Gradual and Phased Revealment on the Promised Messiah in regard to his Nabuwwat
When all the writings of the Promised Messiah are kept carefully in view, the fact emerges clearly that his position, in regard to his Nabuwwat and his grandeur, did not dawn upon him in one sudden and swift revealment; it grew on him in a gradual comprehension, stage by stage, phase by phase. Before 1901, passages and portions, in his literature, where he was called a Nabi and Rasul, a Prophet, and an Apostle, in Revelations and Ilhams received from Allah, he interpreted generally to mean that he was a Mohaddath, a partial Nabi, the bearer of an incomplete Prophethood. In other words, in view of the generally prevailing definition of Nabuwwat, in which conception the bringing of a new Sharia or not to be an Ummati of an earlier Prophet were fundamental, essential requirements, he denied that he was a Nabi in the term. Words Nabi and Rasul in Ilhams and Revelations, he received from God, he took to mean that he was a Mohaddath appointed to a divine mission. Since Mohaddathiyat and Nabuwwat deeply resemble one another, the word Nabi had been used in regard to him, to intensify the importance of his mission. In subsequent writings, i.e., after 1901, however, he abandoned this interpretation of Nabuwwat, in the light of Ilhams and Revelations which could not be vested with the old traditional sense of Nabuwwat and came to realise that he was a Prophet. But he always took care to qualify his claim by saying he was a Nabi, from one angle, and an Ummati from another. After 1901 he never wrote that he was a partial Nabi or mere Mohaddath.
Mr. Faruqi has quoted passages from the writings of the Promised Messiah, of the period earlier than 1901, of which the following from Izala-i-Auham (page 349) is one:
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib, the Mojaddid of the 14th century (Hijrah) has written at page 349 of his book Izala-i-Auham : “The Promised Messiah has been called a follower of the Prophet Mohammad, as the tradition of `your Imam from amongst you ‘ indicates while the tradition that the learned religious savants from amongst my followers would be like unto the prophets of Israelites, points to the resemblance which the Promised Messiah will have to Jesus Christ. Since the word Nabi (Prophet) according to the Arabic lexicon, means one who receives tidings from Allah and announces the same, the Promised Messiah, being possessed of this attribute, could figuratively be called a `prophet.'” (Truth Triumphs, pages 15-16)
The second quotation is from Izala-i-Auham, page 575
“Here some doubts assail the mind of the reader. When Jesus, son of Mary, at the time of his `coming’, would be one of the followers of the Holy Prophet Mohammad, how could he be a full-fledged Prophet as well, especially as Hazrat Mohammad is the last and final prophet! Albeit one from the followers of the Holy Prophet, who received communications from God, because of his spiritual attainments, can be considered (figuratively speaking) as a prophet whose other name is Mohaddath . Such persons are excluded from this restriction; as through their utter devotion to the Holy Prophet, they form a part of his `personality’ like a portion (of a thing) forms a part of the whole (thing). (Truth Triumphs, page 17-18)
The third quotation on page 26 of Truth Triumphs is from Ishtiharat, Part 1, page 97:
“I beg to inform my Muslim readers, that wherever in my books, Fath-i-Islam, Taudih-i-Maram, any such words are used that Mohaddath in one sense is a `prophet’ also, or that the rank of `Muhaddath ‘ implies a `partial prophethood’ or `incomplete prophethood’, then please understand that these words have not been used in their real sense, but only lexically or in a figurative sense. For God forbid, I do not claim to be a real and full-fledged prophet: but I mean that what I have written on page 137 of my book Izala-i-Auham that it is my faith that our Holy Prophet Mohammad is the last of the Prophets. So I request my brethren that if my use of these terms is repugnant to them, and has shocked them, then they may consider these `terms’ as if they have been amended by me and substitute the word `Mohaddath ‘ instead. For at no price will I cause disunity amongst the Muslims, since from the very beginning, as God is my witness, I intended from the use of the word `Nabi ‘ only Mohaddath and not a real prophet. For about Mohaddath our Holy Prophet has explained that it means `one with whom God speaks’ as the following tradition of his, as related by Abu Hurairah, makes it clear, (the wording of the Report being) “Verily before your time, amongst the Israelites there were such persons with whom God spoke, although they were not prophets. So amongst my followers if there is one such person he is Umar”.
Without doubt, it appears from these passages that from the commencement of his claim, to a certain date, the Promised Messiah interpreted the word Nabi and Rasul, wherever in Ilhams and Revelations they occurred in regard to himself, as Mohaddath, part Prophet, or an incomplete Prophet, or that the word Nabi was applied to him in a figurative sense only and this was due to the incomplete current definition of Nabuwwat. But in his subsequent works, it is clear as daylight that there came a time, in view of a powerful stream of his Ilhams and Revelations, he was led to realise that he was in fact a Nabi, given the title of Nabi in the explicit words of God which now he no longer tried to water down in explanation that the term was applied to him in the sense af a Mohaddath, or a part Prophet, or an incomplete Prophethood. It has to be borne in mind, however, that even during the final phase of his new comprehension, he never took himself to be a Prophet with a new Law, a new Sharia . He never claimed to be an independent Prophet, insisting always that he was only a zilli or buruzi Nabi being perfect zill or image of his Master Prophet by devotedly following his Sharia and thereby gaining the title of Nabi through strong spiritual power of his Master Khatam-un-Nabiyyin.
He realised that being an Ummati is no longer a hindrance in the path of being a perfect Nabi as he used to think it so in the past.
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.
