The tenth argument, which is myriad smaller arguments, is that God granted to Hazrat Mirza Sahib abundant knowledge of His secrets and this knowledge is evidence of his truth and of his divine commission. The Holy Quran says:
‘And He [Allah] reveals not His secrets to any except the one whom He chooses, namely, His Messenger.’ Al-Jinn, 27-8.
An abundance of revealed knowledge about matters inaccessible to human beings is a sign by which Divine Messengers may be distinguished from others. Such Messengers receive crystal-clear wahy (revelation) free from all confusion. They are helped by convincing signs and are informed about great events before they happen. They are commissioned by God. To deny them is to deny the Holy Quran. The Holy Quran teaches that knowledge of God’s secrets is granted only to God’s Messengers. To deny this is to deny all prophets. Prophets have ever presented God-given knowledge of secrets as proof of their authenticity. The Bible teaches that the sign of a false prophet is that he should say something in the name of God and this should not come true. When in the light of this we examine the claim of Hazrat Mirza Sahib, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), his truth shines forth like the noonday sun. So abundantly and so constantly was he favoured by knowledge of God’s secrets that, excepting the Holy Prophet of Islam (on whom be peace and the blessings of God), the prophecies of other prophets provide no parallel to his. In fact, it would be true to say that if the prophetic signs given to the Promised Messiah were divided among prophets, they would be enough to prove the prophetic status of many.
Of these prophetic signs I give below an account of twelve principal ones as examples.
The prophecies of the Promised Messiah were of many different kinds. Some related to political changes, some to social developments to cosmic events, some to religious matters, some to intellectual activities, some to the birth of children, some to the cessation of births, some to earthly transformations, some to relations between nations, some to relations between rulers and their subjects, some to the success of his mission, some to the defeat and destruction of his enemies and some to the future shape of things. His prophecies, in short, can be divided into a number of categories. A description of the categories would make a long list. The twelve prophecies which I wish to describe have already been fulfilled. The first of these relates to Afghanistan.
Prophecy No. 1: Afghan martyrs
The martyrdom of Sahibzada Syed Abdul Latif and Maulvi Abdur Rahman of Afghanistan and the events which followed. May God give rulers His special protection and save them from the consequences of errors in the commission of which they had no hand! Many years ago, Hazrat Mirza Sahib received a revelation:
‘Two goats will be slaughtered; everyone who lives here will meet this end ‘
The word Shatan (two goats) can be a symbol for ‘women’ or for ‘loyal and obedient subjects’, so much is clear from the generally accepted meaning of dream symbols. If we take the word to mean women, then the sentence does not make sense. Women are not slaughtered; it is men who are slaughtered. Shatan (goats), therefore, means two men distinguished for their loyalty to their king and for their spirit of service. The revelation says that two loyal and innocent servants of a king, not guilty of any offence against the State and certainly not deserving the death penalty, will be put to death. The second part of the revelation, ‘and all those who live on this earth must meet their end’, points to death and destruction which will follow the killing of the innocent pair. The revelation does not mention the country in which the event will take place, but the words used make clear that:
- the prophecy relates not to a peaceful country but to a country in which law-abiding citizens can be murdered to appease the anger of the excited masses
- the murdered persons are the prophet’s own followers; otherwise the allusion to two victims in the prophecy has little point;
- the murders were to be unjust and wrong, not the result of any political crime, and
- as a result of these unjust murders, general destruction was to overtake the country in which the murders were due to take place.
These four points make the prophecy very different from ordinary prophecies. If the name of the country has been omitted, this does not make the prophecy less clear. The four points which the prophecy entails prove its importance. They cannot synchronize by accident.
For about twenty years after its publication nothing happened, then a series of events began which resulted eventually in a strange fulfilment of the prophecy. It so happened that books by Hazrat Mirza Sahib found their way to Afghanistan and into the hand of an Afghan saint and scholar, Sahibzada Syed Abdul Latif of Khost, who was held in great esteem by all classes in Afghanistan and revered for his piety and purity by devoted friends and followers, among them members of the ruling family. The Syed read the books and decided that Hazrat Mirza Sahib was a true claimant. He sent one of his disciples to Qadian to make further enquiries, authorizing him to take the oath of fealty if he felt so persuaded. This disciple was Maulvi Abdur Rahman. The Maulvi travelled to Qadian and took the oath for himself and on behalf of his leader, Sahibzada Syed Abdul Latif. When he returned to Afghanistan with more books by Hazrat Mirza Sahib, he decided to go first to Kabul so as to acquaint the ruler with this new discovery.
As soon as Maulvi Abdur Rahman reached Kabul, some unpatriotic and unwise individuals moved the Amir Habib Ullah Khan against him. This man had become an apostate, they said. He had gone beyond the pale of Islam and the punishment was death. The Amir was coaxed into signing a Fatwa of death. Maulvi Abdur Rahman was put to death most cruelly. He had not yet been to his village. He had decided to go first to his king to tell him that the Promised Messiah and Mahdi had come. He did so out of special regard and devotion for his king. But he was rewarded by death. A mantle was twisted tight round his neck. He was strangled to death. The Hand of God was working. Twenty years before, God had foretold the murder of two innocent and loyal subjects of the Amir. One of the two had been murdered.
One or two years later, Sahibzada Syed Abdul Latif left Afghanistan with the intention of performing Haj. Having already entered into bai’at (oath) and joined Hazrat Mirza Sahib, he decided to visit Qadian and from thence the Holy places. At Qadian he met Hazrat Mirza Sahib. The impression he had received from his books was deepened; his pure heart was filled with the Light of God. So absorbed did he become that he decided to perform the Haj later and spend more time at Qadian. After a few months’ stay he went back to Afghanistan. He also decided to acquaint his king with what he had seen and found. Reaching Khost, he wrote letters to some courtiers. They and others got to know what had happened and decided to set the Amir Habib Ullah Khan, father of King Amanullah, against the Sahibzada. They made many false statements and persuaded the Amir to have Sahibzada Abdul Latif brought to Kabul under arrest. Orders were sent to Khost and the Sahibzada was brought to Kabul. At Kabul, the Sahibzada was handed over to the Mullas. The Mullas could prove nothing against him. Then some individuals, more selfish than patriotic, excited the Amir Habib Ullah Khan and told him that if the Sahibzada were set free and his influence allowed to spread, people would lose their ardour for Jihad and this would harm the Government of Afghanistan. The Sahibzada was ordered to be stoned. The Amir Habib Ullah Khan, out of feeling for the Sahibzada, asked him to give up his belief and announce his recantation. The Sahibzada replied that he had found the true Islam: should he recant and become a Kafir? He was not prepared to give up a truth he had accepted after due deliberation. When it became clear that the Sahibzada would not recant, he was taken out of the capital and stoned in the presence of a large crowd.
A loyal and self-sacrificing subject became the victim of selfish and self-indulgent intriguers. They cheated the Amir when they told him that if the Sahibzada survived, he would be a danger to his country. The truth is that men like the Sahibzada are a shield for their country. For their sake, God repels many disasters to which the country is liable. These cruel advisers told the Amir that the Sahibzada’s influence would reduce the desire for Jihad. But they did not tell the Amir that one part of the beliefs which the Sahibzada had accepted was loyalty to the government under which one lives.
This teaching, had it been allowed to spread, would have put an end to internecine quarrels in Afghanistan, and made the country loyal and patriotic, ready to stand by authority in all difficulties. Nor did they tell the Amir that Hazrat Mirza Sahib taught against intrigues, corruption, deceit and hypocrisy. They did not tell the Amir that Hazrat Mirza Sahib not only taught, but also insisted on, the observance of patriotic virtues. If the Sahibzada’s influence had been allowed to spread, it could only have ushered in peace and progress. Nor did they tell the Amir that the Jihad which Sahibzada Syed Abdul Latif had learnt to deny was the Jihad which seeks to force Islam on non-Muslims through war and violence. This kind of Jihad was no part of Islam. On the contrary, it was an offence against Islam. The Sahibzada was against this Jihad, not against the Jihad which the Holy Prophet (on whom be peace and the blessings of God) had taught and practised. The Holy Prophet’s Jihad was defence against those who attacked Muslims to force them from their faith. Nor was the Sahibzada against legitimate political wars which one people may have to wage against another to preserve their political freedom and independence. What the Sahibzada had learnt to believe under the influence of Hazrat Mirza Sahib was that Islam was against making war on any people in the name of Jihad and in the name of Islam, so long as that people had not interfered with the religion of Islam. To do so was to harm Islam and misrepresent its teachings and its ideals. The political interests of a country were quite another matter. Of such interests each country was its own best judge. If these interests necessitated war, war was justified. But such a war could not be called Jihad. A victory wrongly won in the name of Islam, or won at the expense of the good name of its teaching, was worse than defeat in which the good name of Islam had been safeguarded.
In short, Sahibzada Syed Abdul Latif died a martyr, an end brought about by cruel and relentless cheating. The revelation ‘Two goats will be slaughtered was fulfilled: two followers of the Promised Messiah, loyal and devoted subjects of their king, were slaughtered. There remained the second part of the prophecy which foretold general destruction. Not one month after the stoning of the Sahibzada Kabul found itself in the grip of a cholera epidemic. So many people died that the entire population was struck with fear. Everybody felt that the pestilence had come as punishment from God for the foul murder of the innocent Syed. An unconcerned observer, Frank Martin, who was for many years Engineer-in-Chief to the Government of Afghanistan, wrote in his book Under the Absolute Amir that this epidemic was quite unexpected. Considering earlier epidemics in Afghanistan and the rate at which they had followed one another, a new epidemic could have been ruled out for years. The sudden appearance of cholera was, therefore, a sign of God. The event had been revealed to His Messenger twenty-eight years before. The wonder of it is that to reinforce the prophecy, as it were, Sahibzada Syed Abdul Latif himself had a premonition of it. The Sahibzada had announced that he could see dangerous days coming after his own martyrdom. The pestilence attacked every home in Kabul. It spared neither the poor nor the rich, nor those wont to take preventive measures taught by medical science. But especially seized were those who had taken a prominent part in the stoning of the late Syed. Some of them died; others lost their near relations.
The revelation took its time but met with literal fulfilment. Awful signs appeared. God proclaimed the authenticity and importance of His Messenger. The far-seeing understood it as a divine sign and believed. Such a prophecy cannot be invented by any mortal. What could a man foretell that he would soon enlist a large number of followers? Could he say that a time would come when large numbers of people would join him; that his ideas would have travelled from his own country into other countries; and that then in some distant country two of his followers would lose their lives, not because of sedition or unpatriotic activities but because of their belief in their leader? Could he say further that when the innocent pair had been put to death God would send a tremendous affliction into the country and that so great would be the destruction wrought by it that it would die? Such a clear and definite prophecy could not be formulated by any man. If it could. there would be no difference between the Word of God and the word of man.
There is one misunderstanding which I wish to clear up. The prophecy contains the words ‘all who live on the earth will meet with destruction’. It may be said that all men in Afghanistan did not die; some died but many were saved. I need only say that Kul in Arabic may mean ‘all’ or ‘some’. Here, it seems, Kul means some. In the Holy Quran, we read of God revealing to the bee thus:
‘then eat of every kind of fruit.’ – Al-Nahl, 70.
Everybody knows that not every bee alights on every kind of fruit. Therefore, kul in the prophecy really means some or many. Similarly, we read in the Quran of Queen Saba:
‘And she has been given everything.’ – Al-Naml, 24.
The description is of a queen who was the ruler of a small territory. What the verse means is that the queen had a large share of the blessings of this world. It only means that whenever and wherever the word Kul is used, it means some good quantity or some significant number. The cholera epidemic which appeared in Kabul soon after the stoning of the lamented Sahibzada shows these two important features. It struck terror into the people at large and a good number out of them met their death by it; so much so that a European writer, unaware of its significance for any revelation, mentioned it in his book.
