Dreams, Visions and Revelation

Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya – A Monumental Book

Saturday 23rd March 1889 was the fateful day when Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad the Promised Messiah( a s ) a c c e p t e d the hands of a few faithful servants in allegiance to the Ten Conditions of Bai’at (initiation) and founded the community which he called ‘The Muslim Ahmadiyya Jama’at’. This was a revo- lutionary yet a very modest beginning to a new chapter in the history of Islam. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) was already a well- known figure in the religious circles of the then British India. It was a time when British Raj in India was well established. The events of 1857 were already a part of the history. The Muslim government in India was totally crushed. All factions in the society were scrambling for more and more gains. Hindus, who formed the majority of the population, had realised a need to rationalise their religious beliefs. These were the times of thinkers like Swami Dyanand who while making an effort to rationalise Vedic teachings for the people of India founded an organisation called ‘Arya Samaj’. Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan, a Muslim thinker, was of the opinion that the uplift of Muslim masses was only possible through We s t e r n education and founded the Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College Aligarh for such education. The British rulers and elite among them like Dr. Hunter and others, who were Christians by faith, had a deep mistrust of the Indian Muslims because of their beliefs in ‘Jihad’ or the Holy War. The Christians firmly believed that the salvation of the Indian people was in their conversion to the Christian faith. Such a change could, in their view, not only bring religious gains to them but also bring a lasting 49Review of Religions – October 2002 Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya – A Monumental Book By Dr. Latif Ahmad Qureshi stability to the British rule in India. A large number of Christian missionaries, doctors and teachers had, therefore, come to India from Britain, Ireland, America and other Christian nations to preach and propagate Christianity in India. Churches were built in remote villages. Dispensaries were established under Christian Missions in rural areas and schools were established in every important town of India. In the Province of Punjab, the districts of Lahore, Sialkot, Amritsar and Gurdaspur were special centres of Christian preaching activities. Large areas of lands were earmarked for missions. The Bible was translated and published into local languages and widely circulated. The priests and Christian mission-aries went out among the masses and ideologically attacked all other faiths including Islam. It appeared that their victory was very near. Every year the figures of new converts were published and showed thousands of native Indians accepting Christianity as their faith. However despite all this religious activity there was one very commendable aspect of British rule and that was that there was a stable govern- ment, which sought to uphold justice. The rule of law prevailed. Every one was free to propagate one’s religious point of view in a fair and peaceful manner. There was no interference by the government in the religious practises of the masses. The Challenge: Such were the days w h e n Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam A h m a d( a s ) brought out the first volume of his monumental book B r a h e e n – e – A h m a d i y y a i n the year 1880. This book was the result of tremendous research and thinking. It contains the evidence to show the truth of the Qur’an as a revealed Divine book and that of the prophethood of Hadhrat M u h a m m a d( s a ). In the early part of the book there is a challenge and the offer of a huge prize money of Rs.10,000 by the author for any 50 Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya – A Monumental Book Review of Religions – October 2002 person who could counter this evidence put forward by him. Every claim and its supporting evidence are deduced from references from the Qur’ a n . The religious groups who do not believe in the truth of Qur’ a n such as the Jews, Christians, Hindus and others who also have their own religious books are invited to put forth similar arguments and evidence based on their own religious scriptures. Those people who do not believe in any religion such as some philosophers and scientists were invited to do the same based on logic and reasoning. Three more volumes came out one after the other till there were four volumes of the book. A logical answer could not only prove the truth of an opponent but could also make him rich. Yet one hundred and twenty two years have gone by and no one has come forward to write a reply and claim the prize. The Evidence: The evidence put forward was basically that Qur’an is the Word of God. Hence it is unique in its depth and meaning. This book contains commentary on the Surah Fatiha – the opening chapter of Qur’an and many other verses of the Qur’an to prove this point. Another important point the author makes is that it is not possible to recognise God simply by using obser-vations, intelligence and logic. Divine revelations are vital in the education and teaching of the human mind. God reveals Himself to His chosen people at all critical times. This has always happened in the past and continues to happen even to this day. God possesses the ability to communicate with His creations just as He has many other attributes such as listening to and accepting prayers; having perfect know- ledge; creating without the necessity of any material and so on. People can also talk, hear, see and make things but the work of God and that of man have clear distinctions and are not comparable. Here he quotes the example of simple insects like flies and mosquitoes and stresses the 51 Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya – A Monumental Book Review of Religions – October 2002 point that a man cannot even imagine to create the likes of the leg of an insect with all its intricacies. The same difference is observ- able between the Qur’ a n , which is the Word of God, and any other words written by a human being. He describes the prophecies contained in the Qur’an and makes the point that this book was revealed to an unlettered person who could neither read nor write. He was born and lived his entire life between a barbarian, uncivilised and mostly illiterate people in a far away desert. He had no contacts with the civilised people of the time who lived in the outside world and were either Jews, Christians or philosophers and thinkers of the time. Yet that author accurately described the past history, the future occurrences and gave a superb moral and spiritual teaching for mankind. It was a teaching which practically transformed