Denial by the Promised Messiah of the view that he was only a Mohaddath
Clear proof that in 1901 the Promised Messiah had abandoned the view that he was a Nabi, only in the sense of a Mohaddath lies in the fact that in the Leaflet entitled `Removal of an Error ‘, published in 1901, he wrote:
“If a man, who receives from Allah knowledge of things in the realms of the Unknown, is not to be called a Nabi, then please tell us by what name and title he is to be known? If you say he should be known as a Mohaddath, I would like to say that the meaning of Tahdith is not given in any standard lexicon as revealment of ghaib . The meaning of Nabuwwat, on the other hand is, revealment of things wrapped up still in veils of the Unknown.”
It is quite clear here that at the time the Promised Messiah was writing this he was in fact saying that to know him as Mohaddath, did not convey a correct awareness of his eminence and rank. A proper awareness, in this respect, demanded that he should be known and recognised as a Nabi . The idea of Mr. Faruqi, therefore, is quite wrong that:
“Hazrat Mirza Sahib stuck to the same `claim’ from the start to the finish. Unfortunately the fanciful followers of his took the metaphor in his writings to be real; and just like the followers of Jesus Christ, who up-lifted him from the rank of a Prophet to that of a son of God, and to a Godhead in the Trinity, similarly quite a number of the followers of the Promised Messiah amongst the Muslims uplifted him from the position of Mohaddath (endowed with a partial prophethood, i.e. the receiver of glad tidings) to the rank of a full-fledged prophet, without a `Book’. (Truth Triumphs. page 19)
Dear Mr. Faruqi the claim of the Promised Messiah, right from the beginning, has been just that Allah had called him a Prophet, and an Apostle, on the background of an abundance of tangible communion with the Lord God, embracing knowledge in great amplitude, of things in the realms of Ghaib, in the realms of the Unknown. Therefore, there never has been a change, an amendment, or an alteration in the claim. Whatever change came about, it lay in the earlier idea that the word Nabi used for him in his revelation could be the equivalent of a Mohaddath . Just as long as he believed that it was essential for a Nabi that he should not be the Ummati for an earlier Prophet, whenever he found himself designated a Nabi in Wahyi and Revealments from God, he modestly understood it to mean a Mohaddath . When, however, he found a change had to be made in the concept and definition of a Nabi, under the new and more accurate concept, he concluded that even an Ummati could rise to be a Nabi, thereafter, he never interpreted Nabi to mean a Mohaddath .
Dear Mr. Faruqi, every Mohaddath and Mojaddid is an incomplete, a zilli, or a majazi, Nabi . As compared to the position of all the earlier Mohaddathin, if the Zilli Nabuwwat of the Promised Messiah had not been of a perfect grade, in Removal of an Error, he would not deny that he was a Mohaddath, and no more. Nor would he have set it down in Haqiqatul Wahyi that in thirteen hundred years, as against the entire number of Auliya in the Ummat, he was only specified individual to receive the title of a Nabi for the the essential quality and condition of a Nabi was not found in them. Nor, in Haqiqatul Wahyi page 391 in continuation of the passage above, would he have written:
“If the other righteous servants of God, as have gone before my time, had taken an equal share with me in the amplitude of tangible communion with Allah, and knowledge of things in spheres of the Unknown, they would have come to deserve being called Nabi ; and in that case, a fault would have occurred in the prophecy of the Holy Prophet. The sagacity and the wisdom of Allah, therefore, let them fall short of obtaining a full share of this blessing, so that, as foretold in Hadith, there should be only one of this kind and grandeur, and the prophecy come to be fulfilled.”
Evidently, it is clear from this that subsequently, to 1901, the Promised Messiah is stating that he received an adequate and full share of communion with Allah, which embraced an ample measure of knowledge of things in the sphere of the Unknown; and that none of the righteous servants of God, as had gone in Ummat before his time, had been able to obtain a full share of this blessing. The Promised Messiah, thus was a full and complete zilli Nabi, while the Mohaddathin of the Ummat were incomplete zilli Prophets. This is the reason why he wrote;
“Take careful note of this point, and always bear it in mind, that I am not a Rasul and Prophet in the sense of having brought a new Sharia, a new claim, and a new name; and I am a Nabi and a Rasul, that is with respect of perfect Zilliyyat, I am the mirrors in which the qualities and Nabuwwat of the Holy Prophet Mohammad, Peace be upon him, have been reflected perfectly.” (Nozul-ul-Masih, page 3)
Thus we hold that the Promised Messiah was a full and perfect, real zilli Nabi, not a full and real Nabi with a Sharia and a law, a scripture of his own. Nor do we take him to be a Mustaqil Nabi, a Prophet in his own independent position. It is to be noted with care that zilli Nabuwwat also is a kind of Nabuwwat . Writes the Promised Messiah:
“There is a kind of Nabuwwat which has not come to an end: the Nabuwwat which comes after the perfect obedience of the Holy Prophet Mohammad: that Nabuwwat which takes light from his Lamp, that Nabuwwat has not ended, because, really speaking, this Nabuwwat is the zill of the Nabuwwat of the Holy Prophet and is given through him and is its manifestation and is obtained through his medium,” (Chashma-i-Marifat, Page 324)
The Promised Messiah, thus, is a complete and perfect Zilli Nabi and Zilli Nabuwwat, too, is a kind of Nabuwwat . As for the Mohaddathin of the Ummat, without doubt, they get a share of this Zilli Nabuwwat ; but to no Mohaddath, before the time of the Promised Messiah, has a full and complete share of this Nabuwwat been extended. Therefore, to this time, in the entire Ummat, the Promised Messiah, alone, has been the one individual, singled out to receive this name and title. Among the righteous servants of God, upt o his time. no one had been held deserving the name and title of a complete and perfect Zilli Nabi ; consequently none of them had been given this title and this honour, though, figuratively, of course, they could be called zilli Nabi – not Zilli Nabi, in fact.
