Divine Guidance – Part I

22 The Review of Religions – April 2004 [Translator’s Note: All references to the verses of the Holy Qur’an are given in Arabic as they occur in the text. The English translation, presented in italics, is taken from the translation of the Holy Qur’an by Hadhrat Maulwi Sher Ali Sahib(ra). Where the Promised Messiah(as) has himself stated a certain interpretation of the Arabic verse, this is incorporated in the main body of the text]. Translated by Amatul-Hadi Ahmad You should all listen [to what I have to say] with full attention and careful consideration because this matter is a matter of faith and in this matter care- lessness, laziness or lack of attentiveness leads to many ill consequences. Those who are careless in matters of faith and do not pay attention when someone On 27th December 1901, after Asr prayers, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi addressed the large gathering of people who had come from different parts of the country. Presented below is the first part of the translation of the speech that was delivered on this day. The original text of this Urdu speech has been taken from Malfoozat, Volume 3, pp.142-149. Divine Guidance – Part I The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. 23The Review of Religions – April 2004 Divine Guidance – Part 1 addresses them, no matter how good or beneficial that address may be derive no benefit. It is such people about whom it is said that they possess ears but they do not hear, they have hearts but they do not understand. Hence, remember that whatever is stated should be listened to with full attention and consid- eration because he who does not listen carefully can reap no benefit even from a close association with a good and beneficial person no matter how long he spends in his company. At the time when God Almighty appoints Prophets as Messengers for the world, there exist two types of people. One type is that which pays attention to what the Prophets state and gives careful consideration to their words. This is the group that benefits and attains true righteousness and the fruits of its blessings. The other group of people are those who not only ignore what is being said but they laugh and mock at the Prophets and plot and plan to harm them. At the time when our Holy P r o p h e t( s a ) was appointed [as Messenger] at that time too, in accordance with this rule, there were two groups. One group was that which listened to the message of the Holy Prophet(sa) and listened to it with full attention. Consequently, they were affected by those words to such an extent that they became passionate admirers of the Holy Prophet(sa) ready to sacrifice their parents, their children and other loved ones. In short, all that was loved by them in this world became secondary to the love they felt for the Holy Prophet(sa). Previously they had been spending their days in comfort, enjoying the company of their friends and relatives. All that had to be given up, however, when they forged a relationship with the holy person. All the rela- tionships had to be torn asunder but they did not find it difficult to do so, they felt only pleasure and happiness. It needs to be considered carefully as to what it was that the Holy Prophet( s a ) possessed that led to people being so enamoured with him 24 The Review of Religions – April 2004 Divine Guidance – Part 1 that they were ready to give up heir lives. They were ready to sever all links be they of worldly gains or of political or national links. They were not only ready to do all this, they actually showed by giving up their lives to what extent they held their relationship of love and sincerity with the Holy Prophet(sa). On the face of it, the Holy Prophet(sa) had no material wealth that could be a source of attraction for others. The Holy Prophet(sa) was himself brought up as an orphan, what could he give to others. I say that, undoubtedly the Holy Prophet(sa) had no material wealth nor did he possess any other means of worldly temptation or inducement but he possessed the very things that are in reality the most effective and attractive and it was this that attracted the world towards him. These were truth and magnetism and it is these two things that Prophets bring with them. The existence of both these qualities are essential as a person cannot gain from just the one nor can he benefit others by possessing only one of these qualities. Tr u t h without attraction cannot lead to great gain. Similarly, what benefit can there be if there is magnetism but no truth. There are many people in this world that speak for the truth but it is observed that such truth does not prove to be beneficial or effective. Why is this so? It is because such truth is only on their lips – their heart is not acquainted and they do not possess the attraction that develops after the heart’s acceptance. Hence, the person who speaks half-heartedly about truth, has a similar effect. True magnetism, real attraction and actual effectiveness develop only when the truth that a person describes, is not only accepted by him but by practising it he acquires its shining results and effects and he has these within himself. Should a person himself not hold a true belief in the matters that he describes, and does not show the effect of the true faith through his practice he can never be an effective or beneficial being. Such words 25The Review of Religions – April 2004 Divine Guidance – Part 1 emanate from foul smelling lips and become even more foul smelling by the time they reach the ears of others. Moreover, such cruel and heartless people manage