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Books Section > The Ahmadiyya Movement by Maulana Muhammad Ali > Mahdi
Chapter 2: Claims of the
Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement:
Section 3: Mahdi:
In Spite of the Weakness and Discrepancies
of the Reports about Mahdi their Collective Evidence cannot be
There is a clear distinction between the two sets of reports, one relating to the advent of Messiah and the other to the appearance of Mahdi. The reports about Messiah have been accepted by all the great authorities of Hadith, whereas the reports relating to Mahdi have been rejected not only by Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim, but also by many eminent scholars of Hadith. There is no doubt that all these reports have been greatly tampered with for various reasons, so much so, that even those who believe in the coming of Mahdi only accept the fundamental fact of his advent. Because of the extreme differences and discrepancies found in their details they refuse to approve of these reports in toto. Nawab Siddiq Hasan (an Ahl Hadith scholar of India) who was expecting an early advent of Mahdi, even during his lifetime wrote: There is no doubt in it that the bases of these reports are very often defective [Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan, Hujaj al-Kiramah (Shah Jahan Press, Bhopal), p. 365.]. At another place, in the same book, he has written that all the details about the reports of Mahdi only show this much that he would certainly appear, though his appearance may occur in any form. The question here naturally arises: when al-Bukhari and al-Muslim have not accepted these reports and other scholars of Hadith have also regarded their bases as defective, why should not these be considered as absolutely weak or fabricated and be rejected entirely? The attitude that if there is discrepancy in details, the basic fact itself should be rejected does not only go against all the principles of accepting Hadith but also of history. On the other hand, the difference in the details show that there is somewhere a fundamental reality behind all this. If in reports relating to Mahdi different parties for their own ulterior motives have mixed up false reports, this is quite feasible, although this again proves that behind these reports there is something substantial which both the parties had wanted to seize upon to serve their own ends. The original is, therefore, grossly distorted. When historical reports (and even a non-believer in ahadith gives at least this much status to them) differ in details, the common factor among them is at least accepted as true. In reports concerning Mahdi, the appearance of Mahdi himself is such a common factor; therefore this at any rate cannot be put aside. The reason why Bukhari and Muslim did not accept them is the weak and defective way of their reporting. But when weak and defective reports have at least gained historical status, then according to the rules of history we are forced to consider and accept their common and collective testimony as true. Besides that we cannot reject the possibility of different persons being referred to in these reports and that some signs may be fulfilled in one person and others in another, as the word mahdi is also used in a very broad sense. It means one who is guided and the heir to all truths and in whom the attribute "Guide" for God is fully represented, and thus this word can be applied to every guided person as for instance the first four righteous successors of the Holy Prophet had also been called Mahdis. In his Tarikh, Imam Suyuti has reported a saying of Wahb ibn Munabih: "If there has been any Mahdi in this ummah it is `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz [Al-Shaikh Jalal ud-Din Sayuti: Tarikh al-Khulafa (Sarkari Press, Lahore, 1870 C.E.), ch. Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, p. 234.]." In view of this wide significance if different signs are fulfilled in different persons they can all be called Mahdis.
