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The Advent of the Promised Messiah as Vindicated by the Signs of the Lunar and Solar Eclipses

by Saleh Mohammad Alladin
Professor of Astronomy, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India
Review of Religions, 1998

Supplications

I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant, and apostle.  After this I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan. In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. All praise belongs to Allah. Lord of all the worlds, the Gracious, the Merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment. Thee alone do we worship and Thee alone do we implore for help. Guide us on the right path – The path of those on whom Thou Hast bestowed Thy blessings, not of those who have incurred Thy displeasure, nor of those who have gone astray.

O Allah, shower Thy mercy on Muhammad and his progeny as Thou didst shower on Abraham and his progeny. Verily Thou art the Praiseworthy, the Lord of honour. O Allah. shower Thy blessings on Muhammad and his progeny as Thou didst shower on Abraham and his progeny. Verily Thou art the Praiseworthy, the Lord of honour.

The Prophecy Regarding the Occurrence of the Lunar and Solar Eclipses

The coming of a great Divine Reformer in the Latter Days has been predicted in the holy scriptures of various religions. I propose to discuss a very remarkable prophecy made by our lord and master, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, which helps a seeker after truth in recognizing him. According to this prophecy, lunar and solar eclipses on the specified dates of the month of Ramazan would serve as Signs of his advent.

Almighty God says in the Holy Quran:

He (Allah) is the Knower of the unseen; and He reveals not His secrets to anyone, except to him whom He chooses. namely a Messenger of His.[1]

We learn from these verses that the Messengers of God have very close relationship with God and they have the distinction of being granted knowledge of the unseen by Him. They are thus able to make remarkable prophecies.

The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was granted knowledge of the unseen in abundance. He had prophesied that in the Last Age when the world would drift away from God, a Mahdi and Messiah (Divine Reformer) would come, through whom faith would be restored in the world and the renaissance of Islam would be brought about. He mentioned several Signs which would mark the advent of the Promised Messiah. These have been discussed in detail in the book An Invitation to Ahmadiyyat, by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Second Successor of the Promised Messiah, may God be pleased with him[2]. Tn this discourse, I shall concentrate on the celestial signs of lunar and solar eclipses.

Hazrat Ali bin Umar Albaghdadi Ad-Darqutani, an eminent authority on Hadith, who lived from 918 to 995 of Christian Era (306 to 385 Hijri), had recorded the following Hadith narrated by Hazrat Imam Baqar Muhammad bin Ali, son of Hazrat Imam Zainul Abedeen (may Allah have mercy on them):

For our Mahdi there are two Signs which have never appeared before since the creation of the heavens and the earth, namely, the moon will be eclipsed on the first night in Ramazan (i.e; on the first of the nights on which a lunar eclipse can occur) and the sun will be eclipsed on the middle day of Ramazan (i.e: on the middle one of the days on which a solar eclipse can occur), and these Signs have not appeared since God created the heavens and the earth.[3]

These Signs are mentioned in the collections of Hadith of both Sunni and Shia sects. Eminent Muslim scholars have been quoting this Hadith in their books. This Hadith is recorded in several books [4] to [15].

Hazrat Sheikh Nematullah Wali, may Allah have mercy on him, who lived in the neighbourhood of Delhi about 560 Hijri and is honoured as Wali (Friend of God) wrote as follows:

مہدی وقت و عیسیٰ دوراں
ہر دوراشہسوار مے بینم

i.e; He will be both Mahdi of the time and Jesus. I see him blessed with both attributes.

ماہ را رو سیاہ مے نگرم
مہر را دلفگار مے بینم

I see both the moon and the sun obscured.[16]

Ahl-i-Hadith dignitary Maulana Hafiz Muhammad bin Maulana Barakallah Lakhoke wrote in his book Ahwalul Akhirat [17]:

تیرھویں چن ستہویں سورج ہوسی اس سالے
اندر ماہ رمضانے لکھیا ایہ یک روایت والے

It has been related that during the month of Ramazan of that year there would bean eclipse of the moon on the 13th and an eclipse of the sun on 27th.

In this verse the dates of the lunar and solar eclipses are specified as the 13th and the 27th of Ramazan. It will be explained later that in the light of the Hadith and the law of nature, the actual dates are the 13th and the 28th of Ramazan.

The Hadees is strengthened by the fact that the Holy Quran mentions eclipses as important Signs of the approach of Resurrection. The Holy Quran says:

He asks, ‘When will be the day of Resurrection?’ When the eye is dazzled, And the moon is eclipsed, And the sun and the moon are brought together, on that day man will say, ‘Whither to flee?’ [18]

The root of the prophecy thus lies in the Holy Quran and the Hadith elucidates the verses of the Holy Quran and gives valuable details.

In the New Testament, Jesus, peace be on him, narrating the Signs of his second coming said:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light. [19]

Mahatma Surdasji has mentioned the prophecy that when Kalki Autar would appear, the moon and the sun would be eclipsed. He wrote:

Both the moon and the sun will be eclipsed and there will be much violence and death.

