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Books Section > The Promised Messiah [The Second Coming of Jesus] by Maulana Muhammad Ali Sahib > Chapter IX : Prophecies of the Promised Messiah


Chapter IX : Prophecies of the Promised Messiah:

And if he be a liar, on him will be his lie, and if he be truthful, there will befall you some of that which he threatens you with. Surely Allah guides not one who is a prodigal, a liar 1.

The difference between the miracles of Islam and those of other religions:

For the support of every religion God always grants miracles to its founder so that those who do not take much advantage of rational arguments, and whose eyes apparently cannot discern truth from falsehood, may benefit by these miracles so that it should be made clear to them that a certain teaching is of divine origin and that the same God, Who has by His special grace granted light to a servant of His for the guidance of man, can also express His will and supernatural powers through the agency of the same person. However, there is a clear distinction between the miracles of Islam and those of other religions. As Islam was given to mankind for all times to come, therefore the miracles granted to it were of a permanent nature. The other difference is that as Islam was going to spread in an age of reason where human intellect would be fully occupied and man would demand rational proof for everything, Islamic miracles are such that in spite of their supernatural character, they appeal to the human intellect as well, unlike the miracles granted to other religions which appeal to the emotion and not to the intellect.

A dual system of prophecy in Islam:

The greatest miracle of Islam is prophecy. Doubts can be raised about miracles and after some time the real testimony of their occurrence disappears. The miracle of a prophecy is above all these limitations. A miracle can only have an effect on the minds of those who are actually eye-witnesses to its happening, whereas the truth of the prophecy can be known in the future also, at the time of its fulfilment in the same way as its truth was known in the beginning. Apart from this, support for Islam was needed in every age. Therefore, such a system of prophecies was evolved for it so that it would keep on manifesting its truth in every age. For this purpose, God has established a dual system of prophecies in Islam. That is, through our Holy Prophet, God foretold many things about future events which keep on being fulfilled in every age. At first, those matters were orally conveyed by one generation to another, but after some time they were recorded in writing. By the second and third century almost all of them found their place in books. Although the verbal communication of those prophecies was authentic, and many of these prophecies were fulfilled even after they were recorded in books, yet to give added support to these prophecies and to show that the close contact with God in this ummah did not cease after the death of the Holy Prophet, there appeared in every age divinely inspired people who helped to support the religion of Islam. Continuance of this dual system had many significances. One of them was that it should become a sign by itself. On the one hand, the prophecies of the Holy Prophet were fulfilled in every age and on the other, the prophecies of the saints (auliya) were fulfilled in support of the Holy Prophet's prophecies. Secondly, the Holy Prophet had such close contact with God that those who followed him were also granted the blessings and excellences of the prophethood of the Holy Prophet. Thirdly, it showed that Islam was a religion for all times to come and its signs did not come to an end after some time but new signs were manifested in every age. Fourthly, the hearts of Muslims were strengthened by the fact that God Almighty would support Islam up to the day of Resurrection, and the Quranic promise:

Thy Lord has not forsaken thee, nor is He displeased 2

was not confined to the Holy Prophet alone but that the Holy Prophet was given an eternal life (of spirituality). Fifthly, that it may be known that God's attribute of speaking is not nullified in any particular age, that He kept on communicating with His saints (auliya) all the time and will continue to do so for ever. As His power is always manifested in nature, similarly the attribute of His speech is manifested through the agency of His saints. In short, many Divine experiences demand that an order of prophecies should also continue in this ummah.

Evidence from the Quran and the Hadith that prophecies will continue to be granted to Muslims:

There is clear evidence in the Quran and the Hadith that prophecies will be granted to the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Says the Quran:

For them is good news in this world's life and in the Hereafter. 3

The angels descend upon them, saying: Fear not, nor be grieved, and receive good news of the Garden which you were promised. We are your friends in this world's life and in the Hereafter. 4

In an authentic hadith it has clearly been mentioned:

"There has remained nothing of prophethood except mubashshirat (i.e. good visions or prophecies)." 5

This news about future events is a great blessing for a Muslim. It has been unanimously accepted by the scholars of Islam that the followers of this ummah are told about matters unseen. While commenting on this hadith, Hafiz Ibn Hajar Asqalani writes:

"Many saints (auliya) told about matters unseen. It happened exactly as foretold." 6

Conciseness in prophecies:

Prophecies are undoubtedly miracles. They are rather more than miracles, but as they are only corroborative evidence and not a real part of religion, therefore the clarity and decisiveness needed for religious laws are lacking in them. Like miracles, some aspects of prophecies also do not exceed beyond faith in God - faith in the Unperceivable by the ordinary senses. Therefore, whereas the teachings of the doctrines of religion, which are the fundamentals of faith, are essentially based on something decisive, prophecies include some parts which are allegorical. With regard to prophecies, the only point to remember is that whatever has been made manifest is beyond human power - not that some particular aspects have not been made absolutely clear. God does not fully inform about all the details of a prophecy. Another point in this connection to remember is that mubashshirat (good visions) or the prophecies which are granted to the saints (auliya) of this ummah have been explained thus:

"They (the companions of the Prophet) asked: `What are mubashshirat?' He (the Prophet) said: `True visions.'" 7

Another authentic tradition says that it is not only true visions (ruya' al-salihah) which will be given to the followers of the Prophet, but God will also speak to them. Says the Prophet:

"Among those that were before you of the Israelites, there used to be men who were spoken to by God, though they were not prophets, and if there is one among my followers, it is `Umar." 8

On the surface, there seems to be a contradiction between these two authentic traditions. In one, the remaining of good visions and in the other, God's granting of Divine communication to the perfect ones of this ummah are mentioned. But, in fact, there is no contradiction between these two reports. Ru'ya (vision) is also a kind of communication, as is clearly stated in the Quran:

And it is not vouchsafed to a mortal that Allah should speak to him, except by revelation or from behind a veil, or by sending a messenger and revealing by His permission what He pleases. 9

Here, the second mode of Divine communication is from behind a veil and this exactly is what is experienced in ru'ya (visions) or mukashafah (Divine manifestation). Ru'ya is liable to interpretation and its words do not sometimes mean the same that is expressed in obvious terms, such as the vision of Joseph in which he saw eleven stars and the sun and the moon making obeisance to him. 10 The third form of revelation, brought by the angel Gabriel, is granted to prophets alone and has come to an end after the revelation of the Quran. Therefore, the Holy Prophet has confined the Divine speech to ru'ya which will remain in force in this ummah. This, truly, is an explanation of min wara' il hijab (communication from behind a veil). In other words, the revelation brought by Gabriel to prophets bears a strong resemblance to the revelation granted to auliya (saints). Both are news of the Unseen. But, clearly, revelation granted to prophets is an experience which happens in hours of wakefulness, and revelation granted to saints is like a vision (ru'ya). The reason is obvious. The revelation granted to saints is for the support of religion whereas in prophetic revelation, religious commandments are also given.