Common Factors in the Reports about Mahdi:
Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi mention a report by Ibn Mas'ud that The world will not come to an end unless a person from the people of my house becomes the ruler of Arabia whose name will be identical to mine [Sunan Abu Dawud: Kitab al-Malhim (Mujtabai Press, Delhi, 1318 A.H.) Vol. 2, Dhkir al-Mahdi, p. 239.]. A report from Umm Salmah reads thus: Mahdi is from me, having a bright forehead, high nose and will fill this earth with equity and justice as it was filled with oppression and violence [Ibid., p. 240]. In Abu Dawud it has been again mentioned that Hazrat `All looked towards his son Hasan and said: A person will be born from his seed whose name will be the name of your Prophet and he will resemble him in disposition but not in outward form [Sunan Abu Dawud, p. 241]. In Musnad of Ahmad it is again reported from `Ali that the Holy Prophet said: Mahdi is from the people of my house [lmam Abu `Abd Allah Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol. 1, p. 84.]. In another report we find: Even if a day is left from the age of this world, God will certainly raise a person from among us who will fill the whole world with justice as it was filled with oppression [Ibid., p. 99]. In another report by Ibn Mas'ud it has been mentioned that: There will be no Qiyamah unless there is a person from among the people of my house who is raised as a ruler, whose name will be my name [Ibid., p. 376]. There are many reports by Abu Said Khudri. In one of them we find: Mahdi will be from my ummah ... will fill the earth with fairness and justice [Ibid., vol. 3, p. 26], and in another : I give you the glad tidings of Mahdi who will be raised in my ummah at a time of digression and distress of people. He will fill the earth with equity and justice as it was filled with oppression and violence [Ibid., p. 37]. Yet in another it has been stated: He said that we feared that new things would crop up after the Holy Prophet, then we asked him and he said: Mahdi will be raised in my ummah, five, seven or nine (years) [Ibid., p. 21]. Similarly Ibn `Asakir has reported in his Tarikh : A person from the family of Hasan will appear from the Eastern countries. Even if mountains stood in his way he will demolish them and make his way through [Hujaj al-Kiramah, p. 355.]. And in Tibrani and Abu Na'im the following report occurs: I swear by my Lord Who appointed me with truth, that Mahdi of this ummah will be of these two, i.e., of Hasan and Husain [Ibid., p. 356]. And it is reported from Dar Qutni that: Mahdi will be from the family of my uncle `Abbas [Ibid., p. 355]. Yet there is another report which reads : O 'Abbas! God started this matter with me and will end it with a young man of your progeny who will fill this earth with justice as it was filled with violence [Kanz al-`Ummal (Da'irat al-Mu'arif al-Nizamiyyah Press Hyderabad, 1314 A.H.) vol. 7, p. 188; Hujaj al-Kiramah, p. 356.]. And there is a report in Ibn Majah: There is no Mahdi except `Isa [Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Yazid ibn Majah Qazwini, Sunan Ibn Majah, ch. Al-sharat al-Sa`ah, p. 302.].
Now the common factors in these reports are reduced to this, that a Mahdi would appear in this ummah in the later ages having a strong resemblance with the Holy Prophet filling the earth with equity and justice. But these reports differ as to which family he would belong. He might be "from me" (i.e., the Prophet) or from the people of his house, or from the seed of Hasan and Husain or of ibn 'Abbas and it has also been mentioned that he might be only a person from the nation of Muhammad. The reports of his being from the seed of Hasan, Husain or `Abbas, definitely contradict one another. Therefore, this part of the reports has to be given up, but the reports which contain expressions such as "from me", "from the people of my house", "from my ummah" can easily be reconciled, for they may imply his spiritual resemblance to the Holy Prophet, as the Prophet is reported to have said about Salman of Persia: Salman is from the people of my house [Zurqani, vol. 2, p. 126.]. Similar expressions have been used as well for other persons. Thus a member of this ummah having strong resemblance to the Holy Prophet can be regarded as from him or from the people of his house. The common factor in these reports, therefore, is that Mahdi will be a person belonging to the nation of Muhammad. This view is supported by the report in Ibn Majah where only `Isa has been called Mahdi.
Another important point which is clear from these reports is about the Divine appointment (bi'that/bay-sut) of Mahdi. Now the word appointment for human beings (in Islamic terminology) is used either for prophets or for mujaddids. But as prophethood has come to an end with the Holy Prophet, therefore Mahdi can be raised in this nation only as a mujaddid. As to the reports in which his equity and justice have been mentioned, it must be borne in mind that one type of law and order is the responsibility of the government of the day and the other type of justice is connected with the appointed ones (mamureen) of God whether they are in possession of temporal power or not. What type of justice has been referred to in these reports will be discussed later. Oppression and violence which have been particularly mentioned here are the same which have been spread by the followers of the Religion of the Cross. On the one hand, they have raised a humble servant of God to the pedestal of Divinity as the Quran says: The heaven may almost be rent thereat, and the earth cleave asunder, and the mountains fall down into pieces, that they ascribe a son to the Beneficent! [The Quran: 19:90-91] and, on the other, they have inflicted sufferings on their fellow beings by their peculiar philosophy that it is only the white people who have the right to rule over other nations; the latter being created for the service of the white.
