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I tell you truly that every door can be closed but the door of the descent of the Holy Spirit is never closed. Open the doors of your hearts so that it might enter into them.

There is no safeguarding-law through following which we can secure ourselves absolutely against mistakes. That is the reason why the philosophers, who framed the rules of logic and invented the ways of discussion and built the arguments of philosophy, fell continuously into mistakes and left as the legacy of their ignorance hundreds of false notions and mistaken philosophies and vain discourses. This shows that it is impossible to arrive at the truth of every matter and to determine the correct doctrines as the result of one's own research without making a mistake. We have never known any individual, nor heard of one or read of one in any book of history, who was free from error in the whole field of his vision and reflection. It follows, therefore, that it is impossible to find people who, through the study of the law of nature and putting their conscience in accord with the circumstances of the world, carried their research to the highest level of truth wherein no possibility of mistake was left....

Then if man cannot escape error through his own knowledge and God Who is Gracious and Merciful, and is free from every mistake and knows the truth of every matter does not help His servants through His true true revelation, howcould we humble creatures emerge out of the darknesses of ignorance and error and how could we be delivered from the calamities of doubt and suspicion? I therefore affirm it with confidence that the wisdom and mercy and sustaining love of God Almighty demand that from time to time, when He deems it right, He should create men who should be recipients of revelation for the purpose of ascertaining true doctrines and establishing correct morals, and who should have bestowed upon them the capacity of impressing their teachings upon others so that mankind, who have been created for true guidance, should not be deprived of their needed good fortune. (Purani Tehreerain, Ruhani Khazain, Volume 2 (London, 1984) pp. 20-21).

The Hidden World Of Revelation

God Almighty has divided His wonderful universe into three parts. First, the world which is manifest and can be felt through the eyes and the ears and other physical senses and through ordinary instruments. Secondly, the world which is hidden and which can be understood through reason and conjecture. Thirdly, the world which is hidden beyond hidden, which is so imperceptible that few are aware of it. That world is entirely unseen, cannot be reached by reason and is pure conjecture. It is disclosed only through visions and revelation and inspiration and not by any other means. As is well established, it is the way of Allah that for the discovery of the first two worlds that we have mentioned He has bestowed upon man different types of faculties and powers. In the same way He has appointed a means for man for the discovery of the third world and that means is revelation, inspiration and visions which are not wholly suspended at any time. Indeed, those who comply with the conditions for achieving them have, throughout, been their recipients and will continue to be such. As man has been created for unlimited progress and God Almighty is free from every deficiency, miserliness and holding-back, it would be an unworthy thought that He put into the heart of man the eagerness to learn the secrets of all the three worlds and yet has deprived him wholly of the knowledge of the means of acquiring knowledge of the third world. This impels wise people to believe in the permanent need of inspiration and visions and they do not confine revelation, like Aryas, to the four Rishis beside whom it is impossible for a fifth person to arrive at that excellence. Instead, wise people, believing in the absolute bounty of God Almighty, deem the door of inspiration ever open and do not confine it to any country or religion. It is true, however, that it is limited to the straight path by treading along which these blessings can be achieved, inasmuch as it is necessary for the achievement of everything to follow the rules and methods conformity to which is necessary for its achievement. People do not deny the wonders of the world of visions. They have to admit that the absolute Benefactor, Who has bestowed upon man faculties and powers for the discovery of every little matter in the first world, would not deprive man of the means of discovering the grand affairs of the third world through which a true and perfect relationship with God Almighty can be established, and true and certain understanding having been achieved the lights of heaven become manifest in this very world. This method is also open, like the methods of discovering the other two worlds, and true people adopt it forcefully and follow it and obtain its fruits. The wonders of the third world are numberless and in comparison with the other two worlds are like the sun in comparison with a grain of poppyseed. To insist that the mysteries of that world should be wholly revealed through reason would be like shutting one's eyes and insisting that visible things should become perceptible through the sense of smell. The wonders of the third world totally frustrate reason. No one need be surprised at the creation of souls for in this very world such mysteries are revealed to those who have experience of visions, that reason wholly fails to penetrate to their reality. On occasion a person who has a capacity to see visions can see someone from a distance of hundreds of miles despite numberless intervening obstructions. In fact on some occasions in a state of complete wakefulness he can hear his voice also, and even more wonderful it is that sometimes the other person can hear the voice of the first one. On occasion in a vision resembling the state of wakefulness he can meet the souls of those who have passed on. Very often such meeting is by revealing in vision the dwellers of graves. I myself have had such experience. This refutes entirely the doctrine of the transmigration of souls current among the Hindus. The greatest wonder is that sometimes one possessing the capacity for vision, through concentration, appears to another person, with the permission of God Almighty, at a distance of hundreds of miles in a state of complete wakefulness without his body moving from its place. Reason holds that a person cannot be at two places at the same time, yet this impossibility becomes possible in the third world. In the same way, a person of understanding witnesses hundreds of wonders with his own eyes and is surprised at the denial of those who altogether reject the wonders of the third world. I have witnessed the wonders and rare visions of that world with my own eyes approximately five thousand times and have experience of them happening to myself. It would take a large volume to record details of these experiences. One wonderful aspect of these experiences is that some matters which have no external existence come into being through Divine power. The author of Futuhat Wa Fusus and other great sufis have recorded a number of their own experiences of this kind in their compilations. But as there is a great difference between hearing and seeing I could not have obtained that certainty by merely reading these accounts which I have acquired through my own experience.

Some Attributes Of God May Appear In Human Form In A Vision

I recall that in a vision I saw that I had drawn up with my own hand certain Divine decrees which related to the future and then presented the paper to God Almighty for His signature. (It should be borne in mind that it often happens in visions and true dreams that some Divine attributes of beauty or glory appear in human form to the person seeing the vision and he imagines the form to be God Almighty. This experience is well known to those who are favoured with visions and cannot be denied.) On my presenting that document to God Almighty Who appeared in the form of a ruler, He dipped His pen in red ink and sprinkled it in my direction and with the ink that remained at the point of the pen He signed the document. Thereupon the vision came to an end and when I opened my eyes I saw several drops of red ink fall on my clothes and two or three of them fell on the cap of one Abdullah of Sannaur who was sitting near me at the time. That red ink which was part of the vision became materialized and became visible externally. I have seen several other visions of the type which it would take too long to set down, but whereby my own experience confirmed that sometimes a matter that is observed in a vision assumes external form by the command of Allah. These matters cannot be appreciated through reason alone. Indeed a person who is afflicted with the pride of his reason hears these things and affirms arrogantly that they are impossible and false and that the person who claims to have had such experience is either a liar or is mad or is self-deceived and for lack of proper research has not been able to penetrate to the reality. Such a one does not reflect that those matters which are testified to by thousands of the righteous from their personal experiences, and of which they undertake a demonstration to those who might keep company with them, are not to be lightly set aside. Apart from the wonders of the world of visions, reason has not been able to comprehend fully that which pertains to the world of reason and there are millions of mysteries which are still hidden beyond the reach of reason (Surma Chashm Arya (Qadian, 1886), Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 2 (London, 1984), pp. 127-133, footnote).

Man Is Invested With A Hidden Faculty Of Receiving Revelation

As God has invested man with the faculty of reason for the understanding to some degree of elementary matters, in the same way God has vested in him a hidden faculty of receiving revelation. When human reason arrives at the limit of its reach, at that stage God Almighty, for the purpose of leading His true and faithful servants to the perfection of understanding and certainty, guides them through revelation and visions. Thus the stages which reason could not traverse are traversed by means of revelation and visions, and seekers after truth thereby arrive at full certainty. This is the way of Allah, to guide to which Prophets have appeared in the world and without treading along which no one can arrive at true and perfect understanding; but an unfortunate dry philosopher is so much in a hurry that he desires that whatever has to be disclosed should be disclosed at the stage of reason. He does not know that reason cannot carry a burden beyond its strength, nor can it step forward further than its capacity. He does not reflect that to carry a person to his desired excellence God Almighty has bestowed upon him not only the faculty of reason but also the faculty of receiving revelation. It is the height of misfortune to make use of only the elementary means out of those that God has, out of His Perfect Wisdom, bestowed upon man for the purpose of recognizing God, and to remain ignorant of the rest. It is foolish to waste those faculties through lack of use and to derive no benefit from them. A person who does not use the faculty of receiving revelation but denies its existence cannot be a true philosopher, whereas the existence of this faculty has been established by the testimony of thousands of the righteous and all men of true understanding have arrived at perfect understanding through this means (Surma Chashm Arya (Qadian, 1886), Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 2 (London, 1984) Arya, pp. 39-42).

Non-Prophets Can Also Receive Revelation

Some ignorant divines go so far in their denial that they assert that the door of revelation is altogether closed and that it is not open to a Muslim to perfect his faith through this bounty and then to act righteously under the urge of his faith. The answer to those who think like this is that if the Muslims are so unfortunate and blind and are the worst of people, why have they been named the best of people by God Almighty? The truth is that those who think like this are thcmselves foolish and stupid. As God Almighty has taught the Muslims the prayer that is set out in the Surah Fatihah, He has also designed to bestow upon them the bounty that was bestowed upon the Prophets; that is to say, the bounty of converse with the Divine which is the fountainhead of all bounties. Has God Almighty merely cheated us with this prayer? What good can there be in a useless and fallen people who are even worse than the women of Israel? It is well known that the mother of Moses and the mother of Jesus were not Prophets and yet they were favoured with Divine revelation. Is it to be imagined that if a Muslim were to have such a pure soul as that of Abraham and were to be so obedient to God Almighty as to cast aside his ego altogether, and were to be so devoted in love to God Almighty that he should be lost to himself, yet he cannot be the recipient of revelation like the mother of Moses? Can any reasonable person attribute such miserliness to God Almighty? The truth is that when these people became the insects of the earth, and the only insignia of Islam left in them were their turbans and beards and circumcision and a few verbal affirmations and the formal observance of Prayer and fast, God Almighty deadened their hearts and thousands of dark veils covered their eyes and they lost all signs of spiritual life. They thus denied the possibility of converse with the Divine and this denial is in truth a denial of Islam. As their hearts are dead they do not realize their own true condition (Zameema Braheen Ahmadiyyah Volume V , Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 21. pp. I42-I43).

O ye Muslims, beware that such thinking is sheer ignorance and stupidity. If Islam is such a dead religion whom can you invite to it? Will you carry its corpse to Japan or will you present it to Europe? Who would be foolish enough to fall in love with a dead religion which is bereft of all blessing and spirituality such as appeared in the religions of the past? In those religions even women received revelation, as was the case with the mother of Moses and the mother of Jesus, but your men are not equal even to those women. O ye stupid and blind ones, our Holy Prophet, our lord and master, peace be on him, was ahead of all Prophets in his spiritual grace. The grace of previous Prophets came to an end at a certain stage and now those peoples and their religions are dead. There is no life in them. But the grace of the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, continues till the Day ofJudgment. That is why it is not needed that a Messiah should come from outside for his people. To be brought up under the shadow of the Holy Prophet can convert a humble person into a Messiah, as God has done in my case (Chashmai Masihi (Qadian, Magazine Press, 1906) , Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 20), p. 75).

Revelation Is The Highest Stage Of Divine Understanding

Our claim is true and is clearly established that by treading along the straight path a seeker after truth can become the recipient of Divine revelation. My own experience testifies to it. Besides, every reasonable person can understand that there is no higher stage of the understanding of the Divine in this world than that a person should converse with his Glorious Lord. This is the stage where souls are completely satisfied and all doubts and suspicions are removed. Having arrived at this stage a person achieves the understanding for which he has been created. This stage is truly the key of heaven which proves how close the True Creator is to His weak creation. We have learnt of this stage by the light which is the Quran. That light gives us the good news that the fountain of revelation never runs dry. Any dweller of the East or the West, when he searches for God Almighty and makes his peace with Him and removes the intervening veils in between, will surely find Him; and when he finds Him truly and perfectly, then God will speak to him. The Vedas have denied man this stage and have confined it to the four Rishis, who, according to the Arya Samajists, are the authors of the Vedas. This is an error of the Vedas like the other great errors contained therein. It is obvious that all human beings are alike in their nature and what is possible for one man is possible for all, and the closeness to the Divine and His understanding which is permissible in the case of one human being is permissible in the case of all, for they all have the same nature. It is true that there is diversity in respect of the degrees of excellence, but no one is shut out from the kind of excellence which is open to others. Should there be a person who should not have the slightest capacity to acquire human excellences then that person cannot be included within the category of human beings. In short, there can be a difference in capacities, but there cannot be a total absence of capacity (Surma Chashm Arya (Qadian, 1886), Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 2 (London, 1984). pp .191-192).

The Gracious and Merciful Lord who has invested human nature with the hunger and thirst of His own complete understanding has endowed human nature with two types of faculties for the purpose of arriving at that understanding. One type are the intellectual faculties the source of which is the brain, and the other type are spiritual faculties the source of which is the heart and the purity of which depends upon the purity of the heart. That which cannot be discovered through the intellectual faculties is reached through the spiritual faculties. Spiritual faculties can develop such purity that the graces of the Source of Grace can be mirrored in them, but the condition is that they should be eager for the acquisition of grace and all intervening veils and obstructions should be removed so that they might become the recipients of the grace of perfect understanding. Their recognition of the Divine should not be limited to the affirmation that there should be a Creator of this universe, but they should be able to behold His countenance through having observed His great signs and should thus be able to see that that Creator truly exists. But as the nature of most people is not free from obstruction and they are afflicted with the love and greed of the world, and pride and arrogance, and self-esteem, and hypocrisy, and self-worship and other moral delinquencies, and are deliberately neglectful of the obligations due to Allah and to His creatures, and purposely turn away from sincerity and fidelity and love of God and devotion to Him, and cut asunder deliberately from God Almighty, they are, on account of all types of obstructions and veils and desires and passions, not qualified that the grace of converse with the Divine should descend upon them which should exhibit the lights of their being acceptable to God. Yet the eternal bounty of God, which does not wish that human nature should go to waste, makes it possible for most human beings to see occasionally true dreams or to receive true revelation so that they should realize that the way for their stepping forward is open. But their dreams and revelations do not indicate their being acceptable to God and are not accompanied by signs of the love and grace of God, nor are such people purified of the impurities of their egos. They see these dreams so that they might be furnished with an argument for believing in God's Prophets, for if they were to be deprived altogether of the understanding of true dreams and true revelations, and they should have no certain knowledge of them, they could plead before God Almighty that they were unable to understand the reality of Prophethood for they had no knowledge of it. They had no sample of it before their eyes. Therefore, from the beginning it has been the way of God that irrespective of a person being good or bad or righteous or disobedient, or being the follower of a true faith or of a false one, he is shown true dreams or is vouchsafed true revelation so that his conjecture which derives from hearing of such matters may be converted into certainty and he may have a sample in his hands which should help his spiritual progress. The Wise Creator has so fashioned the human brain and has so invested it with the spiritual faculties that it can see some true dreams and can receive some true revelations. But these dreams and revelations are not an indication of any spiritual rank or greatness, but are only a sample of the way through which progress could be made (Haqiqatul Wahi (Qadian, Magazine Press 1907) , Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 22., pp. 6-8).