Different kinds of prophecies:

In view of what has been said above, we find that there are two kinds of prophecies given to the persons who are not appointed (ghair ma'murin) and three kinds (including the first two) of prophecy in case of those who are appointed by God for a divine mission. One kind of prophecy deals with one's own person or one's relations and friends, etc. The other kind of prophecy deals with general events of the world or with nations and their conditions. The third kind of prophecies is specifically granted to the appointed ones (ma'murin) whether they are prophets or renovators. These prophecies deal with the future success of their mission and the failure of the opposition. Prophecies of the first category are necessarily limited in their scope as compared to the prophecies of the second category, because they can only be helpful in increasing the faith of the recipient (mulham), or some of his close friends. These prophecies are not connected with the events of the world in general. That is why the Quran has not given much importance to these prophecies. There is no doubt in it that the Holy Prophet was given news (basharat) about his own person, or about his kith and kin, some of which are mentioned in the Hadith, and there may be some which may not have been mentioned there. In Sahih al-Bukhari, it is stated that even before his advent as a prophet, the Holy Prophet saw many dreams and the truth of them shone forth like the dawn of the morning. 11 These dreams, which came true concomitantly, cannot be connected with great and important events because such events are associated with great occurrences in the world and it needs time before they are made manifest. Similarly, news about his own person, relatives, friends, etc. must have been made known to the Holy Prophet a number of times. A few of them are mentioned in the Hadith also, for example, the prophecy about the wife with the long hands who was going to be the first to meet the Prophet after his death, 12 and the seeing of Hazrat `Aishah in a vision before her marriage. 13 However, most of these prophecies or visions have not been mentioned in the Quran at all, and in the Hadith also, only a few of these prophecies have been recorded. But when we look at the second category of prophecies, connected with general events of the world, we find that this part is given great prominence. These prophecies are not only mentioned in the Quran but the Hadith literature is also full of them. Some of these prophecies have been discussed by me in the previous chapter. Apart from these, there are many more prophecies, mentioned in the Quran, which foretell of future events. One of these prophecies is the victory of the Romans over the Persians, 14 who, at the time of the prophecy, had overrun the whole of the Roman Empire. In short, those prophecies which are connected with the general condition or events of the world are mostly of a miraculous nature. They gain more publicity and it is through them that the grandeur and dignity of God's communication are manifested. Therefore, I will deal with this part of the prophecies of the Promised Messiah a little later.

Clear and important prophecies:

Prophecies of the third category are granted only to the divinely appointed ones (ma'murin). The ma'mur is sent for a mission and the dominance of the ma'mur is, in reality, the dominance of the mission for which he stands. Therefore, in respect of fame and grandeur, these prophecies are included in the prophecies of the second category. From one aspect, however, their grandeur is greater than the prophecies of this category. The ma'mur's entire mission depends on their fulfilment. The opponents spare nothing in trying to destroy this mission, but in spite of all this, the Truth prevails. These prophecies, on account of their basic nature, contain the least amount of allegory, and are free from all doubts and uncertainties. That is why the Quran has laid great emphasis on them. Therefore, to judge the truthfulness of the claim of a ma'mur, these prophecies are of primary importance.

Prophecies of warning:

As a matter of principle, it should be remembered that prophecies of warning can also be withdrawn. A prophecy of warning is some information from God that persons or nations, on account of their evil actions, are liable to be divinely punished. And as divine punishment is as a result of their evil actions, therefore if those actions are transformed, the divine punishment, in most cases, is also withdrawn or deferred. Sometimes in the prophecies of warning, the condition of repentance is clearly indicated, sometimes not. Even if it is not clearly indicated, it should be considered as implied in the prophecy, because from among the attributes of God, the attribute of His mercy dominates all other attributes. The main objective of the prophecy of warning is corrective so that one should turn towards God and take advantage of His attribute of mercy. With regard to the Prophet Jonah (Yunus) the commentators have expressed the same opinion. Under the verse, And Jonah was surely of those sent, 15 the author of Fath al- Bayan says:

"Jonah had promised God's chastisement to his people but when that chastisement did not take place he left his people."

Further on it is stated:

"God, the Most High, revealed to Jonah that He (God) would chastise his people within a certain time.... So whatever God had promised about the chastisement, Jonah told his people.... But later his people wept and cried and repented and God accepted their repentance and the punishment was withdrawn from them. Jonah said: `I cannot return to them as a liar.'" 16

This shows that the prophecy about divine punishment can be withdrawn by repentance and turning towards God even if the condition of repentance is not expressly mentioned in the prophecy. The same principle has been stated in the verse:

And if he be truthful, there will befall you some of that with which he threatens you. 17

All the punishment promised does not befall a person because if he repents even slightly, God, on account of His limitless mercy, withdraws some of His promised punishment. In the Quran the prophecies about the dominance of the Holy Prophet and the believers over their opponents were literally fulfilled in all their details. On the other, hand prophecies about chastisement for the disbelievers, although in spirit, were also fulfilled and the opponents were completely overpowered, but the chastisement of thorough devastation for them did not take place. The warning which was given to them was:

But if they turn away, then say: I warn you of a scourge like the scourge of `Ad and Thamud. 18

The nations of `Ad and Thamud were completely destroyed. The people of Makkah were subdued so the chastisement of thorough devastation did not take place in their case and they were redeemed after light punishment. Thus, in the case of prophecies granted to saints, if the opponent does not die, or is not chastised, as mentioned in the prophecy, it does not mean that the prophecy itself was untrue.