A second difficulty which may be raised about the prophecy is that the prophetic description is Tuzbahan, i.e. slaughtered. But this description does not apply to the two martyrs. One was strangled to death, the other was stoned. The revelational description, therefore, does not apply to the deaths. This difficulty arises from lack of thought or insight. The Arabic root Zibah (slaughtering) means two things: ‘being; slaughtered’, and ‘being put to an end, the method of doing so being left undetermined. In the Holy Quran, we have many examples of this use of the word Zibah. In the narrative of Moses, we are told that the Egyptians ‘slew your sons and spared your women’ (2:50). The word used is from the root Zibah which, strictly, should mean that the only method of killing the males adopted by the Egyptians was that of slaughtering, or cutting the throat. This is not true. It is known from history that the Egyptians employed many different methods of killing the Israelite males. First, the midwives had orders to kill the male children born in Israelite homes. When the midwives hesitated, the Egyptian Pharaoh ordered them to be thrown into the river (Exodus 1:22, Acts 7:19, Talmud). Moreover, the Arabic Lexicon Taj-ul-Urus (vol. 1, p. 141) says that at least one meaning of Zibah is ‘to destroy’. It is wrong, therefore, to say that the word Zibah can only mean ‘to be slaughtered’ (as the word can be used for other forms of killing), and wrong to find fault with the prophecy by saying that the Sahibzada was stoned and not slaughtered.
Prophecy No. 2: Revolution in Iran
The second prophecy which, out of many thousands, I now wish to narrate relates to Afghanistan’s neighbour Iran. On January 15, 1906, Hazrat Mirza Sahib, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) received the revelation:
i.e. ‘Shaking in the palace of Chosroes.’
As was the practice, the revelation was published in all Urdu and English newspapers and periodicals of the Jama’at. At the time of its publication, the then ruler of Iran sat comfortably on his throne. In 1905 he had accepted proposals for popular representation Government by parliament had been promised and proclaimed. The country rejoiced over this, and the king, Muzaffar-ud-Din Shah, was the popular monarch of a grateful nation. Great satisfaction prevailed because a political revolution had taken place without bloodshed. The rest of the world looked hopefully to Iran because this experiment in democracy was new for the whole of Asia, excepting Japan. But they were unaware of the difficulties it entailed. The people were without sufficient education and without sufficient experience of democratic government. At such a time Hazrat Mirza Sahib published his revelation–‘Shaking in the palace of Chosroes.’ The revelation seemed strange. Nobody seemed to apprehend the consequences pointed out in the revelation. Iran was happy with its new-found freedom. The king, Muzaffar-ud-Din Shah, was happy with the popularity he had built.
In 1907, at the age of fifty-five, the king died. His son, Mirza Muhammad Ali, ascended the throne. The new king confirmed the constitutional changes which had been inaugurated by his father. The Iranian Parliament, the Majlis, was to continue. Representative government had come to stay. But a few days later ominous signs began to appear which pointed to events foretold in the revelation of the Promised Messiah. A year after the publication of the revelation, one could see signs of rebellion and disorder. A conflict began between the king and the parliament, the Shah and the Majlis. The Majlis put forward demands which the Shah could not accept. At last, on the insistence of the Majlis, he agreed to turn out certain men, leaders of mischief according to the Majlis. At the same time, the king decided to leave Tehran. Grave tension arose between the Nationalists and the Cossacks who formed the king’s body-guard. The revelation of the Promised Messiah received partial fulfilment. The Iranian House of Representatives was shelled and destroyed. The king abolished the parliament. General rebellion ensued in many parts of Iran. Laristan, Labudjan, Akbarabad, Bushehr, Shiraz, and practically the whole of Southern Iran were involved. Governors and officers of the old regime were dismissed and the administration assumed by Nationalists and democrats. Iran was in the grip of internecine warfare. The king could see the country’s critical condition. He started moving the treasury and his personal effects to Russia, himself staying behind to use all his tact and will to put down the rebellion. The rebellion only grew. By January 1909 it had spread to Isphahan. The Bakhtiari chief also joined the Nationalists. The royal troops suffered ignominious defeat. The king was forced to proclaim his acceptance of parliamentary government. He told the people again and again that the old autocratic order will not be re-established. But God had ordained otherwise. In the palace of Iran anxiety increased from day to day. At last even the Cossacks, the Shah’s body-guard, joined the revolutionaries. The Shah and his family left the palace and took refuge in the Russian Embassy. This was on July 15, 1909, two and a half years after the publication of the revelation ‘Shaking in the palace of Chosroes. The revelation was literally fulfilled Autocracy and reaction disappeared from Iran. Democracy came instead. The months of June and July passed in great anxiety. Only those who have ever lived through such conditions can have an idea of the anxiety, the restlessness and desperation which reigned in the palace of Iran for these two months. We need imagination to think of what must have happened. So much at least is clear, that the prophecy of the Promised Messiah came true. It was a Sign, even though few benefit from such Signs.
Prophecy No. 3: Abdullah Atham
This prophecy relating to Abdullah Atham is a sign for Christians in general and Indian Christians in particular.
It is one out of a series of prophecies which the Promised Messiah published against a hostile group of Christians. They should serve as a Sign for Christians.
I do not know, dear reader, whether you are aware of the vile attacks which Christian missionaries made in those days on the person and character of the Holy Prophet (on whom be peace and the blessings of God). These attacks used as their excuse beliefs which Muslims falsely attributed to Islam, also some false Traditions which crept into the literature of Islam. At the time of Hazrat Mirza Sahib, these attacks were at their worst. Moved by the boldness of these attacks Hazrat Mirza Sahib decided to attack back. The result at last was that Christians found themselves unable to stand against him. They left the field and abandoned their foul methods. Their present attitude and style of writing against Islam is different. Among vilifiers of the front rank at the time was one Abdullah Atham, a retired civil servant. It so happened that a public debate was arranged between Hazrat Mirza Sahib and Abdullah Atham. The debate was held at Amritsat, and h1 this debate Abdullah Atham suffered disgrace. He employed devices of various kinds but could make no impression. He sank low in the estimation of both Christians and others. In the debate was raised the subject of miracles. Because of this, it seems, God did not let the debate go without a miracle. Hazrat Mirza Sahib had the revelation:
‘In this debate the party which follows falsehood deliberately, which has abandoned the True God, and which seeks to make God of a mere man will drop in Hell. This will happen within fifteen months, i.e. within a period counted at the rate of one month to every day of this debate, the only condition being that the party should not retreat from its position’.
In his last paper for the debate, Hazrat Mirza Sahib included this prophecy and declared that the prophecy would prove that the Holy Prophet (on whom be peace and the blessings of God), whom Abdullah Atham in his book Andruna-i-Bible (lit. ‘Inner Nature of the Bible’) had described (God forbid) as the Dajjal, was a true Prophet and Messenger of God.
The prophecy consisted of two important parts: (1) that Abdullah Atham (who sought to prove that Jesus was God) would go to Hell because of his deliberate fault-finding and vilification; (2) that if he should feel repentant and realize his mistake, he would be saved from this punishment. Or, if he did not change his attitude but persisted in hostility and fault-finding, and yet escaped punishment, the prophecy would be untrue; on the other hand, if he should change but still met his death within fifteen months from the conclusion of the debate, even then the prophecy would be untrue. The words of the prophecy clearly indicated that, according to God, Atham was due to live longer than fifteen months, but that he would die within fifteen months if he persisted in his hostility. A Little reflection on the words would show that the two steps of the second alternative lent greater grandeur to the prophecy than the two steps of the first alternative. The two steps of the first alternative were that if Atham persisted in hostility, then he would die within fifteen months. For Atham to persist in hostility and unjust opposition was natural and easy. He was a Christian writer who had written books in support of Christianity and against Islam. He held high social status and enjoyed valuable contacts with Englishmen.
For this public debate between Christians and Muslims, he had been selected as the Christian exponent in preference to other padres and preachers. Important Christian missionaries acted as his assistants. Such a man could be expected to continue to hold fast to all his Christian beliefs. Having done so much for the publicity of Christianity and played the role of exponent and advocate, one would not expect that he would, even for a moment, recant his belief in the godhead of Jesus or be impressed by the miraculous power of Islam to say that in that case he would die within fifteen months seemed a grand prophecy. But Atham was sixty-five and a man as old can be said to have completed his span of life. Were he to die it would not have been so extraordinary. But consider the other alternative. Were Atham to retreat from prejudice and hostility, he would be safe from death for fifteen months. It was far more difficult for Atham to retreat from his confirmed and settled attitude against Islam than to persist in it. And while death can be brought about by human hand, a guarantee of life for fifteen months cannot be given by anybody. The steps of the second alternative were evidently more difficult. The second alternative could make the prophecy more grand and more impressive. It appears that God chose the more difficult alternative. Atham, in spite of his circumstances, his associations, his position and his past, became overawed by God and the prophecy. The first sign of it occurred in the debate when Atham put his fingers over his ears and said that he had not called the Holy Prophet a Dajjal. After the publication of the prophecy everybody in the country was agog, anxiously awaiting the result. But God did not let fifteen months pass without more signs of Atham’s retreat from hostility. Atham stopped all his work in support of Christianity. He stopped speaking and writing. A well-known preacher and author cannot at once retire into silence. The fact that Atham did so, proves that Islam had made some impression upon his mind, that at least he had come to think it wrong to attack, and perhaps even to resist Islam. But he showed this not by retiring into silence only. He suffered great mental anguish, a sort of hell. Feelings of guilt over his unjust hostility towards Islam mounted. He began to have strange hallucinations and admitted this to his relations and friends. He day-dreamt about snakes, rabid dogs, and armed men ready to attack him. These experiences cannot be produced through human agency. Snakes and dogs cannot be exploited for the purpose, and in India, because of the ban on the free use of weapons, armed men could not be found and paraded. These hallucinations constituted the mental hell into which Atham had fallen. It was the result of remorse, of feelings of guilt over his support of Christianity and hostility to Islam. This mental hell was a substitute for the physical Hell to which he would have had to go had he stuck to his antipathy to Islam. If his faith and trust in Christianity had remained as before, if he had continued to regard Islam as false as he had done before, he would not have suffered the delusions and hallucinations which he did. He would not have suffered from fear of snakes and dogs as he did. If he continued to feel sure that God was not against him, why did these mean animals seem so fearful to him? Why did he abandon all writing and speaking on behalf of Christianity? Why did he go from town to town in dread of something?
In short, God chose to fulfil the second part of the prophecy, the part which predicted Atham’s retreat from his excessive attachment to Christianity and excessive hostility to Islam. This part of the prophecy was less likely to be true. Atham began to have doubts about Jesus’s divinity. The truth of Islam began to dawn upon his mind. On his retreat God completed the second step of this part of the prophecy. Atham was saved from death even though fear and guilt had driven him very near it. The promise of God came true. He was saved because he had retreated.