Inductive And Deductive Arguments To Prove The Need Of Revelation

Arguments are of two types, inductive and deductive. An inductive argument enables us to recognize that which is indicated, as for instance when we observe smoke we conclude that there is fire. In the case of deduction, one moves from the conclusion to the cause. For instance, we find a person suffering from high fever and we believe that there is a cause for it. We proceed to set forth first the inductive reason for the need of revelation. There is no doubt that the physical and spiritual systems of man are governed by the same law of nature. We observe in the physical system that whatever desires God has planted in it He has also provided the means of their satisfaction. A human body feels hunger and needs food, so God has provided various types of food for the human body. In the same way man needed water to slake his thirst and God Almighty has provided wells and springs and streams for that purpose. Man needed the light of the sun or light from some other source to be able to see with his eyes and God Almighty has provided light from heaven in the shape of the sun and has provided light from other sources on earth. Man needed air for breathing and for hearing the voices of others and God provided air. In the same way man needed a consort for the propagation of the species; so God created woman as man's consort and man as woman's consort. In short, whatever desires God has planted in the human body, He has also provided means for their satisfaction. Now it is worth considering that when provision has been made for the fulfilment of the physical needs of the mortal body, how much more must have been provided for the fulfilment of the pure desires of the soul which has been created for the eternal love and recognition and worship of God. That provision is Divine revelation and Divine signs, which carry a person of defective knowledge to complete certainty. As God bestowed upon the body provision for the satisfaction of its needs, in the same way He bestowed upon the soul provision for the satisfaction of its needs so that the physical and the spiritual systems should be in accord.This inductive reasoning can be completed only through deductive reasoning. That is to say, by a sample of revelation itself. To feel the need for something is one matter and to find its fulfilment is another....

You observe that food and water are provided for your body in this age also and were not available only in some past age, but when mention is made of revelation you refer to a past age upon which centuries upon centuries have lapsed and you are not able to refer to anything in the present. Then how is there an accord between the physical and spiritual laws of nature? Stop and reflect. You cannot deny that the provision for your physical needs is available to you all the time, but you have nothing with you in the way of provision for your spiritual needs except stories of the past. You know that the physical springs from which you take the water to slake your thirst are still running; nor have your fields become unculturable from the produce of which you satisfy your hunger. But where are the spiritual springs which used to slake your spiritual thirst by giving you the fresh water of Divine revelation? Nor have you available the spiritual food by eating which you could keep alive your soul. Thus you are in a desert where there is neither food nor water {Chashmai Ma’arafat ( Qadian, Anwar Ahmadiyyah Press, 1908) Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 23., pp. 55-58}.

Revelation is a message from the hidden which does not depend upon any reflection or deep thinking. It is clear and open feeling as a hearer has about a speaker, or one beaten has about the beater, or one touched has about him who touches him. The soul does not experience any spiritual pain on its account. The soul has an eternal accord with revelation which it enjoys as a lover finds pleasure in beholding the beloved. It is a delicious communication from God which is called revelation {Purani Tehreerain, Ruhani Khazain, Volume 2 (London, 1984) , p. 20}.

Revelation Is Not A Result Of Thinking

By revelation is not meant something that arises in the mind as a result of thinking and reflection, like that which a poet experiences in writing his verses. He writes a verse and reflects about the next one and it suddenly arises in his mind. This is not revelation; it is a consequence of thought and reflection which flows from the law of nature. Anyone who thinks about good things or evil things finds something arises in his mind in consonance with his thinking and his search. For instance, a good and righteous person writes some verses in support of truth and another one who is wicked supports falsehood in his verses and abuses the righteous. Each of them will produce some verses and it should be no matter for surprise that the enemy of the righteous who writes in support of falsehood may, on account of greater practice, write better verses than the other one. Thus, if anything arising in the mind were to be called revelation, a wicked poet, who is the enemy of truth and of the righteous and always abuses the truth and indulges in imposture, would be deemed the recipient of Divine revelation. Works of fiction contain many affecting passages and the minds of authors are able to produce a series of writings on purely fictitious subjects, but they cannot be called revelation. If revelation were the name of any idea arising in the mind, a thief could be called a recipient of revelation for he can think of expert ways of robbery and house-breaking and manslaughter. We cannot call all this revelation. This is the thinking of people who have no clear notion of the True God, Who comforts the hearts with His converse and bestows the understanding of spiritual knowledge on those who are not familiar with it. Revelation is God's converse in living and powerful words with a chosen servant or with one whom He desires to choose. When this converse starts in a satisfactory manner and is free from the darkness of false thinking and is not confined to a few scattered and incomplete phrases, and is delicious and is full of wisdom and majesty, it is the Word of God by which He desires to comfort His servant and through which He manifests Himself to him. Sometimes a communication is made only for the purpose of a trial and is not accompanied by all the characteristics of revelation. A servant of God Almighty is thereby tried so that by tasting a little of revelation he should adjust his circumstances to those of true recipients of revelation or might fail to do so. Then if he does not adopt true righteousness, he is deprived of the perfection of this bounty and is left with only vain boasting. Millions of good people receive revelation but they have not all the same rank in the estimation of Allah. Even the Prophets who are the recipients of clear revelation are not all equal in rank, as God Almighty has said: These are Messengers, some of whom are exalted above others (2:254). This shows that revelation is pure grace and is not the insignia of rank. Rank depends upon the degree of sincerity and fidelity which is known only to God. Revelation when accompanied by its blessed conditions is also a fruit of sincerity and fidelity. There is no doubt that if revelation takes the form of question and answer in a proper sequence and is characterized by Divine majesty and light and comprises hidden matters or true understanding, then it is Divine revelation. For Divine revelation it is necessary that there should be converse between the servant and his Lord as there is converse between friends when they meet. When the servant asks a question and in reply hears a delicious and eloquent speech from God Almighty, in which there is nothing of his own thinking and reflection and such converse becomes a bounty, then it is Divine speech and such a servant is dear to God. But this degree of revelation which is a bounty, and is living and pure and is clear and unsullied, is bestowed only upon those who go forward in their faith and in sincerity and in righteous action. True and holy revelation exhibits great Divine matters. On many occasions a brilliant light appears and along with it a majestic and shining revelation is conveyed. What could be greater than a recipient of revelation conversing with the Being Who is the Creator of heaven and earth? The beholding of God in this world is to converse with God. By this we do not mean that condition in which some odd word or phrase or verse might flow from the tongue of a person without being accompanied by a direct address. A person who has such an experience is being tried. He casts about like a blind one and does not know the source of the communication whether it is from God or from Satan. Such a one should have recourse to istighfar. But if a good and righteous person receives Divine communications without obstruction in the form of converse, a bright, delicious, meaningful and full of wisdom communication is heard in majestic terms and in complete wakefulness, and there has passed between him and God Almighty a series of at least ten questions and answers in the course of which God accepted his prayers a number of times and conveyed to him fine understandings and informed him of coming events, then such a person should be most grateful to God and should be wholly devoted to Him, inasmuch as God has of His pure grace chosen him out of all His servants and has made him heir to the righteous ones who have passed on before him. Such a bounty occurs rarely and is a matter of good fortune. Everything beside it is of no value. Islam has always produced people of this rank and station. It is Islam alone in which God comes close to a servant and talks to him. He speaks inside him and makes his heart His throne and draws him towards heaven and bestows upon him all the bounties that have been bestowed upon those who have gone before. It is a pity that he blind world does not appreciate how near a person can approach to God. They do not step forward themselves and when some one steps forward he is either dubbed a kafir or is deified and is put in the place of God { Islami Usul ki Philosophy pp. 123-127. Now prited in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 10 }

Revelation Provides Comfort In Distress

It is idle to assert that revelation has no reality and is a vain thing, the harm of which is greater than its benefit. Such an assertion is made only by a person who has never tasted this pure wine and does not desire that he should acquire true faith. Such a one is happy with his habits and customs and never seeks to find out to what degree he believes in God Almighty and how far his understanding extends and what should he do so that his inner weaknesses are removed and a living change takes place in his morals and actions and designs. He is not eager to cultivate that love which should make his journey to the other world easy and whereby he should develop the inner quality of making spiritual progress.
Everyone can understand that in this heedless life which is ever pulling a person downward, with his relationship with wife and children and with the burden of honour and good repute, which are all like heavy stones pressing him downwards, he is in need of a high power which, by bestowing true sight and true vision upon him, should make him eager to behold the perfect beauty of God Almighty. That high power is Divine revelation that provides comfort in distress. It enables a person to take his stand joyously and comfortably under mountains of misfortunes. That Imperceptible Being, Who confounds reason and the wisdom of all philosophers, manifests Himself only through revelation. He comforts the hearts of seekers and bestows contentment upon them and revives the half-dead ones by saying: I am present. It is true that the Holy Quran contains all the guidance, but when the Quran leads a person to the fountain of guidance the first indication of it is that he begins to experience converse with the Divine, whereby a revealing understanding of high degree and a visible blessing and light is created and that cognition begins to be acquired which cannot be achieved by blind following or through intellectual theories, for they are all limited and full of doubts and defective and incomplete. We need to extend our cognition directly, for the greater our cognition the greater will be our eagerness. With a defective cognition we cannot expect perfect eagerness. It is a matter of surprise how unintelligent those people are who do not consider themselves in need of that perfect means of approaching the truth upon which spiritual life depends. It should be remembered that spiritual knowledge and spiritual understanding can be acquired only through revelation and visions, and till we achieve that standard of light our humanness cannot acquire any true understanding or true perfection....

Revelation Is A Means Of Salvation

We have been created for a great purpose which is the true understanding of God, and on that understanding depends our salvation. It delivers us from every impure and doubtful way and leads us to the edge of a pure and clear river. It can be acquired only through Divine revelation. When being lost wholly to our ego, we dive deep with an eager heart into an unattainable Being, our humanness having appeared in the court of Godhead returns with some signs and lights from that world. Thus that which the worldly ones look upon with contempt is the only thing which brings a long-separated one in an instant to his Beloved and bestows comfort upon the lovers of the Divine. It relieves a person suddenly of all types of egoistic limitations; till that true light descends upon the heart it is not possible that it should be illumined. The imperfection of human reason and the limitations of current knowledge bear witness to the need of revelation. (Izalae Auham pp. 428-429).

OBJECTION. The belief that God sends down His word from heaven is utterly wrong for the law of nature does not confirm it, nor do we ever hear a voice coming down from above. Revelation is the name given to those thoughts which arise in the minds of wise people by the use of reflection and observation.

ANSWER. A truth which is well established and has been observed with their own eyes by numberless men of understanding, and the proof of which can be found in every age by a seeker after truth, suffers no harm by the denial of a person who is bereft of spiritual insight. If the thinking or defective knowledge of a person whose heart is wrapped up in coverings fails to confirm it, the truth cannot be considered as being outside the law of nature. For instance, if a person who is unaware of the power of attraction of a magnet, and has never seen a magnet, were to claim that a magnet is only a piece of stone and that he has never witnessed any such power of attraction in any stone, and therefore it is wrong to assert that a magnet has such a power for this is contrary to the law of nature, then would his assertion cast doubt on the well-established quality of a magnet? Certainly not. All that his assertion would prove would be that he is stupid and ignorant who considers his own lack of knowledge as proof of non-existence of a reality and does not accept the evidence of thousands of people who have experience of it. It is not possible to hold that every law of nature should be capable of being tested by every individual. God Almighty has created the human species as possessing great diversity in their overt and covert faculties. For instance, some people possess very good sight, others are weak sighted and some are altogether blind. Those who are weak sighted, when they find that those with good sight have perceived a thing from afar -- for instance, that they have discerned the crescent which they themselves are unable to see -- they do not deny it and consider that their denial would only expose their weakness. The blind, of course, have nothing to say in such a matter. In the same way, those who possess no sense of smell believe those serious and truthful people who speak of good smell and ill smell. They do not doubt them for they know that so many people do not tell lies and must be speaking the truth, and that without doubt their own sense of smell is lacking and that is why they are unable to experience any smell. Men also differ in respect of their covert capacities. The capacities of some are of a low degree and are covered up by veils. Some have from ancient times possessed high and clear souls and have been the recipients of Divine revelation. For the former to deny the personal characteristics of the latter would be the same as if a blind one, or one with weak sight, were to deny the observations of one with excellent sight, or as if a person lacking the sense of smell should deny the experiences of one with a sense of smell.

Then to convince a person who denies the existence of revelation, there are ways like the ways of convincing a person who denies the observations of the overt senses. For instance, if one who is congenitally bereft of the sense of smell should deny the existence of good smell and ill smell, and should assert that those who claim such a sense are liars or are mistaken, he can be convinced of his mistake in the following manner. He should be asked to select a few pieces of clothing and should rub some with perfume and leave others untouched and thus test the sense of smell of a normal person so that by repeated experiences he should be convinced of the existence of a sense of smell and that there are to be found people who can distinguish between that which is fragrant and that which has no smell. In the same way, the existence of revelation can be proved to the satisfaction of a seeker after truth through repeated experiments. When to a recipient of revelation are disclosed hidden matters and secret mysteries which cannot be discovered through the experience of reason alone, and a revealed book is found to contain wonders which are not to be discovered in any other book, a seeker after truth realizes that Divine revelation is an established truth. If such a person possesses a pure soul then he himself by treading on the right path can, to the degree of the illumination of his heart, have experience of Divine revelation like the Aulya, whereby he acquires a certain knowledge of the revelation vouchsafed to the Messengers of God. For a seeker after truth who would sincerely express a desire to accept Islam, I am prepared to provide this means of satisfaction. If any one should doubt my word, let him come to me with sincerity. Allah has the power to do what I say and He is the Helper in every matter.

Fine Thought Is Not Revelation

To imagine that the fine points that are disclosed to people through reflection and observation are revelation, and that revelation is nothing more than this, is an error due to ignorance. Were it true that human thinking constitutes Divine revelation then man also could have discovered the unseen by the use of his reflection and observation. It is obvious, however, that however wise a person may be he cannot disclose anything hidden by merely reflecting on the matter. Nor can he exhibit any sign of Divine power. His speech indicates no sign of God's Power and, however much he might reflect, he cannot discover the unseen which is beyond his reason and observation and his other senses. Nor is his speech or composition of so high a degree that no one can compete with him. Thus there are enough reasons for a wise person to conclude that whatever a man might think in consequence of his own reflection, or observation, cannot be the Word of God. Had it been the Word of God, a person would have had access to all that is unseen and would have been able to expound those matters the exposition of which depends upon Divine power, inasmuch as it is necessary that the work of God and the Word of God should disclose Divine manifestations.