Whether Mahdi will Spread Islam by the Sword:
Strangely enough, a common misconception prevalent among Muslims about Mahdi - that he would spread Islam at the point of the sword - has not been mentioned at all in these reports. Not only the Muslims, but the non-Muslims as well, have come to associate the very name of Mahdi with bloodshed and fighting. The book Iqtarab al-Sa'ah, supposed to be written by the son of Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan, contains the following words about Mahdi: He will call people towards God with the sword. The one who refuses will be killed [Nawab Sayyid Nur al-Hasan Khan, Iqtarab al-Sa'ah (Mufid `Am Press, Agra, India, 1301 A.H.), p. 94.].
When we look into the ahadith we find only the words yamlik al-'Arab i.e., he will be the ruler of Arabia, and for the spread of equity and justice the earth has also been mentioned in these reports. The words yamlik al-`Arab which confine his territory to Arabia are either an interpolation of a reporter or meant for another person whose kingdom will be limited to Arabia [Apparently these words seem to apply to 'Abd Allah ibn Zubair who did not enter into bai'at of Yazid. When Yazid died in 64 A.H. 'Abd Allah ibn Zubair was elected as the khalifah. The people of Hijaz, Yemen and Iraq also submitted to his rule. Mu'awiyah ibn Yazid's rule was limited to Egypt and Syria, but after his death the people of these countries also took bai'at of Zubair, but soon after they revolted and separated themselves from him. Thus Zubair's kingdom remained confined to Arabia. In 73 A.H. during the reign of 'Abd al-Malik, Zubair was attacked by Hajjaj and was martyred by him. Thus his reign was spread over a period of nine years. Reports concerning Mahdi mention seven or nine years of his rule. These words, therefore, may refer to 'Abd Allah ibn Zubair. If it is kept in view that these ahadith have been greatly tampered with, the part mentioning the period of Mahdis kingdom for seven or nine years can be applied to him as well.]. Reference to his kingdom on one side and the abundance of wealth on the another may have led people to believe that Mahdi would propagate Islam with force. This view is supported by a statement in Iqtarab al-Sa'ah which says that: Wars will be waged at his hand, treasures will be dugout, city after city will be conquered from East to West [Nawab Sayyid Nur al-Hasan Khan, Iqtarab al-Sa'ah, p. 64.]. It seems that on account of such conjectures the wrong conception of a warrior Mahdi gradually got its way among Muslims. Some reports might have also been fabricated in this connection. But Sihah Sittah (six authentic collections of hadith): and Musnad of Ahmad which refer to the benevolence of Mahdi do not mention any report to show that Mahdi will wage wars or conquer the whole world or convert unbelievers to Islam at the point of the sword. How was it possible when the coming of such a Mahdi was decidedly against the clear verdict of the Qur'an that: There is no compulsion in religion [The Quran, 2:256]. How could indeed such a Mahdi come who would act against this injunction and wield the sword to convert the people to Islam?