A prophecy could be misunderstood or misinterpreted:

Sometimes on account of human limitations, a prophecy can be misunderstood or misinterpreted. The point to remember is the actual words of the prophecy and not always the understanding of it by its recipient. Examples of this misunderstanding can even be found in the prophecies granted to prophets. (The prophecy granted to Jonah has been quoted above.) The Holy Prophet was shown in his dream that he was migrating from Makkah to a land of date palms. He thought that this place would be Yamamah but it was Madinah. 19 Another of his prophecies is about his wives, that, "She whose hand was the longest will meet him first." 20

At this, his wives started measuring their hands with a stick and the Holy Prophet did not say anything. However, the wife who died first was Zainab and she did not have the longest hands, but was extremely generous. In Arabic idiom, one who has long hands means a generous person. So the prophecy was fulfilled but not in the sense his wives had understood it. Similarly, the Holy Prophet saw in a vision that he was performing the pilgrimage. On the basis of this vision he undertook a journey to Makkah along with about thirteen hundred of his companions. The Makkans, however, stopped him at Hudaibiyyah, and a truce was arranged, according to which the Holy Prophet had to return without performing the pilgrimage. When an objection was raised (by `Umar), the Holy Prophet replied that he did not say that they would perform the pilgrimage that same year. 21

A prophecy does not form that part of the articles of faith, so even if a prophet commits a mistake in understanding its true nature, it does not matter. Thus, it is possible that those from among the ummah who are granted prophecies for the support of religion may sometimes make a mistake in understanding them. We should, however, always look at the original words of the prophecy to judge its truth, or untruth, and not always at the opinion of its recipient.

Principles for understanding prophecies:

In view of what has been discussed above, to understand the prophecies of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, the following points should be remembered:

1. If his opinion (ijtihad) about the meaning of the words of a prophecy is not correct, it does not affect the prophecy itself in any way.

2. From among the prophecies of warning or chastisement, the fulfilment of a prophecy can be deferred or entirely put off.

3. The clearest prophecies of a ma'mur (one appointed by God) are those which mention beforehand the ultimate success of his mission and the failure of his opponents. These prophecies contain very few allegories. The criterion for judging the truth or untruth of the claim of a ma'mur is, in fact, these prophecies.

4. Prophecies about his own person or about the relatives etc. of a ma'mur are not as important as his prophecies concerning the events of the world.

5. In their clarity and lucidity, prophecies of the saints of this ummah, however, cannot be compared with the prophecies of the Holy Prophet.

6. A prophecy is a miracle, or supporting evidence for religion; therefore, it does not matter if it is couched in figurative descriptions.

Prophecy is not the only criterion for judging the truth of a claimant:

In my view, the greatest criterion for judging the truth or untruth of a claimant is his work. Prophecies do have a special importance, but not to the extent that we should place our entire reliance on them. If the truthfulness of the Founder's claim has to be judged, it should be judged on his work. The mission of the breaking of the Cross was assigned to him and in this connection the secrets of the Quran were disclosed to him. It is God's practice that when He displays His great benevolence on any of the saints of this ummah, He discloses to him wonderful secrets of the Quran which are hidden from the eyes of other people. Again, great evidence and material for the proclamation of Islam over other religions are found in the literature produced by the Founder. He also laid the foundation of an organisation for the propagation of Islam, and this was the greatest need of the time. Besides that, many prophecies of the Holy Prophet himself, concerning the Messiah and Mahdi, were fulfilled in this age. Furthermore, the concept of the descent of the son of Mary, which had always posed a problem for Muslim scholars, was solved by him. Similarly, his prophecies, particularly those which deal with the success of his mission and the failure of his opponents, are also proof of his truthfulness.

The unforeseen part in a prophecy is a source of knowledge about God's existence:

Perhaps someone may think that I have belittled the value of prophecies. But all Muslims agree that miracles are not the only criterion for judging whether a prophet is true in his claim or not; several other elements go along with miracles. A true prophecy is also definite proof of the existence of God, because knowledge of the future, which is connected with world events and the result of complicated human relationships, cannot be received by man unless it is given to him by the Supreme Knower of the Unseen. Thus the fulfilment of a prophecy can also prove a person to be true in his claim. My only object in saying this is that if there is some ambiguity in a prophecy, a contrary conclusion cannot be drawn (that the person concerned is not true in his claim), as long as there are other prophecies made by him which have also been fulfilled. The enemies of truth have often thrown aside hundreds of strong testimonies and have stumbled over some allegorical part of an ilham or prophecy.

Prophecies about the success of the Founder's mission:

First I shall deal with the prophecies about the success of the Founder's mission which were disclosed to him right from the beginning. I quote a few of his revelations (ilhamat) from his book, Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah, vol. III which are dated March 1882 CE:

"We shall suffice thee against those who mock thee. They will say: Whence have you received this? Whence have you received this?"

(These are the same words which were uttered by the `ulama of Jesus to Mary: Whence have you brought this Jesus? This is a reference to things which will be said at the time of theFounder's claim of being the Messiah.)

"It is the promise of one who is mean and cannot express himself properly. He is ignorant or demented."

"This is a mercy from thy Lord. He will perfect His bounty unto thee so that it should be a sign for the believers."

"Lord, do not leave me alone and Thou art the best of the heirs. Lord, reform the ummah of Muhammad. Our Lord, judge between us and our people with truth; Thou art the best of judges."

(This shows that his own people would turn against him.)

"They attempt to frighten thee by others besides Allah."

"We shall cause fear to enter their hearts. When the help of Allah and victory come and the affair draws to its close you will be asked: was this not true?"