This was a grand prophecy fit to open everybody’s eyes. But if nothing had been said or done about it after the appointed time was over, critics of Hazrat Mirza Sahib would after a time have gone on to say that Atham had made no retreat whatever, that it was a concoction on the part of Hazrat Mirza Sahib and his followers. To make the truth of the prophecy even more clear, God roused a group of Christians and Muslims to say that the prophecy had proved untrue and that Atham had not died within the appointed time. They were told that the prophecy could be fulfilled in two alternative ways, and it had been fulfilled in the second way. But the critics did not agree and went on to say that Atham had not retreated. At this, Hazrat Mirza Sahib invited Atham to declare on oath that his Christian and Muslim supporters were right and that during this time he had not entertained the least thought of the truth of Islam and the falsehood of Christianity. Atham, however, refused to make any declaration on oath. He made a statement without oath that he still thought Christianity to be true. But thanks to God and His Power over the minds and thoughts of men, in the same statement he declared that his conception of the divinity of Christ was different from the conception of other Christians. This declaration only fulfilled the prophecy. The prophecy had said that the party which sought to make God of mere man would go to Hell. Atham admitted that he did not think Jesus Christ was God. Notwithstanding this declaration, Atham was asked if he would make a declaration on solemn oath that he had entertained no doubts whatever about the truth of his religious beliefs, that the truth of Islam had not made the least impression upon him, and that during all this time he had continued to hold the thoughts and beliefs which he had held before. While inviting Atham to make this declaration on solemn oath, Hazrat Mirza Sahib himself declared that if, in the event of such a declaration on oath, Atham did not meet with divine punishment, he would admit his falsehood. He also promised to offer a cash reward of Rs 1,000 if Atham was able to take the oath. Atham wrote in reply that oath-taking was not permitted by his religion. This was strange because in the New Testament the disciples are said to have taken different kinds of oaths. In Christian states nobody is appointed to high office unless he takes the oath of allegiance. Even the king has to take such an oath. Judges, members of parliament, high civil and military officers have to take an oath. Witnesses in court have to take an oath. Christian courts, in fact, restrict oath-taking to Christian witnesses. Non-Christian witnesses only say, ‘I declare before the ever-present and ever-seeing God,’ etc. Therefore, if oath-taking, according to Christians, is the special privilege of Christians, Atham could not plead disability because of his religion. His plea was not honest. It was a device to escape the oath and its penalties. Atham had seen fearful scenes and had become convinced that if he took the oath he must die. That Atham refused to take the oath using false excuses becomes clear also from the fact that among Christians no important religious office is given to anybody unless he takes the oath of loyalty. Protestant Christians, and Atham was a Protestant, have to take two oaths, one of loyalty to the Church, the other of loyalty to the State. When these things were explained to Atham, he was completely silenced. The value of the cash reward offered to Atham if he was able to take the oath was raised gradually from Rs 1000 to Rs 4000. The condition of a year of waiting was dropped. Atham could claim the cash reward as soon as he had taken the oath. But Atham knew that out of fear of his community he was trying to conceal the state of mind from which he had suffered for fifteen months. Knowing all this he dared not take the oath. He spent the rest of his days in silence. All his writing and speaking against Islam was over. The preaching of Christianity was also over. The truth of Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s prophecy became more plain than ever. The retreat of Atham from his belief in the godhead of Christ had, in a way, been admitted by Atham himself. That his earlier thoughts about Islam underwent a change was proved by his refusal to affirm the contrary on solemn oath and by his reply on being challenged to take such an oath. (And yet in one of his papers for the debate at the end of which this prophecy was made, Atham had tried to prove that Christ was God and that he possessed all the attributes of God in his person.)
The greatness and grandeur of this prophecy quickens the faith of every honest person. In it one can see the working of the Hand of God. Here was a sworn enemy of Islam, the leader of an important community and its advocate in controversy with another. He had spent all his life preaching and propagating one religion and propagating against another. This man came to entertain thoughts against his own religion and in favour of the other. This hardened antagonist also had terrifying day-dreams. In consideration of this change of attitude he was saved from the threatened death for full fifteen months. These things are beyond human power and human planning.
Prophecy No. 4: An American impostor
This prophecy relates to the end of Dowie, the American impostor. It is a Sign for Christians in general and for the people of America in particular.
I now proceed to narrate the prophecy which proved a Sign for Christians in general. In addition to being a Sign for Christians, it also proved a Sign for people in the West. Alexander Dowie was well known in America. Australian by birth he had acquired American citizenship. In 1892 he started preaching. He claimed powers of healing and people gathered around him. In 1901 he claimed to be a forerunner of the second coming of Christ, just as Elijah was a forerunner of his first coming. The second coming of Christ was then a much discussed subject. The signs laid down for it in the scripture had appeared, and people interested in religion were eagerly waiting. The publication of his claim brought Dowie a further increase of followers. He bought some land and founded a town called Zion, declaring that Christ would descend in that town. Many rich people, eager to have the first view of Christ on his second coming, paid large sums of money for land on which to build houses in that town. Dowie began to rule in that town as an uncrowned king. Soon his followers numbered more than 100,000.
He sent preachers to different Christian countries. Full of hatred for Islam, he hurled foul abuse against it. In 1902 he published a prophecy that unless Muslims of the world became Christian, they would meet with death and destruction. Hazrat Mirza Sahib, the Promised Messiah, heard of this and wrote a leaflet in reply. In it Hazrat Mirza Sahib enumerated the beauties of Islam and said that it was quite unnecessary for Dowie to predict and proclaim the destruction of the Muslims of the world. He (Hazrat Mirza Sahib) had been sent by God as the Promised Messiah, so Dowie could enter into a prayer contest with him. The result of this contest would enable the whole world to determine the Truth. This leaflet by Hazrat Mirza Sahib was published in September 1902, the publication having been arranged on a very large scale in both Europe and America. From December 1902 to the end of 1903, newspapers in Europe and America kept commenting on this leaflet, and about forty of them sent to Qadian copies of issues containing their comments. Judging from the extent of the publicity it may be estimated that between two and two and a half million people came to know about the proposed prayer contest.
Dowie did not write in reply to this leaflet, but he went on praying for the defeat and destruction of Islam. He also renewed his attacks. On February 14, 1903, he wrote in his paper: ‘I pray to God that Islam will soon disappear from the world. O God, accept this prayer of mine. O God, destroy Islam.’
On August 5, 1903, he wrote in his paper: ‘The blackspot on the mantle of man [Islam] will meet its end at the hands of Zion.’ Hazrat Mirza Sahib saw that Dowie was in no mood to retreat from his hostility; so he issued another leaflet sometime in 1903. This leaflet was called Prophecies about Dowie and Piggott. Piggott was a pretender in England. Hazrat Mirza Sahib wrote in this leaflet that he had been sent by God to re-establish belief in the Oneness of God, to put an end to all attempts to associate others with this One God, and that he had a Sign to show to America. The Sign was that if Dowie entered into a prayer contest with him and he decided, directly or indirectly, to accept his challenge, then in Mirza Sahib’s lifetime Dowie would leave the world in great pain and misery. Hazrat Mirza Sahib went on to say that Dowie had been invited to enter this prayer contest before, but had made no reply. He was now allowed seven months more. During this time he could publish his reply. The leaflet ended by saying: ‘Be sure, calamity is due to befall Dowie’s Zion.’
Then in the end, without waiting for Dowie’s reply, he prayed: ‘God, ordain that the falsehood of Piggott and Dowie may soon become patent to people.’
This leaflet also was published in the West on a very large scale. Newspapers in Europe and America commented upon it. The Glasgow Herald in Britain and the New York Commercial Advertiser in America published summaries of it. Millions of persons came to know of it.
When this leaflet was published, Dowie’s star was at its zenith. The number of his followers was increasing. They were so rich that every New Year Dowie received presents worth a hundred thousand dollars from them. Dowie owned many industrial establishments. His bank balance amounted to about twenty million dollars. His staff of servants was larger than that of the richest in the land. He was in excellent health: health, he said, was his special miracle, and he claimed the miraculous power of healing by the touch of his hand. Dowie had money, health, followers, influence, everything ill abundance.
On the publication of the second leaflet by Hazrat Mirza Sahib, people asked Dowie why he did not reply to the Indian Messiah. Dowie said contemptuously:
There is a Muhammadan Messiah in India who has repeatedly written to me that Jesus Christ lies buried in Kashmir, and people ask me why I do not answer him. Do you imagine that I shall reply to such gnats and flies? If I were to put down my foot on them I would crush out their lives. I give them a chance to fly away and live.
Foolishly Dowie, who had so far kept out of any contest with Hazrat Mirza Sahib, had now entered the contest, though he continued to say he had not. He forgot that Hazrat Mirza Sahib had written clearly that even if Dowie entered the contest indirectly he would have to leave the world in great pain and misery while Hazrat Mirza Sahib was still alive. Dowie described Hazrat as a worm and said he could kill him with his foot. Thus Dowie had entered the contest and invited the punishment of God.
Dowie’s vanity and ostentation increased. Some days later he again described Hazrat Mirza Sahib as the ‘foolish Muhammadan Messiah’, he also wrote, ‘If I am not a messenger of God on this earth, then no one is.’ In December 1903 he entered the contest openly. He declared that an angel had told him that he would be victorious over his enemies. The declaration was a counter-prophecy, a prophecy of the death of Hazrat Mirza Sahib. The spiritual contest which had been developing gradually now became patent and open. After this last declaration, the Promised Messiah wrote nothing and in accordance with the Quranic injunction ‘And wait as they also wait’, he waited for the Judgment of God. God is slow but firm in His grip. The grip of God got hold of the feet with which Dowie wanted to trample down the Messiah of God.
Dowie’s feet became impaired. Far from being able to trample over the Messiah with them, he could not even rest them on the ground. He had an attack of paralysis. From this, however, he recovered after a few days. But two months later, on December 19, he had a second attack which prostrated him. Completely disabled, he left his work to his secretary and himself went in search of health to an island supposed to possess a climate that cured paralytics. But the Wrath of God followed him. Dowie had described the true Messiah as a worm. Now Dowie himself was to be reduced to the status of a worm. The miraculous powers of which he used to boast began to desert him. After he left home, his followers began to wonder why he who had the power to heal others could not heal himself. And he did not even need to pray but only to give a touch of his hand. Why did he fall ill at all? They began a search of his rooms, which had been inaccessible until now. They found bottles of wine. His wife and son declared that Dowie drank heavily in secret though he had prohibited his followers from drinking or using any intoxicants. He had prohibited even tobacco. His wife declared that she had been loyal and faithful to him even during the days of his poverty, but she had been sorely disappointed to know that in order to marry a rich old woman, Dowie had started saying it was lawful to take more than one wife. In promulgating this law he was finding an excuse for bigamy. Dowie’s wife produced letters which this woman had written in reply to Dowie’s. His followers became infuriated. They decided to check the accounts of Dowie’s organizations. It was found that Dowie had misappropriated about five million rupees (a million and a half dollars). It also appeared that he had given presents worth more than a hundred thousand rupees to young girls in the town. Upon these disclosures Dowie’s leading followers decided to depose him. They sent him a telegram which said: ‘Unanimously the organization seriously objects to your expensive habits, hypocrisy, mis-statements, exaggerations and ill-temper. Therefore, you are hereby deposed from your office.’ Dowie could not refute these charges, and eventually all his followers turned against him. As a last effort he wanted to address them and convert them again to his side. But when he alighted from the train, only a few persons had come to receive him. Hardly anyone paid any attention. He turned to the law courts, but the law courts gave no help in obtaining possession of public funds. He was awarded a miserable maintenance. On the other hand, his paralysis had reduced him to complete helplessness. His Negro servants had to carry him from room to room. He lived in unrelieved misery and pain. A few friends of his continued to visit him during these last days. They advised him to have proper treatment, but Dowie did not agree. He knew he had been advising others against treatment. How could he have any treatment himself? At last out of about a hundred thousand followers, only about two hundred remained with him. He had failed in the law courts. His paralysis had advanced. He could not endure his mounting troubles. His mind became unbalanced and he was practically insane. In this condition he appeared before some of his followers, who saw the once robust, pompous forerunner of Christ swathed all over. Dowie said his name was Jerry! He had been battling with Satan the night before! In the battle his general had been killed! He himself had received injuries! Those who heard this disjointed speech knew what had happened. Dowie had gone mad. The last followers left Dowie. The words of Hazrat Mirza Sahib were fulfilled. Mirza Sahib had said that before his eyes Dowie would leave this mortal world ‘in great pain and misery’. On March 8, 1904, Dowie died, abandoned and disgraced. When he died, he had only four men with him and his assets amounted to about thirty rupees!