The Distinction Between Creation And Command

It may be asked from whom and where from proceed the good and bad designs that arise in one's mind as the result of reflection and observation? The answer is that such thoughts are the creation of Allah and not His command. There is a difference between creation and command. By creation is meant that God Almighty produces something through physical means and attributes it to Himself because He is the Cause of causes. Command is that which proceeds directly from God Almighty without the intervention of any means. Revelation, which descends from God, proceeds from the world of command and not from the world of creation. Thoughts that arise in peoples' minds in consequence of observation and reflection all proceed from the world of creation in which the Divine power operates behind the veil of means. God has created men in the world of means equipped with diverse types of powers and faculties and has invested them with the characteristic that when they employ their reflection in a good or bad matter their minds alight upon appropriate plans. As it is part of the law of nature that when a person opens his eyes he can see something and when he directs his ear towards sound he can hear something; in the same way when he reflects on the way of success in a good or bad design, some plan arises in his mind. A good man by reflecting upon good designs thinks of good things, and a thief by reflecting upon the various ways of robbery invents a plan to commit robbery. As a man can think of deep evil designs, in the same way when he uses his faculty in a good way he can think of good designs. As his bad thoughts, however deep and effective they may be, cannot be held to be revelation, in the same way his thoughts which he deems to be good are not revelation. In short, whatever good thoughts occur to good people and whatever bad thoughts or designs arise in the minds of thieves and robbers and murderers and adulterers and forgers as the result of reflection and observation are all the result of the exercise of natural qualities, and because God is the Cause of causes, they are called the creation of God and not His command. They are the natural qualities of man as in the case of some vegetables the quality of purgation or the quality of constipation and other qualities are natural to them. As God has invested other things with different types of qualities, He has invested man's power of reflection with the quality that it helps man whenever he requires its help in a good or bad design. A poet who seeks to write lampoons concerning anyone finds his mind running in that direction and he is able to produce such poetry. Another poet seeks to praise the same person and commendatory verses come to his mind. This kind of good or bad thought is not the mirror of the Divine will and cannot be called His word. God's holy word is the word which is far above human faculties and is full of perfection and power and holiness. The very first condition of its manifestation is that human faculties should be entirely suspended and rendered useless. There should be neither reflection nor observation and the person concerned should be dead like a corpse. All means should be cut off and God Almighty Who alone has reality should cause His word to descend upon the heart of someone by His special design. It should be understood that as the light of the sun comes only from heaven and cannot be produced inside the eye, in the same way the light of revelation descends from God and by His design and does not arise from inside a person. As God truly exists and sees and hears and knows and speaks, His word should descend from Him and should not be the produce of man's mind. From our minds arise the same thoughts, good or bad, which dwell within us according to our nature, but God's limitless knowledge and boundless wisdom cannot dwell in our hearts. What greater denial of God could there be than for a man to think that all the Divine treasures of knowledge and wisdom and hidden mysteries are present in our hearts and surge up in them. This would mean that we ourselves are God and that there is no Being outside of us Who is Self-Existing and possesses Divine attributes, Who should be called God. For if God truly exists and His unlimited knowledge is special to Him, of which our hearts cannot be the measure, hen utterly wrong and senseless would be the observation that God's limitless knowledge fills our heart and all the treasuries of His wisdom dwell therein as if God's knowledge is limited to that which is contained in our hearts. This would amount to a claim of Godhead itself, but is it possible that the heart of man should comprehend all the excellencies of the Divine? Is it permissible that a particle should become the sun? Certainly not. We have already stated that the characteristics of the Divine, like His knowledge of the unseen and His comprehension of wisdom and other natural signs cannot be manifested by man. God's word should be characterized by God's Greatness, God's Power, God's Blessing, God's Wisdom and God's Peerlessness. All these characteristics are found in the Holy Quran, the proof of which we shall set forth at its proper place. If those of Brahmo Samaj still persist in denying the existence of revelation, which should comprehend the unseen and other proofs of power, they should study the Holy Quran with full attention so that they should come to know that in this Holy Word surges a whole ocean of matters that are unseen and manifestations of power which are beyond the strength of man. If they should be unable, through lack of insight, to discover these Quranic excellencies themselves, they should read this book of ours with attention so that they might discover as a sample some of the treasures of hidden matters and powerful mysteries of which the Holy Quran is full. They should also know that as proof of the existence of Divine revelation that descends from God and comprehends hidden matters, there is another way that is open and that is that God Almighty always creates from among the Muslims, who base themselves upon the true faith, such people who receive revelation from God and disclose such hidden matters the disclosure of which is not within the power of any one except of God, the One, without associate. God Almighty bestows this holy revelation only on those of the faithful who truly believe in the Holy Quran as the Word of God and act upon it with full sincerity and who believe in Muhammad, the chosen one, peace be on him, as the true and perfect Prophet, who is better and higher and more exalted than all the Prophets and is Khatamal y, and accept him as their guide. Such revelation is not vouchsafed to the Jews and Christians and Aryas and Brahmos, but has always been vouchsafed to the perfect followers of the Holy Quran and is now vouchsafed to them and will continue to be vouchsafed to them. Though the revelation which is special to Messengership has been cut off as no longer needed, the revelation that is vouchsafed to the sincere servants of the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, will never be cut off. This revelation is a grand proof of the revelation which is special to Messengership which humiliates every opponent of Islam. As this blessed revelation with all its blessing and honour and greatness and glory is vouchsafed only to those Honourable servants who are included among the Muslims and are the servants of the Holy Prophet, the followers of all other sects are deprived of this perfect light which carries the good news of nearness to God and of acceptance by Him and of His pleasure. Thus this holy revelation not only proves its own existence, but also proves that the Muslims alone are the people who are acceptable to God and who base themselves on the true faith, that all other people worship falsehood and are misguided and are under the wrath of God. Ignorant people will say all sorts of things on hearing this and will shake their heads in denial or will ridicule me like foolish and wicked persons. They should know, however, that denial and ridicule are not the way of those who possess nobility and are seekers after truth, but are the way of those wicked people who have nothing to do with God and truth. There are thousands of things in the world which possess qualities that cannot be understood by reason and are known only by experience. It is, therefore, the way of the wise that when some quality of a thing is manifested repeatedly by experience they no longer doubt its existence. It is only a donkey who persists in denial after repeated experience. For instance, rhubarb is a cathartic and a magnet has the power of attraction and though there is no reason why they should possess these qualities, yet when repeated experience manifests that they have these qualities every reasonable person has to admit that rhubarb is a cathartic and a magnet has the power to attract. If anyone should deny this on the ground that there is no reason for it, such a one would be condemned as mad or insane. So we submit to the Brahmos and other opponents that whatever we have stated concerning revelation, namely, that it is even now the experience of perfect individuals among the Muslims and is confined to them and is not to be found in any others, is not without proof, but can be demonstrated to every seeker through test and experience like thousands of other truths which are being discovered by these means. If anyone should be truly a seeker after truth, we undertake to demonstrate this to him provided he should make a sincere promise in writing that in case of proof he would accept Islam and should then turn to us with sincerity and in good faith. If they turn away then Allah knows best those who create disorder.

Revelation And Mesmerism

Some people put forward the objection that there are many groups like astronomers, soothsayers, physicians, palmists, etc., who claim to reveal the unseen and sometimes foretell things some of which come to pass, and that more recently some people have been able to reveal hidden matters through mesmerism; then how could the revealing of the unseen be conclusive proof of the Divine origin of revelation? The answer is that all these groups speak from conjecture and possess no certain knowledge nor do they claim to have certain knowledge. Their so-called prophecies are based upon signs and doubtful indications which have no relation- ship with certainty and which are not above suspicion and error. Very often their predictions are proved baseless and false, on account of which those predictions lack all honour and acceptance and helpfulness and success. Those who indulge in those predictions are generally poverty-stricken unfortunates, and are held in no honour and are cowards and mean and unsuccessful and without any merit. They cannot convert the unseen to come into accord with their predictions and in their own circumstances they exhibit the signs of Divine wrath and they possess no blessing or honour or help from the Divine. But the Prophets and the Aulya do not merely disclose the unseen like the astronomers, but with the grace and mercy of God, which always accompany them, they make such prophecies in which the lights of acceptance and honour shine like the sun and which comprehend the good news of honour and Divine help. Consider the prophecies of the Holy Quran and you will find that they are not like the predictions of the astronomers or others but are full of majesty and glory. All those prophecies are characterized by declaring the honour of the recipients and the disgrace of their enemies, their glory and the humiliation of their enemies, their success and the failure of their enemies, their victory and the defeat of their enemies, and their prosperity and the ruin of their enemies. Can any astronomer or soothsayer or mesmerizer put forth such prophecies? Certainly not. Always to proclaim one's own good, and the decline of the opponent and to refute whatever the opponent says and to promise the fulfillment of that which is in one's favor, can only be from God and cannot be the doing of man { Braheeni Ahmadiyyah Volume III, pp. 210- 218, footnote 11 (Amritsar, Safir Hind Press, 1882); Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 1 (London, 1984) }

Man's Knowledge Of The Universe Is Defective And Incomplete

Though man has been occupied for thousands of years in the discovery of God's powers through physics and mathematics, yet his knowledge is so defective that he cannot be described as successful in his search. On the other hand, hundreds of hidden mysteries are disclosed to those to whom visions and revelation are vouchsafed and they are borne witness to by thousands of the righteous. But the philosophers continue to deny them. The philosophers base all thinking and reflection on the brain, but those who have experience of visions have discovered through their spiritual experiences that the fountainhead of reason and understanding is the heart. For thirty-five years I have observed that revelation which is the source of spiritual understanding and of the knowledge of the unseen descends upon the heart. Very often a voice strikes the heart with force, as a bucket is thrown with force into a well full of water, and that water of the heart surges up like a closed blossom and arriving near the brain blooms like a flower and gives birth to words which are words of the Divine. These spiritual experiences establish that the brain is not concerned with knowledge and true understanding. It is true that if the brain is healthy and suffers from no defect it is benefited by the secret knowledge possessed by the heart, and as the brain is the center of the nervous system it is like a machine which can pump up water from the well. The heart is the well which is the fountainhead of hidden knowledge. This is a secret that has been discovered by men of truth through true visions and I myself have experience of it {Chashmai Ma’arafat ( Qadian, Anwar Ahmadiyyah Press, 1908) pp. 270-271. Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 23.}

I have been honored with Divine converse for nearly eleven years and I know well that revelation descends from heaven. If one were to illustrate revelation by reference to some worldly object one could perhaps compare it with the telegraph which itself discloses every change that occurs in it. My experience is that at the time of descent of revelation which is vouchsafed to me as the revelation of the Aulya, I feel that I am under the control of an external force that is very effective. Sometimes this control is so strong and envelops me so forcefully in its light that I find myself drawn to it compulsively and no faculty of mine can stand up to it. In this condition I hear clear and bright words. I sometimes see angels and observe the power and awe of truth. The words that are conveyed to me often comprehend matters that are unseen and there is such extraordinary control and seizure which is proof of the existence of God Almighty. To deny this would be to destroy an open truth {Barakatuddua (Qadian, Riyadh Hind Press 1310 A.H.) p.26 Now prited in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 6.}.

I call God to witness that it is the truth that revelation falls upon the heart from heaven as rays of the sun fall upon a wall. It is my daily experience that when the Word of God is about to descend on me then in the first stage I feel a sort of helplessness and experience a change and, though my senses are in a manner working, I find that a powerful force has taken my whole being in its grip and I feel that all the arteries of my being are in the control of that force and all that is mine is no longer mine but belongs to it. When I m in that condition first of all God Almighty presents those of my thoughts to me on which He intends to cast a ray of His words. Those thoughts come before me one after the other in a strange guise, and it so happens that when a thought passes through my mind - for instance, whether a certain person will recover from his illness or not - then suddenly a Divine phrase falls like a ray and often with its falling the whole of my body is shaken. Then this is succeeded by another thought and as soon as it appears a piece of revelation falls upon it like an archer shooting an arrow on every quarry that appears before him. Just at that time it is felt that this chain of thoughts is generated by our natural capacity and that the words that fall upon it descend from above.

Although poets and thinkers, etc., also receive suggestions on reflection, there is no relationship between revelation and such suggestion, for that suggestion is a consequence of thinking and reflection and is received within the limits of humanness in the full possession of one's senses. But revelation is received when the recipient comes under the full control of God Almighty with all his being, and his own senses and reflection do not intervene in any way. It appears as if one's tongue is not one's own and is being used by some other strong power. This should make clear the distinction between natural capacity and that which descends from heaven {Ibid., 22-23, footnote).

How Revelation Is Received

The slight slumber that overtakes one at the time when the Word of God descends upon the heart is completely outside material causes and all physical causes are suspended at the time. When a righteous person, who has true relationship of love and fidelity with God Almighty, submits a supplication to God in the upsurge of that relationship, he is suddenly overtaken by a slight slumber while he is still occupied with his supplication and he seems to wake up and finds the answer to his supplication, couched in eloquent words, being conveyed to him behind the veil of that slumber. Those words possess a majesty and a quality of delight, and Divine power is felt shining through them. They penetrate the heart like an iron nail and often comprehend hidden matters. It often happens that when that righteous person seeks to submit something more with regard to his first supplication, or submits a fresh supplication, he is again overtaken by a slumber which disappears within less than a second and from it emerge holy words, as the kernel emerges from the shell, which are delicious and full of majesty. In this manner God, Who is Gracious and Merciful and full of kindness, responds to every question and does not manifest any contempt or disgust. If a supplication is made sixty or seventy or a hundred times a response is received in the same manner. That is to say, that at the time of each supplication a slight slumber overtakes the recipient of revelation. On occasion this faintness or slumber is heavy as if the person had fallen into a swoon. Such revelation is vouchsafed on very important matters and is the highest type of revelation. He slumber that overtakes a recipient of revelation at the time of his supplication and prayer behind the veil of which Divine revelation is received, is above any physical causes. Whatever the physicists regard as the law of nature concerning sleep is contravened in this instance. There are hundreds of spiritual matters which refute the thinking of philosophers. Very often a person sees in a vision objects that are thousands of miles distant and appear as if they were close to the eye, and often a person can meet and converse in complete wakefulness with the souls of those who have passed away {Chashmai Maarifat ( Qadian, Anwar Ahmadiyyah Press, 1908) Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 23 pp. 103-104}.