"Despair not of the mercy of Allah. Hearken, indeed the mercy of Allah is near. It will come to thee by every distant track. People will come to thee from every distant track so that those tracks will become deep (by their walking). Allah will help thee from Himself. Men whom we shall inspire from heaven will help thee. There is no changing the words of Allah. We shall bestow upon thee manifest victory. The victory of the friend of Allah is a true victory and we have bestowed upon him ultimate nearness to Us."

"Be not arrogant towards Allah's creatures and be not tired of receiving visitors (when they come to you in great numbers). The dwellers of the Lounge (Al-Suffah), you do not realise who will be the dwellers of the Lounge. You will see their eyes shedding tears." 22

These revelations (ilhamat) clearly indicate that the Founder will be alone and people will oppose him, will mock him, talk evil of him, try to inflict harm on him, but all hostilities will fail. God will openly support him, every obstacle from his way will be removed and he will be granted a great victory, and through him the truth will prevail.

Similarly, many of his revelations have been printed in Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah, vol. IV, published in 1884 CE:

"Thou hast been helped with awe and hast been brought to life with truth. O truthful one, thou hast been helped and thy opponents said: No way of escape is left. This means that divine help will reach a stage when the opponents will be broken-hearted and they will be filled with despair, and truth will be made manifest ... when the help of Allah comes and the victory and the words of thy Lord are fulfilled, it will be said to the opponents: This is what you desired to be hastened. I decided to appoint a ruler (khalifah) on this earth so I created Adam. This is a brief statement which means I (God), will establish him in the earth. The word khalifah here means a person who will be the source of direction and guidance between Allah and His creatures. Here it does not signify kingdom or government. It connotes only a spiritual office. Also the word Adam does not here refer to Adam, the father of mankind. It means a person through whom a movement of direction and guidance will be established for the spiritual revival of mankind. He will thus be in the position of a spiritual father for the seekers after truth. This is a grand prophecy predicting the establishment of a spiritual movement at a time when even its name or address is not visible." 23

"I shall help thee, I shall protect thee. I shall make thee a leader of men. Do the people wonder at this? Tell them: Allah is wonderful, He chooses whom He likes from among His servants. He is not questioned about that which He does and they are questioned. We keep on revolving these days among people, which means that everything happens by turns and divine favours continue to be bestowed upon individuals from among the ummah of Muhammad, turn by turn." 24

"Thy Lord will spread His shade over thee and will respond to thy supplication for help and will have mercy on thee. If men will not give thee security, Allah will safeguard thee on His Own. Allah will safeguard thee on His Own even if men will not give thee security, which means God will help thee Himself and will not let thy effort go to waste and His support will be ever available to thee. Call to mind when he who disbelieved for the sake of some pretence, said to his colleague: Prepare a fire, O Haman (of mischief and corruption), so that I may discover the God of Moses (that is, of this man), and find out how He helps him, for I consider him to be a liar. In terms of the past, this gives an intimation of something that will happen in the future. The two hands of Abu Lahab (Father of Flames) will perish and so will he perish. It did not behove him to enter into it except in fear. Whatever affects thee is from Allah. In this there is a reference of some evil that will proceed from some one in writing or in some other manner. And God knows best! Here is the mischief. Then be steadfast as those of high resolve were steadfast. Hearken, this tribulation is from God so that He might love you with perfect love; the love of God, the Mighty, the Lord of honour, a bounty without end.... Slacken not, nor grieve. Is Allah not sufficient for His servant?" 25

"In these revelations, God has indicated great support and bounty and pointed to an extraordinary rise in dignity and honour and greatness that will arrive at its climax gradually. We have granted thee a clear victory, that is, will grant you, and some intervening disagreeable trials will be encountered so that Allah may cover for thee thy shortcomings in the past and future. This means that God has power that the purpose in view may be accomplished without any kind of trouble and that a great victory may be achieved quite easily. But trials and tribulations are for the purpose of raising in rank and forgiveness of defaults." 26

Apart from these, there are quite a number of other revelations, with explanations, in Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah. The surprising point is that in these revelations, not only was the founding of a movement in the future foretold and the glad news of the success of his mission given, but also foretold to him were disagreeable trials and tribulations which he was going to encounter, the fire of opposition which was going to break out, the plots and schemes which were going to be hatched against him, and the anathemas of heresy which were going to be levelled against him.

It was also foretold that these trials and tribulations would not do any real damage to him and finally his honour and acceptance would increase and the opposition would fail to gain its object. This is the knowledge of the unseen which a man cannot perceive unless it is given to him by God. Man is helpless and he cannot even say how long he will live. How can he proclaim with certainty the success of his mission in the distant future? He did not only tell about his success when no movement was started and there was no sign of any opposition, but he also prophesied about the opposition, that it would crumble by itself and Divine support would make his mission successful.

This is not just a single sign but the collection of hundreds of signs. It also includes the news that people will come to him in such numbers from all parts of the world and will come in such numbers that they will almost tire him. Then, there will be other people who will come to stay with him, after breaking their worldly connections. This is strong enough evidence for the truthfulness of the claim of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. It is difficult to enumerate all the prophecies. For this, another book is needed. In his book, Haqiqat al-Wahy, the Founder has mentioned two hundred signs granted to him. I quote below just a few prophecies which are connected with the events of the world. From among these there is a prophecy about the "Partition of Bengal" which was published in February 1906 and fulfilled on 12 December 1912. At the fulfilment of this prophecy, Khwajah Kamal-ud-Din wrote a pamphlet entitled Bengal Ki Diljoi (Consolation for Bengal) from which I briefly quote below. In the course of the discussion of this prophecy, some other prophecies have also been mentioned therein.