A worse picture of pain and misery cannot be imagined. Dowie’s death was an object-lesson, a Sign for the people of the West. Many newspapers declared that the prophecy of Hazrat Mirza Sahib had been fulfilled. I quote some of the newspapers of those days:
Ahmad and his adherents may be pardoned for taking some credit for the accuracy with which the prophecy was fulfilled a few months ago. (Dunville Gazette, June 7, 1904)The Qadian man predicted that if Dowie accepted the challenge ‘he shall leave the world before my eyes with great sorrow and torment. ‘ If Dowie declined, the Mirza said, ‘the end would only be deferred; death awaited him just the same, and calamity will soon overtake Zion.’ That was the grand prophecy: Zion should fall and Dowie die before Ahmad. It appeared to be a risky step for the Promised Messiah to defy the restored Elijah to an endurance test, for the challenger was by 15 years the older man of the two and probabilities in a land of plagues and famines were against him as a survivor, but he won out. (Truth Seeker, June l5, 1904)
It is quite true that Hazrat Mirza Sahib was much older than Dowie. So there were more chances for Dowie to survive Hazrat Mirza Sahib.
Dowie died with his friends fallen away from him and his fortune dwindled. He suffered from paralysis and insanity. He died a miserable death, with Zion city torn and frayed by internal dissensions. Mirza comes forward frankly and states that he has won his challenge. (Boston Herald, June 23, 1904)
These quotations from the American newspapers show that the prophecy made an impression not only on Christians but also on free-thinking editors of the American newspapers. They had been so impressed by the grandeur of the prophecy that they felt obliged to write about it. They were not able to deny its truth or its importance. Whenever the Sign of the death of Dowie is narrated before Western audiences, they will have before them the testimony of scores of newspapers, edited by fellow-countrymen and fellow-believers. Western audiences on hearing about Signs of this kind will be forced to admit that Islam is the true religion. Salvation is not to be found outside Islam. On being convinced, they will give up their prejudices and old beliefs. They will enter Islam and declare their faith in the Holy Prophet (on whom be peace) and in his servant the Promised Messiah (on whom also peace). Coming events cast their shadows before them. In America, several hundred persons have already joined the Ahmadiyya Jama’at.
Prophecy No. 5: Death of Lekh Ram, a sign for the people of India
I now turn to another prophecy, one of many which proved the truth of Islam to the people of India. Their fulfilment moved several hundred thousand persons and convinced them of the truth of Islam and persuaded many of them to declare openly that Islam was the true religion. The effect of the prophecy has continued ever since.
The circumstances of the prophecy are that late in the last century a new Hindu sect called the Arya Samaj came into existence. Seeing the low condition of Islam in our time, this sect conceived a bold plan to convert Muslims to the Hindu religion. To this end Arya Samaj writers began to publish the most scurrilous attacks on Islam. The most daring of these leaders and writers was one Lekh Ram. In the course of several exchanges Hazrat Mirza Sahib tried to explain to this Arya leader the truth of Islam; but to no avail. Lekh Ram stuck to his anti-Islam ideas and schemes. He produced the most distorted translations of passages from the Quran. Common decency found it difficult even to read those translations. He held the most foul views about the Holy Prophet and the Holy Quran. The best of mankind he thought the worst of mankind the best book in the world the worst. A diseased eye cannot stand the light. This was the case with Lekh Ram. The controversy with him began to mount. Lekh Ram went further and further in his abuse of the Holy Prophet (on whom be peace) and ridicule of Hazrat Mirza Sahib. He also became impatient for a sign. Hazrat Mirza Sahib prayed to God and learnt that this man’s end was near. Before publishing this prophecy Hazrat Mirza Sahib offered to withhold publication of the prophecy if Lekh Ram had any objection, but Lekh Ram said he had nothing to fear from such prophecies. The revelations received at first were general. No time limit had been set for Lekh Ram’s end. Lekh Ram insisted on a time limit. Hazrat Mirza Sahib therefore withheld publication of the prophecy until he had more knowledge from God. Eventually, he learnt that Lekh Ram was due to meet with a fatal calamity within six years counting from February 20, 1893. On receiving this assurance Hazrat Mirza Sahib published the prophecy. He added to it an Arabic revelation relating to Lekh Ram.
‘A miserable half-dead calf; nothing awaits it but disgrace and destruction. ‘
Declaring his prophecy and this revelation, Hazrat Mirza Sahib wrote (addressing all religious parties): ‘If within six years from today, February 20, 1893, this man does not meet with punishment from God, which is unusual in its poignancy and tragedy and which empresses all and sundry with the fear of the Lord, then let everybody think that I am not from God.’
A little later, Hazrat Mirza Sahib elaborated the prophecy on the basis of further revelations. He wrote:
‘And God gave me the tidings that I will witness a day of Id, and this day will be close to the Id.”And among the graces of God which I have received is this that He has accepted my prayers relating to one Lekh Ram and that He has informed me that he will soon receive his just deserts. This man was foul in his abuse of the Holy Prophet. I prayed against him. So my God informed me that this man will die within six years. There are Signs in this for seekers after truth.’
A little later Hazrat Mirza Sahib added further details to the prophecy. These were published as a note inside the front cover of his book Barakat-ul-Dua. It was headed ‘A further prophecy about Lekh Ram of Peshawar’. In the course of it he wrote:
Today, April 2, l893 A.D. (Ramadhan 14, 1310 A.H.), early in the morning, in semi-sleep, I saw myself sitting in a large house, some friends with me. Suddenly in front of me I saw a man, fearful looking with blood-shot eyes. As I saw, he seemed a strange creature, of a strange character. Not a human being, I thought, but a dreadful and dangerous angel. He struck terror into those who saw him. As I looked at him, he asked, ‘Where is Lekh Ram?’ Then he named another and asked me his whereabouts also. I then understood that this person had been appointed to punish Lekh Ram and this other man.
Hazrat Mirza Sahib also referred to Lekh Ram in his Persian verse included in his book Aina-i-Kamalat-i-Islam:
Foolish and misguided foe,
Fear the sharp sword of Muhammad.Denier of the greatness of Muhammad,
And of the luminous light of Muhammad!
Miracles may seem a thing of the past,
Come yet and see one through the devotees of Muhammad.
Put together, the prophecies relating to Lekh Ram foretold;
- that Lekh Ram would meet with a calamity which would prove fatal for him;
- that this calamity would take place within six years;
- that it would be on a day close to Id, just before or just after;
- that Lekh Ram would meet with the fate of the Calf of Samri; that is, dismemberment and death and dispersion of his ashes into a river;
- that this fatal process would be carried out by a ruddy person with blood-shot eyes;
- that Lekh Ram would be a victim of the sword of Muhammad.
These details are so clear and determinate that nobody can have any doubt about their meaning and content. Five years after the publication of these prophecies, however, people started ridiculing the Promised Messiah. The time limit of the prophecies, they said, was over and nothing had happened! Could Mirza Sahib still be genuine? But the next Id-ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadhan, occurred on a Friday. On the day following the Id, that is, Saturday, in the afternoon, an unknown person stabbed Lekh Ram in the stomach with a sharp knife. Stabbed on Saturday, Lekh Ram died on Sunday. The Word of God came true in all its grim details. The prophecy had laid down a six-year limit. Lekh Ram died within six years. The prophecy said the fatal event would occur on a day close to the Id, and that this day would prove the Id of the believers. It happened exactly like this. Lekh Ram was stabbed on the day following the Id. The prophecy said that Lekh Ram would meet his end at the hands of a fearful red-looking person. That is exactly what happened. Lekh Ram was to be a victim of the sword of Muhammad; so, he died of a stab wound. The prophecy said that Lekh Ram would meet a fate similar to the fate of the Calf of Samri. This calf was dismembered on a Saturday, burnt to ashes, the ashes dispersed in a river. This is what happened to Lekh Ram. Being a Hindu he was cremated and his ashes thrown into a river.
The story of the murder of Lekh Ram is that some time before, a man with blood-shot eyes had come to him, wishing to be converted from Islam to Hinduism. People tried to dissuade Lekh Ram from entertaining him. But Lekh Ram did not heed. This man became Lekh Ram’s trusted companion. Lekh Ram had appointed the fateful Saturday as the day of his conversion. Lekh Ram was busy writing. He asked for some book. This man, pretending to hand Lekh Ram the book slipped a knife into his stomach and turned the knife round and round so as to cut the entrails thoroughly. He then disappeared, according to the statement of Lekh Ram’s family. Lekh Ram was on the upper floor of the house. Near the gate, on the ground floor, were many men; but no one saw the murderer come down and escape. Lekh Ram’s mother and wife were certain he was still in the house. On a search of the house nobody was found. Where had he disappeared to? Into the earth or the sky? Lekh Ram died in great pain on Sunday. On a Sunday, the Promised Messiah had seen in a Vision this red-looking fearful murderer who asked for Lekh Ram. Lekh Ram’s end was a Sign of the truth of the Promised Messiah, a divine warning for those who would heap vile abuse on the holy person of the Holy Prophet (on whom be peace and the blessings of God).
Prophecy No. 6: Prince Dalip Singh, a sign for Sikhs
I now pass on to a prophecy which on fulfilment proved a sign for Sikhs and demonstrated to them the truth of Islam and the authenticity of the Promised Messiah.
It so happened that when the British annexed the Punjab they decided for obvious political and psychological reasons to send away to England the young heir to the Sikh throne, Prince Dalip Singh. He was to stay there until British rule became established in the Punjab. After the mutiny of 1857, however, the last vestiges of the Mughal power in Delhi disappeared and everything seemed safe for the British. Raja Dalip Singh expressed a desire to return home and it even began to be rumoured that the Prince was really returning. Hazrat Mirza Sahib, however, had a revelation that the Prince would not return. He informed many people about it, especially Hindus. In one of his leaflets he predicted that a returning Punjab prince was going to encounter trouble. At the time of the publication of this prophecy nobody imagined that the Prince’s return home would be stopped; in fact, it was understood that he would soon set foot on his native soil. But just about this time the British Government changed their mind. They decided that the Prince’s return would be dangerous for the Government. As the news of his return spread, the Sikhs became more and more restive. Their thoughts turned to the recent past. The British authorities began to fear trouble. The steamer which carried the returning Prince reached Aden. He was stopped at Aden and ordered back to England. The news of this last-minute change came when everybody was expecting the Prince back home. The Sikhs felt very resentful. The Might of God showed itself. God becomes aware of the thoughts of men before they themselves become aware of their thoughts.
Prophecy No. 7: The plague
I have related prophecies of the Promised Messiah about Afghanistan and her neighbour Iran. I have also described four prophecies which may be said to have completed Islam’s argument against three important Indian communities, the Christians, Hindus and Sikhs. I now proceed to narrate a prophecy which completed the argument against all communities of India and eventually against the whole world. This prophecy has proved that God has power over the minutest causes. If He will He can turn them into the service of his Messenger. Many prophecies of Hazrat Mirza Sahib have been fulfilled already. Many await fulfilment. As an example of such prophecies I present an account of his prophecy regarding the onset of plague. There is an added point of interest in the prophecy, namely that this pestilence is mentioned in the prophecies of the Holy Prophet who foretold that this deadly disease would appear in the time of the Promised Messiah. When according to a prophecy of the Holy Prophet, a lunar eclipse occurred on the 13th of Ramadhan and a solar eclipse on the 28th of the same month. Hazrat Mirza Sahib was informed that if people did not heed this important Sign and did not accept him, they would meet with divine punishment on a considerable scale. Hazrat Mirza Sahib wrote:
‘The lunar and the solar eclipses were two grave warnings from God. Their occurrence in the same month should serve as an admonition and point to the divine punishment which those who persist in hostility must receive.’ (Nur-ul-Haq, part 11)
Soon afterwards, as a step towards the fulfilment of the prophecy, he was moved to pray for a pestilence. Thus in one of his Arabic poems (1894) he said:
When iniquity and ungodliness rose to a deadly height; even as flood reaches its dangerous level,I wished from God that a pestilence should come and destroy;
For, according to the wise, it is better for people to die than to become involved in fatal misbelief and misguidance.
Than in 1897, in his book Siraj-Munir, he quoted a revelation of his:
O Messiah for men. rid us of our Pestilences.
