The AIDS Virus
AZRAT MIRZA GHULAM AHMADas also prophesied about another type of plague to appear later in some other parts of the world. In 1907, after the end of the plague in India, he received a revelation informing him of a type of plague to also appear in the future:
'A type of plague will spread in Europe and other Christian countries, which will be very severe.'1
What is meant by the term 'a type of plague' and why should it particularly strike Europe and other Christian countries? A clue to this is found in a hadith* of the Holy Prophetsa of Islam in an observation he made almost thirteen hundred years before the time of the Promised Messiah. According to this tradition reported by Ibn-e-Majah's Kitab-ul-Fitan, the Holy Prophetsa states:
It never happens that permissiveness (fahsha) overwhelms a people to the extent that they display their acts of sex shamelessly and they are not uniquely punished by God. Among them, invariably, pestilence is made to spread and such other diseases, the like of which have never been witnessed by their forefathers.2
The word fahsha means 'permissiveness' with the connotation of audacity and shamelessness, resulting in open display of sex. It should be noted that mere permissiveness does not warrant so severe a chastisement from Allah; but when it exceeds all bounds and is acknowledged as a commonly accepted social behaviour, then that society is affected with some completely new sex-related disease as a sign of God's displeasure.
The accusing finger of this hadith seems to be pointing at the sinfulness of the present age rather than that of any other. Such shamelessness as has been described in the hadith is displayed these days on television, in newspapers and in magazines, day in and day out, to the extent that it has never been witnessed before in human history. Consequently, absolute justice requires that the punishment must match the crime. Sensual indulgence with flagrant shameless display is central to the chastisement prescribed. The prophecy of the Promised Messiahas specifically picks out Europe and other Christian countries. The earlier prophecy of the Holy Foundersa of Islam does not mention people of any country or religion, but confines itself to the nature of the crime, warranting a corresponding punishment.
Both prophecies read together make up the whole story. Among Christian countries the United States of America answers the description perfectly. But according to the latest census, sub-Saharan Africa leads the world in this particular type of permissiveness, with the Caribbean lagging only a few lengths behind.3 In the census we have referred to, it is the Christian African countries which lead in the AIDS figures far beyond the rest of the African countries.
The only issue which remains to be resolved is the identity of 'that sort of plague' as has been mentioned in prophecies. It seems quite justified to claim that it is AIDS which is that punishment. Eminent physicians refer to it as a type of pestilence. Like the plague, it too causes inflammation of some glands with a high burning fever. It is as ruthless a killer as the bubonic plague has ever been. Yet it has its own unique features which the bubonic plague lacked. AIDS is definitely sex-related while the bubonic plague is not. It is precisely designed to punish sexual transgressions.
The reader is reminded here that religious prophecies should not be treated over-literally. European and other Christian countries are mentioned only to help us to locate and identify the territories where this new type of plague will be most rampant. It does not mean that it will remain confined only to Europe and other Christian countries.
The prophecy of the Holy Foundersa of Islam clearly indicates the possibility of a much wider application because it binds this disease not to countries, but to a specific moral crime. Wherever that causative crime will spread, the punitive disease will follow. But it will only become epidemic in such countries as are excessively permissive. It matters not what the names of such countries are, nor does it matter much whether their population is predominantly Christian, or Hindu, or Muslim. The countries and religions are not causative. What is causative is permissiveness, hence wherever the cause is at work, the effect will certainly follow.
The reason why European and other Christian countries are specifically mentioned while others are not, is perhaps because permissiveness as a progressive social behaviour at the national level is not witnessed elsewhere in the world. One will not hear of homosexuality being legalized except in Western countries. You will not hear of homosexuality in any religious institutions except in Christianity.
But it should be remembered however, that these countries though Christian in name, are farthest from Christian values. Nor can the Muslim countries, for that matter, be rightly described as custodians of Islam.
Hence, if permissiveness and the unrestrained display of shameless conduct are found among Hindu or Muslim countries there is no reason why the same consequent disaster should not befall them.
HE AIDS EPIDEMIC has already reached all the continents of the world and there will be hardly anyone not familiar with the horrors of this disease. However, it would be naive to assume that the full dimensions of the horror have been properly realized. Nor is it right to assume that AIDS has already played its role and will soon be on its way out. Ill-advised indeed are those who entertain the hope that soon scientific research will find an effective antidote or prophylactic against the AIDS virus. We entertain no such optimism. On the contrary, we are afraid that the main thrust of the disease is yet to come. The observation that lends support to this view relates to a general similarity between the first advent of the Messiah in the form of Jesusas and his second advent in the person of Ahmadas of Qadian.
This is not the proper place to enter into an in-depth study of similitude between the old and the new Christ. However, as far as the sign of the plague is concerned, we must point out that the plague also appeared as a sign to punish the antagonists of Jesus Christas. At the rejection of Jesusas, the first epidemic of plague was recorded in AD 65. By coincidence or design, this plague epidemic covered mainly the areas where the message of Christ had reached and been denied. The plague struck again about one hundred years later in AD 167, but this time it devastated a much larger and wider part of the world, extending over two continents from Asia Minor to Rome and beyond to Gaul and Egypt. In all these countries the message of Christas had already been delivered and was rejected by the majority of the people.
If, as suggested, the similarity between the two periods repeats itself, it would not be unlikely for the new type of plague to reach its climax by the end of this century extending into the beginning of the next one. This calculation is our estimation based on the fact that during the time of the Promised Messiahas this is how the first plague struck, with exceptionally greater intensity during the period 1898–1904. God knows best how far He wills to repeat these similarities in every detail, yet we should be warned and prepared.
We pray that God may save mankind from this catastrophe of global dimensions by enabling people to reform. By mending his ways and true repentance, it is not at all unlikely for man to win pardon from Allah and escape the consequences of his sin. But what is unlikely, alas, is for man to repent and mend his ways. It is of no significance whether one is religious or irreligious, whether one believes in God or denies His existence. As far as human moral conduct is concerned it seems to be universal in its sinfulness. Those who claim to be religious are unfortunately no less immoral than the irreligious. The so-called believers in God are no longer clearly distinguishable from those who do not believe. It will be no exaggeration, therefore, to declare the entire age to be at loss. This is how the Holy Quran pronounces its judgement on the people of the latter days:
We call that age to witness,
That man is most certainly at loss.
Save for those who believe and do good deeds and admonish righteousness by righteous means, and admonish patience with patience. 4
The fortunate few who would exercise patience and act righteously are by comparison far too small to turn the tide. An odd blade of grass, or a twitter or two of a finch, cannot turn the desolation of autumn into the splendour of spring.
- Tazkirah (1969), Al-Shirkatul Islamiyyah Ltd., Rabwah. Urdu edition, p.705
- Sunan Ibn-e-Majah. Kitabul-Fitan, Babul-'Uqoobat. Vol.II. Dar-ul-Fikr Al-'Arabi, p.1333
- UNAIDS and WHO (December 1996) HIV/AIDS: The Global Epidemic. UN web site.
- Translation of 103:2–4 by the author.