Out of many forms of revelation which God has disclosed to me, one is that when God Almighty desires to disclose some hidden matter to His servant He causes to flow from his tongue some phrases in a slight slumber, sometimes gently and sometimes harshly. Those phrases that flow harshly from the tongue fall upon the tongue as hardly as hail falls suddenly upon a hard piece of ground, or as the hooves of a fast running steed strike the earth. Such a revelation arrives with speed and is so awe-inspiring that the whole body is affected thereby and the tongue runs with it so fast and in such a majestic voice as If It IS not one's own tongue. The slight slumber disappears altogether when the revelation is completed and during the time that it is received one lies motionless like a corpse. Such revelation is received when God Almighty out of His wisdom decides not to accept a supplication or decides to postpone its acceptance or wishes to convey something which would lie heavy on the recipient. For instance, when a person seeks to acquire something quickly and such acquisition is not in accord with the Divine will or has to be postponed. I have been the recipient of such revelations on occasion, which it would take too long to describe in detail, but I will set down one instance. About three years ago I prayed that people might be disposed to help in the publication of this book whereupon I received this type of revelation in hard words 'Not yet.' When I received this revelation I informed a number of Hindus and Muslims of it, who are still alive and they also witnessed thereafter the lack of attention of people to this book.

Various Forms Of Revelation

As regards the other type of revelation, in which phrases flow from the tongue with gentleness, it would be enough to state that when some time had passed after the revelation just mentioned, and I was beset with difficulties, I received a revelation one day: Take hold of the branch of the palm-tree and shake it; it will shed fresh ripe dates upon thee. From this I understood that this was an indication that I should invite people's help and that there was a promise that through such effort I would be able to collect enough money to defray the expenses of the publication of that part of the book. I informed several Hindus and Muslims of this revelation also and I also informed Hafiz Hidayat Ali Khan, Extra Assistant Commissioner, who had arrived in Qadian the same day or the following day. I also informed Maulvi Muhammad Husain of Batala. In short, after the receipt of this revelation, according to the Divine command, I made some effort towards inviting assistance and thereafter I received from Lahore, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Malerkotla and a few other places enough assistance to meet the expenses of the publication of that part. All praise is due to Allah for this { Braheeni Ahmadiyyah Volume III, (Amritsar, Safir Hind Press, 1882); pp. 223-227 Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 1 (London, 1984) }.

The second type of revelation, which on account of its many wonders I call perfect revelation, is that when God Almighty desires to inform a servant of a hidden matter after his supplication or on His own, He imposes a faintness upon him, whereby he becomes completely lost to himself and sinks in that faintness like a person who dives in deep water and disappears in it; then when he emerges from this diving he feels a sort of echo inside himself, and when that echo ceases he feels from inside himself words that are appropriate and fine and delicious. This diving in the faintness is a wonderful experience, which cannot be adequately described in words. In this condition a whole ocean of understanding is opened for a person. When repeatedly he has this experience of diving that is imposed upon him by God Almighty and he receives a response to every supplication in fine and delicious words, and in each instance God discloses to him verities which it is beyond human power to disclose, he thereby achieves the fullness of understanding and cognition. Man's supplication and God's response to it through the manifestation of His Godhead is an experience as if the suppliant beholds God in this very world and immediately both worlds appear equal to him. When at the time of need a servant makes repeated supplication to his Lord and receives a response, as one human being receives from another, and that response is couched in fine eloquent words, sometimes in a language of which he is completely ignorant, and comprises hidden matters which are beyond the power of creatures, and sometimes conveys the good news of great bounties or of high ranks or of nearness to God, and sometimes comprehends prophecies with regard to worldly blessings, then by the hearing of these fine and eloquent phrases which are far above human power he acquires a degree of understanding w which is appreciated only by him upon whom this bounty is bestowed. In truth such a one recognizes God as one recognizes a firm and old friend. Such revelation often relates to grand affairs. It sometimes contains words the meanings of which have to be sought for in a dictionary. Sometimes I have received such a revelation in a strange language like English or some other with which I am totally unacquainted {Ibid, pp. 236-238, sub-footnote I).

The third form of revelation is communicated to one's heart in a gentle manner. A phrase passes through the heart which does not comprehend all the wonders in perfection that are a characteristic of the revelation that we have just described. It is not necessarily preceded by any faintness or slumber. It can be received in complete wakefulness. It is felt as if someone has breathed those words into the heart or has thrown them at the heart. One might be partially awake or might be completely awake and one suddenly feels that new words have entered one's breast. Sometimes, immediately on entering the heart, the words manifest their forceful light and one becomes aware that these words are being conveyed by God. The revelation conveys comfort, satisfaction and contentment to the heart as the air that one breathes conveys comfort to the heart and limbs. A disturbed mind feels its joy and coolness. This is a mystery of which the common people are unaware but men of understanding who have been bestowed experience of Divine mysteries by the Bountiful Lord understand it well. I have experienced such revelation on many occasions.

Another form of revelation is that some matter is disclosed by God Almighty in a true dream, or an angel assuming human shape discloses a hidden matter, or a writing appears on a piece of paper or on a stone, etc., which discloses hidden mysteries {Ibid., pp. 247-248, sub- footnote 1}

Another form of revelation is that one hears a voice externally as if someone were speaking from behind a curtain, but the voice is very delicious and cheerful and is conveyed with some speed and the heart derive s pleasure from it. One's mind is deep in thought and suddenly this voice is heard and one is surprised where it has proceeded from and who is addressing one. One looks for someone from whom the voice could have proceeded and then one realizes that it has come from an angel. It generally conveys some good news when one is anxious and sorrowful or is gripped by fear on hearing some bad news which turns out to have been false. Such revelation is not the consequence of repeated supplications. An angel speaks suddenly when God Almighty so desires, contrary to the second type of revelation when a response is received from God Almighty to repeated supplications. A hundred supplications receive a hundred replies from the Absolute Benefactor as has been my own experience {Ibid., pp. 259-260, sub-footnote I}

I have several times seen Jesus, peace be on him, in a vision and have also met some of the Prophets in complete wakefulness. I have also seen and conversed many times with our lord and master Muhammad, the chosen one, peace be on him, in complete wakefulness, which was entirely free from slumber or absent-mindedness. I have also met other deceased people at their graves or on other occasions and have talked to them in complete wakefulness. I therefore know well that such a meeting with deceased people in complete wakefulness, and talking to them and shaking hands with them, is quite possible. There is no difference whatsoever between this wakefulness and normal wakefulness. One feels that one is in this world with the same ears and eyes and tongue and yet one feels as if one were in another world. People of the world are not aware of such wakefulness for they are heedless and this wakefulness is bestowed from heaven. It is bestowed upon those who are granted new senses. This is true and is a fact {Masih Hindustan Men pp. 36-37 (Qadian, Machine Press, 1908) Now prited in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 15}.

Capacity For The Receipt Of Revelation

Capacity and ability are needed for the receipt of revelation. Not everyone can become God's Prophet and be the recipient of Divine revelation. The Holy Quran gives an indication of this in the verse: When a Sign comes to them they say: We will not believe until to us is vouchsafed revelation like that which is vouchsafed to the Messengers of Allah. Allah knows best whom to appoint His Messenger (6: I25). This means that God knows who is able and who is not able to receive revelation. He bestows the grace of revelation upon him who possesses the requisite ability and capacity. The Wise Creator has created men of different types for various reasons and the whole body of mankind resembles a line one end of which is situated at a great height and the other end is very low. At the high end are the pure souls whose capacities are perfect and at the low end are those who are close to animals and in the middle are those of various degrees. This diversity of capacities is confirmed by observation for no reasonable person can deny that human beings are at different stages of understanding, of righteousness, of fear of God and of Divine love. As one is born handsome and another is born plain, one is born with good sight and another is born blind or with weak sight, one is born normal and another is born defective, in the same way the diversity of intellectual and spiritual faculties is also patent and visible. It is true that every individual, provided he is not insane, can make progress in his reason, his righteousness and his love of the Divine, but it should be borne in mind that no one can grow beyond the limit of his capacity {Braheeni Ahmadiyyah Volume III, (Amritsar, Safir Hind Press, 1882); pp. 169-170 footnote 11 Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 1 (London, 1984) }.

Human Beings Possess A Diversity Of Intelligence

Human nature is like minerals of diverse types; some are bright and clear like silver, some are evil-smelling and inflammable like sulfur, some are restless like mercury and some are hard like iron. This diversity is obvious and is in accord with the Divine dispensation. It is not opposed to the law of nature and contributes towards social peace and adjustment. It is obvious that if all natures had been at the same level of capacity, different types of work which call for different grades of capacities and which are essential for the adjustment of social conditions would have been left incomplete and in suspense. For hard work hard natures are appropriate, and for delicate work those natures are suited which are delicate. The Greek philosophers have expressed the view that, as some men are close to animals, reason demands that the nature of some should be fine and clear so that as we observe that some natures descend so low as to approximate to animals, equally some should be capable of rising so high that they should establish a relationship with the higher world.

Now that it is established that individual human beings possess diversity of intelligence, and moral qualities and of the light of the heart, that is proof that Divine revelation is confined to certain individuals who are perfect in every respect. Every reasonable person comprehends that each soul receives Divine light according to its capacity and its ability and no more. The sun is a good illustration of this principle. Its rays are shed in every direction but not all places receive its light equally. A room the doors of which are closed receives no light, and that which has a small ventilator in the direction of the sun receives some light, but not enough to dispel the darkness completely, but a room of which all doors are open and whose walls are built of clear and transparent glass will not only receive the full light of the sun but will also spread it in all directions and convey it to others. The same is the case with the clear souls of the Prophets. The holy souls that God Almighty chooses for His Messengership are like a crystal palace which has no opaqueness and no screen to obstruct the light. It is, therefore, clear that those individuals who do not possess perfection cannot achieve the rank of Divine Messengers. This rank is bestowed upon those whose holy souls are entirely free of darkening veils and of physical coverings and whose transcendent holiness is beyond imagination. Such perfect souls are the means of guidance for mankind. As the bounty of life is conveyed to all the limbs by the heart, the All-Wise has appointed the bounty of guidance through such souls for they are bestowed the perfect relationship that ought to subsist between the Source of grace and the recipient of grace. It is not possible that God Almighty, Who is absolutely Unique and Transcendent, should bestow the grace of His holy revelation upon people the greater part of whose nature is dark and opaque, and is narrow and constricted, and whose mean natures are involved in low impurities. If we do not deceive ourselves we would have to confess that to establish a perfect relationship with the Eternal Source and to enjoy converse with His Great Holiness, a special ability and brightness is needed which is appropriate to this great rank and dignity. Not every person can attain to it who is in a state of loss and lack of merit and is covered up in dark coverings and possesses a low nature and lacks high courage. No one should be deceived by the fact that according to the(Christians, holiness and transcendence and innocence and perfect love for the Divine are not essential for the Prophets who are the recipients of Divine revelation. They have lost the true principles and have sacrificed all verities to the notion that somehow Jesus might be deified and the atonement might be accepted. As the innocence and holiness of the Prophets demolishes this structure of theirs, they have been compelled to have recourse to one falsehood in order to support another falsehood. Having lost one eye they have had to gouge out the other. They loved falsehood and abandoned the truth. They insulted the Prophets and represented the pure ones as impure and they proclaimed as opaque and impure the hearts on which Divine revelation descended so that the greatness of their fictitious god should not be diminished and the doctrine of atonement should not be doubted. In this selfish attitude they forgot that their doctrine not only defames the Prophets but puts in doubt the holiness of God, for how can He be holy who established relationship and held converse with the impure {Ibid., pp. 174-176}.

A Recipient Of Grace Must Have A Close Relationship With The Almighty

The philosophy of the descent of the light of revelation is that it descends upon light and does not descend upon darkness, for grace demands a relationship and there is no relationship between darkness and light. Light has relationship with light and the All-Wise operates only in circumstances of appropriateness. In bestowing the grace of light the law is that greater light is bestowed upon one who possesses some light and nothing is bestowed upon one who has nothing. He who possesses the light of eyes perceives the light of the sun, but he who has not the light of eyes is deprived of the light of the sun also. He who has a small share of natural light receives little other light and he who has much natural light receives more other light. The Prophets are those high personages who are bestowed so much of inner light that they become light personified. That is why the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, has been named light and a light-giving sun, as is said: There has come to you indeed from Allah a light and a clear Book (5: 16); and it is said: O Prophet We have sent thee as a witness and bearer of glad tidings and a warner, and as a summoner unto Allah by His command and a light-giving sun (33: 46-47) . This is the reason that the light of revelation for which the perfection and grandeur of natural light is a condition was bestowed only upon the Prophets and has been confined to them. This refutes those people who, though they admit the diversity of ranks, nevertheless imagine out of their ignorance that the light that is bestowed upon those who possess perfect natures can also be bestowed upon defective individuals. They should reflect honestly and should realize their mistake. They see clearly that God's law of nature does not support their false notion and yet out of bigotry and enmity they adhere to their false notion. In the same way, the Christians do not consider it a condition for the grace of light to descend upon anyone that he should possess a natural light, and they allege that it is not necessary that a heart upon which the light of revelation descends should possess inner light. According to them if a person instead of possessing sane reason is utterly stupid and ignorant, and instead of being brave is an utter coward, and instead of being generous is a total miser, and instead of possessing indignation is utterly shameless, and instead of loving God is in deep love with the world, and instead of being pious and trustworthy is a thief and a robber, and instead of being modest and innocent is a debauch, and instead of being contented is utterly greedy, even such a one can be a Prophet and elect of God. Indeed, with the single exception of Jesus, all the other Prophets whom they accept as true and whose Books they describe as holy were, according to them, full of such defects and were bereft of holy perfection which is a condition of innocence and pure-heartedness. What a philosophy have the Christians adopted with regard to the descent of the light of Divine revelation! But such a philosophy is approved and followed only by people who are caught in deep darkness and inner blindness. Otherwise, even a person who is not highly intellectual would not deny the obvious truth that to receive the grace of light it is necessary that the recipient should possess inner light {Ibid., pp. 180-181}.

It is a pity that most people regard as God's word everything that flows from their tongues in a state of slumber, and thus contravene the verse: Follow not that of which thou hast no knowledge (I7:37). It should be borne in mind that anything that flows from the tongue, even if it is not opposed to the Word of God and the word of the Holy Prophet, is not the Word of God unless the action of God Almighty bears witness to it. Satan, who is man's enemy and who seeks diverse ways of ruining a person, also adopts the method that he Puts his words into the heart of a man and assures him that they are words of God and such a person is destroyed in the end.