In the holy book of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Garanth Sahib, it is written:

When Maharaj will come as Nahkalank, the sun and the moon will he his helpers. [21.22.23]

Tn short, books of other religions also mention of the Signs of the sun and the moon. In the Hadith of Darqutani, quoted earlier, much detail is given, which we shall discuss subsequently.

Lunar and Solar Ecplises in the Light of the Laws of Nature

Lunar and solar eclipses are phenomena which occur according to the laws of nature. The Holy Quran has repeatedly drawn our attention to natural phenomena. A discussion of the astronomical background is therefore appropriate and relevant. It helps in understanding the Hadith.

The earth, the sun and the moon form a system of three bodies. The Holy Quran has referred lo this system in a very beautiful way as follows:

Holy is He Who created all things in pairs, of what the earth grows, and of themselves, and of what they know not. And a Sign for them is the night from which We strip off the day, and lo! they are in darkness. And the sun is moving on the course prescribed for it. That is the decree of the Almighty, the All- Knowing God. And for the moon We have appointed stages, till it becomes again like an old dry branch of a palm-tree. It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day. All of them float in an orbit. [24]

Five verses of the Holy Quran have been quoted here. In the first verse a fundamental fact has been mentioned that Almighty God has created all things in pairs. The second verse refers to the night and the day which arise from the motion of the earth. The third verse refers to the motion of the sun and the fourth refers to the motion of the moon. In the fifth verse, the sun, the moon, the night and the day, are all mentioned together, and attention is drawn to the fact that the movements of the sun and the moon have their limits.

We learn from science that the earth and the moon move around each other and complete a revolution in one month, they form a pair. The earth and the moon jointly move around the sun and complete a revolution in one year. Thus the sun and the earth-moon system form another pair. In the solar system there are numerous pairs within pairs. The sun with all its planets and their satellites moves around the centre of the Galaxy completing a revolution in about two hundred million years. Like our sun, there are billions of stars in our galaxy which move around the centre of the Galaxy with different periods. Holy is He Who created all things in pairs.

When the moon in the course of its motion around the earth, comes between the sun and the earth in such a way that it prevents the light of the sun from reaching the earth, we have a solar eclipse; and when the earth comes between the sun and the moon in such a way that its shadow falls on the moon, we have a lunar eclipse. In astronomical terminology, we say that a solar eclipse occurs at new moon and a lunar eclipse occurs at full moon. At the time of the new moon, the longitudes of the sun and the moon are the same and the moon is said to be in conjunction. An eclipse does not occur at every new moon and full moon because for the occurrence of an eclipse it is necessary that the sun, the earth and the moon should be aligned. If the earth ‘s orbit around the sun and the moon’s orbit around the earth, were in the same plane, there would have been alignment twice every month, and hence there would have been one lunar eclipse and one solar eclipse every month. Actually the two orbital planes are inclined to each other by an angle of about five degrees, on account of which the maximum number of eclipses in a solar year does not exceed seven (four or five being solar and three or two being lunar). The minimum number of eclipses which can occur in a year is two, both being solar. A solar eclipse occurs more often than a lunar eclipse but it is visible from a much smaller surface of the earth than a lunar eclipse. Hence from any given place of the earth, more lunar eclipses are visible than solar eclipses. For further details, see books on Spherical Astronomy.

The motion of the moon is quite complicated. To a first approximation, the moon moves around the earth in an elliptic orbit, on account of which its distance from the earth and its speed vary within certain limits. When the moon is closest to the earth it is said to be at perigee. The speed or the moon with respect to the earth is greatest when it is at perigee. On account of the gravitational attraction of the sun, the position of the perigee changes in space. Thus sometimes the moon moves faster in the early part of the month and sometimes it moves faster in the latter part. Likewise the distance and velocity of the earth-moon pair with respect to the sun also change within certain limits in accordance with the law of gravitation. As the Holy Quran says:

The sun and the moon run their courses according to a fixed reckoning [25]

The changes in distances and velocities of the bodies have their effects on the dates on which the eclipses occur. Thus there are limits on the dates on which lunar and solar eclipses can occur.

Astronomers take the time of conjunction as the beginning of the lunar month. At that time the moon cannot be seen at all. The month of the Islamic Calendar (Hijri) begins with the first sighting or the lunar crescent, i.e; when the phase of the moon becomes big enough to be visible. This happens roughly about twenty-four hours after conjunction. An excellent book dealing with the problem of the first visibility of the lunar crescent, has been written by Dr. Mohammad Ilyas [26].

If the Hijri Calendar is used, the dates on which a lunar eclipse can occur are 13, 14, and 15; and the dates on which a solar eclipse rein occur are 27, 28 and 29. According to the prophecy, the lunar eclipsc would occur on the first night and the solar eclipse would occur on the middle day in the month of Ramazan. This fixes the thirteenth of Ramazan for the lunar eclipse and the twenty-eighth of Ramazan for the solar eclipse.

In the Hadith, the word Qamar is used for the moon and not Hilal. The crescent of the first, second and third nights, is called Hilal while  Qamar denotes the moon from the fourth night onward [27]. Hence the interpretation that the first night in Ramazan implies the thirteenth of the Ramazan and not the first of Ramazan is also supported by the word Qamar used in the Hadith, thus leaving no ambiguity.