This Wrong Conception was Removed by the Mahdi himself:
May God bless Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian who has completely rooted out the false conception of Mahdi's spreading Islam with the sword, which has opened the eyes of Muslims and has made them realise that the story which was forged by their enemies to stem the progress of Islam was unwittingly accepted by Muslims themselves. Had there been no other argument for his being a Mahdi, this alone was sufficient to prove that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's claim of being the guided one (mahdi) of God was correct. The greatest obstacle today in the progress of Islam is the world-wide misconception that Islam was propagated at the point of the sword. The enemies of Islam made full use of this weapon to scare the people away even from the name of Islam. As for Muslims themselves, instead of removing this blot from the beautiful face of Islam, they lent a helping hand to its opponents by their wrong belief in a warrior Mahdi. No doubt there had been other Muslim scholars also who had rejected the reports, about the advent of Mahdi, or doubted their authenticity such as Ibn Khaldun [Muqaddamah] and the Mu'tazalites, but it had no general effect on Muslims. There was also a reason for this attitude, because the complete rejection of these reports meant the rejection of a fundamental reality as well, i.e., the coming of Mahdi himself, which was basically true and was a prophecy of the Prophet Muhammad [Hujaj al-Kiramah, p. 386.]. It was necessary, therefore, that unless the truth had manifested itself and the Promised Mahdi had come, the total rejection of this prophecy should not have any effect on the general body of Muslims. When the real claimant appeared he sifted out the truth from falsehood and showed in what way the true part of the prophecy was fulfilled. The rest he showed was added either by the carelessness of the reporters or by wilful interpolation. There have been, of course, several other claimants to Mahdihood also but every one of them was interested in his own person and claim and cared nothing about making Islam free from false objections. Everyone picked up certain words and expressions from the reports and tried to apply them to himself but paid no attention to the removal of this false belief that Islam was propagated by the sword. There had been some pious persons from among these claimants as well and they might have identified their own temporal victory with the victory of Islam but the extermination of this outlandish conception of a warrior Mahdi who would wield the sword for the spread of Islam was destined at the hands of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and thus a great obstacle was removed which stood in the way of the progress of Islam. His claim of being a Mahdi showed to the world that the secret and glory of Islam was correlated with such a claim.
Not one, but let hundreds of such claimants appear for the glory and success of Islam, and Muslims should welcome them with open arms. To obstruct their cause, under suspicions and misunderstandings, is to obstruct the cause of Islam and the Muslim nation. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was no doubt a claimant to Mahdihood but he made his claim a source of the onward march of Islam. The prophecy relating to Mahdi has been fulfilled today with such clarity that the fundamental fact behind it has been gradually accepted by all Muslims. The conception that Islam was, or will be, thrust upon non-Muslims with the sword is loosing its hold on their minds. Islam has never stood in need of violence for its progress, and never shall a time come when such a course will be applied for its propagation. Even non-Muslims have also started releasing that the advancement of Islam was simply due to its spiritual force and not to the use of any sword. And it is indeed a fact that the real success of Islam was brought about not by a powerful emperor but its conquests were mainly due to its dynamic spiritual force. The following passage by an American scholar confirms this view:
"The other great religions won their way slowly, by painful struggle, and finally triumphed with the aid of powerful monarchs converted to the new faith. Christianity had its Constantine, Buddhism its Asoka, each lending to his chosen cult the mighty force of secular authority. Not so in Islam. Arising in a desert land sparsely inhabited by a nomad race, previously undistinguished in human annals, Islam sallied forth on its great adventure with the slenderest human backing and against the heaviest material odds [Lothorp Stoddard, The New World of Islam, p. 1.]."
In short, the real Mahdi of Islam is he who has clarified the real meaning of Mahdihood and has shown to the world that the Mahdi of Islam is a spiritual Mahdi and that Islam's success depends on its intrinsic spiritual values and not on outward force.