Commenting on this he wrote:
‘Wait and see how and when these warnings fulfil themselves. There are times when prayers bring death, and times when they bring life.
When this last prophecy was published, plague had already made an appearance in Bombay. It stayed for a year and disappeared. There was a feeling of relief. Its spread had been prevented by the public health authorities. But a warning from God pointed the other way. When general complacency had been induced by the belief that the disease had come and gone, when the Punjab, except for one or two villages, seemed quite safe, when in Bombay its ravages had been more or less halted, the Promised Messiah issued a statement in which he said:
I am constrained to write about an important matter and this owing only to overwhelming sympathy. I know that those devoid of spiritual feelings will tend to ridicule my statement. Nevertheless, out of sympathy for them, it is my duty to warn people. The warning is this. Today, February 6, 1898, Monday, I saw in a dream that angels of God were planting black seedlings in different parts of the Punjab. The seedlings are ugly dangerous looking, black and stunted. I asked some of the angels about them. I was told that they were the seedlings of plague which was about to spread in the country. It did not become quite clear to me whether this was to be next winter or the winter after the next. But the scene and the experience were full of terror. I am reminded also of a revelation of mine about the plague. It said, ‘Verily Allah does not change the lot of a people unless they first change their hearts.’ It seems that the plague will not disappear unless extreme sin and transgression disappear first.
At the end of this warning the Promised Messiah added some Persian verse:
If my friends could see that which I see,
Tears of blood would they shed and say good-bye to the world.The bright sun has become dark for the sins of men,
The earth has thrown up the plague to frighten and warn.
If you but knew, you would liken this calamity to the calamity of Doomsday,
There is no cure for it but the cure of good deeds.
I say all this out of sympathy for you: It is for you to think over,
Use then your wisdom today, you wise and alert.
It appears from these prophecies that in 1894 the Promised Messiah prophesied a general calamity. The description of this he himself elaborated into a pestilence. Then, when the plague first made its appearance in India, he issued a special warning to the Punjab against the impending destruction. He described the threatened calamity as the calamity of Doomsday and said that there was to be no escape from it unless there was a change of heart.
What happened subsequently is terrible beyond words. The plague started in Bombay as though its worst effects were to be there, but Bombay recovered and the Punjab became its centre. So deadly and so widespread was it that the death-rate rose to thirty thousand per week and several hundred thousand died in a year. Hundreds of doctors were appointed. Many different kinds of treatment were invented. But to no avail. Every year the plague flared up with added virulence. The Government authorities looked on helplessly. A general feeling arose that this was the consequence of denying the Promised Messiah. Then several hundred thousand persons believed. The epidemic continued to rage until the Promised Messiah was told by God that the plague was over, only fever remained. After this declaration the plague began to decline steadily. However, from some revelations it appears that it may break out again in our own country or in others. This clear prophecy compels assent by believers and deniers alike. If there are those who still refuse to believe this, they can only have our sympathy. Those who consider the facts with an open mind must agree that:
- The warning about the plague was given a long time before its occurrence and a long time before medical science was able to predict its appearance anywhere.
- When the plague made its first appearance people were warned that the attack would be repeated annually.
- People were also warned that the attack on the Punjab would be the most virulent. It was in the Punjab that it was at its worst and that the largest number of deaths took place.
- Doctors assured the people again and again that the epidemic had been controlled, but the Promised Messiah declared that the epidemic would not abate until God let it. As everybody knows the devastation continued for full nine years.
- At last God Himself, out of compassion, promised to reduce its virulence. The Promised Messiah was told that the plague had disappeared, only fever remained. After this revelation the worst of the epidemic was over. However, a serious malaria epidemic broke out in the Punjab. Not a single household remained immune from it. Official reports admit that a malaria epidemic had never raged on such a scale.
The prophecy I now proceed to narrate proves the Might and Dominion of God in the innermost depths of the earth as over its surface. The prophecy relates to the great earthquake which visited the Punjab on April 4, 1905. The earthquake fulfilled this prophecy and the fulfilment was, for all faiths, a proof of the truth of Islam and of the Promised Messiah. The revelations containing the prophecy said:
‘A shock of earthquake’
‘Destruction will come over temporary habitations as well as settled places.
The revelations were soon published in the Ahmadiyya newspapers. Their literal fulfilment was utterly remote. Many thought they related only to the severity of the plague. But God meant otherwise. God meant the eruption of the volcanic hill at Kangra. This hill was supposed to be dead and inactive. It had a goddess made of stone installed on it to which superstitious Hindus made offerings. Geologists thought the hill had lost all capacity for harm; there was nothing to fear from it. Temples had been built all around, at great cost, and had existed for several hundred years. Devotees lived in these temples. Thousands of pilgrims visited them every year. God commanded the dead volcano to become active again and become a witness of the Truth of God’s Messenger.
As the words of the revelation show, the earthquake was to deal particularly severely with mahalluha (temporary habitations), residences, camps, hotels, sarais, military barracks. It cannot be said that mahalluha (temporary hutments) precedes maqamuha (settled places) for the sake of rhythm, not for stressing temporary residences as the special target of the earthquake. For rhythm could have been served by some other word. The revelation consisted of a single line, and rhythm could have been secured by a rearrangement of its own words. The arrangement of words in the revelation, therefore, pointed to something significant. It was that the worst effects of the earthquake were to appear over an area full of temporary dwellings. Such dwellings exist only in cantonments, holiday resorts and places of pilgrimage. The earthquake of the prophecy was to visit an area of this kind.
Some time after the publication of these revelations, the dead volcano of Kangra suddenly became active. It was early on April 4, 1905. Morning prayers were hardly over. For miles around Kangra, the earth suffered a severe shaking. Kangra, its temples, and its sarais were completely destroyed. Eight miles away was the cantonment of Dharmsala. The military barracks there was razed to the ground. Bungalows built by Englishmen for use during holidays were reduced to rubble. Dwellings at Dalhousie and Bakloh were also destroyed. Towns and villages all around suffered. About twenty thousand persons died. Experts – geologists and others – wondered why the earthquake had come. Little did they know that the earthquake was the result of the denial and derision heaped upon the Promised Messiah. It had come to alert people to the importance of his claim. Experts searched for the cause inside the earth. The cause lay outside. The dead volcano of Kangra had obeyed the behest of its Lord and Creator. The Promised Messiah foretold many other earthquakes, and they came in their time. More may yet come.
Prophecy No. 9: The Great War of 1914-18
The ninth prophecy of the Promised Messiah, which I now proceed to narrate, is one out of many which proved to the whole world that the dominion of God extends over the hearts and minds of rulers and leaders, as it extends over common men and women, and that man, proud and powerful though he be, is as much constrained to obey God as any of His other creatures. This prophecy was published in 1905. The prophecy foretold the Great War of 1914-18, which shook Europe and perplexed the peoples of the world. It swept common men and women off their bearings and its ill-effects survive to this day. Its flames have yet not died out. The prophecy apparently speaks of an earthquake, but the description of this earthquake indicates that it was to be a worldwide calamity resembling an earthquake. Other revelations on the subject also indicated a calamity other than an earthquake.
I first quote the revelations containing the prophecy.
‘A fresh sign. Shock of a fresh sign.”An earthquake resembling Doomsday. Save your lives. I descended for your sake. We will show many Signs for your sake. We will destroy whatever the world is building. Say, “I have God as my witness – will ye believe?” I have saved Israel from detriment. The Pharaoh and Haman, the armies of both, are in the wrong.’
‘Victory resplendent. Our victory.’
‘I will come to thee with the armies and will come suddenly.’ (This revelation has been repeated again and again.)
‘A mountain fell; and came an earthquake! A Volcano!’
‘Avenues useful for Arabs. Arabs set out from their home.’
‘Houses will disappear even as all thought of Me has disappeared. You will see the earthquake of the appointed day. Allah will show you the earthquake of the appointed day. Dominion on that day will be for the One, Relentless God.’
The ‘earthquake’ of the prophecy was also described by the Promised Messiah in some detail in an Urdu poem. According to this poem:
The earthquake was to bring destruction to human beings, villages and fields. A man caught naked will not have time to dress. The earthquake will entail special hardship for travelers. Many will stray far from their appointed routes to escape the terrors of the earthquake. Depressions will be produced in the earth. Streams of blood will flow. Streams of water running downhill will become red with blood. The calamity will involve the whole world. All men, great and small, all governments, will break under its impact. Especially will the Czar be reduced to a state of misery. Even birds will suffer. They will lose their sense and forget their sweet songs.
The Promised Messiah had other revelations on the subject. One was ‘Boats sail that there may be duels’; another ‘Raise the anchor.’ Hazrat also wrote that all this was to happen in about sixteen years’ time. An earlier revelation said the calamity was to take place in his lifetime. Then he was taught a prayer, ‘O God, do not let me see this earthquake.
So the Great War took place within sixteen years of the publication of the prophecy, but not in his lifetime.
The prophecy speaks of an ‘earthquake’, but this should not be taken in its literal sense but as a world calamity of some kind, i.e. a world war. For those who do not see this at once, I state my reasons:
Firstly, the word ‘earthquake’ is often used for war, for a great calamity. We have examples of this in the Holy Quran. Thus:
‘When they came upon you from above you, and from below you, and when your eyes became distracted and your hearts leaped into your throats and you thought diverse thoughts about Allah, there and then. But the believers were sorely tried and they were shaken with a violent shaking.’4
The ‘shaking’ in these verses, the English for the Arabic Zilzal, should ordinarily mean an earthquake. But here it means war. The word is capable of such a meaning and the Holy Quran has used it in this sense. Therefore, where a context permits we can take ‘earthquake’ to mean some other calamity. ‘Earthquake’ can be a metaphor.
Secondly, when the Promised Messiah published this prophecy, he appended to it a note which said:
It is possible that the description relates not to a literal earthquake but to some other calamity, grave enough to remind us of the Day of Judgment and unusual enough not to have been known before. This calamity may bring destruction to both life and property. (Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya, vol. V, p. 120)
This clearly shows that the Promised Messiah’s prophetic description is not necessarily the description of an earthquake. It could be a calamity different from the conventional earthquake. When he published the prophecy, his critics insisted on taking the earthquake of the prophecy for a common earthquake. They asked Hazrat Mirza Sahib not to let ‘earthquake’ mean anything else. But Hazrat Mirza Sahib said again and again that in the revelations several different metaphors had been used. He could not, therefore, take the descriptions to mean any one thing. The grandeur of the prophecy lay in the many Signs which it foretold, the foretelling of which does not lie in the power of man. The prophecy laid down a time limit. It also said that the events it foretold had not been seen before in the history of man.
Thirdly, the words used in the prophecy make it clear that a literal earthquake could not be meant, but instead probably a calamity of some other kind:
- The prophecy says that the earthquake will involve the whole world. But everybody knows that earthquakes never do that; they only involve parts of the world.
- The prophecy says the calamity will prove very hard on travellers, who will lose their way and stray far from their routes. But earthquakes do not trouble travellers. They trouble those staying in houses, in big cities. A calamity which can trouble travellers can only be war. When war starts, travellers cannot follow their normal routes. They have to give them up and adopt devious and difficult routes instead.
- The prophecy points to the ill-effects of the calamity on farms, fields, etc.; but earthquakes have no ill-effects on farms and fields, which are destroyed only by war. Shelling from both sides destroys them. Sometimes ‘scorched-earth’ policy destroys them.
- The prophecy points to the ill-effects of the calamity on birds; they were to lose their ‘senses’ and their ‘songs’. An ordinary earthquake can have no such effects. The vibrations only last for a time. If birds sitting on a tree or a building fly into the air, they experience no ill-effects whatever. A modern war, however, is very hard on birds. Day and night bombing and the destruction of trees is highly detrimental to bird-life. The birds either die or suffer greatly.
- The prophecy contains the revelation ‘I have saved Israel from detriment.’ This indicates that the calamity was to result in some advantage for the Jews. Such a thing can have no connection with an ordinary earthquake. (I will explain below the meaning of this part of the prophecy; and I will show that this prophecy is also contained in the Holy Quran.)
