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Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement; the Mujaddid (Reformer) of the 14th Century Hijrah; and, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi) <Please read his biography in the 'Biography' section>

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Books Section > by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian > A Correction of an Error [Ek Ghalti ka Izala] by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib > Commentary (#2) of: 'A Correction of an Error (Ek Ghalati Ka Izala)' -- by Dr. Zahid Aziz


Commentary (#2) of --
A Correction of an Error
(Ek Ghalati Ka Izala):

by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian

by Dr. Zahid Aziz


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Please read the 'Webmaster's Notes' on how to use this page.

Note 1:

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad here confirms that his claims and the arguments relating to those claims have been correctly stated in his previous books, published prior to this booklet, and in his teachings given over the previous years. He says that those of his followers who have not read his previous books carefully, nor stayed in his company for a sufficient length of time, are unfamiliar with his claims, and therefore give wrong answers to the opponents.

It is absolutely clear from this that, far from introducing any new claim in this booklet, in contradiction of his claims made in earlier books, Hazrat Mirza is confirming and reiterating his previous position. If, as the Qadianis hold, Hazrat Mirza was announcing in this booklet that his previous denials of claiming to be a prophet were in error, and that he now understood that he was actually a prophet, how could he possibly write that if his followers had read his previous books carefully they would have obtained a complete and correct knowledge about his claim?

Therefore, the Qadiani assertions are proved to be wrong from the very first line of Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala.

According to what Hazrat Mirza says here, we must study this booklet in conjunction with his earlier books and statements, which are more detailed, in order to understand his claims. This is what we now proceed to do in the following Notes.


Note 2:

The follower was wrong to answer this objection by only a denial, without further explanation, and further he was wrong to deny that such words (nabi, rasul) even occurred in the revelation to Hazrat Mirza.

The right answer was to deny that Hazrat Mirza claimed to be a prophet, and explain that the words nabi and rasul do occur in his revelations, but are meant in a metaphorical and not in a real sense. This was exactly how Hazrat Mirza himself answered such questions in his previous books. See the next Note.


Note 3:

Previously too, Hazrat Mirza had stated that these words occurred about him very frequently in his revelation and he had given the following explanations:

1. "Do not level false allegations against me that I have claimed to be a prophet in the real sense. ... It is true that, in the revelation which God has sent upon this servant, the words nabi, rasul and mursal occur about myself quite frequently. However, they do not bear their real sense .... We believe and acknowledge that, according to the real meaning of nubuwwat [prophethood], after the Holy Prophet Muhammad no new or former prophet can come. The Holy Quran forbids the appearance of any such prophets. But in a metaphorical sense God can call any recipient of revelation as nabi or mursal. Have you not read those Sayings of the Holy Prophet in which occur the words rasulu rasul-illah ['messenger of the Messenger of God']? The Arabs to this day call even the message-bearer of a man as a rasul, so why is it forbidden for God to use the word mursal [messenger] in a metaphorical sense too? Do you not even remember from the Quran the words: 'So they [some non-prophets] said, We are messengers to you'? ... I say it repeatedly that these words rasul and mursal and nabi undoubtedly occur about me in my revelation from God, but they do not bear their real meanings." (Siraj Munir, March 1897, p. 3)

2. "By virtue of being appointed by God, I cannot conceal those revelations I have received from Him in which the words nubuwwat and risalat occur quite frequently. But I say repeatedly that, in these revelations, the word mursal or rasul or nabi which has occurred about me is not used in its real sense. (Such words have not occurred only now, but have been present in my published revelations for sixteen years. So you will find many such revelations about me in the Barahin Ahmadiyya.) The actual fact, to which I testify with the highest testimony, is that our Holy Prophet, peace and the blessings of God be upon him, is the Khatam al-anbiya, and after him no prophet is to come, neither an old one nor a new one. ... But it must be remembered that, as we have explained here, sometimes the revelation from God contains such words about some of His saints in a metaphorical and figurative sense; they are not meant by way of reality. ... How can there be a prophet after the Khatam al-anbiya?" (Anjam Atham, January 1897, footnote, pp. 27-28)

This is the correct answer that the follower should have given, if he had read Hazrat Mirza's previous books carefully: that the words nabi and rasul do occur but are not meant by way of reality, and that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is the Last Prophet after whom no prophet can come.


Note 4:

If, by being given the name rasul from God, Hazrat Mirza actually became a rasul, then by being given the name Muhammad he should have become the real Muhammad! For Hazrat Mirza does not only say that God called him as rasul but that God called him as "Muhammad-ur rasul-allah", Muhammad the Messenger of Allah. This proves conclusively that he is called rasul only metaphorically, and not in a real sense, because if he is really a rasul then he is also really Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah.

The Qadianis repeatedly argue that Allah has called Hazrat Mirza as nabi and rasul, and this means that he was a prophet. But, as he says here, Allah has called him Muhammad-ur rasul-allah. So the Qadianis should now consider whether, by their own reasoning, this makes Hazrat Mirza to be Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah!


Note 5:

These are almost the same examples of revelation that Hazrat Mirza had quoted in a letter which he wrote and published two years earlier in August 1899. He wrote there:

"The situation is that, although for twenty years I have been constantly receiving Divine revelation, often the word rasul or nabi has occurred in it. For example, there is the revelation: 'He it is Who sent His messenger (rasul) with guidance and the true religion', and the revelation: 'the champion of God in the mantle of the prophets', and the revelation: 'A prophet came into the world but the world accepted him not'. There are many such revelations in which the word nabi or rasul has occurred regarding myself. However, that person is mistaken who thinks that by this prophethood and messengership is meant real prophethood and messengership ... in fact, by the word rasul is only meant 'one sent by God', and by the word nabi is only meant 'one who makes prophecies' having received intimation from God, or one who discloses hidden matters. As these words, which are only in a metaphorical sense, cause trouble in Islam, leading to very bad consequences, these terms should not be used in our community's ordinary talk and everyday language. It should be believed from the bottom of the heart that prophethood has terminated with the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, as God Almighty says: 'He is the Messenger of God and the Khatam an-nabiyyin." (Al-Hakam, 17 August 1899, page 6)

So, not only does Hazrat Mirza emphasize that these words 'prophet' and 'messenger' in his revelation are purely metaphorical, or used according to their linguistic and not religious sense, he further instructs his followers to avoid using them lightly, in ordinary talk, as he fears that such free use would lead to "very bad consequences."


Note 6:

As shown in Notes 3 and 5, being called nabi or rasul by God does not mean that the recipient of the title is a real prophet. The following further quotations from Hazrat Mirza's books may also be given in addition:

1. In another book written less than a year before Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala, he quotes these revelations under the heading "Those Divine revelations which I have been honoured with, recorded in Barahin Ahmadiyya," and then writes in a footnote:

"At this place, the words rasul and nabi which have been used about me in the Divine revelation, i.e., he is a rasul and nabi of God, this application is metaphorical and figurative." (Arba'in No. 3, December 1900, footnote, p. 25)

2. Elsewhere, quoting one of the revelations given here, "The messenger of God in the mantle of the prophets", he writes in a footnote:

"These words are by way of metaphor, just as in Hadith also the word nabi has been used for the Promised Messiah. It is obvious that he who is sent by God is His envoy, and an envoy is called rasul in Arabic. And he who discloses news of the unseen received from God is called nabi in Arabic. The meanings in Islamic terminology are different. At this place, only the linguistic meaning is intended." (Arba'in, No. 2, September 1900, footnote, p. 18)

He further adds here:

"Maulvi Muhammad Husain Batalvi mentioned all these places in his review [of Barahin Ahmadiyya] and raised no objection against it. In fact, for twenty years all the ulama in Punjab and throughout India have been reading these revelations in Barahin Ahmadiyya and accepting them, and none has objected except two or three maulvis of Ludhiana who have no understanding."

The Muslim Ulama who opposed Hazrat Mirza, especially his leading opponent named here, had not raised any objections against the occurrence of the words nabi and rasul in his revelations (particularly when these were first published) because they knew that revelations of Muslim saints could include such terms in a metaphorical sense.