Now, these words, kamil, haqiqi, set down in English, as `full and complete’, are comparative terms, so that we find Sheikh Abdul Rahman Misri, whose opinion and advice has been available for Mr. Faruqi, in the matter of Truth Triumphs, writing in Ruh-e-Islam, March, 1965:
“Now as herein below, is set down an exposition of the words `sarih taur par ‘ an expression used by the Promised Messiah. It is to be noted that this expression has been used as a term of comparison in the matter of the respected Auliya . Since they had not taken the complete and full reflection, the full impress of the Holy Prophet, the Nabuwwat of the Holy Prophet though present in their person, was, however, hidden and concealed. By applying the expression `kamil aks ‘ to himself, the Promised Messiah intended to convey the idea of completeness and perfection in regard to the reality, the real meaning of the term, in a comparitive sense. For, otherwise, it has to be conceded that every Wali, and Mojaddid, and Mohaddath, in his own day, and in the field of the tajddid entrusted to him, bore a complete reflection, a complete impress. All the Prophets, before the time of the Holy Prophet. were complete and perfect, within the sphere of their particular fields, for their particular times. But in comparison with the Holy Prophet Mohammad, they were all incomplete and imperfect. Exactly in the same way, all the previous Auliya, bore a perfect reflection of the Holy Prophet, but compared with the reflection carried by the Promised Messiah, the reflection or the impress, obtained by them, was less complete less perfect, in any case. The reflection obtained by the Promised Messiah, had reached the highest point of excellence, the highest point possible for an Ummati to attain in reflecting the perfection of the original, namely, the Holy Prophet Mohammad. Evidently, it is not possible for any Ummati to go beyond that line.” (Ruh-e-Islam, page 32)
So we have the Promised Messiah, here in reality, in point of fact a perfect Zilli Nabi ; and all the Auliya of the Ummat, who had gone before, were, in comparison, less perfect in reflections therefore, only imperfect Zilli Nabis or only partial Zilli Nabis or only figurative Zilli Nabis . The only really perfect Zilli Nabi has been the Promised Messiah, alone.
To sum up, therefore in the course of Izala-i-Auham, refusal on the part of the Promised Messiah to designate himself a Nabi instead of a Mohaddath, constitutes a strong argument in favour of a new and a positive perception on his part, in regard to his position as a Nabi.
Zilli Nabuwwat also is Nabuwwat
Zilli Nabuwwat also, is Nabuwwat . This the reason why, in the pamphlet entitled `Ek Ghalati ka Izala ‘, `Removal of an Error ‘, the Promised Messiah has written in a footnote:
“It must be borne in mind, there is a pledge in favour of this that it will receive all those identical blessings which the earlier Prophets and Siddiqs received. So, included in these favours and blessings, are the Nabuwwats, and Prophecies, on the basis of which the earlier Prophets came to be known and accepted as Prophets.”
This is a plain indication that in the eyes of the Promised Messiah, the earlier Prophets, as well, were called Prophets, on the basis of the prophecies they made. That some of them brought a new Sharia, or new laws, was an additional feature in their lives.
Further, the Promised Messiah writes:
“But the Holy Quran closes the door of knowledge of the Unknown upon all, except the Prophets and the Apostles of Allah, as we read in the Quranic verse:
فلا یظھر علی غیبہ احدا ال امن ارتضی من رسول`He does not disclose things and matters kept by him beyond human ken, to anyone, except an Apostle of his own.’ In other words, for a man to have a pure and clear knowledge of the Unknown, it is essential that he should be a Prophet; and the verse انعمت علیھم `Those Thou has sent down Thy blessings on them’, is an indication that this Ummat is not deprived of this blessing; and since according to verse already quoted a clear and pure knowledge of things in the domain of the pure Unknown, demands Nabuwwat and Risalat, to which direct access is not now possible for anyone, so we have therefore, to hold that for this endowment, it is essential now that one should get to that stage, that point, of a great prominence only through buruziat, zilliat, and through self-effacement in, loyalty and love for the Holy Prophet Mohammad.”
This passage clears the following points:
- The verse, “He does not reveal His ghaib to anyone.” according to this verse, for access to this ghaib, Nabuwwat is essential.
- The verse “Thou hast rained down Thy blessings on them.” bears witness that the Ummat of the Holy Prophet Mohammad has not been deprived of this clear and pure knowledge of the ghaib .
- This clear and pure knowledge of ghaib, in accord with the sense and meaning of the verse `He does not reveal’ i.e., which embraces a clear and ample knowledge of things in the domains of the hidden and unknown, demands Nabuwwat and Risalat in the man who attains it.
- This clear and pure knowledge, for the attainment of which it is necessary that one should be a Nabi, and which forms a basis on which the earlier Prophets came to be designated as such this knowledge cannot now be acquired directly. In other words, Nabuwwat cannot now be obtained directly,
- Now, to obtain this gift of grace called Nabuwwat, which came to the earlier Prophets directly, the only way open was in the manner of buruz, of zilliat, and self-effacement in loyalty and love of the Holy Prophet possible only in the case of one who had the honour of being a member of his Ummat . This means to say that the Nabuwwat of a Prophet who obtained this gift directly, and the perfect zilli Nabuwwat of an Ummati, in point of its content, is Nabuwwat itself. The only difference between the two lay in the manner it came to the recipient.
- The position of buruz, zilliat, and self-efacement in love and loyalty is not the extreme and the highest point in the progress possible for an Ummati ; it is rather the door for attainment of the position of Nabuwwat . Through this door, Allah can extend the gift of grace called Nabuwwat to whomsoever He pleases – the self-same gift which went to the earlier Prophets directly.