- The prophecy points to war because, apparently speaking of an earthquake, it goes on to say that the Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts are in the wrong. This is an obvious reference to the German Kaiser, who thought himself God or at least God’s Deputy, just as the Pharaoh of Moses thought he was ‘God of his people and Mighty’. Haman in the revelation means the Kaiser’s ally, the Emperor of Austria, who had little will or personality and was totally obedient to the German warlord. If the prophecy meant a literal earthquake, the words ‘Verily Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts are in the wrong’ would have little or no meaning.
- The revelations mention the repeated promise ‘I will come suddenly with my armies.’ This also points to war rather than earthquake. The revelations speak of a volcano, the eruption of which will entail advantages for the Arab peoples, who will also venture out of their homes. The description cannot apply to an ordinary earthquake. A volcano can only mean the violent expression of political discontent which may be precipitated by some passing event. Some such event was to stimulate the Arabs into some large action by which they were to turn events in their favour.
- The revelations assert that on that day, God Almighty will be the Universal King. This description also indicates a war in which powerful states were to be involved against one another. The great powers, according to the prophecy, would become weak. The Dominion of God was to be re-asserted by powerful Signs.
- One revelation says, ‘A mountain fell and came an earthquake.’ Even schoolchildren know that earthquakes are not the result of falling mountains. In fact, it is the other way about. Mountains may fall as the result of earthquakes. This also shows that the prophecy does not apply to an ordinary earthquake, but is a metaphorical description of some other large calamity involving the nations of the world in mutual warfare.
The fourth reason why the earthquake of the prophecy did not necessarily mean an earthquake but indicated some other calamity is that other revelations of the Promised Messiah received at about the same time point to a great war. One revelation says, ‘Raise the anchor.’ This points to the entry of different nations into naval encounters against one another. The command ‘Raise the anchor’ indicates the beginning of naval hostilities. Another revelation says, ‘Boats sail that there be duels.’ This is a picture of the vessels going in one direction and another in search of naval encounters. After showing that the earthquake of the prophecy really meant the Great War of 1914.-18, I wish to describe in greater detail how the several parts of the prophecy found fulfilment in the events of the Great War.
The first thing we must remember in this connection is that, according to the prophecy, war was to follow upon a certain incident. According to the prophecy, an unfortunate event was to be followed by a world-wide ‘earthquake’. The Great War started exactly in this way. The heir-apparent of Austria-Hungry and his wife were assassinated. The assassination resulted in war. This was different from the way wars normally start. Wars are precipitated by differences and disagreements between great powers, but this war was precipitated by the assassination of an archduke and his wife.
A second feature foretold of the calamity was its universality. This feature too was fulfilled in a remarkable manner. Before the Great War, calamities universal in scope were not known. This war was the first world calamity. The countries of Europe entered the war first. Soon Asia became involved and then China, Japan and India were in it. A German battleship attacked Indian shores from the Indian Ocean. Iran was the scene of fighting between British and Turkish forces. Iranians had trouble with the German Consulate. Fighting, and grim fighting, took place in Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Siberia. Fighting took place in the four important parts of Africa. South Africa attacked German West Africa. There were disorders in South Africa itself. German colonies were attacked in East Africa. On the West coast fighting took place in the Cameroon. Fighting occurred on the border between Egypt and Tripoli. A German battleship attacked parts of Australia before being cornered at last. There was fighting in New Guinea. The British and German navies encountered each other near the American coast. Canada and the United States had to enter. South American states declared war on Germany. In short, no part of the world remained outside or escaped the effects of the war.
A description of the war contained in the prophecy is the breaking of hills and the destruction of cities and cornfields, and this is what happened. Many hills disappeared because of bombing or because of mines which had to be cut through them. Many cities were ruined. Germany had to pay large sums of money for the rehabilitation. She still has to pay a large figure in reparations. The damage done to farms and fields cannot be estimated. Wherever the forces of one country advanced into another, the destruction of farms followed. Towns were destroyed and nothing remained of the green fields and pastures. Artillery lines were spread over thousands of miles. The resulting destruction was beyond calculation.
Another feature of the war was that birds lost their senses. This is what happened. In battle areas bird-life came to an end.
Another sign of the war was depressions and general destruction of the land surface. In France, Serbia and Russia, excessive bombardment produced deep depressions. In places water came out of such depressions. Fighting involved the digging of trenches. Countries which saw the fighting became full of these dug-outs. Nobody who saw them could say that these were countries with settled populations. For what were these lines and lines of dug-outs? Brick-kilns like those in our country? Or caves?
Another sign of the war was that streams of water red with human blood were like streams of blood. This is what happened. So much blood was shed at times that for miles waterways in the locality would turn red. There was so much fighting on the different fronts that streams of blood flowed literally.
Another sign of the war was the difficulties travellers and wayfarers were going to have. Many of them were to lose their way. This is what happened. On the land, because of fighting armies and their movements, normal routes became blocked. On the sea, owing to submarine warfare, boats carrying passengers were constantly in danger. When the war started, several hundred thousand persons were stranded in enemy countries. Many of them had to reach their own countries by circuitous routes. Troops of different countries also had to travel by longer routes, shorter routes having gone into enemy possession. British soldiers serving in France often lost their way. Many unhappy incidents occurred and to prevent this British soldiers were ordered to wear the names of their regiments and their stations round their necks.
Another sign was that ‘things’ which the world was trying to build would be wiped away. This is what happened, both in the physical and in the metaphorical sense. Many well-known buildings in Europe were destroyed. Destruction was also wrought to the foundations of European life. The old security, the old confidence in continued peace and progress were gone. European nations are trying to rebuild these foundations, but all efforts seem to fail. It seems inevitable that European – and Western – life will have to seek new foundations on which to rebuild. The old foundations have been destroyed, and destroyed for good. The new foundations will have to be more rational and nearer to the teaching of Islam. Something like it seems ordained by God and nothing can stop it.
A very important feature of the war was relief to the people of Israel. This feature of the prophecy received a clear fulfilment. The war was not yet over when, as a consequence of the war itself, Mr. (later Lord) Balfour declared that the people of Israel who had been without a ‘homeland’ would be settled in their ancient ‘homeland’, Palestine. The Allied nations promised to compensate the people of Israel for injustices done to them in the past. In accordance with these declarations, Palestine was taken from Turkey and declared the national home of the Jews. The administration of Palestine is being shaped so as to make it easy for Jews to make it their homeland. Jews from different countries are being encouraged to settle in Palestine. A very old demand of the Jews, that conditions promoting their national cohesion should be created for them, has been met.
The strangest thing about this part of the prophecy is that references to it exist also in the Holy Quran. Thus in the chapter Bani-Israil, we read:
‘And after him We said to the children of Israel, “Dwell ye in the land; and when the time of the promise of the latter days comes, We shall bring you together out of various people.’ – Bani-Israel, 105.
Commentators of the Holy Quran take the land to be Egypt and the promise of the latter days to be the Day of Judgment. But such interpretations are wrong because the Israelites were never ordered to live in Egypt. They were ordered to live in the Holy Land, namely, Palestine, and there they lived. Similarly, ‘promise of the latter days’ cannot mean the Day of Judgment, because the Day of Judgment has little connection with Israel’s having to live in the Holy Land. All that this promise of the latter days means, therefore, is that a time was to come when the Jews would leave the Holy Land, to be gathered into it again at the time of the ‘promise of the latter days’. The promise of the latter days relates to the time of the Promised Messiah. The re-gathering of Israel, therefore, was to take place in the time of the Promised Messiah.
In the commentary Futuh al-Bayan we are told that ‘the time of the promise of the latter days marks the descent of Jesus from heaven’. Also the chapter of the Holy Quran just quoted divides the history of the Jewish people into two great periods (17:5). Of the second period the same chapter goes on to say:
So when the time for the latter warning came, We raised a people against you to cover your faces with grief, and to enter the Mosque as they entered it the first time and to destroy all that they conquered with utter destruction.’ – Bani-Israil, 8.
From this it appears that the warning of the latter days relates to the time in Jewish history subsequent to the first coming of Jesus. However, after this warning we know from history that Jews were not gathered; they were dispersed. Therefore in verse 17:105 the warning of the latter days relates to the period after the second coming of Jesus. The words ‘shall bring you together’ refer to the present influx of Jews into Palestine. Jews from different countries are offered facilities of travel and rehabilitation. The revelation of the Promised Messiah said, ‘I will relieve the children of Israel.’ This indicated a great change in the position of the Jews. It indicated the end of the opposition which nations of the world had made for so long to an independent home for the Jews.
An important sign of the war was the time limit of sixteen years, It happened exactly as had been foretold. The revelations about the war were received in 1905; the war started in 1914, i.e. within sixteen years from the date of the prophecy.
Another sign of the war was that naval forces of different nations were to be kept ready. Accordingly, we find that not only combatant nations, but other nations too had to keep their naval forces in readiness. Every nation had to see that no other nation violated her waters. War could be forced upon them at any time. So naval forces had to be ready, even for the protection of neutrality.
One important sign of the war was the movement of ships for sea warfare. The prophecy pointed not merely to preparations and readiness for combat on the sea but also to the movements of vessels. Accordingly, in this war many more sea vessels were used than had been used ever before. Vessels of small size, destroyers, and submarines were used on a scale completely unknown before. The expression used in the revelation is ‘boats’ which points to a bias for fighting seacraft of small size, and this is true of the Great War of 1914-18.
One sign told of the war was its suddenness. The suddenness with which this war broke out is well known. Statesmen later admitted that though they expected a war sometime, they had no idea that it would come suddenly. The murder of the Austrian archduke proved to be a fuse which touched off a world-wide conflagration.
A sign of the war was the advantages which it was to bring to the Arab nations and the way Arabs were to exploit the opportunities it offered. For a long time Arabs had entertained the idea of Arab independence. When they heard that the Turks had entered the war, they thought the time for their freedom had come. They at once declared themselves against Turkey and entered the war against them. Arabs achieved the goal of their freedom.
Another sign was the destruction of cities and places noted for their godlessness. ‘I will obliterate habitations much as they have obliterated My name.’ It is generally agreed that Eastern France was the worst part of Europe from the point of view of sensual indulgence. From this part was sent the wine consumed in different countries of Europe. It was also the rendezvous of pleasure-seekers from Western countries. In accordance with the prophecy this part suffered the most. Pleasure resorts crashed and crumbled, and were wiped out as God’s name had been wiped out from them.
One sign mentioned in the revelations was ‘Our victory’. This clearly indicated that victory was to come to the side which possessed the sympathy of the followers of the Promised Messiah. This is what happened. The Promised Messiah prayed for Britain, and God helped Britain out of this terrible calamity. British statesmen may attribute their victory to their plans, but a careful observation of the crucial phases of the war shows that British forces received miraculous help repeatedly. Again and again accidents went in their favour. This shows that British victory was due to special divine help. It was not due to human planning only.
One sign in the prophecy was of outstanding importance, because this one sign consisted of a number of other signs. This sign was that the war was to reduce the Czar of Russia to a most pitiful condition. Circumstances at the time of the publication of the prophecy gave no such indication; in fact there were indications to the contrary. But the prophecy was fulfilled, and the fulfillment surprised everybody.
The prophetic description of what was to happen to the Czar implies a number of separate prophecies. One was that until the ‘calamity’ appeared, no harm would come to the Czar. Harm to the Czar was to come as a result of the ‘calamity’, namely the war.