to slaughter truth in yet another way. As there are no signs of true blessings and fruits [of truth] with such people, c o n s e q u e n t l y, those listening to them consider what they say to be no more than mere imaginary talk and consequently take a careless attitude towards it and are deprived. In short, it is worth remembering that the person who calls towards reformation and betterment of the world cannot be of benefit unless he has with him truth and magnetism. However, those who do not pay attention to his words [find] that they also do not benefit from the words of those who do possess truth and magnetism. Just as it is part of God’s law of nature that day follows night and night follows day and that there is no change in this law, so there occur in the world ages that are of a similar nature. At times there is a spiritual ‘night’ and at times the ‘sun’ rises to bring a new ‘day’. Hence, the last thousand years resemble a spiritual dark night and it has been referred to as Faij-e-A’awaj by the Holy Prophet(sa) of Islam [meaning a period of crookedness]. For God it is ‘one day’ as is stated in the [Holy Qur’an]: Verily, a day with thy Lord is as a thousand years of your reckoning. (Ch.22: V.48) In this period of thousand years there was a very dangerous veil of darkness spread over the world in which there were used all manner of deceitful schemes and prevarication to drag the greatness of our Holy Prophet(sa) into an unholy mire. The people themselves who were called Muslims were engulfed in all manner of Shirk, [that is, 26 The Review of Religions – April 2004 Divine Guidance – Part 1 indulging in practices that denied the Unity of God] and had begun to follow customs that were un- Islamic. About this group of people the Holy Prophet(sa) has stated: Laisoo minni wa lastu minhum, that is, ‘They are not from me and I am not from them’. In short, as God has stated, this was a night of thousand years that has passed. God has now desired that the world should be given a portion from the light and it should be given to him who is capable of receiving it. It is a capacity that is not possessed by everyone. Hence, God has appointed me in this century in order that I may revive Islam. We observe that Prophet Moses(as) was not able to succeed, in the full meaning of the word, because he was not able to turn many of his people into sincere [followers]. A small period of absence lead to rebellion of the people despite the fact that Prophet Aaron ( a s ) was present amongst them and the people turned to the worship of a calf. All the way through, the people [of Israel] persisted in doubts and suspicions. Never were the people as a whole able to show heartfelt sincerity despite witnessing numerous signs. Similarly, Prophet Jesus(as) also remained without complete success, so much so that even the disciples, as is stated in the Bible, showed signs of insincerity and some having turned away cursed him. The Scribes and the Pharisees who sat on the seat of Moses(as) were not able to take a share of the divine light and accept the words of truth that Jesus(as) had brought and did not listen to him with care. Although it can be said that Jesus(as) faced many difficulties that were like prophecies for the signs and indications of the Messiah. However, had they given these matters careful thought and consideration and had they been truly guided, they would have benefited and with strength they would have come out of their d i fficulties. Reflection upon these matters naturally gives rise to the question as to why it is so? A brief answer to this is that a person is destroyed through his 27The Review of Religions – April 2004 Divine Guidance – Part 1 own strategy. Those who do not pay heed and consider the existence [of God’s Messenger] to be of no benefit and do not pay attention to his blessed words, the necessary consequence of this is that they remain deprived. As I stated at the beginning, one should listen attentively and with care. Those who do not listen with care are the people who have ears but who do not hear. Similarly, I would now say that these are the people whose hearts are locked and upon whose eyes and ears there are covers. That is why they mock and laugh at the words of the Messengers of God and those appointed by God. Consequently, not having bene- fited [from the Messenger of God], they become deprived and are engulfed by the wrath of God. It is those who heed the words of the Messenger of God with careful attention, patience and steadfastness, who are able to benefit from them. Eventually the glitter of truth itself brightens their hearts and their eyes are opened and their ears develop a new capacity to hear. Moreover, the heart ponders and creates a state of practice [of righteous actions] that lead to the attainment of solace and tranquillity. In the world we see that when a person loses the opportunity of doing good and acting r i g h t e o u s l y, he later becomes saddened at the thought of having lost such an opportunity and feels the pain of such a loss. Similarly, those who live through the time of Prophets and then lose this opportunity [to recognise them and to reform] are engulfed by the wrath of God. It is regrettable that the people of the world are unaware of all this. Had it been possible for the people of this world to obtain information about the dead and if the dead could return to this world to recount their stories then everyone would live the life of angels and sin in the world would be as if a ‘death’ had come over it. However, God has not wished it to be so and there is a veil of mystery over this matter in