Three Conditions For The Receipt Of Revelation

There are three conditions which must be fulfilled before anything is accepted as the Word of God. First, it should not be opposed to the Holy Quran; but this alone is not enough for unless the third condition, which will be mentioned below, is present nothing can be established.

Secondly, those words should descend upon a person whose soul has been completely purified. He should be one of those who have withdrawn entirely from their passions and who have submitted to a death through which they have approached close to God and have withdrawn far away from Satan. A person hears him to whom he is close. He who is close to Satan hears Satan's voice and he who is close to God hears God's voice. One's utmost effort should be for the purification of one's soul. All search ends with that. In other words, it is a death that burns up all inner impurities. When a person completes his search then a stage arrives when he passes under the control of the Divine. Thus God revives through understanding and love His servant who, by discarding his passions, has arrived at the stage of death. Then through His extraordinary signs God reveals to him spiritual wonders and fills his heart with the attraction of Personal love which the world cannot understand. In this condition, it can be said of him that he has been bestowed new life after which there is no death. This new life is won through complete understanding and complete love. Complete understanding is acquired through God's eternal signs. When a person arrives at this stage, he enjoys true converse with God. This condition also is not enough without the third condition, for perfect purity is a hidden matter and any idle talker could claim to have achieved it.

The third condition of a true recipient of revelation is that God's action should testify to the words that he attributes to God, that is to say, so many signs should appear in its support that sane reason should reject the suggestion that despite so many signs it is not the word of God. This condition is above all other conditions....It is such a perfect condition that no one can reject it. This is the condition through which true Prophets of God have always overcome false people. When a person claims that God's word descends on him and hundreds of signs appear along with it, and a thousand types of support and Divine help are displayed and God attacks his enemies openly, then who can call such a person false? . . . Those who enjoy the honour of converse with God and are appointed to call men to Divine guidance are supported by Divine signs which fall like rain and the world cannot oppose them. Divine action bears repeated witness that the words that they put forward are Divine words. If those who claim to be recipients of revelation were to keep this condition in mind, they would escape falling into error Haqiqatul Wahi (Qadian, Magazine Press 1907) (Tatimma i.e.,Supplement to Haqiqatul Wahi, pp. 99-102. Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 22.)

Satanic Revelation Is A Fact

Satanic revelation is a fact which is experienced by some imperfect seekers. There is also self-suggestion, which may be described as confused dreams. He who denies this opposes the Holy Quran which affirms that Satanic revelation is a fact. God Almighty says that so long as a person's purification of soul is not complete and perfected he can be the recipient of Satanic revelation and can fall within the purview of the verse: Shall I inform you on whom do Satans descend? They descend on every lying sinner (26:222-223). But the pure ones are immediately warned of a Satanic approach. It is a pity that some Christian ministers have gone so far in their writings as to suggest that when Satan took Jesus to a hillock, this was not an external event which could have been witnessed by others and by the Jews and that three times Jesus received Satanic revelation which he did not accept. We tremble at hearing; this comment that Jesus should have been subject to Satanic revelation.... No Satanic thought can take possession of a pure heart. If any such reflection should approach them, it is quickly rejected and their heart is not stained thereby. In the Holy Quran such a reflection is named taif. It has very little relation with the heart and is like the shadow of a tree which is far away. It is possible that Satan desired to create in the heart of Jesus some slight doubt of this type and he rejected it immediately through his prophetic power.
We can affirm that through his prophetic power, and through the light of truth that he possessed, Jesus did not permit the Satanic reflection to approach him and immediately occupied himself with its rejection, and as darkness cannot withstand light, Satan was not able to withstand him and ran away. This is the meaning of: Thou shalt have no authority over My true servants (15:43) Satan has authority only on those who accept Satanic suggestions and Satanic revelation. But those who shoot the arrow of light at Satan and wound him from afar and refute him and do not follow him in whatever he might say, are exempt from his authority. But as God Almighty desires to show them the kingdom of the heaven and earth and Satan is a part of the kingdom of earth, it is necessary that in order to complete their observation of the creation they should see the face of this curious creature and should hear his word. The garment of their transcendence and innocence is not stained thereby in the least. Satan had, mischievously, according to his ancient way, made a request to Jesus which his pure nature immediately rejected and did not accept. This was not at all derogatory of Jesus. Do not the wicked sometimes speak in the presence of kings? In the same way, Satan spiritually injected his word into the heart of Jesus, but Jesus did not accept it and rejected it immediately. This was a commendable act. It is not open to every pious person and Sufi to reject a Satanic suggestion and to demonstrate its impurity as did Jesus with the whip of his light. Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani has stated that on one occasion he received a Satanic revelation. Satan said to him :Abdul Qadir, thy worship has been accepted and now all that is forbidden to others is permitted to thee and thou art relieved of the obligation of performing salat. Abdul Qadir said to him: Avaunt Satan. How can that be permitted to me which was not permitted to the Holy Prophet, peace be on him? Then Satan disappeared with his golden throne. If a man of God and unique individual like Abdul Qadir received Satanic revelation, how can the common people, who have not yet completed their search, escape it? They have not the eyes of light wherewith they can recognize Satanic revelation, as did Syed Abdul Qadir and Jesus, peace be on him. Those soothsayers who abounded in Arabia before the advent of the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, received plenty of Satanic revelation, and sometimes on the basis of it they made prophecies and the wonder is that some of their prophecies were fulfilled. Islamic literature is full of these stories. He who denies the possibility of Satanic revelation rejects the teachings of the Prophets, peace be on them, and denies the whole system of Prophethood. The Bible has recorded that on one occasion four hundred Prophets received a Satanic revelation which was the work of a white jinn and on the basis of that revelation they prophesied the victory of a king, but that king was killed in great humiliation in battle and suffered a great defeat. A Prophet who had received his revelation from Gabriel had prophesied that the king would be killed and dogs would eat his body and he would suffer a great defeat. This was fulfilled and the falsehood of the prophecy of four hundred Prophets was demonstrated.

Naturally a question arises that if Satanic revelation is so common then all revelation becomes doubtful, especially as an exalted Prophet like Jesus also had such experience. Revelation thus becomes a great trial. The answer is that there is no reason to be disheartened. It is part of Divine law that everything valuable has attached to it some things that are false. Genuine pearls come out of the ocean, but there are also false pearls which people manufacture themselves. Commerce in genuine pearls cannot be stopped because false pearls are also available. A jeweler upon whom God Almighty bestows insight recognizes at once which pearl is real and which is false. The Imam of the age is the jeweler of the jewels of revelation. He who keeps company with him can easily distinguish between the real and the false. O ye Sufis step warily here and remember that true revelation which comes from God Almighty possesses the following characteristics:

Characteristics Of True Revelation

  1. It is received at a time when the heart of the recipient, being melted through its ache for truth, flows towards God Almighty like clear water. This is indicated in the hadeeth that the Holy Quran was revealed in sorrow and should be studied with a sorrowful heart.
  2. True revelation is accompanied by delight and conveys certainty in an unknown manner and penetrates into the heart like an iron nail. Its words are eloquent and free from error.
  3. True revelation possesses a certain majesty and strikes the heart with power and descends upon it in an awesome voice. False revelation is conveyed in a low voice like the voice of thieves and eunuchs and women inasmuch as Satan is a thief and a eunuch and a woman.
  4. True revelation is charged with the power of God Almighty and contains prophecies which are fulfilled.
  5. True revelation fosters the recipient's goodness and purifies him of inner impurities and improves his moral condition.
  6. True revelation is borne witness to by all the inner powers of the recipient and it sheds a new and pure light on all his faculties and he perceives a change in himself. His previous life comes to an end and a new life begins for him and he becomes a source of sympathy for mankind.
  7. True revelation does not finish with only one phrase for God's voice has a continuation. He is very gentle and He talks to him towards whom He is inclined and answers his questions. A recipient of true revelation receives a response to his supplications at one place and at one time though sometimes an interval occurs between two series of revelations.
  8. The recipient of true revelation is never a coward and is not afraid to stand up to false claimants of revelation. He knows that God is with him and would humiliate a false claimant.
  9. True revelation is the means of acquiring knowledge and understanding for God does not desire to leave its recipient without knowledge and ignorant.
  10. True revelation is accompanied by many other blessings. A recipient of true revelation is bestowed honour from the unseen and is given prestige. Zarooratul Imam ( Qadian, Ziaul Islam Press ) Now prited in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 13., pp. 13-19)

I was young and am now old, but from the beginning I have been a witness of the fact that God Who has ever been hidden manifests Himself through Islam. If a person truly follows the Holy Quran and occupies himself with self-improvement according to its teaching, and lives not like the worldly but like a servant of the faith, and devotes himself to the cause of God and loves His Prophet Muhammad, the chosen one, peace be on him, and is free from self-exhibition and arrogance and pride and seeks not his own glory but the glory and greatness of God, and humbles himself to the dust in His cause, the result is that Divine converse starts with him in eloquent Arabic. Divine words are delicious and majestic. They are not the product of one's own mind. Such product is delivered in a low voice like that of a eunuch or a sick person, but God's word is full of majesty and is mostly in Arabic and very often in the form of verses of the Quran. My experience is that first it strikes the heart forcefully and an echo is thereby produced which then blossoms like a flower, and therefrom issues a holy and delicious series of phrases comprising hidden matters and possessing a majesty and a power and effectiveness whereby it penetrates into the heart like an iron nail and is fragrant with the perfume of God. These characteristics are attached to it because some ill-natured persons also receive Satanic revelation or are deceived by the product of their own minds. God Almighty causes shining light to accompany His word so as to distinguish it from other types Chashmai Maarifat ( Qadian, Anwar Ahmadiyyah Press, 1908) p. 300), Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 23.

Differences Between Satanic And Divine Revelation

Most ignorant people consider Satanic suggestion as the Word of God and are unable to distinguish between Satanic and Divine revelation. It should be remembered that the first condition for Divine revelation is that its recipient should become wholly God's and that Satan should have no part in him. Wherever there is carrion, there also dogs collect. That is why God Almighty says: Shall I inform you on whom do Satans descend? They descend on every lying sinner (26:222-223). But Satan cannot attack one in whom he has no part and who has departed from the low life as if he had died and has become a righteous and faithful servant of God and has turned wholly to Him, as God Almighty has said: Thou shalt not have authority over My true servants ( 15: 43) . Those who belong to Satan and follow Satanic ways, Satan runs towards them for they are his prey.

It should be remembered that God's words possess a blessing and a majesty and a delight. As God is All-Hearing and All-Knowing and Compassionate, He replies to the supplications of His righteous and faithful servants. This supplication and response can extend over several hours. When a servant humbly submits his supplication, he is within a few minutes overcome by a faintness and he receives the response in the veil of this faintness. Then if he submits another supplication, he again experiences the same condition and finds His response. God is so Generous and Compassionate and All-Knowing that if a servant supplicates him a thousand times, each time he receives a response, but as God Almighty is Self-Sufficient and has regard for wisdom and appropriateness some supplications are not responded to.

Again, Satan is dumb and is not eloquent in his speech, he injects a sentence or two into the heart in a smelly way. He has not been given the power to express himself in delicious and majestic words. Nor can he carry on a series of questions and answers for a number of hours. He is also deaf and is not able to respond to every question. He is also helpless and cannot exhibit any power or disclose any hidden matter of high import. Also his throat is hoarse and he cannot speak in a loud and majestic voice. His voice is low like that of eunuchs. You can recognize Satanic revelation by these signs but God is not like a dumb or deaf or helpless person. He hears and responds. His word is conveyed in a majestic and loud and awesome voice. His words are effective and delicious while Satan's words are delivered in a low, effeminate and doubtful manner. There is no majesty or height in them. Nor can he continue for long as he tires quickly and his words are weak and betray cowardice. God's word does not get tired and comprises every kind of power and hidden matters of great import and majestic promises and it smells of Divine Glory and Greatness and Power and Holiness. Satan's words do not possess these qualities. Divine revelation possesses an effectiveness and penetrates into the heart like an iron nail. It creates an holy effect upon the heart and draws the heart to itself and converts its recipient into a person of high courage so much so that if he is cut into pieces with a sharp sword, or is strung up on the gallows, or is afflicted with every possible kind of torment, and is disgraced and defamed, or is put into the fire and is consumed, he would never deny that the word that descends upon him is God's word. God bestows full certainty upon him and makes him the lover of His own countenance. He values life and honour and property no more than a straw. He never lets go of the garment of God even if the whole world treads him under its feet and he is matchless in his trust and bravery and steadfastness. Those who receive Satanic revelation have no such power. They are cowardly because Satan is a coward. Haqiqatul Wahi (Qadian, Magazine Press 1907) , Now published in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol. 22., pp. 138-140).

If it is asked that as there is no complete security against Satanic intervention then how can we trust our dreams that they are from God? Is it not possible that we should deem a dream to be from God and it might be from Satan, or we might deem it to be from Satan and it might be from God? The answer is that a dream which is from God declares itself by its majesty and blessing and greatness and light. That which proceeds from a holy fountain possesses purity and good smell and that which proceeds from unclean and dirty water immediately announces its origin through its evil smell. True dreams, which come from God Almighty, are like a holy message which is not accompanied by confused thoughts and possesses an effective power, and the heart is drawn towards it and the soul testifies that it is from God inasmuch as its greatness and majesty penetrate into the heart like an iron nail. Very often it happens that a person sees a true dream and God Almighty shows the same dream, or one like it, as confirmation to some companion of his and thus one dream supports another Ayenae Kamalati Islam (Qadian, Riyadh Hind Press 1893) Now prited in Ruhani Khazain (London, 1984) vol.5, p. 354).

Some short-sighted people raise the objection that revelation suffers from the defect that it prevents and obstructs its recipient from arriving at complete understanding, which is indispensable for eternal life and everlasting happiness. They expound their objection by affirming that revelation obstructs thinking and cuts short research, inasmuch as those who follow revelation respond to every question by asserting that the matter is either permissible or forbidden in their revealed book, and they do not use their reasoning powers as if they had not been bestowed on them by God and in the end by lack of use those powers decline and almost disappear. Thus human nature is completely changed and begins to resemble animals, and the excellence of the human soul which means progress in reason is destroyed and man is deprived of obtaining perfect understanding. In this way revealed books constitute an obstruction in the way of achieving eternal life and everlasting happiness of which man stands need.

