Maulvi Mohammad Ali's Testimony in the Law-Court
In 1904, Maulvi Karamdin of Jehlum had a law suit of libel against the Promised Messiah that the latter had defamed him by calling him a `Kazzab '. In this suit Maulvi Karamdin cited Maulvi Mohammad Ali as a Prosecution witness in the court on a solemn oath, Maulvi Mohammad Ali deposed:
- "In regard to a man who claims to be a Nabi (Prophet), where a man denies this claim, he becomes, thereby a `Kazzab '. The Mirza Sahib claims he is a Prophet."
- "The Mirza Sahib, in many of his works, puts forth this claim which is to the effect that he is a Prophet from God, though he is not the bearer of a new Sharia. Where a man denies a claim of this kind, he becomes, thereby, a `Kazzab '." (File of the law-suit, page 362)
This witness of Maulvi Mohammad Ali in a law-court, under solemn oath, with the Promised Messiah present in the court-room, is of great significance. If the Promised Messiah had not claimed that he was a Prophet, it was clearly a moral obligation that he should have, then and there, corrected his follower. Moreover, the Promised Messiah deposed in the same court that he was Zilli Nabi, the bearer of a prophethood, which was in substance, a blessed shadow of the Nabuwwat of his Master, the Holy Prophet Mohammad.
This authentic record of a law-suit makes it absolutely clear that the Promised Messiah, in his life-time, was believed by his followers to be claiming that he was a Prophet and he did not deny that this was his claim. It also makes it equally clear that Maulvi Mohammad Ali fully accepted this claim.
Similarly, during the time he was editor of The Review of Religions, Maulvi Mohammad Ali had a controversy, in writing, with Khawaja Ghulamussaqalain, whom he presented the Promised Messiah as claiming Nabuwwat for himself. Wrote Maulvi Mohammad Ali at the time:
- "Four principles have been laid down by Khawaja Ghulamussaqalain, from his own mind, and he desires to assess the position of Hazarat Mirza Sahib on the basis of principles hammered out by himself. In forging these principles as a valid criterion, he has made a great and a very serious error." (Review of Religions, Vol. 1V, page 395)
- "I am surprised to find that when they are raising objections, the Christians, and other opponents of the Ahmadiyya Movement, display a remarkable talent for making subtle distinctions; but on the other hand, they fail to perceive an all too potent a point as to what is the distinctive feature which must be found in a man who claims to be a Prophet from God." (Review of Religions, Vol. IV, page 464)
- "Khawaja Ghulamussaqalain has sought to make four points in rejecting the meaning of my interpretation of the Quranic verse:
- Shaitan swore by the grandeur and glory of the Lord God that he would mislead all. In this Shaitan shows himself as having been successful.
- The people of the Pharaoh used to kill their (of Bani Israel) male children.
- Masih was nailed to the cross.
- The four Khalifas, and the grandchildren of the Holy Prophet Mohammad, five out of six, were slain by the enemy.
The point at issue was: what basis has the Quran laid down for knowing a true claimant of Prophethood from another who is false in this claim. Now Khawaja Ghulamussaqalain himself would be highly welcome to explain how he applies his principles validly except in the third point where Jesus Christ comes into the picture, and let us know who and where are the claimants of Prophethood, relevant to the matter under discussion and dispute. Is Shaitan one of the claimants? Were the children of Israel claimants of Nabuwwat? Were the four Khalifas and the sibtain such claimants? If not then where lies the relevancy of his principles to the matter under dispute?" (Review of Religions, Vol. V. page 432)
In this discussion Maulvi Mohammad Ali based his argument in favour of the Promised Messiah on the special divine help which came to him repeatedly. The other side tried to refute this argument by saying that three Khalifa's were assassinated; also the two grandsons of the Holy Prophet; Jesus was nailed to the cross by his enemies and the growing children of Bani Israel used to be killed by the government of the Pharaoh. To this Maulvi Mohammad Ali replied that the point at issue was the truth or untruth of a claimant to Prophethood and in the instances quoted there was only one man who claimed to be a Prophet; therefore argument of the opponent was weak, and reference to the fate of the three Khalifas and the Sibtain irrelevant.