Secondly, the prophecy implied that the harm destined for the Czar was not death or a sudden end. Death or a sudden end does not connote a pitiful condition. The prophetic description, therefore, does not connote the death of the Czar. It connotes instead a condition lasting over some time and full of pain and privations of various kinds. The description also implies the end of the Czars as a dynasty. The prophetic description speaks of the Czar. It points to the Russian royalty, not to any individual Russian ruler. But see how literally the prophecy was fulfilled! Before the Great War, efforts were made to depose the Czar and to get rid of the Russian royalty, but nothing happened. Then came the war and the time appointed for the end of the Czar. The end came with a suddenness which astonished everybody. It appears that when the revolution of 1917 started, the Czar was not in the capital but at the front inspecting battle lines and positions. When he left for a tour of the battle area there were no signs of a revolution. Then, because of some indiscretion on the part of a governor, people became angry. Such anger is common in organized states; it seldom or never leads to their fall. On this occasion, however, the Hand of God was at work. The Czar, on hearing of this unrest, sent instructions to the Government to put it down with a strong hand. But a strong hand this time produced a contrary effect. It resulted in more unrest. The Czar replaced the governor and himself started back for the capital. On the way, he heard further accounts of the situation. He was advised that unrest was on the increase and that he should not enter the capital. But the Czar did not care. Believing that his presence on the scene would calm down the people, he continued the return journey. He had not gone very far when he learnt that a general revolution had taken place; that the revolutionaries had taken possession of the State Secretariat; and that a popular government had been set up. On March 12, 1917, in the course of a single day, the greatest and most powerful monarch in the world, designated the Czar (literally ‘one who rules over all and is ruled by none’) was deposed from his mighty throne and reduced to the status of his own people’s subject. On March 15, under duress, he signed a declaration that he and his family would never again claim the Russian throne. This was literally in accordance with the prophecy. The family of the Czar fell as a ruling family. But there were other parts to the prophecy. The Czar, Nicholas II, imagined that by surrendering the throne he would save his own life and the lives of the Czarina and their children, and that they would be able to live as private citizens. But this was not to be. He surrendered the throne on March 15. On March 21, he was taken prisoner and sent to Skosilo. On March 22, America declared her recognition of the new revolutionary government. This killed the last hope. The throne had gone. Even physical survival was in doubt. He could see now that the powers on whose help he had relied and who were his allies in the war against Germany did not take much more than a week to recognize a government set up by disloyal subjects. On March 24, England, France, and Italy declared their recognition of the new government. Then the Czar gave up all hope. He could see that friendly powers for whose sake he had been fighting against Germany did not wait much more than a week before recognizing the disloyal revolutionaries. These erstwhile friendly powers did not raise even a feeble voice in his support. But there were other pains for him to endure. To fulfil the prophecy, his condition was to become really pitiful. The Czar was a prisoner, but the reins of government were still in the hands of a member of the royal family, Prince Dilvao. The good offices of this prince assured the Czar’s kind treatment in prison. In fact, the Czar and his family had more or less settled into gardening and other occupations appropriate to an ex-king and his family. But in July this prince also had to surrender. The reins of government passed into the hands of Kerensky. The life of the royal prisoners now became harder, but it was still bearable. On November 7, Bolshevik revolutionaries dismissed the Kerensky government, and the condition of the Czar became so pitiful as to make the stoutest heart flinch. The Czar was removed from internment in the Royal Palace and taken from place to place, ultimately to Ekaterinburg. Here he was to have a taste of the tortures he used to inflict on prisoners serving sentences in Siberia. This small town is to the east of the Urals, fourteen hundred miles from Moscow. Here machinery for use in Siberian mines was manufactured. Russian political prisoners had to work in these mines. The scenes around his new prison reminded the Czar of the atrocities perpetrated by him on others.
However, the pitiful condition of the Czar was not to be measured by these tortures only. The Bolshevik government reduced his rations and ordinary comforts. His sick child was beaten by ill-mannered guards. The parents had to watch. His daughters were maltreated. Even these tortures did not satiate the revolutionaries. They invented new penalties and new pains. One day, when the Czarina was present under compulsion, the virgin daughters of the Czar were raped by the soldiers. If the Czarina, unable to bear the sight, turned her face away, the soldiers would compel her to observe the inhuman scene. Witnessing these brutalities and enduring more pains and poignancies than can have been endured by any mortal, the Czar at last met his end. He was shot dead on July 16, 1918, and with him the entire royal family. The prophecy ‘Even the Czar at that moment will be in a pitiful condition’ was fulfilled literally.
The war was over. The Czar died a pitiful death. The rulers of Germany and Austria had surrendered their crowns. Cities had been laid waste. Hills had disappeared. Millions of men had died. Rivers of blood had flowed and destruction had stalked the land. But alas! the world still asked for signs and arguments to prove the authenticity of the Divine Messenger. God’s resources are limitless. His punishment is as ready to come as His forgiveness. But blessed are they who are willing to understand, who will hasten to make peace with their Lord rather than continue at war with Him. They heed His Signs and do not pass by them as though they did not see them. They draw the Compassion of God, receive His blessings and prove a blessing for the world.
Prophecy No. 10: Expansion of Qadian
So far I have narrated prophecies embodying warnings, or both warnings and promises. Now I wish to narrate three prophecies containing promises of progress, expansion, and general advance.
These three prophecies, like all the others, received full publicity well before their fulfilment. Both friend and foe knew about them. Men of all religious persuasions could be found who would say that they knew of the existence of these prophecies. They have been reproduced repeatedly in the books and journals of the Promised Messiah. The first of these three prophecies relates to the expansion of Qadian. Hazrat Mirza Sahib was informed that the village of Qadian, the birthplace and centre of the Ahmadiyya Movement would grow from year to year and become in time a large city, like Bombay or Calcutta, with a population of a million or so. Eastward it was to expand as far as the river Beas, nine miles from Qadian. When the prophecy was published, the population of Qadian was only about two thousand. Except for a few houses made of baked brick, the whole town had houses made of mud. Rents were extremely low: one could have a house for about four or five annas a month. Land for a house could be had very cheaply. A plot could be had for about ten or twelve rupees. Hardly any shops existed. Ground flour could be bought for only two or three rupees at one time. Men lived as in villages. They ground their own flour to make their own bread. There was only one school, a primary school; its one teacher, on a small extra allowance, also worked as the village postmaster. Mail from outside arrived twice a week. Houses in the village were enclosed within the village wall. No natural conditions existed which could have helped the prophecies. Qadian was eleven miles from the nearest railway station. The= road connecting it with the railway was a kacha dusty road. Towns grow on railways or other routes, but Qadian was not on any such route. There was no local industry to attract labour, no official= activity, institution or department. Qadian was not a district or= sub-district headquarters. It did not have even a police post. It was not a market for any kind of produce or goods. The followers of Hazrat Mirza Sahib did not number more than a few hundred at the time. A town could not have been created by asking devotees to come and live= at Qadian.
True, it may be said that a claim to spiritual office had been made. Therefore, Mirza Sahib could expect to have a following of some size, and this following could come to Qadian and make it a large town. But who could say that Hazrat Mirza Sahib would have a large enough following? And how often do followers of a spiritual leader give up their vocations and habitations to live near their leader? Jesus was born in Nazareth and Nazareth is still a village. Great Saints like Shahabal-Din Suhrawardy, Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi and Bahaud-Din Naqshbandi (mercy of Allah be on them) were born in villages, went to live in villages. But those villages remained villages. They did not grow any more in size, or if they did, it was within economic limits. The founding of towns or cities is not easy. Kings who plan and found towns without regard for economic conditions do not succeed. Such towns are soon abandoned. From the economic standpoint Qadian was very poorly situated from a railway line that its inhabitants could set about promoting it as a centre of some sort, independently of the railway. Nor was Qadian on a river or a canal. Waterways stimulate trade and help the growth of towns, but Qadian did not have even= this advantage.
Against all normal and natural conditions, without any of the usual advantages, Qadian was to grow bigger and bigger. After the prophecy had been published, God began to help the Jama’at with an increase in numbers. Members of the Jama’at began to turn to Qadian as a place to settle in. Ahmadis who came to settle attracted others. The complete fulfilment of the prophecy will take time but its partial fulfilment is astonishing. The population of Qadian is now [1920s] about four and a half thousand, already more than twice its original population. The old village wall has disappeared and the town has overflown its boundaries. At the present time houses can be seen at least a mile out of the old village. Some big brick buildings and wide roads have been added, so that what was once a village is now a town. The bazaars too have grown. Purchases worth thousands may be made at one time. Instead of the old primary school, there are three high schools (they include one for Hindus, one for girls) and a college for religious studies. The post office, which received outside mail only twice a week and which was run by the local schoolmaster, now has a staff of seven or eight. Telegraph facilities are being added. Several newspapers are issued; at present one bi-weekly, two weekly (one Urdu, one English), and one bi-monthly and two monthly journals besides. Five printing presses exist, one of them a machine press. Many books are published every year. The name Qadian is firmly installed on the postal map. Bigger towns may lose their mail, but not Qadian. In short, under inauspicious circumstances, Qadian has grown in an unparalleled manner. Its unusual growth is against normal economic laws and is proof of the truth of God’s communication. Those who have known it and knew its situation (whatever their religious attachment) admit that Qadian has expanded and is expanding. They may think it only an unusual coincidence. But woe to them who never ask why all coincidences are ordained for Hazrat Mirza= Sahib.
Prophecy No. 11: Financial relief
A second example of prophecies promising progress and prosperity is the prophecy about increasing financial help. This prophecy was attended by the strangest circumstances. In respect of time, it was the Promised Messiah’s earliest prophecy. It so happened that his father was taken ill. Hazrat Mirza Sahib had had no experience of revelation until then. One day it seemed that his father had more or less recovered. Only some diarrhoea remained. Yet Hazrat Mirza Sahib had the revelation.
‘By the Heaven and by the= Night-comer.’
Night-comer (in Arabic, Tariq), means ‘that which comes at night’. Hazrat Mirza Sahib understood that the revelation foretold the time of his father’s death and that it had come as divine condolence over his impending bereavement – the sympathy of God in the coming grief. Many sources of family income ware connected with his father: pension and presents and a part of the family property. On receiving the revelation Hazrat Sahib experienced some anxiety. The pension, the periodical presents, and a part of the property were all to go. But then came a second revelation and this contained a grand prophecy. It said:
‘Is not God sufficient unto His servant?’
The revelation conveyed to Hazrat Mirza Sahib the promise that God would look after him and meet all his needs. He mentioned this revelation to Hindu and Muslim friends. One of them, a Hindu (who is still alive), went at his request to Amritsar to have a ring made with the revealed words engraved on the stone. Knowledge of the revelation spread. The importance of it became more evident when, under providence, litigation over family property started within the family. Even what was to remain with Hazrat Mirza Sahib out of the family property seemed likely to slip away from him. His elder brother managed the family affairs. Differences arose between this brother and other relations. Hazrat Mirza Sahib proposed that they should treat the relations with more than ordinary consideration. The brother did not agree. Matters went to court. The brother requested Hazrat Mirza Sahib to pray; he prayed, but was warned that the brother would lose and the relations would win. The warning proved true. More than two-thirds of the family property went to others, very little remained with the brothers. Enough for maintenance, it was not enough for the great work Hazrat Mirza Sahib was about to undertake. He was preparing his magnum opus, Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya, a work destined to produce a revolution in the religious world. The publication of this book needed funds. The provision of funds, apparently impossible, became possible through miraculous ways. Men little interested in religion were moved to help and to provide the funds for its publication. Four parts of the book were published. But it was obvious that more and more funds were now required. The published parts confounded the critics of Islam. They stopped their attacks on Islam, but started attacking Hazrat Mirza Sahib. Great excitement arose. Hindu, Christian, and Sikh publicists all joined in. Hazrat Mirza Sahib was ridiculed about his revelations. The object of their propaganda was to alienate the people from his writings on Islam and to save the critics of Islam from a defeat which seemed inevitable. Some Muslims out of jealousy also joined them. The attack on Hazrat Mirza Sahib came from four sides. To repulse the attack more and more funds were required. Attacks by Muslims as well as non-Muslims had to be met and the glory of Islam maintained. Thank God, the means were not long in coming.