In short, it is quite clear from this passage that, at the time when the Promised Messiah wrote the pamphlet entitled Ek Ghalati ka Izala, he did not think that, for obtaining this gift of grace of Nabuwwat, which former Prophets obtained directly, it was not binding that he should not be a follower of the Holy Prophet. In fact, for an Ummati, the gift of grace of Nabuwwat, formerly which came directly, was now a thing clearly ordained and promised in the verse an’amta `alaihim.
Further proof of an Amendment in the Definition of Nabuwwat
Further proof that at this time the Promised Messiah had amended his conception of Nabuwwat is furnished by the fact that before 1901 he had held that for a Nabi it was binding that he should not be an Ummati of an earlier Nabi . But towards the end of that year, and for all subsequent times, he does not hold that for a Nabi it is at all binding that he should not be an Ummati, that he should not be a follower of an earlier Prophet; nor does he consider that an Ummati, becoming in reality a Nabi, could be held objectionable in any way; and he took himself to be really a Prophet. In Zamima Barahin-i Ahmadiyya, Vol. V, page 138, he puts down the question raised by someone, as follows:
“Some people say, if it is true that in Bokhari and Muslim it is written that the Jesus to come would be a member of this Ummat ; but in Muslim when it is stated in plain words that he would be a Prophet, then how can we hold that he would be belonging to this Ummat?”
This question bears witness that the man asking this question considers it impossible that an Ummati should become a Prophet, since, according to him, whoever was an Ummati, in the prevailing meaning of the term, he could not be a Prophet. On the basis of the popular term, there is confusion and an uneasiness in his mind that in Muslim when it is clearly stated that the Promised Messiah would be a Nabi, how can it be true what has been said in Bokhari and Muslim that the Promised Messiah would rise from this Ummat itself? This question indicates that in the eyes of the man who asked this question, a follower, an Ummati of the Holy Prophet could not become a Nabi, The Promised Messiah answers this question as follows:
“The answer is that all this unfortunate confusion has risen from a misconception in regard to the real meaning of Nabi . The true meaning of this word is only this that he should be one who received tidings, by means of Wahyi from Allah, and have communion with Allah in considerable abundance and amplitude. That he should be the bearer of a new Sharia is not essential and binding. Nor is it necessary that he should not be a follower of an earlier Nabi, who had a Sharia of his own. Therefore, there was no harm if an Ummati should come to be a Nabi of this kind, especially where that Ummati received the blessing after loyal obedience to the earlier Nabi in question.”
Evidently, to the time when he wrote his letter of August 17, 1899, for a Prophet who brought no complete and perfect Sharia or new commandments, the Promised Messiah thought the condition binding that he should not be an Ummati of any Nabi ; he should have a link with Allah, independently of an earlier Nabi . In other words, like the man who asked this question, the Promised Messiah held that an Ummati could not rise to be a Nabi . The letter under reference belongs to a period earlier than 1901. But subsequently to the time when the Promised Messiah modified his conception in regard to Nabuwwat, in the passage quoted above, from Zamima Bahrahin-i-Ahmadiyya, Part V, he states the real meaning of Nabi is only this that he is blessed by a communion with Allah which embraces knowledge of matters beyond the ken of human beings; the bringing of a new Sharia is not essential for him; nor even that he should not have been an Ummati of another Prophet. In fact the implication is absolutely clear here, that for an Ummati to become a Nabi, in the real sense of this term, is not at all objectionable in any respect. He has openly and clearly said:
“Therefore there is no harm if an Ummati should come to be a Prophet of this kind, especially where that Ummati received the great blessing after loyal obedience to the earlier Nabi in question.”
Here we have the Promised Messiah trying to persuade the man who raised this question that his idea that an Ummati could not become a Nabi was the result of failure on his part to get to the real meaning of the term. He was taking it that an Ummati could not become a Prophet, even though really it was not essential for a Nabi that he should bring a new Sharia, nor that he should not be a follower of any earlier Prophet. The only binding condition was an amplitude of communion with God embracing knowledge of things unknown, things impossible to be known to human ken. Under the reports in Bokhari and Muslim, the Promised Messiah, therefore, could be Prophet, even though he was an Ummati, since, in view of the real inner meaning, an Ummati was not debarred from becoming a Nabi .
This sentence written by the Promised Messiah, namely, that “for him it is not essential that he brings a Sharia “, is a firm argument that in this place a definition has been set down of a Nabi, in the real and true sense of Nabuwwat . It is not here a case of the definition of a Mohaddath, who at best is only a partial Nabi, or an incomplete, an imperfect Nabi . The words “it is not essential,” indicate that a Nabi could be one who brought a new Sharia or new set of commandments; at the same time a man could be a Nabi without bringing any new Sharia or new set of commandments. As for a Mohaddath, pure and simple, he is just one who does not, in any case, in any circumstances, bring a new Sharia, or a new set of commandments.
Evidently, therefore, the sentence used here is one precisely out of the question if it is being written in regard to a Mohaddath . It can only be brought in if the discussion concerns a real Nabi, in the real sense of the word, as distinct from the popular, but erroneous meaning of the expression. Had the Promised Messiah been discussing a Nabi, taken in the sense of a Mohaddath, he would have said that he never brings a new Sharia . He would not have said that it was not binding for him to bring a new Sharia in any case, since only he can be expected to be the bearer of a new Sharia, who is a Prophet, in the real and the true meaning of the word.