The answer is that it is lack of intelligence and obtuseness and persistence in error of the Brahmos that prompts them to think that by acting upon the revealed Book of God the reasoning faculty is rendered useless as if revelation and reason were contradictory of each other and cannot subsist together. This suspicion on their part is compounded partly of falsehood, partly of bigotry and partly of ignorance. The falsehood is that despite their knowledge that Divine verities have been fostered only through people who have followed revelation and that Divine Unity has been propagated in the world only through the elect who believe in the word of God, they make a statement contrary to this known fact. Their bigotry is declared by the fact that in order to support their assertion they have held back the verity that in matters Divine unaided reason cannot carry a person to the stage of perfect certainty. Their ignorance is betrayed by their regarding revelation and reason as inconsistent with each other, which cannot subsist together, and their thinking that revelation is opposed to reason and is destructive of it, whereas this fear is entirely unfounded. It is obvious that a follower of true revelation does not abstain from reasonable research and is indeed helped by revelation in his effort to view the realities of things in a reasonable manner. By the help of revelation and by the blessing of its light he does not encounter any confusion in assessing arguments based on reason. He is not reduced to the necessity of inventing invalid arguments, but is able to perceive the way of true reason and is able to arrive at the truth. There is no conflict between reason and revelation and they are not inconsistent with and opposed to each other. Reason lends support to revelation and revelation helps to safeguard reason against going astray. True revelation, that is to say the Holy Quran, does not obstruct the progress of reason. It illumines reason and is its great helper and supporter. As the full value of the sun is appreciated by the eye and the benefits of the bright day are disclosed to those who possess sight, in the same way divine revelation is fully appreciated only by those who possess reason, as God Almighty has said: These are illustrations that we set forth for people, but only those who possess knowledge comprehend them (29: 44). As the benefits of the light of the eye are disclosed only by the sun, in the absence of which sight and sightlessness would be equal, in the same way, the excellencies of the insight of reason are disclosed by the help of revelation. It secures reason against thousands of useless efforts and points out the nearest way to proper reflection by following which the purpose in view is quickly achieved. Every wise person realizes that if in thinking over a problem help becomes available through which knowledge is gained of the right way of resolving the problem, such knowledge is of great assistance to reason which is delivered from much confused thinking and useless effort. The followers of revelation not only appreciate reason but revelation itself urges them to perfect their reason and thus they are doubly drawn towards progress in reason. First is the natural eagerness which a person experiences to discover through reason the reality and truth of everything and, secondly, the urge of revelation which intensifies their eagerness. Those who study the Holy Quran even cursorily will not deny the obvious fact that this Holy Word lays great emphasis on reflection and observation; so much so, that it describes it as a characteristic of believers that they constantly reflect upon the wonders of heaven and earth and deliberate on the law of Divine wisdom as is said in one place:

In the creation of the heavens and the earth and in the alternation of the night and the day, there are indeed Signs for people of understanding who remember Allah standing, sitting and lying on their sides and ponder over the creation of the heavens and the earth, which impels them to supplicate: Lord thou hast not created all this without purpose (3: 191-192).

Other revealed books which have been perverted, urge adherence to unreasonable and impossible matters. As, for instance, does the Bible; but this is not the fault of revelation It is the fault of defective reasoning. Had those w ho believe in them possessed sane reason, they would not have followed these perverted books and they would not have permitted such thinking about the unchangeable Perfect and Eternal God that He took on the condition of an helpless embryo and was nourished on impure sustenance and took on an impure body and was born through an impure passage and came into the mortal world, and after enduring all sorts of torments gave up the ghost in extreme misery calling out 'Eli Eli . It is revelation which has stamped out this error. Holy is Allah How exalted and what an ocean of mercy is the word which pulled the worshippers of creatures back to the Unity of God How dear and attractive is that light which brought a whole world out of darkness. Outside of it thousands who were called wise and philosophers remained involved in this error and numberless similar errors, and till the Holy Quran came no philosopher refuted forcefully this false doctrine, nor reformed these ruined people. The philosophers themselves were caught in many unholy doctrines. As the Rev. Mr. Yut has recorded, the Christians adopted the doctrine of the Trinity following Plato and built a false structure on the false foundation furnished by this foolish Greek.

In short, true and perfect Divine revelation is not the enemy of reason, but defective reason is the enemy of the semi-wise. It is obvious, for instance, that an antidote is not in itself harmful for the human body, but if a short-sighted person mistakes poison for an antidote, it is the fault of his reason and not of the antidote. To think that it is dangerous to have recourse to a revealed book for the investigation of every matter is crass folly. As we have written, revelation is a mirror reflecting the truth for the benefit of reason and the great argument in support of its truth is that it is wholly free from matters the impossibility of which is established after pondering on God's Power and Perfection and Holiness. Indeed in matters Divine, which are deep and hidden, it is the only guide for weak human reason. To have recourse to it does not render reason useless, but leads it to deep secrets which it was difficult for reason to penetrate into on its own. Reason derives great benefit from true revelation, that is to say, from the Holy Quran, and suffers no harm or loss therefrom. Through revelation reason is safeguarded against dangers and does not fall into them. Every wise person admits and it is obvious in itself that error is possible in research which is based on reason alone, but there is no possibility of error in the word of the Knower of the unseen. It is worthy of your consideration whether it is good or bad for that which is sometimes confronted with the possibility of severe stumbling, that it should be furnished with a companion which should safeguard it against stumbling and support it at the time of its slipping. Would such a companion be of help to lead it to its purpose or would it be a hindrance? It is an indication of inner blindness to regard a helper as an opponent and obstructer and to consider that which completes and perfects as harmful. When you will reflect truly it will become clear to you that God has not harmed reason by appointing revelation as its companion. On the contrary, finding reason perplexed He has furnished it with a sure instrument for recognizing the truth through the use of which reason is saved from straying into hundreds of erratic ways and is not led astray. Indeed it discovers the proper way to its true purpose. It is like the case of a person who directs the search for a lost one to the spot where the latter is hidden. No sane person objects to the help of such a one who supplies the needed particulars and points out the easiest way of reaching the lost one on the ground that the helper has meddled needlessly in the search. On the contrary, everyone concerned is deeply grateful to him that he informed their ignorance and pointed out the particular spot and opened the door of certainty while they were involved in conjecture. In the same way, those on whom God has bestowed sane reason are grateful to and praise true revelation and realize fully that revelation does not obstruct the progress of their thinking, but saves their thinking from confusion. It indicates one right path out of a variety of involved and doubtful ways treading along which creates every kind of facility for reason and delivers a person from a host of difficulties which confront him on account of the shortness of age and limited knowledge and lack of insight Braheeni Ahmadiyyah Volume II, (Amritsar, Safir Hind Press, 1880); Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 1 (London, 1984) 263-277, footnote 11).

The Function Of Reason

It is true that reason is also a lamp which God has furnished to man, the light of which draws man towards truth and saves him from a variety of doubts and suspicions and sets aside different types of baseless ideas and improper conjectures. It is very useful, very necessary and is a great bounty. Yet despite all this it suffers from the shortcoming that it alone cannot lead to full certainty in the matter of the understanding of the reality of things. The stage of perfect certainty is that man should believe that the reality of things exists as it in fact does exist. Reason alone cannot lead to this high degree of certainty. At the outside it proves the need of the existence of something, but does not prove that in fact it exists. This degree of certainty that a person's knowledge should proceed from the stage of should be' to the stage of "is"', is acquired only when reason is joined by a companion which, confirming its conjecture, converts it into fact, that is to say, regarding a matter concerning which reason says it 'should be' that companion informs that in fact it 'is'. Reason only establishes the need of a thing; it cannot establish its existence, and these are two distinct and separate matters. Thus reason needs a companion which should supplement the defective 'should be' of reason with the affirmative 'is' and which should give information of facts as they truly exist. So, God Who is most Compassionate and Generous and desires to lead man to the stage of utmost certainty has fulfilled this need and has appointed several companions for reason and has thereby opened the way of perfect certainty to it, so that the soul of man, whose total good fortune and salvation depends upon perfect certainty, should not be deprived of its desired good fortune and so that it should quickly cross the delicate and dangerous bridge of 'should be' which reason has constructed over the river of doubts and suspicions, and should enter the grand palace of 'is' which is the house of peace and satisfaction. Those companions of reason which are its helpers, which come into operation on different occasions, are not more than three. If the operation of reason relates to that which can be felt or observed - for instance, which can be seen or heard or smelt or touched - its companion which can lead it to certainty is true observation which is called experience. If the operation of reason relates to those occurrences which take place at different times and places, the companion of reason in such a case is history, or newspapers, or letters, or communications. These also, like experience, so clear up the smoky light of reason that to doubt it thereafter is folly or insanity. If the operation of reason relates to matters which are metaphysical, which cannot be seen by the eye, or heard by the ear, or touched by the hand, nor can they be inquired about through history, then the companion that helps reason is revelation. The law of nature also demands that, as relating to the first two matters imperfect reason is furnished by two companions, a companion should also be furnished to it in respect of the third category of matters. There can be no discrimination in the law of nature. When God has not desired to leave man in a defective condition with regard to worldly knowledge and arts, an error in respect of which is not of any great consequence, it would be an ill thought that He desired to leave man in a defective condition regarding the full understanding of matters complete certainty concerning which is a condition of salvation and any doubt concerning which would push man into eternal ruin. In such case man's knowledge concerning the hereafter would be reduced to pure conjecture and he would not have available any means which should bear witness to that which is and should bestow contentment and satisfaction upon the heart, that in fact and in truth that is available which reason conjectures as existing. The need that reason establishes is not fictitious, but is real. When it is known that in matters Divine perfect certainty can be obtained only through revelation, and that man is in need of perfect certainty for his salvation and that without perfect certainty faith cannot be safeguarded, then it becomes obvious that man is in need of revelation Braheeni Ahmadiyyah Volume II, (Amritsar, Safir Hind Press, 1880); Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 1 (London, 1984) pp. 89-91, footnote 4).

The ideas of reason do not suffer only from the defect that they lack certainty and cannot comprehend the finer points of matters Divine, but they also suffer from the defect that discourses based upon reason alone are largely ineffective in persuading the heart. The reason is that for any discourse to affect the heart it is necessary that its truth should be so well established in the mind of the hearer that no room should be left for doubt and the heart should believe that what it is being told is not subject to the possibility of error. We have just shown that reason alone cannot lead to perfect certainty. It is thus obvious that the effect that is produced on the heart by perfect certainty cannot be expected from reason alone and this is confirmed by daily experience. For instance, when a person returns home from having sojourned in a distant country then everyone inquires from him about that country and they are all deeply affected by what he relates out of his personal knowledge provided he is not suspected of telling lies; rather is a respected and truthful person. Why are his words so effective? They are effective as he is known to be a righteous person and it is believed that whatever he relates of the circumstances of that country he has observed with his own eyes. Therefore, his discourse affects the hearts and his statements appeal to the hearers as if they had seen those events that he describes with their own eyes. Sometimes it happens that when he relates a pitiable tale it so affects the hearers that their eyes are filled with tears as if they had witnessed the event themselves. But if a person who has not moved beyond the four walls of his house and has never been abroad, nor has heard any one describe the circumstances and conditions of another country, were to begin to discourse upon the circumstances and conditions of another country out of his imagination, it would produce no effect upon the hearers. In fact they would charge him with madness and insanity in that he relates that which is beyond his observation and experience and is above his imperfect knowledge. It is like the story of a foolish person who was praising wheaten bread and when he was asked whether he had ever eaten it, he replied that he had not eaten it but that his grandfather used to say that on one occasion he had seen someone eating it.

Unless someone in the estimation of his hearers comprehends any event fully, his discourse would produce no effect upon their hearts and he would make himself a laughing stock. That is the reason why the discourses of worldly wise people have never attracted the attention of anyone to the hereafter. Their hearers continue to think that, as the speaker was talking from conjecture, they could oppose him with their own conjectures, as neither side had witnessed the reality. This is the reason that when some wise people expressed themselves in support of the existence of God, other wise people opposed them and wrote books in support of atheism. The truth is that the thinking of even those who express themselves to some degree in support of the existence of God was not altogether free from atheistic ideas, nor is it free now. Consider the Brahmos. They do not regard God as possessing perfect attributes. They do not believe that He possesses the attribute of speech as a living being should. They do not regard him as Controller and Sustainer. They do not believe that God is Ever-Living and All Sustaining and that He can speak to righteous hearts. They consider Him as fictitious and like the dead Who has been invented by human reason through its own imagination. No voice is ever heard from Him. In fact, He is not God, but an idol lying in a corner. I wonder how these people are pleased with such childish ideas and what fruit do they expect from their fictitious thinking? Why do they not search like true seekers for the God Who is Powerful and Ever-Living and is capable of affirming His own existence and can revive the dead in an instant by the call: I am Allah? When they know that the light of reason is smoky then why do they not seek perfect light? They admit that they are ill, but they do not seek a remedy. It is a pity that they do not open their eyes so that they might see the truth. Why is not the covering lifted from their ears so that they can hear the Divine voice? Why are their hearts so twisted and why is their understanding so warped that the objection to which they have laid themselves open they advance against the followers of true revelation? . . . The Brahmo Samajists entertain another illusion that revelation is a restriction and that they are free from every restriction and thus they are better off as a free person is better than a prisoner. We admit this criticism and confess that revelation is a restriction without which true freedom cannot be achieved. True freedom is that a person should be delivered from every type of error, doubt and suspicion and should arrive at the stage of perfect certainty and should behold his Lord in this very world. This true freedom is achieved in this world by perfect and God-loving Muslims through the Holy Quran and is not available to any one besides them whether Brahmos or others.

Another objection of the Brahmo Samajists is that to follow revelation is contrary to the law of nature for the clear and straight way of finding out the reality of anything is to approach it on the basis of reason. For instance, the true reason for theft being a vile act which satisfies the soul is that it is a wrong and trespass, which reason condemns as improper and not permissible. The real reason is not that any revealed book condemns it as a sin. Again arsenic should not be swallowed because it is a fatal poison and not because its eating is forbidden in Divine revelation. Thus they argue that it is reason that indicates the true reality and not revelation. They are unconscious of the fact that their argument is refuted when it is proved by strong reasoning that reason is imperfect and unreliable and that their case is not strengthened by repetition. It is true that the reality of things is disclosed to some degree by arguments based on reason, but reason does not complete all stages of certainty. The instance cited by them refutes their proposition. The fatal quality of arsenic is not established by reason acting by itself, but this quality was determined as a certainty when reason through proper experimentation discovered the hidden quality of arsenic. This is what we desire to make clear, namely that to determine as a certainty the lethal quality of arsenic reason had to have recourse to a companion, namely proper experimentation. In the same way, in order to determine as a certainty Divine matters and the reality of the life after death, reason needs the help of Divine revelation and without its help reason cannot arrive at firm conclusions in matters of faith, as in other matters; without the help of an appropriate companion reason is helpless and imperfect and incomplete. Within its own limits reason cannot determine anything as a certainty unless it has the help of a companion and without such help it cannot escape error, especially in matters of Divinity in which the reality is hidden behind veils and no sample of it is available in this world. In these matters imperfect reason cannot lead one to perfect understanding let alone escape all possible error.