And now Hazrat Mirza Sahib advanced into a third period of his life. He began to have revelations that he was the Messiah promised in the old prophecies. The first Messiah was not alive in Heaven, but had died like all mortals. On the publication of this claim many who had attached themselves to him withdrew. Only forty persons accepted the claim and made a solemn affirmation on his hand. Hazrat Mirza Sahib was now at war with the whole world. Many erstwhile friends joined the opponents and started doing their worst. The funds needed=20began to exceed all estimates. Replies to opponents, publicity of the claim and of arguments for the claim, also the publication of leaflets for the instruction of followers, were heavy liabilities. At the same time the Power of God was due to manifest itself in new ways. Still heavier liabilities were to be incurred by Hazrat Mirza Sahib. God commanded him to start a guest-house at Qadian and invite all and sundry to come and stay as his guests, receive direct instruction in religion, and have their doubts and difficulties removed through personal contact with him. The loss of old friends and helpers, the increase in printing and publishing needs, and now building a guest-house and entertaining a stream of visitors, amounted to a huge liability. It might have disrupted the Movement at its very inception, if Allah had not been ready with His help. A few dozen men who had joined him (and not one rich man among them, most of them in fact very poor) proved equal to the task. God filled the minds of these poor men with extraordinary zeal. They endured hardships and privations, but did not let the interests of faith suffer. Apparently, their sincerity and their sacrifice, but really the Promise of God in the revelation ‘Is not Allah sufficient unto His servant?’ was at work.
The Ahmadi Jama’at now faced general persecution. Maulvis had issued the Fatwa that the punishment for Ahmadis was death. Looting their houses and dispossessing them of their property and marrying their women elsewhere without the formality of a divorce was not only lawful but an act of merit. Ill-motived= and criminal-minded men looking for excuses for the display of their lusts had started acting on this Fatwa, Ahmadis were being turned out of their houses and dismissed from service or work. They were also being deprived of whatever they possessed. The only salvation from these troubles was migration to Qadian. A steady flow of refugees into Qadian increased the expense of housing and feeding them. The Jama’at now numbered one to two thousand, but every one of them was exposed to hostility and hatred. They lived in continued anxiety: anxiety over their lives, honour, possessions, and property. They also had their daily debates over differences. Yet they found the money required for the propagation of Islam, for the feeding and putting up of visitors, and for an increasing number of refugees. Hundreds of persons had their meals twice a day at the guest-house instituted by Hazrat Mirza Sahib. The very poor among them had to have other needs provided for besides. Individual residents also had to entertain visitors and refugees. Every house in Qadian was open for this purpose. The Promised Messiah’s own house always remained full. Every room in the house sheltered some guests, sometimes a whole family. The financial burden, already heavy, became heavier and heavier. New difficulties and new responsibilities were being added every day. But anxieties did not stay. They were driven away by the divine promise – ‘Is not Allah sufficient unto His servant?’ Circumstances which seemed to threaten the very existence of the Jama’at turned into assets, sources of weakness into sources of strength. Thunder-storms turned into welcome light rain. Every drop echoed back the promise of divine help – ‘Is not Allah sufficient unto His servant?’ The troubles of those early days can well be imagined. The people of Afghanistan, at one time, had to receive an influx of refugees from India. Afghanistan had an established government ready to entertain them, and many refugees paid their own expenses. The number of hosts was larger than the number of guests. Ten million Afghans had to entertain one or two hundred thousand refugees. Yet difficulties arose. Thus the pressure on the resources of a Jama’at, one or two thousand poor, in feeding several hundred visitors and refugees and financing the propagation of Islam, can well be imagined. And, let us not forget, the small group who bore all this lived not in peace but in perpetual anxiety.
The needs and liabilities of the Movement were not to last for days or months, or even years. They were to last and increase from year to year. But every year God’s help came and provided the necessary means. In 1898 Hazrat Mirza Sahib opened a high school for the education of the young members of the Jama’at. The school was to have a proper religious side. Financial liabilities further increased. A little later two monthly journals, one English, one Urdu, were started for the propagation of Islam. Activities of the Jama’at expanded. Means were provided by God. At the present time the Jama’at maintains an English high school, a theological college, and a girls’ school at Qadian, plus primary and middle schools in other places. It also maintains a number of preachers for work in India. Missions for the propagation of Islam are maintained in Mauritius, Ceylon, and England, and also an establishment at the headquarters to organize and direct the work of the Jama’at. There are editorial and publishing departments, a department for instruction and education, a department for general administration, a department for settling disputes, a department for determining questions of religious laws, etc., etc. The budget of the Jama’at amounts to about three or four lakhs (three or four hundred thousand) rupees. The rising financial liabilities of the Jama’at are being met by the special Grace of God promised in the revelation ‘Is not Allah sufficient unto His servant?’
The Jama’at remains poor. This is in keeping with a law of God which permits only the poor to collect around a divine teacher in the beginning. People hold early followers in contempt:
‘We see that none have followed thee but only the meanest amongst us.’ – Hud, 28.
The wisdom of this law is that the success of a Divine Movement cannot then be attributed to the help and interest of human beings. Neither friend nor foe is able to say such a thing. The fact that a small and poor community is able to bear an increasing financial burden can only be accounted for by divine help. Members of the Jama’at pay the same taxes that other citizens pay. They pay the revenue assessed on their lands. They pay for roads, hospitals, schools, etc. They have their other normal financial obligations= to discharge; but, in addition, they have their voluntary liabilities for the propagation of Islam which they also discharge. They have done this now [1920s] for thirty-five years. True, during this time some relatively well-to-do and socially well-placed persons have also joined the Jama’at, but the liabilities of the Jama’at have increased proportionately. It may seem strange that while others who are richer and more prosperous grumble over their private budgets, Ahmadis year after year not only do not grumble over their private budgets but give away lakhs for the sake of God. Many of them rely so much on the Grace of God that if need arose they would put their all in the way of God. Where did this faith and this spirit come from? Only from God. Only God can provide the stimulus. It was God Who first assured the Promised Messiah, ‘Is not Allah sufficient unto His servant?’ No power could have held out such a promise and so early. At the time of this revelation the Promised Messiah feared for a mere living. How could he hope to find the large funds needed for the ever-increasing liabilities he had incurred on behalf of Islam? What power could promise such a thing and then fulfil the promise? There are tens of millions (crores) of Muslims in the world. How much do they give for the propagation of Islam? If other Muslims in India were to make financial contributions at the same rate as members of the Ahmadi Jama’at for the propagation of Islam, they could provide about nine or ten crores every year for this purpose. This, if their economic level were the same as that of Ahmadis. But Indian Muslims include many rich men, rulers of native states, and owners of big businesses. If we keep in view the resources of the richer Muslims, Indian Muslims alone could subscribe more than fifteen crores of rupees for the propagation of Islam. But they do not provide even a decent fraction of what this small, poor community is able to provide for this purpose. Why such a difference? Because Ahmadis are sustained by the Divine Promise- ‘Is not Allah sufficient unto His servant?’
Prophecy No. 12: Expansion of the Jama’at
This prophecy relates to divine promises about the diffusion of ideas, teaching, and spirit which Hazrat Mirza Sahib was commissioned to impart. These were the ideas and teachings of the Holy Quran, which had been forgotten by both Muslims and others. The prophecy received good publicity. It was issued at a time when not the slightest conditions conducive to its fulfilment existed in the world. I quote the exact words of some of the revelations:
‘I will carry thy message to the ends of the earth.’
‘I will add to the fold of thy sincere and loyal friends. I will add to their progeny and their wealth and increase them manifold.’
‘He, God, will make the Ahmadiyya group grow, so that their size and their influence begin to seem strange.’
‘They [visitors to Qadian] will come in large numbers.’
‘Verily We will grant you increase of everything.’
Some revelations came in English. One said:
‘I will give you large party of Islam.’
Another revelation said:
A party out of the first and a party out of the latter [peoples].’
This may mean that the members of the Ahmadi Jama’at would be drawn from the followers of earlier prophets as well as from Muslims.
‘O Prophet of Allah, I knew you not.’
This speech is put into the mouth of the earth, meaning people in general, who would be remorseful at their failure to believe in the Promised Messiah.
Yet another revelation said:
‘The earth is Our inheritance. We will devour it from all sides.’
Some of these revelations belong to the very earliest days. They were received and published when Hazrat Mirza Sahib did not have a single follower. Others were received later when the Jama’at had grown, but not yet to any size. It was no ordinary thing for Hazrat Mirza Sahib to proclaim that a time would come when he would have a large following; that members of his Jama’at would be found not only in India but also in other countries; and they would be drawn from all communities and sections; and that their numbers would increase and no country would remain inaccessible to his message. To say such a thing is not easy. Human imagination cannot make predictions of this size, not on the basis of ordinary knowledge.
Today science and philosophy predominate. Belief all religions is on the decline. Beliefs held from early childhood are being abandoned. Christians today are no longer Christians, Hindus no longer Hindus, Jews no longer Jews, and Parsis no longer Parsis. The place of old religious beliefs is being taken by a vague sort of rationalism which tends to become the inner content of all religious beliefs. Only the external forms are still different. In the face of this universal tendency, it seemed futile to expect people to turn to Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s teaching and to adopt the beliefs he taught. Followers of earlier prophets, who were turning away from their own prophets and were gradually adopting a kind of natural religion, could not so easily accept the claims of Hazrat Mirza Sahib. At the same time Hazrat Mirza Sahib’s power to reach the peoples of the world was severely limited. He knew only Urdu, Arabic, and Persian. He had been born in India, and Indians until quite recent times have been hated in Arabia and Iran. Nobody could imagine that the inhabitants of Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, and Egypt would believe in revelational claims made by an Indian. English-educated Indians had come to think divine revelation mere delusion, the Holy Quran not the Speech of God but the speech of Muhammad, the Prophet. How could they believe that divine revelation was a fact and that God really does communicate His Will and Knowledge to His favoured servants, even to those who do not know English? Not knowing English is like a sin in the eyes of the English-educated Indians. Hazrat Mirza Sahib was completely ignorant of European languages, European sciences, European customs and institutions. He had never stepped out of his own province. Only once did he go as far as Aligarh. Nobody would have thought that such a man would address himself to Western countries and win converts. Nobody would have thought that well-trained European minds full of contempt for Asians would pay any attention to the teaching of an Asian, much less accept it. Nobody would have said that people in isolated parts of Africa would accept the teaching of such a man. Nobody in India could use an African language. These insuperable difficulties were challenged by the Word of God, and the Word of God came true. A man walked alone in the small yard of his house and wrote down the revelations of God as he received them. The revelations predicted acceptance of his teaching by the world; this, at a time when his own village did not know him that well. In the face of all difficulties, he arose and thundered like a cloud. Jealous and hostile eyes looked on. But the cloud spread, to their discomfort and dismay. It spread over the whole sky, and it rained. It rained over India, Afghanistan, Arabia, Egypt, Ceylon, Bokhara, East Africa. Mauritius, South Africa, parts of West Africa (Nigeria, the Gold Coast, and Sierra Leone), Australia, England, Germany, parts of Russia, and America.
In every continent of the world, somewhere, followers of the Promised Messiah can be found. There is not a community in the world which has not yielded followers to him. Members of the Ahmadi Jama’at have been drawn from Christians, Buddhists, Parsis, Sikhs, Jews, and also Europeans, Africans, Americans,= and Asians.
If what the Promised Messiah prophesied was not prophesied in the name of God, why was it fulfilled? Why did it come true? It is strange that Europe and America until today treated Islam as their prey, but now thanks to the Promised Messiah, Islam can treat Europe and America as its prey. Several hundred persons in England and several hundred in America have accepted Islam already. Similarly, individuals in Russia Germany, and Italy have accepted and joined the Jama’at. The Islam which suffered defeat after defeat at the hands of other religions now inflicts defeats on them. The tables have now been turned by the prayers and the spiritual power of the Promised Messiah. Islam is on the march, the enemy in retreat. ‘And praised be Allah, the Lord of all the worlds.’