Prophecy about the partition of Bengal:

"In this materialistic age when almost the whole world is engrossed in search of material things and has practically forgotten God, it was not surprising that for the reformation of the world God should again provide mankind with proof of His existence. About nine years age, Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, for special reasons regarding the welfare of the country (about which they had felt the need, probably in 1867 CE, during the ministry of Lord Northcote), finally issued an injunction which resulted in the partition of the Indian province of Bengal. This partition, although mostly effected for the smooth running of the country, had severe repercussions among the people of Bengal, the details of which need not be mentioned here. The partition of the province was considered a national calamity by the people of Bengal. Resentment was expressed by lawful and unlawful means. On one hand, uproar was created by agitation and political meetings, and on the other, murder, plunder and riots took place and many precious lives were lost. In short, resentment was expressed on a large scale. Had this order been given by a junior officer, the dangerous state of the country would have necessitated its immediate amendment. This was, however, not only the order of a deputy of the King, supported by the British Minister for India, but this partition was also considered most essential for the smooth management of the Presidency of Bengal. Therefore, the amendment, or abrogation of this order at the outcry and clamour of the Bengalis, was against the administration of the country and royal prestige. In the Presidency of Bengal, besides Bengal itself, the inclusion of Bihar, Orissa and Little Nagpur was creating difficulties in the management of the territory. This caused the officials to incline toward the partition of Bengal. There was not much weight in the statements issued by those who opposed the partition, whether they were Bengalis or non-Bengalis. As a matter of fact, the pernicious effects of the partition which were given wide publicity by the leaders of the opposition were only the result of the excited whims and apprehension of the people. Those conditions were not yet to be found in the country (which might have turned the imaginary complaints of the Bengalis into reality). Therefore, at that time the government took no notice of even the breach of peace and did not agree to change its policy. As a result, the people of Bengal failed in their just, and unjust efforts. Although the sudden departure of Lord Curzon and the appointment of Lord Minto (a person of pleasant disposition), as Viceroy, and the appointment of Lord Morley, (a man of great intelligence), as the Secretary of State for India, and some ordinances issued by them, pacified the Bengalis to some extent, however, whenever they expressed their views about the partition they made it clear that it would not be revoked or modified at all. At that hour, when this order had taken decisive shape and the people of Bengal were completely sunk into despair and had lost all hope of its ever being amended, the voice of God, the Knower, the Almighty, descended on a servant of His and addressed him with these authoritative words, on 11 February 1906:
"Regarding the order that was issued before concerning Bengal, they will now be consoled." 27

God is really Great. Today, after about six years, these words have literally and meaningfully been fulfilled. The point to remember about these sacred words is that they do not indicate that order which had created so much turmoil among the Bengalis at the time of partition, but these words suggest some kind of modification which the British Government will adopt, at a future time, to console the people of Bengal. In my opinion, if the words of the prophecy had indicated the cancellation or affirmation of the order, it could rightly have been considered as an intellectual presumption because political expediency favoured its affirmation, and the turmoil in the country, its abrogation. But these pure words were not the result of the knowledge of astrology, or mere intellectual conjecture. These words were the words of the All-knowing God who knew that a time would come when, owing to some new circumstances, this partition would also prove hurtful, to some extent, to the interests of the people of Bengal, and at that time the people of Bengal would be comforted with the modification of the part of the order which was repulsive to them. Was it possible for a person, in 1906, to predict and to assure the Government that one day this order would be modified and would be comfortable for the people of Bengal? By 1906, the leaders of Bengal could not themselves precisely pin-point the really hurtful part of the order which the partition was going to cause to their people. How could they then be considered deserving of consolation? It was, in fact, a few years after 1906, when the new proposals by Lord Morley were accepted by the legislators of the Indian Constitution that the British Government itself realised the harmful effects of the partition of Bengal for the people of that territory. The complaints of the Bengal that were considered imaginary even in 1909 and 1910 began taking realistic colour, as a a result of which the government of the present Viceroy paid attention and the Government started thinking of a plan which would comfort the people of Bengal concerning the order already issued. Let us stop here and ponder for a moment. After many years, new events took place and the government was forced to do something which was predicted in 1906 that, regarding the order that was issued before, concerning Bengal, they would now be consoled. These words were spoken at a time when this order was neither considered hurtful, nor was there any need of consoling the people of Bengal.

"This point further increases one's faith in God when one knows that the object of modification, which the present Viceroy had effected in Lord Curzon's order, is to console the people of Bengal. This is what is referred to in the words of God. The letter which was sent in August, four months ago, by Lord Harding and his Council to the Minister of India for changing the capital of the country and modifying the order of partition of Bengal clearly indicates that the main purpose of modifying the order was the consolation of the people of Bengal. In the view of the Viceroy and his Council, there was no other opportune moment to announce this change for comforting the people of Bengal except at the time of the Darbar, to be held at Delhi (for the coronation of King George V on 12 December 1911). It is surprising that the Viceroy of India points out the same reason - consolation of the people of Bengal - for this great announcement, at the time of changing the capital of the country. This was foretold six years before by a vicegerent of God on the basis of divine revelation. This consolation in the eyes of the high officials was considered so important that it was mentioned several times in different forms in the official documents. And then the news of this consolation was announced by the Great Emperor at the happiest moment of his life (i.e. at the time of his coronation). This was only so that the words of God, who is the Ruler of all rulers and King of all kings, can be fulfilled."

Besides this, there are also other prophecies referring to political revelations which took place many years after the announcement of those prophecies, and the attention of the whole world was drawn towards them. Think again whether any astrologer, diviner or political speculator had so clearly predicted the happenings of such events.

Prophecy about Japan:

Was there any country or nation in Asia which could be called a power 28 a few years ago in the true sense of the word? After 1857, the Asian Kingdoms kept on declining in their authority and they did not have that political importance in the eyes of the European nations that they could consider them as powers in the world. The word "power" was only used for the Western nations and only the Western nations had the right to use this word for any other nation in the world. There was no such power in any of the Eastern countries. It was at this time that God told a servant of His that soon there will be an Eastern power 29 which would create a dangerous situation for Korea. The mention of the delicate situation of Korea clearly pointed out that the destiny of this country was in the hands of an Eastern power. Did anyone imagine or fancy at the time of the publication of this revelation (ilham) that Japan would soon become an Eastern power and would bring Korea under its sway? 30 There is no doubt that for the last fifty years the Japanese were making great strides in trade and industry to the astonishment of other nations, but before the Russo-Japanese War nobody actually knew the strength of their maritime power. After the termination of the war (in which Russia suffered defeat), the people of Europe conceded, willingly or unwillingly, that Japan was an Eastern power. Is there any other country besides Japan which Western nations acknowledge as a power in the East? The words of the revelation: "An Eastern power and the delicate situation of Korea" imply the rising of Japan as a power when Japan was a country not worth mentioning as a power. Today it is Japan which has created a delicate situation for Korea and has finally won full control over it. This is how the words of the prophecy about Korea were fulfilled. 31

