A Gradual Revealment in regard to Nabuwwat is not open to any Objection
Actuated by his passionate prejudice against Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II, Mr. Faruqi has overlooked, in fact ignored, passages in the writings of the Promised Messiah which bear upon a change, after a certain date, in his own position, as compared with that of Jesus Christ, and in his conception in regard to Nabuwwat . Here is an instance of his venomous and personal style of attack:
"Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, the Khalifa of Qadian (now of Rabwah, West Pakistan) had advanced a nonsensical argument in support of his unorthodox and almost heretical beliefs that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad did not clearly and correctly understand his own `claim' up to 1901 A.D.; but that when he did fully and correctly realise his true position of prophethood, he announced the same through his book Aik Ghalati ka Izala (The Removal of a Misconception). This contention is very derogatory to the character of Hazrat Mirza Sahib, as it would show him to be an opportunist, confused in his thinking and not above deceiving people." (Truth Triumphs, page 17)
This is the poisoned and malicious arrow Mr. Faruqi has flung at us, and exposed himself as an ignorant friend of the Promised Messiah, doing more harm to him than a wise enemy would have found possible to inflict. If a modification in belief, necessitated by a fuller and a deeper comprehension, on his part, of some basic, fundamental concept, implies an insult to the Promised Messiah, as a dishonest opportunist, how would Mr. Faruqi interpret the following quotation from the writings of the Promised Messiah:
"Then, for nearly 12 years, which is a long period of time, I remained entirely oblivious of the fact that with great persistence and emphasis Allah had proclaimed in my Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya that I am the Promised Messiah and I remained clinging to the formal, prevailing belief in regard to the second advent of Hazrat Isa. When a full 12 years had passed, the time came for the correct position to be unfolded, and persistent Revelation started to come down on me that I was myself the Promised Messiah. So, therefore, when the Wahyi from Allah reached the limit; and when, moreover, I was commanded to convey to mankind whatsoever I was being directed to convey; and when many Signs were bestowed on me; and when this fact was set deep in my mind, like a bright and luminous conviction, I carried the meassage to mankind." (Ejaz-i-Ahmadi, page 7)
We hope Mr. Faruqi would allow us to remark that in the face of passages of this kind in the writings of the Promised Messiah, how can we hold that he could not make any alteration in his conception of Nabuwwat, and his own position in comparison with the Messiah dispensation of Moses. When for twelve years the truth remained, hidden from his mind, since, it appears, the time was not ripe in the eyes of the Lord, for him to declare that he was the Promised Messiah. This was nothing deceitful, or fraudulent, on the part of the Promised Messiah. So it was his stark simplicity and honesty of mind, a complete absence of any designing temperament, that whenever he found himself spoken of as a Nabi, he took it to mean that he was a Reformer, a Mohadddath, and nothing more. Mark how clearly he describes his frame of mind in this connection. But when it was revealed to him in clear words that he was s Nabi he made an amendment in the conception of Nabuwwat and took himself to be a Nabi superior in all his glory to Jesus Christ.