Messiah and Mahdi are one:
There was yet another great misunderstanding about Mahdi which the Founder of the Ahmadiyyah Movement [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian] removed. Messiah and Mahdi were considered to be two separate persons, although it was indicated in a report of Ibn Majah: There is no Mahdi except Isa (Laa Mahdi Ila Eesaa) [Sunan Ibn Majah (Matbah Nizamiyyah, Delhi.) 1905 C.E., ch. AI-sharat al-Sa'ah, p. 302.]. There is a positiveness about these words that there is no other Mahdi. This can only be interpreted that the Promised Mahdi is another name of the Promised Messiah. If the name Mahdi in some other reports has been given to some one else, it is to be accepted in a general way, as for instance, the first four Khalifahs have also been called Mahdis. `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz, too, has been given this name. Now this report of Ibn Majah could not be untrue as it was against the general conception among Muslims about Mahdi, and such a thought could not have occurred to the reporters. On the other hand, this hadith supports the reports by Bukhari and Muslim as they also mention the coming of only one person in later ages and that is Jesus. The coming of any other person is not at all mentioned in these two authentic collections (Sahihain). Thus the report of Ibn Majah has made it clear that if in some reports the appearance of Mahdi is suggested besides the coming of Jesus Christ, this also refers to Jesus. Now here we should stop and think that if we do not try to solve the difficulties involved in the reports about Mahdi in the light of this hadith we shall have to admit that besides al-Bukhari and al-Muslim other works of Sihah Sittah (six authentic collections of reports) have incorporated a lot of fabricated matter in their collections. And if these reports were not fabricated, why did Bukhari and Muslim reject a prophecy of such magnitude and did not even care to mention it in their works? The report of Ibn Majah: There is no Mahdi except `Isa solves both these difficulties. Al-Bukhari and al-Muslim have only reported the second name of this reformer and other books of Sihah have mentioned both the names of `Isa and. Mahdi.
This is not the only hadith which shows that Messiah and Mahdi are one, but if we carefully study other reports, they also point towards the same conclusion. Evidently, there cannot be two Amirs (leaders) or Khalifahs at one and the same time. Hazrat Abu Bakr immediately after the death of the Holy Prophet gave a reply to the Ansar (helpers) who said: One leader from us and one from you [Al-Bukhari, Kitab Fadail Ashab Al-Nabi, H. No. 1638a.] that this was not possible and there could not be two leaders at the same time. If this report is true, how could there be two leaders, i.e., the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, simultaneously? If it is said that one will be an assistant to another we do not find it mentioned in the reports. Both Messiah and Mahdi have been called imams. In al-Bukhari: and al-Muslim: imamu-kum minkum and amma-kum minkum occur for the Promised Messiah who has also been called Arbiter and judge. Hakam and imam are identical. In Musnad of Ahmad he has been clearly referred to as "Arbiter, judge and imam." [Imam Abu `Abd Allah Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol. 2, p. 394 and p. 272.] About Mahdi it is a wide-spread belief, that he will be an imam and some think that he will be a king also. In this case Messiah must be his wazir (aider, assistant). But, on the other hand, this is also acknowledged that the Messiah will be superior to Mahdi as Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan quotes in his book a saying by imam Shaukani: There is no doubt that Jesus is superior to Mahdi [Nawab Sayyid Nur al-Hasan Khan, Hujaj al-Kiramah, (Shah Jahan Press, Bhopal), p. 385]. At any rate there can be only one imam at a time and when Jesus and Mahdi are both called imam then it necessarily follows that Jesus and Mahdi are also one.
The third argument in favour of this view is that the Promised Messiah has also been called Mahdi in the reports. Accordingly, there is a hadith from Abu Huraira to the effect that: Whoever lives from among you shall meet Jesus, son of Mary who is imam, Mahdi, arbiter and judge [Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol. 2, p. 411.]. Besides all this if we look deep into the matter we observe many other similarities to show that these are only two different names of one person. The time of their advent is the same, they shall have the same office, the same work and the same complexion, then how could they be two separate persons? That the time of their appearance is the same is acknowledged by all. About their office I have discussed above that both of them have been called Imam, Amir, Khalifah and Mahdi. Their work and duty is also the same. The making of Islam dominant over other religions is the work of the Messiah and the same has been assigned to Mahdi as well. So much so that the breaking of the Cross and killing the swine, thought to be the special duties of the Messiah, have also been attributed to Mahdi as has been mentioned in Hujaj al-Kiramah:
"The religion of Islam in his time will be established as it had been in the age of grace of the Prophet Muhammad. He will be a ruler over all the world and shall break the Cross and kill the swine. All these signs have been briefly discussed by Ibn Hajar in connection with the coming of Mahdi [Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan, Hujaj al-Kiramah, p. 363.]."