The difficulty that we encounter in matters relating to that unseen world, and the surprises with which we are met in imagining the conditions of that unseen and hidden world, compel us to confess that in order to discover correctly the circumstances of that world, and to believe in them with certainty, we are in need of many times more historians and record makers and experienced people than we need in matters of this world. The historian and record maker of that world cannot be anyone except the Word of God and the vessel of certainty is likely to founder without the help of that record maker. In such case, no wise person would turn away from revelation relying entirely upon the guidance of defective reason. His safety in such case depends upon revelation, the contents of which do not comprise conjecture, but in addition to arguments based on reason, they inform us of the facts of the second world like a true historian and give an eye-witness account of them Braheeni Ahmadiyyah Volume IV, (Amritsar, Riadh Hind Press, 1884); Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 1 (London, 1984) pp. 283-299 footnote 11}.

Consider well that without revelation it is not possible to arrive at complete certainty, or to escape error, or to base oneself on the true Unity of God, or to overcome one's passions. It is revelation through which we are able to affirm that God 'is' and the whole world calls on Him because He 'is'. It is revelation that from the beginning has inspired the hearts with the assurance that God 'is'. It is through revelation that worshippers find delight in worship and the faithful are satisfied with regard to the existence of God and the life after death. It is revelation which has enabled millions of the righteous to leave this world with great steadfastness and with the eagerness of the love of the Divine. It is revelation the truth of which has been attested by the blood of thousands of martyrs. It is revelation through whose power of attraction kings put on the garment of beggars and many wealthy people preferred poverty to riches, and by its blessings millions of unlearned old women departed this world with eager faith. It is the one vessel which has so often carried numberless people through the whirlpool of creature-worship and doubt to the safety of the Unity of God and perfect certainty. It is revelation that is the friend of last moments and is the helper in serious conditions. The harm that has been done to the world by pure reason is not a hidden matter. What made Plato and his followers deny that God is the Creator? What made Galen doubt the immortality of souls and the reality of judgment? What made philosophers deny that God has knowledge of all particulars? What made great philosophers worship idols? What led to the sacrifice of roosters and other animals before idols? Was it not reason unaccompanied by revelation? It is not correct to state that many people became pagans even when following revelation and fashioned for themselves new gods. This was not the fault of true revelation, but was the fault of those who mixed falsehood with truth and preferred the worship of their passions to the worship of God. Yet Divine revelation did not neglect their reform and did not forget them. Fresh revelation reformed the matters which had led them astray {Ibid., p. 157-158, footnote 11}.

It is true that reason is not without its use and its benefit, nor have we so alleged, but we cannot escape the obvious verity that through reason and conjecture alone we cannot arrive at that perfect certainty which can be achieved through the combination of reason and revelation, nor can we escape mistakes and errors and self-approval and self-righteousness. Our self-conceived ideas cannot overcome our passions like the forceful and majestic and prestigious commandments of God. Our imaginations and idle thoughts cannot furnish us with that joy and delight and satisfaction and contentment which are conveyed to us by the delicious words of the True Beloved. Then shall we, by relying on reason alone, subject ourselves to all the losses and disadvantages and misfortunes, and subject ourselves to thousands of calamities? No wise person can accept that He Who has created in us the thirst for perfect understanding has refused to furnish us with the full cup of such understanding, and that He Who has drawn the hearts to Himself has shut upon us the door of true understanding and has confined all stages of the recognition of God to the contemplation of our fictitious need. Has God created man so unfortunate that he is to be wholly disappointed in obtaining in this world the full satisfaction that his soul desires and his heart longs for in the matter of the recognition of God, and eagerness for which fills his soul and heart? Is there no one soul out of thousands of you which can realize that the doors of understanding which can be opened only by God cannot be opened by human power and that human imagination cannot equal the assurance of God: I am present? God's affirmation of His Own Being in a manner manifests God to us, but man's conjecture has no such effect. As our conjectures based on reason alone cannot equal God's word that confirms His Existence, then why is not His word needed for the perfection of certainty? Are your hearts not awakened by observing this clear disparity? Is there nothing in that which we have set forth which can affect your hearts?

There is no difficulty in understanding that human reason cannot be the instrument for ascertaining that which is hidden. Which of you can deny that whatever we are to encounter after death is all hidden. For instance, reflect whether anyone knows how the soul departs at the time of death and where it goes and with whom and where is it detained and through what experiences it passes? How can human reason pronounce conclusively on these matters? A conclusive pronouncement would be possible if a person had died once or twice and had become familiar with the paths along which he reached God, and he had a recollection of the places where he had dwelt for some time. But as it is, we have only conjecture to fall back upon. No one has seen these things and to be satisfied with baseless conjecture is not true satisfaction. If you were to assess the matter with the eye of research, you would testify that human reason and conscience cannot discover these matters as a certainty and that no page of the book of nature points to them with sureness. Leaving aside other matters, reason is perplexed at the very first stage and is unable to determine what the soul is, how it enters the body and how it departs. No one has observed anything entering or departing. If you were to enclose an animate at the time of its death inside a glass chamber you would not observe anything departing from it, and if in the glass chamber any germs were produced it cannot be determined how they obtained entry into the chamber. The hatching of an egg furnishes an even greater wonder. How does the soul fly in, and in case of the young dying inside, by what way does the soul escape? Can any wise person resolve this puzzle through the use of his reason alone? There can be various conjectures but through reason alone nothing certain can be established. That being the case at the very first step then what can this defective reason discover about the other matters of the life after death Braheeni Ahmadiyyah Volume IV, (Amritsar, Riadh Hind Press, 1884); Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 1 (London, 1984), pp.290-292, footnote 11)

The Law Of Nature Demands Revelation

The All-Wise did not desire to leave weak man to his own imagination and conjecture, but has supplied him with every type of preacher and lecturer who could satisfy him and could set at rest his spiritual restlessness and has provided him with the words which could heal him of his illness. God's law of nature establishes this need of revelation. Is it not true that millions of people, when they are caught in misery or sin or neglect, are affected by the words of a preacher or an adviser and their own knowledge and their own thinking do not prove adequate? The degree of satisfaction to be drawn from such sources depends upon the respect and the honour that the person concerned feels for the one who talks to him. It is only the promise of a person who is truthful in his promises and has the power to perform them that brings satisfaction and content to the hearer. In such circumstances who can doubt the obvious proposition that, concerning matters of the life after death and matters of metaphysics, the best means of satisfaction and of the removal of spiritual pain is the Word of God. When a person believes fully in the Word of God, it delivers him from many whirlpools and contends against severe passions and bestows steadfastness in frightful accidents. When a wise person at the time of any difficulty, or in the grip of passion, finds God's promise or warning in the Word of God, or someone else explains to him what God has commanded, he is so deeply affected that he forthwith repents. Man is often in need of being comforted by God. Very often he is overtaken by such misfortunes that had not the Word of God provided him with glad tidings he would have been so discouraged as perhaps to deny the existence of God, or in his disappointment would have broken off from God altogether, or would have died of sorrow. For instance, the Holy Quran says:
We will surely try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and lives and fruits; then give glad tidings to the steadfast, who, when a misfortune overtakes them, do not lose heart, but say: Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return. It is these on whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy and it is these who are rightly guided (2: 156-158).

In the same way, for overcoming one's passions God's word is needed as at every step man encounters matters which can be remedied only by the word of God. When a person desires to turn to God he encounters many obstructions. Sometimes he recalls the delights of the world; he is attracted by the company of his cronies; is awed by the difficulties of the way. Sometimes habits and customs block his way and sometimes considerations of honour, or fame, or power try to obstruct him. Sometimes all these combine together like an army and pull him in their direction and tempt him with their ready advantages and their combination develops such force that his own ideas are not able to withstand it. In such a contest the effective armament of God's word is needed so that the opposing forces may be vanquished at the first assault. Nothing can happen one-sidedly. Is it possible that God should keep silent like a stone and His servant should make progress on his own in his loyalty and his sincerity and his steadfastness, and that he should be pulled forward in the field of love and strengthened by the idea that there must be a Creator of heaven and earth? Conjecture can never take the place of fact. For instance, suppose that a poor debtor has been promised by a truthful, wealthy person that at the due time he would pay off all his debts, and there is another poor debtor who has been given no promise by anyone but gives rein to his imagination that perhaps he too would be helped by someone to pay off his debts at due time. Can both these persons be equally satisfied? Certainly not. All this is comprehended in the law of nature and no verity lies outside of it. Then alas for those who claim to follow the law of nature and then break it themselves and run over to the other side and act contrary to what they had affirmed Braheeni Ahmadiyyah Volume IV, (Amritsar, Riadh Hind Press, 1884); Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 1 (London, 1984) , footnote 11).pp. 293-295.}

I do not know who has misled you that you imagine that there is some contradiction between reason and revelation on account of which they cannot subsist together. May God bestow sight upon you and remove the veils from your heart. Can you not appreciate this simple thing that when through revelation reason arrives at its perfection, and is warned of its errors, and discovers the true direction of its path, and is delivered from confusion, and is relieved of useless effort and travail, and converts its doubtful knowledge into a certainty, and advancing from conjecture is informed of true facts and is comforted and finds satisfaction, then is revelation its benefactor and helper and supporter, or is it its enemy and opponent and causes it harm? What bigotry and blindness is it to imagine that a supporter who serves as a clear guide is a highwayman and obstructer and that one who pulls out of a pit is he who pushes into the pit. The whole world knows and all those who have eyes can see and those who can reflect and observe find that there were millions of such in the past, and are also present today, who put their faith in the excellence and greatness of reason and were known as wise and guided by reason and yet they denied the existence of God and died in that condition On the other hand show us but one person who believed in revelation and yet denied God. As revelation is indispensable for firm faith in God then it is obvious that where this condition is lacking there can be no firm faith. It is clear that those who deny the possibility of revelation deliberately prefer the way of faithlessness and support the spread of atheism. They do not reflect that if the faculty of hearing is also to be deprived of hearing His word then how can one believe in the existence of a Being Who is hidden and cannot be seen or smelt or touched? Even if by observing the creation an idea of the existence of the Creator comes to mind, when a seeker after truth despite his lifelong effort never beholds the Creator nor hears His voice, nor finds any sign of a Living Being, then will he not imagine that perhaps he was wrong in imagining the existence of a Creator, and perhaps the atheists and the physicists are in the right who regard some elements in the universe as the creators of others and do not admit the need of any other creator? I know well that if a follower of reason will pursue his thinking his mind will be assailed by this doubt, for it is not possible for him to escape such doubts when he fails in his search for some personal sign of God. It is in the nature of man that if he considers something necessary and indispensable through his conjecture, but fails to discover its existence despite every search and inquiry, he begins to doubt the correctness of his conjecture and in the end denies it and hundreds of doubts opposed to his conjecture assail his mind. We often indulge in conjecture with regard to a hidden matter that it will be thus and thus, but when the fact is known it turns out to be something quite different. These daily experiences teach one the lesson that it is the height of foolishness to be satisfied with pure conjecture. Till conjecture is supported by fact all exhibition of reason is a mirage and no more, the end of which is atheism. If you desire to be an atheist, you can do as you please; otherwise, you can be delivered from the fierce flood of doubts, which has swept thousands of wiser people than yourself by one stroke into the depths, by taking firm hold of the strong handle of revelation. It will never be that pursuing only your ideas based on reason you will behold God sitting somewhere. The end of your thinking will be that, finding that God is without a Sign and bereft of all characteristics of the Living and being tired of looking for Him, you will join the atheists {Braheeni Ahmadiyyah Volume IV, (Amritsar, Riadh Hind Press, 1884); Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 1 (London, 1984) 322- 324, footnote 11).

OBJECTION. Complete understanding can only be obtained through something which can be observed at all times and in all ages. This characteristic is found in the book of nature which is always open and is never closed, and it should therefore be taken as one's guide, for that cannot be a guide the door of which is closed most of the time and opens only on certain occasions.