"I am but one whose sole desire and aim is to follow implicitly what came down to him, as Wahyi from the Lord. So long as I remained unaware of the truth in this respect, I continued to say what I had said at the outset. But I changed my view, when I was given a clear and proper knowledge on the point: I began to say something different to what I had been saying before. I am only a human being I do not claim that I am Knower of all unseen. This is the plain truth; and everyone is free to hold whatsoever he likes, free to accept my claim, or to reject it." (Haqiqatul Wahyi, page 150)
Why did the Promised Messiah remain unable to grasp that he was the Promised Messiah? He himself has answered this question:
"This was a point in the sagacity and wisdom of the Lord, an argument in favour of my truthfulness, and a total lack of design on my part. Had it been a work of man, with roots in a planned scheme, right from the time of Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya, I would have made a start on a claim that I was the Promised Messiah. But God turned away my vision; and I failed to understand the meaning and purpose of this Wahyi that it was establishing me in the position of the Promised Messiah. On my simplicity of mind and my truthfulness, this circumstance was a great, a very impressive argument." (Ejaz-i-Ahmadi page 7)
We would like to suggest here that Mr. Faruqi should substitute the word Nabi, instead of the Promised `Messiah'; he would then come to perceive that just as, for twelve years, in the teeth of repeated and emphatic assertions from Allah, Hazrat Ahmad did not gather that he was the Promised Messiah, and this was as ordained by God, in His wisdom and sagacity, an argument in favour of his truthfulness, simplicity of mind, an artless sincerity, similarly his failure to take in that he was a Nabi, and a Rasul, in the face of insistent Revelations to that effect, was a conclusive proof that he was not a clever designer, and an astute climber. The fact should not and cannot be understood as a sign of a lack of ordinary intelligence and commonsense, an indication of his fraudulent endeavour to mislead, each supposition more and more insulting than the other. Below I reproduce the passage, replacing "The Promised Messiah", with the word Nabi, and leave the reader to decide whether Mr. Faruqi's remark is entirely absurd, or not:
"This was a point in the sagacity and wisdom of the Lord, an argument in favour of my truthfulness; and a total lack of design on my part. Had it been a work of man, with roots in a planned scheme right from the time of Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya I would have made a start on a claim that I was Nabi but God turned away my vision; and I failed to understand the meaning and purpose of this Wahyi, that it was establishing me in the position of Nabi . On simplicity of mind, and my truthfulness, this circumstance was a great, a very impressive argument.
Mr. Faruqi concedes that Hazrat Ahmad's claim that he was a Mojaddid came in 1885, the other claim that he was the Promised Messiah came in 1891, even though in 1885 it had been revealed to him that he had a close and deep resemblance to Hazrat Isa. Writes Mr. Faruqi:
- As a Mojaddid has to publish his claim and let the people know it, hence Mirza Sahib first mentioned this fact in his monumental work, Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya, and also issued out a special `Notice' about it in 1885 A.D. But he did not take any `Pledge' from those who believed in him until such time that Divine permission was given to do so. It was on 1st December 1888 that he announced that Allah had commanded him to take a `pledge' from the believers and to organize a community (Truth Triumphs, page 7)
- Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad also mentioned in his proclamatory notice of Mojaddid -ship: "The author has received a Revelation that he is the Mojaddid of the century and spiritually his attributes and qualities bear a striking resemblance to those of Jesus Christ (son of Mary)." (Truth Triumphs, page 8)
Again, on the same page, he writes further:
"Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad through a proclamation on 26th March, 1891 A.D., announced that Jesus Christ (son of Mary) is dead and hence cannot come back; and the prophecy made by the Prophet Mohammad, peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, about the advent of `ibni Maryam' figuratively speaking, would be a Mojaddid from amongst the Muslims: and that particular person is Hazrat Mirza Sahib himself." (Truth Triumphs, page 8 & 9)
These quotations bear out that Mr. Faruqi believes that in his claim from being a Mojaddid, to being the Promised Messiah, the realisation of the two positions grew on Hazrat Ahmad very gradually. Then why does he baulk at the same kind of gradual realisation in the matter of Nabuwwat ? Why does he tend to call this gradual realisation a fraud, and a matter for shame and humiliation in fact an unpardonable insult?
The idea that those who are called to Divine Missions, the sense that they have been so called, grows on them gradually, has a deep psychological background; and there is nothing in this gradual realisation to which any sensible man need make any objection. These are the kind of people who seldom think much of themselves. When they are called to their missions, they are overtaken by surprise. The realisation grew very gradually on the Holy Prophet himself. It did not dawn upon him from the very outset that he was Khataman Nabiyeen : the revealment took place only four or five years before his death. He carried out the preliminary stages of his work before the special sense of his mission dawned on him. Then, in the Wahyi which was coming down on him, he began to be called a Nabi, and a Rasul a Prophet and an Apostle. Later, when a body of men had accepted this claim, it was only a few years before his death that an awareness was given to him of his real place, his real position, and the ascendent elevation, and grandeur, as the highest and the best among the Prophets and Apostles who had gone before. There actually were times when he sternly forbade his followers to think he was greater than Moses (Bokhari). In those days if anyone said he was the best among men, he modestly corrected this view by saying that the honour belonged to Hazrat Ibrahim (Muslim).