Similarly, the next sentence “nor is it essential that he should not be the follower of an Apostle with a new Sharia in his hands.” This cannot be said in regard to a mere Mohaddath, for a mere Mohaddath in any case, is subject to a Nabi who came with a new Sharia . He can never be independent of an earlier Nabi . The sentence in question conclusively bears out that the Promised Messiah, here, is talking about the real meaning of the Nabi who, possibly, could be the follower of an earlier Nabi, or not be a follower of any earlier Nabi . Thus we have here a definition of the Nabi, in the proper sense of this word, not of a Mohaddath, who must necessarily be a follower of a Nabi . Only a real Prophet can be in a position where, possibly, he is not bound to be a follower of another Nabi . We positively find the Promised Messiah holding that it is permissible for the follower of an earlier Nabi to become a Nabi himself: and in this correct and proper meaning of the expression in question, he concludes there can be no valid objection against an Ummati rising to be a Nabi . It is in the light of this true and real meaning of Nabi that he wrote:
“To hold an Ummati to be a Nabi of this kind does not lead to any harm, nor does it create any real obstacle.”
It is in the light of this true and valid meaning of Nabuwwat that the Promised Messiah has called himself a Prophet. But, of course, he is not a Nabi with a new Sharia ; nor an independent Nabi : he is an Ummati first, a Nabi afterwards. If the Promised Messiah had not altered the conception of Nabuwwat in his mind, in terms of the old conception, equally acceptable for the questioner as well, he could have answered the question, briefly and convincingly, that in Muslim the Promised Messiah had been called a Nabi in the sense of Mohaddath, use of the word Nabi having been made only figuratively. Therefore, the Bokhari and Muslim were correct in calling him an Ummati ; since a bare Mohaddath, from one angle was an Ummati and from another angle he was a Nabi as well, though incomplete and only partial, only in some respect, not in others.
Clear Admission on the part of the Promised Messiah of Modification in his Concept of Nabuwwat
On page 148 of Haqiqatul Wahyi the Promised Messiah has reproduced a question raised by someone:
“On page 157 of Taryaqul Qolub, a book of which I am the author, it has been written: `Let no one be misled to imagine that in this address I have held myself to be superior to Hazrat Masih, since this superiority is only in certain respects, and of a kind which a man, who was not a Nabi, could have over one who was a Nabi.’ “
Again, in The Review of Religions, Vol. 1. No. 6, page 257, we read;
“For this Ummat Allah sent the Promised Messiah, in all his splendour, greater than the first Masih.”
In the same journal, on page 475, we read:
“Most solemnly I put myself on oath, in the name of One Who holds my life in His hand, that Masih son of Mary could not have accomplished what I have accomplished, had he been born in my time. The heavenly Signs I have shown, he could not have shown at all.”
Gist of objection: “there is contradiction in these passages.”
When the questioner here says there is contradiction in these passages, it constitutes clear proof that the passage quoted here first has been taken by him to mean that in Taryaqul Qolub, Hazrat Mirza Sahib had stated he was not a Nabi; and the two latter quotations he holds to be in contradiction because he takes it that the substance of the latter quotations, namely, that God sent to this Ummat a Masih, superior to the son of Mary in all his glory, demands the presence of a Prophet who has been likened to Jesus Christ, and adjudged superior. This position could not be taken up except by one who was a Nabi himself.
Evidently, if the Promised Messiah had made no alteration in his conception of Nabuwwat ; if at the time he wrote the passage we have quoted from The Review of Religions, he had been taking himself as a Nabi, in the sense of a Mohaddath, as he did at the time of the passage from Taryaqul Qolub, he could have silenced the critic simply by saying there was no contradiction involved in the two positions. he could very well have said that by what he said in regard to the Promised Messiah being superior to Jesus Christ, he had only meant that he was superior to the son of Mary only to a limited and partial extent which kind of superiority was possible even in the case of a man who was not a Prophet, over another who was a Nabi . He could have replied that, taken in this way, there was no contradiction involved in the passages under discussion. which the critic, evidently, had misunderstood. But the Promised Messiah did not give this reply.
He even admitted that there was some apparent contradiction; that his belief in regard to his own limited and partial superiority over Hazrat Isa lasted only as long as he had taken Jesus for a Prophet, with no question of a comparison between a Nabi and another who was not a Nabi, or at the best only partly a Nabi . But later on the Wahyi which descended on him from the Lord, like heavy downpours of rain, did not allow him to remain firm on this belief, in the face of the fact that in this Wahyi he was called by this title openly and quite clearly but always in the sense that he was a Nabi, from one angle, an Ummati from another. (Gist of Haqiqatul Wahyi, page 148-150)
In other words, in his earlier Revelations since he had taken the word Nabi applied to him in the sense of a Mohaddath, not a Nabi, whenever he observed any circumstance, or any of his own Revelations which appeared to give him the impression that he was in a superior position as compared to Jesus Christ, he was predisposed, in his own humility of mind, to interpret it to mean, at best, only a limited and partial superiority, possible in comparison between two people, one a Nabi, the other not a Nabi . But later on, when a steady and continuous downpour of Wahyi came upon him, bore down on his mind that he was repeatedly and quite clearly being called a Nabi, he had to abandon the old idea of his partial superiority, he had to accept the fact that Allah had pleased to bestow Nabuwwat on him. When this stupendous fact dawned on him, he had to declare that he was superior to Jesus Christ, in all his glory, i.e., equal to him in point of being a Nabi but far superior to him in point of the works and the signs shown at his hands. Otherwise, no one who was not a Prophet, could possibly begin to claim that he was in a position superior in all his glory to a Nabi . That a righteous-minded man, who was a not a Nabi, should begin to propagate a lie in regard to himself is an absurd and highly ridiculous proposition, in itself. It would not be out of place for us here to set down what the Promised Messiah himself wrote in the context here under reference:
“It is clearly and carefully borne in mind that Allah knows it well, in any case, there is no joy for me in these things, nor have I any personal aim or desire that I should come to be known as the Promised Messiah; or that I should give myself out as being superior to Jesus son of Mary. Allah has Himself borne witness, in Revelations to me, in regard to the purity of my mind over things of this kind. `Qul ojarrido nafsi min zorubil khitab ‘, i.e. `Tell these people that you have no desire that any titles should be conferred on you.’ My aim and my prupose is by far, higher than these things. The conferment of titles is the pleasure and the work of the Lord God. I have no share in it. As for the question why I have written like this? Why has this contradiction crept in? So, please, listen and understand with care. This contradiction is of the same kind as in Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya I wrote, at one time, that the Messiah, son of Mary, could descend from the heavens. Later on, however, I put forth that I, myself, am the Messiah expected to come in the later times. The basis of the contradiction in that case was the same. Although, in Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya itself, the Lord God called me Isa and also said to me that the tiding of my advent had been given earlier by God and His Apostle. Since, however, a portion of the Muslims happened to have become firm on the belief, and I myself believed the same, that Hazrat Isa would come down from the heavens, I endeavoured to take the Wahyi at the apparent level; in fact, I watered it down in interpretation, and clung to the former view I had shared with the rest of the Muslims; and this was the view I did my best to propagate in Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya . Later on, however, Revelations came down on me, like the rain from heaven, to the effect that I myself was the Promised Messiah, so eagerly expected to appear, with hundreds of wonderful Signs and the earth, as well as the heavens took their stand in support of my position; and brilliant manifestations forced me to perceive that I, myself, was the Masih expected to appear in the later times. Otherwise, my belief on these points was the same as I had stated in Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya … Similarly, to begin with this was my belief that in no way was I comparable in quality with reference to Jesus son of Mary. He was a Prophet, great among those chosen by the Lord. Even when something occurred, which seemed to establish my superiority over him, always I took it to imply some limited and partial preference. Later on, however, the Wahyi sent down on me by the Lord, like pouring rain, it did not allow me to remain clinging to this belief; and I found the title of Nabi clearly conferred on me, in a manner that I was a Nabi from one angle, an Ummati from another… Anyway, the long and short of it all is this that there is no contradiction in what I say, I but follow the Wahyi, from the Lord. Just as long as this awareness did not come to me, I continued to say what I had said at the outset. But when I was given this awareness, I began to say different from what I had said before. I am no more than a human being: I do not claim to be the Knower of the Unseen.” (Haqiqatul Wahyi, page 148-150)
Refutation of the Excuse put forth by the Lahore Section
Members of the Lahore Section say the change in belief referred to in Haqiqatul Wahyi, is a change in the belief concerning the question of superiority and preference alone not in regard to the belief with respect to Nabuwwat . But from the reply of the Promised Messiah, it is clear that the root of the change in the belief concerning the superiority and preference over Hazrat Isa lay in fact that in comparison with him, the Promised Messiah did not look upon himself as a Nabi . But when he properly grasped the fact that he was persistently being called a Nabi in the Wahyi coming down on him like a downpour of rain, the Promised Messiah abandoned his idea of a limited and partial preference, which is possible for a man who is not a Nabi, over another who is. In the light of this new awareness the Promised Messiah took up the belief, at variance with the first idea, that he was superior to Jesus Christ in all his glory. Evidently, therefore, the modification in the belief concerning the superiority and preference in question came on the basis of the change in the concept of Nabuwwat . Accordingly we find that further on in Haqiqatul Wahyi the Promised Messiah wrote:
“My dear people, when I have proved that Masih, the son of Mary is dead, and the Masih to come is I, myself, now, in this position, whosoever holds that the first Masih was better and superior, he should, on the basis of conclusive Reports from the Hadith, and verses of the Holy Quran prove that the Messiah to come is nothing at all being neither a Nabi, nor an Arbitor, the first being everything there was need for him to be.” (Haqiqatul Wahyi, page 155)
On the same point the Promised Messiah has written further:
“Again to complete the comparison between the two dispensations, that of Moses and the one of Mohammad, it was necessary that, as against the Messiah of Moses, the Messiah of Mohammad also should appear in all the glory of Nabuwwat so that no slight to the sublimest Nabuwwat of Mohammad should, in any manner, come to be implied.”
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.
Varieties of the Wahyi of Nabuwwat
On pages 3 and 4 of his book Mr. Faruqi, after writing down the varieties of the Wahyi of Nabuwwat, has quoted the following passage from page 577 of lzala-i-Auham :
“Every intelligent person would readily grasp if the Lord God is true in His promise, given in the verse wherein the word Khataman Nabiyeen occurs, and in the Hadith it has been clearly stated, that following the demise of the Holy Prophet, Gibreel has been barred from bringing the Wahyi of Nabuwwat on anyone. If all this is true, if all this is correct, then, after the Holy Prophet, no one can come as an Apostle.”
Then Mr. Faruqi writes:
“Since the Divine Revelation had reached its fulfilment in the Holy Quran, and the religion of Islam had been perfected and a complete code of guidance for human beings had been vouchsafed, for all time to come, hence no full-fledged prophet can come after the last, the final and the best of the Prophets i.e. Muhammad (peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him).” (Truth Triumphs, page 5)
On page 21 and 22 of the same book, Mr. Faruqi writes:
“A revelation to a prophet can modify or cancel the previous revealed laws, or the `Book’ but the revelation to a follower (Mohaddath ) cannot do so. The revelation to a prophet helps complete the Divine Law for guidance, but since with the revelation of the Holy Quran, the Divine Laws have been completed for the guidance of mankind, hence the `revelation’ to the Promised Messiah is not the `revelation’ of prophethood.