Spreading of peace and justice has also been assigned to both. It is frequently reported about Mahdi that he will fill the earth with justice and the Messiah has also been called arbiter and judge. Their complexion is also the same. The coming Messiah is of wheatish colour, quotation has been given before [Kanz al-'Ummal, vol. 6, p. 126.]. Mahdi is of the same complexion as is found in report by Na'im ibn Hammad that: He will be of wheatish complexion from among the people (of the land) [Kanz al-'Ummal, vol. 7, p. 262.].
A Prophecy becomes a Great Miracle after its Fulfilment:
The prophecy about the advent of Mahdi is from among those prophecies which are related to this age. The Mujaddid of this century has shed such light on them that all the darkness which surrounded them has been dispelled and they have become a manifest sign for the truth of the Prophet. These prophecies were buried under so many obscurities that there were many who denied their authenticity and even those who believed in them were also bewildered (at the great contradictory mass of such reports) and were at times inclined almost towards its rejection. Accordingly it was said: We admit that Mahdi will not appear. What harm is there if he does not? [Hadith al-Ghashiyyah, p. 343.] Or: Leave Mahdi aside. The descent of Jesus is at least unanimously agreed by Christians and Muslims alike. Let him descend [Ibid.]. And in another book it has been mentioned that: We admit that Mahdi may not come. This does not contradict any important belief of the people of Islam. But the son of Mary will indeed appear according to all of them. May God bring him soon, for his coming as well will serve the same purpose for which we expect the advent of Mahdi [Nawab Nur al-Hasan Khan, Iqtarab al-Sa`ah, p. 147.]. That person has indeed rendered a great service to Muslims who has removed all the cobwebs from these prophecies and has thus placed before us a clear evidence of the truthfulness of the Holy Prophet. It is easy to say what difference does it make to Islam whether Mahdi comes or not, but the first advantage of Mahdi's advent has been that it has brought to light a new testimony in favour of Islam, or in other words, a miracle of Islam has manifested itself in this age. The miracles of all the prophets have come to an end with their death, but the miracles of the Prophet Muhammad have continued to manifest themselves ever since and will remain so till the Last Day. As a matter of fact, the faith which the fulfilment of a prophecy creates in one's heart is not even created at the occurrence of a great miracle, because a miracle may contain some elements of doubt in it, but the fulfilment of a prophecy is in fact a talking witness which stands before friends and foes alike. Moreover, at the occurrence of a miracle there are only a few persons present who witness its truth, but a prophecy after its fulfilment does not stand in need of another evidence. It becomes an evidence itself. Has that person not done any service to Islam who has explained the hidden truths behind these prophecies and has thus helped to strengthen our faith in Islam? Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's interpretations concerning the prophecies about Mahdi do not seem to be the result of his intellectual investigations, but were the work of Divine light given to him which helped him to discover the truth underlying these reports. This discovery consisted of two great facts. Firstly, it was wrong to associate the name of Mahdi with the sword and to believe, as the opponents did, that Islam was spread at the point of the sword - the authentic reports being devoid of any such mention - and, secondly, that Jesus and Mahdi were not two separate persons but two names of the same reformer.