3. He writes:

"By rusul [plural of rasul] are meant 'those who are sent', whether such a one is a rasul or a nabi or a muhaddas. As our Master and Messenger, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, is the Khatam al-anbiya, and after him there cannot come any prophet, for this reason saints (muhaddas) have been substituted for prophets in this religious system." (Shahadat al-Quran, September 1893, p. 23)

Thus the word rasul applies to non-prophets as well, and after the Holy Prophet Muhammad any Muslim to whom this word applies is a saint (muhaddas) and not a prophet.

4. In his famous book Haqiqat al-Wahy, published only a year before his death, he writes:

"I have been called nabi by Allah by way of metaphor, not by way of reality." (Haqiqat al-Wahy, May 1907, Appendix, p. 64)


Note 7:

Elsewhere Hazrat Mirza has explained that wahy nubuwwat or wahy risalat (type of revelation exclusive to prophets) has closed with the completion of the revelation of the Quran, and that the closure of wahy nubuwwat means that no prophet can come, whether Jesus or any other prophet. He writes:

1. "Every wise person can understand that if God is true to His promise, and the promise given in the Khatam an-nabiyyin verse, which has been explicitly mentioned in the Hadith, that now, after the death of the Holy Prophet, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, Gabriel has been forbidden forever from bringing wahy nubuwwat --- if all these things are true and correct, then no person at all can come as a messenger (rasul) after our Holy Prophet." (Izala Auham, September 1891, p. 577)

2. "After the Khatam an-nabiyyin, the Holy Quran does not allow the coming of any rasul, whether he is a new one or a former one, because a rasul receives knowledge of religion through the agency of Gabriel, and the coming of Gabriel as bringing wahy risalat has been closed. It is self-contradictory that a messenger (rasul) come into the world, but not be accompanied by wahy risalat." (ibid., p. 761)

3. "It is part of the concept and essence of rasul that he should receive religious knowledge through Gabriel, and it has just been shown that wahy risalat has been terminated till the Day of Judgment." (ibid., p. 614)

4. "According to the explanation of the Holy Quran, rasul is he who receives the commands and tenets of the religion through Gabriel. But a seal has been put upon wahy nubuwwat since thirteen hundred years ago. Will this seal then break?" (ibid., p. 534)

5. "It is my belief that wahy risalat began with Adam and ended with the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him." (Announcement dated 2 October 1891, Majmu'a Ishtiharat, vol. i, p. 231)

6. "If we allow the appearance of a prophet after our Holy Prophet, we would have to allow the opening of the door of wahy nubuwwat after its closure. And this is wrong, as is not hidden from the Muslims. How can a prophet come after our Holy Prophet, when revelation has been cut off after his death, and God has ended the prophets with him?" (Hamamat al-Bushra, 1894, p. 20)

7. "Our unjust opponents do not consider the doors of the finality of prophethood to be fully closed. On the contrary, they believe that a window is still open for the return of the Israelite prophet Jesus. If, therefore, a real prophet appeared after the Quran, and the process of wahy nubuwwat commenced, then please explain what would happen to the finality of prophethood? Will the revelation of a prophet be called wahy nubuwwat or something else?" (Siraj Munir, March 1897, p. 3)

8. "The fact that our Holy Prophet is the Khatam al-anbiya also requires the death of Jesus because if another prophet comes after the Holy Prophet, then he cannot remain the Khatam al-anbiya, nor can wahy nubuwwat be considered as terminated. ... What audacity, boldness and insolence it is that, by pursuing shallow conjectures, one should deliberately depart from the clear meaning of the Quran and believe in the coming of a prophet after the Khatam al-anbiya, and recommence the process of wahy nubuwwat after its termination! For, the revelation of the man who possesses the rank of prophethood is undoubtedly the wahy of nubuwwat." (Ayyam as-Sulh, August 1898, p. 146)


Note 8:

Regarding the Khatam an-nabiyyin verse of the Quran (33:40) and the hadith report "there is no prophet after me", Hazrat Mirza has written again and again that this means that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is the Last of the prophets, after whom no prophet whatsoever can come. For example, he wrote:

1. " 'Muhammad is not the father of any man from among you, but he is the Messenger of God and the Khatam an-nabiyyin.' Do you not know that the Merciful God has declared our Holy Prophet unconditionally to be the Khatam al-anbiya, and in explanation of this verse, our Prophet has said: 'There is no prophet after me'." (Hamamat al-Bushra, 1894, p. 20; new edition pp. 81-82)

2. "The Holy Prophet had repeatedly said that no prophet would come after him, and the hadith 'There is no prophet after me' was so well-known that no one had any doubt about its authenticity. And the Holy Quran, every word of which is absolute, in its verse 'he is the messenger of God and the Khatam an-nabiyyin', confirmed that prophethood has, in fact, ended with our Holy Prophet." (Kitab al-Barriyya, January 1898, p. 184, footnote)

3. "In brief, God by naming the Holy Prophet Muhammad as Khatam an-nabiyyin in the Quran, and the Holy Prophet himself by saying 'There is no prophet after me' in Hadith, had settled the point that no prophet can come after the Holy Prophet, in terms of the real meaning of prophethood." (ibid., p. 185, footnote)

4. "Besides these arguments, the following verse also stops the return of Jesus: 'He is the Messenger of God and the Khatam an-nabiyyin', and also the hadith: 'There is no prophet after me'. How could it be permitted that, despite the fact that our Holy Prophet Muhammad is the Khatam al-anbiya, some other prophet should appear sometime and wahy nubuwwat commence." (Ayyam as-Sulh, August 1898, p. 47)

5. "God says: 'He is the Messenger of God and the Khatam an-nabiyyin.' And it is in the Hadith: 'There is no prophet after me.' ... If another prophet were to come, whether new or old, how could our Holy Prophet be the Khatam al-anbiya." (ibid., p. 74)

6. "The return of Jesus is not mentioned anywhere in the Holy Quran, but the finality of prophethood is mentioned perfectly explicitly. To make a distinction between an old prophet and a new prophet is mischievous. Neither the Hadith nor the Quran make this distinction. The negation contained in the hadith 'There is no prophet after me' is all-embracing." (ibid., p. 146)

7. "In the same way, by saying 'There is no prophet after me', he [the Holy Prophet] closed the door absolutely to any new prophet or a returning prophet." (ibid., p. 152)

8. Quoting the Khatam an-nabiyyin verse in Arabic, he translates it into Urdu and explains it as follows:

"That is to say: Muhammad is not the father of any man from among you, but he is the Messenger of God and the one to end the prophets. This verse, also, clearly argues that after our Prophet, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, no messenger (rasul) shall come into the world." (Izala Auham, September 1891, p. 614)

In the last quotation above, Hazrat Mirza has himself translated khatam an-nabiyyin into Urdu as khatam karnai wala hai nabiun ka, "the one to end the prophets".

In addition to these quotations, the extracts given in Note 7 also show that Hazrat Mirza believed that no prophet can come after the Holy Prophet Muhammad.


Note 9:

The terms fana fir-rasul (and zill and burooz which occur a little later) were devised by the Muslim religious leaders and saints of Islamic sufi-ism many centuries ago. These terms are used to refer to Muslim saints of a high spiritual rank because, by modelling themselves entirely on the Holy Prophet Muhammad, they display some qualities of prophets. These concepts are derived from the Holy Quran and Hadith, where such persons are designated by terms such as wali and muhaddas, that is, persons of high spiritual attainment who are not prophets.

Thus what the Quran and Hadith call as wali and muhaddas, the Islamic Sufi literature calls as fana fir-rasul ('one who has lost or effaced himself in the Holy Prophet'), a prophet by way of zill (meaning 'reflection' or 'shadow'), and a prophet by way of burooz (meaning 'appearance' or 'manifestation'). These expressions do not denote that such men are prophets, but that they display certain qualities of prophethood (such as being spoken to by God) which continue among Muslims after the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has explained these concepts in the same way as the earlier leaders of Islamic spiritual philosophy. Regarding fana fir-rasul he writes:

"The fact that our Holy Prophet is the Khatam an-nabiyyin prohibits the coming of any other prophet. However, a prophet who obtains light from the lamp of the prophethood of Muhammad, who in other words is also called a muhaddas, is exempt from this restriction because, due to his obedience to the Holy Prophet and due to his being fana fir-rasul, he is included within the person of the Last of the Messengers, just as a part is included in the whole." (Izala Auham, September 1891, p. 575)

It is absolutely clear from this passage that by "a prophet who obtains light from the prophethood of Muhammad", or a fana fir-rasul, is not meant a prophet. Hazrat Mirza begins by stating that no prophet can come after the Holy Prophet Muhammad because he is the Khatam an-nabiyyin. Then as to what can come, he says that such a one is called a muhaddas, which is a term from Hadith meaning a person who receives revelation without being a prophet.

