Ek Ghalati Ka Izala

The Removal of a Misunderstanding

by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (a.s.), the Promised Messiah and Mahdi

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever-Merciful

Some members of my community who possess only a sketchy and superficial knowledge of my claims and the arguments in support of them and have had no time to study my writings closely nor have kept my company for a reasonable length of time to perfect their knowledge, some time meet an opponent's objection with a reply which is not based on facts. The result inevitably is that notwithstanding their being in the right they suffer a great humiliation.

Only recently an Ahmadi was confronted with an objection to the effect that he had pledged allegiance to one who claimed to be a nabi (prophet) and a rasul (messenger). He got over this objection by a sheer denial of any such claim on my part. Obviously the answer was not correct.

The fact is that the holy and pure revelation which God has vouchsafed me contains such words as nabi (prophet) and rasul (messenger). These words occur in my revelations not once or twice but hundreds of times. In the face of these revelations, how can this answer be correct that such words do not occur at all. Whereas such words now occur more often with greater frequency and clarity than before.

Even the Braheen-i-Ahmadiyya, published about 22 years ago, contains such words in abundance. One of the revelations published in the Braheen is as follows: HUWALLAZEE ARSALA RASOOLAHU BIL HUDAA WA DEENIL HAQQI LIYUZHIRAHU i.e., He it is Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, that He may make it prevail over every other religion (vide page 498). In this revelation I have been clearly designated as rasul (messenger). Again in the same book there is another revelation: JARIYALLAH FI HALALUL ANBIYAA' i.e., the champion of God in the garb of prophets. (vide page 504) Again close to it there is still another revelation: MUHAMMADUR-RASOOLULLAH WALLAZEENA MA'AHU ASHIDDAA' 'ALAL KUFFAARI RUHAMAA'U BAINAHUM i.e., Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are hard against the disbelievers, tender among themselves. In this divine revelation I have been called Muhammad and rasul (messenger) as well. Then again on page 557 we find the revelation: DUNYA MAIN AIK NAZEER AAYA i.e., a warner came unto the world. Its second reading is: DUNYA MAIN AIK NABI AAYA i.e., a prophet came unto the world. Similarly at several other places as well in the Braheen-i-Ahmadiyya I have been addressed as nabi (prophet) and rasul (messenger).

If it is argued that the Holy Prophet is KHATAM-AN- NABIYYEEN (Seal of the prophets) then how could a new prophet come after him? The answer to this is, of course, no prophet new or old could come in the sense in which you believe in the advent of Jesus Christ and believe also in his prophethood and continuity of his revelation for forty years, a period longer than that of the Holy Prophet's prophethood. such a belief, no doubt, is a grave sin and the Quranic verse: WA LAAKIR RASOOLULLAHI WA KHAATAM-AN NABIYYEEN i.e., but he is a Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the prophets and the hadith: LA NABIYYA BA`DEE i.e., there will be no prophet after me are positive proofs of the obvious falsehood of the erroneous doctrine. I am utterly opposed to such beliefs and repose true and firm faith in the Quranic verse: WA LAAKIR RASOOLULLAHI WA KHAATAM-AN NABIYYEEN i.e., He is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the prophets. This verse embodies a great prophecy which has escaped the notice of my opponents. It is this that after the advent of the Holy Prophet the divine gift of prophecy will remain withheld from the world till the end of time. It will not be possible for any man, be he a Hindu, a Jew, a Christian or a so-called Muslim to justify the use of the appellation nabi (prophet) for himself. All the approaches to this exalted office have been closed except the one of sirat-i-Siddiqui which is synonymous with complete annihilation in the love of the Holy Prophet. Thus he who seeks to approach God through it is made to wear the mantle of prophethood which is nothing but a part of the Holy Prophet's own prophethood. Such claimant to prophethood does not infringe the prophethood of Muhammad. it is so because his prophethood is neither self-subsisting nor independent. He derives all that is good in him not from his self but from the Holy Prophet, the fountainhead of all grace. He is, therefore, a prophet not for self-exaltation but for the glorification of the Holy Prophet. That is why he is known in heaven as Muhammad and Ahmad.