Now in this discussion Maulvi Mohammad Ali did not bring in the Promised Messiah as Mohaddath ; nor in the capacity of a Mojaddid . He brought the Promised Messiah as a Nabi, a Prophet. He bracketed the Promised Messiah with Jesus, who was a Prophet; beyond that, the three Khalifas, and the Sibtain were not claimants to Nabuwwat (Prophethood) therefore, reference to them was irrelevant. The point here is that Maulvi Mohammad Ali is presenting the Promised Messiah in his capacity of a Nabi (a prophet). At the time under reference here, Maulvi Mohammad Ali interpreted theSura Fatiha in the light of another Quranic verse "Who so ever rendered obedience to Allah, and His Messenger, indeed these are the people on whom Allah has showered His blessings. in their capacity as Prophets, Siddiqeen, Shohada and Salihin saying: We have here been ordered to offer this prayer, in its broadest base. The acceptance of this prayer is a foregone conclusion, no matter how an opponent understood, and applied it, and its implications. In any case we stand on the point that Allah can raise a Prophet whenever and where ever in His wisdom He might choose to do so. Also He can confer the rank of Siddiq, Shaheed and Salih on whomsoever He likes. The only thing needed was a sincere supplicant." (Address by Maulvi Mohammad Ali, as reproduced in the AI-Hakam, July 18, 1908, page 6)
The Correct Meaning of Khataman Nabbiyeen as Visualised by Maulvi Mohammad Ali
"This Movement accepts the Holy Prophet in the true and correct meaning of Khataman Nabiyeen : it holds the belief that no Prophet old or new, can come as a direct recipient of Prophethood without a link with the Holy Prophet, in an absolute surrender and obedience. With the dispensation of the Holy Prophet Mohammad, all the doors leading to Prophethood and Apostleship were definitely closed, except for one who should enter in complete obedience to him, accepting his colour, as verily his own, and in all his moral and ethical standards, deriving guidance from his light. For him the door remains open, in divine discretion." (Review of Religions, Urdu, May, 1908, page 186)
Thus it become absolutely clear, in reason, that in the time of the Promised Messiah, and that of the first Khalifa, Maulvi Mohammad Ali always presented the Promised Messiah as a Prophet. But it is highly regretted that after the election of Hazrat Mirza Mahmud Ahmad as Khalifatul Masih II, Maulvi Mohammad Ali decided to base his opposition to him on a question he thought most useful in commenting a new stand, miscalculated as capable of being excited a very great deal, by an appeal to mass sentiments and emotions. So for the future he took his stand on a belief that the Promised Messiah was not a Nabi, was not a Prophet only a Mojaddid and a Mohaddath .
He even went to the length of saying:
"As far as I can see, the view that the Promised Messiah was a Prophet is tantamount to pulling up and destroying Islam by the roots. In fact I believe that this view exposes the position of the Promised Messiah to a dangerous attack. If you do not close the door to Prophethood, in my opinion, it is an extremely dangerous path and you make a very dangerous and a fatal error." (Paigham-i-Sulha, Vol. 2 No. 119, April 16, 1915)
In this passage, if Maulvi Mohammad Ali means to discredit those who uphold that the Promised Messiah was an independent Nabi, he should be very well aware that there is no difference between us and him, since everybody knows we take him as a zilli Nabi i.e. a Nabi in reflecting the glorious rank and elevation of the Holy Prophet in himself, nothing beyond this. In Chashma-i-Ma'rifat, page 324, the Promised Messiah has classified this position as that of a Nabi, a Prophet. On page 325 of this work, we read:
"The word `Nabuwwat ' or `Risalat ', Allah has used this expression repeatedly in regard to me, in fact hundreds of times. But this expression means communion with Allah embracing revealed knowledge in regard to plentiful things still wrapped in mystery, or those hidden behind the veil of the future nothing more than this. In converse with other people, a man is free to coin a terminology. The expression under discussion is a term used by the Lord God, in the course of a plentiful converse with which He has been pleased to honour me a converse, a communion, for which the name He uses is `Nabuwwat .'"
Again, Maulvi Mohammad Ali writes:
"The kind of Nabuwwat possible in this Ummat, is a Nabuwwat that was most surely conferred on Hazrat Ali" (Al-Nabuwwat-fil-Islam, page 115)
This belief was adopted by Maulvi Mohammad Ali after he had moved from Qadian to Lahore. When he was in Qadian, and when he was editor of the Review of Religions, in his argument with Khawaja Ghulamussqalain, he had presented the Promised Messiah as a Prophet, which rank and position he had expressly denied in regard to the three Khalifas... who were assassinated, of which number Hazrat Ali was one.