The significance of the concept of fana has been explained by Hazrat Mirza as follows:

"The very reason why God sent prophets into the world is in order to create people like them. If this does not happen, then prophethood becomes meaningless. Prophets do not come so that they should be worshipped but they come so that people follow their example, attain a similarity to them, and by self-effacement (fana) in them become, as it were, exactly the same as them. Allah says: 'Say: If you love Allah then follow me [Prophet Muhammad], Allah will love you' [The Quran 3:31]. When God loves someone, then which is the blessing that He will keep him deprived of? By 'follow me' is meant the rank of fana which takes one to the level of being a likeness. This concept is accepted by all." (Ayyam as-Sulh, August 1898, p. 164)

That a fana fir-rasul is not a prophet is also clear from the following words of Hazrat Mirza:

"God gives the honour of His word to a person who is fana fin-nabi, just as He does with His prophets." (Zameema Anjam Atham, January 1897, p. 15)

"At the head of every century ... God raises someone who is a substitute for a prophet and whose nature reflects the image of a prophet. That substitute-prophet shows people, through his own being, the qualities of the prophet whom he obeys." (Ainah Kamalat Islam, February 1893, p. 247)

Now we give two examples of what other Muslim religious scholars have written about the concept of fana fir-rasul.

1. Khawaja Zia-ullah Naqshbandi writes:

"The rank of fana fir-rasul is attained when all the characteristics and qualities of the Holy Prophet are to be found in one, and all one's deeds, movements, habits, devotions and meditations are exactly according to the manner of the Holy Prophet. ... Perfect good fortune is that God should paint His servant with the colour and qualities of His friend, the Holy Prophet." (Maqasid as-Salikeen, p. 46, Lahore)

2. Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, one of the founders of the Deobandi school of thought, and a contemporary of Hazrat Mirza, answered a question as follows:

"Question: What are fana fish-shaikh and fana fir-rasul? From where are these concepts established, and what have Sufis said about it?

"Answer: Both these words are from the terminology of spiritual leaders (Shaikh). The meaning is to obey God and have overwhelming love for Him. Its basis is in the Quranic words: Follow me [i.e. Muhammad], and God will love you [the Quran 3:31]." (Fatawa Rashidiyya, p. 48, Islamic Kutab, Karachi)


Note 10:

As stated in the last Note, zill or 'reflection', is a concept in Islamic Sufi-ism similar to fana fir-rasul. A Muslim saint can be referred to as a 'prophet by way of zill', or zilli nabi, but this does not mean that he is a prophet. He is a saint in whom certain qualities of prophets are reflected.

Regarding the concept of zill, Hazrat Mirza writes elsewhere :

"I firmly believe that our Holy Prophet Muhammad is the Khatam al-anbiya, and after him no prophet shall come for this Umma, neither new nor old. Not a jot or iota of the Holy Quran shall be abrogated. Of course, muhaddases will come who will be spoken to by God, and possess some attributes of full prophethood by way of reflection (zill), and in some ways be coloured with the colour of prophethood. I am one of these." (Nishan Asmani, May 1892, p. 28)

In this extract Hazrat Mirza first affirms the ending of prophethood with the Holy Prophet Muhammad in the clearest words, and then writes that saints will arise among the Muslims who will be the reflections, or zill, of the prophets. This establishes that anyone who is referred to as receiving the mantle of prophethood by way of zill is not a prophet, but a saint or muhaddas.

He further writes:

"Sainthood (wilayat) is the perfect zill of prophethood." (Hujjat-Ullah, May 1897, p. 24)

"The prophet is the real thing, and a saint is the zill." (Karamat as-Sadiqeen, August 1893, p. 85)

These two quotations show that the zill or reflection of prophethood is through a saint (who is known as wali or muhaddas), and no matter how perfect that reflection may be he still remains a saint and does not become a prophet.

Again, Hazrat Mirza writes:

"Corresponding to the issues of every age, for the resolving of those issues, spiritual teachers are sent who are the heirs of the messengers [rusul, plural of rasul] and who attain the qualities of the messengers by way of zill. And the mujaddid whose work bears striking similarity to the appointed task of one of the messengers, is called by the name of that rasul in the sight of Allah." (Shahadat al-Quran, September 1893, p. 52)

Here the spiritual teachers or mujaddids who arise among the Muslims are described as the zill of prophets. And it is mujaddids who are given the names of various prophets. They do not become prophets thereby, but remain as mujaddids.

Hazrat Mirza has explained the significance of the concept of zill in detail as follows:

"God Almighty says: 'Whatever thing benefits mankind, it remains in the world' [the Quran, 13:17]. Now it is obvious that the group most benefitting mankind are the prophets who, by signs, miracles, prophecies, truth, knowledge, and their own example of righteousness, strengthen the faith of people and give religious benefit to seekers of truth. It is also obvious that they do not remain in the world for a great length of time, but are taken from this world after spending a short life here. However, this does not go against the contents of the verse, nor is it possible that the word of God be against facts. So, when applied to prophets, the meaning of this verse would be that they continue to exist in terms of zill, and at every time of need God raises some servant of His in their likeness and similitude, as a reflection, who causes them to have perpetual life by being in their mould. For the continuation of this existence in terms of reflection, God has taught His servants the prayer: 'O our Lord, show us that right path which is the way of those servants of Thine upon whom are Thy favours' [the Quran 1:5,6]. And it is obvious that God's favour to the prophets, for the seeking of which there is a command in this prayer, is not of monetary form but it is the favour of light, blessings, love, faith, miracles, heavenly assistance, recognition, perfect knowledge, revelation and visions. God had commanded this Umma to seek this favour precisely because He had decided beforehand to grant it to them. So this verse too proves openly that God has made this Umma the heir to the prophets, in the sense of reflection (zill), so that the prophets continue to exist forever by way of zill, and the world is never deprived of their presence." (Shahadat al-Quran, September 1893, p. 53)

It is clear from this that, because prophets have stopped coming, this is why those persons arise who are their reflection or zill, to give the prophets continued existence. If the zill of prophets were themselves prophets, it would be absurd to say that they come because prophets no longer come.

Hazrat Mirza has also referred to Umar, the second Khalifa of Islam, who was obviously not a prophet, as being a zill of the Holy Prophet:

"An example is the prophecy of our Holy Prophet Muhammad that the keys to the treasures of the Qaisar and Kasra have been placed in his hand, whereas it is clear that the Holy Prophet had died before the fulfilment of this prophecy, seeing neither the treasures of the Qaisar and Kasra, nor the keys. But as it was destined that Hazrat Umar receive those keys, and the person of Hazrat Umar was, as it were, the person of the Holy Prophet Muhammad by way of zill, therefore in the realm of revelation the hand of Hazrat Umar was considered to be the hand of the Messenger of God, the Holy Prophet." (Ayyam as-Sulh, August 1898, p. 35)

The greatest of Muslim religious scholars, who are household names in the Islamic world, have elaborated on the concept of zill. We give some examples below.

1. Shaikh Abdul Haqq (d. 1642), the famous scholar of Hadith of Delhi, wrote:

"Wilayat [sainthood, or being a wali] is the zill of prophethood." (Sharh Futuh al-Ghaib, Lucknow, India, 1918, p. 23)

2. Shaikh Ahmad of Sirhind (d. 1624), known as the Mujaddid Alif Sani, and recognized in the Indian subcontinent as mujaddid of the eleventh century hijra, wrote:

"In short, the station of wilayat is the zill of the station of prophethood, and the attainments of wilayat are the zill of the attainments of prophethood." (Maktubat, Daftar II, Letter no. 71, p. 236, published in Lahore)

3. Sayyid Ismail Shaheed (d. 1831), the religious leader and scholar who died in a battle against the Sikh rulers of North-West India, wrote in his books:

(a) "There will be many pure and holy souls who shall bear a likeness to the prophets, and shall be the zill of messengership. ... In short, these persons are of such a rank that, if there had not been an end to prophets, they would have held the office of prophethood. To conclude, such persons will continue to exist till the Last Day." (Preface to Sirat-i Mustaqim, p. 1, Urdu translation by Abdul Jabbar)

(b) "It should be known that the Imam is the deputy of the Messenger, and Imamat is the zill of messengership." (Mansab-i Imamat, p. 125, Ainah Adab, Lahore, 1969)


Note 11:

The same applies to the concept of burooz as to the concepts of fana fir-rasul and zill discussed in the last two Notes. One who is said to have obtained prophethood in the sense of burooz is not a prophet, but a saint or mujaddid in whom certain qualities of prophethood are manifested because of his complete following of the Prophet Muhammad.