Prophecy about Iran:

Apart from the Eastern power, another country which attracted world attention politically was Iran. The history of this country is old and its kings in Eastern literature were known by the title of Chosroes (Kisra). Although for sometime back the condition of the country was not good, nobody imagined that its king would be forced to abdicate his throne and a commotion would take place in the royal family. However, the world has witnessed today things which nobody dreamed of a few years ago. Did any astrologer or diviner tell the world that events in that country would create a great commotion in the palace of the Emperor of Iran? When the country of Iran was enjoying safety and peace in every respect, the following words were revealed to a sent one:

"Commotion has taken place in the palace of the Chosro (Emperor of Iran)."

This revelation was published by the Promised Messiah in Januray 1906. In fact, this is a line from a verse in Bostan composed by the famous poet Sa'di of Shiraz in which a reference was made about the destruction of the royal family that ruled Iran at the time of the advent of the Holy Prophet, and the Chosro of Iran was forced to abdicate his throne after the death of the Holy Prophet. Similarly, a servant of the Holy Prophet, who was appointed by God in India, foretold that the palace of the Emperor of Iran would be shaken and it was after the death of this servant that the Emperor of Iran was forced to leave his throne. Did Mirza Muhammad Ali, the former Emperor of Iran, not feel the political turmoil in his palace which resulted in his abdication? If these events are true and the Palace of the Chosro, which is a symbol of Iran itself, has been thoroughly shaken, who else besides God, the Knower of the Unseen, could inform about it on 15 January 1906, when this prophecy was published? 32

Prophecy about the World War and the destruction of the Tsar (Czar) of Russia:

Another great prophecy by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, was announced on 15 April 1905. This was published in newspapers and books and has spread to all parts of the world. It is mentioned in his book, Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah in the form of a poem, thus:

"A sign is going to appear after a few days from today which will work havoc on villages, towns and meadows. Divine wrath will send a great revolution on creatures, so that a naked person will not be able to tie his trouser string. All of a sudden, all shall suddenly quake by an earthquake (zalzalah). 33 In the twinkling of an eye, this earth will turn upside - down - mortals and trees and stones and seas. Streams of blood shall flow as water flows in a river. Those who don robes at night, white as jasmine, the morning will turn them bloodstained like poplar trees. Men and birds will lose their senses. Pigeons and nightingales will forget their songs. On every wayfarer, that moment and that hour will be extremely hard, (so much so that) ambling horses will become drunk and tipsy and forget their way. With the blood of the dead, the streams of mountains will become red, like red wine. All men and jinn will be worn out by fear. Even the Tsar (of Russia) at that moment will be in a state of great despair. That divine sign shall be a sample of wrath. Even the sky will pull out its dagger and make a charge. Do not deny in haste, O ignorant fool! On this depends the truth of all for which I stand. This is the revelation of God which will certainly come true. Just show some patience for a few days by becoming righteous and forbearing. Do not take it for granted that all this disbelief and mistrust will be forgiven. It is all a debt which will be paid off to you in full." 34

It is clear from the above words that the Promised Messiah foretold such a catastrophe concerning the world that would bring in its wake huge destruction for men, villages and towns. About this dreadful calamity, he gave descriptions of such events which are clearly applicable to the present-day world war. 35

Firstly, this calamity will be of such a nature which will work havoc on villages, towns and meadows. This means that along with human habitations, pasture lands and forests will also be destroyed. The history of the world bears testimony to this fact, that during the present war, the destruction of human life and property which has taken place has not been seen before in such magnitude Not only are villages and towns affected but many countries have also been devastated. Millions of people have taken refuge in other countries. The whole of Belgium has been turned into a battleground. The prosperous and flourishing areas of France, Poland, Romania and many other countries have been turned into wasteland. In a town in Belgium which was inhabited by sixteen thousand people, only one old and blind woman was found alive. In many forests, so much bombardment took place that no trees were left standing. In villages, houses were turned into mounds of bricks to be used for the protection of the army. Such havoc that took place all around was like nothing that had happened before in the history of mankind.

Secondly, during the calamities, massacres on a large scale have taken place, the reference to which is made in the words "streams of blood will flow as water flows in a river" and "with the blood of the dead, the streams of mountains will become red, like red wine", and similarly, "those who will be wearing during the night garments of the colour of jasmine, in the morning they will find them red like the poplar trees" (the white leaves of poplar trees are splashed with a red colour). Those people who have witnessed the carnage which has taken place in the present war, have portrayed the scene in the almost the same way which was portrayed in the above prophecy ten years ago. A reporter describes the condition of Poland thus: "The war has filled the rivers of this unlucky country with blood." Millions have died and those who are wounded are countless. As compared to this the previous wars' ravages seem insignificant

Thirdly, apart from this great slaughter described in the above prophecy, another point has also been mentioned in the words, "men and birds will lose their senses and that on every wayfarer, that moment and that hour will be extremely hard, (so much so that) ambling horses will become drunk-like and tipsy and forget their way." Those who have read the harrowing reports of the war know in what panic, from Belgium and other countries, young and old, men, women and children, fled from one place to another to seek shelter; they saw with their own eyes the scenes of the Doomsday. In their despair and fright, husbands were separated from their wives and mothers from their children. A large number of these terror-stricken people are still sheltering in other countries.

Fourthly, another great sign of this calamity is that its destruction will not remain confined to one country alone. Such a great part of the world will be affected that it will be as if this calamity has spread all over the world. The truth of the matter is that there has been no parallel to this huge destruction even in the most ghastly wars ever fought, or in the most dreadful earthquakes that have ever struck any part of the world. The whole world, new or old, East or West, Europe, Asia, Africa or America is equally overtaken by this calamity. The words of the prophecy said:

"Divine wrath will send a great calamity on creatures."