From these two passages quoted by Mr. Faruqi, it appears that for him Wahyi of Nabuwwat is only that Wahyi which embodies a new Sharia, since this Wahyi, alone can modify or cancel the whole, or a portion of an earlier Sharia . He is right when he says that this kind of Wahyi cannot come now, to replace the Holy Quran, since Sharia embodied in it had been completed and made perfect. Therefore, to the end of days, Wahyi to replace the Islamic Sharia can never come, not even for making minor modifications. In the above quotation from Izala-i-Auham, by Wahyi of Nabuwwat, the Promised Messiah, in fact, means the Wahyi which comes down on a law-giving prophet, or an independent prophet. It is our genuine and deep conviction that this kind of prophet cannot come now.
According to the Promised Messiah, one meaning of Wahyi of Nabuwwat is also the Wahyi wherein the recipient is called a Nabi . In `Arbayeen ‘ he has quoted a verse from the Quran: “If he had. forged on us anything We had not said, indeed We would have caught him by his right hand, and cut open his jugular vein.” The Promised Messiah quoted this verse in support of his claim, since he had passed the period of 23 years which was given to the Holy Prophet himself. To this the critic said that even a false Prophet could get this span of life subsequently to the public presentation of his fraudulent claim. In reply to this question, the Promised Messiah wrote:
“From this it stands proved that all the sacred Scriptures from the Lord God are fully agreed on the point that a false prophet is invariably destroyed, root and branch. For anyone to urge, here, that the emperor Akbar made the claim, or that Raushan Din Jallandhri did so, or someone else, and he was not destroyed within time margin – this is an additional absurdity committed by these people. Evidently, if it is really true that these people ever made a claim, that, they were prophets, and then were not destroyed for 23 years this must first be proved on the basis of the exact words wherein they made this stupendous claim. In fact, the exact text of the Revelation must be reproduced in which they received the Wahyi that `I am an Apostle of the Lord’. The exact words should be set down of this Wahyi, with the proof in support of this Wahyi being genuine. For all this discourse is on the Wahyi of Nabuwwat in this connection it is of the utmost importance that definite words should be put forth as having been received in Revelation, that this was the Word of God come down on them.” (`Arbayeen, page 125)
Since in the Wahyi received by the Promised Messiah, he had been called Prophet and Apostle, in this sense the Wahyi under reference was also the Wahyi of Nabuwwat . Yet, of course, it is true that he was not a mustaqil, not an independent Prophet and Apostle, i.e., he had not reached this elevation without the saving grace of obedience to the Holy Prophet and the spiritual blessing emanating from him, so that the Promised Messiah was a Nabi from one angle, and an Ummati from another – a zilli Nabi, to put it in another style of expression.
Moreover, coming down on an Ummati, in its nature and fullness if this Wahyi is found to be of a perfect degree, under the statement in this behalf of the Promised Messiah, as recorded in his Alwasiyat the Prophets agree that the Wahyi of such a degree is the Nabuwwat in itself. Writes the Promised Messiah, in Alwasiyat :
“When that communion, in its nature and fullness, reaches the point of perfection, and there is no impurity or denseness left in it, and quite openly when it embraces knowledge of things in the domains of the Unknown, that Wahyi, in another style of expression, is called Nabuwwat, this being a point where all the Prophets agree. Therefore, it was not possible that the people, of whom it had been said (in the Holy Quran) that they were the best, because raised, and reared for the benefit of mankind, and who had been taught to pray `Guide us to the straight path – the path of those on whom had descended the blessings of the Lord’ – all the members of this Ummat would have gone deprived of this high rank, not even one single individual equal to the task of rising to it.” (Alwasiyat, page 16)
Evidently, therefore, Mr. Faruqi is not justified in laying it down that only Tashri’i Wahyi is called the Wahyi Nabuwwat . But of course, he would be quite right to say that the Wahyi of Nabuwwat, which descended on the Promised Messiah was not of the kind that embodies a new Sharia . In this respect, it was only the Wahyi of Nabuwwat-i-zillia.
Question of Kufr and Iman
It is not entirely correct on the part of Mr. Faruqi when he says:
“As a `Mojaddid ‘ comes only to revive or renew an existing faith, hence one who denies him does not become an infidel.” (Truth Triumphs, page 22)
On this point it should be remembered that we have never called any muslims, who denies the Promised Messiah, an `Infidel’ or disbeliever of Islam.
Maulvi Muhammad Ali, the late leader of Lahore Section in his book `An –nabuwwat –fil-Islam ‘ states that it is necessary to believe in a Mojaddid and his denial makes a man Fasiq, `rebellious’.
As the Promised Messiah was not a mere Mojaddid but he has been called by Allah a Nabi, and Rasul, therefore he has himself indicated plainly, for instance in Khutba Ilhamia, that the person to whom he conveys his message, he should yield faith, and not become a kafir, not become a disbeliever.