However, after the verse embracing `Khataman -Nabiyeen ' had come down on him, giving him a new perspective of his own place and role in human history, where he found all the qualities of the earlier prophets vested in himself, to the best and the highest point, and the teaching of all, concentrated, also amplified, where necessary, in the Holy Quran, he declared: "Had Moses lived in my time, he would have had no choice except that he should follow me in all respects, with the utmost loyalty and devotion." (Bokhari) He also claimed openly, on another occasion: "On the basis of six qualities, I have been given preference over all the other prophets." (Muslim, Bab ul faza'il ) He stated one of these qualities was that he was Khataman Nabiyeen . As regards the remaining five qualities, he had been enlightened on the point long before, especially that his mission was universal, intended for the guidance of all mankind, and all climes.
Evidently, no Muslim can take exception here, to say that a gradual revealment to the prophets, in regard to their exact position in the divine scheme of things, is something unworthy, unnatural, smacking of unseemly ignorance, or a dullness of the mind. In the earlier stages of development of their minds, relevant to the nature and scope of their missions, the prophets are made in a mould which shrinks back from self-praise, and self-assertion. So when they find themselves raised to a higher level than others, they do not easily take to it, on account of their strong sense of modesty, and they try to satisfy themselves in various ways by watering down the praise and esteem lavished on them, in their own Revelations, trying to explain away the firm adjectives as being, probably, mere figurative styles of expression, not intended to be taken very literally. But when they find that the Revelations persist, and insist, in this style and tone and expression, as an integral part of their mission itself, they accept the position assigned to them, and proceed to declare it, without any misgiving, or fear, that some people might be prone to take it as a sign of deliberate fraud, and an unscrupulous exploitation of the credulity beginning to be extended to them in sections of the society to which their mission is addressed.
Moreover, in numerous instances, the gradual revealment is also a natural result of the gradual development of their own mind and calibre, as a process of the growth of their own personality, and a widening of their vision.
At the time of the advent of the Promised Messiah, the belief prevailed among the mass of Muslims that no Prophet could be expected to be raised among them. But righteous servants of the Lord had generally held that, the rank and position of a Mohaddath was open for the Muslims, a Mohaddath also being an Ummati Prophet, in some respect. The advent of a Mohaddath has always been held possible among the Muslims; and since every Prophet, basically, is always a Mohaddath, the best and most perfect in this quality and eminence, the Lord ordained that the Promised Messiah should start the work of his difficult mission from the basic position of a Mohaddath ., which fact embraced, fundamentally, the position of a perfect Ummati Nabi, as well, which continued to receive an increasing emphasis and insistence, as the various aspects of the Mission came in full view, while the days rolled by. What the Promised Messiah did, as time went by, was no more than this that he gave up his tendency to water down the real and inner meaning of the term Nabi he had been taking as only figuratively intended, when applied to him. When the persistent quality of Revelations forced him to accept that he had been given the title of Nabi in clear explicit words, he found himself persuaded to declare himself as occupying a higher eminence than that of Jesus Christ; and he had to do this, in the teeth of his basic tendency in the direction of a deep-seated sense of humility of mind, to which any act of self-assertion had always been distasteful, and unnecessary. Here the Promised Messiah found himself dutybound to declare, openly and boldly, that he stood higher than Hazrat Isa, that he was openly and clearly a prophet being an Ummati too. When he found that the prevailing belief in regard to Nabuwwat was mistaken, and misleading, the correction of this error became one of the most fundamental foundation stones of his mission, which he could not, and would not, try to hide, or gloss over, in his anxiety to get himself widely acclaimed and accepted. Naturally, too, whenever he declared and wherever he declared that he was a Nabi, he took pains invariably to explain that he was only an Ummati Nabi, raised to serve the mission of Mohammad, not to oppose it, or to replace it in any way. He declared, again and again, that he was only a zilli, a boruzi Nabi Zilli Nabuwwat being the third kind of Nabbuwat absolute, is a real Nabbuwat in itself. But when we compare it with the utmost, perfect and the real Nabbuwat of the Holy Prophet it amounts to be the perfect reflection or the true image of the Holy Prophet. So in this comparison it should not be called a real one.