When Hazrat Mirza's Muslim critics objected that he could not be the like of a prophet because he was not himself a prophet, he gave the following reply:

"Objection: Only a prophet can be the like of a prophet.

"Answer: The entire Umma is agreed that a non-prophet takes the place of [or deputises for] a prophet by way of burooz. This is the meaning of the hadith report: 'The ulama of my Umma are like the Israelite prophets'. Look, the Holy Prophet has declared the ulama to be like prophets. One hadith says that the ulama are the heirs of the prophets. Another hadith says: Among my followers, there will always be forty men who take after the heart of Abraham. In this hadith, the Holy Prophet has declared them to be the likes of Abraham." (Ayyam as-Sulh, August 1898, p. 163)

He clearly states here that it is a non-prophet who becomes the burooz of a prophet. Then he quotes various hadith reports to show that the great and eminent ulama of the Muslims are in the likeness of prophets, and says that these hadith reports refer to the concept of burooz.

Explaining the concept of burooz, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes:

1. "Sometimes the coming of a soul into this world, which resembles the soul of some righteous person of the past, and not only has a connection with that soul but derives benefit from it as well, is considered as the coming of the original soul itself. In the terminology of the Sufis this is known as burooz." (Sat Bachan, December 1895, p. 49)

2. "The Sufis believe that the nature, disposition and moral qualities of a person from the past come again in another. In their terminology, they say that so and so is in the footsteps of Adam, or the footsteps of Noah. Some also call this as burooz." (Malfuzat, vol. i, p. 444, speech on 28 December 1899)

This definition of burooz is borne out by the writings of the great spiritual men of Islam.

1. In an Urdu translation of Fusus al-Hukam, the famous Sufi work written by the great Shaikh Muhiy-ud-Din Ibn Arabi, the translater Maulana Muhammad Abdul Qadeer writes in an introductory note:

"Burooz means that the nature of some of the saints resembles the nature of a particular prophet. Many saints are made to journey through the attainments of the great prophets, and the saints become dyed with the colour of the prophets. To put it another way, the image of the attainments of the prophets is cast upon them. Or one could say that the special characteristics of the prophets are manifested and projected (burooz) through them. But after the completion of the journey, each of them remains at his original position of natural affinity. For instance, the saint who aids the cause of the faith is known as having the nature of Noah, or being in the footsteps of Noah, or one who manifests Noah, or the burooz of Noah. The saint who accepts the will of God is known as one having the nature of Moses, he who annihilates himself is known as one having the nature of Jesus, and he who is a perfect servant, combining all these, is known as one having the Muhammadi nature. Sometimes it is said that such and such a saint is the burooz of such and such a prophet, just as the moon is the burooz of the sun. In short, the prophet is the original, and the saint is his copy." (Urdu translation of Fusus al-Hukam, published by Nazir Sons, Lahore, 1979, p. 24)

2. Khawaja Ghulam Farid of Chachran (d. 1904), the famous saint who lived in the Bahawalpur area (in present-day Pakistan), gives the following definition:

"Burooz is that a soul gains benefit from another one which is perfect. When it receives the benefit of Divine illumination, it becomes its manifestation, and says: I am that one." (Isharat Faridi, Collection of Sayings of the famous Punjabi saint, Khawaja Ghulam Farid, Islamic Book Foundation, Lahore, p. 418)


Note 12:

Receiving the Names of Prophets:

This theme occurs several times in this booklet. Again, it is a non-prophet who receives or is awarded the name of some prophet. He is not, and does not become, a prophet. Hazrat Mirza writes in this connection:

"Here it is worth remembering that the spirituality of our Holy Prophet has always manifested itself at times when the internal crises of Islam became overwhelming, and the 'essence of Muhammad' has always made its appearance through some perfect follower. If those statements in Hadith are authentic which say: The Mahdi will arise, and he shall bear my name, and he shall have my morals, then it is a reference to precisely this descent of spirituality. But this descent is not confined to any particular sect. There have been hundreds of persons in whom the 'essence of Muhammad' was established, and with God they had the names 'Muhammad' and 'Ahmad' by way of reflection (zill)." (Ainah Kamalat Islam, February 1893, p. 346)

These "hundreds of persons" who had the names Muhammad and Ahmad by way of zill were all saints in Islam, and did not become prophets by receiving these names.

Hazrat Mirza also writes on this point as follows:

1. "There are some servants of God from among the saints who are given, in heaven, the names of the prophets because they resemble them in nature and qualities, and take light from their light, and are created with their character. So God makes them their inheritors, and calls them by the names of their forbears. ... God sends some saints who follow in the footsteps of certain of the prophets. He who is sent following in the footsteps of a certain prophet, is named by the name of that prophet among the high heavenly angels." (Ainah Kamalat Islam, February 1893, p. 375)

2. "Of all the leaders of Tasawwuf [Sufi-ism] that there have been till the present day, not even one has disagreed with the point that in this religion the path to become the likes of prophets is open, as the Holy Prophet Muhammad has given the glad tidings for spiritual and godly learned persons that 'the Ulama of my Umma are like the Israelite Prophets'. The words of Abu Yazid Bustami [famous Muslim saint, d. 874 C.E.] given below, which are recorded in Tazkirat al-Auliya by Farid-ud-Din Attar, and are also found in other reliable works, are on this basis, as he says: 'I am Adam, I am Seth, I am Noah, I am Abraham, I am Moses, I am Jesus, I am Muhammad, peace be upon him and upon all these brothers of his.' ... Similarly, Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jilani, in his book Futuh al-Ghaib, refers to this point, i.e. that man, by leaving his ego and annihilating himself in God, becomes the like, rather the very form, of the prophets." (Izala Auham, September 1891, pp. 258-260)

3. "It is necessary that a muhaddas should be the like of some prophet, and in the sight of God he must receive the same name which is the name of that prophet." (ibid., p. 569)

4. "Remember well that the fruits of perfect obedience [to the Holy Prophet] are never wasted. This is a teaching of Tasawwuf. If the rank of zill had not existed, the saints of the Umma would have died. It was exactly this perfect obedience, and the rank of burooz and zill, due to which Abu Yazid was called 'Muhammad'. Upon his so saying, the verdict of heresy was pronounced against him seventy times over, and he was exiled from the city. In brief, the people who oppose us are unaware of these facts." (Malfuzat, vol. 8, p. 64, from talk given on 24 September 1905)

5. "And the mujaddid whose work bears striking similarity to the appointed task of one of the messengers, is called by the name of that rasul in the sight of Allah." (Shahadat al-Quran, September 1893, p. 52)

All these extracts show that it is saints who receive the names of prophets, and those receiving such names are not prophets.


Note 13:

In his writings Hazrat Mirza has clearly distinguished between the religious meaning of the word nabi and its linguistic meaning as given in lexicons (and similarly for the word rasul). A man to whom the word nabi only applies in its linguistic sense is not a prophet in Islamic terminology. Hazrat Mirza writes as follows on the question of whether his followers should believe him to be a nabi and rasul:

1. "Risalat in the Arabic language is applied to 'being sent', and nubuwwat is to expound hidden truths and matters upon receiving knowledge from God. So, bearing in mind a significance of this extent, it is not blame-worthy to believe in the heart in accordance with this meaning. However, in the terminology of Islam, nabi and rasul mean those who bring an entirely new shariah, or those who abrogate some aspects of the previous shariah, or those who are not called followers of a previous prophet, having a direct connection with God without benefit from a prophet. Therefore, one should be vigilant to see that the same meaning is not taken here" (Al-Hakam, 17 August 1899, page 6)

2. "It is obvious that he who is sent by God is His envoy, and an envoy is called rasul in Arabic. And he who discloses news of the unseen received from God is called nabi in Arabic. The meanings in Islamic terminology are different. At this place, only the linguistic meaning is intended." (Arba'in, No. 2, September 1900, footnote, p. 18)

He also writes:

1. "A sign of the coming Promised Messiah, which is written, is that he shall be a prophet (nabi) of God, meaning one who receives revelation from God. However, full and complete prophethood is not meant here because that has been sealed. Rather, that prophethood is meant which is limited to the significance of muhaddasiyya, which obtains light from the lamp of the prophethood of Muhammad." (Izala Auham, September 1891, p. 701)

2. "Be it known to all the Muslims that all such words as occur in my writings Fath Islam, Tauzih Maram and Izala Auham, to the effect that the muhaddas is in one sense a prophet, or that being a muhaddas is partial prophethood or imperfect prophethood, are not to be taken in their real sense, but have been used according to their root meaning in a straight-forward way; otherwise, I lay no claim whatever to actual prophethood. On the other hand, as I have written in my book Izala Auham, page 137, my belief is that our leader and master Muhammad mustafa --- may peace and the blessings of God be upon him --- is the last of the Prophets.