The Advent of the Promised Messiah(as) and Fulfilment of the Prophecy

I shall now discuss how the prophecy of the Hadith was fulfilled.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, peace be on him, was born in the year 1835 of the Christian Era (CE). He was a model of extraordinary righteousness. Profound love for the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was the salient feature of his personality. He was grieved to see the onslaughts against Islam by its critics and the poor spiritual condition of the Muslims. He dedicated himself to the service of Islam and prayed fervently for the spiritual regeneration of the world. His epoch-making work Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya published in four volumes from 1880 to 1884 is a masterpiece in which are discussed the truth of Islam and the excellences of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

Hazrat Ahmad, peace be on him, had the privilege of being a recepient of Divine revelation from 1876 until 1908 when he passed away. In 1882 he received his first revelation regarding his appointment as Divine Reformer through the following words:

Allah bless thee O Ahmad. It was not thou who didst throw but it was Allah Who did throw. The Most Gracious One has taught thee the Quran so that thou shouldst warn the people whose ancestors have not been warned and that the way of guilty ones might become manifest. Proclaim: I have been commissioned and I am the first of the believers. [28]

He also received the following revelation:

Tell them I have with me testimony from Allah, then will you believe?
Tell them I have with me testimony from Allah, then will you submit? [29]

In obedience to Divine command he declared that he is the Mujaddid (Reformer) of the fourteenth century of the lslamic era. Later on the 23rd of March 1889, under Divine command, he took the first oath of allegiance at Ludhiana and thus formed the Ahmadiyya Community. Hazrat Al-Haj Hafiz Maulvi Hakim Nooruddin, may Allah be pleased with him, who later became his First Successor, had the honour to be the first person to take the oath of allegiance. On the same day, forty persons swore allegiance to the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, and solemnly promised that they would give priority to religion over worldly affairs.

Towards the end of 1890 C.E. Almighty Allah revealed to him that Prophet Jesus, peace be on him, had died and the prophecy of his second advent was to be fulfilled by a person like Jesus, and that he was the Promised Messiah. Among the revelations which he received to this effect was the following:

The Messiah, son of Mary, prophet of Allah, has died and in his attribute thou has come in accordance with the promise. And the promise of Allah was bound to be fulfilled.[30]

After receiving this explanation from Almighty God, Hazrat Ahmad, peace be on him, claimed in 1891 to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent was prophesied by the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Hazrat Ahmad, peace be on him, also gave arguments in support of his claim and wrote books. Fatahi-Islam (Victory of Islam), Tauzihi-Maram (Explaination of Objectives) and Izalai-Auham (Removal of Susricions). He asserted that Almighty God had sent him to give spiritual life to the people. The contermporary theologians rejected his claims and he met a storm of very violent opposition.

In his book Noorul Haq (Light of Truth) Parr I, written in Arabic and published in early 1894, Hazrat Ahmad, the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, made the following humble supplications:

O God! Am I not from Thee? Curse and denial have now become excessive. Judge between us and our people with justice for Though art the Best of those who judge. O God! please send Thy succour for me from the heaven and help Thy servant in the time of adversity. I have become like the weak and disgraced and people have rejected me and reproached me. So Though come to my help as Though helped the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, on the day of Badr. And protect us O Best of Protectors. Though art the Lord, the Merciful. Though has taken upon Thyself to show mercy, grant us portion of it and show the help and have mercy on us and turn to us with compassion and Though art the Most Merciful of all who show mercy. [31]

Among the objections raised against him was also the one that the prophecy pertaining to the eclipses of the sun and the moon has not been fullilled. Then Almighty God manifested this heavenly Sign in the year 1311 Hijri ( 1891 C.E.) when the lunar and solar eclipses occurred over Qadian on the specified dates of Ramazan in fulfilment of the grand prophecy of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. The lunar eclipse occurred after sunset on the 13th of Ramazan (March 21, 1894) and the solar eclipse occurred on Friday, the 28th of Ramazan (April 6, 1894). Apart from the almanacs, there was mention of the eclipse in the Indian newspapers of the time Azad and Civil and Military Gazette. Even now, the dates (of the Christian Era) for these eclipses can be confirmed from Oppolzer’s Canon of Eclipses [32] and Nautical Almanac, London, of 1894 [33]. The calculations based on the position of the moon show that the lunar dales of the eclipses correspond to the thirteenth and the twenty-eighth of Ramazan [47].

Characteristics of the Eclipses of Ramazan 1311 Hijri (March-April 1894)

Soon after the celestial Signs were witnessed. the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, wrote the book Noorul Haq (Light of Truth) Part II, which is devoted to an extremely enlightening discussion of the accurate fulllment of the splendid prophecy of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. In this book, he explained in the light of Divine revelation that the true interpretation of the Hadith is that in the time of the Mahdi, the moon will be eclipsed in the first of the three nights on which a lunar eclipse can occur. i.e: on the 13th of Ramazan, and the sun will be eclipsed on the middle day out of the days on which a solar eclipse can occcur. i.e. on the 28th of Ramazan.

