Amendment in the Definition of Nabuwwat
The reason for this amendment or alteration in the definition of Nabuwwat where he no longer interpreted Prophethood and Apostleship, Nabuwwat and Risalat, as used figuratively to mean only Mohaddathiat, or a partial, incomplete, was that prior to 1901, he took the prevailing concept of Nabuwwat as he found it current in his day, a specific term with a specific accepted meaning which contained an error at the base:
"Since, in the terminology of Islam, a Prophet, or an Apostle, was one who brought a new and full Sharia ; or he abrogated certain portions of an old Sharia, or he was not himself an Ummati of an earlier Prophet, with Divine Communion his independent share, without being beholden to any previous Prophet. One has to remain vigilant that at this point (namely the question of his own Nabuwwat ) it is not to be taken and interpreted in terms of the old unwarranted concept. For we have no Scripture, except the Holy Quran; no Din, except Islam; and we hold a firm faith that our beloved Prophet and Master is Khatamul Anbiya, and the Holy Quran Khatamul Kutub " (Maktubat, August 17, 1899)
From this definition of Nabuwwat, it is evident he believed in those days that for a Nabi, for a Prophet, it was essential that he should be the bearer of a new Sharia, a New Law; or that, at least, he should not be an Ummati of some earlier prophet with a link with Allah for which he should not be beholden to any mediary teacher. Since this prevailing conception in regard to Nabuwwat did not apply to him, he refrained from saying that he was a Nabi. When he found the expression applied to him, in his own Ilhams, in Revelations he received from Allah, he modestly refrained from taking them in technical sense as mentioned above, he interpreted them to mean that he was in fact a Mohaddath, only figuratively called a Nabi, only a part Prophet. Even in those early days he received hints, in his own Ilhams and Revelations, that he stood superior to Hazrat Isa. But, since he did not take himself to be a full Nabi, he interpreted these hints as well to mean that he was perhaps superior to Hazrat Isa, in some restricted sense, this kind of superiority being possible for a non-Prophet, over another Prophet. Later on, however, when Ilhams and Revelations, in this respect, descended on him like torrential rain, it dawned on him that he was, in fact, being called a Nabi which forced him to ponder deeply over the concept of Nabuwwat and to discover that the prevailing concept concealed an error which had to be corrected for it touched the basic foundations of religious thought and its evolution. He therefore abandoned the earlier view that no Ummati can become a Nabi . By this time, he had also been told that the Messiah of the Dispensation of Mohammad was better and higher than the Messiah of the Dispensation of Moses. (Kishti-Nuh, 1902 edition)
These considerations led him to believe that in his full grandeur he was far better than Jesus Christ, in connection with which point the reader would be well advised to study Haqiqatul Wahyi, from page 148 to 155. Therefore, having grasped finally that in Ilhams and Revelations vouchsafed to him, he was plainly being called a Nabi greater in grandeur than Masih ibn Maryam, he gave up interpreting these titles as having been applied to him only figuratively, in the way stated above. He found that the concept and definition of Nabuwwat generally prevalent needed amendment; and that an Ummati also could be a Prophet, though he may not bring a new law, nor abrogate any portion of the Sharia : that for a Nabi it was not essential that he should not belong to the Ummat of an earlier Nabi. Accordingly we find that after 1901 he defined Nabuwwat as follows:
"As far as I can see, Nabi is he alone on whom the word of God descends in a manner beyond all doubt, and descends in a considerable volume, embracing a knowledge of things beyond the ken of man. This is how the Lord God has named me a Nabi." (Tajalliat-i-llahia page 26)
From the words `a Nabi is he alone', it is evident that this definition is being given as definite and conclusive. In other words there is no other definition as clear and conclusive: and under this complete and conclusive definition, the Promised Messiah described himself as a Nabi, a Prophet, since it was clearly and fully applicable to him. In this definition he has not held it was indispensible for a Nabi that he should not be an Ummati of any Prophet.
In this same period the Promised Messiah wrote further:
"When that communion, in its nature and volume, reaches a point of perfection, a point of fullness; and no impurity or defect is left in it: and it embraces knowledge of things unknown, beyond the ken of man that same, in other words, is denoted by the word Nabi, as agreed upon by all the Prophets." (Al-Wasiyyat, page 16, edition Nazarat Maqbara Bahishti, Rabwah)
According to this definition of Nabuwwat, in Al-Wasiyyat on which all Prophets agree, the Promised Messiah calls himself a Nabi . Further, in the same period, in his Lecture entitled Hujjatulla, he said:
"Receiving word from God, such as contains knowledge of things unknown, and embraces prophecies remarkable in grandeur, the man who communicates this word to mankind, in Islamic terminology, is called a Nabi." (Lecture entitled Hujjatullah, Alhakm, May 6, 1905)
According to this definition, we now find that the Promised Messiah calls himself a Nabi, in a phraseology which he calls Islamic terminology. Again, in the same period, while addressing his opponents, he wrote:
"The content, which you call `mokalma mokhataba' (precise, definitive communion) amplitude and abundance of the same, under mandate from the Lord God, I designate as Nabuwwat. Wa likullin an yastaliha." (Tatimma Haqiqatul Wahyi, page 68)
In this passage we find he called himself a Nabi, under an instruction from God, in a terminology coming from the same source. In the same period we again find him writing:
"The word Nabuwwat and Risalat, in His Wahyi vouchsafed to me, Allah has used hundreds of times in regard to me. But this expression is intended to be applied to an amplitude of communion embracing knowledge of things beyond the ken of man. Nothing more than that. Evidently, all of us are entitled, in our talk to use a terminology we favour; and this is a terminology of God, that an abundance of knowledge given by Him in regard to things in the future beyond the reach of man, he calls Nabuwwat."