Similarly, after he had changed his belief, following his move to Lahore, he also changed his commentary on the Sura Fatiha and the verse referred to a moment ago setting his view in his Bayanul Quran to the following effect:
"From the word Nabi used here, some people have been misled into holding that the rank and elevation of Nabuwwat also, can be attained by means of this prayer. If the prayer be taken as a means for the attainment of Prophethood, then we shall have to yield during the last thirteen hundred years this prayer has not been granted even in the case of one single Muslim." (Bayanul Quran, page 110)
Further he writes:
"For anyone to pray for the conferment of Nabuwwat on him would be a futile prayer, which comes to the lips only of one entirely unaware of the basic principle in religion." (Bayanul Quran, Tafsir Sura Fatiha )
Ignorance in Regard to the Basic Principle in Religion
In other words, in contradiction of his earlier stand, Maulvi Mohammad Ali now lays down that the possibility of Nabuwwat being attained through any prayer and supplication is a manifest error, rooted in an inadequate awareness of the essential, and basic principle in religion, though earlier he had said in regard to this identical prayer, that acceptance thereof, by the Lord God, stood clearly guaranteed and fully ensured, irrespective of how others might interpret it, we stand firm on the meaning that Allah can create Prophets, Siddiqs, Shohada, and Salihin . The only thing needed is an earnest enough supplicator." (Address, as published in Al-Hakam, July 18, 1908)
It is very much to be regretted that he remained firm on this belief during the time he was at Qadian. But after he came over to Lahore, and set up a headquarter for himself and his friends, he shifted his ground; while we, of the Qadian (now Rabwah) Section, have made no change in our views.
The earlier mind of Maulvi Mohammad Ali, on this point, was identical with the view held by the Promised Messiah namely, that Allah, even now, could raise Prophets, since we know that in his tafisir of "Ihdenassiratal mustaqima " the Promised Messiah wrote:
"The need is indispensible that, to take you to the point of absolute conviction and love, Prophets should continue to appear, from time to time, enabling you to receive those blessings." (Lecture Sialkot, page 42)
And in his memorable discourse known by the title Ek Ghalati Ka Izala the Promised Messiah wrote:
"You must take care always to bear in mind, for this Ummat there is a standing promise from Allah that it would receive those selfsame blessings, in its own place, which fell to the share of the earlier Prophets, and Siddiqs . Included in those blessings, are the tidings and prophecies according to which the earlier prophets were called prophets. However, except, in the case of the Prophets, and the Divine Messengers, the Holy Quran closes the door of the Unseen and Unknown, as it is obvious from the verse "La yuzhiro `ala ghaibihi ahadan illa manirtaza min rasulin " . Thus we find that for obtaining pure and clear knowledge of the Unseen and Unknown, it is necessary that one should be a Prophet: and we find that the Quranic verse namely "an'amta alaihim " bears witness to it, that this Ummat has not been barred from this clear and pure knowledge and awareness of the Unseen and the Unknown as mentioned in the above verse, but it calls for a Prophethood and Apostleship, to which any direct, independent access is not now possible for any mortal man. We have, therefore, to hold that for the grant and conferment the door is open through buruziat, zilliyat and Fana firrosul (to render these terms into rough and ready equivalents in English, through becoming an Image of the Holy Prophet Mohammad, his perfect representation and reproduction in respect of all qualities, and by merging one's own mind into the mind of the master, the Holy Prophet Mohammad.)" (Ek ghalati ka izala, footnote vii)
In the light of this statement of the Promised Messiah, the common content between all the Prophets of God, the content which qualifies them for bearing this title, is revealment of portions, fragments, or pieces, of the Unseen, Unknown, a revealment from the the Lord-God, plentiful and frequent, to which the door remains open for the Ummat of the Holy Prophet Mohammad.
It also becomes clear from this reference that the conferment of zilli Prophethood on the Promised Messiah as well, was a case of conferment alone, without any question of right or merit to win it. Therefore, the only difference between the Prophethood of the earlier periods, and that of the Promised Messiah, lies in the manner of this conferment, not in the Nabuwwat itself.
