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Divine Guidance – Part II

15The Review of Religions – May 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 Hadrat Maulvi Sher Ali Sahib ( r a ). 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 The age in which the Holy P r o p h e t( s a ) appeared and was appointed for the manifestation of God’s glory and for revival of the lost concept of unity of God, was an age whose condition itself was such that it provides for a fair minded, thinking person with a righteous disposition, a clear proof of the truth of the Holy Prophet On 27th December 1901, after Asr prayers, Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi addressed a large gathering of people who had come from different parts of the country. Presented below is the second part of the translation of the speech that was delivered on this day. The original Urdu text of this speech has been taken from Malfoozat, Volume 3, pp.149-156. Divine Guidance – Part II The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was Hadrat 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. 16 Divine Guidance – part II The Review of Religions – May 2004 M u h a m m a d( s a ). He who is wise would acknowledge this without seeking a miracle. The priest, Mr. Pfander has raised the question in his book Meezan- ul-Haq as to why it is that when the Holy Prophet M u h a m m a d( s a ) declared that he was a Prophet, God did not stop him? He answers this question himself and writes that the Christians of the time had strayed and their character and practice were not good. They had abandoned the way of truthfulness and that was why God did not stop the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) – it was for the purpose of their admonishment. Based on this conclusion, the foolish Christian does not acknowledge the truth of the Holy Prophet(sa) but raises the issue in the form of an objection. I ask however, was there a need at that time for a Reformer or was it to be the case that if one hand was severed, the other should be severed also? He who is sick should be stoned to death! Can this be the mercy of God Almighty? The reality, however, is that it was a time of darkness, a fact that has been acknowledged by the Christians. Dayanand [an Arya Hindu leader] has also acknowledged this in his book and history also bears witness that idol worship was widespread in India. However, it was not only India but the whole world that was steeped in a very dangerous darkness, a fact that has been acknowledged by historians and commentators of all nations. Hence, in such an environment the appearance of the Holy Prophet(sa) was not without n e c e s s i t y. On the contrary, he came as a sign of mercy for the whole world. Hence it is stated in the Holy Qur’an: (Ch.21:V.108 ) ‘O Prophet, We have sent thee as mercy for the whole world’. The the Holy Prophet( s a ) did not himself know what was the situation of Arya practice at that time and into what dangerous crevice of darkness it had fallen! It had reached such an extreme point that among the Arya there even existed the practice of worship of human private parts. 17 Divine Guidance – part II The Review of Religions – May 2004 Neither did the Holy Prophet( s a ) know what the condition of the Christians was in the land of Syria. He did not know what kind of human worship they engaged in and as a result, how they abandoned good morals and performing righteous deeds and were living in a [spiritual] darkness? Nor did he know as to what was happening in Iran and Egypt. The Holy Prophet( s a ) w a s born in a jungle which at that time had neither a formal written history that he might have read nor did he go to any school or college to gain education and to broaden his knowledge nor were there available any other means for him to gain knowledge of the situation of other people as we now have in the form of such things as telegram, post and newspapers. The Holy Prophet( s a ) was informed of the corrupt state of the world only by God when this verse was revealed: Corruption has appeared on land and sea. (Ch.30: V.42) That is, ‘the rivers have become corrupted and the jungles have become corrupted’. By ‘rivers’ is meant those people who had been given ‘water’, that is religious Law or the Book, and by ‘jungle’ are meant the people who did not have a share in that. What was meant by this was that the people of the Book as well as the polytheists and the atheists all had become corrupt. In short, it was a time when darkness had spread all over the world. At such a time God caused the Holy Prophet(sa) to be born so that the darkness may be removed. The birth of the Holy Prophet(sa) at such troubled times was itself a powerful proof of his truth and of his being from God. Would that someone ponder over this! He who is wise and possesses a wholesome nature can never hurriedly falsify such a Reformer. At least this much needs to be acknowledged that he has came at the right time. If, for instance, someone claims at the time of a plague or the spread of cholera that he has come for its cure, would one not have to acknowledge at least that this person has come at the time of need? Certainly, one would have 18 Divine Guidance – part II The Review of Religions – May 2004 to acknowledge it. Similarly, for the truth of the