The Significance of the Two Names:
As has been discussed above, there was a profound reality hidden behind these two names, therefore the mujaddid of this age was assigned two great tasks which entitled him to receive the names of Messiah and Mahdi. On the one hand, Islam had a big encounter with Christianity, - for, according to the Quran and Hadith, Christianity was going to attain great power in the world, - and, on the other, the present age was particularly suited for the propagation of Islam among Christians. Islam had won the hearts of millions of people of other religions before, but Christianity had not offered its due quota to Islam. It was, however, destined that the sun of Islam should rise over Eastern countries first. Therefore, it was mostly in the East that the light of Islam spread in the beginning, but then according to the law of nature this sun was going to shine over the Western countries as well. In a report of the Prophet this had been described as the rising of the sun in the West. Again, it is to the same effect that the Holy Prophet has referred to: I have been given two treasures; one red (Eastern nations) and another white (Western nations) [Sunan Abu Daud, Kitab al-Fitan, Vol. 2, p. 233.]. As encounter with Christianity and the propagation of Islam in Christendom were the two tasks of the mujaddid of this age, therefore, the title Ibn Maryam or `Isa was given to him. He mentions that fact in the following couplet: As I have been given light for the Christian people, the name of the son of Mary has been given to me for this reason. Again, because he was commissioned to strengthen the inner solidarity of Islam, save Muslims from going to immoderate extremes, cure them of the habit of takfir (denunciation of Muslims as heretics) and place before them the sublime object of preaching of Islam, which was in fact the object of the life of the Prophet Muhammad, therefore the name Mahdi was also given to the mujaddid of this age. The only reality behind all this is that the perfect mujaddid of the fourteenth century was like the full moon that was going to shine in the world. For shedding the light of Islam in the Christian world he was called Messiah or son of Mary, and for illuminating the hearts of Muslims with the light of Islam he was called Mahdi. That is why the Holy Prophet declared that: He has been given my name [Ibid., Kitab al-Malahim, Vol. 2. p. 239.]. The point that Mahdi is superior to Jesus, though Jesus was a prophet of God, only means that, as a Mahdi, he will manifest the truth of Muhammad and, as a Messiah, the truth of Jesus, the former being superior to the latter; it is because of this that Mahdi is superior to Jesus.
Other Prophecies about Mahdi:
Prophecies about the advent of Messiah and Mahdi have been discussed by me elsewhere. Here I should only like to mention about the place of his advent. There is no doubt in it that some reports also suggest Makkah or Madinah as the place of his appearance and the sanctity of these places might have turned the attention of the reporters towards these towns. But there are reports which not only indicate the place of his advent in the East but even his companions are also reported to be from among the Eastern people. The reporters' own imagination in normal circumstances could not have gone to that extent. Accordingly, following are the words of the reports of Abu Na'im and Ibn `Asakir : From the offspring of Hasan ibn 'Ali, a person (i.e., Mahdi) will appear from the East. If mountains are in his way he will demolish them and make his way through [Hujaj al-Kiramah, p. 355; Najm al-Thaqib, vol. I, p. 51.]. Here the reference to his being the offspring of Hasan ibn `All has been due to the wrong impression that Messiah and Mahdi were considered to be two different persons. A report in Ibn Majah says: Some people will come out from the East and will support Mahdi, i.e., they will help him in his domination [Sunan Ibn Majah, ch. Khuruj al-Mahdi, p. 310.]. Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan also writes:
"Men of Divine gnosis will enter into fealty with Mahdi by God's guidance and Divine visions. Holy people will be with him to strengthen his message and to support him ....These will be nine persons in the footsteps of the Companions (of the Prophet); they would prove their covenant true which they made with Allah. They would all be non-Arabs ('ajami) and none would be an Arab from among them [Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan, Hujaj al-Kiramah.]."
If the companions and supporters of Mahdi are non-Arabs, it clearly shows that the place of his advent is not Makkah, but some other country outside Arabia, and it has been just stated that his companions would be coming from the East. Undoubtedly, in view of this, the place of Mahdi's advent should also be an Eastern country as has been mentioned in one of the reports: Mahdi will appear in a village the name of which will be Kadi'ah [Jawahir al-Asrar, p. 55. The original name of Qadian was Islam Pur Qadi Majjhi which was gradually shortened to Qadi, being generally pronounced as Kadi. If it is kept in view that the form of foreign words in the Arabic language undergoes a little change, for instance, London is altered into Landarah, the change of Kadi into Kadi'ah is easy to understand.]. This name is so identical with Qadian (or Kadi, with which Qadian was formerly known) that, if read with the reports of the general signs of Mahdi, it becomes clear that such reports are only applicable to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian.