Therefore Mr. Faruqi is not correct when he says where a man's purification of the mind has been earned by him, or brought about; on the basis of his devotion and obedience to another man, he cannot be called a Prophet; since his attainment of this elevation carries a vein of an earnest endeavour on his part, to win this position, he cannot be regarded as a Prophet, Prophethood being a position always conferred, as a pure grant, never something that can be earned, merited or won... since his light cannot be said to be his own, like the light of the sun, being only light reflected, like the light of the moon." (Truth Triumphs, Page 3)
No doubt, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad became the Promised Messiah, and a Prophet of God, through his devotion and obedience to the Holy Prophet, turning himself into a perfect reflection of the qualities of his master. But this devotion and obedience to the Holy Prophet Mohammad, in his capacity of being Khataman Nabiyeen was a binding condition for the Promised Messiah in his rise to the position of Prophethood. Apart from that, he attained the honour of becoming the Promised Messiah, and a Prophet, by the grace of God, not by any endeavour. So we find the Promised Messiah saying very clearly:
"Purely and quite exclusively, from the grace of God, not by any dexterity, cleverness, or application on my part, I have received a full measure of the blessings, before my time, conferred on the earlier Prophets, Apostles, and the righteous servants of Allah; it was not possible for me to obtain these blessings, if I did not follow the paths of mySyed-o-maula, Fakhrul-Ambiya, Khairul wara, Hazrat Mustafa " (Haqiqatul Wahyi, page 62)
This quotation bears out that the Nabuwwat of the Promised Messiah was a conferment from the Lord in pure and sheer grace, i.e. a conferment, pure and simple. Only obedience and devotion to the Holy Prophet Mohammad was a binding condition precedent, as mentioned in the passage quoted above, that:
"For this conferment the door of buruz, zilliyat and fana fir rasul is open."
So we find that the Nabuwwat given to the Promised Messiah, through his attainment of the position of being a perfect Image of the Holy Prophet Mohammad, has been taken by the Promised Messiah as a mohabat, conferment purely from grace. Of course, from this angle, the Promised Messiah is only the moon, which receives light from the sun and reflects it. But for the Ummat, from another angle, he is also the sun. We find he received a Revelation to this effect: Ya shamso, ya qamro, thou are from me, and I from thou, i.e. O sun! O moon! the elevation where you stand is from Me, and My manifestation would be through you."
Second Wrong Statement
The second wrong statement by Mr. Faruqi is that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad carved out a new belief, a new doctrine, in 1914, that the Promised Messiah was a Nabi, a Prophet; and whosoever denied him, he became, thereby, a kafir . But it is interesting to note that Allah has obtained a contradiction of this wrong statement from the pen of Mr. Faruqi himself. He writes on page 51:
"In the April 1911 issue of Tashhiz-ul-Azhan, Mahmud Ahmad wrote an article under a title translated as: `Muslim is he who accepts all the Mojaddids ' (appointed by God). In this article Mirza Mahmud Ahmad writes:
"So not only that person who does not call the Promised Messiah (Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) a Kafir (unbeliever) but does not accept his claim to be the Promised Messiah, has been declared a Kafir (unbeliever), but even that person also, who secretly considers the Promised Messiah as true in his claim and even does not openly deny it but is reluctant to give a pledge (baiat ), has been shown as a Kafir."
This is the first change Mirza Mahmud Ahmad made in his beliefs."
This quotation indicates that Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad did not invent his belief in 1914 in the days of his Khilafat, that one who denied the Promised Messiah was a kafir . Instead, even in 1911, when Hazrat Maulvi Nuruddin was the Khalifa this was the belief of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad; and this article was published in the Tashhizul Azhan with the permission of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I. Had this belief been wrong in the eyes of Khalifatul Masih, he would have stopped Mirza Mahmud Ahmad from putting the article into print. That Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I, allowed it to be printed and published after he had read it himself, it constitutes full and firm proof that he himself, as well, held the same view.
Further on, Mr. Faruqi writes:
"When Mirza Mahmud Ahmad declared the non-Ahmadies as Kafir he was questioned that since only a person who denies a Prophet can be called a kafir, then does Mirza Mahmud Ahmad regard the Promised Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a Prophet, on this Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, contrary to all his previous writings, declared that the Promised Messiah was a prophet.
This was the second change that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad made in his beliefs." (Page 51)
So even in Mr. Faruqi's own eyes, as early as 1911, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad held the view that the Promised Messiah was Prophet; and Mr. Faruqi's stand that he invented this belief in 1914, after he had been elected Khalifa, to succeed Hazrat Maulvi Nuruddin, Khalifatul Masih I, this stand is not only baseless, it is also contradicted by Mr. Faruqi himself.