It all comes to this that Muhammad's prophethood after all came back to Muhammad and no one else i.e., one who claims this rank professes to be his shadow reflecting all his qualities in his person and acknowledging his debt to him. Thus the verse: MAA KAANA MUHAMMADUN ABAA AHADIN MIR RIJAALIKUM WA LAAKIR RASOOLULLAHI WA KHATAM-AN NABIYYEEN i.e., Muhammad is not the father of any of your men but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the prophets may be interpreted as: LAISA MUHAMMADUN ABAA AHADIM MIR RIJAALUD DUNYAA WALAAKIN HUWA ABUR RIJAALUL AAKHIRATI LIANNAHU KHAATAMAN NA- BIYYEENA WA LAA SABEEL ILAA FAYOODULLA MIN GHAIRI TAUSATUH i.e., Muhammad is not the father of any of the men of this world but is the father of the men of the next world because he is the Seal of the prophets and there is no approach open to God's benefactions but through his mediation. In short, my prophethood is due to my being Muhammad and Ahmad and not by myself: I have been vouchsafed this rank because of my complete annihilation in the Holy Prophet, and thus the sense of the expression KHAATAMAN NABIYYEEN (Seal of the prophets) is not at all interfered with. But the advent of an independent prophet like Jesus Christ will certainly be at variance with it.

It must at the same time be borne in mind that the word nabi (prophet) literally means one who proclaims the knowledge of the Unseen from God. Where this definition holds good, the claimant will be a nabi (prophet) and a nabi must necessarily be a rasul (Messenger). If he is not a rasul, the pure knowledge of the Unseen cannot be bestowed upon him because the following verse stands in the way: LAA YUZHARA 'ALAA GHAIBIHI AHADAN ILLAA MANIRTADAA MINAR RASOOL i.e., Allah does not reveal His secrets except to him whom He chooses, namely, a Messenger of His. If we believe that no nabi (prophet) in this sense that he will make prophecies and foretell future events will be raised after the Holy Prophet, it amounts to believing in the total deprivation of the followers of the Holy Prophet of revelation and of communion with God because the definition of nabi (prophet) applies only to that person through whom the secrets of the Unknown are revealed according to the verse LAA YUZHARA 'ALAA GHAIBIH. Likewise he who is sent by God is called a rasul (Messenger).

The difference between the two is that no nabi (prophet) can come after the Holy Prophet till the end of time with an independent law; likewise, no one can attain to prophethood without the mediation of the Holy Prophet and having merged his whole being into that of the Holy Prophet to the extent that he may be known as Muhammad and Ahmad in heaven. He who lays claim to prophethood without having fulfilled these conditions is a Kafir (infidel). The sense of the expression KHATAMAN NABIYYEEN (Seal of the prophets) demands that all traces of separateness from the Holy Prophet should disappear and as long as there persists the least veneer of it, anybody claiming to be a nabi (prophet) will be dubbed as a breaker of the Seal to which the expression KHAATAMAN NABIYYEEN (Seal of the prophets) refers. But if a person as a result of a complete union loses his whole being in that of the Prophet, wiping out the least trace of separateness and comes to reflect in his person all the beauties and excellences of the Holy Prophet like a clear mirror, he will be called a nabi (prophet) without, however, breaking the Prophet's Seal because he is a reflex of Muhammad and his alter-ego.

So the claim to prophethood on the part of such a person who comes to be called Muhammad and Ahmad is not in the least incompatible with the dignity and status of the Holy Prophet as KHAATAMAN NABIYYEEN (Seal of the prophets) because through complete annihilation in him he becomes the reflected self of Muhammad and his image and acquires even his name. But Jesus Christ cannot come without breaking the Prophet's Seal because his prophethood is of a different type. And if no man can attain to prophethood even in the sense of being the image and reflex of the Holy Prophet, how would the following verse be explained: IHDINASSIRAATAL MUSTAQEEM SIRAAT ALLAZEENA AN'AMTA 'ALAIHIM i.e., Guide us in the right path, the path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings. Holy Quran, Al-Fatiha It should be remembered that I have never hesitated to claim prophethood and messengership in this sense of the word. It is in this sense that the Promised Messiah has been called a nabi (prophet) in the Sahih Muslim. If one who proclaims the knowledge of the Unseen from God is not entitled to prophethood, then by what other name would you call him? The contention that the word MUHADDAS can adequately describe the spiritual status of such a person, received no support whatever from any lexicon.

The Arabic word TAHDIS has not been described in any lexicon as the possession and proclamation of the secrets of the Unseen; but NUBUWWAT (prophethood) does presuppose such a possession of the secrets of the Unknown. The word NABI is common to both the Arabic and Hebrew. In Hebrew it is pronounced as NABI derived from the word NABA which means to be endowed by God with the gift of prophecy. To bear or bring a new law is no sine qua non of prophethood. It is only a divine gift which causes the secrets of the Unseen to be revealed to a person. So when I have myself witnessed the clear fulfillment of about 150 prophecies, how can I refuse to call myself a Prophet or Messenger of Allah? He Himself has bestowed upon me these names; who am I to reject them or why I am to fear anybody in opposition to God?