his followers and his nation from being animal into human beings. Then from being ordinary human beings into being civilised human beings and finally from being civilised human beings into God fearing human beings. This amazing transformation occurred with- in the short span of just a few years. The time from the start to finish was about 23 years. He profusely quotes from the text of the Qur’an to make his point. He describes the need of the Qur’an and mentions ten amazing characteristics of the Qur’an. Such a commen- tary of the Qur’an was never seen or heard except during the times of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa). Revelation in Our times The author then goes on to quote his own revelations and they are recorded in a fascinating sequence. In these personal revelations Allah addresses him by different names such as Muhammad, Ahmad, Noah, Abraham, Maryam, Isa, Sulaiman and Dawood etc. implying that he would carry the grace of all these previous prophets in 52 Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya – A Monumental Book Review of Religions – October 2002 these modern times. This is especially astonishing, as he had not yet claimed to be appointed the messenger of this age. He had not even initiated the Jama’at nor started accepting the Bai’at of people. These verses tell that: he will start such a Jama’at; there will be violent opposition to him so much so that two persons will be sacrificed only for the crime of believing in him as a true messenger of God during his life time – a referral to the two Afghan Martyrs, an event that took place almost twenty years later. His ultimate victory and that of his followers is clearly foretold. He explains very clearly and without any reservations that all these Graces of God are bestowed upon him because of his total and complete submission to the commands of his master the Holy Prophet Hadhrat M u h a m m a d( s a s ). He actually is the real person and those who follow him are only his images. He explains by quoting the example of a mirror in which a man sees his image although it is no different from his own self. He says that revelation is the ultimate proof of the existence of God. There is no proof greater than this proof. In these revelations God tells His chosen servants about events, which are to follow, and great prophecies are made about forthcoming days. They are made at a time when the Prophet is alone and without any friends. He is unknown and unimportant. These prophe- cies tell about the success of the prophet of God and failure of his opponents. Eventually everything foretold is proved to be true. The Reception Some of the Muslims w e r e jubilant. Here was the final light in their totally dark and desperate world. Here the sword of reason appeared to have slain all the dragons of godlessness, multiple deities, t r i n i t y, worship of human beings, submission to base objects and the power of ill conceived and incomplete sciences. One of them wrote the famous verse “All the eyes of us ailing patients are on 53 Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya – A Monumental Book Review of Religions – October 2002 you. May God make you the Messiah.” This blessed person ‘Sufi Ahmad Jan’ had passed away by the time of the initiation or Bai’at took place. Yet to remember him the first initiation was carried out in his house. Muhammad Hussain Batalvi an Ahle Hadith scholar wrote a long review praising the book in his journal. The review is worth reading. Another scholar Nawab Siddiq Hassan Khan who had done a lot of research about the coming and timing of the Promised Messiah( a s ), was very pleased and promised to help in publishing the book. But when he read the searing and fatal attack launched in the book on Trinity and other modern Christian doctrines he became very frightened and withdrew his support. Keep in mind that the British were the rulers of the land and Christianity was their faith, which they wanted to be propagated amongst the Indian masses. The majority of the Muslims however did not bother at all. They were not concerned whether Islam lived or died. They neither wanted to spend any money nor risk their honour and other worldly possessions for this cause. The Final Volume: The final volume of the book ‘Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya’ was complete for publication in 1905 and was printed in 1908. This contained the final evidence for our present modern times about the truth of Islam, the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad(sa). In this final 5th volume the Promised Messiah(as) quotes extensively from his previous volumes, published more than twenty years earlier, and tells about the fulfilment of all the prophecies contained in them. This is in fact a conclusive and irrefutable proof of the truth of Islam, the Qur’an, the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ) a n d finally the truth of the Promised Messiah(as). The Promised Messiah ( a s ) w r o t e more than 80 books in between these volumes of B r a h e e n – e – A h m a d i y y a but as we read 54 Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya – A Monumental Book Review of Religions – October 2002 them one by one we seem to see the same theme being elaborated in many of his books. The theme of peaceful living between various religious groups, the importance of revelation, the mutual respect for religious leaders, explanation of Qur’anic verses particularly Surah Fatiha is present in many books. There is a famous vision of the Promised Messiah ( a s ), he experienced during his young days. In this vision he presented a book written by himself to the Holy Pr o p h e t M u h a m m a d( s a ). When he took this book in his hands it transformed into a fruit. One portion of this fruit was given to a dead person and it revived him back to life. A large portion of the fruit remained in the possession of the Pr o m i s e d M e s s i a h( a s ). The logic and reasoning in support of Islam contained in this book has already revived the faith. It is now strong enough to reason out any philosophy or scientific advancement that the world may experience in our times. There is however, much more that remains in the works of the Promised Messiah ( a s ), including the awesome B r a h e e n – e – A h m a d i y y a, for future generations also. For it is not just a book from the past but it is also a book for the f u t u r e . Bibliography: Roohani Khazain, Vo l . 1 , B r a h e e n – e – A h m a d i y y a, Vo l s . 1,2,3,4. Roohani Khazain, Vo l . 2 1 , Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya, Vol.5. Tareekh-e-Ahmadiyyat (Urdu) History of Ahmadiyyat , Vols.1,2,&3. 55 Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya – A Monumental Book Review of Religions – October 2002 About the Author Dr. Latif Ahmad Qureshi has written several medical articles and participated in television proigramme sin the past