All continents belonging to the old and new worlds, like Asia, Africa, Europe and America are witnessing the scenes of this great calamity.

Fifthly, besides all these points, another astonishing sign is that "even the Tsar at that moment will be in a state of great despair." In comparison with the kings of the world, the Tsar of Russia was the greatest autocrat. 36 Constitutional and democratic governments were set up in many countries, but the Tsar controlled the fate of sixteen million people and laws and regulations did not mean anything to him. Look at the sad plight of this great despot of the world. He is in such a state of distress that it is difficult to describe his true condition. He has not only been deprived of his crown and throne but he is also a prisoner in the hands of those whom he despised the most. He has been separated from his wife and children. 37 The news agency, Reuters, sent out the following cable to the press about him:

"When the order for his arrest was presented to him he only said: `I am willing to accept any decision and go anywhere.'"

It was further stated:

"The Tsar was dressed in a Cossack uniform. He came out in a quiet manner but looked very sad. A car was waiting for him outside and he got into it. No member of the public was present there."

The Tsar is at present living somewhere, separated from his family and is even deprived of that freedom which is being enjoyed by an ordinary labourer. If thousands of pages are written about his condition it could all be summed up in two words "state of despair" (hal-i zar) - which have been mentioned in the prophecy.

To foretell all these events with such clarity, ten or twelve years before, was not possible for a human being. It was only the All-Knowing God who could reveal these secrets. They were foretold at a time when everybody talked of peace. Even our own emperor, Edward VII, became known as Peace-maker because he drew up many plans for bringing about peace in the world. The common man also did not want any war. Nobody could think at that time that such a ghastly war would ever be waged. This is where Divine power shows its hand.

Not only was a prophecy of a world war made, but this catastrophe was also linked to the sad plight of the Tsar. Surprisingly, the war began with great victories for the Russian army. The Tsar's army was very strong and was supported by many world powers. Even our own government aided and assisted Russia in every way. Could one have imagined that the Tsar would ever have reached that state of extreme despair?

The testimonies of the prophecies:

There are many other prophecies concerning world events: for example, repeated news of earthquakes, the spread of plague, the victory of Turkey after its defeat, as was witnessed in the Balkan War, etc. I cannot go into details of all of these for lack of space. It is, however, regrettable that the opponents of the Movement cast aside all these clear testimonies and spend all their energies on a few prophecies of warning, (not connected with world events and therefore not that important in themselves), that were withdrawn, or their fulfilment was postponed in view of some conditions mentioned, or implied therein. In the prophecy about `Abdullah Atham, the condition was clearly mentioned that he would die within fifteen months unless he inclined to truth. 38 These words show that they did not mean his becoming a Muslim, otherwise the words should have been "unless he became a Muslim." A person can incline to truth within his heart: it clearly shows some inclination. At the time of the debate in Amritsar when he heard this prophecy, he became frightened and immediately said that he had never called the Holy Prophet a dajjal 39 (a great deceiver). Then for fifteen months he moved from one place to another with the fear of death on his lips and saw frightful and threatening scenes as if snakes had been let loose on him. When he did not die within fifteen months, because of his fear and inclination to truth within his heart, the Founder told him to take an oath that he was not inclined towards truth in his heart and not frightened, but Atham refused to do so. This shows that he took advantage of the condition implied in a prophecy of warning, but when he intentionally tried again to make the truth obscure and doubtful, he died after a few months.

Similarly, there were two parts of the prophecy concerning Muhammadi Begum. In one part, the news about the death of her father was given and in the other, the news about the death of her husband. The first part was fulfilled and the other part, dealing with admonition and warning, was cancelled by God, which according to the rules of interpretation of prophecies, is not beyond understanding. But is it right that if some ambiguity is found in a few prophecies, hundreds of other prophecies of a high degree should be thrown away?

Footnotes on Chapter IX:

1 40:28.

2 93:3.

3 10:64.

4 41:30-31.

5 Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Ru'ya, ch. Al-Mubashshirat.

6 Fath al-Bari (Commentary of Al-Bukhari), vol.12, p.332.

7 Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Ru'ya, ch. Al-Mubashshirat.

8 Ibid., kitab al-Anbiya, ch. Manaqib `Umar.

9 42:51.

The following remarks on this verse by the Maulana Muhammad Ali in his commentary of the Quran may also be read with interest:

"This verse shows how Allah speaks to a person or makes known His will to him. Three modes of this are stated:
i. By wahy, which word is generally translated as meaning revelation. The primary significance of the word wahy is, however, a hasty suggestion, and since the different kinds of revelation are spoken of here, the meaning intended must be the primary significance of the word. Hence, the inspired word, which enters the hearts of the prophets and of the righteous, is called wahy or revelation, because it is like a hasty suggestion made directly to the heart of the inspired one, ilqa-'un fi-l-rau'i. It is in this sense that a revelation is spoken of as being granted to the mother of Moses (28:7), and to the apostles of Jesus who were not prophets (5:111).

ii. The second mode of Allah's speaking to His servants is that He speaks from behind a veil - a scene is shown as in a vision carrying a deeper significance, or words are heard by the person spoken to as from behind a veil.

iii. The third form of revelation is that in which a messenger - an angel - is chosen by the Almighty to deliver His message to the person to whom He wishes to speak. This is the highest form of revelation, and such is the revelation of the Quran as granted to the Holy Prophet, being recited by Gabriel. This is called wahy matluww or revelation that is recited. This revelation is granted only to prophets, while the other two may also be granted to the righteous who are not raised to the dignity of prophethood. It should, however, be borne in mind that in all these cases the recipient of the revelation is granted certain other senses. He sees what others do not see and he hears words which others do not hear. It is, therefore, with what may be called the spiritual senses that he hears and sees and feels things which others do not hear, see or feel" (Footnote No. 2235). (SMT).

10 12:4,5.

11 Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Wahy, ch. Bad` al-Wahy.

12 Ibid., kitab al-Zakat, ch. Ayyuna asra`u-bika.

13 Ibid., kitab al-Ru'ya, ch. Siyab al-harir fil-manam.

14 30:2-3.

