The prevailing decline of the Muslims and their internecine strife are matters of which the Holy Prophet Muhammad was not uninformed. Through divine revelation, he prophesied fourteen hundred years ago that Muslims would split into seventy two sects. He described the pitiable plight of the Muslims in such detail as if a view of our era had been unfolded before his very eyes. The Prophet’s Traditions contain a graphic description of our times. He said, ‘Islam will have nothing left of it except its name. Mosques, though full of worshippers will be devoid of guidance. Their religious scholars will be the worst creation under the canopy of Heaven.’ However, along with these terrible portents, he also gave glorious tidings. He said that inspite of this dire distress, the Islamic nation would not perish:
‘How can my followers be destroyed when I am at their beginning and Jesus, Son of Mary, at their end.’ (Masnad Ahmad: Kanzal Aamal Vol. 7, p. 203)
Then he said:
‘How will you be when Mary’s Son will descend among you; and he will be your guide from amongst you?’ (Bukhari: Book of Prophets)
And he repeated the news in these words:
‘I swear by Him Who has my life in His hand that the Son of Mary will indeed descend among you, and he will arbitrate with justice.’ (Bukhari: Book of Prophets)
The Holy Prophet also gave tidings of a great Imam – Imam Mahdi – who would appear alongwith Jesus, Son of Mary.
So, the Ahmadiyya Community is at one with the other Muslim sects in believing that the resuscitation of Islam and its global triumph are linked with the advent of Christ and the appearance of the Imam Mahdi. However, it differs from the rest in the interpretation of these prophecies. It insists that the prophecies be seen in the light of the divine law revealed in action and in consonance with the history of the earlier prophets. The other Muslim sects, on the contrary, assert that the prophecies have no inner, deeper message and adhere to their literal sense.