I swear by God Who has raised me and Whose curse falls upon him who fabricates lies about Him, that He has sent me as the Promised Messiah. And my faith in my clear revelations is not a whit less firm and invincible than my faith in the verses of the Holy Quran and the truth of the revelation that God has caused to descend on me has become quite manifest by a host of successive signs that He has shown. And I feel not the least hesitation in swearing by God while standing in the sacred precincts of the Ka'ba that that holy revelation which descends on me is the word of the self-same God Who sent down His word to Moses, Jesus and to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be on him. The earth bore witness to the truth of my claim and so did heaven. Both of them declared and proclaimed that I was God's Vicegerent on earth. But as the prophecies told of yore I was bound to be rejected. So those upon whose hearts there is a covering will not accept me. But I know and am convinced that God shall help me as He has always helped His Messengers in the past. there is no one who can stand against me because they are devoid of Divine assistance.

Whenever and wherever I have refused to be called a Prophet or Messenger it is only in the sense that having been spiritually benefited by my Great and Noble Master and having been able to acquire his name, I have been endowed with the knowledge of the Unseen. but I repeat it again, that I have brought or introduced no new Law, and have never denied to be called a prophet of this kind. Rather in this very sense God has called me by the names of Prophet and Messenger. So even now I do not deny to be called a Prophet and Messenger in this sense of the word. My saying: MAN NAISTAM RASOOL-O-NIYAA WARDA AMM KITAAB i.e., I am not a Prophet and have brought no book has no connotation other than that I am not a law-bearing prophet. Of course this should also be remembered and never be forgotten that in spite of my being called a Prophet and Messenger, God has informed me that I have not been the recipient of all these spiritual blessings and favours independently and without the mediation of anybody. No; there dwells in heaven a holy being (the Holy Prophet Muhammad) through whose spiritual patronage all this Grace of God has descended on me. It is through his mediation and after having completely merged my whole being into that of the Great Prophet and after having been known as Muhammad and Ahmad that I am a RASUL (Messenger) and NABI (Prophet), that is to say, I have been sent with a mission and have been endowed with the knowledge of the Unseen. In this way my claim to prophethood does in no way interfere with the Holy Prophet's status of KHATAM-AN-NABIYYIN (Seal of the prophets), because I have been able to acquire this name only by reflecting in my person all the excellences of the Great Prophet and by annihilating myself in his consuming love.

If anybody takes an exception to my being called a NABI (prophet) and a RASUL (Messenger) in my revelations, he is but a fool because my prophethood and messengership do not infringe the divine seal in any way. It is quite clear that when I say that God has called me NABI and RASUL and my opponents entertain the belief that Jesus Christ would come after the Holy Prophet and would be a prophet, the objection that with the advent of a Prophet after the Holy Prophet his status as Seal of the prophets is infringed, equally applies to the second coming of Jesus Christ as to mine. But my contention is that there is nothing objectionable in my being called NABI and RASUL after the Holy Prophet who was KHATAM-AN-NABIYYIN (Seal of the prophets) in the true and full sense of the word nor does this fact in any conceivable manner interfere with his status of KHATAM-AN-NABIYYIN.

Time and again I have said that according to the Quranic verse: WA AAKHAREENA MINHUM LAMMAA YALHAQOO BEHIM i.e., And among others from among them who have not yet joined them. Holy Quran 62:3 I am the image of the KHATAM-AN-NABIYYIN and his alter-ego. Twenty years ago as published in the BRAHEEN-I-AHMADIYYA, God called me Muhammad and Ahmad and declared my advent to be the Holy Prophet's own coming. Thus my prophethood in no way clashes with the status of the Holy Prophet as KHATAM-AL-ANBIYA because the shadow is inseparable from the original and in an allegorical sense I am the same Muhammad.

It is in this way that the Seal of KHATAM-AN-NABIYYIN remained intact and the Holy Prophet and his counter-type and have reflected in my person all his excellences and attributes. It is not then correct to say that another and a separate person has laid claim to prophethood independently of him. If you reject me, then you reject the traditions of the Holy Prophet which say that the Promised Mahdi will bear a strong physical and spiritual resemblance to his Great Master so much so that he will even be known by the names by which the Holy Prophet was known i.e., he will be called Muhammad and Ahmad and will be a member of his household. It has again been mentioned in some of the traditions that he will be from me. This hadith is a strong indication of the fact that he (the Promised Mahdi) will form spiritually a part and parcel of the Holy Prophet and will be his manifestation.