To show the real superiority of the Holy Prophet among all the prophets, the Promised Messiah always insisted, too, that he had been raised to this position only on the basis of his deep, abiding loyalty to the Holy Prophet; that, otherwise he was just nothing.
The Promised Messiah says:
- "In respect of the establishment of a spiritual basis in human life, the Holy Prophet was the Second Adam - in fact he was the only real Adam, through whose influence and endeavour all the human qualities reached the highest possible stage of development." (Lecture Sialkot page 5)
- "Those Books (earlier Scriptures) were not real books, intended to endure. Rather, they served only a temporary and passing need. The real Book is only the Holy Quran, deserving to be preserved, since it takes care of human spiritual needs for all times to come." (Minanur Rahman, page 7)
Would it be open here for us, Mr. Faruqi, to ask: Was Not Adam the real Adam, the first progenitor of the human race? Were not the earlier Scriptures Torah, Gospels and Psalms the real Books? Were not the Prophets who brought these Books, real Prophets? Of course they were. The earlier Prophets, of course, were real Prophets. But when we come to compare them to the Holy Prophet Mohammad, are we not justified to say, in a manner of speaking, that in fact they were not real Prophets. And when they were not real Prophets, we shall have to concede that they were Prophets only in a figurative sense. Is not this enunciation absolutely true? Please listen to the Promised Messiah, a little more:
- "The real and perfect Mehdi has been only one in the whole world - the Holy Prophet Mohammad, in himself entirely illiterate." (`Arba'een II, page 16)
- "Only one perfect and real Mehdi has come in this world apart from his Teacher and Master in heaven, he did not learn even one single letter of the alphabet from anyone else." (Tohfa Golarwia, page 57)
Now the Promised Messiah in himself, is the real mehdi. But compared to the Holy Prophet Mohammad, like all other Prophets, he too is not the Real Mehdi. Similarly, in himself, the Promised Messiah is a real and full zilli Prophet, which is a kind of Nabuwwat beyond doubt (Chashma-i-Marifat, page 324), but whatsoever he has received on the basis of his relationship with the Holy Prophet, all this amounts only to a majazi and zilli position, this being the reason why in Istifta he had said:
"In the manner of majaz, Allah has bestowed on me the title of Nabi not in the manner of Haqiqat ." (Page 65)
With reference to the context the majaz here also means the zilli way of achieving Nabuwwat .
In view of these considerations, in Nozulul Masih, page 5, the Promised Messiah wrote that the Nabuwwat and Risalat extended to him, was, in one respect, a borrowed Nabuwwat and Risalat, since he received it through devotion to the Holy Prophet Mohammad, not directly, on the basis of his own personal merit.