The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, drew attention to several properties of the eclipses which make the Signs very impressive. He pointed out that the word first and middle used in the Haidth were fulfilled in two ways, namely, with regard to date as well as with regard to time. Not only did the lunar eclipse occur on the first of the three nights but also it occurred in the beginning of the night in Qadian. The solar eclipse not only occurred on the middle day but also occurred in the forenoon in Qadian. It did not occur early in the morning and it was over before noon. The word نصف used in the Hadith also means half. According to Calcutta Standard Time, the lunar eclipse was visible in India in lhe evening between 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and the solar eclipse was visible in India in the forenoon between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. [34]

Aided by Divine revelation, the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, elucidated the deeper meaning of the Hadith as follows:

So the right interpretation and the true meaning of the expression ‘lunar eclipse will occur in the first night of Ramazan’ are that it will occur in the first of the three full-moon nights and you know the expression white nights. In addition to this there is also a hint that when the lunar eclipse occurs in the first full-moon night, it will occur in the beginning of the night and not after a lapse of time as will be clear to en enlightened person. And the lunar eclipse did occur accordingly and many had seen it in this country. [35]

With regard to the solar eclipse, he stated

The saying that the sun will be eclipsed in the middle. implies that the solar eclipse will manifest itself in such a way that it will divide the days of the eclipse into two halves. It will occur in the second day of the eclipse and its time will not exceed the first of the day because that is the limit of the half. So just as Almighty God ordained that the lunar eclipse should occur in the first night, so also He ordained that the solar eclipse should occur in the eclipse days in the time specified by half. So it happened as predicted. And Almighty God does not reveal His secrets to anyone except those whom He chooses for the reformation of the world. Hence there is no doubt that his Hadith is from the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, who is the best of all messengers. [36]

By the grace of Almighty Allah, in the study of this subject, my humble self, has been very fortunate to get the valuable encouragement, attention and prayers of our leader, the present Head of the Ahmadiyya Community, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the Fourth Successor of the Promised Messiah. May Almighty Allah aid him with His mighty help and grant him a long, healthy life. While conversing with him in London. I mentioned to him that the prophecy contained in the words نصف منہ was fulfilled in two ways, with regard to date as well as with regard to time. Thereupon he commented thal the third way in which the prophecy was fulfilled consisted in the fact that the eclipse was visible from a hemisphere of the earth. He added that the prophecy shows the greatness of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as well as the truth of the Promised Messiah, peace be on him.

As stated earlier, the Holy Quran also mentions the lunar and solar eclipses. It is worthy of note that while the Holy Quran uses the word خسف (Khasaf) for the lunar eclipse, it does not use the word کسف (Kasaf) for the solar eclipse, but describes the solar eclipse in a special way by stating that the sun and the moon will be brought together. Commenting on this point, the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, said:

The Quran did not describe the solar eclipse as کسوف (Kasoof) in order to indicate an additional point. Because this solar eclipse which occurred after the lunar eclipse was an extraordinary and rare one and if you seek witness on this or desire the testimony of the observers on the extraordinary and strange features of this solar eclipse, then the news given in two renowned and reliable newspapers ‘Pioneer’ and ‘Civil and Military Gazette’, should suffice. Both have published this in their issues of March 1894. [37]

Eclipses are of different kinds. Some are prominent and some are faint. Professor J. A. Mitchell has classified eclipses into four categories: (1) Partial (2) Annular (3) Annular-Total, and (4) Total. In a partial eclipse the sun becomes partly obscured. In an annular eclipse, the central part of the sun becomes dark but the outer rim remains bright. In a total eclipse, the sun is completely obscured. An annular-total eclipse, as the name implies, is intermediate between annular and total. In this case, the vertex of the moon’s shadow just reaches the earth. This is the rarest of the four categories. Professor Mitchell has deduced from the data of the past eclipses that in the average century, the total number of eclipses were 237, out of which only ten were of the annular-total type.[38] The solar eclipses of 28 Ramazan 1311 Hijri was of the annular-total type.  It was therefore different from the usual eclipses as indicated by the Promised Messiah, peace be on him. It was a spectacular eclipse.

It may also be noted that both the lunar and solar eclipses were visible from India. A lunar eclipse can be seen from more than half the earth’s sphere, but a solar eclipse is visible from a much smaller area. It often happens that a solar eclipse is only seen from a sparsely populated area or from an ocean. The solar eclipse of April 6, 1894, was visible from a vast area of Asia including India. Professor T.R. Von Oppolzer has given details of the present and future lunar and solar eclipses from 1208 B.C. to 2161 C.E. in his book of Canon of Eclipses [39]. He has shown by means of maps the paths of only the prominent solar eclipses; i.e. those of annular, annular-total and total categories. The path of the solar eclipse of 6th April 1894 is included in Oppolzer’s map (Chart 148) [40]. The Nautical Almanac of 1894 has also shown the path of this eclipse by a map [41]. It can be seen from both these sources that the path of this eclipse passes through India.