Holy Prophet(sa) the first proof is that when he came, it was the need of the time. The Holy Qur’an has indicated this [in the following verse]: In truth have We sent it down and with truth has it descended. (Ch.17: V.106) Hence, remember that the first proof of recognition of the appointed one from God is to observe the time and situation to see whether there is the need for a man of God or not. A person who digs a well amongst existing streams or where there is a presence of numerous other wells would be said to have wasted time and money. However, if he were to arrange for a well to be dug in a jungle where there is no other well then one would have to admit that he has done considerable good. The Holy Prophet(sa) was born in a physical jungle but he was also born in a spiritual jungle. M o r e o v e r, if there were no physical or spiritual streams of water in Mecca, other countries too had died due to the lack of spiritual streams of water – the entire ‘earth’ had died, as is stated in the Holy Qur’an: (Ch. 57:V.18) ‘Did you know that the whole earth had died. God now wishes to bring it back to life anew’. This is a most powerful proof of the truth of the Holy Prophet ( s a ) that he came at a time when the whole world was generally steeped in evil practices and wrong beliefs. It was lacking in truth and the sense of reality and was devoid of purity as well as the concept of the unity of God. The second proof of the truth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) is that he returned to God at a time when he had fully discharged the 19 Divine Guidance – part II The Review of Religions – May 2004 obligations of his Prophethood and was successful in achieving its objective. Just as it is necessary to look at conditions existing prior to the coming of a Prophet in order to assess whether he has come at the right time or not, it is also essential to observe whether he was successful or not – did he in fact ‘heal’ the ‘sick’ for whose cure he had come? There is no need at this juncture to delve into the details of this aspect as there are present in the audience a great number of people who are well versed with the conditions of the Arabs at the time of the advent of the Holy Prophet(sa). There was no evil that was not present amongst them. Just as complete mastery of a skill is achieved by successfully completing tests in all areas of that skill, so were the Arabs fully ‘skilled’ in immorality and the practice of immorality. They indulged in drunkenness and adultery. They usurped the wealth of orphans and indulged in gambling. In short, they exceeded in all manner of ills so much so that they took pride in their evil deeds. Their saying was [as described in the Holy Qur’an]: (Ch.45: V.25) ‘Our life is only this that we die here as well as coming to life here, that resurrection and life after death are nothing – the last day is nothing – what is heaven and what is hell’? The misdeeds and ills that the commandments of the Holy Qur’an prohibit were all present among them. This, however, is a description of the general condition that prevailed at the time. A careful consideration of these conditions will clearly indicate the reality of the state of those people. It is described [in the Holy Qur’an in these words]: (Ch.47: V.13) ‘They enjoy themselves and consume’, that is, they fill their bellies and occupy themselves with physical and other pleasures that engulf them. It should be remembered that when a person is 20 Divine Guidance – part II The Review of Religions – May 2004 imprisoned by physical desires and other pleasures, in doing so he does not bring the natural needs under the demands of a moral condition, hence, the enslavement by those pleasures is his hell and the difficulties he faces in the fulfillment of those desires and needs appear to him as a grave punishment. It is for this reason that God Almighty has stated that whatever state they are in, it is as if they are in hell. This fact should never be forgotten that the Holy Qur’an is Khatam- al-Kutab, that is, it is the Seal of all Books – it is not a collection of stories. Those who, through their own misunderstanding and the practice of hiding the truth, have referred to the Holy Qur’an as a collection of stories, do not possess a nature that is capable of recognising true facts. It is the case that this Holy Book has turned even earlier stories into a philosophy and this is a great service that it has performed for all the Books and all the Prophets otherwise their words would have been laughed at today. It is also a blessing of God that in this age of knowledge when the sciences of the physical world and the study of specific natural qualities of things are advancing, God has established a system for [man’s attainment of] heavenly knowledge and explanation of its truths. At the time of Feej A’awaj, [that is, a time of moral decay and spiritual darkness prophesied by the Holy Prophet(sa)], when these matters did not have any significance greater than ordinary stories that were being mocked in this age of science, God has presented matters [in the Holy Qur’an] as a means of knowledge in the form of a philosophy. In previous times we see that the idea of heaven and hell was resented as an idea in a very simple form. The Messiah(as) said to the thief that he [Jesus(as)] will