"So I wish to make it clear to all Muslim brothers that, if they are displeased with these words and if these words give injury to their feelings, they may regard all such words as amended, and instead consider me to have used the word muhaddas. For I do not like to create dissension and discord among the Muslims.

"From the beginning, as God knows best, my intention has never been to use this word nabi as meaning actually a prophet, but only as signifying muhaddas, which the Holy Prophet has explained as meaning one who is spoken to by God. Of the muhaddas it is stated in a saying of the Holy Prophet: 'Among the Israelites who were before you, 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.'

"Therefore, I have not the least hesitation in stating my meaning in another form for the conciliation of my Muslim brethren, and that other form is that in every place instead of the word nabi the word muhaddas should be understood, and the word nabi should be regarded as having been deleted." (Majmu'a Ishtiharat, vol. i, p. 313, announcement dated 3 February 1892, issued in Lahore.)

It is clear from these references that whenever the word nabi is used about someone purely in its linguistic sense of 'one who receives revelation from God' then that person is a saint or muhaddas.

3. In a letter dated 23 May 1908, written to a Muslim newspaper of Lahore, which was published in that newspaper three days later, on the very day of his death, Hazrat Mirza wrote:

"The only reason that I am known as nabi is that in the Arabic and Hebrew languages the word nabi means one who makes prophecies abundantly upon receiving revelation from God."


Note 14:

Regarding exactly this verse, Hazrat Mirza has written that the word rasul is used in it in a broad sense and includes saints as well as the prophets. He writes:

1. "God says: 'He does not make His unseen known to anyone except a rasul whom He chooses'. The word rasul is general, and included within it are rasul, nabi and muhaddas." (A'inah Kamalat Islam, February 1893, p. 332)

2. "The Holy Quran says: 'He [God] does not make His unseen known to anyone except a rasul whom He chooses', i.e. to disclose unseen matters perfectly is only the work of those who are rasul; others are not given this status. By rasul are meant those persons who are sent from Almighty God, whether it is a nabi, or a rasul, or a muhaddas and mujaddid." (Ayyam as-Sulh, August 1898, p. 171)

3. "God says: 'He does not make His unseen known to anyone except a rasul whom He chooses'. That is to say, Almighty God does not inform anyone of His secrets in an open manner except those who are rasul, i.e. those persons who are appointed with wahy risalat or wahy wilayat, and are considered as being from God." (Al-Haq Mubahasa Ludhiana, October 1891, p. 117)

So if someone is described as being a rasul under this verse, then that person is not necessarily a prophet, but can be a saint (muhaddas or wali).


Note 15:

Again, it is clear that Hazrat Mirza is speaking of the linguistic or literal use of the words nabi and rasul, the sense in which they apply to saints.


Note 16:

It has been shown in Notes 9 and 12 above that such a person, who is a fana fir-rasul and receives the names 'Muhammad' and 'Ahmad', is not a prophet.


Note 17:

As shown in a quotation given earlier, the man who attains "a complete union and absence of difference" is a saint:

"...muhaddas, ... due to his obedience to the Holy Prophet and due to his being fana fir-rasul, he is included within the person of the Last of the Messengers, just as a part is included in the whole." (Izala Auham, September 1891, p. 575)

In this quotation he uses the expression "included within the person of the Holy Prophet, as a part is included in the whole", which is the same as "a complete union and absence of difference".


Note 18:

As shown above in Notes 10 and 12, it is saints who receive the names of prophets by way of zill, i.e. due to reflecting the image of prophets, or having a likeness to prophets.


Note 19:

Elsewhere Hazrat Mirza has explained in detail that this prayer is for enabling one to follow the example of the prophets. Therefore by his statement here that, through this prayer, a person can become "a prophet and messenger by way of burooz", it is meant that a person can acquire likeness to prophets, in the way that Muslim saints attain it. It is certainly not meant that this is a prayer for one to become a prophet.

Hazrat Mirza writes:

1. "God exhorts us to pray to Him five times a day and beseech Him as follows: 'Guide us on the right path, the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favours', i.e. O my God, the Beneficent and the Merciful, grant us guidance so that we may become the like of Adam, the chosen one of God; the like of Seth, the prophet of God; the like of Noah, the second Adam; the like of Abraham, the friend of God; the like of Moses, the recipient of God's word; the like of Jesus; and the like of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and Ahmad, and the like of every truthful and faithful one. ...

"Of all the leaders of Tasawwuf that there have been till the present day, not even one has disagreed with the point that in this religion the path to become the likes of prophets is open, as the Holy Prophet Muhammad has given the glad tidings for spiritual and godly learned persons that 'the ulama of my Umma are like the Israelite prophets'." (Izala Auham, September 1891, pp. 256-259)

2. "The entire Umma is agreed that a non-prophet takes the place of a prophet by way of burooz. This is the meaning of the following hadith: The ulama of my Umma are like the Israelite prophets. Look, the Holy Prophet has declared the ulama to be like prophets. ... God has it in the Holy Quran: 'Guide us on the right path, the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favours'. All the commentators of the Quran agree here that the purpose of being guided 'on the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favours' is to attain likeness to the prophets, which is the real essence of following." (Ayyam as-Sulh, August 1898, pp. 163-164)

In these quotations Hazrat Mirza has referred to the hadith report: "The ulama of my Umma are like the Israelite prophets", and it is clear that what he is saying is that the prayer "Guide us on the right path" is a prayer, not for becoming a prophet, but for becoming one of the righteous persons of this Umma who bear a likeness to prophets.

3. "The Quran has taught the prayer, 'Guide us on the right path, the path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favours'. What is the object of this prayer? Just this that 'O our God, make us the likes of the prophets and messengers." (Izala Auham, September 1891, p. 539)


Note 20:

Which is the sense in which Hazrat Mirza does not deny prophethood and messengership? It is the linguistic or metaphorical sense in which a saint may be called prophet. He wrote:

1."There is no doubt that this humble one has come from God as a muhaddas for this Umma, and a muhaddas is also in one sense a prophet. Though he does not possess complete prophethood, nonetheless he is a prophet in a partial sense because he has the privilege of communication with God, and matters of the unseen are disclosed to him, and his revelation, like the revelation of messengers and prophets, is also protected against interference by the devil." (Tauzih Maram, January 1891, pp. 9-10)

2. "There is no claim of prophethood. On the contrary, the claim is of muhaddasiyya [being a muhaddas], which has been advanced by the command of God. And what doubt is there that muhaddasiyya has within it one function of the powers of prophethood. Considering that true visions are one element out of the forty-six constituents of prophethood, then if muhaddasiyya --- which is described in the Holy Quran alongside prophethood and messengership, and for which there is a hadith in Sahih Bukhari --- is declared to be metaphorical prophethood, or is called one of the aspects of prophethood, does this imply a claim to prophethood?" (Izala Auham, September 1891, pp. 421-422)

It is this sense in which Hazrat Mirza does not deny prophethood, the sense in which any muhaddas may be called prophet.