In Haqiqatul Wahyi, pages 390 and 391, in the light of the Quranic verse: "He does not reveal things pertaining to spheres of the Unknown, to any human being, except that He be pleased to communicate it to an Apostle of His own", while giving the meaning of Nabi and Rasul, the Promised Messiah wrote further:
"Allah does not grant anyone a full power and dominance on matters pertaining to the Unknown obtainable on the basis of amplitude and clarity, except in the case of His own chosen one, His own Apostle; and it is a thing proven and well established that the amplitude and abundance of communion granted to me; and the volume of knowledge in regard to the Unknown He has bestowed on me, in the last thirteen hundred years He has not granted to anyone else. If there be anyone who desires to deny this, the burden of proof lies on him.
In short, in point of the abundance of matters pertaining to the Unknown, in this Ummat, I am the only one, the only specific individual; and out of the Auliya, Abdals, and Aqtab, the righteous servants of God, as have gone before my time, such amplitude of the great blessing under discussion, has not been given to anyone at all. In this respect I am the only one singled out for the honour of being called a Nabi ; while everyone else held as not deserving this name. For an amplitude of Wahyi, and an abundance of knowledge in respect of matters pertaining to the Unknown, is an indispensible condition; and this condition is not found in them."
The passages quoted above indicate that in his writings subsequently to 1901, the Promised Messiah, under orders from God, and in terms approved by Him, and a view on which all the Prophets agree, in a sense given by the Holy Quran, describes himself as a Nabi ; and he lays down that for a Nabi it is not essential that he should not be an Ummati. In all these passages he has omitted the condition pertaining to this aspect of the question; and under the passage quoted from Haqiqatul Wahyi, no one out of the number of righteous servants of the Lord has been held deserving of the honour of this name and title, since an amplitude of Wahyi, and an abundance of the knowledge of matters pertaining to things beyond the ken of man, were not to be found in their case although there were many Auliya and Mohaddath among them. In all the Ummat, up to his own time, he has singled out himself as the specific, particular person, that has been given this name and title. Haqiqatul Wahyi is a voluminous work wherein the Promised Messiah has repeatedly set forth his Nabuwwat. But he has not, anywhere, in this memorable work, interpreted Nabi to mean a Mohaddath, or partly a Nabi. Quite to the contrary, in the passage quoted above, of the entire number of Auliya in the Ummat, he is the only one that came to deserve being called a Nabi, during the last 1300 years.
In this passage, the Promised Messiah has described his position as higher than that of the Mohaddathin in the history of the Ummat. He has held himself the only one who came to be called a Prophet, while none of the number of Auliya in the Ummat had risen to the eminence where he could be called a Nabi, even though during the period of Izala Auham in the course of his writings, he had held that a Mohaddath, in some respects, could be taken as a Prophet, figuratively speaking, or he could be described as a partial Nabi ; and in regard to himself he said he was Nabi, in the sense of being a Mohaddath . In Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya, Vol. IV, page 547, he had written:
"In the Ummat-i-Mohammadiya the rank of Mohaddathiyat was very frequent, so that a denial of this fact could be expected only from a careless or ignorant kind of man."
Again, at one time, to people likely to be shocked by the use of the word Nabi in regard to himself, he had explained that in place of the word Nabi, they were free to use Mohaddath. But now in Haqiqatul Wahyi he wrote:
"In short, in point of the amplitude of Wahyi from Allah, and knowledge of things in realms of the Unknown, I am the only specific individual; before my time, in the entire number of Auliya, Abdal, and Aqtab, in this Ummat, from me, no one has been given this abundance. On this basis I am the only one singled out to be called a Nabi. "
In this passage, if the word Nabi is replaced with Mohaddath, the entire passage becomes meaningless. For, in that case, the meaning of the piece is reduced to just this that in the entire Ummat, up to the time, he was the only man specified to receive the title of Mohaddath. Among the previous Auliya, there was no one deserving to be called a Mohaddath . It is evident, therefore, that at the time when the Promised Messiah wrote these words, he had come to the conclusion that his own rank as a Nabi was superior to that of the Mohaddathin in this Ummat.