As we see it, kufr is of two kinds. Refusal to accept a Nabi, bearing a new Sharia is of one kind. Refusal to accept an Ummati Nabi stands on a different level. Since the Holy Prophet Mohammad is the bearer of a new Sharia, refusal to accept him, directly turns a man into a kafir, in the sense of a non-Muslim. Where a man accepts the Holy Prophet, holds the Quran to be the Word of God, but rejects the Promised Messiah, his kufr would not be of the kind which turns a man into a non-Muslim. The Promised Messiah being an Ummati Nabi, refusal to accept him, would turn a man into a kafir of an Ummati Nabi . Being a member of the Ummat-i-Muhammadia, he would be called a Muslim, but he would turn into a kafir when he declines to accept the Promised Messiah. Denial of the Promised Messiah is not kufr, directly, it is kufr indirectly just as the Nabuwwat of the Promised Messiah, is Nabuwwat indirectly. This is the soul and spirit of what the Promised Messiah has said in the following passage:
“The point is worth remembering that to denounce as kafirs those who do not accept his claim, behave the position of those Prophets, alone, who bring a new Sharia . Apart from the bearer of a new Sharia, all the Mulhams and Mohaddathin in the history of the Ummat, howsoever elevated their position, even though blessed by direct communion with Allah, where a man denies them, by doing that, he does not become a kafir. “
This passage from Tiryaqul Qolub, Page 130, Mr. Faruqi has reproduced on page 22 of his Truth Triumphs. Tiryaqul Qolub, was written before 1901, so the kufr mentioned in it is kufr of the first kind. i.e. the kufr resulting from denial of a Prophet bearing a new Sharia . On the basis of this passage, someone raised a question, which the Promised Messiah has reproduced and answered in Haqiqatul Wahyi :
“In thousands of places you have written that it is in no way correct and proper to say in regard to a man who believes in the Islamic Kalima, and the Qibla of the Muslims, that he becomes a kafir . It is clear from this, that apart from people who become kafir, by calling you a kafir, no one becomes a kafir merely by not yielding faith in you. But to Abdul Hakim Khan you have written that everyone reached by your message, who has not accepted you, he is no more a Muslim. In this statement, and what you have been saying in your earlier books, there is a contradiction, namely, now you say denial of your claim turns a man into a kafir .” (Haqiqatul Wahyi, page 163)
If the Promised Messiah had answered that a man who held him to be a kafir, became thereby a kafir himself, but one who simply did not believe in him, even actively denied him, he did not become a kafir on the basis of that denial: that the enquirer had not taken in the correct meaning and sense of these passages. If the matter had been like that, the position of the Lahore Section would have been correct and proper, that one who denied the Promised Messiah would not become kafir . But the reply given by the Promised Messiah does not yield any foothold for them. Said he:
“It is strange that to your mind those who call me a kafir, and those who deny me, are two different kind of people, even though, in eyes of the Lord they fall into one and the same category.” (Haqiqatul Wahyi, page 163)
Perhaps Mr. Faruqi will be kind enough to explain here whether he takes these two kinds of people to be one and the same, or whether he takes them as belonging to two different kinds. His Leader, Maulvi Mohammad Ali, anyway, has drawn a distinction between those who call him a kafir, and those who decline to accept his claim. Writes Maulvi Mohammad Ali, in his Radd-i-Takfir-i-Ahl-i-Qabila :
“A man who calls the Promised Messiah a kafir, or kazib or dajjal, under the verdict of Hadith, he becomes a kafir apart from these people, there are those who have not accepted his claim, or they have not yet yielded the pledge of faith and loyalty, they do not become kafirs, just because they have denied the claim.” (Radd-i-Takfir-i-Ahl-i-Qabila, page 39)
Here we have Maulvi Mohammad Ali deciding definitely that where a man believes in regard to the Promised Messiah that he is a kafir, kazib, or a dajjal, he himself becomes a kafir, but he does not hold that a man becomes a kafir who declines to accept the claim of the Promised Messiah. This stand of the Lahore Section is not correct since it is in regard to exactly a case of this kind that the Promised Messiah has laid down quite clearly:
“It is very strange you draw a distinction between one who takes me for a kafir . and one who declines to yield faith in me”. (Haqiqatul Wahyi, page 163)
On page 179 of Haqiqatul Wahyi, the Promised Messiah has placed the word “kafir ” against “momin“, and stated that kufr is of two kinds:
- “One kind of kufr is that a man does not at all believe in Islam, and he does not accept the Holy Prophet Mohammad as an Apostle of God.”
- “The second kind of kufr is, for instance, that he does not believe in the Promised Messiah… Even after the whole case has been fully and duly put before him, he declines to believe in one, whose truth has been supported by the Holy Prophet, with great emphasis and insistence, and whose truth, moreover, is found to have been confirmed by the Scriptures of the earlier Prophets: Therefore, since he rejects the decision of the Apostle of God, and of Allah Himself, he becomes a kafir . When you look deeply at this question, the two kinds of kufr are found to be one and the same thing. There is really no room for doubt that in the eyes of the Lord, where the case has been fully and duly put before, a kafir of the first or the second kind, on the Day of the Qiyama, he will be held culpable. And. where, in the eyes of the Lord, the case has not yet come to be duly and fully stated, and the man is a mokazzib, or munkir, though the Sharia, based as it is on the exterior, also would pronounce that he is a kafir ; and we too shall hold he is a kafir . But in the eyes of the Lord, under His law that He does not burden anyone beyond capacity, the man in question will not be held culpable. All the same, it would not be for us to issue a decree for his release and salvation. His would be a matter strictly between himself and his Maker, wherein we have no standing, whatsoever.” (Haqiqatul Wahyi, pages 179-180)
Thus, our friends of the Lahore Section, do not appear entitled to be called sincere Ahmadis, unless they subscribe to the truth of this belief, as sifted out above. Here I would also take the liberty to put before them another passage from the pen of Maulvi Mohammad Ali, published in The Review of Religions:
“Our final reply to this question, whether we are Believers or not, is that we can claim to be Believers only when, on the basis of heavenly Signs, we have witnessed at the hands of him whom He has been pleased to appoint for the purpose these days, we hold firmly to our conviction in regard to His existence. If that is not our position, what we call our faith, is nothing more than a foolish boast, with no reality in it, anywhere.” (Review of Religions, Vol. III, No. 11, page 409)
These heavenly Signs comprise the Nabuwwat of the Promised Messiah, the substance of his mission, of which the acceptance is altogether binding on all of us.