This contention of mine finds a further countenance in the fact that the words which the Holy Prophet employed to signify his intimate relation and strong resemblance to the Promised Mahdi -- he called the latter by his own name -- clearly show that the Holy Prophet regarded the Promised Reformer as his counter-type as Joshua was to Moses. It is not necessary that the counter-type should have a blood relationship with the person whose reflex he is, i.e., he should be his son or grandson. As far as spiritual affinity is concerned it constitutes an essential condition that he should be a part and parcel of the person whose image and reflection he is and there should exist an eternal reciprocal and mutual relationship between the two. It is highly derogatory to the Holy Prophet that he should have ignored that aspect of the connection with his counter type which makes clear the sense and significance of the term BUROOZ (counter-type) and should have started stressing the fact that he (the Prophet's counter-type) would be his grandson. What connection on earth, there is between the grandson and his counter-type? If this relation was at all essential for a BUROOZ, then why did the Holy Prophet prefer to choose a remote relationship of a grandson; the son should have been the natural choice. But the word of God has completely eliminated the possibility of the Holy Prophet being the father of any man in the physical sense of the word but on the other hand the advent of a counter-type has been foretold. If there was to be no counter-type of the Holy Prophet, then how could the disciples of this Promised One be called the Companions of the Holy Prophet as has been done in the verse WA AAKHAREENA MINHUM of the Quran? And if you reject the possibility of the advent of a counter-type, you belie this verse of the Quran.

Those who are capable only of interpreting a statement literally have sometimes declared the Promised One to be a descendant of Hasan, sometime that of Husain, and again at another time that of 'Abbas. But what the Holy Prophet meant by the above prophecy was only this that he (the Promised One) would be his heir like sons. He would inherit his name, attributes, knowledge and spiritual eminence. He would, in short, reflect in his person all the aspects of the Holy Prophet's supreme personality. He will possess all these excellences not from himself but would acknowledge them as being borrowed from the Holy Prophet and by completely annihilating his being in that of his Master, would reveal the latter's beautiful face to the world. Thus just as being the counter-type of the Holy Prophet he would inherit his name, his spiritual attributes and knowledge, so will he inherit his title of prophethood. A counter-type is not complete if he does not possess every excellence and perfection of his proto-type. As prophethood is an attribute of a Prophet, it is necessary that the counter-type should also possess these very attributes of his proto-type. All the prophets have agreed on the point that a counter-type is a complete image of his proto-type so much so that the former comes to be known even by the name of the latter.

So it is quite evident that just as in a metaphorical sense, the use of the names Muhammad and Ahmad by a spiritual heir does not imply two Muhammads and two Ahmads, similarly the claim to prophethood on the part of the counter-type can in no wise violate the sanctity of the Seal of the KHATAM-AN-NABIYYIN, because the countertype cannot be regarded as distinct and separate from the proto-type. In this way the prophethood of the Holy Prophet remained with the Holy Prophet. All prophets agree that there is no duality between the two. The status of a BUROOZ (counter-type) is very well described in the couplet: MAN TO SHUDM TOW MAN SHUDEE, MAN TAN SHUDAM TO JAAN SHUDEE TAA KISS NAGWEED BA'D AZEEN, MAN DEEGARAM TO DEEGAREE i.e., I became thee and thou became I. I became body and thou the soul. No one may say after this that I am different from thee. But if Jesus Christ were to come back to this world, he could not do so without infringing the seal of KHATAMAN- NABIYYIN. In short, the phrase KHATAMANNABIYYIN is a divine seal stamped on the prophethood of the Holy Prophet. It is impossible that it should ever break. But it is quite possible that the Holy Prophet may come to this world not once or twice but hundreds of times in the form of a person who may reflect in him all the attributes of the Holy Prophet and become his image or counter-type and while demonstrating the Prophet's other qualities may also demonstrate in his person his attributes. In short, the phrase KHATAMANNABIYYIN is a divine seal stamp of prophethood also.