The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, and his companions, saw this eclipse from Qadian. The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, stated that people should ponder over this fact that the sign was manifested in his country. He thus wrote as follows:

O servants of God, ponder and think. Do you consider it permissible that the Mahdi should be born in the countries of Arabia and Syria and his Sign should be manifested in our country; and you know that the wisdom of God does not separate the Sign from the person for whom the Sign is meant. Then how could it be possible that the Mahdi should be in the East but his sign should be in the West. And this should be sufficient for you if you are really seekers after truth.[42]

In short, the prophecy of our beloved master.,the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was fulfilled with great accuracy in a most elegant manner:

So blessed is Allah, the Best of creators. [43]

Sir Isaac Newton had discovered the law of gravitation in the seventeenth century of the Christian era. Detailed astronomical calculations of the eclipses were not possible before this discovery. But our lord and master, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, made such an amazing prophecy on the basis of the knowledge he acquired directly from the omniscient God. I cannot conceive a better heavenly sign than this for indicating the advent of the Promised Messiah, peace be on him.

Holy is Allah, worthy of praise, holy is Allah, the Great. O Allah bestow The blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad.

Congratulations from the Promised Messiah(as), on the Fulfilment of the Prophecy

The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, was thrilled by the fulfilment of the grand prophecy of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. Replete with gratitude to Almighty God for His magnificent favour, he wrote a poem in Arabic [44].

The meaning in English of some of the verses are as follows:

Glad tidings to you O community brothers.
Congratulations to you O community friends.

The brilliance of God’s bounty has become manifest
And the way is opened for the person who can see;

The sun and the moon in these countries,
Have been eclipsed, by God’s decree, in Ramazan.

And a prophecy of glad tidings of the Chief of Prophet of Allah
Has been fulfilled in such a pure way that there is no blemish in it.

Today every enlightened person is weeping
In remembrance of the bounties of Almight Allah.

And in acknowledgement of the fulfilment of the prophecy of our prophet
And are reflecting upon the Greatness of Allah, the real Benefactor.

Today every person who has pledged allegiance
Has increased so much in faith as though he has acquired a new faith.

Now after Ramazan has passed
For others there is one Eid (festival) but for us there are two Eids.

The moon is showing you the light of guidance
Ad the sun is guiding you towards faith.

For your benefit the Signs of the Creator have been manifested
In your own country for the Divinely supported person.

Is this a feat of an astrologer
Or is this a great sign of Almighty God?

This is the Hadith of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
The saviour of the creation and the leader of the valiant.

O my people, my sign was shown in Ramazan
By our Gracious God and Bestower of reward.

So read if you wish the verse of our Lord
The moon will be eclipsed and leave off transgression.

The the Hadith which is a Hadith narrated by a Holy Prophet’s descendant
In explanation of the verses of the Holy Quran.

These are the words of our Prophet and Beloved
So turn to them and don’t bother about low people.

This is a long poem which ends with the verse:

O my Lord, bless this for the sake of the countenance of Muhammad
Who is the best of all the noble and the purest of all the pure.

O Allah shower Thy mercy on our leader and master, the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his progeny. Verily Thou are the Praiseworthy, the Lord of Honour.

The Second Pair of Eclipses of Ramazan 1312 Hijri (March 1895)

According to another Hadith:

The sun will be eclipsed twice in Ramazan. [45]

In the following year 1895 C.E.; lunar and solar eclipses again occurred in the month of Ramazan on the 11th of March and the 26th of March respectively. These eclipses occurred in the West. They were not visible from Qadian, but when the eclipses occurred, the dates in Qadian were the 13th and the 28th of Ramazan respectively. The date of an eclipse can differ with the place.

The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, made mention of these eclipses also in his book Haqiqatul Wahi. He wrote as follows:

As stated in another Hadith, this eclipse occurred twice in Ramazan, first in this country and then in America, and on both occasions it occurred on the same dates. Since at the time of the eclipse there was no claimant on earth of Mahdi Ma’hood (Divine Reformer) and since nobody else declared this eclipse as his sign and published hundreds of pamphlets and books in Urdu, Persian and Arabic, this heavenly sign is for me. Another proof of this is the fact twelve years before this sign occurred, Almighty God had informed me that such a sign would occur and this news which is stated in Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya was announced to hundreds of thousands of people before the sign was manifested. [46]

Answer to the Objections that Lunar and Solar Eclipses have Occurred Many Times in Ramazan

Objections have been raised that lunar and solar eclipses have occurred in the month of Ramazan several times and hence these could not be a reasonable criterion for the recognition of a Divine Messenger. It is true that both eclipses have occurred in the same month of Ramazan many times but it is important to note that the Hadith makes mention of specific dates and the presence of the claimant is a vital part of the prophecy. The words لم تکونا منذ خلق السموت و الارض used in the Hadith clearly show that the prophecy is highly significant.

