Literal Fulfillment of Prophecy: Existence of 73 Sections.
Having mentioned the resemblance of his Ummah with Jews, and division of the Ummah into 73 sections, Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) mentions that all will be in fire except one. Meaning 72 sects will be in fire while one will be safe. When asked who the safe ones will be, Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) replied "They are those who will be like me and my companions" indicating that remaining 72 will resemble Israelites while only one will resemble him and his companions. Having said that we have to understand that there ought to be a way to separate one Jama'at from 72. Thus there should be some method by which two sets of sections among Muslim Ummah will be formed and in one set there will be only one Jama'at (to which Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, referred to as resembling him and his companions) while the other set will contain 72 sects which will resemble Jews. To go any further we have to establish here three things. Firstly that there were at one time 73 sections of Muslims. Secondly they formed two sets on containing one Jama'at and the other one containing 72 sects. Thirdly the set containing one Jama'at consisted of the followers of a claimant of Messiahship. The third condition has to be fulfilled because, as I have established above, we are referring to the time of the Promised Messiah (AS), only the followers of Messiah can form a Jama'at which resembles Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions (RA). To establish that the above mentioned three conditions were fulfilled, I shall present here my translation of a portion of an editorial published in Urdu in Pakistani daily newspaper "Nawai Waqt" .
And that was not the only newspaper which testified the number to be 72 following is another testimony of an English newspaper published from U.K. .
Clearly, according to these newspapers there existed 73 sections in Islam, one Jama'at-e-Ahmadiyya and the rest of the 72 (A full list of the sects in Islam is included in Appendix II). The rest of the 72 sects were unanimous and happy and formed a party (a set) excluding the one (the other set) from Islam. Although they all had fatwas declaring one another to be kafirs, when it came to the question of Ahmadi Muslims they were all united so that there remains no doubt as to the identity of 72 and one making a total of 73. I have already established that Jews had 72 sects at the time of Messiah, so this hadith would be reflecting the time of Messiah among Muslim Ummah, which all Muslims today believe is also the time of the appearance of the Mahdi.
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