Note 21:

The sense in which the Messiah-to-come has been called nabi in the Hadith prophecies is the same sense as discussed in the last Note. Hazrat Mirza has written a great deal about this:

1. "It is conclusively stated about the previous Messiah that he was a prophet. But the coming Messiah has been called a 'follower' [of the Holy Prophet Muhammad], as is obvious from the hadith: 'He shall be your imam from among yourselves'. And in the hadith 'The ulama of my Umma are like the Israelite prophets', the news is implicitly given regarding the like of the Messiah. Therefore, according to this, the coming Messiah, due to being a muhaddas, is also metaphorically a prophet." (Izala Auham, September 1891, p. 349)

2. "It is true, of course, that the coming Messiah has been described as 'prophet' (nabi). But he has also been described as a 'follower' [of the Holy Prophet Muhammad], and in fact the news has been given: O you followers, he shall be from among you, and shall be your imam. ...

"Now it is clearly obvious from all these references that he shall not possess the attribute of complete prophethood in the actual and real manner. However, imperfect prophethood will be found in him, which in other words is called muhaddasiyya, and has within it one of the qualities of complete prophethood. So the fact that he has been called follower and also prophet shows that the qualities of both being a follower and of prophethood will be found in him, just as it is necessary for both these qualities to be found in a muhaddas." (ibid., pp. 532-533)

3. "God has promised that no rasul shall be sent after the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and the students of Hadith have surely made an extremely grave error in believing, by just seeing the word 'Jesus' or 'son of Mary', that the very same son of Mary, who was a rasul of God, shall descend from heaven. It did not occur to them that his coming is tantamount to the departure of the religion of Islam from this world. ... In Sahih Muslim there is a hadith about this, namely, that the Messiah shall come as a nabi of God. Now if, in a symbolic sense, by 'Messiah' or 'son of Mary' is meant a member of the Umma who holds the rank of muhaddas, then no difficulty arises. For, a muhaddas is a prophet in one sense, but he is a prophet who obtains light from the lamp of the prophethood of Muhammad, and receives knowledge not directly on his own account, but through the agency of his Prophet." (ibid., p. 586)

So Hazrat Mirza's belief was that the sense in which the Messiah-to-come has been called nabi in Sahih Muslim is as meaning muhaddas, not as meaning a real prophet. He further wrote:

4. "The epithet 'prophet of God' for the Promised Messiah, which is to be found in Sahih Muslim etc. from the blessed tongue of the Holy Prophet, is meant in the same metaphorical sense as that in which it occurs in Sufi literature as an accepted and common term for [the recipient of] Divine communication. Otherwise, how can there be a prophet after the Khatam al-anbiya?" (Anjam Atham, January 1897, footnote, p. 28)

5. "And it should also be remembered that in Sahih Muslim the word nabi has occurred with reference to the Promised Messiah, that is to say, by way of metaphor." (Ayyam as-Sulh, August 1898, p. 75)

6. "These words are by way of metaphor, just as in Hadith also the word nabi has been used for the Promised Messiah. ... And he who discloses news of the unseen received from God, is called nabi in Arabic. The meanings in Islamic terminology are different. Here only the linguistic [root] meaning is intended." (Arba'in No. 2, September 1900, p. 18, footnote)

7. "I say it repeatedly that these words rasul and mursal and nabi undoubtedly occur about me in my revelation from God, but they do not bear their real meanings. And just as they do not, similarly the Promised Messiah being called nabi in Hadith, is not meant in a real sense. This is the knowledge which God has given me. Let him understand, who will. This very thing has been disclosed to me that the doors of real prophethood are fully closed after the Khatam al-anbiya, the Holy Prophet Muhammad. According to the real meaning, no new or ancient prophet can now come." (Siraj Munir, March 1897, p. 3)

He says that no prophet, new or old, can come after the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and so the Promised Messiah being called as nabi in the Hadith prophecy must be taken metaphorically as denoting a muhaddas.


Note 22:

Hazrat Mirza is not saying here that only a prophet receives news of the unseen from God, and that a muhaddas does not. The discussion here is not on the concept and definition of prophet and muhaddas in Islamic theology. It is about the meaning of the words nabi and muhaddas in the Arabic language, i.e. the root or linguistic meaning.

In the August 1899 letter reproduced earlier, Hazrat Mirza makes it quite plain that 'one who receives news of the unseen from God' is only the root meaning of nabi, and that an actual prophet in Islamic terminology is in an entirely higher class than being merely a recipient of revelation.

Similarly, as may be seen from extracts given above, he has clearly described a muhaddas as receiving revelation and news of the unseen from God, and has claimed to be a muhaddas in these terms. For example, as quoted above, he says about a muhaddas that:

"...he has the privilege of communication with God, and matters of the unseen are disclosed to him, and his revelation, like the revelation of messengers and prophets, is also protected against interference by the devil." (Tauzih Maram, pp. 9-10)

See also the three quotations in Note 14, the first being as follows: "God says: 'He does not make His unseen known to anyone except a rasul whom He chooses'. The word rasul is general, and included within it are rasul, nabi and muhaddas" (A'inah Kamalat Islam, p. 332), which also show that a muhaddas receives knowledge of the unseen from God.

Similarly, he wrote:

"I am a muhaddas and Allah speaks to me as He speaks to those who are muhaddases. Allah knows that He has bestowed upon me this rank." (Hamamat al-Bushra, 1894, p. 79)

As regards this passage in Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala, the opening lines of the paragraph make the meaning clear. He writes:

" ... according to this sense I do not deny prophethood and messengership",

and

"it is in this sense that the Promised Messiah has been called nabi in Hadith".

And what is that sense? As shown in Notes 20 and 21, it is the root or linguistic sense of the word nabi, not the sense of prophet in the terminology of Islamic theology. He then adds:

"If one who receives news of the unseen from God is not to be called nabi",

that is, in terms of the linguistic meaning,

"tell us what he should be called?"

If the reply is given that he should be called muhaddas,

"I say that in no lexicon is the meaning of tahdees 'making known the unseen' ."

Here he is simply dealing with the linguistic meanings of the words nabi and muhaddas, and explaining that only the word nabi, and not the word muhaddas, has the linguistic, dictionary meaning of 'one who receives knowledge of the unseen from God'. He is neither denying that a muhaddas receives knowledge of the unseen from God, nor is he claiming to be a prophet rather than a muhaddas.

Confirmation by Qadianis:

It is remarkable that, shortly before the Qadianis invented the doctrine that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be a prophet in Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala, one of them also wrote that Hazrat Mirza is here not denying being a muhaddas but is only discussing the literal meaning of this word.

In 1914 one Hafiz Raushan Ali, a Qadiani religious scholar, answered an objection from the opponents of the Ahmadiyya Movement as follows:

"Objection: In Tauzih Maram you [i.e. Hazrat Mirza] call yourself a muhaddas and say that a muhaddas too is a prophet in one sense. But now in this poster you write that 'my title cannot be muhaddas because in no lexicon does the word tahdees convey the meaning of disclosing the unseen'.

Answer: We say that there could only have been a contradiction between these two places if there was an affirmation of being a muhaddas in a certain sense, and then a denial made with regard to the same sense. But here the senses in the two places are different. Therefore, in accordance with the principle, lau l-al-i'tibaraat la-batal-al-hikma, your alleged contradiction disappears. In the poster [Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala], he has made the denial in the sense that in Arabic lexicology the meaning of tahdees is not that of disclosing the unseen. And in Tauzih Maram he has made the affirmation in terms of the technical meaning, despite having made it explicit there that a muhaddas is also a prophet in a sense.'' (Tashhiz al-Azhan, October 1914, vol. ix, no. 10)

Tashhiz al-Azhan was a magazine founded and edited by Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, and the issue cited above dates from a few months after the split in the Ahmadiyya Movement, when he had become head of the Qadianis. The answer given here by a Qadiani scholar is the same as the explanation which we have given above, namely, that Hazrat Mirza is not changing his earlier view (as expressed in Tauzih Maram, for example) about what a muhaddas is, and now saying that he was not a muhaddas but a prophet. He is not discussing the Islamic concept of muhaddas (according to which he is a muhaddas), but the meaning of this word in Arabic.


Note 23:

These lines are further clear proof that he is discussing the root or linguistic meaning of nabi, in terms of language, as distinct from the defined Islamic concept.


Note 24:

This again refers to a saint or muhaddas. Just as someone who is described as a nabi in the linguistic or metaphorical sense is not in fact a prophet but is a saint, similarly someone who is described as a non-law-bearing nabi, for whom "it is not a requirement that he should be a bearer of shariah", is not a prophet but is a saint. The reason is that every prophet is a bearer of shariah, in that every prophet had authority over the law, even though he might be following a law revealed before him. Any prophet became a prophet by receiving wahy nubuwwat, the revelation exclusive to prophets. He acted directly under the authority of his own revelation, which was supreme over any previous law or revelation he might be following.