A study of the frequency of the occurrences of the eclipses shows that in a period of about 22 years, we have a year or more commonly two years, in which both lunar and solar eclipses occur in the month of Ramazan over some part of the world or the other on any of the eclipse dates. The solar eclipse need not occur over the same place at which the lunar eclipse occurred. But it is worthy of note that the occurrence of both the eclipses on the specified dates of Ramazan from a given place is quite rare. In the two centuries (1800 to 2000 C.E.) that we (Dr. G.M. Ballabh and myself) studied, we found that both lunar and solar eclipses had occurred 17 times in Ramazan, but the year 1894 was the only year in which both the eclipses were visible from Qadian on the specified dates. This was also confirmed by Mr. A.K.Bhatnagar, Director Astronomy Centre, India Meteorological department, New Alipore, Calcutta 700057. In short, the occurrence of both eclipses over Qadian on the specified dates is quite a rare event. Out of many pairs of eclipses that occurred in Ramazan, only one had the specified properties. For further details, see The Review of Religions, July, 1987. [47]

Furthermore. the presence of the claimant is a necessarry condition for the fulfilment of the prophecy. The words of the Hadith لمھدینا make it clear that this Sign is for the benefit of the Mahdi. Mere occurrence of the eclipses without the claimant are of no significance. The words لم تکونا منذ خلق السموت و الارض in the Hadith, imply that such a Sign never occurred before. They do not imply that such eclipses never occurred before. The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, said:

We are not concerned with how often solar and lunar eclipses have occurred in the month of Ramazan from the beginning of the world till today. Our aim is only to mention that from the time man has appeared in this world, solar and lunar eclipses have occurred as Signs only in my age for me. Prior to me, no one had this circumstane that on one hand he claimed to be Mahdi Mauood (Promised Reformer) and on the other, in the month of Ramazan, on the appointed dates, lunar and solar eclipses occurred and he delcared the eclipses as signs in his favour. The Hadith of Darqutani does not say at all that solar and lunar eclipses did not occur ever before, but it does clearly say that such eclipses never occurred earlier as Signs, because the word تکونا is used which denotes feminine gender; this implies that such a Sign was never manifested before. If it was meant that such eclipses never occurred before which denotes masculine gender was needed and not تکونا which denotes deminine gender. It is clear from this that the reference is to two two signs because signs are of feminine gender. Hence if anybody thinks that many times lunar and solar eclipses have occurred, it is his responsibility to show the claimant to Mahdi who declared the solar and lunar eclipses as his sign and this proof should be certain and conclusive and this can only happen if a book of the claimant is produced who claimed to be Mahdi Ma’hood and has written that the lunar and solar eclipses which occurred in Ramazan on the dates specified in Darqutani are the Signs of my truth. In short, we are not concerned with the mere occurrence of solar and lunar eclipses even if they had been thousands of times. As a Sign this has happened at the time of a claimant only once and the Hadith has proved its authenticity and truth through its fulfilment at the time of the claimant to Mahdi. [48]

The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, further said:

As a matter of fact, since Adam to the present time, nobody ever made a prophecy like this. The prophecy has four aspects: (1) the occurrence of the lunar eclipse on the first of the eclipse nights, (2) the occurrence of the solar eclipse on the middle of the eclipse days, (3) the occurence in the month of Ramazan and (4) the presence of the claimant who has been rejected. Hence if the greatness of this prophecy is denied, then show a parallel to it in the world, and until a prallel cannot be found, this prophecy ranks foremost among all those prophecies to which the verse فَلَا یُظۡہِرُ عَلٰی غَیۡبِہٖۤ اَحَدًا  can be applied, because it is stated here that from the time of Adam to the end, it has no paralle. [49]

The Challenge of the Promised Messiah(as)

The Promised Messiah, peace he on him, also gave a challenge with a reward of one thousand rupees to anyone who could show that such a Sign had occurred earlier. He stated as follows:

Are you not afraid to deny the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, even though its truth has become as manifest as the bright sun? Can you present a Sign like this in any age in the past? Do you read in any book that some person claimed to be from Almighty God and then in his time in Ramazan, the lunar and solar eclipses occurred as you have now seen? If you are aware then relate it and you will get one thousand rupees as a reward if you can show. So prove it and take this reward and I make Almighty God a Witness on this promise and you also be a witness and God is the Best of all witnesses. And if you cannot prove, and you will never be able to prove, then guard against the Fire which is prepared for those who create disorder. [50]

The Love of Holy Prophet(sa) for the Mahdi and Vice Versa

Hazrat Haliz Mirza Nasir Ahmad, Third Successor of the Promised Messiah, may Allah have mercy on him, used to say that the words Our Mahdi in the Hadith, denote the intense love which the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, had for the coming Mahdi.

According to another Hadith,  the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said

Al-Mahdi, the vicegerent of Allah will appear. Even if you have to go crawling over mountains of ice, you should go to him and convey my Salams (Greetings of Peace) to the Mahdi and swear allegiance to him because that Mahdi would be a vicegerent of God. [51]

Muslim divines, therefore, earnestly desired to convey the salams of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, to the Mahdi, peace be on him. Thus in the court of Hazrat Syed Ahmad Barelvi, the Mujaddid of the thirteenth century (may Allah have mercy on him), the poet Hazrat Momin of Delhi, expressed his longing desire as follows:

زمانہ مہدی موعود کا پایا اگر مومن
تو سب سے پہلے تو کہیو سلام پاک حضرت کا

If you happen to be in the time of the Promised Mahdi, O Momin. Then first of all convey the holy Salam of the Holy Prophet. [52]

While on one hand, we find that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, had great love for the Mahdi, on the other hand, we find thalt Hazrat Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, peace he on him, had extraordinary love for his most revered master and leader, the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as evinced in his innumernble writings. For example, he has written:

Bestow on me thy look of mercy and affection
O my master, I am thy most humble slave.