today go to heaven but no explanation of the idea of heaven was given. We do not consider it relevant at this point to explore this question further as to whether according to the Christian belief, Jesus(as) went to heaven or hell. The aim is merely to show that he did not explain the reality of heaven at all. In one sense the Christians have even surveyed 21 Divine Guidance – part II The Review of Religions – May 2004 their heaven. In contrast, the Holy Q u r’an does not present any teaching in the form of stories but always presents it in the form of knowledge. For example, regarding heaven and hell the Holy Qur’an states: (Ch.17: V.73) ‘He who is blind in this world will be blind in the hereafter’. What does this mean? It means that it is in this world that one acquires the ‘eyes’ and the sense of ‘vision’ that would enable one to see God and other pleasures of the next world. He who does not attain them in this world, will not have them in the h e r e a f t e r. This points to the fact that it is the duty of a person to strive to obtain the [spiritual] capacity to ‘see’ and the [spiritual] ‘eyes’ so that he enters the next world with the capacity of ‘sight’. S i m i l a r l y, explaining the philosophy and reality of punishment, the Holy Qur’ a n states: It is Allah’s kindled fire, Which rises over the hearts (Ch.104: Vs. 7-8) That is, God’s punishment is a fire that is kindled by God and that flame falls upon the human heart. This means that the root of God’s punishment and of hell is the heart of man itself and impure thoughts, evil goals and aims are the fuel of that hell. In contrast, describing the rewards of paradise and in praise of the righteous people, [the Holy Qur’an states]: (Ch.76: V.7) That is, ‘they are making streams flow’ here [on earth] and again it states when describing the reward of the believers and those who do righteous deeds: 22 Divine Guidance – part II The Review of Religions – May 2004 Gardens beneath which flow streams. (Ch.2: V.26) The question is, can anyone refer to these description as stories? How true is this that whosoever ‘waters’ here [on earth with good deeds], he would be the one who eats the ‘fruit’ [of his ‘watering’ in paradise]. In short, the Holy Qur’an presents all its teaching in an enlightened form of knowledge and philosophy. Moreover, the present age in which God Almighty has Himself established this system for the spread of true knowledge, is the age of discovery of the true nature [of things]. Hence, it should be remembered that the Holy Qur’an has done a great service to the previous Books and to previous Prophets whose teachings were in the form of stories by giving them a rational form. I say this truly that no person can gain salvation from these stories and fables until he reads the Holy Qur’an because such is the glory of the Holy Qur’an [as described in the following verse]: It is surely a decisive word And it is not a useless talk (Ch.86: Vs.14-15) The Holy Qur’an is the ‘Balance’, the ‘Protector, the ‘Light’, the ‘Healing’ and the ‘Mercy’. Those who read the Holy Qur’an and consider it to be a story have not read the Holy Qur’an at all. R a t h e r, they have been disrespectful towards it. Why is it that our opponents are so strong in their opposition towards us? Simply for this reason that we wish to present the Holy Qur’an as God Almighty has stated it to be that it is Light and Wisdom and [leads to] knowledge of God whereas the opponents attempt to show the Holy Qur’an as no more than an ordinary story. This is intolerable! It is a blessing of God Almighty that He has made it evident to us that the Holy Qur’an 23 Divine Guidance – part II The Review of Religions – May 2004 is a living and lucid Book. Hence, we do not care for the opposition against us. I repeatedly draw attention of the people who are close to me and advise them that God Almighty has established this system for revealing the true nature of [religious] matters as without this there cannot develop any light in practical life. I wish that through the practice of truth, the beautiful qualities of Islam should be made apparent to the world as God has appointed me for this purpose. Hence, you should study the Holy Qur’an frequently, not as a story but as a philosophy. I will now turn to the real purpose and say that the reality of heaven and hell that has been described by Holy Qur’an has not been described by any other Book. It has clearly manifested that [the system of heaven and hell] begins in this very world. Hence it is stated: (Ch.55: V.47) ‘He who fears to stand before God Almighty, for him there are two heavens’. That is, one ‘heaven’ he will find in this very world because the fear of God prevents him from committing bad deeds. Moreover, inclination towards the bad creates a restlessness and anxiety that is in itself a hell but the person who fears God, abstains from bad deeds and thus escapes from the punishment and pain that results from enslavement to physical desires and worldly pleasures. Instead, he develops and progresses in the qualities of faithfulness and inclining towards God that gives him enjoyment and pleasure. Thus it is that his heavenly life begins in this very world. Similarly, in turning away from [such a path], the life of hell begins [in this very life] as I have explained above. To be continued