Some of the Signs are only in the form of Metaphors in the Prophecy about Mahdi:
There are some signs of course about Mahdi's advent which do not apply in their literal sense to the Founder of the Ahmadiyyah Movement. For instance, that he will be a king for seven years or that he will possess large treasures. This is, however, accepted on all hands that prophecies are couched in metaphorical language, because the future events are shown in the form of visions and dreams which are subject to interpretation like other prophecies. The Quran has also called ru'ya' and kushuf as God's speaking from behind a veil [The Quran: 42:51], therefore the apparent expressions should not mislead a person. About the Promised Messiah, for instance, it has been mentioned in a report that he would come with two yellow mantles [Abu 'Isa Muhammad ibn 'Isa Tirmidhi, al-Jami al-Tirmidhi, vol. 1, p. 38.]. A yellow mantle is interpreted with a disease and this in fact pointed to two diseases with which the Promised Messiah was going to suffer. It is surprising to note that about Mahdi it has also been mentioned that: On him there will be two shining mantles as if he is from among the men of Israel [Abu Na'im, Iqtarab al-sa`ah, p. 128; Hujaj al-Kiramah, p. 360.]. About possessions of kunuz (treasures) as well the same mistake is committed and kunuz is taken to mean treasures of gold and silver. But when the Holy Prophet says: I have been given two treasures, red and white [Sunan Abu Dawud, Kitab al-Fitan, vol. 2, p. 133.], no one takes them to be treasures of gold and silver and it is only interpreted as signifying two groups of people. Similarly a saying of Hazrat `Ali has been recorded in Hujaj al-Kiramah that: Blessings of God be upon the renouncers (taliqan) that at that place are treasures of God, but these are not of gold and silver but consist of people who have recognised God as they should have and they would be the helpers of Mahdi [Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan, Hujaj al-Kiramah, p. 396.]. When in such reports treasures of Mahdi have been considered as his helpers, there should be no difficulty in interpreting metaphorically the expression kunuz appearing in other traditions. It has also been mentioned in a hadith that: La hawla wa la quwwaw (there is no power except His power) is a treasure from among the treasures of paradise [Ibn al-Athir, al-Nihayah fi Gharib 'l-Hadith wal-Athari, vol. 4, p. 36.]. Now this is not a treasure of gold and silver but only, as it is stated in al-Nihayah, the reward which has been stored [Ibid.]. Again, it has been mentioned in some of the reports that Mahdi will also dig out treasures from under the Ka'bah. Now gold and silver are not buried under this holy place. On the other hand, it is the riches of knowledge and wisdom which were manifested by the Prophet Muhammad and have been concealed from the eyes of the world with the lapse of time. The real treasure is, in fact, the wisdom and Divine gnosis which were lost in the Age of Corruption and only letter and form-worship was left with the Muslims. Thus, whoever restores the lost glory of wisdom, it is he who really digs out treasures and distributes them among the people. The istikhraj kunuz (i.e., the digging out of treasures from earth) therefore, in the case of Mahdi does not mean digging of gold and silver, but it is only a metaphorical expression which implies the imparting of knowledge and wisdom by Mahdi to his people, which is indeed the task of all God-sent reformers. Their kingdom is also a spiritual one, and, if God wills, He may favour them with temporal power as well. But their actual kingdom is always spiritual. Now, if a person insists on the literal meanings of these reports, it would be impossible for him to accept all the reports which are so contradictory in their details that even those who generally believe in them also entertain doubts as to their literal fulfilment. The contradictions in them are so great that either the whole lot have to be rejected under the principle when two things contradict, they cut each other, or only their general and collective testimony should be accepted. A part of them should be interpreted metaphorically and a part, of course, has to be left aside. When we follow this principle these reports invariably apply to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Founder of the Ahmadiyyah Movement. That Mahdi will not spread Islam with the sword and that he and the Messiah are one, these two points have made it definitely clear that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is indeed the Promised Mahdi. It does not make any difference if a ruler Mahdi may also appear at some future time, but, just for the sake of mere possibility, it is not right to reject the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad which have been fulfilled.
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