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Correction of an Error [Ek Ghalti ka Izala]
by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
> Commentary (#2) of: 'A Correction of an Error
(Ek Ghalati Ka Izala)' -- by Dr. Zahid
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
(#2) of --
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.
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.
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)
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.
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!
"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."
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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?
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
All these extracts show that it is saints who receive the names of prophets, and those receiving such names are not prophets.
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)
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)
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."
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)
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).
"...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".
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. ...
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)
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)
It is this sense in which Hazrat Mirza does not deny prophethood, the sense in which any muhaddas may be called prophet.
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)
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)
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.
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",
"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.
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'.
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.
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.
"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?
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.
"... 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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"...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.
"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.