order that there should be a reward for goodness and the 28 The Review of Religions – April 2004 Divine Guidance – Part 1 reward should not be wasted. For instance, if questions were to be published before an examination, the answers could not be used to test the ability [of people taking the exam]. Similarly, the method God Almighty has adopted for accountability has been safe- guarded against extremes. Had it been the case that God had lifted all the veils and no matter remained secret or hidden and the dead could come and tell us about heaven and hell, would there remain any atheists or idol worshippers? For instance, even if only a few dead people belonging to this place could describe the reality [of life after death] to their grand children and other loved ones, could any one then remain in a state of disobedience – most certainly not! However, God Almighty has not wished so. Should a person declare that he believes in the sun, that it exists and gives light, what type of reward could be attached to such a belief – none whatsoever. Similarly, in order to establish the value and impor- tance of faith and for the reward of righteousness, God Almighty has wished that there should be some hidden aspects. The wise person achieves greater integrity and completeness [through the hidden aspects of faith] and the foolish remain deprived. Moreover, there is no aspect of faith that does not have a reality or a philosophy. There is contained an extraordinary philosophy in keeping some matters hidden. As I have just stated, if there were to be total manifestation such that nothing remained hidden, facts of the next world and the pleasure of God, all were known, then nothing would then be goodness nor would there be any appreciation of it. There is no reward upon a belief in things that are known and witnessed. A person who professes belief in a mosque or a tree or in the sun is not entitled to any reward. But he who finds out about something that is hidden and believes in that, such a one is doubtless worthy of praise and is entitled to receive much praise. What [kind of a reward can there be] when there is a total manifestation? 29The Review of Religions – April 2004 Similarly, should someone claim to have seen the crescent of the moon on the twenty-ninth, his eye-sight would certainly be worthy of praise but if someone says that he has seen the full moon on the fourteenth and invites others to see it when it has become full and its light is fully visible to all, such a person would be considered no more than a joker indulging in a time- wasting exercise. In short, ability manifests itself through wisdom. God has hidden some things and manifested others. If God had manifested everything, reward of belief would have been forgone and if He had hidden everything then all religions would have remained in darkness and nothing would have been the cause of satisfaction. Moreover, today no religion could have asserted upon another that it is at fault nor could there have been established any principle of accountability because this d i fficulty is beyond human c a p a b i l i t y. However, God Almighty has stated [in the Holy Qur’an]: Allah burdens not any soul beyond its capacity. (Ch 2 V 287) In short, it is a blessing of God that there is only a small test [of belief and faith], one that does not constitute very great diffi- culty. Despite the fact that the other world is such that whoever goes there does not return, God has maintained a system of illumination and blessing through which we can discover [the nature of some mysteries] in this world and the hidden matters become matters of reality. Philosophers of today have tried to undertake much research into the matter of whether the dead can return to this world. In America, one person was killed to see whether any sense remained after death. The person on whom the experiment was carried out was told to indicate to them with a sign but after he was Divine Guidance – Part 1 30 The Review of Religions – April 2004 dead he was unable to do anything. This is so because it is a hidden secret of God and no one can attain to its mystery. When man has gone beyond the limits, he sets about trying to find out the mystery [of hidden secrets]. The western world by research into numerous worldly matters, reaches out in every science and philosophy beyond reasonable limits and seeks to leave behind the human limits and go beyond. This however is to no avail. In short, in matters that are related to aspects of faith, God has neither hidden so much that one has to reach the limits of trouble and pain and still be unable to fathom these, nor have they been made so manifest that faith would not remain as faith and there would not be any gain set upon it. Despite all these things, h o w e v e r, today is a day of rejoicing for Islam that no one in the world can compete with it. It holds with it the powerful miracle of its clear guidance and truths [that can be seen] in practice together with living signs and living blessings that no one has the power to challenge. The claim that in this age Islam is distinguished in the world by its pure teaching and its living results is not an empty claim. God has through His Servant proved this truth and by extending to all religions and faiths an invitation to the truth, has informed that in reality Islam is the one religion that is a living religion and any one who has the slightest doubt should come to me and witness these qualities and blessings for himself but the condition is that he should come as a true seeker and not as a hasty objector. To be continued Divine Guidance – Part 1