On the other hand, a saint like Hazrat Mirza is a recipient of wahy wilayat which has no authority over the Quran and Islamic shariah, but is itself subordinate and subject to the Holy Quran and shariah. In view of this distinction between prophets and saints, the Sufis devised the term "prophet without a shariah" to refer metaphorically to a saint. See further Note 29.


Note 25:

He has fully explained that these titles are not meant in the real sense when they are given to him or to any other Muslim saint by God. See the preceding Notes.


Note 26:

Hazrat Mirza is not claiming that his revelation is equal in kind and status to the revelation of the prophets Moses, Jesus and the Holy Prophet Muhammad. He is saying that all revelation is from the same source, i.e. God, and that he believes with the same certainty that his revelation is from God as he believes that the verses of the Quran are from God. He has written elsewhere that non-prophets who receive revelation are also absolutely sure that their revelation is from God. He says:

"I have just explained that when the sun of Divine revelation manifests itself on a heart in actual fact, there is definitely no darkness of uncertainty and doubt with it. Can darkness exist alongside pure light? Then considering that the mother of Moses received sure revelation, and by fully believing in it she cast her baby in the place of destruction, and she was not considered by God to be guilty of the crime of attempted murder, is the Muslim Umma inferior to the women of the Israelites? Likewise, Mary also received sure revelation, and by trusting in it she cared not for (the criticism of) her people. Pity, then, on this forsaken Umma which is inferior to these women. In these circumstances, this Umma could not be the 'best of nations', but the worst of nations and the most ignorant of nations. Similarly Khizr, who was not a prophet, was granted Divine knowledge. If his revelation was doubtful, and not sure, why did he kill a child unjustly? And if the revelation of the Companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, to the effect that his dead body ought to be washed, was not sure and definite, why did they act upon it?

"To conclude, if a man, due to his blindness, denies my revelation, then if he is nonetheless called a Muslim, and is not a secret atheist, it should be part of his belief that there can be sure and definite Divine revelation, and that just as in previous religious communities many men and women used to receive God's revelation, even though they were not prophets, in this Umma too it is essential that sure and definite revelation should exist, so that it does not become the least of the nations instead of the best of the nations." (Nuzul al-Masih, written 1902, published 1909, p. 89)

For revelation to Moses' mother see the Quran 28:7; for Mary see 19:17-21; for Khizr see 18:65-82.

By giving these examples of revelation to non-prophets, Hazrat Mirza has settled conclusively that his revelation too was that of a non-prophet.

He also writes:

"Now the curse of God is upon those who say that they can bring the like of the Quran. It is a miracle, the like of which cannot be shown by any human or jinn. It is a collection of points of deep knowledge and beauties, which cannot be assembled by human knowledge. Nay, it is a revelation like which there is none other, even though there may be another revelation from God after it. For, in revelation are the manifestations of God. And it is certain that the manifestation of God upon the Khatam al-anbiya was such that there was no manifestation like it before, nor shall there be after. The status of the revelation of saints is not like the status of the revelation of the Quran, even though words may be revealed to them which are like the words of the Quran." (Al-Huda, June 1902, pp. 32-33)

Both the above quotations are from books written after the publication of Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala. They show that after its publication too, as before it, Hazrat Mirza was classifying his revelation as that of non-prophets.


Note 27:

He says here:

"... in the sense that ... I have received knowledge of the unseen from God through the mediation of the Holy Prophet, I am a messenger and a prophet but without a new shariah."

This again is use of the words nabi and rasul in the linguistic sense: receiving knowledge of the unseen from God. Compare this with the following words from his August 1899 letter as quoted earlier:

"The words nabi and rasul are figurative and metaphorical. Risalat in the Arabic language is applied to 'being sent', and nubuwwat is to expound hidden truths and matters upon receiving knowledge from God. So, bearing in mind a significance of this extent, it is not blame-worthy to believe in the heart in accordance with this meaning. However, in the terminology of Islam, nabi and rasul mean those who bring an entirely new shariah, or those who abrogate some aspects of the previous shariah, or those who are not called followers of a previous prophet, having a direct connection with God without benefit from a prophet. Therefore, one should be vigilant to see that the same meaning is not taken here ... "

Comparing the two passages it is clear that one who is a prophet and messenger due to receiving knowledge of the unseen or knowledge of hidden matters from God, and is without a shariah, is in fact not a prophet in Islamic terminology.

For the meaning of 'prophet without shariah', see Notes 24 and 29.


Note 28:

He writes here: "I have never denied being called a prophet in this sense. In fact, this is the sense in which God has addressed me as nabi and rasul. Nor do I now deny being a prophet and messenger in this sense."

These words make it absolutely plain that Hazrat Mirza is not claiming anything here which he was denying previously. The Qadiani belief about this booklet is that previously Hazrat Mirza had been denying claiming to be a prophet and in this booklet he was now claiming to be a prophet. But Hazrat Mirza says that the sense in which he previously allowed the application to him of the words nabi and rasul, it is in exactly the same sense that he is now affirming that application.

Therefore we must look in his previous writings to see in what sense had he never denied being called a prophet. This is the sense in which a muhaddas is a prophet, i.e. in the imperfect, or linguistic, or metaphorical sense. See the two quotations in Note 20 in this connection.

As Hazrat Mirza has referred here to his previous denials of claiming prophethood, and has in fact confirmed them, we may quote here some of those vociferous denials to show exactly what he denied and what he did not deny:

1. "Let it be clear to him [an opponent Maulvi] that I too curse the man who would claim prophethood ... And it is not wahy nubuwwat but wahy wilayat which is received by the saints under the shadow of the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad by perfect obedience to him, in this we do believe. ... In short, there is no claim of prophethood on my part either. The claim is only of wilayat [sainthood] and mujaddidiyya [being a mujaddid]." (Majmu'a Ishtiharat, vol. ii, pp. 297-298, January 1897)

2. "One of the objections of those who call me kafir is that they say: This man claims prophethood and says that I am one of the prophets. The answer is that you should know, O brother, that I have not claimed prophethood nor have I said to them that I am a prophet. ... I said to them nothing except what I wrote in my books, namely, that I am a muhaddas and Allah speaks to me as He speaks to muhaddases." (Hamamat-ul-Bushra, 1894, p. 79)

3. "I make no claim to prophethood. This is your mistake, or you have some motive in mind. Is it necessary that the person who lays claim to revelation should also be prophet?" (Jang Muqaddas, June 1893, p. 67)

4. "I do not make a claim to prophethood ... After our leader and master, Muhammad mustafa, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, the khatam-ul-mursalin [last of the messengers], I consider anyone who claims prophethood and messengership to be a liar and kafir." (Majmu'a Ishtiharat, vol. i, pp. 230-231, statement issued on 2 October 1891.)

5. "By way of a fabrication, they slander me by alleging that I have made a claim to prophethood and that I deny miracles and the angels. It should be remembered that all this is a fabrication." (Kitab al-Bariyya, January 1898, p. 182, footnote)

6. "Can a wretched imposter who claims messengership and prophethood for himself have any belief in the Holy Quran? And can a man who believes in the Holy Quran, and believes the verse 'He is the Messenger of Allah and the Khatam an-nabiyyin' to be the word of God, say that he is a messenger and prophet after the Holy Prophet Muhammad? Anyone who is fair-minded should remember that I have never, at any time, made a claim of prophethood or messengership in the real sense. To use a word in a non-real sense, and to employ it in speech according to its broad, root meaning, does not imply heresy (kufr). However, I do not like even this much, for there is the possibility that ordinary Muslims may misunderstand it." (Anjam Atham, January 1897, p. 27, footnote)

In all the above extracts, Hazrat Mirza has denied claiming to be a prophet, without any reservation or qualification. What is more, using very strong language he has called this allegation against him as a "fabrication", and cursed anyone who claims prophethood and described such a claimant as a liar, a kafir, and a wretched imposter. While denying claiming prophethood what he did not deny was claiming to be a recipient of revelation as bestowed upon non-prophets.