O my beloved, thy love has permeated
My blood and my life, my feelings and my heart.

O my garden of delight, from the remembrane of thy countenance
I am not free for an instant or a moment.

My body yearns to go flying to thee
How I wish I had the capacity of flight.

My heart and soul are enchanted with the beauty of Muhammad.
My body is like the dust of the path trodden by the progeny of Muhammad.

I have perceived with the eye of the my heart and have heard with the ear of my intelligence
That every part of the universe proclaims the beauty of Muhammad.

After God I am inebriated with the love of Muhammad,
If this is infidelity, then by God I am a great infidel.

Our leader, through whom is all light,
His name is Muhammad, He is my beloved.

I am lost in his light, I have become entirely his;
He is everything, What am I? This is the essence.

O my beloved God, I swear by Thy Oneness
I have forgotten myself in thy (Holy Prophet’s) love.

I swear by God, the image of all others are wiped away from my heart
From the time I planted thy image in my heart.

I cannot see at all the weakness of the religion of the Holy Prophet
O my Sovereign grant me success and triumph

O my Lord, shower Thy blessings on Thy Prophet for ever and ever,
In this world as well as in the next world. [53, 54]

Through this great divine, who annihilated himself in the love of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, the world has heard in this materialistic age, the appealing voice of a divine Messenger calling us to God, our Creator and Master, with such heartfelt words as these:

How unfortunate is the man who does not know yet that he has a God Who has power over everything. Our God is our paradise, Our highest delights are in our God for we have seen Him and found every bounty in Him. This wealth is worth procuring even if one has to lay down one’s life to procure it. This ruby is worth purchasing even if one has to lose oneself to acquire it. Oh Ye, who are bereft, run to this fountain and it will satisfy you. It is the fountain of life that will save you. What shall I do, and how shall I impress the hearts with this good news, and by beating what drum shall I make the announcement that this is your God, so that people might hear? What remedy shall I apply to the ears of the people so that they should listen? [55]

These are the words of the Divine Messenger of this age, replete with deepest love and sympathy for all mankind. It was about him that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, had said that even if faith were to go up to the Pleiades, he would surely find it [56]. He is the light of this age. He is the long-awaited person whom the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, so affectionately called our Mahdi and to whom he conveyed his precious greetings. The sun and the moon have borne testimony to his truth.

Declarations on Oath by the Promised Messiah

The Promised Messiah, peace be on him, also declared on oath that he is the Promised Divine Messenger and that the lunar and solar eclipses are Divine Signs for him. He stated as follows:

In my age only in the month of Ramazan, eclipses of the sun and the moon occurred; in my age only in accordance with the authentic sayings of the Holy Prophet and the Holy Quran and earlier Books, there was a plague all over the country, and in my age only new mode of transport, namely railways came into existence and in my age only, as per my prophecies, terrible earthquakes came. Does not then righteousness demand that one should not be bold in denying me. Look! I swear by Almighty God and say that thousands of signs for establishing my truth have been manifested are being manifested and will be manifested. If this were a man’s plan, never he would have enjoyed such support and help. [57]

He further said:

And I also swear by Almighty God that I am the Promised Messiah and I am the same person who was promised by the prophets. There is news about me and my age in the Torah and the Gospel and the Holy Quran, it is stated that there will be eclipses in the sky and severe plague on the earth. [58]

He also said:

I swear by God in Whose Hand is my life that He has manifested this Sign in the sky to testify my truthfulness, and He manifested it at a time when the Maulvis (theologians) named me Dajjal (Anti-Christ), biggest liar, infidel and even biggest infidel. This is the same Sign regarding which twenty years ago I was promised in ‘Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya’, namely, ‘Tell them I have with me testimony from Allah, will you accept it or not?’ It should be remembered that although there are many proofs from Almighty God for vindicating my truthfulness and more than a hundred prophecies that have been fulfilled to which hundreds of thousands of people are witnesses, but in this revelation, this prophecy has been mentioned specifically, i.e.; I have been given such a Sign which was not given to anybody else from the time of Adam to the present time. In short, I can stand in the sacred precincts of the Ka’aba and swear that this Sign is for testifying my truth. [58]

In his verses, the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, appealed as follows:

To imagine that a Mahdi will come who will cause bloodshed
And make religion prosper by killing the disbelievers.

O ignorant people, these ideas are completely wrong,
They are calumnious and baseless, and they will not flourish;

O my dears, the man who was to come, has already come.
Even the sun and the moon have disclosed this secret to you. [60]

In another context he said:

After me, of what use is waiting for others,
Repent, for one knows not how long one would live. [61]

OAllah, shower Thy blessings on Muhammad (peace bcon him) and his progeny. And we conclude with the prayer: All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds.