After 1901, the Promised Messiah wrote:
"In this Ummat, there have been thousands of auliya, and there has also been one who is an Ummati, as well as a Prophet." (Haqiqatul Wahyi, page 28)
These thousands of auliya, in comparison with the Promised Messiah, have not been real - Ummati Prophets, in this comparison, the Promised Messiah is the real Ummati Nabi, and the perfect zilli Nabi, and we have already seen that in the eyes of the Promised Messiah, zilli Nabuwwat has been held as a kind of Nabuwwat, the Promised Messiah says:
"There is a kind of Nabuwwat that has not come to an end the Nabuwwat that accrues from complete and perfect obedience and loyalty to the Holy Prophet Mohammad. The Nabuwwat which takes light from that lamp. That Nabuwwat has not ended, since it is Mohammadi Nabuwwat itself i.e., its zilli, (its true and full image, its perfect reflection)" (Chashma-i-Mar'fat, page 324)
It is thus clear that there is great need for one to be careful in the use, and the interpretation, of the terms. Haqiqat and Majaz . The elevation granted to an Ummati is essentially zilli, and tufaili, received under obligation to the Holy Prophet. In its own merit it is absolutely real, in actual fact not at all imaginary in any manner. But in relation to the Holy Prophet, it is only a reflection, an image, of his own Nabuwwat . Says the Promised Messiah:
"No rank of honour, no perfection, no respect and reverence no nearness to the Master (the Lord God) can be attained without a complete and implicit obedience to the Holy Prophet. Just whatsoever is granted to us, it is all zilli and tufaili ." (Izala-i-Auham, page 139)
It is thus clear that a believer in this Ummat is a zilli Believer, a wali, a Ghauth, a Qutub, or a Mohaddath all attain these elevations in a zilli manner. So the word zilli, when it qualifies these ranks, does not negate the reality, the substance of their meaning, it only relates to the manner of attainment. Similarly, the term zilli Nabi, as applied to the Promised Messiah, relates to the relationship of an entire, and an utter dependence on the Holy Prophet: it does not nullify the content of the Nobuwwat in question.
By the way, Mr. Faruqi, this passage indicates that even the position of a Mohaddath is received only in a zilli and tufaili manner and the Promised Messiah, himself, is the Promised Messiah in a zilli and tufaili way. But do you not hold, at the same time, that he is really, in fact, the Promised Messiah? Please listen to what the Promised Messiah says:
"Whosoever does not hold that I am the Promised Messiah, and Mehdi, in actual fact, he is not one of my jama'at, not one of my following" (Kishti Nuh )
Again, in Masih Hindustan Maen, the Promised Messiah presents himself as the real Promised Messiah, but in Izala-i-Auham, page 261, he writes:
"This humble self in a majazi and spiritual manner, is the same Promised Messiah whose advent has been foretold in the Quran and the Hadith."
Evidently, therefore, when you look at him, in his own self, in his own person, you find he is the real and true Promised Messiah, in the real and true, actual fact. But when you take him in relation to his position in the presence of the Holy Prophet, to whom he owes all he as ever attained, and all he will ever attain in future, he amounts to no more than a Majazi Promised Messiah. Such is the case of his Nabuwwat in his own person he is a prophet, a real prophet. But in relation to the Holy Prophet his Nabuwwat may be considered Majazi,
Besides, the gradual revealment of his Nabuwwat, in his own eyes there is nothing objectionable in the circumstance, as far as the verdict on the point of the earlier savants in the Ummat is concerned. Giving his views on the two ways for attainment of Nabuwwat, Mojaddid Alif Thani says in regard to one of the ways:
"The second way is that through the attainment of the excellent qualities of Wilayat, the attainment of the qualities and perfections of Nabuwwat should be possible. This is the second open and clear pathway, the nearest for reaching the excellences of Nabuwwat, except that it please Allah. Many of the Prophets and their companions, have marched by virtue of following in their footsteps, and by virtue of their sacred inheritance." (In other words, they attained the excellences of Wilayat in the first instance, and then, on the basis of these qualities, they worked up to the point of Nabuwwat ) (Maktubat-i -Mojaddid Alif Thani, Vol. 1, Maktub 301, page 435)
Therefore, when the gradual attainment of Nabuwwat, by first getting to be a Wali, and then rising to be a Nabi, is not objectionable, the gradual unfolding of the Nabuwwat, on the Promised Messiah cannot, in reason, be held questionable.