15 37:139.

16 Fath al-Bayan, under v. 37:139.

17 40:28.

18 41:13.

19 Al-Bukhari, kitab al-Ru'ya, ch. Iza ara' baqaran tunharu.

20 Ibid., kitab al-Zakat, ch. Ayyuna asra`u-bika.

Sometimes it is said that the wives did not measure their hands in the presence of the Holy Prophet. The report of al-Bukhari does not support this view. It says: "Reported from `A'ishah that some wives of the Holy Prophet asked him who from among them would meet him first. He said: whose hand is the longest. Then they started measuring their hands with a piece of stick. Saudah's hand was the longest. Later on we found out that long hand signified the giving of charity." There is no mention at all here that after replying to their question the Holy Prophet left them. (SMT).

21 Ibid., kitab al-Sulh, ch. Al-sulh minal mushrikin; ch. Ghazwah Hudaibiyyah.

22 Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah, vol. III. pp. 238-242.

23 Ibid., part iv, pp. 490-493, sub-footnote.

24 Ibid., part iv, p. 507, sub-footnote 3.

25 Ibid., vol. iv, pp. 510, 511, sub-footnote 3.

26 Ibid., p. 515.

27 The announcement was looked down upon with contempt by the Hindus of India as the order of modification was considered beyond the range of possibility. (SMT).

28 "Power" in the English language is used for a nation or a country whose political importance is acknowledged by other powerful nations of the world.

29 "An Eastern power and the delicate situation of Korea" are the revealed words.

30 The Russo-Japanese War started on 6 February 1904 and in this short and disastrous war, Russia suffered a series of defeats at the hands of Japan. Eventually Japan's occupation of Korea was confirmed in the Treaty of Portsmouth (USA) on 5 September 1905, and Russia was again pushed back to the River Amur. (SMT)

31 This prophecy was fulfilled in another way in 1950. After the second World War, Japan declined as a "Power" and Soviet Russia emerged as an Eastern power. Around the 1920's, some Communist organisations were formed in Korea, which later received the recognition of the Comintern (Russian form of Communist International). Again, another Eastern country which came into power was Communist China. Korea was divided into North and South. North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950. The former was helped by Communist China and the situation once again became very delicate for Korea. The relationship between North (Communist) and South (democratic) Korea is still strained. (SMT).

32 When this prophecy was made, Muzaffar-ud Din Shah sat securely on his Imperial throne. A parliament was set up in 1905 and was opened in October 1906. The Shah died on 8 January 1907, and his son Mirza Muhammad Ali Shah succeeded him. At that time, signs of political turmoil appeared. The Shah dissolved the Parliament, whereupon the Republicans took over the administration of the country and this plunged Iran into a civil war. Eventually the Shah abdicated on 15 July 1909, about a year after the death of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. All the efforts of the Shah to regain his throne failed. This prophecy was recently fulfilled in another way. In 1921, Reza Khan captured the throne of Iran and the Pahlavi regime came into power. On 17 January 1979, his son Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi fled the country and with that followed the end of the Pahlavi regime. The palace of the Emperor of Iran was in ruins and became a thing of the past. (SMT)

33 "In the revelation of God, the word zalzalah (earthquake) occurs very often and it has been said that this earthquake would be on the pattern of the Day of Judgement or in other words, it can be described as being as severe as the earthquake of the Day of Judgement towards which a reference has been made in the verse: When the earth is shaken with her shaking (99:1). But up to the present time I am unable to definitely apply this word in its literal and obvious sense. It is quite possible that this is not an ordinary earthquake but a severe calamity which may foreshadow a scene of the Day of Judgement and the equal of which has not been seen by the world before, and life and property may suffer heavy destruction" (Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah, vol. v.).

34 Barahin-i Ahmadiyyah, vol. v, p. 120.

The description of the word zalzalah (earthquake) is clearly indicated in the prophecy itself but for further clarification, I quote the testimony of the Arabic lexicon. Lisan al-Arab says that according to Ibn al-Anbari asbatial qaum al-zalzalah means a frightening befell the people and further on it is said that "earthquakes" mean great calamities and frightful misfortunes.

35 The reference is to World War 1. The first edition of this book was published in January 1918. (SMT)

36 David Smith Writes:

(Nicholas II) "The Tsar was stubborn. `Let every man know,' he said at the outset of his reign, `that I will devote all my strength to the good of my people but that I will uphold the principle of autocracy as firmly and as unflinchingly as did my ever-lamented father.'" (Russia of the Tsars, 1796-1917, p. 101. Published by Ernest Benn Limited, London, Edition 1971.)

At the declaration of the First World War, the loyalty of the Russian people to the Tsar was at its zenith. David Smith says:

"Ironically, however, the first effect of the declaration of war was a great outburst of Russian loyalty to the Tsar. When he appeared with Alexandra on the balcony of the Winter Palace, a vast crowd filled the whole square and all the adjacent streets. At the sight of the Emperor, an electric current seemed to pass through the mass of people; a mighty `hurrah' filled the air. Banners and placards, on which were inscribed the words `Long live Russia and the Slavonic cause' were lowered to the ground, and the whole crowd, as one man, fell on their knees before the Emperor. He tried to speak, raised his hand: the front rows endeavoured to silence the rest, but nothing could be heard amid the deafening cheers and roaring of the crowd. The Emperor stood for a while with bowed head, overpowered by the solemnity of the moment, when Tsar and people became one. Then he turned slowly and withdrew into his apartments" (Ibid., p. 124). (SMT)

37 Later on, Nicholas II was allowed to rejoin his family at Tsarskoe Selo. However, in July 1918, at Ekaterinburg, where the royal family was finally held by the Bolsheviks, they were all butchered in a cellar. (SMT)

38 Jang-i Muqaddas, p. 293, 294 (Published June 15, 1893).

39 In his book, Androona Bible, he did call the Holy Prophet by that name. (SMT)

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Books Section > The Promised Messiah [The Second Coming of Jesus] by Maulana Muhammad Ali Sahib > Chapter IX : Prophecies of the Promised Messiah

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