References

  1. The Holy Quran 72:27, 28.
  2. An Invitation to Ahmadiyyat by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih II, Routledge & Kegan PAul, London, 1980.
  3. Sunan Darqutani, Vol. 1, p. 188, Ansari Press, Delhi.
  4. Fatawa Hadisiya Hafiz ibn Hajr Makki by Allah Sheikh Ahmad Shahabuddin Hijrul Haishmi, printed in Egypt, p. 31.
  5. Ahwalul Akhirat, Hafiz Muhammad Lakhoke, p. 23, printed in 1305 Hijri.
  6. Akhri Bat by Maulvi Muhammad Ramzan Hanafi Mutabai printed in 1278 Hijri.
  7. Hujajul Kirama by Nawab Siddeeq Hasan Khan, p. 344.
  8. Aqaedul Islam by Maulana Abdul Haq Muhaddas of Delhi, p. 182, printed in 1292 Hijri.
  9. Qiyama Nama Farsi, Alamat Qiyamat Urdu, by Hazrat Shah Rafeeuddin Muhaddas of Delhi.
  10. Iqtirabus-Saa’at by Nawab Siddeeq Hasan Khan, p. 106, printed in 1301 Hijri.
  11. Maktoobaat-e-Imam Rabbani Mujaddid Afle Sani, Vol. 2, p. 132,.
  12. Baharul Anwar, Vol. 13, p. 85.
  13. Ikmaluddin, p. 368.
  14. Ahmadiyya Pocket Book by Malik Abdur Rahman Khadim, published in 1938.
  15. Two Heavenly Witnesses, the Moon and the Sun, on the importance and greatness of Ramazanul Mubarak by Maulvi Abdul Haq Fazl, published by Nashro Ishaat Jamat Ahmadiyya, Hyderabad, in Urdu.
  16. Musleh Akhir Zaman (Reformer of the Last Age) by Maulvi Bashir Ahmad of Delhi, published by Nazir Dawato Tabligh, Qadian.
  17. Chaowdvin Sadi Ki Ghair Mamooli Ahmiyyat (The Extraordinary Importance of the Fourteenth Century) by Maulana Dost Muhammad Sahid, p. 122.
  18. The Holy Quran, 75:7-11.
  19. The Bible, Matthew 24:29.
  20. Sursagar.
  21. Sri Guru Garanth Sahib.
  22. Musleh Akhir Zaman (Reformer of the Last Age) by Maulvi Bashir Ahmad, Nazir Dawato Tabligh, Qadian.
  23. Sat Sandesh by Maulvi Hamiduddin Shams, published by Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Hyderabad.
  24. The Holy Quran 36:37-41.
  25. The Holy Quran 55:6.
  26. A modern Guide to astronomical Calculations of Islamic Calendar, Times & Qibla by Dr. Mohammad Ilyas, Berity Publishing Kuala Lumpur, 1984.
  27. Aqrabul Mawarid, Vol. 2.
  28. Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya Vol. 3, by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him.
  29. Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya Vol. 3, by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him.
  30. Tazkirah (Revelations of the Promised Messiah, peace be on him).
  31. Roohani Khazain, Vol. 8, p. 6 with reference to Noorul Haq, Part I.
  32. Canon of the Eclipses by Prof. T. R. von Oppolzer, Dover Publications, New York, 1962.
  33. Nautical Almanac, London, 1894.
  34. Alfazl dated 17 August 1973.
  35. Noorul Haq Part II by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him.
  36. Noorul Haq Part II by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him.
  37. Noorul Haq Part II by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him.
  38. Eclipses of the Sun, by Prof. J. A. Mitchell, Columbia University Press, New York, 1962.
  39. Eclipses of the Sun, by Prof. J. A. Mitchell, Columbia University Press, New York, 1962.
  40. Eclipses of the Sun, by Prof. J. A. Mitchell, Columbia University Press, New York, 1962.
  41. Nautical Almanac, London, 1894.
  42. Noorul Haq Part II by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him.
  43. The Holy Quran 23:15.
  44. Noorul Haq Part II by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him.
  45. Mukhtasir Tazkira Qurtabi, p. 148, Alqutub ur Rabbani Sheikh Abdul Wahab Sherani.
  46. Haqiqatul Wahi by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him, published in 1907.
  47. Lunar and Solar Eclipses as Signs of the Promised Messiah, by Saleh Mohammad Alladin, Review of Religions, Vol. 82, No. 7, July 1987 and The Minaret, Vol. 19, No. 2, p. 52, 1988.
  48. Chashma-e-Marifat by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him.
  49. Tohfa-e-Golarviyya by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him, published in 1900.
  50. Noorul Haq Part II by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him.
  51. Sunan Ibn-e-Maja, Vol. 2, Chapter on the Advent of the Mahdi, The Badr Weekly, Qadian, dated 23rd April, 1987.
  52. The Extraordinary Importance of the Fourteenth Century by Maulana Dost Muhammad Shahid, p. 44.
  53. Al-Qasidah (Arabic poem by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him, in praise of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.)
  54. Durre Samin (Urdu poems by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him.)
  55. Kashti Nooh by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him.
  56. Bukhari and Muslim Sharif, Hadiqatul Saleheen, by Malik Saifur Rahman, p. 441.
  57. Haqiqatul Wahi by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him, p. 45.
  58. Dafiul Balaa by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him, p. 18.
  59. Tohfa-e-Golarviyya by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him, p. 53.
  60. Durre Samin (Urdu poems by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him.)
  61. Durre Samin (Urdu poems by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, peace be on him.)

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