ANSWER. To regard the book of nature as open in comparison with Divine revelation is a sign of blindness. Those who possess healthy insight know well that only that book can be described as open the writing of which can be deciphered clearly and in the reading of which no doubt is left. Who can prove that any one's doubt was removed by merely looking at the book of nature? Who knows whether anyone has been led to the goal by the book of nature? Who can claim that he has completely understood all the arguments of the book of nature? Had it been an open book why should those who rely on it have been involved in thousands of errors? Reading this one book why should they have differed so much among themselves that some might have admitted to some degree the existence of God and others might have repudiated it altogether? Even if it were to be assumed, for the sake of argument, that one who after reading this book does not deem it necessary that God should exist, would be granted a long enough life to discover his mistake, at one time or the other, the question still remains that if this book is open why did its reading lead to such errors? Do you consider a book an open one the readers of which should differ with regard to the existence of God and should go astray at the very first step? Is it not true that having read this book of nature thousands of philosophers became atheists or remained idol worshippers and only he from among them followed the straight path who believed in Divine revelation? Is it not true that those who confined themselves to the reading of this book and were considered great philosophers continued to deny God's control of the universe and His knowledge of all particulars and died in that condition of denial? Have you not enough intelligence to know that if a letter is construed in one way by X and in another way by Y and in an altogether different way by Z, the text of the letter cannot be regarded as plain and open, but is considered doubtful and confused? This is not a matter the understanding of which needs great intelligence, but is an obvious verity. However, what can we say of those who persist in describing darkness as light, and light as darkness, and day as night, and night as day? Even a child can understand that to expound one's meaning the proper way appointed by God Almighty is through clear speech. The only instrument for expressing the thoughts of the mind is the faculty of speech and It is only through the use of this instrument that one person can be informed of that which is in the mind of another person. Every matter that is not expounded through this instrument falls short of being completely understood. There are thousands of matters concerning which it becomes impossible for us to arrive at a true understanding merely on the basis of natural arguments, and our reflection upon them is subject to error. or instance, God has made the eye for seeing and the ear for hearing and the tongue for speaking. That much we can understand by reflecting on the nature of these limbs, but if we rely only on these natural indications and pay no attention to the explanations of Divine revelation, then our natural inclination would be that without discriminating between proper and improper occasions for their use we should look at whatever we wish and hear whatever we desire and should express whatever passes through our minds. The law of nature indicates only that the eye is for seeing, the ear for hearing and the tongue has been created for speech, and we are misled into thinking that in the use of the faculties of sight and hearing and speech we are completely free and uncontrolled. Now if the Divine word were not to define the law of nature and were not to clear up its confusion by its open statements, there would be great risk of one's incurring numberless dangers by merely following the law of nature. It is the Word of God alone which by its clear statements lays down the limits of our speech and action and motion and abstention, and teaches us good manners and furnishes us with pure light. It is the Word of God which, for the guarding of our sight and hearing and speech, has laid down: Direct the believing men to restrain their looks and to guard their senses. That is purer for them, (24:31). This means that the believers should guard their eyes and ears and private parts and should avoid every undesirable activity of sight, hearing and private parts. Thus would they be able to foster inner purity. That is to say, their minds will be safeguarded against passions for these are the limbs which incite passions and involve the animal faculties in trial. Observe, therefore, how the Holy Quran has emphasized control over eyes and ears and private parts and forbidden indulgence in any impurity. In the same way the tongue has been directed to adhere to the truth, as is said: Say the straightforward word (33: 71). That is to say, one is to utter only that which is true and proper and should be free from everything vain and false. To direct all faculties along the straight path, a comprehensive warning has been issued which is enough to pull up the heedless and that is: The ear and the eye and the heart will all be called to account (17:37). That is to say, all limbs and faculties possessed by man will be called to account for improper use. Thus have all limbs and faculties been directed towards good and proper use expressly and emphatically in the Word of God and every limb is, in clear language which admits of no doubt or confusion, directed to adhere to the straight path. Can these explanations and details be ascertained by reading any page of the book of nature? Certainly not. Then which is the open book? This one or that one? Which of them has prescribed the limits and the proper use of natural faculties? Had indications alone been sufficient why should man have been invested with a tongue? He has bestowed the tongue upon you. Has He not Himself the power of speech? Is it proper to say of Him Who created the whole universe without the aid of any matter and without the need of builders and laborers and carpenters, but only through His will, that He has not the power of speech, or that He has the power but that out of miserliness He has deprived man of the grace of His word? Is it right that one should think of the All-Powerful as being weaker than the animals? The lowest animal can inform another animal of certainty about its own existence through its voice. A fly can inform other flies of its advent by its humming. According to you, however, the All-Powerful does not possess even the faculty of a fly. As you say clearly that He has never opened His mouth and has never possessed the faculty of speech, you want to affirm that He is imperfect and defective, whose other attributes are known, but whose attribute of speech cannot be discovered. How can you say with regard to Him that He has bestowed upon you an open book in which He has clearly declared His mind? Indeed your view of Him can be summed up by saying that God Almighty has furnished no guidance and that you have discovered everything by your own ability. Divine revelation can be described as open in the sense that it affects the hearts and every type of temperament is benefited by it and every type of seeker derives help from it. That is the reason why many people have been guided through Divine revelation and very few, indeed almost none, through reason alone. Even reason affirms that that should be so. It is obvious that when a person, who becomes known to people as a righteous informer, describes his experience and observation of matters relating to the life after death and calls in aid arguments of reason to expound his meaning, he has a double force at his disposal. First is that it is believed concerning him that he has observed the matter that he speaks of and has seen it with his own eyes; and secondly, he illustrates the truth in the light of clear arguments. The combination of these two types of proof invests his preaching and advice with a strong force which pulls at even the hardest of hearts and influences every type of soul. His exposition comprises different types of illustration which can be understood by every type of person who is not wholly bereft of reason and for the understanding of which no particular standard of ability is needed. He can satisfy every type of person according to the temperament of each and at the level of his capacity. His speech has great power to pull men's thinking towards God and to make them discard the love of the world and to impress upon their hearts a concept of the hereafter. It is not confined to the narrow and dark concept to which the discourses of the followers of reason are confined. Its effect is widespread and its benefit is complete. Every vessel is filled with it according to its capacity. This is indicated in the Holy Word of God Almighty: He sends down water from heaven so that valleys begin to flow according to their capacity (13: 18). This means that God sends down His Word from heaven and every valley begins to flow with the water of the Divine Word according to its capacity. That is to say, every one benefits from it according to his temperament and ideas and ability. Exalted natures are benefited by the wise mysteries and those who are even higher find a wonderful light the description of which is beyond words. Those who are lower, observing the greatness and personal perfection of the righteous informer, believe sincerely in what he says and they also arrive at the coast of salvation by boarding the ark of certainty. Only those are left outside who have no business with God and are the insects of the earth.

The Book Of Revelation Is The Only Open Book

Observing its effectiveness, the way of following revelation is open and wide. It is well known that a speech is charged with blessings and eagerness and power and greatness and attraction according to the degree to which the step of the speaker is planted high in the stages of certainty, sincerity and fidelity. This perfection can be discovered only in the speech of a person who doubly possesses Divine understanding. Every wise person realizes that a forceful speech, to be effective, issues from the mouth of a person when his heart is full of the eagerness of certainty and only those words take possession of the hearts which surge forth from the hearts of those who believe with perfect certainty. This also shows that from the point of view of effectiveness, training in Divine revelation is the opener of doors. In short, from the point of view of the vastness and vigorousness of effect, it is only the book of revelation that is proved to be open. It is obvious that only such a person proves himself the greatest benefactor of God's creatures who combines in himself revelation and reason. He has the ability to benefit every type of temperament and nature. A person who seeks to draw people to the right path through logical arguments only can produce an effect, if at all, only on those who are highly educated and able and can follow his learned discourses. The average person has not the intelligence to follow philosophical discourses. Thus the grace of his knowledge is confined to the few who can understand his logic and only those can benefit from it who, like him, are familiar with methods of reasoning. This can be proved by a comparison of the achievements of reason and Divine revelation. Those who are aware of the circumstances of past philosophers know very well how they failed to propagate their teachings widely and how their constricted and incomplete exposition failed to affect the hearts of common people. Compare this with the high effectiveness of the Holy Quran. How powerfully it has filled the hearts of its true followers with the Unity of God and in what a wonderful manner its splendid teachings routed out the habits and customs of hundreds of years standing, which had become like second nature, from the hearts of people and by sweeping out their lower passions from their hearts gave them to drink of the sweet draught of the Unity of God. This happened in the case of millions of people. It is the Holy Quran which, by displaying its effectiveness and producing good and lasting results by the evidence of its matchless power, compelled its enemies to confess its peerless excellencies. Even those who were confirmed in their disbelief were so deeply affected that they were forced to confess while repudiating it: This is nothing but plain sorcery. It is the Holy Quran whose attraction overcame confirmed habits and so pulled the hearts to God that millions of God's creatures set the seal of their blood on the Unity of God. In this manner from the beginning it is revelation that has proved the guide and which has fostered human reason. Otherwise, great philosophers and wise men have found it difficult, even impossible, to discover the details of metaphysics. Those who are not equipped with normal reason, and have not had available to them the means of making efforts in that direction, have remained without any knowledge of these matters. The facilities which God's true and perfect revelation - that is to say, the Holy Quran - has furnished to reason, and the confusion from which it has delivered reflection and observation are facts for which every wise person must be grateful. Considering that the recognition of God began through revelation, and that the revival of the understanding of the Divine has always taken place through revelation, and that relief from the difficulties of the way can only be procured with the help of revelation, every wise person is compelled to confess that the way which is clear and straight and is always open and has always led to the goal is Divine revelation. To hold that is not an open book is clear folly.

We have explained in detail that the recognition of God by the Brahmo Samajists, which is based upon reason, is limited to 'should be' and that they fall short of the perfect stage of 'is'. This also shows that the clear and open way of the recognition of the Divine is discovered only through the Word of God and cannot be reached by any other means. If a newly born child is deprived of education and left only to the book of nature, which according to the Brahmo Samajists is an open book, he would achieve little understanding and would possess no recognition of God. Experience has shown that if a person is not guided through his sense of hearing by revelation to the existence of God, he is not able to determine whether there is any Creator of this universe and, if he does pay any attention to searching for the Creator, he ends up by deifying some part of creation like water, fire, moon or sun as is witnessed by the wild tribes. It is only the grace of revelation through the blessings of which man has recognized the Peerless and Matchless God as befitted His Perfect and Faultless Being. Those who were uninformed of revelation and had no revealed book to turn to, and had available no means of knowing about revelation, achieved no understanding of the Divine, despite the fact that they possessed eyes and hearts. They gradually forsook humanness and approximated to senseless animals and derived no advantage from the hook of nature. It is obvious that if that book had been an open one, the wild tribes would have taken advantage of it and would have achieved an equality with those who had recognized God through Divine revelation. Then what greater proof is needed of the fact that the book of nature is a closed one than that whoever relied solely upon it, and never heard of Divine revelation, was altogether deprived of the recognition of God and even remained ignorant of human manners? If by the book of nature being open is meant that it is physically visible, this is irrelevant to the point under consideration. When it is seen that no one by contemplating the book of nature can derive any spiritual benefit from it and cannot find God unless he is guided by revelation, it matters not that nature is visible all the time (Braheeni Ahmadiyyah Volume III, (Amritsar, Safir Hind Press, 1882); Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 1 (London, 1984) Braheen Ahmadiyyah, pp. I91--206, footnote 11).

Historians know well that in past ages whenever anyone acquired full knowledge of God and His perfect attributes, he did so through revelation and that the Unity of God was never propagated through reason. That is why those people who had no acquaintance with revelation remained unaware of the name of God and remained uncultured and uncivilized like animals. Who can present to us a book which in any past age was written about knowledge of the Divine and comprised real verities, the author of which might have claimed that he did not discover the straight path of the recognition of God through revelation, nor was he informed through his sense of hearing of the existence of the One God, and that in discovering God and learning about Divine attributes he derived help only from his reason and reflection and diligence and that, without having recourse to any other resource, he discovered the Unity of God and that his mind of itself arrived at the true recognition and understanding of God Almighty? Who can prove to us that there was an age when Divine revelation was unknown and there was no Holy Book and the people of that age believed in the Unity of God and recognized Him merely through contemplation of the book of nature? Who can inform us of the country whose people, being unaware of revelation, were guided to God by their reason alone and believed in the Unity of the Divine by the exercise of their reflection and observation? Braheeni Ahmadiyyah Volume III, (Amritsar, Safir Hind Press, 1882); Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 1 (London, 1984) pp. 200-201, footnote 11).

The True Unity Of God Cannot Be Realized Without Divine Revelation

Why the pure Unity of God cannot be learnt without Divine revelation, and why one who denies revelation is not cleansed of paganism, becomes apparent when one observes the reality of Divine Unity. Unity means that one should believe that the Being and attributes of God are free of any association and that we should believe that that which can be accomplished by God's Power cannot be accomplished by the power of anyone else. It is because of letting go of this Unity that fire worshippers, sun worshippers and idol worshippers, etc., are called pagans inasmuch as they supplicate their idols and divinities concerning matters the bestowal of which is in the hands of God alone. It is obvious that those who deny revelation also believe, like the idol worshippers, that creatures are invested with the attributes of the Divine. They believe that the powers of the All- Powerful are possessed by human beings. They imagine that they discovered God through their reason and that in the beginning it was human beings who thought of appointing a God and that it was by their efforts that God emerged from the state of being unknown and was recognized and was worshipped. He was unknown before and no one was aware of His existence. It was through wise people that He came into His own. Is this anything different from the belief of the idol worshippers? Indeed not. The only difference is that the idol worshippers appoint other things as their benefactors and these people consider their smoky reason as their guide and benefactor. In one way these latter go beyond the idol worshippers. Though the idol worshippers believe that God has bestowed great powers on their deities and that on accepting a variety of offerings they bestow upon their worshippers that which they ask for, yet they have never alleged that God was discovered by these deities and that the existence of God was known only through them. It was left to those who deny revelation to claim God as one of their inventions and to announce that God has never affirmed: I am present; and that it was their great achievement that, without being told and informed, they found Him on their own. He was silent like one asleep or dead and they discovered His track by the exercise of their own reflection. Thus in effect they repudiate any obligation to God, but in a way put Him under an obligation to themselves, in that, without having been informed that God exists and without full certainty that disobedience of Him would subject them to such and such torment and obedience to Him would attract such and such bounty, they have submitted to this fictitious god. According to them God was so weak and infirm that He could not announce His Own existence and could not furnish any reassurance concerning His promises. He was hidden and these people disclosed Him; He was unknown and they made Him known-He was silent and they worked on His behalf. His Godhead has become known only since a short time and that also through their efforts. Every wise person would appreciate that such an affirmation goes beyond that which the idol worshippers allege. The idol worshippers believe in their deities as their benefactors, but those who deny revelation allege that reason which is their deity is the benefactor not only of people but also of God inasmuch as God became known only through the exercise of reason. It is thus clear that by denying revelation they not only believe in God in a doubtful way and are involved in diverse errors, but they are also deprived of belief in the perfect Unity of God and are stained with paganism. What is the association of partners with God except to attribute to others the favors and bounties bestowed by God {Braheeni Ahmadiyyah Volume III, (Amritsar, Safir Hind Press, 1882); Now published in Ruhani Khazain, Volume 1 (London, 1984) pp.) Footnote 11.}

The Type Of People Who Experience Heavenly Signs

There are three types of people who experience heavenly Signs. First, those who possess no merit and have no relationship with God Almighty, but who on account of their intellectual appropriateness see some true dreams and are granted some true visions which contain no indication that they are accepted of God and are loved by Him, nor do they derive any benefit from their dreams and visions. Thousands of the wicked and evil ones share with them such smelly dreams and visions.... Secondly, there are those who have some relationship with God Almighty, but that relationship is not perfect, Their dreams and revelations resemble the experience of a person who on a dark and very cold night espies the glow of a fire from afar and thereby is able to avoid walking along a path which is full of pits and thorns and rocks and along which serpents and wild beasts abound. But the glow of the fire cannot safeguard him against the cold and death. If he cannot reach the warm circle of the fire, he is destroyed like the one who walks in the dark.

Thirdly, there are people whose experience of dreams and revelations resembles that of a person who on a dark and very cold night not only finds the bright glow of the fire and walks in its light, but entering its warm circle is safeguarded fully against the cold. This stage is reached by those who burn up their passions in the fire of Divine love and adopt a life of bitterness for the sake of God. They perceive death ahead of them and run towards it and choose it for themselves. They accept every torment in the cause of God and for the sake of God they become the enemies of their ego and treading contrary to it exhibit such power of faith that even the angels are surprised at the strength of their faith. They are spiritual champions and all attacks of Satan come to nothing in opposition to their spiritual power.... The perfect revelation which is of the third type and descends upon perfect individuals resembles the ray of the sun that falls on a clean mirror which is adjusted towards it.... Then that ray is magnified ten times and its light becomes unbearable for the eye.

When revelation descends in the same way on a purified soul its extraordinary light shines forth and the reflection of Divine attributes is exhibited in that soul and the countenance of the Divine One is fully disclosed....

The lights of Divine revelation are accepted in their perfect condition by a soul which is perfectly purified. Mere dreams or revelation do not indicate