This state of being the Holy Prophet's counter-type was divinely given rank, as is apparent from the verse: WA AAKHAREENA MINHUM LAMMAA YALHAQOO BEHIM i.e., And among others from among them who have not yet joined them Holy Quran 62:3 The prophets are never jealous of their counter-types because the latter are their image and bear their stamp mark. But they are naturally jealous of others. Lo! How did Moses express his jealousy and could not help shedding tears when he found the Holy Prophet getting ahead of him on the night of the Ascension. So when God Himself should say to the Holy Prophet that no prophet would come after him and then contradicting His promise should send Jesus Christ how much would this fact be a source of deep mortification for the Holy Prophet. In short, the prophethood of a counter-type of the Holy Prophet does, in no manner, conflict with the prophethood of the Holy Prophet nor does it interfere with the dignity of the Holy Prophet as KHATAM-AN-NABIYYIN (Seal of the prophets). But the advent of an independent prophet who got his prophethood independently of the Holy Prophet undermines the very foundation of Islam. It amounts to a disgrace to the Holy Prophet that Jesus Christ should accomplish the great task of destroying the Anti-Christ instead of the Holy Prophet. This fact, God forbid, implies falsification of the verse: WALAAKIR RASOOLULLAHI WA KHAATAM-AN-NABIYYEEN i.e., but he is a Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets Holy Quran 33:40 And there is a prophecy concealed in this verse to the effect that a seal has been set on prophethood to the end of time and with the exception of a counter-type of the Holy Prophet nobody would be endowed with the secrets of the Unknown like God's prophets. And as I am that Promised One Who was destined to be the Holy Prophet's complete image and his alter-ego, therefore to me has been vouchsafed that prophethood which only a BUROOZ (counter-type) of the Holy Prophet can get. Now the whole world in this kind of prophethood which is sealed is powerless. A real countertype of the Holy prophet reflecting in his person all the perfections and excellences of the Holy Prophet was destined to appear in the Latter Days and he has appeared. Now there remains no avenue open to drink deep at the fountain of prophethood except through him.

In short, such a prophethood does not break the Seal of KHATAMIYYAT. But the advent of Jesus Christ not only constitutes a denial of the verse: WA LAAKIR RASOOLALLAHI WA KHAATAM-AN-NABIYYIN but also causes a breach of this Seal. This manifestly unfounded and absurd doctrine finds no support from the Holy Quran. How could this be possible when such a belief runs counter to the above-mentioned Quranic verse. But the advent of a prophet who believes to have derived his prophethood from the Holy Prophet is supported by the Holy Quran and the verse WA AAKHAREENA MINHUM bears a testimony to it. This verse contains also a beautiful hint that it mentions the class which has been considered as Companions (of the Holy Prophet) but has omitted the mention of the particular counter-type i.e., the Promised Messiah through whom his disciples were included among the Companions of the Holy Prophet and were considered like them to have received their spiritual training from the Holy Prophet. this omission shows that the particular counter-type possessed no spiritual existence independent of the Holy Prophet and his borrowed prophethood and messengership did not violate the status of the Holy Prophet as KHATAMANNABIYYIN. This is why this verse has treated him as a negative entity and confined itself to a mention only of the Holy Prophet.

Similarly the verse: INNA A'TAINAA KAL KAUTHAR i.e., surely We have given thee abundance of good embodies a prophecy about the appearance of a counter-type and in whose time KAUSAR (abundance of good) will be manifested, that is to say, the fountains of spiritual blessings will start flowing and true believers in Islam will excel in numbers. Even in this verse a mention of any physical issue has been treated contemptuously and only a prophecy of (the Holy Prophet's) spiritual progeny has been made. and although God has bestowed this distinction upon me that both the Israelite and Fatimite bloods flow in my veins yet I give precedence to the spiritual aspect of my relation with the Holy Prophet. My spiritual relation with him is that of a counter-type with his proto-type. Now I have explained this to show that my ignorant opponents accuse me of having laid claim to an independent prophethood and messengership. I had made no such claim, nor do I claim to be a Prophet or Messenger in the sense in which they use these words. But I am a Prophet and Messenger in the sense I have explained above. thus he who out of ill-will accuses me of having laid claim to such prophethood and messengership is indulging in a lie and profane thought. I am a Prophet and messenger of God because I am an image of the Holy Prophet and his counter-type and it is on this basis that God has called me a Prophet and a Messenger again and again, but in the form of a BUROOZ. My own self comes in nowhere. The Holy Prophet has permeated and pervaded my whole being. This is why I have been called Muhammad and Ahmad. so the Holy Prophet's prophethood and messengership remained with him and did not pass to anyone else.

MIRZA GHULAM AHMAD, Qadian, 5th Nov. 1901.

This pamphlet was originally written in Urdu and appeared in 1901. It was translated into English by Mr. Malik Ghulam Farid, M.A., and appeared in the monthly Review of Religions. It has been copied from the version published by the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Qadian, in 1974.