Note 29:

One who is not possessor of shariah is not a prophet, as mentioned earlier in Note 24. The term "non-shariah bearing prophet" was, like the terms zill, burooz and fana fir-rasul, coined by Sufi writers and saints as referring to one who is not a real prophet but is spoken to by God. It is not a type of prophet. Nowhere do the Holy Quran or Hadith mention a kind of prophethood called "non-shariah bearing". What the Quran and Hadith refer to as a wali or muhaddas, that is what in the Sufi terminology is sometimes known as "non-shariah bearing prophet".

It is abundantly clear from Hazrat Mirza's own writings that, besides the possessors of shariah, others who receive revelation are saints, and not prophets of some kind. He writes:

1. "The point is worth remembering that to call the denier of one's claim as kafir is only the privilege of those prophets who bring a shariah and new commandments from God. But apart from possessors of shariah (sahib-i shariah), all the others who are muhaddas, no matter how high a rank they may have with God, and be exalted with the robe of Divine revelation, no one becomes a kafir by denying them." (Tiryaq al-Qulub, October 1902, p. 130, footnote)

According to this statement, besides "possessors of shariah" (sahib-i shariah) all others who receive revelation are saints or muhaddas.

2. "God speaks to, and communicates with, His saints in this Umma. They are given the colour of prophets, but they are not prophets in reality because the Holy Quran has completed all the requirements of the shariah. They are given nothing but the understanding of the Quran; they do not add to the Quran, nor take anything away from it." (Mawahib ar-Rahman, January 1903, p. 66)

Here Hazrat Mirza says that the reason why saints are not prophets is that the Islamic shariah has been perfected with the revelation of the Quran. A prophet would only need to come if the shariah required change or improvement. So there are only two categories: (1) saints, and they are not prophets in reality, and (2) prophets, and they come to perfect the shariah.


Note 30:

Again Hazrat Mirza makes clear that the words nabi and rasul only apply to him in their linguistic sense. As quoted in Note 27, he stated that the Islamic meaning of these words is different and he cautioned his followers that: "one should be vigilant to see that the same meaning is not taken here".


Note 31:

If, by using the word nabi about himself, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad becomes a prophet, as the Qadianis believe, then by calling himself "that same prophet, the Khatam al-anbiya" he should become the same person as the Holy Prophet Muhammad! The Qadianis ought to clarify whether they believe Hazrat Mirza to be, not only a nabi, but the Khatam al-anbiya and exactly the same as the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

The fact is that he is using these titles "in the sense of burooz", which means that he is a saint, a non-prophet who is like a mirror in which a prophet's prophetic qualities are reflected.


Note 32:

The important point to note here is: "Muhammad is the Prophet and no one else". The person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is not, and does not become, a prophet. As "Muhammad is the Prophet and no one else", then belief in the Holy Prophet Muhammad is sufficient and there is no requirement to believe in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a prophet in addition to the Holy Prophet.


Note 33:

The discussion here, that the Mahdi would be a spiritual heir of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and that being a physical descendant is in itself of no significance or value whatsoever, contains a rejoinder and refutation of another Qadiani doctrine. The Qadianis believe that the descendants of Hazrat Mirza have been specially favoured and chosen by God, and are the only ones entitled to be his successors. They believe Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad to be the Promised Reformer (muslih mau'ud) chiefly on account of being Hazrat Mirza's eldest son.

Hazrat Mirza has explained here that when the Holy Prophet prophesied that the Mahdi would be from his family (the ahl bait), he did not at all mean that the Mahdi would be his physical descendant but that he would be his spiritual heir in terms of morals and qualities. Unfortunately the Qadianis ignore this basic principle of religion in the high reverence they give to the descendants of Hazrat Mirza.


Note 34:

Notice the words here:

1. "Hence, as prophethood also is a quality of a nabi, it is essential for it to be manifested in the burooz image."

It is clear that the burooz image is not himself a nabi, for if he were then the above words become meaningless because they amount to saying that the qualities of a prophet are manifested in a prophet! What he is saying is that the qualities of a prophet are seen reflected in one who is not a prophet.

2. "All prophets have held that the burooz is a perfect image of its original."

By all prophets it is clear that real prophets are meant here, because their burooz are spoken of separately. Therefore all prophets are only the real prophets, and this category does not include the burooz.


Note 35:

Again, if prophethood of Muhammad remains limited to the Holy Prophet Muhammad then it is entirely wrong to say that the man Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet.


Note 36:

Again, by all prophets here are meant the real prophets, and therefore anyone known as 'prophet in the sense of burooz' is not in the category of all prophets.


Note 37:

As to what is meant by the Holy Prophet Muhammad coming into the world a "thousand times", read again a part of the quotation from Hazrat Mirza given earlier:

"...the spirituality of our Holy Prophet has always manifested itself at times when the internal crises of Islam became overwhelming, and the 'essence of Muhammad' has always made its appearance through some perfect follower. ... There have been hundreds of persons in whom the 'essence of Muhammad' was established, and with God they had the names 'Muhammad' and 'Ahmad' by way of reflection (zill)." (Ainah Kamalat Islam, February 1893, p. 346)

These hundreds of persons are clearly the saints of Islam, and it is their coming which referred to in Ayk Ghalati Ka Izala here as the Prophet Muhammad coming a thousand times. Hazrat Mirza is placing himself in the same category as these persons: they all had the names 'Muhammad' and 'Ahmad' in the sight of God, they were all zill and burooz. As they were not prophets, and the Qadianis do not consider them to be prophets, so also Hazrat Mirza was not a prophet.


Note 38:

Again, Hazrat Mirza affirms that Allah had told the Holy Prophet Muhammad that no prophet would come after him.


Note 39:

The verse of the Holy Quran that Hazrat Mirza has referred to here, and earlier, as "others from among them" is the following:

"He it is Who raised among the illiterates a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His messages and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the wisdom, although they were before certainly in manifest error, and others from among them who have not yet joined them." (The Holy Quran, 62:2-3)

The meaning is that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is the teacher not only of his contemporaries, but also of the future generations. He is the teacher of the later generations through the Muslim saints who present in their lives a true example of the Holy Prophet and who broadcast that same message in its original form which was preached by the Holy Prophet.

Hazrat Mirza is that great Muslim saint and mujaddid who is particularly outstanding in preaching the message of the Holy Prophet in its pristine purity, at a time when that message had been so entirely distorted. Also he breathed into his companions such a spirit of sacrifice for the cause of Islam that it gave a glimpse of the companions of the Holy Prophet. So he particularly and perfectly fulfils the prophecy contained in this verse. In Sufi terminology, one who does such work for Islam is called a burooz ('showing a manifestation') of the Holy Prophet.

Hazrat Mirza further says here that this verse does not explicitly state that the later generations would be taught through a follower of the Holy Prophet, but rather mentions the Holy Prophet personally as being their teacher and guide, as if that follower has no existence of his own.

What this really means is that the spiritual light of the Holy Prophet Muhammad is seen reflected so perfectly through the person and mission of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad that it is as if this light was being seen directly. So it is the light of the Holy Prophet Muhammad to which Hazrat Mirza invites people, and not to himself in his own right. The person to be accepted as prophet and to be followed is the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Hazrat Mirza, and the mission founded by him, is the means sent by Allah through which the message of the Holy Prophet Muhammad will reach the world in its true and original purity.


Note 40:

See Note 33. Again Hazrat Mirza says that spiritual relationship is what matters, and that being a physical descendant is of no merit in itself.


Note 41:

As explained in many earlier Notes, the sense in which he is a prophet and messenger is the metaphorical or linguistic sense in which these words may be applied to the saints in Islam.


Note 42:

If Hazrat Mirza claimed to be a prophet, of whatever kind, how could he call it a malicious accusation that he claimed to be a prophet, and how could he denounce anyone making this accusation as "a liar and evil-minded"?


Note 43:

Again, the words "my own self does not come into it" show that it is not the person of Hazrat Mirza that has become a prophet. He closes by saying that the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad did not go to another person, but remained with the Holy Prophet. Therefore the prophethood to be believed in and acknowledged is the prophethood of Muhammad, and not of anyone after him.

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Books Section > by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian > A Correction of an Error [Ek Ghalti ka Izala] by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib > Commentary (#2) of: 'A Correction of an Error (Ek Ghalati Ka Izala)' -- by Dr. Zahid Aziz

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