can also be bestowed upon defective individuals. They should reflect honestly and should realise their mistake. They see clearly that God’s law of nature does not support their false notion and yet out of bigotry and enmity they adhere to their false notion. In the same way, the Christians do not consider it a condition for the grace of light to descend upon anyone that he should possess a natural light, and they allege that it is not necessary that a heart upon which the light of revelation descends should possess inner light. According to them, if a person instead of possessing sane reason is utterly stupid and ignorant, and instead of being brave is an utter coward, and instead of being generous is a total miser, and instead of possessing a sense of honour is utterly shameless, and instead of loving God is in deep love with the world, and instead of being pious and trustworthy is a thief and a robber, and instead of being modest and innocent is a debauch, and instead of being contented is utterly greedy, even such a one can be a prophet and elect of God. Indeed, with the single exception of Jesus (as), all the other prophets whom they accept as true and whose Books they describe as holy were, according to them, full of such defects and were bereft of holy perfection which is a condition of innocence and purity of heart. What a philosophy have the Christians adopted with regard to the descent of the light of divine revelation! But such a philosophy is approved and followed only by people who are caught in deep darkness and inner blindness. Otherwise, even a feeble-minded person would not deny the obvious truth that to receive the grace of light it is necessary that the recipient should possess inner light. 

—Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 1, pp. 195-197 footnote 11

It is a pity that most people regard as God’s word everything that flows from their tongues in a state of slumber, and thus contravene the verse:

وَلَا تَقۡفُ مَا لَيۡسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلۡمٌ [3]

It should be borne in mind that anything that flows from the tongue, even if it is not opposed to the Word of God and the word of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), is not the word of God unless the action of God Almighty bears witness to it. Satan, who is man’s enemy and who seeks diverse ways of ruining a person, also adopts the method that he puts his words into the heart of a man and assures him that they are words of God and such a person is destroyed in the end.

Three Hallmarks of Divine Revelation

If someone claims to receive revelation, to call it divine would amount to committing spiritual death, unless and until it fulfils three conditions:

First, it should not be opposed to the Holy Qur’an; but this alone is not enough. Unless the third condition which will be mentioned below is present, nothing can be established.

Secondly, those words should descend upon a person whose soul has been completely purified. He should be one of those who have withdrawn entirely from their passions and who have submitted to a death through which they have approached close to God and have withdrawn far away from Satan. A person hears him to whom he is close. He who is close to Satan hears Satan’s voice and he who is close to God hears God’s voice. One’s utmost effort should be for the purification of one’s soul. All search ends with that. In other words, it is a death that burns up all inner impurities. When a person completes his search then a stage arrives when he passes under the control of the Divine. Thus, through understanding and love God revives His servant who, by discarding his passions, has arrived at the stage of death. Then through His extraordinary signs God reveals to him spiritual wonders and fills his heart with the attraction of personal love which the world cannot understand. In this condition, it can be said of him that he has been bestowed new life after which there is no death. 

This new life is won through complete understanding and complete love. Complete understanding is acquired through God’s eternal signs. When a person arrives at this stage, he enjoys true converse with God. This condition is also not enough without the third condition, for perfect purity is a hidden matter and any idle talker could claim to have achieved it.

The third condition of a true recipient of revelation is that God’s action should testify to the words that he attributes to God, that is to say, so many signs should appear in its support that sane reason should reject the suggestion that despite so many signs it is not the word of God. This condition is above all other conditions.

It is such a perfect condition that no one can reject it. This is the condition through which true prophets of God have always overcome false people. When a person claims that God’s word descends on him and hundreds of signs appear along with it, and a thousand types of support and divine help are displayed and God attacks his enemies openly, then who can call such a person false?…Those who enjoy the honour of converse with God and are appointed to call men to Divine guidance are supported by divine signs which fall like rain and the world cannot oppose them. Divine action bears repeated witness that the words that they put forward are divine words. If those who claim to be recipients of revelation were to keep this condition in mind, they would escape falling into error. 

—Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 22, pp. 534-538


[1] ‘There has come to you indeed from Allah a Light and a clear Book.’ – The Holy Qur’an, 5:16.

[2] ‘…and as a Summoner unto Allah by His command, and as a Lamp that gives bright light.’ – The Holy Qur’an, 33:47.

[3] ‘Follow not that of which thou hast no knowledge.’ – The Holy Qur’an, 17:37.